Monthly Archives: May 2013

We are God’s by His design

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Genesis 1:27

27 So God created human beings[c] in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

 

This morning God began to speak to me through other people’s postings and pictures on FB.  My spirit was flooded with His.  Some were photos and others were doodles and art.    The previous post is one of the things He showed me. 

https://godw1nz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/arise-my-love-arise/

When I saw my daughter’s photos I saw so much more than a sunrise.  I saw the Spirit of the Lord surrounded by the Glory of the Lord and He was encouraging me ( us) through these photos to keep pushing, to keep praying, to keep persisting in the faith and that when we do these things that beauty comes in the morning.  Faith rises, new life comes and we are filled with joy unspeakable.  I saw the earth “giving birth” to the sunrise through these photos and I just felt such awe and wonder at our amazing Creator. 

Oh how HE loves US….

 

Then I saw a doodle that was done by my friend Laetitia’s 84 year old mother, Hermin.

 

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Hermin and Laetitia live in South Africa.  We have never met face to face.  I recently heard someone in ministry giving FB the boot about “real” relationships and how FB cannot possibly bring about a real relationship with anyone.  I had to laugh because it’s just not true.  This just proves it.  Through the things Laetitia posts- she has taught me more about the food we eat than anyone I know.  ( this is just one example)  What’s in it and what isn’t in it.  She has also taken time to pray for me and for members of my family and today I got to “meet” her beautiful mother through the art of her hands- the hands that God gave her to use for Him.    I see that she is very detail oriented-just like our Father.  I also see that for 84 years old she has great dexterity in her hands and her fingers.  Look at the linework- it speaks volumes!  She see’s beyond the things of everyday life and she arouses our curiosity with her creative expression and spirit.   

I can relate to doodling.  I do it daily.  I love this “doodle” design!  It is FULL of design, line, movement and shape.  As your eyes travel over the paper you see something you didn’t see there before and you go back and peer a little closer.  This is what I love about God and His Word.  When we start reading His Words we begin to see and hear things we didn’t before. So we go back and we read it again and again and again.  With each reading we see more and we get a deeper understanding of WHO HE IS and HOW HE CREATED US.  We ARE HIS DESIGN. 

ROMANS 12

And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

He gives us free will to choose if we want

Him to be our design. 

Romans 12 says we are to be living sacrifices-holy and pleasing to HIM-this is our act of spiritual worship.  You see, we don’t serve a God of force.  We don’t serve a God who wants us to be puppets or robots.  We serve a GOD who cares so deeply for us that He is willing to let us go so we can figure things out and get to know HIM on our own.  He doesn’t force feed us or manipulate us into loving Him.  He just tells it like it is and then He gives us the choice. 

He tells us how much He loves us by sending His Son to die for us.  We don’t deserve it, but He gives it anyway.  Why? Because He loves us.  When we come to the place in our heart that we KNOW we are loved by the Most High King and we say, “ JESUS I LOVE YOU!!!  I WANT MORE OF YOU!!!” Then He fills us up even more.    It’s just like this doodle…

The design of the doodle is beautiful and filled with many good and wonderful things!  When you take it to the next level and you add color to it- you get this: BAM!

It comes to LIFE and jumps off the page!  It makes you stop and look a little closer.  If you are like me- you turn your head this way and that and you might even turn yourself upside down just to see what is there.  You KNOW there’s more and you don’t want to miss any of it.  Just like God the Father- You want to touch it ( Him) , feel it ( Him) , smell it( Him)  and look at it ( Him) .  You can even hear it ( Him) if you listen close enough.  ( He)  It screams to me- LIFE!!! I see harvest, hope, heaven and the abundant life ( in HIM) ! I also see unity, peace, prosperity and the weaving work of the Holy Spirit.  I see love, seeds of new life, fruit and the infinity of eternity. 

When we come to know Christ- our lives are filled with the LIFE, LIGHT, LOVE, and POWER  that will transform the world!  It’s like adding color to the doodle- BAM!!!!  With Christ in us- we can do anything!  He IS our Joy! He IS our COLOR!  He IS our LIFE! 

