THE AGE OLD QUESTION! WHY DOES GOD ALLOW………?

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One of the most common words used in the English language must be the word WHY?
The dictionary defines ‘why’ as follows: for what reason, purpose or cause? An expression of surprise, disagreement, indignation”.
The majority of us struggle with the question of ‘why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” Incredible that, as I was typing this, my 12 year old came into my office and read me part of an essay she had written. The title was “Why?” I listened in amazement as my child verbalized this age old question.
 Why? Why would God make the world if He knew that it would be destroyed? Why would He make the world if life for some people in this world would be destroyed or hurt for no reason? For a little child will lose its mother and be like a lamb alone in a field, hurt and broken inside. Why? This child who has done no wrong has now lost its mother. Why would God let this child suffer? Why? – Emma Jane Curry
Often, the answer to that question has got nothing whatsoever to do with God. It has to do with bad decisions the government of the country has made, or wrong choices our parents or grand-parents may have made or even the consequences of our own wrong doing. What about Global warming and climate change in the world today and the effects of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels or from deforestation? Man is responsible for that not God.
God created us because He wanted a relationship with us. He gave us freedom of choice because, if He had not, we would be robotic creatures unable to form a relationship or interact with Him.
 I heard the following story the other day and it highlighted for me the verse “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”. (Romans 8:28)
There was a king who had a devoted servant. This servant loved the Lord and was continually praising God for His goodness. The king and the servant went hunting one day and a lion attacked the king. The servant managed to fight the lion off but, alas, the king lost his index finger. The lion had managed to bite it off! The king was really upset and what made it worse was the fact that the servant told him he should be grateful to God for sparing his life. All the king could think of was the pain and the fact that his finger was missing. He could not believe that his servant was praising God for this so he had the servant thrown into jail. A few days later the king went hunting and was captured by a tribe who offered human sacrifices to their gods. The king was bound and laid on an altar in preparation for the sacrificial ritual to begin when the tribe suddenly noticed that he had a finger missing. This caused great consternation as it was forbidden to sacrifice anyone who was ‘incomplete’. They cut his cords and allowed him to go free. When he finally made it back to his village, the first thing he did was to go straight to the jail and set his servant free. He explained to the servant that if it had not been for the missing finger he would be dead. The servant then proceeded to give all thanks and glory to God! The king listened for a little while and then posed this question, “If your God is so good and amazing
WHY did He allow you to be thrown into jail?” The servant replied, “Because, my king, if I had been hunting with you, I too would have been captured. And when they discovered that you had a part missing I would have been sacrificed in your stead! Thank God I was in jail!”
We have no idea what the future holds but I do know that our time here on earth is very short compared to eternity! If we accept Jesus as our Saviour we will be spending eternity with God and the things that we experienced here on earth will fade into insignificance.
When the question why besets me I think about the answer Oswald Chambers once gave his wife. They had just been to visit a friend who was suffering from typhoid fever and was close to death and she asked, “I wonder what God is going to do?” Oswald replied, “I don’t care what God does. It’s what God IS that I care about”.
When the word why reverberates in my head I hold onto these words that God spoke:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior ……Do not be afraid, for I am with you”. (Isaiah 43:1-3, 5)
Photo courtesy of Google

“OWNING UP” (EVEN IF IT MEANS PEOPLE THINK YOU HAVE ESCAPED FROM A MENTAL ASYLUM!)

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I am married to a wonderful man – a conservative man, but a truly lovely guy!

This is why the following story has had such an impact on my life because I know just how conservative he is!

I asked Steven if I could share his story and he graciously agreed. It occurred in September 2004 when he ‘owned up’ to knowing God.  At that time I asked him to write down what had transpired and this is what he wrote:

Whilst driving down Voortrekker Road in Maitland I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me as I passed the Teko Chemical Buildings.  This was originally the site for the Cape Organ builders.

I had often driven past these premises and thought what a good work site this would be for our company!

