Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A childrens story: Unity!

As the moon slipped into bed and the sun yawned over the horizon, a cry of desperation and fear rose up from the misty slumber of the wetland.

Hippo bellowed in frustration. She was stuck! She had gone foraging that night, as Hippo’s do, but as she was returning at dawn to the safety and comfort of the river she had sunk heavily, up to her flanks, in the muddy river bank and she was completely immobilised!

Fish Eagle heard Hippo’s desperate call and dropped from his lofty, lightning scarred perch on a Willow and scoured the river until he spotted Hippo. He assessed the situation from overhead. Then he shrilled,
“Rally together all you inhabitants of the wetland! Hippo is in grave danger!”
Hippo was indeed in serious trouble, for in the distance Fish Eagle eyed the almost unnoticeable wake forming on the glasslike surface of the river.

Again Fish Eagle's cry echoed out across the wetland,
“Everyone gather around Hippo, she needs all of you! Crocodile is on his way!”
He could see that drastic action needed to be taken, as he viewed the potential disaster unfolding before him.

Buffalo, Flamingo, Otter, Terrapin, Heron, Weaver and the Bees were there in a flash. There were reeds close by, waist deep at the waters edge.
The flustered friends’ voices rose in panic as they tried to devise a plan to save Hippo!

Suddenly Otter squinted skyward and called out in his loudest voice,
Fish Eagle cocked his head inquisitively against the blue canvass of the early morning sky.
When Otter had finished relating his idea the others scoffed at Otter’s plan and doubted that it could work. Unperturbed he gazed at Fish Eagle seeking his approval. Seeing the bigger picture and the impending danger, the leader said determinedly;
“Do it.”

Heron stood close to the quivering bulk of Hippo and comforted her by talking softly into her flattened ears. She looked into Hippo’s eyes with a comical side to side motion which distracted Hippo and helped her feel slightly more composed.

Otter then called to Terrapin;
“Please ask the reeds if they may be of use in this critical rescue.” Unquestioningly the reeds yielded to the plan.
Terrapin then bit off a few strands at the lower end of the reeds stems. The Weavers took the reeds that Terrapin had placed before them and immediately started to strip the leaves into thin manageable pieces. Then they began the task of plaiting and weaving a most magnificent rope!

Fish Eagle’s heart started to race as he spied Crocodile slinking even closer to Hippo. As he glared down at Crocodile, Crocodile lifted his head ever so slightly and Fish Eagle could see his enormous, jagged smile.
“Hurry!” He cried out to the others.
Flamingo flapped her beautiful pink wings, fluffed her feathers and danced around excitedly, not really doing much, but encouraging and motivating the rescue party.
“You can do it! You can do it!” she shrieked.

Otter called on the Bees to maintain unity between the animals.
“Bees, you need to make sure that everybody has what they need. You must communicate my instructions to everybody, at the precise moment, so that the plan does not fail.”

As Crocodile cruised around the bend in the river, Fish Eagle shouted;
“Here he comes!”
The Weavers would not have enough time to complete their masterpiece!
Fear seeped into the hearts of the animals.
Suddenly Terrapin raised her head from under the murky water;
“Otter, would you help me please?”
“Certainly,” replied Otter.
Terrapin and Otter disappeared into the river and swam upstream to consult with Big Fish. They found him floating lazily in a pool near the river bank. Terrapin hurriedly asked him;
“Fish we need your assistance in saving Hippo from Crocodile, but it will be a very dangerous task!”
“Tell me what you want me to do.” He replied.
“We would like you to be a decoy to distract Crocodile whilst we try to rescue Hippo.”
“What’s in it for me?” flicked Fish.
“We will persuade Hippo to protect you from Crocodile and ask her to provide you with shade during the heat of the day.”
“I’ll do it.” Fish agreed.

Terrapin and Otter watched with relief as Fish raced downstream towards Crocodile. Otter returned to the bank and Terrapin lurked in the shallows in case Fish needed her help, if he got into trouble. As he neared the smirking Crocodile, Fish leapt up and danced on the water in a glittering flurry of colour. Crocodile’s head snapped to the side as he was distracted by the flashing, silvery form of Fish.
Crocodile sped after Fish. The plan had worked!

