Dreams

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

It happened during a missions service one evening in Woodstock Ontario at the church I grew up in. Missionaries Jim and Sue Keddy were speaking and I was deeply stirred in my heart by their stories of how the lord was using them in Hong Kong.   I knew one day that was what I wanted to do.  I wanted to go. Not necessarily Hong Kong, but somewhere.   A dream had begun to take root in my heart.

Habaakkuk 2:3 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely come take place. It will not be delayed.

Then I met Dale and life happened. He was the full time Children’s pastor and I his wife. In all my years of being a pastor’s wife I always kind of stayed on the sidelines. I was super quiet….and shy. Yet, I never forgot the dream from so many years ago.

It was fall, about seven or eight years ago during my quiet times/devotions that I began to sense a change was coming. I really felt as though God was telling me that we would be going on the mission field full time.

I kept it to myself for a while. I was thinking what if it was just me? I didn’t tell Dale. I just continued to pray about it, and told the Lord, “Ok God, if this is truly of You, then You need to tell Dale the same thing.”

I did however tell my friend Deana how I was feeling over coffee one night. I told her about the sense I had that Bethel Stratford would be our last church and that I thought we would be going overseas as missionaries.  It wasn’t long after that our church took a missions trip to Honduras and it was there in Honduras that we knew. We knew it was where the Lord wanted us. I remember the day sitting in a Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts in Honduras and talking with the founders Randy and Judy Lundrigan about the logistics of such a move…what it would mean for our kids etc.

Flash forward to the present and we have now been in Honduras for almost five years. But that dream took over twenty years to come to fruition.

I think of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible. Abraham was promised many descendants.  When Sarah heard the news of the promised baby she laughed. I don’t think she laughed because it was funny or because it made her happy.  I am surmising  it was more of a “pfft” or a “whatever,” kind of laugh. For years she probably longed for a baby, a child of her own. She was 90 years old! Let that sink in for a moment.  Her husband Abraham was 99! It was absurd to think of someone their age having a baby. Maybe she thought it was a heartless joke. Maybe it brought back a familiar ache or a yearning from a time long past.  A dream she had long given up on. Years ago.  And yet….what is it that God spoke to them?

Genesis 18:13b-14 “Why did Sarah laugh? Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year and Sarah will have a son.”

And we know what happened. God kept his word.  Nine months later, just he promised, Sarah gave birth to a baby boy named Isaac, which means son of laughter. Abraham was 100 years old when his son was born.  At the end of the story, Sarah again laughs.  Unlike the first time, it is a happy laugh. A laugh because God heard the cry of her heart. Her dream had come to pass.

Genesis 21:6 And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!”

One thing I want to point out is that Abraham never doubted that his wife Sarah would give birth to a baby at 90 years of age. I know if it were me, I wouldn’t have believed it.  It does indeed seem unimaginable. It’s hard to wrap my mind around.  And yet he never doubted that it could happen.

Gen 15:5,6 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants youwill have!” And Abram believed the Lord and the Lord counted him righteous because of his faith.

I don’t know what desires or dreams God has put on your heart, but I do know that you can trust him with the details. We can trust him to work things out.  Even with the things that seem impossible or unlikely to happen.  God is faithful and true. He is always keeps his word and we can trust him with all areas our lives. His timing is not always our timing though.  I can think of a few things I need to leave to God, a few things I need to trust him with. How about you?

Jeremiah 32:27 I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of Isreal. Is anything too hard for me?

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.

Mirror, Mirror On My Heart

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Confidence has never been my strong suit.

I had a conversation with a friend a few years back where I shared the reality of my struggle with self-confidence.

I wish I could tell you that this open and vulnerable discussion with a trusted friend initiated a process of healing and that I am now overflowing in confidence. But, that would be a lie.

You see, even a couple of years after that conversation with my friend, the struggle is more real than ever before. When I look in the mirror and ask myself “mirror, mirror on the wall”…this is what I see:

— A woman who often feels like her age far surpasses her achievements and success.

— A woman who often struggles with this mothering thing and her lack of a pinterest-y perfect life for her beautiful family.

