Saturday, December 31, 2011


'Therefore, since we have this ministry... we do not give up... For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ'. 2 Cor. 4:1, 6. 

Do not give up in this new year, even though you may feel overwhelmed by the many unknowns you are facing. God will shine His light on 2012!

In the next couple of days, I will be posting further thoughts on the light that God provides for the path set before us.

Friday, December 23, 2011

His Gift

His Gift

Eternity rang
As God delivered His gift
From heaven’s splendor
To earth’s clay:
Demons trembled
Angels sang
A mother smiled
A baby cried out.

Eternity quaked
As God delivered His gift
From heaven’s mercy
To earth’s cross:
Angels trembled
Demons smiled
The Father turned away
A mother cried out. 

Eternity thundered
As God delivered His gift
From earth’s tomb
To heaven’s victory:
A mother trembled
The Father smiled
Angels sang
Demons cried out.

Eternity resounded
As God delivered His gift
From earth’s mortality
To heaven’s glory:
Demons trembled
Angels sang
The Son smiled
Man cried out.

God delivered man
His gift.

© Words: Avril VanderMerwe 2004
Photograph: Avril VanderMerwe 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011



Easily captivated
By a Glory
Whose radiance washes
All other worlds sallow,
And swallows my sight,
And strikes a sound
That sets my heart
Afire with hunger,
And ravishes my breath
And rends my speech
With worship that words
Serve but wanly to express;
All Your own: I surrender –
But oh!
To be consumed!

© 2011 Avril VanderMerwe

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In Season

     “What’s the point?” Have you ever asked this question in relation to experiences you’ve been through, or circumstances that have come your way – especially those that have felt like detours, distractions and disruptions in your life?
     Here in the northwestern United States, summer weather seemed painfully slow in arriving this year. We ached for warm weather after the prolonged winter, many of us wondering why winter lingered so long. It was therefore a relief that the first two weeks of September remained warm, blessing us with gorgeous weather and spectacular sunsets. Now, however, there is no doubt that autumn has taken center stage, edging summer back into the wings. In spite of summer’s late arrival this year, I have heard many Seattle natives express their readiness to embrace the season’s autumnal change.
     Seasons in our lives change also. Sometimes those changes are as startling as a sudden heat wave or cold snap. At other times the shift is more subtle, and it takes time for us to realize that a transition has taken place. There may be times when a hard season seems unduly prolonged, leaving us wondering as to the purpose of it all. Or perhaps we find ourselves in a transition that seems abrupt and painful, leaving us feeling dislocated and lost, longing for the return of a season that has past. At other times it is only when we have moved out of a season that we wonder what it was even for.
     “What’s the point of it all?” we ask. Was it a detour? A mistake? A misdirect? Sometimes we discard it as a fragment in our lives that was perhaps, after all, irrelevant to the rest.
       Yet no matter how it may feel sometimes, just like the seasons of the natural world, one season in our lives is not severed or disconnected from or unrelated to, another. Each is connected to those that came before, and those yet to come. It is all part of a continuous whole – a whole that God has designed in the pattern of our lives, each part completely necessary. 
     Have you ever seen a large mosaic, like the mosaic walls and floors that were built during the time of the Roman Empire? If you had to walk up to a mosaic design, and press your nose against just one mosaic tile until it was the only one you could see, it would seem meaningless and pointless: a small, bland tile with no bearing on anything.
     But viewed in the context of the whole picture, each piece of mosaic is essential to the whole – if any small piece was missing, the picture would be incomplete. 
       In the same way, each season of our lives is absolutely necessary to the next one, and to the whole design of our lives. Sometimes our view of life is so consumed by one season, or by even just a part of it, that we are unable to see its place and purpose in the whole scope of our lives. Yet from the perspective of the One who is the Creator of the detailed, intricate, exquisite picture, not a single piece of it is wasted or superfluous.
     Each season bears a “fullness” of its own – even those that, like winter, seem to be full only of waiting. It is in the seasons of waiting that we learn complete dependence on God, rather than reliance on our personal competency.
     In South Africa there lies a semi-arid region called the Namaqualand. For much of the year, the region is dry, and vegetation sparse. Then, once a year, for a very short period, a small amount of rain falls – and the land blooms with a riot of color in every direction as far as the eye can see. In all those months of waiting under the soil, those shriveled little seeds, so rich with potential, could not squeeze out a single flower by their own efforts. They have to wait for the rain upon which they are so dependent. Their “job” during that time, is… to wait!
     It is the waiting that produces the fruitfulness of the season to come. The fullness of the next season is a consequence of the season before. Through our own seasons of waiting, we are positioned to give God full access to our lives: to His reign over our lives, and to the life-giving rain of His Spirit poured out in His season – for the purpose of great fruitfulness.

Isaiah 45:8
“You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.”

Ezekiel 34:26
“I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.”

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Leaping Up Mountains

Several months have passed since I last posted on this blog. Life in the intervening time seems to have been consumed with negotiating hazards, overcoming obstacles and recovering from the resulting exhaustion!

Have you ever felt thwarted and bewildered by life’s circumstances? Sorrow at lost opportunity and the seeming death of your dreams? Confused as to what God is saying and what His purposes are in the midst of it all? You are not alone! The book of Habakkuk records one man’s conversation with God, as he struggles to understand life’s events and God’s role and purposes in them. All Habakkuk could see was the prevailing devastation around him, and the seeming triumph of the enemy. Discouragement and bewilderment had seized his heart and depleted his emotional, mental, spiritual and physical energies. Surely you and I can relate!

Now Habakkuk waits for God to answer for Himself – and God graciously does so! In the second interchange between them, God begins with these words to Habakkuk: “Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late. Look, his (the enemy’s) ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith” (Hab. 2:2-4 – Holman Christian Standard Bible).

What has happened to your God-given vision? Has it been grounded on the sandbar of adversity, seemingly broken and lost and forgotten there? God has not abandoned His vision for you and I. Have you, like God encouraged Habakkuk to do, written down your God-given vision as a reminder? It is neither lost nor delayed, but is biding His time – His absolutely, unfailingly perfect time! As His people, we do not live on the basis of what we see in the natural, but rather on the basis of what we know by faith! And we know this: our faith is not in the vision itself, but in the God who gave it in the first place!

Habakkuk was faced with a choice: he could either respond to this Divine word, or he could continue to be upset with life in general and God in particular! His response is recorded in Habakkuk 4:17-19: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Yahweh the Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

“Though I can’t see any visible means of sustaining life or any possible way of going another step further,” says Habakkuk, “Yet I will be triumphant through rejoicing in the God in whom I have absolute faith, the only One through whom I am saved and sustained through these circumstances. His strength so ignites and revitalizes me, that I can conquer the highest mountain!”
You and I too, can choose to either give up, fold our arms, and wait for something positive to come along to make us smile again - or we can choose to declare the Word of faith, and rejoice in the faithful One who has given it.

The vision is not lost – its Divinely appointed time is coming; faith is our victory; joy is our strength!

The take-away for you and I today is: Live by faith in the Giver of the vision; triumph through rejoicing in the midst of the circumstances!