Urgent activity continued on the river bank. The sun baked down on Hippo’s back as Heron tried in vain to protect her from the scorching heat. A chorus of chirps from the Weavers above alerted Otter, he looked up and saw that the rope was now complete. What a magnificent rope it was too. The quality of the workmanship had never been seen by the crowd before. It was truly awesome and strong.

Otter stood on his two hind legs and called to Buffalo for his assistance.
“Buffalo, bend down so that we may tie this rope around your horns. We will tie the other end around Hippo’s neck and once it is secured Fish Eagle will give the call for you to pull Hippo out of his muddy trap. All the animals will help you too!”
“Bees, make sure everyone is in place…”

So the rope was deftly fastened to Buffalo and Hippo. All the animals grasped the rope and took their positions at either Hippo’s or Buffalo’s rump in preparation to push.
Everyone tensed and held their breath. Buffalo took up the slack.

“NOW!” cried Fish Eagle as he swooped down over the gathering.

Buffalo tugged, the animals heaved, the bees counted 1…2…3…pull and with a loud ‘plop!’ Hippo was freed from his muddy trap!
“Hooray!” shouted everyone!
“We’ve done it!”

Just as everybody was congratulating one another, Hippo whispered,
Everyone turned to see Crocodile corner Fish in the shallows.
“Oh no!”

The animals froze as Hippo bellowed and charged towards the river where Fish was struggling to swim with any strength. Crocodile waded up to Fish and opened his enormous mouth. Fish resigned himself to his fate, his colour waning with his hope. Crocodile’s mouth suddenly snapped shut! All who had their eyes closed heard a thrashing in the water. They pried their eyes open to see Hippo with one foot firmly planted on the head of Crocodile! Fish slipped away, in relief, to the dark depths of the river. Hippo took her massive hoof off Crocodile’s head and he thundered into the river to get as far away as he could.

Later that day, after the festivities and congratulations had died down, Fish Eagle landed on his perch in the Willow tree. Calm had settled over the wetland.

Hippo was safe and as her eyes and ears protruded from the surface of the river, there nestled between her huge legs was a very content Fish. A new, true relationship had been formed, based on strength and trust!

Story: Winning the race!

At an important celebration on the bank of a mighty river, a great king declared that he would create a new position of honour and huge significance in his kingdom. This would entitle the recipient to sit at his feet where very few men had ever had the privilege of doing so.

All the men of the kingdom accepted the challenge for this prestigious honour. Many trials and tests were completed and in the end only the three strongest contestants remained. The king laid down the final challenge which was to take place before his annual feast. The three finalists were to swim up the mighty river from a given point downstream and the first one to sit at the king's feet would receive the honour and the king’s many the blessings.

The king ordered the three men to be covered in red clay - from their feet to their heads. Then the competition began, heralded by a huge trumpet blast. The men dived into the raging river and begin their grueling swim upstream towards the palace.

After a quarter of the distance, the first man climbed out and ran along the bank. Just before the finish line in the reception area, there was a bend in the river where the young man jumped back in and briskly completed the rest of the swim to the applause of the crowd. He rushed towards the throne but as he neared it the king ordered his guards to arrest him. The king banished the young man from the feast and he was led away in disgrace. The court officials were shocked and could not understand the king’s actions.

The second young man had the same idea as the first. He climbed out at the halfway mark and ran along the bank as far as the bend in the river. From here he completed the swim. He leapt out of the water, to a thunderous applause, and started running towards the throne. The king shouted that he be arrested and also banished him from the feast in disgrace. There was huge consternation in the crowd! Everyone was confused, yet once again the court officials obeyed the king's command.

After the celebrations had begun and the feast had started, a young man dragged himself out of the water and staggered towards the throne. The crowd had dispersed to join in the festivities so there was no applause for the third man. He collapsed at the king’s feet. The king rejoiced and covered him with his royal robe and bestowed many gifts and blessings upon him.

The court officials were discouraged by the king’s actions and asked in anticipation;
"Master...how is it that the young man who came last, who finished long after the first two men, received the honour? Why not the first or the second man?"

The king smiled and replied;
"The test was to swim all the way up the river to sit at my feet. It was only by completing the entire swim that all the red clay was washed off the third man. He was the only one who honestly completed the task and therefore the only one worthy enough to sit at my feet!"

Matthew 20: 16

"And so it is, many who are first now, will be last then; and those who are last will be first"

Story: The penguin who wanted to fly...

