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Posts Tagged ‘Obedience’

I heard an amazing message again this weekend from An.drew Wom.mack from his Finan.ce se.ries, but I just want to mention a part of it that deals with faith.

An.drew Wom.mack says, “You need not only say that you trust God, that you have faith, and that what you believe will happen – you also need to act upon it.”

James 2:14 (NIV):     14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?”

He used the following scripture as an example:   1 Kings 17: 3-6 (NIV):   “3Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.    4You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.    5So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there.    6The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”

When God told Elijah that he needed to go to the Kerith Ravine, and that the ravens would feed him there, God had already made provision.  It was already done – the instruction was given to the ravens to bring food to a specific place.  Elijah had to act upon it to get the food.  He had to go to the right place to receive the food that God had already provided.

If Elijah said he had faith that God would provide, but stayed right there where he was, he would have starved from hunger.  He had to be obedient to God’s instructions and act upon what God wanted him to do.  If he didn’t do it, God wouldn’t have provided where he was, but that could not be blamed on God…  It could only have been blamed on Elijah because he didn’t do what his instructions were.

Hebrews 11: 6-8 (NIV):  6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.  8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

An.drew Wom.mack said’  “Faith reaches over and receives what God has already given you.”  He also said, “Faith produces actions – the actions themselves may not be faith, but they have to be generated by faith.”

Matthew 14: 29-31(NIV):  “29Come, he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus.    30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me!    31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith, he said, why did you doubt?”

One example that comes to my mind is when Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on water.  The actual stepping out of the boat was an act of faith for Peter.  Anyone can jump over the side of a boat, but they will end up in the water and drown if they were in a similar storm.  They wouldn’t be walking on water, because they did not have faith that they can in fact walk on water.

What I love about this example is that, yes, Peter stepped out in faith; he walked on water, but only for a little bit.  Then his faith waivered, but he cried out to Jesus to help him and Jesus was there, and he saved him.  I found this to be so relevant in my life.  Believe me, I have stepped out in faith and waivered shortly afterwards many times, but Jesus was there every single time to catch me.  Every time I cried out for help He was there!  So don’t worry about whether you will waiver or not, just remember to call upon Jesus when you are in need.  Step out in faith and get out of the boat – Jesus is there for you, just call upon Him when you are in need and He will help you.

Last year November I realized that somewhere deep inside me there was this hope that should God not give me a natural miracle pregnancy within a specific time that I could maybe go back to my FS and that he might be able to give me some treatments – if not IVF then maybe another IUI with Intra.lipids or something like that.  And then I realized that while I kept that option open in my mind, my faith was not in what God could do.  My faith was once again in my own abilities, and the abilities of my FS and medical technology.  That was why I had to decide that I will not ever go for fertility treatments again.  While I had that option open, my faith was not strong enough that I could believe that God would heal me completely.  It was not easy to make this decision; everything in me screamed that I could not make such a vow, but I knew it was the right thing to do.  It was what I had to do.

Let me give 2 other examples:  I’ve always hated to POAS.  I always got negatives, until the day we found out I was pregnant with my last IVF.   That day I was impatient and couldn’t wait until the afternoon to find out and we decided to test after I went for my blood test.  That was the only time I had ever gotten the elusive 2 lines.

After the decision in November I decided that I would start buying HPT’s again and test every month.  I usually started spotting a day or 2 before AF was due so I decided to test with a HPT at 12dpo.  In December I tested for the first time while we were on holiday but it was negative.  The next 3 months I started spotting before I could test twice, and one month I got a negative again.

So in April I decided to see how early one can test.  I searched the inter.net and I decided that if I could get a sensitive test that I can test at 10dpo.  It seemed like the earliest day to get a BFP, so I looked for a sensitive HPT and finally I found one at a local pharmacy.  The next morning I woke up at about 6am with an urgent need to relieve myself, so I got out the sensitive test and POAS.  Within a minute or so I saw a very, very feint pink shadow where the second line was supposed to be.  After a few minutes it was just a little bit darker, but it did look to me like a very feint second line.