 

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What a blessing it has been to me today to meet Laetitia’s mother through her art.  What she doesn’t know is how much God has spoken to my heart through her work.  The design.  It’s all about HIS design, HIS plan, HIS purpose and what we DO with HIM.   If we don’t use the design to do the work that He has purposed us with then something is lost. I believe that each of us holds an answer to something for someone else.  Our life gifts ( and we can have many-not just one)  can help others grow closer to God.  These gifts are like keys to the Kingdom.  We each have a different key that unlocks a heart.  It’s not about the gift so much, but the way we use it.  We must use it to bring glory to God-to tell His story. 

This doodle is the faith of an 84 year old woman whom I have never met.  I didn’t even know she existed until this morning.  God spoke to me through her hands and the hands of her daughter as she posted the doodle and added the color to it. The design is intricate, woven and unified.  Sounds like God to me.  Nothing in this life is insignificant-not even a doodle.  God can speak through ANYTHING and ANYONE.  Every life has worth and purpose.

Hermin- today I give thanks to God for your hands and expressive spirit and for the work of Laetitia’s hands and for sharing you with us.  May God bless you richly!

In Christ’s precious love. d.

….and PS…Laetitia’s name means JOY!!!!!!!!!!! 

Arise My Love, Arise

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Hello!

I have a dear friend who taught me to call our Father “Your Majesty”…

You see, she would be driving to work in the mornings and she would see the mountains rising, in all their splendor , before her as she drove…and she would say,

“ Good Morning Your Majesty!  How are you today?”

So, now, when I am driving and I come across a beautiful mountain scene I stop and say the same thing!  This morning I was awakened by our daughter and she said, “ psst…Mom…I’m going out to get pictures of the sunrise….”  That was music to my ears…I can’t think of a better way to wake up! 

Last week- this Word was spoken over her:

Isaiah 60:1-5

“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see.
For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you.
2 Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,
but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you.
3 All nations will come to your light;
mighty kings will come to see your radiance.

4 “Look and see, for everyone is coming home!
Your sons are coming from distant lands;
your little daughters will be carried home.
5 Your eyes will shine,
and your heart will thrill with joy,
for merchants from around the world will come to you.
They will bring you the wealth of many lands.

This morning she arose….camera in hand…and sunrise in heart…( Hallelujah!!!)

and she took these stunning photos! 

I see so much of our Creator in each photo…His promises are real and true and for us TODAY.

After a night of darkness

His glory rises from the deep recesses of the earth

and it explodes onto the scene to fill the land that He so lovingly created

with HIMSELF. 

 

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In the rising- the color heightens, deepens, and becomes like rich gold.

HIS PASSION FOR US!!!!

 

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I see the Spirit of God rising out of the darkness of the night…

wings pushing into the darkness

 

swisshh

swishhhhh

swisshhhhhhhh

LIFE

p r o p e l l i n g

UP and OUT

of the evening of the day before…

 

perseverance

prayer

persistence

 

We are MORE than conquerors in CHRIST!

 

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a gentle wind blows fresh strength under each wing

whoooosh…whooooooosh…

up, up, up and away she goes….

 

 

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soaring, soaring, soaring….

in the distance

until she is surrounded by the Glory of the Lord!

Hallelujah!!!!!!

A new day is dawning ….

and for this…

we are forever thankful and filled with the Glory of the Lord!

Thank you Father, for new life.  Your mercies are new every morning. Your Words speak life and light into us and I thank YOU for YOUR life giving breath, for the movement of Your Spirit among Your people and for always leading us with the love that can only come from You.

I stand in AWE of what you are doing in this place…

Arise my love, Arise!

Psalm 91–the Message

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You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!”

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The Artisans of the bible

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Exodus 31

Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. 4 He is a master craftsman ( artisan) , expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. 5 He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!

God gave us artisans to do things for the Kingdom.  Bezalel and Oholiab had the jobs of overseeing the work of everything that the Lord had designed:

“And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen ( artisan)  so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make:

the Tabernacle;[a]
the Ark of the Covenant;[b]
the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement;
all the furnishings of the Tabernacle;
8 the table and its utensils;
the pure gold lampstand with all its accessories;
the incense altar;
9 the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils;
the washbasin with its stand;
10 the beautifully stitched garments—the sacred garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to wear as they minister as priests;
11 the anointing oil;
the fragrant incense for the Holy Place.

