Sunday, 25 May 2014

A Remedy of Tea for the Cup of Suffering

Don't worry, I am not about to put up balms and recipes to ease pain here! :P I'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere for that! :) Instead, I have been reading In God's Underground by Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of Voice of the Martyrs (I hope to write a review of this book here at a later date). He was imprisioned for many years under Communism, and for now I thought I'd share an excerpt from it that really challenged me, as there is so much in it that shows us how we ought to respond to trials. Here Richard Wurmbrand is speaking to a group of students at a university following his experiences.

***

From Pinterest
"I told them the story of a doctor of early Christian times who was unjustly imprisoned by the emperor. After some weeks his family were allowed to see him, and at first they wept. His clothes were rags, his norishment a slice of bread with a cup of water every day. His wife wondered and asked, 'How is it you look so well? You have the air of one who has just come from a wedding!' The doctor smilingly replied that he had found remedy for all troubles, and his family asked him what it was. The doctor told them, 'I have discovered a tea which is good against all suffering and sorrow. It contains seven herbs, and I shall number them for you.

1. The first herb is called contentedness: be satisfied with what you have. I may shiver in my rags as I gnaw on a crust, but how much worse off I should be if the emperor had thrown me into a dungeon with nothing at all to eat!

2. The second herb is common sense. Whether I rejoice or worry, I shall still be in prison so why repine?

3. The third is remembrance of past sins: count them, and on the supposition that every sin deserves a day in prison, reckon how many lives you would spend behind bars - you have been let off lightly!

4. The fourth is the thought of the sorrows which Christ bore gladly for us. If the only man who ever could choose his fate on earth chose pain, what great value He must have seen in it! So we observe that, borne with serenity and joy, suffering redeems.

5. The fifth herb is the knowledge that suffering has been given to us by God as from a father, not to harm us, but to cleanse and sanctify us. The suffering through which we pass has the purpose of purifying us, and preparing us for heaven.

6. The sixth is the knowledge that no suffering can harm a Christian life. If the pleasures of the flesh are all, then pain and prison bring an end to a man's aim in living; but if the core of life is truth, that is something which no prison cell can change. In prison or out of it two and two make four. Prison cannot stop me from loving; iron bars cannot exclude faith. If these ideals make up my life, I can be serene anywhere.

7. The last herb in the recipe is hope. The wheel of life may put the emperor's physician in prison, but it goes on turning. It may put me back in the palace, and even put me on the throne.'

"... I have drunk barrels of this tea since then," I said, "and I can recommend it to you all. It has proved good."

***

What a challenge this was to me! I pray that it challenges you too to look to the Lord in the hard times and trust Him.

God bless!





Wednesday, 21 May 2014

An Encouraging Story: Ian and Larissa

Hello everyone!

I saw this short video today and thought it was such a good example of how we can trust in the Lord in the hard times, and how He can use our trials for good! :) 


God bless!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Book Review: 'Green Leaf in Drought' by Isobel Kuhn

Green Leaf In DroughtGreen Leaf In Drought by Isobel Kuhn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
This is the story of the reluctant exodus, when the last China Inland Mission members were forced from Communist China. The experiences of Arthur and Wilda Mathews answer the question: Can a Christian grow in the direst circumstances?

My Review:

This book by Isobel Kuhn provided a powerful insight into what it would have been like to be a missionary like Arthur and Wilda Matthews in Communist China during the 1950s, and how the Lord used trials of various kinds during that period to strengthen them in their faith. Throughout that time they clung to Jeremiah 17:8: "He shall be as a tree planted by hte waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

While I definitely would not consider this Isobel Kuhn's best book (I personally found her autobiography much better written) it did encourage me as a Christian to look to the Lord in all trials of life, from the big to the small and to trust Him in everything. This is why I would highly recommend it, despite the fact that at times I felt it focussed a lot on the suffering the missionaries had to endure by staying in China and not so much on the suffering local Chinese went through. However, this is a slim critcism when compared to how much I learned from it, and how much it made me appreciate the many freedoms I experience.

Some favourite quotes from it were as follows:

"These trials of faith are to give us patience, for patience can only be worked as faith goes into the Pressure Chamber. To pull out because the pressure is laid on, and to start fretting would be to lose all the good He has in this for us." ~ p.44.

"The Lord sometimes has to show us, not only the power of the one against us, but also the weakness of our own hearts. His battles are not won through strength and prowess, but through weakness throughly weakend, that refuses to do anything at all for itself but trust in His faithfulness - even when to trust seems folly." ~ Arthur Matthews (p.66).

"through Thy fire would I learn/ 'Thou'rt God', when I can't understand." (p.52).

If this book comes your way, definitely give it a read! :)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sunshine Behind the Storm #4: Through the Storms

First of all, I want to wish all mothers out there (but especially my one!) a very happy Mothers day! Thanks for all that you do for us, I'm sure I won't be the only one to say that our mother is the one who, through her self-sacrificial loving life towards us, shows us what it means to love with a true Christlike love. However, I will be praying tonight especially for anyone out there who is without a mother at the moment. Truly, those of us with a mother in our lives are so blessed! 

