Disciples

Disciples

The time has come!

After a year of work, the date is drawing close for the publication and launch of my new book!

Entitled Disciples, it is the second in the series God’s People, and follows Witnesses which was published last year.

The official launch is in Johannesburg on Saturday 15 October, when locally printed books will be available.  I plan to launch it through Amazon both as a print book and an e-book sometime around the same date.

Here is the cove2016-09-09-11-22-57r.  It describes the story well.  Much of it takes place in Israel when each disciple tells of an experience during their time with Jesus.

Have you ever wondered how they were affected by the years they spent with Him – not as holy disciples, but as men?  What did it mean to them?  Did they understand what He said?  Did they have an inside line on what was happening?

Many of the Gospel stories are familiar to us.  But everyone in these stories was a real person.  What happened behind the scenes in their hearts and minds as they tried to assimilate what was going on?

Disciples explores their stories, and is an imaginative account of what may have happened to each one as they tell a story dear to their heart.

But there is a modern story too.  Twelve men attend a camp with their families.  On the Saturday night they are asked to draw the name of a disciple and, using Scriptures that mention that disciple, are invited to tell their disciple’s story.

In the Prologue the narrator tells us:51z0e7oq2bjl

It would just be a pleasant weekend away.  Or so I thought … but God had other plans …

 The story tellers discover truths about themselves as they tell their stories – and lives are changed as God moves among them.

My prayer for everyone who reads Disciples, and its sequel Witnesses, is that they may encounter the Gospel stories with fresh insight and that God may use the
books to draw people closer to Him than before.

I believe the stories are not mine.  Sometimes they flow from my pen so that I only understand what I have written when I read them through. Phrases will run through my mind until I have to write them down and the stories tell themselves.

As I pick up my pen to write, I imagined I knew where the story was going
but there are many times when I have said, together with the narrator in Disciples:

Or so I thought … but God had other plans …

 

You are Invited

Peter was walking on the water, but began to sink:

Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and caught him:  ‘You of little faith,’ He said, ‘why did you doubt?’  Matthew 14:31

Today you are invited to consider where you are doubting God.  Where is God asking you to get out of the boat and walk on water?  What is so big in your life that you are doubtful God can deal with it?  What makes you doubt?  How can God help you so that you can trust Him, even in this?  Speak to Him about what lies ahead of you – or what you are dealing with right now.  Tell Him your doubts and fears.  Ask Him for His reassurance.  Then go through today with your eyes fixed firmly on Him, no matter the strength of the wind or the size of the waves.  At the end of the day, look back.  How did you manage in the storm, with Jesus just ahead of you?

May God bless you with a sense of His guidance today as you deal with the storms in your life and you walk on the waves.

You are Invited

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

Today you are invited to consider how you use Scripture.  How often do you use it for your own personal growth?  When do you use it to encourage, correct, rebuke or train someone else in righteousness?  What does that mean to you?  How does that make you feel?  What happens when someone quotes Scripture to you to make you stop and think?  How do they do that for you to accept what they are saying?  How do they do it to make you resentful?  How do you need to change your own use of Scripture when talking to others?  Ask God to who you when, how and with whom you need to speak Scripture in the days ahead.

May God bless you as you turn to His Word to live your own life by His precepts and to encourage others to do the same.

You are Invited

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  Exodus 3:13

Today you are invited to consider what God is asking you to do that stretches you beyond your comfort zone.  How are you responding?  Are you at peace about saying “no” or “but” to God, or does the idea keep running around in your mind?  What do you need to do to take the first step to carry out what God is asking of you?  What would you like God to do to help you to move forward?  Spend some time discussing this with Him today.  Give Him the time to reply to you.  What is He saying?

May God bless you with courage as you turn to face whatever ‘Pharaoh’ He is asking you to tackle today.