The craftsmen must make everything as I have commanded you.”

Each artisan was filled with a special skill given to them by God.  They used their skill and knowledge to bring glory to God by building the things of God.   When you look at Exodus 36 you see all of the different types of artisans that were needed.  The work wasn’t done by two people- but by many.  God likes fellowship and unity!  There were seamstresses, weavers, embroiderers, framers, builders, woodworkers, goldsmith, silversmith, metalsmith and probably more than I am seeing!  It took careful planning, organization, wisdom and knowledge and the Spirit of God to get the work done.

This is what I call the beautiful, wonderful, anointed Body of Christ! 

I wish I could go back in time and see it all as it was laid out and coming together!  What a sight that must have been!  Why the curtains alone were amazing in themselves!

Exodus 36: 8-13

The skilled craftsmen ( artisan) made ten curtains of finely woven linen for the Tabernacle. Then Bezalel[a]decorated the curtains with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim.9 All ten curtains were exactly the same size—42 feet long and 6 feet wide.[b] 10 Five of these curtains were joined together to make one long curtain, and the other five were joined to make a second long curtain. 11 He made fifty loops of blue yarn and put them along the edge of the last curtain in each set. 12 The fifty loops along the edge of one curtain matched the fifty loops along the edge of the other curtain. 13 Then he made fifty gold clasps and fastened the long curtains together with the clasps. In this way, the Tabernacle was made of one continuous piece.

WOW! 

I appreciate artisans of all kinds so when I received this blessing today my heart did a little jig! 

This is a table top easel that was made by a friend. 

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It sits on the table and opens up to an easel and has a place to store paints and brushes.

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It is quite a beautiful piece and has been handcrafted with much love.  I noticed that there were no nails in it….( only screws for the hinge)  it is totally glued and all the pieces are in perfect alignment!

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Thank you my friend!  Smile  I will cherish it forever! 

Duck but don’t run…

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This past week I heard this quote spoken from a friend.  

” They want to know God, but they don’t know how.” 

She was speaking out of her experience as a missionary.  I wrote the quote in my bible and have been pondering it ever since.  Under the quote I wrote: “SHOW THEM HOW!! Stand FIRM!! ”    This is from Nehemiah.  Nehemiah was broken for the PEOPLE of GOD in such a powerful way that he vowed to spend his life teaching people how to re-build their city / lives for GOD.   They were living under the oppressive spirit of despair,  just as many are today.  This oppression was so heavy that they NEEDED someone ( Nehemiah) to come and show them how to “gird their loins”  ( 1 Kings 18:46/ Jeremiah 1:17 ) and ” rise and shine” ( Isaiah 60:1)  and ” lift their heads and see where their help comes from.”  ( Psalm 121:2)  The Spirit of God was on Nehemiah and he knew he couldn’t do anything BUT help the people and he did.  He is an outstanding example to me of how I am to spend my own life.  He didn’t do it from a pulpit-he did it in prayer, in weeping, fasting and declaring what God had put on his heart to the king.  Then he worked behind the scenes, in the rubble, through the building and on the wall.  When they completed they declared the word of God over it and rejoiced!  He showed them how to do it, step by step.  He didn’t bully them, sway them, or beat them.  He loved them through it all.  He refused to give in to opposition and when it came, as it always does-he recognized it for what it was because he KNEW HIS GOD and what HE SAID and he STOOD FIRM in those PROMISES.  

Last year, as I was riding my lawn tractor, mowing the yard, I heard the words:  ” Duck, but don’t run.”   In the past year, I now know why I heard those words.  They were advice and encouragement to me from the Holy Spirit.   I have often ” felt”  like a duck sitting in open water with a predator on my tail.  That is a trick of the evil one- to use our feelings and emotions to bind us up and keep us from moving forward-to keep us in despair-to be like the proverbial “sitting duck.”  When we know who God is-then we know that satan is a thief and a liar and that he thinks he can come to steal whatever he can get from us.  We have to resolve to be like Nehemiah and say, ” NO!!!! I’m not coming down!  I am doing a great work up here! Leave me alone!”  