— A woman who regrets each time she fails and gives into the chaos of a moment and…yells in frustration at her husband or children.

— A woman who reacts to an offence in a way that is not loving and forgiving.

— A woman who did not finish university because of her fear of failure.

— A woman who is desperately disappointed with the way she looks and merits a few dozen extra pounds as a perfectly good reason to lose worth in the eyes if herself and others.

Despite how completely depleted of confidence I might feel on any given day, this truth remains: God made me who I am—every single detail—and it grieves God when I stand in front of the mirror berating the very person He created me to be.

Instead of, “mirror, mirror on the wall…,” I believe a better question to ask might be, “mirror, mirror, on my heart….” And, when asking myself this important question, I must be prepared to answer in the way that the mirror reflects the love of Jesus that pumps through my veins. It is ONLY because of God and His grace, mercy, and love that I am who I am. Without Him, my life would be but a vapour, enduring an eternity in Hell.

That perspective sort of brings you to your knees with overwhelming gratitude, does it not?

Psalm 139:13-16

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;

you formed me in my mother’s womb.

I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!

Body and soul, I am marvellously made!

I worship in adoration—what a creation!

You know me inside and out,

you know every bone in my body;

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,

how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;

all the stages of my life were spread out before you,

The days of my life all prepared

before I’d even lived one day.

All glory be to God. For His works are made well. Believe it, friend. God made me, and He made you—and we are both made in His image. We are marvellously made indeed.

Prayer and Thanksgiving

Written by: Conny Varga

As our nation soon celebrates its “birthday”, I couldn’t help but think how blessed we are in this country. We have an abundance of food and other material goods, we have the freedom to pursue our dreams without being stifled by a caste system, we have no extreme persecution, our country is not torn by war. The beauty of nature that God has given us here from coast to coast, and the beautiful people we get to share this country with, are all blessings beyond description.

And yet, we can easily fall into the trap of taking all these good things for granted, to start complaining about the weather, our income, our neighbours, or the government. Many of us are “back-seat drivers” when it comes to politics, and many a time we think we can solve the world’s problems around the dinner table. For sure, we could run this country better than Prime Minister So-and-So! This must have been a common human behaviour for millennia, since the apostle Paul saw it fit to address this issue in his first letter to Timothy:

“I urge, then, all, that petitions first of, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:1-4)

He instructs all to intercede and be thankful for all people – including our government. Ouch! That is something I definitely don’t remember to do often enough! How different our country might be if we all took this seriously. What would or could change, if we started to pray for all leaders, great or small, good or bad, and truly asked God to bless them, working on their lives, changing their hearts and minds if necessary to see His Truth and live according to it? What if we gave thanks for the authorities over us and showed our appreciation for them? What if the welfare of our country was on our regular list of “prayer requests”? The Bible tells us that it is God Who places rulers into their positions – and removes them as He sees fit – and that He accomplishes His plan through the authorities in this world.

When we fall into the habit of complaining about the rulers over us, but forget to pray for them, we are not helping matters and are, in fact, griping about God’s design and plan.

This holiday weekend, let’s take the time to stop and pray for our government and all the authorities God has placed over us, thanking Him for each one of them – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and praying for their realization and acknowledgement of the Truth, and the welfare of our country.

May we join in the prayer that has become the last stanza of our national anthem:

 

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,

Hold our Dominion within thy loving care;

Help us to find, O God, in thee

A lasting, rich reward,

As waiting for the better Day,

We ever stand on guard.

God keep our land glorious and free!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

 

May we always bring our government, our country, and the welfare of the people before God, thanking Him for all the blessings and asking for His grace upon us.

Blink

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Well, the day has come.  My firstborn son graduates from high school today.  He has grown to be a fine young gentleman and is about to fly from my nest.  In fact, this baby bird will fly very far from my nest; three provinces away to pursue his post-secondary training in youth ministry.  I am so proud of who he has become and I am excited for where God wants to take him.  My husband and I have parented him to the best of our abilities, seeking God’s direction at every turn and I think we have done a good job.  It has taken time and effort, but the reward is priceless.