I waited until DH was up and then I took the HPT to him and asked him if he too saw a feint second line.  DH was not convinced there was a second line – he thought it might be my imagination.  But the next day the line was there and darker and I went for a blood test and the beta came back at 50.  I was pregnant.  So, you see it was totally out of character for me to test so early.  I’ve never done anything like that before – never, ever.  But it was a way for me to act upon my faith.

I also bought some stuff for our babies before I was pregnant (I bought 2 of everything because I want 2 children.)  I bought some clothes every now and then if I was at a shop that sold baby clothes.  It wasn’t much and it was always cheap stuff, but I bought it and that was the important thing.  I was acting as if I expected to get pregnant soon.

Now this was what worked for me – I think each of you must search your minds and see what is difficult for you to do.  What do you usually avoid doing and use that as your act of faith.  I always avoided POAS unless I was about 3-5 days late, I never bought stuff for a future baby and like I said it was incredibly difficult for me to give up fertility treatments for ever, but since we could not afford any more treatments, I had no option – I had to believe God will make me pregnant naturally.  I realize that not everybody is like me – there are certainly people that POAS every month and some of them start early, so that might not be your act of faith.  What is it that would be a real act of faith for you to do?

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If you hear basically the same message more than once in one day, do you think God is trying to tell you something?  Well that happened to me on Monday.  Let me share the messages:

First I read in “Go.d’s Wo.rd He.als” By De.rek Prin.ce about Naaman:  “Do you remember the Old Testament account of Naaman?  (See 2 Kings 5:1-14)  He was the commander of the army of the king of Syria, but he was also a leper.  He heard through this slave girl, an Israelite, that there was this prophet in Israel who could heal him.  Naaman went to the king of Israel with a letter from the king of Syria, which said in effect, “Heal Naaman of his leprosy.”  The king of Israel became quite upset at this and said, “Who does he think I am to heal people?”  Elisha the prophet heard about the king of Israel’s reaction, and he sent a message to the king, saying, “Send him to me.  Let him know there is a prophet in Israel.”

So, Naaman went to Elisha’s door.  Like most wealthy and influential people, he thought he could come to God in a big way that would impress him.  He came with his chariot, with his horses, with silver, with gold, with ten changes of clothing, and many servants.  He had an idea in his mind of what miraculous healing would look like:  Elisha will come out and do something dramatic.  He will wave his hand over me, and I’ll be healed.  But the Holy Spirit knows just how and where to reach people.  And the Holy Spirit instructed Elisha, in essence, Don’t go out and pray for him.  Don’t show yourself too interested in him.  Don’t let him impress you with his wealth and his social position.  Just send a message:  “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and you will be healed.”

Have you ever seen the river Jordan?  Well, I was baptized in it on August 24, 1942.  It’s not a beautiful, romantic river.  It’s a muddy stream.  When I stood in it, I had to do all I could to prevent my feet from slipping on the mud at the bottom. 

Naaman looked at the Jordan and said, “That river?  That muddy stream?  Why, in my country, we have beautiful rivers that flow down from the mountains, pure and clear.  Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all rivers of Israel?”  Naaman got angry and was about to stomp away in a rage.  But one of his servants said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, wouldn’t you have done it?  How much more, then, when he says to you, ‘wash and be clean’?”  Fortunately Naaman was wise enough to get the message.  So he stripped.  That also must have been a test of his humility, because he had to display his leprous flesh.  He went down to the river and dipped himself in it seven times. 

It is very clear from this passage in 2 Kings that, after six dips, there was no change whatever in Naaman’s condition.  How easy it would have been to say, “It doesn’t work!”  But he dipped the seventh time and came up healed. 

God demands obedience, and it’s your responsibility to obey.  Certainly it’s God’s responsibility to do His part of the work.  But if you don’t obey you have no claim on God.”

