The blessing withdrawn

Many years ago, my family and I went to live in South Africa for a year, South Africa is a beautiful country with many wonderful things to see and do, and the best part of all was the fact that I was going to get to spend some quality time with my family who lived there.

Before we went we sold everything that we owned, shipped a few things over, but we were debt free and just really had to pay for the rental of a vehicle as well as rent to my parents.

We were living very well and  because all of the extra money that we earned we got to play a lot more and my husband took some upgrading courses,  he also eventually found a job that paid a lot more money than what we were ever used to.

I was attending my childhood church at the time, and the people were all glad that I was back after being gone for a few years.

My parents were really enjoying the children and did not want us to move back to Canada at all, and for that moment, we had no intention of it, we had it too good in South Africa.

I remember feeling so very blessed at all that had been given to me, that it was not long before I started making jokes about how my husband needed to work, to keep me in the luxury that I had grown accustomed to.

Then the best part of our time came, my husband found a job, working just west of Cape Town at a Mining company.  He would work there during the week and come back and see us on the weekend. This arrangement worked well for a while but he was lonely and asked the company if there was any way for the family to be moved up with him.

It was not long before they said yes, and moved us into a resort not far from his work. I now had a maid, lived right on the beach, had a choice of a few swimming pools to pick from, ahh life was good!

I was enjoying the blessing of all these wonderful things, that I felt invincible, I felt that I was truly God’s “Golden child”

I know, you are shaking your head at this moment; I am too, as well as cringing at the thought of where this all eventually led to.

As time went on and my husband and I were living in this resort, our relationship really began to suffer, he was always angry, and withdrawn, playing video games all night long after he came home from work. I was lonely as I was there by myself with no friends or family and then when he came home, he would just ignore me.

I was miserable, here we were living in this beautiful place, earning lots of money, and yet I was still miserable.

It was not long before I cried out to God, and told him how miserable I was and laid before him all of the heartache that I felt as well as the hurts that I felt my husband had committed against me.

I did not realize that I had fallen into the same trap as a lot of Israelites had fallen into when they entered their promised land. I had slowly allowed pride to rise up in me over the blessings that God had given to me. I had then also taken my eyes off of God as my provider and put all of my focus on what my husband was bringing into the household every month.

God had warned the Israelites about this very thing many years before I fell into this trap; this is what God told them;

Deuteronomy 8:1-14

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers.  Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years; to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 

Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.  Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.   Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him.  For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land–a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. 

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.  Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.  Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery

God warned the people, that when he had set them up in their new land, that there were to continue to follow him and obey him, they were to stay true to him, and if they did, they would be blessed in the land, but if they did not, they were in danger of becoming prideful and forgetting the Lord God, who had delivered them out of Egypt the land of slavery.

This fundamental principle, is what I had forgotten while I was down in South Africa, I thought I was above everything and everyone, because the lord’s hand of blessing was so evident in my life at that time. I had failed to observe God’s commands of “do not become prideful, because if you do, I will oppose you”

Well I was soon to learn that lesson, after a year of living in South Africa we decided to move back to Canada, and this is when the lesson started to really play out. We came back with enough money to last us a long time, but within a few months it was all gone, we ended up living in a friend’s basement, and having to rely on them for our basic needs.

My husband could not find a job anywhere; we did not have money for food, gas, school fees, nothing.

We were reduced to nothing. I even remember having this thought “I need to divorce my husband and find someone who would be able to provide for me and the kids” Yes, I was in a low point of my life I admit it.

It was not until a few months of this did we actually clue in what was wrong, and why we were even in this position. I believe that God put us into this position to discipline us and to snap us back into reality. The reality was that we had become so prideful in our situation and in the blessings that we were enjoying, that we forgot about God.

My friends, the lord reminded me of this this morning when I was praying, and I felt that I needed to share this story with you, If you can relate to this testimony in any way, I pray that you will humble yourself before the lord, repent so that the lord can restore you.

It was a year of great blessing as well as great misery, the misery of course was caused by us, but as I look back I am grateful to have walked through that and learnt a very valuable lesson.

The lesson is this, that God opposes the proud. He wants to bless us, but he also wants us to learn how to handle the blessing in a way that won’t make our hearts turn from him, and onto our own strengths.

