Heaven on Earth

Written by M. Larson

devo-interact-icon-42x42Are you totally discouraged with your situation in life? We can listen to you and pray for you.

Mary Slessor, the courageous red-haired missionary who became known as the “White Queen of the Cannibals,” wrote home to friends in Scotland about the victorious life of a native woman in Africa: “She is so poor that she has not one farthing in this world but what she gets from us, not a creature to do a thing for her, her house all open to rain and ruin, and into which the cows rush at times. But blind Mary [the native woman] is our living, bright, clear light.”

The chief of the village told Mary Slessor that this woman was the only visible witness among the church members in the town, but he added, “She is a proper one!”

“Far advanced in spiritual knowledge and experience, she knows the deep things of God,” said Mary. “That old hut is like a heaven here to more than me.”

Just think about being blind and desperately poor, of having cows stomp through your house before you realize what is happening, of having rain and dirt sweep in at will! If anyone had reason to be bitter or complain or think ill thoughts, this woman did.

But according to Mary, “Her voice is set to music, a miracle to the people here who know only how to groan and grumble. She is ever praising the Lord and her testimony to the Savior is not a shabby one.”

It is apparent that this admirable African woman meditated on God and His Word day and night. It was her very life. How else could she have lived with such joy under such deplorable circumstances?

It’s remarkable that this dedicated servant of God, Mary Slessor, found joy and refreshment in that blind woman’s tumbled-down hut–“like a heaven here to more than me,” she wrote.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our homes could be like heaven on earth not only for us, but for our families as well as visitors? We can’t arbitrarily change the lives of those around us; but we can allow the Lord to transform our lives as He did blind Mary’s. Certainly if the Lord would do it for her, He could do it for us too. Then who knows? Perhaps our beautiful testimony would reach out and influence and lift the members of our family, church, and community, just as that of blind Mary’s did.

My mother told me of how her mother, who was beset by troubles, used to comfort herself by singing gospel hymns as she bent over her scrub-board for hours washing clothes for well-to-do people. She was trying to keep her mind off her troubles and on the precious promises of God. Not many of us go around singing the old hymns these days, do we? Perhaps if we did, they would help lift our minds to the same high plane on which Blind Mary lived!

The Apostle Paul knew what he was saying when he kept telling his fellow Christians, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice.”

Questions: What hinders you from rejoicing in the Lord?  How  do you respond when financial troubles arise? What could you start doing on a regular basis to help remind yourself to rejoice in the Lord continually?

About the Author Muriel Larson

15 Responses to “Heaven on Earth”

  • kanj says:

    Only me, myself and I could hinder from rejoicing in the Lord. I, we all, have a choice. As for financial troubles past or present, in the negative or the positive I was/am still blessed. I managed without and don’t look at anything differently with. As I go about each day, I do my best to ‘feel’ it within and thank the Lord for each and everything that touches my life. And then sometimes, I let it ‘slip’ away only to realize later that I had forgotten the most important task and on top of thanking the Lord, I ask for forgiveness in forgetting to thank Him when I should have. I know that may seem a tad im-mature but then again, I am still a toddler, I am still learning to take that step without always landing two steps back.
    As for the reminder to rejoice in the Lord, I am saddened to say that it is going to church on a regualar basis is what I could and should be doing, which I am not.
    Thank you Muriel for this devotional. You and the Lord have stirred me today.

  • Andi says:

    Trisha, I believe you are grappling w/a basic fact of life: that most of it is truly out of our control. Just last Friday I was in emerg as they worked to keep my air-ways open. God has shown me over the years that we are always simply one heart beat, one breath away from HIM and eternity.
    There is a healthy balance of trust, hope, expectation from HIM for our future AND yet HE expects us to do our best on the human level to work and move in life’s difficult situations. Stress like it or not is a result;
    but what we choose to do w/that stress is the important issue.
    Seems you are doing ALL that you can on the human level, working 3 jobs. May HE bless you for this and open the windows of heaven to meet your needs and even some of your heart desires. May HE bless you w/HIS deep and everlasting peace and joy as you seek HIS will and call upon HIM regarding all the Promises HE has for HIS kids in HIS Holy Word. I pray you keep standing w/HIM as your focus and reason. Be blessed

  • Trisha says:

    i like reading Psalm 119 bec it basically covers everything for me. Also the scriptures commanding us to be “anxious for NOTHING!” and of course the one about the “lilies of the field” and the sparrows in the book of Matthew. When it comes to finances slowly dwindling down, working 3 jobs to make ends meet, it is a hard thing to NOT be concerned about it yet, by worrying, i only show the LORD i am not trusting and believing in HIM. For me, this is a sin i don’t want to be obsessed with. Acceptance is the key and to raise up my hands unto the One who creates every situation for His purposes. It’s very hard for me to accept things just the way they are esp, when they are so much out of my control.