We duck, but we don’t run.

There are two types of ducks- dabbling ducks who feed on the surface and diving ducks who forage for food deep underwater.  The key to staying alive as a duck is to keep moving and to dive deep.   For us this means to pray when we don’t feel like it, to dig in and devour God’s word with a shovel and let it invade our hearts and wreck our mind for Him.  When we allow God IN we are rebuilding our own hearts to reflect His glory-to bring His Kingdom to earth and when we are in this rebuilding phase sometimes there is opposition and we have to “duck and not run and stand firm and fight.”

Why?

Because there are many people who want to know God but they don’t how. We all have them in our lives, don’t we?  We must fight for them!  What did Nehemiah say to the people as encouragement?    He said, ” “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”  Nehemiah 4:14  They locked arms and helped each other fight!

And what happened when they did?

Neh. 4:15 ” When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall. ”

Read Nehemiah and be encouraged to stand firm and fight.  If we don’t do it- then who will? No one else will fight ( intercede) for our families like we can.  Many of you are in transition and at times it has felt like you were alone.  But you aren’t.  It also feels like God is about to shake things up and you are just waiting for whatever He is doing to happen.  There is great patience and wisdom in the waiting. It’s part of the process.  Nehemiah waited 4 months from the time he fasted and prayed until the time he began to journey to the city. 

Nothing happens overnight.   God supplied his every need and he used Nehemiah to transform an entire city inside and out.  Physically and spiritually.  Their ashes turned to beauty and their sadness to joy!

During this time of waiting, praying and seeking we must learn to do what others before us have done … ( Neh. 5:12)  shake out the folds of your robes,  ( shake, shake, shake)

wipe the dust off your feet ( swish swish swish)

( Matt. 10:14), gird your loins and run with the strength of Elijah. ( cinch, cinch, cinch)

( 1 Kings 18:46)

(Isaiah 60:1)  “Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see.

For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you.”

ARISE! ARISE! ARISE!

arise

The Blessing Project–art therapy 101

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This is an art therapy lesson that will help you speak, write, and pray God’s Word (blessing’s)  over someone you love.  Being a visual person-I need visuals!  I recently did this over a loved one and the joy that I received in doing it was completely unexpected and uncontainable!  The Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways and I can’t explain them.  All I know is that doing this gave me focus, and made me shout and do a little dance!  Smile

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So, I thought I would write a little lesson on how to do it! 

Always remember

Isaiah 55:11

 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

 

Here is what you will need:

1. A photo  ( or a copy) of the person you are praying for.

 

2. A picture frame- the bigger the better- does not need to be the same size as photo-go bigger-you’ll see why.

picture frame

( I actually used an old window frame ( see above) and many photos-but most people don’t have an old window frame just hanging around…LOL) 

3. Sharpie markers of assorted colors.

sharpie

4.  Colored paper

colored paper

5. Glue gun/glue sticks

glue gun

6. Scissors

scissors

 

Step one.

Put your picture in the frame-center it, tilt it, however you want it to look. 

Close the frame back and turn it over to the right side up.

Step two.

Now take the markers and go to your bible and pick our scriptures that you want to speak over this person.  Here are some that I chose:

 

-Jeremiah 29:11 –For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.

-Psalm 75:1-     We thank you, O God!
                         We give thanks because you are near.
                         People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.

-Psalm 55:6-    Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
                        then I would fly away and rest!

-Psalm 139:14 –   I praise you( because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Nehemiah 6:9 – “Now strengthen my hands.”

Nehemiah 8:10  “ The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

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Step three

Start writing these scriptures directly on the glass.  They can cover the photo, go around the edges, make a design, however you are led to do it.  As you write them out- say the scriptures out loud and insert that person’s name in the prayer.  Make it personal.

 

Examples:

“ We thank you O God, (for Jane.)   We give thanks because you are near (Jane.0 People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds! “

“(Jane) is fearfully and wonderfully made.”

“Strengthen (Jane’s) hands”

“ The joy of the Lord is (Jane’s) strength.”