Later in the same book I read this part, which reminded me a bit of the first part I’ve quoted, it’s about the Israelites in the desert when they came to the bitter waters of Marah (Exodus 15:22-27):  “The Israelites began to complain and murmur against Moses.  Think of the noise of all those people complaining and murmuring at once!  Yet in the midst of the murmuring, one man – Moses – had the sense to pray.  And he got the answer.  Let me just say that when you are faced with a difficulty, you can either murmur or pray.  If you murmur, that is your choice, but it won’t help the situation.  If you pray, the Lord will show you the answer.

While the Israelites chose to complain about the bitter waters they encountered at Marah, Moses prayed, and the answer the Lord showed him was a tree.  When he cast it into the bitter waters, the waters were made sweet.  This is the healing tree.

The scriptures do not say that the tree healed the water.  In fact, I don’t believe that was the case.  I believe the supernatural power of God did the healing.  But Moses’ act of faith in casting in the tree unlocked this supernatural power.  This is a great principle in regard to God.  When you want His miracle-working power to operate, you sometimes have to perform a simple act.  The act, in itself, does not generate the power – but it’s the key that unlocks the power.

The prophet Elisha grasped this principle.  He faced a situation similar to what the Israelites had faced at Marah.  The waters in Jericho were bad, and they didn’t produce a fruitful soil.  When the inhabitants asked him to intervene, Elisha took a bowl of salt and cast the bowl of salt into the source of water, and the waters became sweet.  (See 2 Kings 2:19-22)  It wasn’t the salt that made the waters sweet – it was God’s miraculous power. 

Likewise when there were poisonous gourds in a pot of stew, Elisha took some flour and put it into the pot, and the stew was made healthy.  (See 2 Kings 4:38-41)  It wasn’t the flour that made the stew healthy – it was God’s miraculous power.

When Elisha wanted to raise a boy from the dead, he ordered that his staff be put on the child’s face.  (See 2 Kings 4:8-37)  It wasn’t the staff that held back the power of death. But it was God’s miraculous power!”

Later we watched a program from Joy.ce Me.yer and there was the same theme in that program.  Let me quote just a bit from it, the message is about the resurrection of Lazarus:  

John 11:37-44 (Amp):  37But some of them said, Could not He Who opened a blind man’s eyes have prevented this man from dying?

 38Now Jesus, again sighing repeatedly and deeply disquieted, approached the tomb. It was a cave (a hole in the rock), and a boulder lay against [the entrance to close] it.  39Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, exclaimed, But Lord, by this time he [is decaying and] throws off an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days!   40Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?  41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  42Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [that You have made Me Your Messenger].  43When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out!  44And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go.”

Lazarus happened to be a good friend of Jesus.  Jesus frequently went to Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ house, and ate with them.  They had seen Jesus do many other miracles but he let his good friend Lazarus die. 

Why was Jesus sighing and being deeply disturbed in his Spirit at what they were saying?  Because He wanted to see faith, He didn’t want to hear how they could not understand why He hadn’t done anything.  He wanted them to believe that no matter how bad the situation was that he still could do something.  Somebody in here needs to hear that tonight.  That no matter how bad the situation is…  God justs wants you to believe, because He can very well still do something.  Without faith it is impossible to please God!

We started talking last night that faith needs to be released – to have it is one thing, to use it is another.  If you have a muscle you don’t use it begins to get weak and it shrivels, if you don’t use faith to all intends and purposes it’s going to be no different to you not having it.  Unto every man is given a measure of faith – we all have faith.  Every time you sit in a chair it takes faith, you believe it won’t cave in.  By and large when you sit in a chair, you just go plop down in the chair, you don’t worry if something will happen, if it will break or not…

I just wish that when we have a problem we could just plop into Jesus’ arms like that and say, “I’m asking You to take care of it and I believe You will, I’m releasing my faith through my prayer, I line my mouth up with Your promises and I’m going to do whatever You ask me to do, and You will do the rest!  Let me tell you, I don’t want you to ever forget this, if you do what you can do, God will do what you cannot do!

