Saturday, 27 August 2011

Through Gates of Splendour

I've just finished reading a book I was given by someone at church. It's called Through Gates of Splendour and was about the martyrdom of 5 missionaries in the Ecuador jungle. The book was written by the wives of these young Americans who lost their lives back in 1956. They had chosen to to into a dangerous country to try and share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with a group of people called the Auca. The book was so moving in reading how these young men tried over a period of 3 months or so to win the trust of the Auca tribe by dropping small gifts to the people. They circled in a plane and let a line down with perhaps a small kettle or some other gift for the people and eventually it seemed to work. They finally decided to land and make contact. This they did and made camp. They then flew over where they knew some Aucas were and invited them to visit the camp. A small few of the people came to the camp but it proved to be their last contact with the Auca's. They had gone out to reach a savage people, to tell and show them the love of Jesus. No-one is sure what exactly happened but these young men were dead by the end of the week. Killed by those they knew the Lord had given them a love for. These young men believed it was their calling and they happily went into Auca country knowing the Lord was with them every step of the way.

The words one of the men (Jim Elliot) had written in his diary ended the book -
"I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious, to stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coat-tail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God - what more could a man ask? Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth! I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead them through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose finger-ends set them to burning. But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments, and smile into His eyes - ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself. O Jesus, Master and Centre and End of all, how long before that Glory is thine which has so long waited Thee? Now there is no thought of Thee among men; then there shall be thought for nothing else. Now other men are praised; then none shall care for any other's merits. Hasten, hasten, Glory of Heaven take thy crown, subdue Thy Kingdom, enthral Thy creatures".

The work these 5 young men started did not stop with their death: their families and others carried on the work. Nine years later the gospel of Mark was published in the Auca language, and finally the Auca Indians accepted the message of Christ.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Cast Thy Burden

This is my recent post over at the KJV blogspot but for those who don't get a chance to take a look I've repeated it here.
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee; he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved (Psalm 55:22)
I have just returned from visiting my family up in the North of England for 2 weeks. I only get to see them two or three times a year so it is always a special time being with them all and I get to visit my childhood church while I'm there too which is an added bonus. I was talking to one of the elders and the preacher about a tract I'd been given some 23 years ago when they were doing an outside ministry and although I was a Christian and said to the girl who handed it to me 'it's OK I'm a Christian give it to someone who needs it', she assured me it was for me - and it was, it was just the words I needed to hear to let me know just how much I mattered to God. The preacher said that his message that morning was on a similar theme about how the Lord cares for us. In his message he talked about casting your burdens on the Lord and mentioned the story about a man who was carrying a very heavy load. He couldn't remember all of the story just that the man had continued to hold onto his load, and he used this as an illustration as to how we can be with the Lord.
When I got back to mam's after the service I was looking through some old photographs and came across a letter or rather little booklet my sister in Texas had typed and sent to my mam back in 2004. The booklet was newspaper style and gave my mam an insight into what my sister and her family were doing in their recent move to Texas.
I couldn't quite take my eyes off the back page because it relayed the story of the man carrying the heavy load - A poor man in Ireland was plodding along toward home, carrying a huge bag of potatoes. A horse and wagon finally drew up alongside him on the road and the driver invited the man to climb aboard. After getting on the wagon, he sat down but continued to hold the heavy bag. When the driver suggested that the man set the bag down in the wagon, he replied, "I don't want to trouble you too much sir. You are giving me a ride already, so I'll just carry the potatoes".
I love to see God's hand at work like this and I realised the Lord was trying to tell me something. I'd had a few worries and anxieties about some things and I'd spoken to the Lord about them but each day I got up I clung onto those worries and ofcourse they just became a burden to me again and again. Even though I'd given it to the Lord I was like the man with the potatoes I just hung onto my anxieties day after day. The Lord was trying to tell me that once I had passed on these anxieties to Him I was to simply let him deal with them and not to be like the man with the bag of potatoes. It was amazing how easy it finally was to just let the Lord take my burdens and I certainly felt the worry I was bearing become lighter.
It reminded me too that sometimes we don't realise the things we write can have a ripple effect. We write them only for that moment in time when we put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard but the Lord can use the very words we write several years down the line to speak to someone else. I'm sure my sister didn't realise when she wrote those words in her notes to mam that her big sister would be reading them 7 years later and having her prayers about a certain situation answered.
If you're worried or troubled about anything think about the man with his bag of potatoes and let the Lord deal with the burdens. Peter puts its simply 'Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Nail File and the Comb

I came across something I'd written some years ago now, as my son was very young at the timeand is now a married man but I thought I'd share it. Marc came back from a school trip with a present for me. It was a comb in a pouch with a nail file in a side compartment.
As I looked at the nail file and then my finger nails it made me aware of how much time I took on shaping them to look half decent, taking extra care to get the shape just right; and it reminded me of my walk with Jesus. How wonderful to think of the time HE took in shaping me, not just to look half decent, but to be more like him. He took extra care to get me right, to shape me into the person he wanted me to be, not the person I wanted to be.
As I reflected on this I thought of the scripture verse in 1 Cor 3:18 'But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord'.
Here I was trying to change the shape of my nails and yet here was God's word telling me I was changed into the same image from glory to glory. Not might be, but He says we ARE CHANGED. How wonderful - it has nothing to do with me changing or shaping my life but all to do with JESUS and how he changes and shapes us all.
I also learned a new lesson on sharing as Marc said to me "Oh mum, it's a shared present, the comb is mine ......"
Our Lord is so wonderful to teach us things in such a simple way and through the eyes of a child. I am still grateful today that the Lord continues to mould and shape me to just how he wants me to be and praise God he is doing the same for my son who is a Christian man married to a wonderful Christian girl and they have 3 beautiful children who are being brought up in the ways of the Lord.