 

Step four

For the last step-cut out little flower shapes and glue them to outside of the frame.

flowers

 

When you have completed this project-then hang this where you can see it everyday as a reminder to pray for this person and of the blessings of God in their life.  Sometimes it is hard for us to see the blessings in life, especially in times of uncertainty and trials. This is a great visual aid. 

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If you are in a time of transition- If you don’t already do this-I would encourage you to make time to spend with the Lord on a daily basis.  Start out by listening to soaking music that will help you focus on the Lord and His Word.  Here are some that I like:

” Glory” – by Klaus Kuehn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJovzyssLO0

“Come to me” by Jenn Johnson”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY0Vz8fvIhE

“ In Your Presence” by Jenn Johnson

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux-j0mHbG5g

God will lead you as you soak in the music.  He will bring scriptures to mind, so sit with your bible in your lap and when you hear a book and a verse come to mind- go there, read it, speak it, pray it.

Listen.

If you are in a trial, I suggest that you listen to this song as you work through this project.  In fact, you might want to listen to it before you begin.  Close your eyes, sit back, listen and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  You will know what to do…just trust…

 

Thanks for reading and trying these things!  I share them because of my love for the Lord.  Every aspect of worship is important.  From preaching, to studying ( devouring the Word)  to teaching, to creating, to listening to music, to reading His Word and being in fellowship with others.  When we take the time to get alone with God-He opens our eyes and ears to the things of the deep.  So, I encourage you to add these things to your worship, ( if you don’t already do them!)   There is no greater joy than spending time with Him. 

Blessings for your journey- it’s the most exciting ride of your life!

Smile

d.( ps- feel free to share your project results with me-or if you would like me to lead a group workshop on this project you can contact me at : cdgodwin1@embarqmail.com

( This project can apply to any area of your life- vision for your family, business, church or a group.) 

Great River Road

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I was born where the rivers run
Native blood runs through my veins
I was born where the eagles come
Waiting till the winter fades
I was born an endangered son
I was spared by a mother?s dream
I was saved by the power of love
I was snatched from the fire of greed
Great river road where justice rolled
Let it roll, let it roll down
Great river road where healing flowed
Let it flow, let it flow now
I was born to an orphaned son
I was seed from a broken life
I was just like the other ones
Waiting on the other side
I was born because freedom won
Mother sent me down the stream
I was saved by the power of love
I was snatched from the fire of greed

Put the Pot on the Fire!

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Debbie Ginder is coming to speak at Glenwood UMC this Sunday.   I am most thankful to God for this woman of faith who I am proud to call my friend.  Her servant heart sees things that most people don’t.  She speaks to these mysteries with a great love  for God and a respect for others.   She honors God in all her ways and she has taught me so much over the years.  Thank you!

This is a true story of faith , written by Debbie, from her time in Zimbabwe.  She is one of the first people who visted our home when we moved here in 1999.  I remember she came to the door bearing a gift of homemade bread, a smile, and an invitation to come and worship with her and her husband at the church right near our home.   I met Jesus in her smile and her gift of bread and through the worship.  God has been good to allow our paths to continually cross as he see’s fit.  I have learned a lot about Jesus just watching and listening to Debbie and I know that you will also…get a cup of coffee and come and sit by the fire for a bit…

Put the Pot on the Fire

by Deborah Slate Ginder

I lie here on my grass mat, trying not to think about tomorrow. Baboons are barking in the moonlight on the mountain called Lupathi. I’ll think about Lupathi instead. It’s made of granite, hard and heavy, like these days in which I live. I climbed that mountain long ago, and from the top, I saw my world, this painful-beauty place. I memorized the scene: Zimbabwe’s winter sky of cloudless blue reaching down to touch the thornveldt, brown and dusty from its want of summer rains. I could see the tiny roof of our house, the school, the church, and the villages of our friends, all scattered throughout the bush. My whole world lay before me, and it looked very small.

I stood there staring until the shadows grew long, then plucked a single remembrance of the climb—a dead twig from the resurrection plant. My mother told me it will turn green again if I give it water. Who believes such things?

