Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Ponderings on the persecuted church

For the last I don't know how long I've been following the case of our sister from Sudan, Meriam Ibrahim. Then she is on death row, then there is possibility she will be free, the day after you hear the government never issued that freedom to her, or they changed their mind or who knows, then she is free and then not and so it goes on...... and yesterday everyone who followed her rejoiced in that she was free!!! Just to be disappointed again today to hear that she and her family was arrested at the airport as they were about the leave the country. How disappointing and discouraging. I feel her pain.

Some days I wonder what I should pray for the brothers and sisters that are being persecuted for their, or rather our faith in our Lord Jesus. He said after all numerous times in the Bible that we will be persecuted, and we should not be surprised if they hate us and persecute us for His name's sake. So then what on earth do we pray for them if it will be quite normal that they will be persecuted.
So this is somewhat the conclusion I've drawn from my pondering on it.
Yes we will be persecuted. In some places it is worse than in other places. here in the west we might be looked upon funny for praying in a public place, or your friends or rather acquaintances would think you are a weirdo for going to church every Sunday and going on a mission trip or whatever. You might hear things like, "don't push that Christianity thing down my throat".  That is nothing compared to other countries where they will torture you, provoke you, kick you out on the streets with no one to care for you, imprison you, or just plain kill you. and their other trick of discouraging you by like they did to our sister Meriam to tell a different story every couple of days.
Another person was a pastor from Iran who was rather ill, and in prison. If you are in an Iranian prison for being a Christian, they won't really bother to treat your illness no matter how serious it is. His family also had no one to care for them as he was the one earning money for the family. Then the prison one day just announced they don't know where he is. I don't know if they think we are stupid or what, of course they know exactly where he is. Organisations following the persecuted church said that the possibility that he was executed was high and the prison just don't want to admit that. His family have no clue what happened to him and now they need to survive as well.

So for one, we can pray that their faith be strengthened and that God will encourage them in some way to carry on. Pray for their health, as most probably if they get sick they might not get the correct treatment, especially when in prison. Pray for their families' faith to be encouraged and strengthened, for provision for their daily needs such as food etc. Pray for their safety. There are probably a million other things to pray for, for the persecuted brothers and sisters, but the point is - do to others what you want to be done for you. If you found yourself in a position of being severely persecuted would you want someone to pray for you, and what specifics would you want them to pray for you, and then pray that for them. and well anything else you can think of to pray for them. They need encouragement and prayers a lot more than what we do, not that we do not need it.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Broken Potsherds

I'm a broken potsherd

Broken I go through this world
Always so aware of my inabilities
my failures, shortcomings and cracks
What on earth am I useful for?
Lord, Your word tells me to be kind,
to be gentle and friendly
yet so often i find myself
cuttings others with my sharp broken potsherds

If I'm not bruising or cutting someone
the stuff i'm supposed to hold in
just falls out at all the leaks and cracks in me
and i wonder if I'm of any use at all

I look to You, the One who created it all
You hold everything and us all in Your hands

Carefully and purposefully you let the salt leak out
at just the right spots where flavour is needed
where persons need to start thirsting for You
The water leaks out just enough 
to water the seeds that fell out another broken pot
We all look back and realize that in the mess
You had purpose, You had beauty in mind
and You had it all under control 

Riana Odendaal
June 2014

Monday, 9 June 2014

Mozambique is on my mind

I wrote this poem about missions in Mozambique way back in 2009.


     Our God is an awesome God

     Zeal and Zest

     Adventure ( Advent- The coming of Christ; Adventure= what we do in the mean time to tell people that HE IS COMING BACK)

     Many serving opportunities under magnificent trees that fell out of heaven.

     Blessings, going to be a blessing but being blessed in return.


    Quest on teaching & preaching the truth

YesU Waku Rhandza ( Jesus loves you in Shangaan)

     Eternal Impact. 