Yet a part of me is saddened at how quickly it has all gone.  I remember the moment he was born and calming him in my arms.  I remember the first time he said “mum-mum” and took his first steps.  I remember teaching him to swim and read his beginner books.  I remember attending his countless ballgames and school speech competitions.  I remember the first time he drove out of my driveway with his brother in tow.  I blinked and he became a man.

Sometimes it feels like he has been around forever and other times it feels like he still needs hot milk before bed.  It reminds me so clearly of what the Bible says about our lives in James 4:14. “What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  Rather sobering, yet incredibly inspiring!

Time is short, but life is wonderful.  I have cherished every moment I have had with both my children.  With my husband.  With my family and friends.  With my coworkers.  I have looked to make every moment count and count for Christ.  Life isn’t always easy, but it is to be celebrated.  The tough times grow us into who we are meant to be and the good times are the icing on the cake!

So, as I watch my big guy walk across the stage tonight and grab his high school diploma I celebrate all the little moments that have brought us to this big moment.  I am excited for his future and what he will accomplish.  I am curious to see the connections he will make with others and the moments that will come to define him.  I am looking forward to who he finds as his wife and the little bambinos that will follow.  Life keeps getting better and better.

Tonight, I will be sure not to blink!  I don’t want to miss this important moment in the mist!

The Journey Of Peace

Written by: Jody Mugford

Have you ever met someone that smiles through heartbreak and sleeps soundly at night even while chaos abounds?  I certainly have and for many years these people baffled me.  They have a calm composure which doesn’t line up with the reality around them.  In the past, I’ve felt the need to reiterate the seriousness of the circumstance and remind them of what is on the line, as if to wake them up!  The truth is, I wasn’t giving these warnings for their benefit.  I was saying them for me.  I didn’t want to feel so alone in my panic and desperation.  I didn’t want to be reminded of the peace I was so obviously lacking by comparison.

By God’s grace, I have learned a few things about peace over the last couple of years.  The truth is that real peace, unfailing peace, cannot be manufactured.  It can’t be fabricated or mustered up from our own inner strength.  Genuine peace, the kind that prevails in the face of pain, uncertainty, and disappointment, comes through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us.  Having grown up in church, I had heard about this “peace that passes all understanding” most of my life.  But it felt like a vague, abstract concept; one that others testified about but something of which I had no personal experience.  It wasn’t until God allowed me to be stripped of all control and certainty that I began to grasp the truth about HIS peace.

One of the biggest things I learned about God’s peace was a concept that surprised me but proved to be true in my life.  Maybe this may resonate with others as well.  This was the realization that peace may not come instantly.  I thought that God’s presence and peace should flood my spirit in difficult times, without much effort on my part.  God has been gracious enough to show me that since I had little experience learning to hear His voice or sense the genuine presence of His Spirit, I had difficulty becoming aware of His peace.  It’s not that it wasn’t there. It definitely was and it is available to all who believe.  It was more so as if the Holy Spirit was on one radio frequency and I was on another. The peace and presence was there for me, if I learned how to adjust the dial and tune in.  When my husband and I were crying out to God to not let our daughter die, you’d think I would have sensed God’s presence…but I didn’t. At that time, all I felt was fear and panic. I recognized that, despite all my years following Jesus, I didn’t know His voice well enough to hear Him clearly during difficult times.  He was there that day and His peace was available but I didn’t know how to recognize it or lean on it.  As I dove into His Word and spent time in His presence, I began to learn what the Holy Spirit feels like and sounds like to me. I started to differentiate Him from my own chaotic thoughts.  It took time and practice!