  • Carol says:

    Thanks for your enspiring devotional. We are so blessed & loved & given grace by out Lord. Even in our difficult circumstances our joy comes from knowing who is really in control & focusing on our savior.

  • Cathy says:

    Great devotional and very inspiring examples on what should be our true focus. Need to keep remembering that as my husband and I are going through big decisions and changes.

  • Andi says:

    Amen to that dr. Muriel re being alone.

  • Dr. Muriel Larson says:

    Cheryl dear–You might like to read about how I stepped out by faith to serve the Lord as a Christian free-lance writer. I have on my website “Stepping Out By Faith,” listed along with about 150 of my other helpful articles that are published with their links. On my bio I share what the Lord has done with my life since I turned it all over to Him. Here’s my site: http://AdviceDrMuriel.blogspot.com
    Some of those articles might be helpful to you in your present circumstances. Also an article I wrote about Mary Slessor’s life is listed there with its site.
    Cheryl, I have lived alone for some years now, but when we have our Lord Jesus with us, we are not alone. And if we are busy serving Him, being alone doesn’t concern us much. At least it doesn’t concern me–I like it! Gives me more time to serve the Lord!
    Life isn’t ended yet. Go on and live it for Jesus!

  • David says:

    This devotional spoke to my heart as I find myself struggling with what I perceive as difficult financial problems. Although my problems are large and complex I am working on accepting that I have been blessed by God with abundance that is so great in comparison to the story of this amazing blind woman. Her ability to find peace and God’s grace in her circumstances is is so inspiring. I pray today for gratitude.

  • Andi says:

    You are right that it is good we have scripture stored up in our hearts and minds. Having difficulty w/memorizing I LOVE to sing scripture songs. Putting the words to a tune helps to remember the words…..even though my voice is old and cracked it is wonderful to praise HIM this way. LOL…..somewhere from when it leaves the lips HE must change the sound as we know our praises are beautiful to HIS ears. Praise HIM

  • cheryl says:

    Thank you for this devotional. Dr.Muriel, I’ve never read Mary Slessor’s biography. What book would you suggest ? My house is just for sleeping in since my son and daughter are living on their own now…too big, can’t afford upkeep; soon it will be time to care for my parents. Life is hard when I’m alone; and God has given me the desire to help others. Just need a little room to live in like “blind Mary”.I’m working on downsizing like Andi and her husband did. (Read her comments elsewhere on CWT site)

  • JudyD says:

    Thank you,Dr. Muriel, for today’s devotional
    I am a stroke survivor and also have lupus. After my stroke(when I was paralyzed and could hardly talk)the only scripture I could remember was Proverbs 3:5 & 6. I would repeat it to myself. I indeed trusted in the Lord and for Him to guide my path.

    The joy of the Lord is my strength. I am learning more each day to praise Him and thank Him. I feel that is something we do not do enough.

  • Dr. Muriel Larson says:

    I have had many, many trials in my life, and God’s Word lifted me above them all. I could have become a very angry, bitter woman–but as I learned to trust my Lord and fix my heart on Him, I experienced the peace that passes all understanding our Lord promised Philippians 4:7.
    Oh, I count my blessings every day, and rejoice in the Lord even as that dear African lady did! Here’s another Scripture that got me through everything: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him,and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). (There are two Scriptures for you, Sharon dear.)

  • Sheryl says:

    What an awesome reminder of how we are to be in all circumstances. I am getting ready for church and putting our tithe check in an enevlope. It is a hard thing to do, especially since my husband and I are both unemployed and living on a small retirement check. I remember the days when we had a lot of money, and I never had to think about droping that check in the offering. Yet this story makes it easier. We have so much, yet why is it so hard to trust God and have a great attitude and bless others even when the lean times are upon us?

  • Andi says:

    Mary Slessor. Thank you for reminding me of this amazing woman. I shall revisit her life story. We settled our huge financial issues recently by selling our home and purchased a small apt so we are mortgage free. My husband was displaced permanently and has returned to college [age 57] not an easy transition. I am disabled and have a small pension to contribute. False guilt could easily invade my thots; but God is my strength…….and HE taught me long ago, as the mother at the ‘scrub board’ that HIS very presence abounds in the PRAISES of HIS people.
    So to answer your question; I too have learned to sing and praise and rest in being in HIS presence and HE leads me into deeper truths.
    This is not to say we don’t struggle at times but we KNOW HE is w/us in and thru it so our focus is always brought back to HIM

  • Sharon Auker says:

    PLease include a scripture reference for the reader to find and meditatte on with each devotional for those who are using this wonderful media for their daily quiet time. Some folks may not realize that they must spend time in the Word themselves and not just read writings that refer to scripture.

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