Releasing you faith requires some kind of action!  When you pray you need to release your faith, when you give you release your faith with your gift and you need to make sure that you are lining what you say up with what you pray.  It doesn’t do one bit of good to say, “O, God! I pray in Jesus name that you will deliver my husband from drinking and you would save him Lord, and you would change him and that our marriage would be healed.  Amen!”  And then go out to lunch with sister Brown the next day and say, “I’m telling you what, that man is never going to change… I mean, I’m sick and tired of the way he acts, drunk all the time, he won’t ever get saved, there is no hope…”  Don’t tell me we don’t do that because we do!  We just get a whole bunch of this religious stuff, sometimes I think we say things to God just to hear ourselves sound spiritual.  Maybe you need to say less and mean every word that you say, and make sure that you are releasing your faith and understanding what that means.  That if you are going to pray in faith you’ve got to stay in faith!

So here Lazarus had died, and they are bothered about the situation that he died, because they had sent a message that he was sick and Jesus waited 2 more days before He went.  He waited to let him die…  “Well if you would have been here!”  And He went, “Arghhh, you just don’t get it!” 

There was a boulder in front of the cave and Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”   Let me just ask you a question, if He was getting ready to raise the guy from the dead, which was an outrageous miracle because you’ll see in a minute, like, “What’s the point in that, he’s been dead four days, he going to really put off an odour…”  But if Jesus was going to raise the guy from the dead, which he already full knew he was going to do, why in the world didn’t He just blow the stone away?  Why did He tell them to move the stone?  See some of you are not getting your miracle because you are not moving your stone. 

There is a wonderful place in the Bible where Mary wanted Jesus to do a miracle, it was actually really an everyday practical thing, they were at a wedding, they ran out of wine and Jesus was going to whip up some more.   She turned to the servants there and said, “Whatever He says to you, do it!”  I love those few words!  Can I say to you, “Whatever He says to you, do it!”  They got the miracle, but they wouldn’t have if they hadn’t done what He said! 

You’ll get your miracle too if you do what He says, but if you’re not doing what He says then you’re not doing what you can do, because He will never give you something to do what you cannot do, it maybe something that you don’t want to do, it may be something you won’t like to do, it may be something that will be a bit of a struggle for you to do, but God will never, ever give you anything you cannot do, so stop telling Him you can’t do it and just do it!

If you do the little bit that you can do, God will always come through and do the part that you cannot do!”

Matthew 7:7-8 (Amp):  7 Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.   8For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.”

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Let me discuss all the limitations I put on God.  Some of them I only got revelation on when I listened to the teaching of An.drew Wom.mack (see previous 3 posts) but some of it I learnt a while ago already from other sources.  If you are a regular reader of my blog since the start you will recognize some of the older revelations as they have been mentioned before.  At that stage I didn’t realize consciously that I was limiting God, I just learnt that I could influence things by changing my attitude, or my behaviour.

The first big thing I did wrong was by feeling that I will never get pregnant.  Not naturally or with the help of any FS.   Especially when the IVF’s were are failing.  I didn’t consciously think – I will not get pregnant, I was always hopeful, but those thoughts crept into my mind often.  I remember when I went to my first FS – the sister there was measuring my height and weight, taking my blood pressure, etc and she said, “don’t worry you will get your baby.”  The first thought that jumped into my head was, “no, it will not happen.”  I tried to change that thought off course, one never wants to think it, but I was actually a bit upset after she said it, and I couldn’t figure out why.  Let me tell you we weren’t even trying for a baby very long by then.  Not even a year, so to think those thoughts were totally ridiculous. 

Later I would think very often, “I am infertile and the only way I would get pregnant is with IVF.”  Why?  I don’t know.  I thought it was intuition or something like that, but now I recognize it as a lie from the devil.  Now I see that the way we think limits God.  If I think I cannot get pregnant, then I will not get pregnant, because my thinking limits God.

Thinking and what we believe are closely related.  What started out as thoughts soon changed into believing I could not get pregnant, especially after a few years passed.  The longer it took the more I believed.  Eventually I realized my mistake when I read the book “Super.natural Child.birth” by Jac.kie Mi.ze.  That was just before I had my last IVF.  I was able to believe that I could get pregnant, but only with the help of doctors and with specific medication like Intralipid therapy.  It worked – I did get pregnant, but unfortunately I miscarried. 