That was a year of drought, but people didn’t starve. The large, commercial farms had irrigation systems and grew enough corn and wheat to feed our country and several others. My mother had only to walk the short distance to the rural shops and buy grain. My father carried it to the miller who ground it into mealie-meal, and we didn’t die.

But this year is a year of famine, and people are dying. People are always dying in this place— from malaria, from tuberculosis, from that dreaded disease whose name they will not even mention, but now they’re also dying from starvation. My mother is a teacher, so we have a house near the school. That doesn’t give us food. My father is far away, studying at university. He can’t help us now.

I lie on my grass mat in the darkness, still trying not to think about tomorrow. Tomorrow… when the sack of mealie-meal will be empty and there’s nothing more for us to eat. Why must we starve? We did what we could. We planted our corn in season and waited for the rains. They didn’t come. I watched the small, green shoots of maize push through the earth by faith, but they wilted, curled brown, and death-rattled when the hot winds blew.

The commercial farms that saved us years ago don’t exist now. The government has gone mad and destroyed them, so there is no grain to buy. Not in our small shops, not in those big stores in the city. There is nothing, people tell us, even if we had much money. Nothing.

Mother’s voice calls me into the pale-white light of morning. I hear the rhythmic swish of the tree branch she uses to sweep the clay yard clean. “Put water in the pot, “she directs me. “Put the pot on the fire.”

I walk outside through the soon-to-disappear morning coolness and pour water into the three-legged black pot. I lift it onto the small, open fire that is our kitchen and stare into the flame. The dusky breath of other fires permeates the bush, and I wish this moment would last forever.

Mother brings the sack of cornmeal and pours its precious white contents into the pot, shaking the bag until not even dust comes out of it. My hope dies. It was not a bad dream after all. With a wooden paddle, Mother tends the bubbling porridge, bending low over it, watching and stirring until it’s ready. She spoons some into my sister’s aluminum bowl, my brother’s, then mine. None for herself, and none for the baby who’s still fast asleep in the sling on her back. The small remainder Mother will save for our lunch—our last lunch.

The sun has just popped over the edge of the world, so I crouch in the scrappy shadow of a small tree and stare at the food in my bowl. It is plain because there is no sugar in our country these days. Oh, if there were brown sugar and a yellow lemon to squeeze over it, what a feast that would be! But the pale, watery porridge stares blankly back at me, and I eat it decisively, to show it that I can.

It’s past noon now, and the sand roads are searing-white under my shoes as I walk home from school. Waves of heat bounce off the ground and jump up to snatch away my breath. My friends walk beside me, but we talk and move slowly in this hottest month of the year. I’m careful not to tell them of our plight at home. That’s how we do it here. When the last of the food has been eaten and the young grow weak, they simply stop coming to school. Everyone knows the story then, so there’s no need to tell it now.

I eat my tiny lunch alone, hardly thinking. Eat the few bites mechanically, as if there will be more. I lie down on the floor, searching for any coolness that may be hiding in the gray concrete. There is none. Numbly, I listen to the whisper-breathing of Mother and the young ones. Rest is good. What else can one do in this oppressive heat and hunger? We rest and wait. Wait for the sun to move toward Lupathi. Then the shadows will grow, and we can come to life again, if only long enough to die.

I must have fallen asleep, for Mother’s voice seems far away. I open my eyes and see the golden light of late afternoon brightening the doorway. Mother’s thin frame suddenly interrupts the light. “Come,” she says softly. “Come outside into the shadow of the house.”

My siblings are there already, squatting in the shade, listening. I join them.

Mother’s face is neither sad nor frightened. Her voice is strong and sure. Perhaps some miracle has happened. But who believes such things?

“Children,” she says boldly, looking straight into our eyes, “God fed that prophet Elijah when he was in the wilderness with no food to be had. God knows that we’re in the wilderness, and He’s able to feed us, even here. We must pray. We must pray for our daily food and believe that God will answer us.”

What is she saying? I rehearse the words in my mind. Yes, that is what she’s saying. Mother truly believes that God will feed us when there is nothing! She truly believes that He will care for us, even if He must send a bird to drop us meat from the cloudless sky! I bow my head as she begins to pray.