As the Antarctic wind’s icy fingers stroked the egg beneath a warm underbelly. Fine fractures appeared, and soon became cracks in the mottled egg’s shell. After struggling for a while, the chick pushed her dark grey head through the membrane, blinked a couple of times and croaked;
The downy underbelly moved, and raised itself, allowing a gust of frigid air to envelop the emerging chick. A huge yellow iris appeared from above and focussed on the little one.
“Hello dear! It’s Mama!”
So the parent child relationship began…

A few days after Penny freed herself from her capsule, she was allowed to peek at the world around her. The first thing she saw, as she peered out from under the cosy ‘roof’ into the steel grey sky, was an albatross. Its huge wings lifting it, on unseen cushions of air. It was so beautiful and graceful!
“Yes dear?”
“Will I look like that, when I’m big?” asked Penny.
“Why no, Penny! You’re a penguin!” Penny’s mother chuckled.

A little confused, Penny asked;
“What’s a penguin?”
“You’ll see!” replied her Mama.

More and more Penny was left exposed to drizzle, sleet, snow and freezing winds, as her mother went in search of pilchards and squid. Penny stared in horror as terns and gulls attacked the grey downy chicks around her. She ducked on several occasions as the enemy swooped down to prey on the helpless offspring that dotted the landscape.

Penny’s yellow eyes always widened and stared (distracted), at the gliding albatross that soared overhead.
“I wish I could fly like that! I don’t want to be a stubby, waddling penguin with funny wings. I want to be an albatross!” Penny dreamed.

Penny whined, and moaned to her mother every day;
“I want to fly! It’s not fair – look at me – I want to be an albatross! I want to fly!”
Mama always smiled sadly and patiently encouraged the young chick;
“You’re the most beautiful penguin in the whole world. You are special, and unique! Learn to love who you are, not what you’re not.”

After six weeks Penny, who was now a young adult, stood in front of her mother. She was beautiful! She had sleek, black feathers which reflected a rainbow of colours in the weak Antarctic sunshine.
“Oh my!” exclaimed Mama, “You’ve grown into the most beautiful penguin in the colony! I have never seen anyone as exquisite as you!”
Penny dropped her head ashamedly and mumbled;
“I’m not an albatross, and I’ll never fly”.
Penny’s mother got cross and retorted;
“I agree that you are not an albatross. You’ll never be an albatross! You can be the best, the most beautiful penguin though! Follow me…”

So Penny waddled after her Mama, sheepishly, until they got to the rocky sea shore. She bounded, hopped and stumbled her way over to where the water ebbed and flowed upon the stones.
Mama turned to Penny and commanded;
Penny looked at her mother, then the sky, then at her stubby wings which she waved half-heartedly.
Mama pushed her into the sea, and Penny screamed in terror;
“Mama! I am all wet and I’ve told you I can’t fly!”

“Please trust me! Come…!” implored Mama as she disappeared beneath the wavelets.
Penny was afraid, yet she followed her mother.

She took a deep breath, plunged beneath the surface…and flew!

You are wonderfully and fearfully created in the Lord’s image! You’re a beautiful jewel created by the Hand of God. When you look into the mirror, look carefully, because you will see the fingerprints of God all over you! He created you to be beautiful! You are beautiful! If you have doubts about yourself, remember the Penguin who wanted to fly…

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mummy, where's daddy?

Mummy, where's daddy?
Shhh, he's down the mine, digging for gold, to secure your future.
Now... eat your breakfast.

Mummy, where's daddy?
Shhh, he's smelting the gold, to secure your future.
Now...go to sleep.

Mummy, where's daddy?
Shhh, he's polishing the gold, to secure your future.
Now...eat your breakfast.

Mummy, where's daddy?
Shhh, he's gone to market to sell the gold, to secure your future.
Now...go to sleep.

Mummy, where's daddy?
Shhh, he's down the mine, digging for gold, to secure your future.
Now... eat your breakfast.

Mother, where is my daddy?
Shhh, young man, he's smelting the gold, to secure your future.
Now...go to sleep.

Granny, where's my daddy?
Shhh, my boy, he's working with Grandpa, to secure your future.
Now...eat your breakfast.

Mummy... Mother...Granny - where is my father?
Shhh, he's not here...never has been.
Now...go to sleep.

