Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Faith in the "small still Voice"

When listening for God open your ears! Many a Sunday-church-goer will have the expectation of an uplifting message delivered within a convenient time frame, surrounded by announcements and interspersed with generous dollops of praise and worship! We leave the Church on a Sunday with a light step feeling good about the commitment we've made to our faith. And I guess God's okay with this, because He uses all things to His good! But, why not go to the Sunday Service expecting more? We spend time each day sending "knee-mail" to God, but we don't wait for his replies... So He makes use of other opportunities to grab your attention. Like when you have to sit quietly on a hard pew for one and half hours every Sunday! Open your Ears and Listen!

Here’s what can happen…

The message on Sunday was all about overcoming exhaustion, spiritual exhaustion. How God reaches into our tiredness and revitalises us. First a bit of background in getting to this day! Over the past year we have been through a very trying time. We have faced all sorts of trials and tribulations... however, never were we despondent, instead "we have counted it all joy!" (James 1:2-4) I was very grateful to experience the strength that God had been growing in our family over the years, seeing the fruits as it were! Then after all the testing was done, things started to improve and the future was getting back on track, so much so that we celebrated the fact with our Life Group, rejoicing that we had, with God's grace and mercy, "passed" the test(s)! Then suddenly last week, another test. I was starting to understand what Job went through (only on a smaller scale, thankfully).

And this was where I related so much to Sundays message. In the message we saw that Elijah, after overcoming many enemies, walked into the desert and sat down under a broom tree...(1 Kings 19:1-18) saying that he was done, finished, giving up! and then we read about Peter,(John 21:1-6, 15-18) after having been through the pain of losing his Lord and basically feeling lost, he returned to doing what he had always done before, fishing! I am sitting in church and thinking “yeah, I am going to hang that sign on my door! ‘Gone Fishing!’ ” So in the midst of this latest test of faith, I am listening to the message yesterday and there I find God's "small still voice" amid the roar of life going on around me. I want to add some additional thoughts on what God was saying to me yesterday. In the passage where Peter and the disciples return from fishing with no catch, Jesus urges them to try again by casting their net on the right side of the boat. Well I was struck by (made aware of by the Spirit?) the language use, "the right side of the boat" and not the "right-hand side of the boat". So He is not instructing them(us) to fish on the left-hand side or the right-hand side of the boat, He is saying don't fish on the wrong side of the boat, they(we) must fish on the right(correct) side of the boat.

The message to me is clear and I will be testing it's validity over the next few weeks to make sure I'm not following my own voice but rather that of Christ. It's time to take a deep breath and cast the net on the "right" side of the boat! I will also be "listening expectantly" more frequently, besides it's easier to shut-up than to make a lot of noise. lol!

Monday, October 8, 2007

There and Back again...

The saying "time flies when you're having fun" can only be true when the "fun" you're having is superficial. In my experience, and the last holiday in Cape Town is a case in point, when you have meaningful "fun" then a week feels like a life time, every second an eternity and memories pile up to the sky.

We travelled aprox 3910km in 10 days, saw 63 Towns and experienced the breath taking awesome beauty of the Karoo, Cape Winelands, the West Coast, Darlings Flowers, Cape Point, Table Mountain etc etc. Most importantly we saw family and friends along the way and reconnected and made more memories for the family annuls. To record it all there are 810 photo's to sort through - phew!

This year our family has been fortunate to have travelled the length of South Africa, from the Limpopo to Cape Point and it has been a truly memorable experience. Thanks to our Lord who kept us safe and who created it all for us to enjoy!

I am back at work today and while I would rather still be on holiday, I am ready to pick up the reins and charge forward. As I started this morning, looking at the endless electronic blur of e-mail and piles of work on my desk, I was rudely confronted by a test of faith! Recently I was offered a "prestigious" position in another part of the company. I place prestigious in inverted commas because what some people consider to prestige is not necessary so... Anyway, the offer was made but no incentive other than the "prestige" was given. As a result I was not impressed by the offer and turned it down. A colleague of mine was then offered then same position and she has accepted it.

The little test I got this morning was hearing that she had been offered additional incentives to take the position. Incentives I asked for but never got... So immediately I cry "FOUL!" "UNFAIR!" and then a small still voice says "Is My hand too short to save you? what is it to you if I give the worker who started in the afternoon the same wage as the worker who has been there since day break? is it not My vineyard?"

And so I repent and accept. To have Faith in what God has in mind for me, Believing that I am tied to Him and that He is my Jehovah Jira, this is what I choose.

There and Back again – is Bilbo Baggins' title of the book he starts to write in story "The Lord of the Rings" by JRR Tolkien. That sums up our holiday and a test of faith, we went There(Cape Town) and Back(Home) again, and I went There(a test on what I believe about God) and Back(a choice not to react wrongly)again!

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