The prayer is finished. Mother takes the baby from her back and lays him in my arms. She smiles at the little ones, then turns to me and gives direction. I see a quiet light shining in her eyes, a light unshaded by doubt.

“Put water in the pot,” she says. “Put the pot on the fire. I’ll go and see what God will do.”

With that, Mother turns and walks away. Stunned, I stare after her until she’s indistinguishable from the gray-brown bush.

I tie the baby securely onto my back and watch the young ones play. I know they must be hungry. I am. But they don’t complain. Mother said God will feed us, and they believe her.

As the sun slips closer to Lupathi, I scan the veldt for signs of Mother. Nothing. Restless, I go into the house and stare out at the silent, darkening mountain. What am I to do? What if I put the pot on the fire and Mother never returns? What if I put the pot on the fire and she comes home with nothing? What am I to do?

The mountain remains silent. I remember how small we look from its top. Does God see more than the roof of our house?I have heard that we must act upon our faith. But which faith shall I act upon? The faith that God can’t help us? Or the faith that He’ll bring us food?I make the choice and walk outside. The water splashes silver as I pour it into the three-legged black pot. The young ones hear and come to watch. I lift the pot onto the fire and stare into the flame.I’m not sure how much time has passed since Mother left. The shadows are very long, and the mountain is very dark. The children are very tired, and the water is very hot. Will a bird drop meat into the pot? I stare into the cloudless sky and ponder how God might help us. My thoughts are interrupted by a shout.

She’s coming.

Mother is coming,

and on her head is a sack of mealie-meal.

mealie meal 2

As I help Mother lower her wonderful burden to the ground, she laughs with joy and tells me snatches of the story. She was walking along the sand roads, watching and praying for God’s provision. She had walked far and was weary when she heard the car. Cars are rare here, so Mother turned to look. The driver saw her face and stopped. He is my father’s friend, a friend who had promised to help care for us. He was just coming from the city, where by some miracle he’d found a bit of mealie-meal. When Mother told him the situation, he spoke of his promise to my father and gave her food for our household.

Mother pours some of the white treasure into the boiling water, and we praise God together. It doesn’t matter that there is no brown sugar and yellow lemon. There is food. God knows we’re in this wilderness. He can feed us even here, one meal at a time.

Weeks have passed since the tomorrow I dreaded so much. Every day we pray for food and put the pot on the fire. Every day God brings us something. There has not been one day when He has left us with nothing.

I finally put the dead twig of the resurrection plant into a cup of water. It’s good to look at something green.

Trees and transplants

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Revelation 22

Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

In Genesis 12 God said to Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.” And he was and still is today. We have been blessed to have the example of Abraham to live by. When we apply the Word of God to our own lives, we have learn from his mistakes and his successes. Abraham followed God with everything he had. At first he made excuses as to why he couldn’t do it. But God showed him how he could-with a little help. When God told Abraham to “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” He was really transplanting Abraham to a new place. We see how Abraham trusted in God and placed his hope and confidence in the Lord and not in other things. In Abraham’s own transplanting he struggled, he grew, he blossomed and he helped to push an entire nation into their destiny. By placing his own hope in the Lord he helped plant seeds that grew into beautiful trees of faith.

In this verse from Jeremiah, the Hebrew word for “plant” is the word SHATHAL. It means to “transplant.”

 

In these past few weeks many of us have been busy digging and dividing and transplanting plants from our yards.  We share plants with each other and I have plants in my yard from friends and family.  It’s almost  like a little bit of them is here with me and I am there with them.

In this passage from Jeremiah it says:

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord

and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

They are like trees planted along a riverbank,

with roots that reach deep into the water.

I see people as trees. Each person is a seed that has been planted in a fertile land. Your roots reach deep down into the Word of God. That Word is where the water is. God sends rain to water the earth. He makes the cracked, dry ground moist again. When the soil is moist, then things can grow.

There’s this little tree in the front yard of the church I pastor and it has been run over or hit many times, but because it’s roots are deep in the soil it has managed to stay in place, to thrive and to blossom.