Story: The walk...

A young lady was walking with her dog through the park. They had a very special relationship, the dog and her, because she was blind.
One day as they walked in the winter sunshine, she prayed;
"Lord please let me see! Relieve me of this bondage. Give me back my sight and I will do anything for you!"
Suddenly the young lady saw fuzzy shapes and colours before her eyes.
"Praise God! I can see!" she shouted.
She let go of her guide dog and told him to go.
"Shoo! I don't need you anymore!” Then she hurried away, laughing.
As she went she tripped over a rock and hurt her foot. It was painful but she was determined not to let the pain diffuse her excitement and joy. She hobbled on
She hit her head on a low-slung branch of a tree. She fell down dazed and could feel the warm trickle of blood trickling down her fore-head.
"Nothing is going to get me down!" she screamed.
She got up shakily and limped ahead
She came to a road and tried to walk across. A car slammed on brakes and bumped into her hard enough to knock her onto her hands and knees. What agony!
The driver asked her," Are you okay"
"Sure I'm okay. I can see!"
The driver got back into his car and shook his head sadly as he drove away.
The young lady crawled up onto the pavement and sat there. In a burst of frustration she blamed the Parks Department for the layout of the park, for the lack of pruning and no fences on the side walk. Next she blamed the drivers of the cars for their wild driving.
"Why have you done this to me?" She shouted at God.
"I can see, but everything is going wrong. I've been hurt and I have had more accidents today than when I was blind." She was crying now.
All of a sudden a cold, wet nose lifted her elbow. She flung her arms around her faithful companion’s neck. He had returned, as if out of nowhere, to her side to comfort her. She nestled her face in his soft, warm fur. She felt secure again.
The Lord asked her; “Why did you not let me finish the work I had started? Why did you assume that your healing was complete when it had only just begun? Why did you shun the one friend you trusted and loved the most? Why did you not wait for me to show you my Glory and Power?”
“You just ran off!" the Lord continued. “Your dog, your guiding friend, watched you fall but you didn't need him anymore. You blamed Me and the world around you for your own impatient behaviour! You told everyone that you could see again but your actions showed them otherwise. We all had to stand there and watch you stumble.”
"Now, if you'll allow Me - let Me finish the work I have begun in your life. Hold on fast to your faithful friend who will guide you as you venture out into life. Then one day you will see more than the physical world around you - you will see My Glory."

Poem: Fire...

It warms, yet it burns;
It lightens, yet blinds those in darkness;
It protects, yet instills fear;
It purifies, yet consumes;
It creates, yet destroys;
It strengthens yet, weakens;
It heals, yet it maims;
It symbolises the presence and power of God, yet it is the fiery pit into which the devil, his minions, and the wicked will be thrown,

Which fire do you choose?...

Poem: 6 to 36...

Running; Scared, don't look back! don't look back! Waiting; Fear, in my throat, in my heart. Gethsemane, Gethsemane

Crying; Don't push me, I don't want to, leave me! Hiding; Don't see me, can't see me. Gethsemane, Gethsemane

Dawning; His will, His will - not mine! Searching; His Face, His Hand, His Strength.
Gethsemane, Gethsemane

Planning; My future, my life, my service. Yearning; To please, to fulfill, and to see.
Gethsemane, Gethsemane

Loving; Sowing, growing, reaping Living; Heaven, Jesus...Jesus
Gethsemane, Gethsemane

Story: Daddy...

A poor, widowed man was walking down the high street holding his little girl’s hand. It was Christmas Eve and it was bitterly cold. The wind was biting through their threadbare clothes, right to their bones. His daughter was hopping and skipping, cheerfully immune to the cold, as children usually are! She was humming Christmas carols to herself as she excitedly pointed to all the decorations and items on display in the brightly illuminated shop windows. Her father smiled lovingly at her and anxiously nodded from time to time as he looked up at the clear night sky.

He was remembering last Christmas when his daughter had seen a beautiful pink toboggan, a snow sled, with molded handles and a padded seat. It had an arched back support and it was covered in pink ribbons and bells. She so wanted that toboggan, but the man could barely afford a chicken, let alone a turkey, for their Christmas meal. The young father was deeply saddened by their circumstances and yet the little girl seemed to understand beyond her years.