After my miscarriage I had to learn that I must believe that I can get pregnant, but without the help of doctors or medication.  It helped a lot to learn about God, who He is, what His will is and what Jesus has done for us.  In the mean time Shumi also got sick and I had to learn to believe that he will be healed from cancer.  It helped off course to listen to teachings like the Div.ine Healing Tech.nician from Cur.ry Bla.ke.

Even though I believed there were times of doubt and unbelief.  Times when things didn’t seem to be working, then I had thoughts of, “this is never going to work, or what if it doesn’t work?”  I must say in hindsight I can see that every now and then when things were going well, something might happen that would cause us to take a few steps back again and usually it was when I doubted, or was in unbelief.  I was still strongly moved by what I saw or heard, and the times when things seemed bad, I would waiver.  In those times I was tying God’s hands again until I was able to get some message of hope or faith, and then things would get better again.

In the beginning I was limiting God a lot with fear, fear of never having children or fear of Shumi dying.  I realized it was wrong, and even wrote a post about fear, but I didn’t realize exactly what else I was fearful about.  Last week I had a dream, or rather almost a nightmare, where I woke up in the early hours of the morning and suddenly I saw clearly what some of my other fears are. 

Fear of success:  I realized that if I get pregnant and Shumi is totally healed, then this supernatural healing is a huge responsibility.  I would have to help every single person I know, I get into contact with and actually go out and seek others to lay hands on them and get them healed, because if I don’t then it would be my fault if they are in pain, don’t get healed or even die. 

Fear of failure:  Not only a fear of not having children or that Shumi might die, but also that if I do try to help others and I fail, they might get upset with me, or worse they might not believe in God.  A fear that I could actually cause other people to not get saved, or to believe that God is not real. 

Fear of rejection and criticism:  This one is especially hard and I am mostly talking about people I care about.  Like our friends and family and our church.  I am fully aware that most people don’t believe in this stuff, and that they might think I lost my marbles.  I’m also scared they would want nothing to do with me.  Many preachers I have listened to have said that they were rejected by their church, so I know that is a real possibility.  I’m not worried so much about what strangers think of me, or whether they reject me. 

Fear of the unknown:  If I do get over all the other fears and I am successful then I guess I’ll have to change my life completely and that unknown factor is scary.  I’m starting to realize that God might have an amazing plan for my life, which I never would have thought possible, but that would definitely put me out of my comfort zone.  It will take a lot of courage to be obedient to follow God’s leading on this, but I am in a situation where I’m basically at rock bottom.  I’m not willing to give up my dream of having children or letting Shumi go, so I guess that means study, study, study God’s Word and learn as much as I can, and God is also leading me to start to lay hands on others (here comes fear of rejection again!)

The last thing that I learnt about limiting God is that I have to start seeing myself pregnant and to start seeing Shumi completely healed.  That was something I could never do, even after my pregnancy last year.  I would hope that I would get pregnant or that Shumi get’s healed, but I couldn’t see it.  So I’m taking time out every day to imagine these things. 

Some of these things are in the past.  I have learnt and dealt with it and it’s not a problem anymore.  Some things I think are sorted out but every now and then I have to deal with it again, and others I still have to sort out.  But I am working on it, and by God’s grace, I’m sure I’ll be able to conquer it soon.

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This is the final post on the teaching of An.drew Wom.mack called: Don’t limit God.

“Be obedient to what God is telling you:

Isaiah 1:18-19 (NIV):  18Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;”

The Lord is going to ask you to do things and there will be steps and stages in what God leads you to do.  He won’t take you from where you are into the perfect fulfilment of His will all in one step.  There will be steps and stages and a lot of them are for your benefit.  God doesn’t want to give you the whole plan because if you didn’t obey and if you didn’t follow through that will just make you accountable for the whole thing.  Out of mercy Gods just leads you one step at a time and only gives it to you as you are able to bear it.  He told the children of Israel, “I’m not going to give you the whole land all at one time; I’m going to give it to you little by little, lest the beast of the field multiply and all of the fields go fallow.”  He says. “I’m going to let you occupy the land as you’re able to possess it and occupy it.”