Many of us are like this tree.  We have been “ hit” or “run over” by things in life.  We may feel bruised and battered for awhile-but with rest,  comes renewal and healing.  When we are grounded in God’s Word, we ARE like this little tree and over time we thrive and blossom and produce fruit.

Ephesians 3:14-19 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Amen

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Here is a story that a friend wrote and shared with me…

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“A planting of The Lord for display of his splendor”

Let me tell you a story of a bush. It was found in a crop of other beautiful bushes, but this one stood out. Her blooms were magnificent. But when she was planted, she was fine for a while, but then her blooms fell off. Fall and winter came and she went dormant. Then spring came with the promise to once again do what she was called to do, bloom. But something was wrong, she was trying her hardest to bloom but because of where she was, in the direct heat of the sun, her leaves began to burn.

She could not find shelter, feeling exposed and burnt out. All the while she hoped that she could move. If she could just get out of the sun, she could rest. While trying to protect herself, she was drawing water from the ground around her. But the neighboring plants seemed to be doing just fine. “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I thrive here? ” She asked The Lord.

One day her owner came to her with her Father. He was holding a shovel and fear pierced her. “No!” She thought. “Please don’t” she was grasping for air as the shovel came down and hit the ground around her. He continued to break the ground around her roots. ” oh, this is painful.” He gently proceeded to pull her out of the dry ground around her. “Where is the Father taking me?” She thought.

He lifted her up and carried her to another place. This place was filled with good soft ground that had rich soil. He placed her into the ground and put more good soil around her and her roots. Then they poured water over her. She had never felt so blessed. Her roots drank up so deeply.

She heard her owner pray a blessing over her, that she would live and not die. She immediately, relaxed and looked around her. She had never seen this side of the yard. See she was within a huge fence, right next to a pond. She remembered trying to reach the water, but the ground was so dry. But now she felt the shade of a tree. The plants around her were unfamiliar. But they were all healthy and vibrant. Would she too feel this way?

Fall and winter came and went and in that resting she was refreshed. She remembered her owner plucking off the dead leaves that were scorched by the sun. It was painful at first, but then she started to heal. She needed the rest so desperately.

Spring has come and she had never felt so alive. She had grown new leaves, her roots were so secure. What is the feeling coming from in this new place? ” She asked herself. She heard the Father say to her, ” this is where I have planted you. You are now rooted and established in Love, now do what you were created to do. “

With that she sensed something come over her. It was a feeling of love and safety and security. Her whole being was now saturated with the pretense of The Lord. Something then happened that was amazing. She let go then, and out of the letting go, she bloomed!( written by Tara Smith)

Taras bush

 

 

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In order to thrive-sometimes we have to be transplanted to new “land” or a different place.

When we find that place of trust and we let go of everything we know and we totally rely on God’s Word –it is then that we bloom.   Like a flower pushing it’s way out of it’s covering to reach the warmth and the sunlight- it never gives up.  As we watch and wait day after day, we see the petals gently unfurl and reveal their tender beauty.   We know that it was worth the move and the wait.  All of our senses are thrown into motion-we can feel, see, hear, taste and smell the Presence of the Lord in the beauty of the bloom.

With every breath- we breathe Him in and let Him out…

Waiting and moving can be  uncomfortable, it hurts, and things seem unfamiliar.  The rest is necessary to the healing process.   Transplanting takes energy and requires rest.

Each of us has been planted to display the glory of the Lord and it is in this time of resting that His glory is growing, budding and blossoming!

It’s been a long winter.

I see beauty everywhere.  God’s creation is revealing His GLORY to the world!

Today I am thankful for the Lord who sends us out to new places and gives us rest for our journey.  I am thankful for shovels, for Father’s who dig us up and move us and for those beautiful, flowing, tendrils of creamy soft smoothness that God has painted into our landscape and inside our hearts.  He has revealed Himself to us and for this I am ever thankful…

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His banner over us is LOVE

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Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.

SOS 2:4

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

Isaiah 61:3

Picture this as YOU.

Now picture this as the NATION and PRAY!

The mayor, the teacher, the mother, the president, the person next store, our government….you get the picture….

God is good to give us breath to pray and eyes to see visuals and ears to hear His whisper!

haha!

I love HIM so much!

Smile