That night, while they had knelt during the Christmas church service, the father had prayed with all his heart that the Lord would help him earn and save enough to buy the toboggan for his little girl next Christmas. He desperately wanted to bless his little darling - his princess.

Through God’s provision, he had managed to get extra jobs during the year and this money he had saved towards his daughter’s present. It had been tough, it had been hard, but by last week - he had enough money to buy her a toboggan! Praise God!

All he could think about now was how his little girl's face would light up when she received her present! He had bought the most beautiful toboggan in the whole store! It was even more ornate than the one she had wanted! The shop attendant had carefully wrapped it for him and had tied a huge pink bow around the gift. He had hidden it away in the highest cupboard in his room, so that she wouldn't find it. He could hardly contain his excitement!

This week the local weather report predicted that there was no chance of snow on Christmas day. Not even one flake! In fact the national weather station had broadcast the same message for the whole of the country.
How crestfallen the young father felt, as he looked up at the sky. His little girl would be so disappointed if she could not use her sled on Christmas day.
"Lord," he prayed, "Last year I asked You to help me buy this gift for my princess. I asked You to provide for me and to help me to save without us going hungry. You have been faithful and have answered my prayers."
"Why then, after all my hard work and sacrifices - is there no snow? I don't understand!"
"Lord, please help my little girl accept that she cannot use her toboggan tomorrow morning, when I give her the gift."

Later that evening as he kissed his little girl good night, he fought back the tears and put on a cheerful face for her. She could sense his anguish, but said nothing. She kissed him hard, and gave him a huge hug;
"Good night Daddy."
"Good night, my princess."

Very early the next morning, he was awakened by a very sweet and gentle, "Merry Christmas Daddy!" Her little face was an inch from his! He pulled her close and squeezed her. As he was about to break the sad news to her, she put her small hand over his mouth and said;
"Daddy - I know we don't have much money - but I got a present for you for Christmas.


The father leapt out of bed and pulled the curtains open. There it was! A crisp, pristine, sparkling white blanket of snow! He could hardly breathe. He smiled, as the tears streamed down his face.
His little angel said;"Daddy, I saw how cross and upset you were with the man on TV when he said that there would be no snow on Christmas Day. So I prayed to Jesus to give you snow for your Christmas present!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My view on the Middle East crisis...

My opinion is based on scripture and current affairs. First I would like to give a scriptural foundation to my view.

In Genesis 12:1-3, the Lord gave Abram (exalted father') a promise that he would be the father of a great nation. In Genesis Chapter 15, Abram enquires of God how his promise will be fulfilled - God's reply is that He will give Abram a son. Sarai (later renamed Sarah), Abram's wife was barren, and well into her seventies /early eighties. She didn't have the faith to see the fulfillment of God's promise.
So she took Hagar, her servant, and sent her in to sleep with Abram. Hagar bore Abram a son - Ishmael.
When Abram was 99 years old (Genesis Chapter 17) , the Lord made a covenant with Abram that would bring about the fulfillment of His promise. He promised that Abram would be the father of many nations, and that He would give the land of Canaan to his descendants forever. The Lord also changed Abram's name to Abraham - father of many.
Genesis 17:19-20 tells us that God tells Abraham that he would have a son , Isaac (later to be renamed - Israel), and he would be the the one through whom God fulfils His promise. Isaac is often termed the 'The Son of Promise'. That said, God says that Ishmael will be blessed also (in his personal capacity) and that he too would be the father of many. Twelve princes would be among his descendants.
As we read later on, Ishmael was sent away with his mother and he married an Egyptian. He became the father of twelve sons (Genesis 25:12), and they became the 'fathers' of the Arab nations.
Isaac as we know, became the father of twelve sons too - the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Fast forward several hundred years, and we see that the nation of Israel did not fully obey the instructions the Lord gave in terms of conquering the land. Also, through rebelliousness, sin, disobedience, and a separation of the Jewish nation (God's chosen people) into the 10 tribes that formed Israel, and the two tribes that formed Judah; the Promised Land's borders had shrunk. Israel was taken away into captivity by Assyria, assimilated into their culture, and disappeared to all intents and purposes. Judah too was taken away into captivity into Babylon, but a remnant was allowed to return to Jerusalem. The land originally promised to Abram had shrunk significantly, to today what represents modern Israel.
Fast forward two thousand years and we see Jesus, the Son of God - the Messiah coming to bring the nation of Israel to salvation. However, very few Jews (apart from the disciples, Paul, and several thousand converts) became Christians. It was Paul who preached the Gospel message to the Gentiles and to them, the promise of salvation and the redemptive power of the Cross became the reality. The Promise was transferred to those who believed. It is sad in a way that the Jewish nation rejected their own Messiah. We the Church (Gentiles) of today have Jesus as our Lord and Saviour because Israel rejected Christ.