I felt God telling me to phone the number on the outside of the building.  I did not – I drove to Atlantis and carried on working.  On my return down Voortrekker Road and as I was nearing the Teko building I felt God once again saying to me, phone the number that is on the wall.  I picked up my cell phone and dialed the number and asked to speak to the manager.  I had no idea what I was going to say to him!

I was put through to a guy called Charles so I said to him, “I’m just phoning to inquire if the building is up for sale or maybe will be in the future”.  He told me that he believed the building had just been sold but would check to see whether the sale had gone through.

He took my name and number and said he would get back to me.

I drove back to our hired premises and told my office manageress that we had just missed the sale of excellent premises.  I had hardly finished telling her about it when my cell phone rang.  It was the other manager, Renier, phoning from Teko and he asked whether I would go in and see them the following day.

I arrived at the premises at nine the following morning.  I was introduced to the two partners.  I was in jeans and my steel toe cap boots and they were dressed in suits and ties!  They sat me across the table from them and Charles asked me how I had known that the building was for sale as nothing had been advertised.  I hesitated not knowing how I was going to tell them that I had heard a voice in my head the day before telling me to phone and inquire.  I heard the same voice again prompting me to tell them the truth, so I took a deep breath and told them that as I was driving past the building a voice in my head told me to phone the company number.  I proceeded to tell them that I was a believing Christian and I believed it had been God speaking to me.

They both looked at each other and started to laugh, and I thought “that’s it!  They think I am crazy. They are going to throw me out of here!” They then proceeded to tell me that they were also believing Christians and when I had phoned the day before they had been praying to God about their situation as the person who had agreed to buy the building, via a private sale, had just pulled out of the deal because he had not been able to obtain the finances.

I advised them that I had no money either and would have to contact the bank but that I really wanted the building!  The bank granted me a building loan and when I phoned to tell them they said that the man who had pulled out of the deal had walked into their offices half an hour after  I had left them, cash in hand, to buy the building.  He had managed to raise the finances after all.  They informed him that the building had already been sold.

If Steve had not said yes to God by phoning that number and by acknowledging, before strangers, that he had heard a voice in his head that he believed was God’s telling him to phone, even at the risk of sounding like he had just escaped from a mental asylum, he would not be in those premises today.

Steve could have just told them that he had phoned on the off chance it was for sale but would also have had to add that he had no money and no security to offer for a loan.

So when the gentleman walked into their offices, cash in hand, they would have sold it to him and Steve would have missed out on an incredible blessing from God.

Over the years he has told this story to encourage others to listen to and acknowledge God’s voice and it has been an incredible encouragement and witness to us of God’s care and interest in our lives.

If he had not said “yes” to God he would have no story to share and would also have missed out on the amazing business premises he now has.

In Isaiah God says to each one of us who believe in Him “I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be discouraged for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:9 & 10)

And then He goes on to say “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

All we as believers have to do is to ‘own up’ to knowing Him.

A TRIBUTE TO MY DAD ON HIS 85TH BIRTHDAY!!

My dad, Edward Raymond Lutge, known as Ray from birth, turned 85 on the 23rd August 2014!

In the words of Colin Garvie:  “Ray has had a colourful ministry as a missionary of the SUM in Nigeria and now a Supernumerary Minister of the MCSA.”

He is a truly remarkable man.
He accepted Jesus into his life when he was a young teenager and through many hardships, joy, pain, immense heart ache and much laughter he never wavered in his belief that God was good and faithful.
He took to heart the words Jesus spoke:
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men”.
Not only was he a ‘fisher of men’ but he was also a great fisherman!

 

 

When he left school he qualified as a plumber.
He also trained as a missionary with the Sudan United Mission and spent a few years as a missionary in Nigeria on a leprosy mission settlement.

He then studied and qualified as a school teacher and taught for many years.
At the age of 60 he was ordained as a Methodist minister.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!  GOD BLESS.
 

 

RELEASING OUR BURDENS WITH JOY!