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27

Another thing I learned is that, the more I was spending time in God’s presence and sensing the Holy Spirit minister to me in my heartache, the more I also sensed Him pruning me.  As He filled me up with more of Him, there was less room in my life for junk. I stopped wanting to watch certain TV shows, have certain conversations, or entertain certain attitudes.  My appetite for things that were not pleasing to God decreased as I let Him continue to work in my heart.  He didn’t want to simply give me peace.  He wanted to clean my heart so He could pour His Spirit on me daily, in ways I could experience – peace, love, joy, patience, and more!  In order to do that, I had to become a cleaner vessel through which He could operate.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

Another truth I learned makes my heart fill with joy.  It is the truth that, with God, there is always more to learn and experience!  I’ve been amazed at the depth of God.  He has never-ending mysteries that He reveals to those that seek Him.  The deeper you go, the more fascinating and exciting He gets!  The more He reveals to our hearts, the more we sense His presence, His peace, and His direction.  It’s like a bottomless pool of discovery and it is anything but boring or predictable!

“Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  Jeremiah 33:3

So, I’ve come to realize that those people in my life that didn’t panic when I thought they “should”, were not “out of touch with reality”.  They deliberately chose to put their trust in their beloved Father.  Because of their trust, their closeness with Him, and their heart being “tuned in” to His presence, they experience His peace.  It truly is a peace that goes beyond understanding and logic.  It’s a supernatural, overwhelming reassurance that cannot be duplicated by anything in this world.  And it’s available to all of us!  His arms are open for us to run to Him to discover all that He has for us!  How amazing!  Friends, let’s not waste another day being ruled by our stresses and fears.  Let’s start running to the One who has unending riches of joy and peace!

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”  Romans 8:6

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  Romans 15:13

Love and blessings,

Jody

HE’S BEHIND THE WHEEL

Written by: Christianne Williams

Something that has terrified me since the moment I became a parent happened last week.  My  eldest son wrote and passed the learners test.  Yes,  I now have a student driver.  I’m actually getting off easily  because in the province in which we reside the age to get your learners is fourteen so I could have two and the Lord knows I’m not ready  for that.

About an hour after I received the text from him that he was now legal, and also requesting his first driving lesson, he arrived at my place of employment with his father.  He was wearing his aviator sunglasses, hat turned backwards, jingling the keys, and let’s not forget the huge smile.  My husband was pale faced and I tried to see past his wide eyes and gritted teeth as he said our son was a ‘decent’ driver.

Our first born was overjoyed at his newfound independence, even if it meant his parents were tagging along everywhere he wanted to drive for the next twelve months.  It was also the first time I didn’t hear how uncool our minivan was.  It’s amazing how those things become insignificant when it’s the only mode of transportation that will get you from your learners to your official license.

I’m not sure how it happened but I became the one who was volun-told to accompany this new licensed youth on most trips, and honestly I’m happy about that.  It’s the best we’ve gotten along ever!  It’s great!  I sit in the passenger seat, prattling on about how soon he should stop at stop signs, how he should always remember shoulder checks, and who can forget, “Watch your speed!”  One night last week, instead of turning toward home he turned toward the highway.  I asked him what he was doing and he basically told me he was tired of doing 50km/h and felt he should tackle the highway.

I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit panic stricken at the thought and tried to no avail to get him to reconsider.  Before I knew it we were hurtling down the highway toward Edmonton doing 110km/h.  I honestly had no clue that our van was capable of reaching that speed in so little time.  I held on to my door handle, and smiled, my teeth gritted.  I resisted the urge to grab hold of the wheel to help him out.  The whole experience didn’t last long, he signalled onto the range road that brought us back into town and I looked over at him, proud as I could be.

I realized just how proud I was of him.  He is a confident, and capable young man, and a really good driver I might add!

What does this have to do with anything?  Well, sometimes life feels like we’re hurtling down the highway, going well over the speed limit, no exit in sight.  It feels like our life is in the hands of a new driver, someone who can’t be trusted to read the signs and make the turns.  It seems like things are just out of control, like we’re not even on the right road and there isn’t any where to turn it around.  We dig our nails into the door and smile with gritted teeth, all the while in our head we’re wondering, ‘God where are you in all of this?’

Though we tend to make the primary characters in the biblical story, I am oft compelled to wonder if they ever asked the same question? Abraham while waiting for his promised son? Joseph while in a hole in the ground for two years? Moses while a fugitive on the backside of the desert? The disciples while fighting for the lives in a storm on the sea? Paul when he was beaten and left for dead by his own countrymen? Could it be possible when faced with such “out of control” circumstances, they too wondered? Of course, we have the advantage as Paul Harvey would say, to know the “rest of the story”!