It’s the same thing in the spiritual realm.  God is going to show you things step by step and there are going to be a lot of steps of obedience in you following the Lord and if you don’t do what God told you to do it’s going to stop His perfect will from coming to pass.  It’s not because God stops and says I won’t let you because you aren’t worthy.  None of us are worthy, none of us deserve anything, but it does take co-operation on our part.

1 Samuel 13:7-14 (NIV):  7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear.

 8 He waited for seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.  9 So he said, Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. And Saul offered up the burnt offering.  10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.  11 What have you done? asked Samuel. Saul replied, When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favour.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering. 

13 You acted foolishly, Samuel said. You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.  14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”

Saul was established as king, Jonathan went out smote some of the Philistines, and because of that the philistines amassed their people together and they came down and it said in verse 5 that the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight Israel 30 000 chariots, 6 000 horsemen, people as the sand which is on the sea shore, in multitude and they came up and camped against them and because of this the Israelites were in big trouble. 

So Samuel the prophet, the one who anointed Saul to be king, and who was still basically mentoring Saul and had authority and control over him, he told Saul to wait 7 days and he would come and offer a sacrifice before the Lord and entreat the Lord’s favour from them and then they would go out to battle.  Well they waited the 7 days and Samuel was late in coming, so Saul decided to do the offering himself.  As soon as the offering was made, Samuel came. 

A lot of people would read that and think, “Well that’s not so bad!  He was in a bad situation and he just wanted to make sure that he had entreated the Lord!”  They excuse things and they explain it away, most people have situational ethics, it just depends on what the situation is like.  They don’t intend to do anything wrong, but you know what?  If you’re in a situation where you are under pressure and if things happen, it just happens…  You know, that’s the way most people think.  But there are absolutes and one of the absolutes is that if you’re going to take the limits of God and if you’re going to see God’s best come to pass, you need to just get to a place where there is only one God and you are not Him!  You do not have the freedom to pick and choose and decide I’m going to do this.  Saul was not qualified to offer a sacrifice, only priests could do that, but Saul let circumstances compel him to change, and as soon as he did it, Samuel showed up. 

Do you understand what Samuel told Saul?  We sing about David and talk about the sure mercies of David and Jesus being the son of David and all of these things.  If you know anything about the Bible, you know that David was a man after God’s own heart and yet Samuel is saying under the inspiration of the Lord that, “if you would have obeyed God today he would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.”  There never would have been a David.  David wasn’t God’s first choice.  David was an afterthought.  David was plan B.  Plan A was Saul.  Saul was in training, if he would have obeyed God, if he would have just cooled his jets another hour and have waited on Samuel to show up and would have just done what was right, I don’t care how much pressure he is under, it doesn’t matter if you’re fighting an enemy, it doesn’t matter what the justification is, just do what God told you to do!  If it kills you do it!  If he would have done that, we would have been talking about the sure mercies of Saul.

Start using your imagination:

That doesn’t sound very spiritual to a lot of people, but your imagination is a super important part of the way that God made you.  You cannot do anything outwardly that you haven’t already seen and imagined on the inside.  This is just the way that God made you.  As a matter of fact if you took the word imagination, there is 35 times that the Old Testament uses the word “yester”, it’s the word that is translated imagination 35 times in the Old Testament, and that word means, “a form or figuratively, conception.” The word imagination means conception. 

If you stop and think about it, but your imagination is where you conceive things.  Just like a baby has to be conceived.  A stork doesn’t bring babies.  You aren’t just going to pray that you’ll have a child; there are things that you are going to have to do to have to conceive that child.  I think all of us understand that. 

You have to conceive a miracle, you have to conceive the things of God and the scripture, the very word imagination, means conception.  Your imagination is your spiritual womb; it’s where you conceive things.  Brothers and sisters, most Christians don’t use their imagination in a Godly way.  We all have an imagination and we use it constantly but most Christian’s think that this is kind of weird and that you shouldn’t just be thinking and imagining things – you know, “Let’s deal in reality.”  You can’t do anything without your imagination. 