Anyway, later in history the city of Jerusalem passed from Jewish to Arab hands. It is in Jerusalem that Mohammed first spoke (circa 576 A.D - Islam is only 1430 odd years old!). Hence it's enormous significance to the Muslim faith. The Crusades ultimately allowed Judea (as it was known then) to become modern day Israel - a Jewish state. The conflict began with two son's - Ishmael and Isaac, whose descendants would form the foundation of the current Middle East conflict. Sadly the Son of Rejection became to arch enemy of the Son of Promise, both sired by Abraham. I'm sure he would not have slept with Hagar if he knew the consequences of his actions and unbelief!

So here we have a the former land of Canaan being inhabited by both the offspring of Ishmael and Isaac - a recipe for disaster! The most Holy city for two of the world most powerful faiths - Jerusalem was, and is still divided.

In the Book of Revelations, a New Jerusalem, and a New Earth with Jesus as King, will appear for the believer when Christ returns to collect His bride - the Body of Christ - His Church - us. The old Jerusalem, and old earth will pass away.

As Christian's we are the Children of the Promise, and we will be received into the New Jerusalem. In Revelations the Bible refers to a what I believe is a remnant of the nation of Israel - 144 000 Jews- 12 000 of each of the tribes of Israel; and they too will be taken into the New Jerusalem to fulfill God's covenant with Israel, and because they were His chosen people.

So, the Middle East conflict will continue. It has to. It is where Armageddon (present day Megidio in Israel - quite close to the border of Lebanon) takes place, and the armies of the Lord will decimate the armies of the world and of satan.

Story: The man at the gate...

The brown dirty poles were spanned by rusty wire. Set in the fence was an old gate which barely seemed to hang on its hinges. Sitting on a round, wooden, weather beaten stool was a man. The man was confident and content. The dusty road that passed through the gate in the fence seemed to disappear over the horizon at the top of a hill not so far away.
A young man approached the older gatekeeper and said, "I would like to pass please. I am in a hurry to see what is over the hill and all that is waiting for me there."
The older man asked, "Are you ready?" "Yes, of course! I am on fire!" replied the enthusiastic younger man. "You're not ready." "What!?" "Come back when you're ready."
The young man turned away frustrated and whispered under his breath, "How difficult can it be? Anyway all I want is to see what is on the other side."
A short while later the young man reappeared at the gate. More confident this time. He sauntered up to the man at the gate and stated boldly, "I am ready to see what is on the other side of the hill!"
"You're not ready." "Why? I have thought and meditated and imagined what is waiting for me there. I have prepared myself. I am ready!" "Come back when you're ready."
"I don't understand." The young man mouthed as he walked away, shoulders drooped.
Some time later the young man approached the man at the gate. He stopped and leaned on top of the gate. He looked down at the older man, whose face showed the slightest hint of a smile. The young man looked back to the hill and said, "It is not what is on the other side of the hill that is important, it is the hill itself!"
The older man stood up slowly and stretched. He unhitched the gate’s clasp and said to the young man, "You may pass." "Thank you." Responded the young man with a sigh of relief and he started up the hill.
The hill was exceptionally steep, and it was hot and dusty. There were rocks and stones en route. The journey up seemed to drag on forever! The young man often turned to look back at the man sitting at the gate. He licked his parched lips and tried to swallow, he was tempted to turn back. In fact he was often tempted to turn back, but his pride would not let him!
After a while of continual upward climbing, the young man decided to change his attitude towards the hill. He attempted to walk upright, uncomplaining and with gratitude for being allowed to follow the path. As he straightened his aching spine and pushed back his shoulders, he was amazed that he could almost see over the summit. He started running and with a final burst of energy, he leaped over the rise.
The young man grew in stature and wisdom. He was blessed. He found favour and an abundance of fulfillment through this achievement. The young man never forgot the older man. One day he decided to go and visit him. He walked casually down the dusty road. To his horror the man was no longer there, but on the barbed wire fence was pinned a note. The young man reached over and read what the older man had written:
"You have contemplated the hill, you have endured and persevered. You have seen and experienced what is on the other side of the hill. I have fulfilled my purpose here. Please take your seat..."
As the man sat down, he saw a young man walking up the road toward the gate. There was just a hint of a smile as he watched the brash over-confident strides. He knew what was to follow, after all he was now...
...the man at the gate.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Story: Diamond...