We did eventually repent, and the lord did restore us and all that we had lost due to our foolishness, but I promise you, that I never want to find myself in that position again. I learnt that I needed to always have a heart that humbly walked with the lord, in good and bad, so that I could enjoy both seasons knowing that through it all, the lord was teaching, growing and bringing his blessings into my life.

Prayer

I pray that the lord will reveal both to me, as well as to you, areas of our lives where pride has gotten in the way. I pray that he will remind us that if we allow pride to flourish in our lives, we will be in opposition to his will for our lives. I pray that we will chose to walk humbly with the lord, so that we will be able to enjoy the blessings that he has for us. I pray that we will choose to seek the lord wholeheartedly all the days of our lives, walking humbly with him and enjoying all that he has for us.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Continued from Part 1

Then God in his great mercy started to reveal his definition of rest to me, it went something like this;

 Do you believe without a doubt that I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Do you believe the things that you read in the word of God about my provision for my people? Do you believe me when I say to you, that I love you and will take care of your needs? Do you believe me when I tell you that I am your shield and strong tower, that I have placed my spirit within you so that you can reflect to the world around you that I love them?

Do you believe me? Or are my words just a story to you?

 Ouch! What could I say to all of that, except, “God, I am not really sure”   I have to admit for a while as I thought about those questions; I really was not sure what I truly believed.

 Please understand something, that I am an avid bible scholar, I am always digging around in the word of God, so I know what it says when it comes to his promises to us, His children, but actually believing that those promises were true for me and my family was a hard pill to swallow. It came down to the fact that I was battling with a chronic case of unbelief in God’s ability to take care of me.

 I knew that I loved the Lord, and I knew that I did not want to be without him, and I also knew that I needed to go from playing faith to really believing that God is who He says He is.

 A friend of mine always says that the 6 inches between the head and the heart are extremely long; I was discovering the unfortunate truth of those words.

 I believe that God, through the Holy Spirit asked me a few more questions, it was this; “Will you trust me with your life, regardless of what is happening around you, financially, with your children, marriage, ministry, with everything?

   Will you trust me to see you through to the other side safe and sound, just like I did with the Israelites when I brought them out of Egypt?  Will you trust me that I do have your best interest at heart?”

 As I prayed and sought the Lord on this issue, I believe that he gave me his assurance that I absolutely could trust him with everything. He filled me with His peace that truly does defy all understanding; I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of peace and rest that I felt and still feel.

 Then I realized what God had done for me, He had shared with me His valuable truth:

  The truth was that if I willingly laid all of my fears of disaster into his capable hands, he would see me through to the other side of the “river” I did not have to fear as I knew that he was taking care of me.

 Regardless of whether I have money in abundance or only a little, God never leaves me; he is always guiding me to the next provision for my needs, like milk that he sends through a friend, clothing for myself through an unexpected source, money for groceries, and the list continues.

I have watched in amazement since that time of surrender, that what looked like a dry well with nothing was coming out of it; God’s miraculous provision for my family, with abundance for us to be able to bless others as well.

 I have discovered that when we enter into His rest, we enter into the realm of a supernatural assurance that he is most definitely who He says he is, that He without a doubt will take care of me to the very day that He takes me home to be with Him.

 I had lived with a faulty belief that at some point that God was going to make everything come crashing down around me, and literally rip the carpet out from under where I was standing.

God tells us in his word that there is no darkness in him whatsoever, which means that he does not have ill will in store for me. Yes, if I need to be disciplined by him because of my disobedience to him and his word, He as a loving father will do so. That discipline, however harsh it may be, will bring about a restoration between Him and I. Therefore it is a good thing.

 But I was truly waiting for the big stick of disapproval to be brought out.  That my friend is not the right image, of who God is, that is a distorted image placed there by the Devil who delights in lies and strongholds.

 The truth is God loves us so much that He wants what is best for us; he wants to show his mighty and passionate love for all who don’t know him, through us, his children.

 I have discovered that in resting in Him, I am fully capable to do anything that He asks me to do, because His precious Holy Spirit is living within me and will empower me with the right tools and talents to accomplish the will of my Heavenly Father.

  I am capable of trusting Him to supply all of our needs, knowing that he will show us whom to speak to, what to do, and how to do it, to bring in the necessary finances into our home. It will not be a struggle and a begging, but it will feel like the doors literally open for us and we get to walk with confidence through them.