You imagination defined is just your ability to see something with your heart that you can’t see with your eyes.  That’s all an imagination is.  When you make a grocery list did you know you use your imagination?  You go up and down the aisles of that store because you’re familiar with it, you’ve seen it, and in your memory you over and go look around all of the fruit things and think, “I need this, and this and this,” and what you’re doing is you’re using your imagination.

You can’t remember anything without an imagination; you can’t think anything without an imagination.  If I say apple, you don’t see A-p-p-l-e, you see is an apple.  Some of you may see a red apple; some of you may see a green apple.  I could use words to change your picture, I could say, “red apple,” and immediately you would have to change the image that you’re looking at.  You think in pictures.   You can’t understand anything that you can’t picture.

A lot of Christians are missing it.  They have pieces of information like, “I’m more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus.  This is the victory that overcomes the world.  Thanks be unto God who always causes us to triumph,” they have that information they’ve heard those words and if you were to ask them, “Are you a winner?  O, yes I’m a winner,” but you know what they haven’t thought on it and meditated to the point that their imagination forms a picture of them being a winner. 

There are a lot of people who have this piece of information, “By His stripes I’m healed,” but they’ve never seen themselves healed.  See, they’ve just got information, but not understanding.  Their understanding hasn’t come alive.  I have told a lot of people this week that if you’ve been sick a long time, you see yourself sick.  You think sick, you dream sick, you don’t dream like normal people that go out and have a vacation and do something fun and find yourself running or something.  You’re sick in your dreams, you see yourself sick, you think sick.  And the scriptures say in Proverbs 23:7: “As a man thinks in his heart so is he…”

If you see yourself sick, you’re going to be sick, it doesn’t matter how many scriptures you know or how much information you have, you could have people lay hands on you until they rub all the hair of the top of your head and you’re going to be sick as long as you see yourself sick.  What you’ve got to do is take the word of God and meditate on it, not just take the information and “O, yes, by His stripes I’m healed.  I’ve heard that, now I’ve got it.”   No, you’ve got to take that and think until you see yourself healed.”

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I wanted to write about obedience to God for about a week now, but I’ve been struggling.  For a little while now I’ve been getting messages on this topic and even in my quiet times I’ve heard the word “Obedience” in my head.  So I know that God is trying to tell me something, but most of the messages were just snippets, nothing that I could write a whole post about, but I think I got it last night, suddenly I realized how I could write this so that you can understand the message I want to convey. 

Genesis 12:1-4 (NIV):  1 The LORD had said to Abram, Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  2I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.  4So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.”

God asked Abraham to leave his country and family, leave everything that was dear to him and go to an unknown destination, and Abraham went where God asked him to go.  I don’t think we realize just how much God asked of Abraham, the implications and how hard it must have been.   I mean, just think about it, say God asks something like that from you today…  Would you know it was God and would you be obedient?  What would everyone else say to you, if you should believe it comes from God, and you tell them about it?  I’m sure Abraham must have received a lot of criticism and opinions, but he listened and followed God.

Genesis 13:6-11 (NIV):  6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.  7 And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.  8 So Abram said to Lot, Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers.  9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.  10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, towards Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)  11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out towards the east. The two men parted company:”

Abraham was not totally obedient to God however, God told him to leave “your people and your father’s household,” but he took Lot with him, who was his nephew, his father’s brother’s son.  They were so blessed that the land that God promised to Abraham became too small to hold both of them and for the sake of peace Abraham told Lot to choose a part – there was the fertile valley and the mountains to choose from and what did Lot do?  He chose the best – the valley, for himself and left the mountains for Abraham!  That’s was not nice and very ungrateful from Lot!  I mean – Abraham should have and could have left him in Haran. He would not have been in that situation if it was not for Abraham.  But I love Abraham’s attitude!  He did not complain or even harbour any bad feelings towards Lot.  He was happy to take the mountains!