I stood looking down at her. She was dirty, her long hair was matted in places, and her clothes were filthy. Her muddied toes and feet were attached to painfully thin legs, which stuck out beneath a ragged dress that may have been pink when it was new.
"What's your name?" I asked quietly. She mumbled something unintelligible under her breath as she stared at the ground. I crouched down slowly as I did not want to frighten her.
"Sorry, I didn't catch that. What did you say your name is?" "Diamond." She whispered. "That's a beautiful name!" I replied. "No, it's not!" She retorted. She was looking at me now with huge green eyes. I could see speckles of gold in her irises. Her face was perfectly formed, except for a split lip, which was due to the ravages of a dry winter. Diamond had been crying. I could tell by the pale pink streaks that ran down her face. The little girl was about 8 or 9 years old, although her hands looked older. Her bare arms were now crossed over her chest defensively. She looked at me quizzically as she tilted her head to one side.
"What are you staring at?" She asked with a false sense of bravado. "The most beautiful girl in the whole world!" "That's not what my Mommy says! She says I'm ugly, and a mistake. She says that my name should be Coal, not Diamond! The men that come home with Mommy laugh at me, and she makes jokes. Then they start drinking and push me out and lock the door." Her conversation was getting heated.
"Where do you go?" "I run around and look in the dustbins ... and stuff! Sometimes I go to Auntie."
"Doesn't your Mommy bath you and buy you clothes and feed you?" "There is no hot water, so Mommy baths at an Auntie's house. She says that there is no money for clothes! She sometimes gives me McDonalds which only have a few bites out, and lots of chips!" She was very excited at the last statement.
"Where is Auntie's house? Will you show me?" I ventured. "Okay." Surprisingly she grabbed my hand and started to drag me towards a run-down apartment block. It had boarded up windows and smelled of damp and urine. There was graffiti on the walls and broken glass under foot. Diamond led me up to the first floor and stopped at a green painted door, which had seen some serious battles. She looked up at me expectantly.
"Well?" She asked, once again cocking her head to the side. I raised my hand and knocked warily. I couldn't believe it, I was nervous! The door handle turned and the damp swollen door opened and inch, halted by the security chain. "Yes?" came the greeting from Auntie. She looked about 90 and her gnarled frame was hunched over. Auntie's face was like that of a weather battered fisherman I had seen in a National Geographic somewhere.
"Do you know this little girl?" I asked hesitantly. "Yeeessss." Auntie replied cautiously. "May I come in?""Okay."
Auntie's real name was Mavis Bradshaw and she had lived there since 1967. She was widowed and received a pitiful pension. Mavis had known Diamond and her mother for seven months. The story that unfolded was one of domestic violence, alcoholism, drug abuse and a discarded waif named Diamond. Emotionally taken aback, I could barely speak when I stood to leave. I whispered goodbye and as I started toward the door Mrs. Bradshaw said;
"You have to help her! I prayed that Jesus would send an angel to come and take her away! You have to be that angel!" "I...I..." I stuttered absolutely speechlessly. "Alright...um...Diamond...um...I will see what I can do." I told Diamond and to Mrs Bradshaw I said; "Please look after her until I come back!"I crouched down again and lifted her chin with my finger;
"Remember, you are beautiful! Jesus sees you just the way you should be! Just like a real diamond!"
I had some contacts in Social Services and also at a shelter for battered women and children. So I arranged for Diamond and her mother to be assisted at a 'safe house' until a more permanent solution could be found for them.
I arrived back at Mrs Bradshaw's house 3 days later, nervous, but determined to present this positive option to Diamond's mother. Surely she would jump at the opportunity to make a better future for herself and Diamond. I knocked on Mrs Bradshaw's green battle-scarred door.
"Yeeesss", sounded the familiar voice from behind the door. "Hi, it's me! I've found a place for Diamond and her mother. I've come to talk to them about it!" I was nearly shouting with excitement!
Mrs. Bradshaw opened the door slowly, she seemed to have aged 10 years if that was at all possible! "They've gone. The room is empty. I heard Diamond tell her mother that an angel, 'that's what Auntie said he is,' was coming to take her away to a better place. She defiantly told her mother; 'Guess what? I am beautiful, just like a Diamond! How come you can't see it, the angel said that Jesus sees me just like a real diamond. Beautiful!'"
The tears were streaming down her elderly cheeks. It seemed strange to me that her tears looked like diamonds rolling down her face. I realised with a start that I too had begun to cry. My chest started to constrict, I couldn't breathe, and I felt nauseous as that helpless, hopeless feeling came over me. I think I muttered a goodbye. I dragged myself out and as I drove home to my wife and two children, I cried out; "Why?...Why?...Why Lord? I had everything planned! They had a shot at a better life!" I realised that I had begun to shout.
The Lord reminded me of His Word where he says: that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He also knows the plan He has for our lives, plans for good and not for disaster, for a future full of hope.
Diamond had made a huge impact on my life and I knew that I would never forget the beautiful little urchin that had touched my heart.
Seven years later, my wife and I were visiting some friends at their church. The Pastor called for testimonies. I always look forward to hearing what God has done in the lives of His people. I expectantly scanned the church to see who would be first to share their blessings with us. A young lady stood up near the front of the church. She walked up to the pulpit confidently. Her face looked familiar, but I couldn't place it. Then she shared her amazing testimony of how Jesus had kept her safe, had provided for her through extremely difficult and abusive circumstances and as she talked my heart really went out to her. I praised God for His Mercy, Grace, and Love. Her eyes held my attention as she spoke, the most beautiful green with flecks of gold... What she said next, changed my life forever.
"It all began when an angel stopped to speak to me! He said, 'Remember, you are beautiful! Jesus sees you just the way you should be! Just like a real...