 I realized that resting in Jesus; really means to put our surrendered trust fully into who He is as our God, to literally trust him from our toes up. Not to struggle, but to enjoy the process.

 So I pray for each of you, that God will truly open up your eyes to this important truth, that you will discover that God really is who He said He is, that He can do what he says He can do.

That He can do it well and in the right timing and that He has enabled you to walk through the process of Faith with your head held high, as His precious child.

 My dear brothers and sisters, lay all of your fears, frustrations  and lost dreams down at his feet and I know that He will without a doubt give you the same kind of assurance that He has given me; the He will without a doubt take care of you until He brings you home to be with Him.

God bless you

 

 

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 When you think of rest, what kind of images come to mind? My mind automatically goes to the beach, on a warm day, with a gentle breeze blowing across me as I lie on a towel and enjoy a good book. I am not having to do anything, no cooking or cleaning or running after children, I don’t even have to speak to anyone if I don’t want to. Ah, rest.

 It seems that in our society, rest seems to be an illusive dream; it may be that we rest at night after a long day at work, or we “rest” on weekends at home where we find ourselves, cleaning, doing yard work, and maybe hanging out with some friends.

 We are running on over drive, at full speed ahead. No stopping, no time for “down time” just go, go, go. If it is not work that we are doing, it is running our children to their various sporting activities.

 God, when he created the world and everything in it, he worked for 6 days, and then rested on the 7th day. He set that rule into place for his people as well, that they would work for 6 days and then rest completely on the 7th day.

 I am sure that most of you have heard the phrase, “Rest in Jesus, Jesus is our rest, the Lord will give you rest” I could go on, but you get the picture. But what does it mean to rest in the Lord Jesus Christ, and why do we as Christians need to know this very important principle?

 I have been wrestling with this concept of rest for a while as I was not sure what God meant when he whispered to my heart that I needed to learn to rest in him.

 I asked him to show me what he meant when he told me that his burden was light, and that I could totally rest in His ability as my lord and Savior.

 I believe that what I am going to share with you now over the next few paragraphs are the fundamental truths about what it means to learn how to truly enter God’s rest, in the midst of our crazy lives.

 In my search for understanding what rest in God meant, I discovered that I am what most people would consider an over achiever, I strive constantly to do my best. I am always throwing myself into projects that require not 100% of me, but sometimes it feels 700%. I often feel the need to try and earn peoples approval, as well as God’s (I don’t have to I know, but I fall into the trap of wrong thinking and then before I know it, I am in so deep when it comes to striving)

 So, as you can see, resting is not a priority of mine. Not only is it not a priority I am not sure what it looks like. God knows perfectly what it means to rest in him and to be honest I was really shocked when I discovered what God’s definition of rest really was.

 My husband and I have embarked on a journey of obedience and trusting God, you might say to yourself, so what we are all doing that, but let me explain.

 A few years ago, we believed that the Lord wanted to do a new thing in our lives and part of that new thing was for my husband to quit his job, and start up his own business.

 We had some savings that we had put away; therefore it was not that hard in the beginning to trust God as we were quite reliant on our money in the bank to see us through until the business started to make money.

 We had it all figured out, we had about 2 ½ years worth of money in the bank and then we would start to run into trouble. So we stepped out of our comfort zone of getting a pay check every 2 weeks and made the break. (Please be aware that we did not do this lightly as we burnt our bridges. We had prayed about it and sought the Lord then we felt that we had the go ahead from him to do this)

 Well, 2 years went by, and we learnt a lot about life and faith and relationships as we were on our new adventure. But then the money started to run out, and we started to get a bit nervous, it was easy to “trust” God when we had all that money in the bank, but now that the bottom of the account started to loom in front of us, we started to get very nervous.

 I remember thinking to myself, that we were so foolish for taking this step as now we were getting to the end of our funds and had absolutely nothing; the business was generating an income, but not enough to sustain us. My husband did have a part time income on the side, but even that dried up.

  I cried out to God for help, as my tolerance of trust was reaching its limit.

 You might think that that is a crazy statement but remember; what I had thought was trust in God for our finances, really was “trusting in what was in my bank account”

 What does that have to do with resting in God? Well in this time of pure panic and fear that I was not going to be able to feed my children, the Lord was speaking this word into my heart. REST IN ME!