 

You are Invited

(God) is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.  Deuteronomy 32:4

Today you are invited to consider how these words apply to your world.  Where can you see evidence of God’s strength, perfection, and justice?  How does He show you that He is upright and just?  What is happening in your world that may make you question this verse?  Lift any situations to God today where you find it difficult to see such attributes being evident.  Ask God to help you to see where He is working, even in the most difficult situations – and then spend some time in praise as you give each situation to Him – whether you have seen Him in them or not – for He is the Rock and His plan is good.

May God bless you with clear vision and new understanding today.

You are Invited

My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching Proverbs 6:20

Today you are invited to consider what your parents mean to you.  How easy or difficult do you find it to respect them and follow their lead?  Why do you respond in this way?  What do you want to say to God about your reply?  If you have a good relationship with your parents, praise God for them. Then tell them what they mean to you, whether they are still alive or not.  If you have a difficult relationship or no relationship at all with your parents, how can God help you?  How can God be Parent to you today?  What do you want to say to Him about this?  Listen to His reply.

May God bless you as you spend time with Him today and may you be aware of His love for you, His child.

The Play – Part 2

The play continued.  I had been shaken at the end of the morning to hear God speak so directly to me.  We broke for lunch and enjoyed out picnic under the trees, but each mouthful was a reminder of God’s question to me : What else do you have for me …?.  After we had eaten and reassembled at the next scene the play continued – but God was not finished with me yet …

The Play : Part 2

He was a man.  I kept telling myself.  Just a man – like I am an ordinary woman.  He was human, fallible – just a talented actor.

As he spoke to the crowd, dressed in their long, colourful robes across the small stream; as he was standing in the boat on the small lake before us, turned toward the cast, I was comfortable, watching the play being enacted in front of me.

He was speaking his part.  Just words.  Familiar words.  He quoted from the Gospel of Luke as he taught the cast the Beatitudes.  I listened, easy with their familiarity.

Then, rocking the boat slightly, but confident in his well-practiced movements, he turned.  And faced us, the audience.  And paused for a beat then continued “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

And I heard the words in my heart.  Watching, somewhat confused at the apparent breakthrough of God from time to time, I continued to remind myself that this was an actor – but he was reciting Scripture with a simplicity and authenticity, and , at times I heard a deeper dimension that just a man playing a part.

The story moved on.  And so did the audience to another place and another scene.  We knew it well, those who watched that day.  The raising of Lazarus, the turning of the tables in the temple, the arrest, the trial and then – the actor took up the wooden cross and began to carry it, up the valley, up the hill.  He stumbled and fell to his knees, rose and struggled on.  I watched in growing dread as it became apparent that the action would move again and we would need to follow up the hill, to the scene of the crucifixion.

Just as the crowd lined the streets in Jerusalem and watched and followed Jesus up the Via Dolorosa, so we watched and then, gathering bags, blankets and chairs we rose in near silence and followed the actor up the hill.

How would I have felt if I had followed up that first hill – up to Calvary?  Would my heart be full of sorrow and horror as it was now, I asked myself?  Or would I have been one of those who came forward our of the crowd, out of the audience, and cried “Crucify?”

I needed to be alone for the next scene; I could not watch – and for once I wished I could not hear.  Even on a stage, with ordinary men, it was too much to bear.

It is finished – and the man was taken down and placed in a tomb, where women brought jars of ointments and herbs.

And the sun came out, after a day of light rain – the tomb was found to be empty and the sun shone on the scene.  Mary grieved and, from an undefined place, her name was spoken. She swung around to find the speaker – as did we.

There he was.  High on the hill behind us, his startling white robe in sharp contrast to the green of the trees behind him.

He’s just a man, I remind myself again.  Yet as he came down the hill he spoke to us all.

“May you be one as the Father and I are one …” and again I heard the voice of God in my heart.  This was Jesus’ prayer so long ago for those who followed Him.  This is Jesus’ prayer for us today.

Yes, he was just a man, this actor.  But through His voice I heard the voice of God.

“Do you have any food?

Blessed are the peacemakers …

May you be one as the Father and I are one.

I need to ponder these things…