This baobab is next to camp in Panhame - after the floods I hope it is still there - and this picture reminds me so often of the country, and the people that we minister to there. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Psalm 37- Trust and delight in the Lord

This is some notes and musings from a sermon I heard a while back by Pastor Carl Harlgrove that meant a tremendous lot to me.

Psa 37:1   Of David. Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
Psa 37:2  For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
Psa 37:3  Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Psa 37:4  Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psa 37:5  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
Psa 37:6  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Psa 37:7  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Psa 37:8  Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
Psa 37:9  For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
Psa 37:10  In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
Psa 37:11  But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.
Psa 37:12  The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him,
Psa 37:13  but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.

The people of God should not fret over the wicked. All around us we see wicked people prospering and think that they get away with what they are doing while we try to walk the straight and narrow way. God tells here through David that there is way we should look at the world, and things we should do. 

How should we look at the world? God will judge the whole earth one day. Those who are in Christ are without condemnation - Rom 8:1. The rest will be judged for eternity. 

What we we to do? Here are 5 commands to the people of God from Psalm 37. 

- Do not fret. The wicked will be judged. Do not get worked up, do not be afraid. 

- Don't be envious of evildoers. Their time is only temporary. Why would we want to envy them? We should live in the fear of the Lord always. What would it benefit you if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?

- Trust in the Lord. 
The wicked trusts in themselves. We should trust in the Lord. Your life should stand in contrast with the world. Trust in God is to belief in Him, to rely on Him. 

- Cultivate faithfulness
Some translations read "befriend faithfulness". Cultivate is the opposite of fading away. The wicked will fade away. Cultivate is preparing for a crop. We will reap what we sow. If we are faithful to God - you will reap the benefits of it. The wicked are not faithful. 
Make a friend of faithfulness. We must feed on HIS faithfulness. It nourishes you and gives you perspective on life. If we want a life of substance we need to feed on His faithfulness. We need to feed our souls with His Word. 
The world has no capacity to be faithful. 

- Delight in God
We have a command to delight in the Lord. We benefit from the decision to delight. Our decisions in life will have an affect on our lifes. We should take pleasure in God. We have pleasure when we are with friends and family, then so much more can we have pleasure when we are spending time with the living God. It is an enjoyable, beautiful and a good thing. 

It contrasts envy. If you can delight in God why would you want to envy the wicked. If you are full of God there would be no space for the world. 

JC Ryle put it so well. " Look to the cross, think of the cross, meditate on the cross,  and then go set your affections on the world if you can. " Well of course if you are full of God there would be no space for the world. 



We don't always understand why
we go through a difficult circumstance
and wonder why
what's the reason, the purpose

We loose friends once held dear
and others painfully point out "small" sins
looking back over our lives
we see that through it all
You, our Abba Father were near
Fruit came forth ever since
Lord, we don't always know why
or understand Your ways
But You held in Your hand all our days
And every tear we cry
will water the vine to bear more fruit

Show us how we can abide in You
For we can do nothing without You
You are the faithful One
sustaining us through it all

(John 15)

Riana Odendaal
June 2014

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Others May, You Cannot - GD Watson

Others May, You Cannot 
By G.D. Watson

If God has called you to be really like Jesus He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. God’s call will put such demands of obedience on you that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians. At times, He will let other people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians who seem very religious will push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans. You cannot, and if you attempt it, you will meet with failure and rebuke from the Lord.

Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their successes, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you to despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor. God wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may demonstrate His faithful love for you in supplying your needs day by day.

God may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity in order to produce some fragrant fruit for His coming glory which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it now. The reward for your work is held in the hands of Jesus and you will not see it until He comes.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you with a jealous love. He will rebuke you for the little words and feelings or for wasting your time. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He does not owe you an explanation of these mysteries. But if you give yourself to be His child, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and give you the precious blessings for those who belong, heart and soul, to Him.

Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit. It is His option to tie your tongue, or chain your hand, or close your eyes in ways that He does not seem to use with others. And when you are so possessed by the living God that your heart delights over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

This essay was originally written as a tract by G.D. Watson (lived 1845-1924).