A Word in Tongues...for healing!

I had a really strange urge to write out a Word in Tongues for healing! I don't really know how to do this, but I want to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. Read it, say it, pray it...I'm not sure, but here goes - in Faith, and in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Jee a kazana. Nia chosa taan a ga. Rea tus aga shaan a bus ta gi. Kareesh suhundru malahandara Jesu!
Kus a saan mashasaan aga dana bahundu. Kareesh suhundru malahandara Jesu!
Raan a jee a suna ga. Taan a ga daraan mishtuzuun. Kareesh suhundru malahandara Jesu!

Be healed, in the Name of Jesus!

Be blessed!

Story: The stone...

"I want you to plant a stone." "What?" "I want you to plant a stone." said the Lord. "What do you mean, 'I want you to plant a stone?’ I mean, how can I plant a stone?" "I want you to plant a stone. I want you to water it every day. I want you to weed the bed, and mix fertiliser in the soil."
"You realise of course, this is a STONE we are talking about here!" "I want you to plant the stone with love, and care. I want you to nurture and look after it. I want you to watch it grow." said the Lord.
"I must be confused, or stupid, or both! Am I really hearing your voice?" "Yes you are." "Well okay, if you say so." "I say so."
Obediently, but grudgingly, the young man planted the stone as directed. He followed all the directions. He waited and watched. He waited and watched. Nothing happened. He knew it wouldn't grow!
As time passed he asked the Lord, with somewhat of an attitude. "I did exactly as you asked! I knew it wouldn't grow. What was the point?"
"Did you believe it would grow?" "No, I know I couldn't 'grow' a stone." replied the young man. "What did you learn?" asked the Lord. "That I can't grow a stone!" "That's right. What else?" "I don't know." the young man mumbled in frustration. "Should I tell you what you learned?" "Yes, please."
"You learned that; even though you didn't understand why I wanted you to do something, you did it." "You learned that; being obedient is more important than the outcome." "You learned that; without faith or the belief in something, the task is meaningless." "You learned that; only through constant dialogue and communication with me will know my voice." "You learned that; my command to love is unconditional, regardless of what you think or feel."
The young man responded, "You're right about all those things, but did the stone grow?" "No, but you did!"