Now... for the rest of this post! :) 

I am so blessed to be able to present to you the fourth installment in the blog series, Sunshine Behind the Storm aimed at encouraging Christians who are going through trials. These poems are by an author and blogger with the pen-name Jo Wilmer. She blogs at 'M' Words and the Christian Woman (M referring to many trials that women go through such as mistakes, maturity, men, marriage, motherhood, money, menopause, and making a difference) and Simply Sharing and Serving. She also runs her own buisness at Sanibel Soaps, and has even writen an e-book called We Travel Together. As you can tell, she is someone kept very busy serving the Lord in these and other ways! :) I hope you are as challenged and blessed by her poems as I was. :)

http://rejoiceinthelordalwaysrejoice.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/Sunshine%20Behind%20the%20Storm
 



Through The Storms

I did not know His love before, the way I know it now.
I could not see my need for Him, my pride would not allow.
I had it all, without a care, the "Self-sufficient" lie.
My path was smooth, my sea was still, not a cloud was in my sky.
I thought I knew His love for me, I thought I'd seen His grace,
I thought I did not need to grow, I thought I'd found my place.

But then the way grew rough and dark, the storm clouds quickly rolled;
the waves began to rock my ship, my anchor would not hold.
The ship that I had built myself was made of foolish pride;
it fell apart and left me bare, with nowhere else to hide.
I had no strength or faith to face the trials that lay ahead,
and so I simply prayed to Him and bowed my weary head.

His loving arms enveloped me, and then He helped me stand.
He said, "You still must face this storm, but I will hold your hand."
So through the dark and lonely night He guided me through pain;
I could not see the light of day or when the storm might wane.

Yet through the aches and endless tears, my faith began to grow...
I could not see it at the time, but my light began to glow.
I saw God's love in brand new light, His grace and mercy, too;
for only when all self was gone could Jesus' love shine through.

It was not easy in the storm, I sometimes wondered, "Why?"
At times I thought, "I can't go on." I'd hurt, and doubt, and cry.
But Jesus never left my side, He guided me each day.
Through pain and strife, through fire and flood, He helped me all the way.

And now I see as never before how great His love can be.
How in my weakness He is strong, how Jesus cares for me!
  He worked it all out for my good, although the way was rough...
He only sent what I could bear, and then He cried, "Enough!"

He raised His hand and said, "Be still!"  He made the storm clouds cease;
He opened up the gates of joy and flooded me with peace.
I saw His face now clearer still, I felt His presence strong,
I found anew His faithfulness, He never did me wrong.

Now I know more storms will come, but only for my good,
For pain and tears have helped me grow as naught else ever could.
I still have so much more to learn as Jesus works in me;
If in the storm I'll love Him more, that's where I want to be! 

They are such wonderful but challenging poems, aren't they? :) Thanks so much, Jo, for your lovely and encouraging email and allowing me to post these beautiful yet challenging poems here. I'll be praying for your ministry through these blogs and the e-book too! :)

God bless!
 
 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Have Faith!

Hi all! 

I hope you are all having a very blessed week! Just some general admin stuff to go through! I'd love it if you could do the poll on the top right hand side of the blog which is annonymous and just for me to have an indication of what is best/easiest for you all to keep up with postings etc. I would also love your feedback on what type of material helps you most - quotes, music, website links etc. I really want to be a source of encouragement to you all, and want to work out how to best use the time I have avaliable in a way that will be God-glorifying and helpful to you! :) Also, a reminder that I post most frequently on the Rejoice in the Lord always Facebook page, so if you want encouragement more often than the blog itself offers, feel free to check that out. :) 

For a self-confessed "old-fashioned" young lady who loves classical music and old hymns, I have slowly been trying to branch out of my comfort zone and look at the words and messages a song sends, rather than just the style of music (much as that is important)! I realise that we all have different tastes, and so I will attempt on this blog to post songs that have wonderful lyrics in order to encourage those whose taste may differ from mine. :) Of course, this does not mean I endorse everything by an artist or the theology behind everything! :P Rather, what is most important (I am learning!) is the messages a song sends, some of which have incredible lyrics for when we go through hard times.

All that said, I stumbled across this amazing song. I absolutely love the chorus - what a powerful reminder for those of us going through trials: "Have faith, believe, through the hard times and the good. Have faith, believe, He will work it out, He'll work out all things for good." 

Have Faith ~ Elizabeth South



If we have faith in God
we can move mountains.
If we believe
and do not doubt.
If we will seek His will
and find what pleases Him
then our hearts will conform to His
and we can be confident.

Have Faith
Believe
Through the hard times and good.
Have Faith
He will work it out
He'll work all things for good.
Have Faith


If we cast our cares on Him
He will sustain us.
If well be still
and wait for Him.
If we will trust His word
and not in our own strength
then He'll carry us through the storm
and we can be confident. 

Chorus x2


If we will reach out to Him
He'll hear our cry.
And though things may not be so good
He'll work it out.
And though we may fall
He'll lift us up.

Chorus x2

God bless!