I Feel Like Dancing

ostrich danceOn an African savannah, I observed an ostrich dancing his heart out. Someone said he was showing off for the ladies.  Maybe so, but he seemed to me to be dancing for the sheer joy of dancing. He was celebrating life.

King David often expressed moments of joy in life by singing, playing musical instruments, and dancing. He encouraged others to do the same. An example may be found in Psalm 149:2-5 (KJV)“Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto Him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud in their beds.”  To this day, in Hasidic Judaism, it is believed that dance is a tool for expressing joy and is believed to have a therapeutic effect: It purifies the soul, promotes spiritual elation and unifies the community.

Physically, I am not a dancer. In a secular sense, meaningless contortion of the body to a musical beat is not my thing. However, there are times when I am overcome by the joy of my salvation and my life in Jesus. I just feel like dancing ‘in my spirit.’ Filled with joy and praise, I worship Him with all that is in me. Like that old ostrich, I just want to dance for the sheer joy of my redemption and all of the blessings God has given me.

If life at times seems mundane; if your burdens seem a little to heavy; if joy is missing from your days, try this remedy. Read Psalm 146 through Psalm 150. Maybe then you can join the ostrich and me and we will, in our spirits, dance our little hearts out.

Let’s Just Praise the Lord!

~ Brother Roy

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Sad News from Kya Sands

10944376_1569695026604278_921775643271970204_nIt has been a hard Tuesday morning. I am feeling sad, frustrated and just plain mad! For the past year I have been volunteering in a preschool ministry of our church at Kya Sands (a squatter’s camp/informal settlement) here in South Africa. We have met under a tree, beside an illegal garbage dump where children have to cross about a 4-foot-wide open sewage ditch to come to us. Not ideal conditions, but we had our space for our “school under the tree”.

This morning when we arrived after a 6-week break for Christmas and summer holiday, we were horrified and heartbroken to see that our place, our school under the tree, had been covered – actually buried with enormous mounds or rubbish. While we never had safe or ideal conditions, today it is a huge health hazard (burning rubbish and dead rats everywhere), and there is absolutely no way to meet or work with kids there.


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Our church is working to secure land where a proper preschool can be built; however, that has been in process for a couple of years (nothing gets done quickly here!), and even when approved, it will take time before we can meet there.

I am trying hard to rest in this verse, Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you says The Lord, plans for your welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Hard to realize at this moment, but I know HE has plans for Kya Sands far beyond what I could ever imagine.

~ Lori Lauter Wright
NHIM Board Member

Inertia: A Body at Rest

inertiaThe sun was warm and there was a gentle breeze as I watched the beautiful birds at the feeders from my daughter’s veranda in South Africa. I was settled in on a chase longue and was so relaxed I did not want to move. I laughed to myself as I thought, “I’m gripped by inertia.” For some strange reason, my mind flashed back to my seventh grade Physical Science class nearly 60 years ago. In reference to inertia, I recalled Newton’s First Law of Motion, which basically states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it. So I just sat there as time passed and I did nothing. My body stayed at rest.

The principle of inertia is also evident in the spiritual world. The scripture teaches, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, NKJ).  How often do men, when faced with the certainty of death and judgment, sit and do nothing about their eternal destiny! Many people seem to be gripped by ‘spiritual inertia’.

May I share an admonition from scripture? “Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience receiver a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation” (Hebrews 2:1-3, ESV).

I cannot play the piano. I’ve often wished I could. It would be a valuable asset in my ministry. How did I arrive at this state of musical inability? I never hated a music teacher; never tore up a hymnbook; never defaced a piano! All I did was sit and do nothing. I simply made no effort to learn, although I had many opportunities to do so.

If you are not a believer, please know that you are provided many opportunities by a God that does not want you to perish, but desires that you come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). It is not necessary to be actively engaged in wickedness. To be lost, you just have to neglect God’s offer of salvation.  Please let the Holy Spirit help you overcome ‘spiritual inertia’ and call out to the Lord.

  • “For the grace of God hath appeared to all men.” (Titus 2:1, KJV)
  • “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourself; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8, KJV)
  • “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV) 

If you are an inactive believer, perhaps the words in 2 Peter 1:5-9 (KJV) are for you. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten he was purged from his old sins.” 

Don’t be Victimized By Inertia

~ Brother Roy

The Gathering Storm

stormI have often sat on the deck at the beach house on Dauphin Island and watched approaching storms. If the forecast is for severe conditions, a person ought to take the necessary precautions to secure outside furniture and lower the storm shutters. I follow the old adage to “batten down the hatches” as the storm approaches. I have not been on the island during a hurricane and hope I never am. There are some people who may know full well that a powerful hurricane is approaching and simply ignore evacuation orders. They put their lives at risk and may even endanger the lives of family, police, and other who are seeking to protect them.

The same is true in the spiritual world. Gathering clouds of judgment appear on the horizons of our lives. “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Proverbs 22:3, ESV).  Men are often able to read the physical signs of an approaching storm, but seem unable or unwilling to see the imminent Day of Judgment looming on the horizon. He (Jesus) answered them, ‘When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.” And in the morning, “It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.” You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times’”  (Matthew 16:2-3, ESV). 

Everyone will face this spiritual storm. The book of Hebrews speaks of the certainty of both death and judgment. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, NKJ).  There is coming a day when we all shall see the Lord coming in the clouds. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and glory” (Luke 21:27).    At that time the scripture indicates the following will happen: “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” ( Jeremiah 17:10, ESV). 

John writes of the approaching storm in Revelation 22:12-15 (NKJ)“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” 

There is an approaching storm! The words of an old gospel song by Will Thompson have echoed across the decades. There’s a great day coming, a great day coming; There’s a great day coming by and by, when the saints and the sinners shall be parted right and left. Are you ready for that day to come? Are you ready for the judgment day?
”

Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).  She saw the gathering storm, but delayed her escape and was lost!

~ Brother Roy

The Parable of Sea Oats: Hold on to What You Have

sea oatsNearly four decades ago, Miss Sue and I, along with another couple, made our first ever visit to Dauphin Island. We were attending a conference in Biloxi, Mississippi. We had an afternoon off and decided to visit the island. Paul, an Asbury College colleague, and I took off our shoes and walked along the beach. Miss Sue and Margret stayed back by the car. They noticed a patch of sea oats and discussed how beautiful they would be in a dried flower arrangement. They picked a large armload to take home with us. Only when we were backing out of the parking place did we see a large sign in front of the car. The sign issued a stern warning against picking sea oats. We were informed sea oats were a protected grass. Picking or disturbing sea oats was punishable by a stiff fine.

Later, a little investigation provided the following explanation; “Sea oats are well suited to saline environments, and as such, are important to barrier island ecology and are often used in soil stabilization projects because their long root structure firmly holds loose soil. The oats are a crucial component of the area’s hurricane defense strategy” (source: Wikipedia).

Our lives in Christ are often subjected to storms and strong winds of a spiritual nature. John 17 records the high priestly prayer of Jesus to His Father. In verse 15, we find these words,  “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” We are not exempt from the storms of life, but scripture gives us precious promises and instruction to help us hold on to what we have in Christ. The pressures of this fallen world need not erode our faith. Like the sea oats we can be deeply rooted.

  • Hebrews 3:6“But Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are His house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”
  • Hebrews 4:14-17: ‘Since then we have a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive help in time of need.” 
  • Hebrews 10:23-25: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the DAY drawing near.”
  • Colossians 2:6-7:  “ Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

 YOU CAN HOLD ON!

~ Brother Roy