 

The beautiful thing is, He is the one behind the wheel.  Isaiah reminds us that, “The Lord of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” and Psalm 118:6 reminds us that, “The Lord is on my side…” Knowing this, the best thing for us to do is not grab hold of the wheel, but give him complete control, allow him to take you down the road, following the right route and making the appropriate turns.  So, relax and enjoy the scenery, chat with Him about the journey, listen to the songs He sings over us, anything but take control.

Words

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

Luke 6:45 “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Words. The things that we say. It’s been a recurring theme lately in my life. Especially in the last week or so. It’s an area where the Lord is dealing with my heart. How many times when we have been hurt have we lashed out and said something in return just as hurtful? I think that this is especially true if it’s someone we are close to. Maybe it is a friend. Perhaps it’s our child or our spouse. I think it is human nature to want to defend ourselves. But then we end up causing more hurt, more pain. And the thing is…once those words are spoken out loud, they can’t be taken back. We can’t just shove them back in our mouths like we never said them. They are forever engraved upon the heart of the person they were spoken to.

Our words can bring life or death. They can heal or destroy. Tear down or restore. Bless or curse. I am sure all of us can think back to a time where someone said something damaging to us and years later we still remember. It can shape who we are, and who we become. I remember things said to me by some bullies in the classroom when I was twelve years old. Thirty five years later. Because words have a way of sticking.

We learn in the book of James that if we could control our tongue we would be perfect and would be able to control all the other areas our lives.

James 3: 2 (Msg ) We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person in perfect control of life.

Proverbs 17:27,28

A truly wise person uses few words. A person with understanding is even tempered. Even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent. With their mouths shut they seem intelligent.( I love that last part!)

This week, I am ashamed to say that I failed miserably in that area. I was on the receiving end of someone’s frustration, and when I was attacked and treated unjustly, I reacted. When the words spoken to me were mean and hateful, I responded out of emotion. I blurted out what I was feeling in that moment because I was deeply hurt. Then I ran off and cried my heart out in the laundry room. I cried over the things spoken to me, but especially the things I said in return.

I think at times it is better just to be silent. Zip the lip and not say anything in return. Even though on the inside we are hurt or angry, or feel unjustly treated. When we in turn respond in anger, things will get worse, emotions will escalate and get out of hand. There is a saying I heard in our small group some time ago that I reminded of. “Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two lefts do.” Pastor Andy Smith,

Perhaps the best thing to do is walk away.

1 Thessalonians 5:15

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to be good to each other and to all people.

I was thinking about Jesus. Is he not the greatest example of this? When the leading pastors and elders of his time made their accusations against him, what did he do? He remained silent. He didn’t try to justify himself or prove his innocence. Would we be able to do the same if we were misunderstood or under attack from our Pastors and those in authority? Jesus knew when to be quiet.

Matthew 27:12-14 But when the leading priests and elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to the charges much to the governor’s surprise.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

In life there are going to be times when people say things to us that we will want to respond to. Maybe there is someone intentionally trying to get us riled up to get a reaction from us. What should our response be? What does the bible say about this?

2 Timothy 2:23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.

Life and death are in the tongue. Oh that we would choose life!

In God We….Trust?!

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Recently, I was thinking about something that I have been praying about for quite a while and was having difficulty understanding why it was taking God so long to at least acknowledge that He heard my request…

Why do we find it so difficult to trust God?

This morning, I stepped into the shower without fear. I believed that the water would be both clean and warm. I never worried that the water was contaminated, never worried that the water would cause me disease or physical harm, and never worried that the temperature would be so hot that it would scald or burn my skin. I simply trusted that the water would serve its purpose and warmly cleanse my body— as it does every day.

When I jumped into my minivan to travel to the cafe where I am writing these thoughts, I did not even think twice about whether the tires supporting the van would safely get me here. I simply trusted they would fulfill their purpose and keep me safe— as they always have.