 Lord, how can I rest, I need to go and find a job and help my husband with the finances and I need to… yes I had a large list of things that I needed to do in order to help my husband with the finances. I felt like everywhere I turned it seemed to me that rest was the word that I kept hearing.

 

To read the rest of this article please go to part 2.

The Lord’s bountiful provision

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 Have you ever given much thought to the Lord’s provision in your life? Have you ever considered the fact that all you have as a Christian comes from the hand of God?

 Well I have been contemplating this exact thing lately, and thought that I would share some of my thoughts on the matter with you.

 I was reading the story of the Israelites and how they had been led out of Egypt by God. He had delivered them from the Egyptian army with a show of his mighty power. He not only parted the Red Sea, but when it was parted, it was on completely dry ground that the people of Israel walked over.

 He displayed his presence in the form of a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. Wow, imagine seeing that today, in our day and age, I am sure that we would absolutely freak out. He also sent plagues to the Egyptians that wreaked havoc on their society, all to display himself to the Israelites that he was who he said he was.

 So why is this important to us right now, well in Exodus 16, the Israelites are in the Desert of Sin. (aptly named I think) They watched how God delivered them, they even rejoiced over it. Now you hear them whining over their lack.

 You would of thought that they would have been confident in the Lord’s mighty provision already, because of all that they had been through. Instead they were complaining, they were hungry and wanted food, they even went as far as saying:

   “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3)

 They grumbled against the lord, no longer trusting that He would provide for them, remember He had just brought them out of bondage, and they wanted to go back to it for some stew in a pot!

 The Lord did indeed provide for them, he sent manna (translated from Hebrew, what is it?) and he also sent quail. (Which is a bird that is low flying and easy to catch and kill)

 So my reflection has gone something like this; how often is it that the Lord provides for us in our daily lives, both spiritually and physically and yet we groan and complain about the apparent lack in our lives.

 The lord tells us in the book of Matthew 6:25- 34 that we are not to worry about our daily provisions as he will take care of it. Yet, we work longer hours, we scrimp and save every last penny, we trust in our own ability to provide and in the end, wear ourselves out. That is not God’s best for us.

The lord reminded me of something that happened many years ago. We were living in a small town in Northern Alberta, and we were planning on going to a major city for the weekend. On the Tuesday before we were to leave, I felt that the lord wanted me to take a whole chicken to friends of ours who we would be visiting.

 Well at first I have to admit I thought it was a really odd request, why on earth did I need to take a chicken to them? So I did what came naturally to me at the time, I questioned the Lord and even tried to fight what he had told me to do. I did not mention it to my husband, as he would have thought that I was completely crazy.

  I kept praying and telling God all of the good reasons why I should not take this chicken down to our friends. Like the fact that if I took this chicken down to them, I would not have one for my family.

  I also did not have a lot of food in my freezer at the time, and was planning on using the little that we had left when I got back. I also had paid $10.00 for it, (that was pretty expensive back then for a chicken).  I was looking at the loss of my chicken more than I was looking to God and his provision of that chicken.

 Now I don’t know if you have ever tried to resist the lord, but when you are in the process of resisting him, you are miserable, and it really is not a pleasant experience.

 By Thursday morning I had finally agreed with the lord that I would take the chicken to my friend. I was at peace within my spirit as I had finished fighting with the Lord, and said yes!

 Later that afternoon, the husband of a fellow sister in Christ, knocked on my door. He was on his way to work and his wife had asked him to stop by my house. He handed me a heavy plastic bag. I looked with utter amazement inside the bag, yes you guessed it, inside was a whole fat chicken!

 I did not know what to do, I laughed and cried, and confessed to him and my husband right there and then, that the lord had told me very clearly that he wanted me to take this chicken to my friend. That I was to trust him, but in my natural self all I could see was my loss.

 God, saw his provision for me and my family. So with great rejoicing, I took the chicken to my friend, told her of the wonderful way that God had provided, and reminded her that He not only loved her so much as to provide a chicken, but through his great mercy, taught me that when he told me to do something, he would not only provide, but that I would always have enough.

 My friends, I want to encourage you to put your trust in our heavenly father. He will never leave you, nor will he ever let you go without what you need. He always provides, sometimes in the most bizarre ways, but his provision is always there and on time for our need.

God bless you