I wonder if Abraham thought of Lot almost like a son.  Lot was certainly the closest family he had.  I know in my life some of our family members say that I am my niece’s “second mom”, because we are so very close.

Genesis 16:1-4 (NIV):  1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her. Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.  4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.”

Genesis 16:15-16 (NIV):  15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.  16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.”

Genesis 21:8-13 (NIV):  8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast.  9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.  11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son.  12 But God said to him, Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.  13 I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

We read four times about the promise of children to Abraham, but Sarah got impatient.  She got tired of waiting and decided to make a plan of her own.  She convinced Abraham to go ahead with this plan, and Hagar got pregnant with Ishmael.  This was quite a common practice in Biblical times and is equivalent to traditional surrogacy these days.  I have blogged about it previously and you can read about it here

But do you see that the plan of Sarah did not work out well?  There was tension between Hagar and Sarah, because Hager was able to do what Sarah couldn’t.  After Isaac was born Sarah convinced Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away.  God did bless Ishmael, because he also became the father to a nation, just not the “chosen nation.”  Ishmael eventually became the forefather of the Ishmaelites and today he is the forefather of the Mus.lims.

Genesis 21:1-5 (NIV):  1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.  2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.  3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.  4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him.  5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”

Isaac was what God had originally planned for Sarah and Abraham.  And it was a great plan that worked out perfectly.  But can you see from the first scripture that I quoted that Abraham was 75 years old when he first got the promise of a son?  Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was eventually born, so it took 25 years for that promise to become reality.  That is a long time to wait on and trust God.

Now I can totally understand that Abraham and Sarah got impatient and I’m sure a lot of us would have made the same mistakes.  Probably all of us, I think…  I know I am tempted every day to take matters in my own hands and to try and make a plan of my own.   It is totally human to do that, but it’s not God’s original plan.  God’s original plan was so much better than what Abraham and Sarah could plan on their own.  Even the situation with Lot didn’t work out well, again because Abraham was disobedient to God. 

I have certainly tried many times to make my own plans and to be honest none of them worked out.  I still don’t have children of my own and now I cannot make my own plans anymore.  God has put it on my heart to stop trying to control or plan things and to just trust Him.  God has shown me through the story of Abraham and Sarah that He has a plan, and that His plan is so much better than any plan I can ever make.  He wants me to be obedient to Him and trust Him.  I believe that God’s promises will come true and if I step out in faith and trust God, His plan will come to fruition.  And I hope that, just like Abraham, that God will bless us richly too, because that is what He wants to do for His children…

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Well, I survived the baby shower and I think without 1 jealous, envious or self pitying thought. But I must add with the help of the Lord. For the last few days I prayed about it constantly, asking God to help me. I knew if it was left up to me alone I would have failed the test again. I hope I passed the test though…

Why am I not sure? Because I didn’t stay all the way through. It started at 12h00 and I made plans for something else from 14h00. I thought almost 2 hours would be enough for a baby shower. Well it turns out the expecting mother’s own mother was late. By the time I left at 13h45, she was not there yet. They were waiting for her and didn’t want to start opening the presents until the other granny was there. So I missed out on that, and I’m not really sorry I did…

It was still not easy though, because there were little toddlers of about 1-2 years old and they were so cute! Also the mommies all loved to chat about pregnancy and having babies, etc, and off course the other pregnant neighbour was there too (her baby shower was last week and I was not invited to that one, so I dodged a bullet there!) Most of the ladies I did know however wanted to chat about other stuff, so I think it went well. There was a lot of joking and laughing going on and I must say I enjoyed it thoroughly! Laughter is definitely the best medicine…

It turned out that because it was this neighbour’s second baby, they decided to make the baby shower a family affair. Children and husbands were also invited and they planned to party until late at night. I think that was also a reason they did not really worry about opening the presents early. I wouldn’t say that we are really friends, more friendly neighbours and I thought initially that it would be OK to plan something for later.

I hope my effort was good enough in the eyes of God. I hope my attitude was acceptable and that He found me obedient to His will…

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