A few years ago we learned my youngest son is very allergic to peanuts. While I diligently read every single food product label before giving him anything at all to eat, I can’t help but recognize the fact that I place a great deal of trust in the companies that manufacture those product labels. I trust that they are diligent in acknowledging every single ingredient that they include inside that packaging.

When I put money into the bank that I have chosen to service my accounts, I trust that the bank will keep it’s commitment to keep my money safe and sound until I chose to withdraw it or use it. The bank has never stolen any money from me, nor has it given me any reason not to trust it’s promises to remain morally upright. I simply trust them.

So, again, why is it so difficult to trust God?

My wise friend recently shared a very simple but incredibly true statement: Learning to trust God is a journey

Trusting God is not something that happens overnight. God is so very intentional with how He guides us and teaches us to trust Him. It doesn’t take me very long to think of the many ways in which God has proven His faithfulness and sovereignty in my life. Sometimes God has intervened in big, memorable ways— other times He has knocked on my heart in more subtle and quiet ways. But, the part to really make mention of, is the fact that I can not think of one single time that I have called on God and He has not answered. Sure, the answer might not have come as quickly as I wanted. And, sure, the answer may not have been exactly the solution I was seeking. But, God has always, always been faithful to answer me when I call on His name.

1 John 5:13-15 

My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.

It really boils down to you and me. Are we willing to make the choice to pursue a life devoted to trusting in God and His perfect ways— to acknowledge both the subtle answers to prayer, as well as the big, memorable ways in which God’s presence is made known in our lives? As we choose to find the unique ways in which God speaks to us, I believe we will truly embark on a trust in God that is so much more than intentional— but instinctive.

It’s My Right!

Written by: Conny Varga

Recently I was reminded of the story of a missionary who spent decades reaching out to a cannibal/head-hunter tribe half-way around the globe. He shared a fascinating experience known as “The Pineapple Story”, in which he had to learn the hard lesson of giving his rights of ownership to God.

In the story, the missionary planted a pineapple garden, only to find that as soon as the pineapples were getting ripe, the natives would come at night and steal them; he didn’t get to taste a single one. Angry and frustrated, and selfishly wanting the pineapples for himself, he tried everything to get the natives to learn the lesson that stealing is wrong. And still the natives kept stealing the pineapples.

Then one day, the missionary stumbled upon the biblical concept that we must give everything we own to God. According to the Bible, if we give, we will have; if we keep for ourselves, we will lose. If we give our things to God, He will see that we have enough (e.g. Matt. 16:25). Suddenly it clicked in his mind – he had fought for that pineapple garden tooth and nail, to no avail, thinking he had the right to own and eat the pineapples. With that realization, he decided to give the garden to God, and if God wanted to bless him with pineapples, great; but if not, he would be content with that as well.

A little while later, the natives started noticing the change in his behaviour. They noticed that he wasn’t getting angry with them any more for stealing the pineapples, and they became curious. In their mind, the missionary had now become a Christian, because he was loving them instead of being angry with them, and “practicing what he preached”. When they heard that he had given the pineapples to God, they became afraid because they had noticed a change in their villages. Their hunting had become fruitless; their babies were getting sick; their wives were not getting pregnant; things were going badly in every way.  And so they stopped stealing the pineapples! But even better than that, they started believing in God and coming to faith in Christ! All because one man learned the lesson of giving up everything to God.

Another missionary, Jim Elliot, put it this way: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

What pineapples are growing in your garden? What do you think you have to hold on to and fight for? What gets you fired up? Is it your possessions or money, your job, your family and friends, your health, your reputation, your time and hobbies, your plans for the future? The Bible is clear that God wants us to let go of it all. He is the proper and rightful owner of everything, even our very lives. But somehow, we deceive ourselves into thinking that we can walk through life tight-fisted and entitled to what we have or want.

Let’s learn a lesson from this missionary and give our pineapples to God. Let us intentionally choose to open our hands and let go, so we can become channels of blessings to the people around us. God will honour that choice and bring glory to His Name by transforming us and impacting others through us in a positive Christ-honouring way.