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One weekend, our family attended a church camp.  During one of the morning sessions the speaker handed out a sheet of paper to everyone on which we were to write down our burdens.  In the last session of the day, we were to take these sheets of paper and put them into a bowl.  These sheets were later burned in a fire, symbolic of releasing our burdens to Jesus.  In Matthew 11:28 Jesus urges us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  I wrote down my burdens, folded the paper and put it in my notebook, which I then left on a table.  At the end of the last session, people started placing their papers into the bowl.  My notebook was not where I had left it and I frantically searched for ‘my burdens’.

“What are you looking for?” a friend whispered.
“My burdens!”
“I’ll help you look”, she offered.

We scrambled around looking for my lost burdens.  All of a sudden, we started to giggle uncontrollably.  Our laughter was magnified because everyone around us was so solemn and quiet. Here we were, desperately trying to find my lost burdens so I could take them up again only to lay them down again before God.  As our laughter continued, it struck me how gracious our God is.  As I had written my burdens, He had, in that very moment, taken them and they were effectively lost forever.

Also, the laying down of our burdens need not always be serious and solemn.  It can also be joyous and freeing.  Galatians 5:1 explains: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again.”

It also saddened me to realise how often we, as God’s children needlessly scramble around looking for the burdens God is already carrying for us.  As I lay in bed that night, reflecting on the day, I felt the laughter rise up again inside of me and Nehemiah 8:10 took on a whole new meaning:  “For the joy of the lord is your strength”.  Additionally, Proverbs 17:22 says, “A happy heart is like good medicine”.

(From God’s Promise for Families by Noelene Curry)

SOMETIMES OUR CHILDREN LIVE ON A DIFFERENT PLANET!!

Saw this board whilst walking down the street yesterday.  It triggered a memory of an incident that occurred a few years ago with one of my children.  I need to set the scene for you first though!

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Ever since our oldest child started pre-school I have prayed, together with other mothers, at their respective schools.  We have also always taught our children that lying and stealing is wrong and are, in fact, even mentioned in the ten commandments!

“You shall not steal”

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20) – which basically means don’t lie.

Now about the incident.

I was just walking into a  prayer meeting at the Junior school, feeling quite ‘holy’ when I checked my phone messages. Please note that subsequent to this, I no longer check any messages before going into a meeting.

There was a message there from my child in Senior school.  What follows is a record of messages stemming from that one:

Child:  “ Hey, mom.  Is it ok if I forge your signature on my History test? If it’s not signed I get detention”

Me:  “What planet have you been living on for the past fifteen years?? (now you can see why the message on the board above triggered this memory!” From the time you were born your dad and I have taught you that lying and stealing is wrong.  By forging a signature you are effectively doing both!!!!”

Child: “I thought it would be ok cos you have already seen the paper and thought my mark was pretty good”.

I walked into the prayer meeting and told the ladies present “you will not believe what my daughter has just asked me!” and proceeded to tell them with great indignation.

One of the moms present responded “I think it is amazing that she asked you whether she could forge your signature and didn’t just sign it”.

This stopped me in my tracks and I messaged the child back:

“Meet me in the reception area at your school at first break and I will sign the test for you”.

When I arrived at the school I told the receptionist (who also happens to be a good friend of mine) why I was there.  I was still feeling a bit indignant.

She replied “Noel, you should be so thankful that your child asked you.  A large majority of the students here would just have forged the signature and not thought twice about it”.

That evening I was recounting the story to my oldest daughter via skype as she was overseas at the time.

Her response was “That is so silly.  Why would she even ask you something like that?”

I was just starting to pat myself on the back and think ‘well, at least I have got it right with one child’ when she stated “I would have just signed the test if you had already seen it!”

When you have children you just can’t win.

There is a lovely Irish saying “Shame the devil and tell the truth”

“The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful” (Proverbs 12:22)

I have sometimes, in the past, told a ‘little white lie’ mainly when I have wanted to spare someone else’s feelings when the truth would have hurt them but a ‘little white lie’ is still a lie.

And in the long run our ‘little white lies’ add up and can be quite detrimental towards others.

If we are to teach our children honesty, we need to be honest in all things.