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Posts Tagged ‘Trust God’

This something that has been bothering me a lot, especially since I got pregnant. Because believe it or not the way a lot of people, among them Christians, have acted suggested to me that they do not really believe my pregnancy was a miracle. They nod as I tell them my testimony, but only a few sentences later they say something that proves to me that they just think we got lucky or something…

For instance, when we were organizing my mom’s funeral with our minister at church, I gave him a short version of our history, about how long we tried and what treatments we have been through and I ended up by saying, “but at the age of 40 God blessed us with this miracle pregnancy without any treatments or help from any doctor or any medication.” Do you know what he said a few moments later? “It’s not that difficult to get pregnant at 40, my mom had me when she was 40, and I’m the youngest of 5 children…” He could just as well have slapped me in the face, I had the same reaction. I’m sorry but getting pregnant at 40 after already having 4 children is not the same as trying for 11.5 years, doing many IUI’s and IVF’s and then getting pregnant naturally. There was something wrong with us before and we were healed by the grace of God – his mom didn’t need to get healed.

A lot of other people have said that we just had to wait for God’s timing – that eventually our time had come and implying that for some people it takes one month, for others maybe a bit longer, and for us it had to take 11.5 years. Too say this to me is almost the same to me as saying, “why don’t you adopt, then maybe you will get pregnant too.”

This saddens me so much, mostly because I can see that so many Christians just don’t believe in miracles anymore, and that makes me wonder, “what do they actually believe in?” But the fact is that God doesn’t get the glory He deserves, because He has just performed a miracle and people just explain it away with a few words, as if He never did anything…

But the absolute saddest part is when I meet someone who is struggling to get pregnant themselves and they cannot believe that God would do a miracle for them, or someone who is sick, with cancer for example, and they just cannot believe that God will heal them…

I never had any doubt that the miracles that are mentioned in the Bible aren’t true. I always knew I had to believe in the whole Bible, everything that is said there, or I can just as well not bother to believe anything in it, because if I believe some things and not other things, how would I know what to believe and what not? So in the 18 months that we took a break between IVF#1 and starting treatments again in June 2009, I fully believed that God could heal me, but I had a provision attached to it, I thought it was up to God’s will and I didn’t know what God’s will was, I believed He had a different will and plan for everyone. And today I believe that was the main reason why I didn’t get healed and pregnant then.

So when I started to look for messages of hope last year, I concentrated on teachings from people who believe that God still heals today, but I also looked for teachings about miracles. People who believe in miracles, who have witnessed miracles and who have with the help of God, have participated in miracles. One of the books I read then was “The hea.venly ma.n” by Bro.ther Yu.n, and I recently came across another book of his, called “Li.ving Wa.ter” and in there he talks about the many miracles they have seen in the prosecuted house churches in Chi.na and then when he came to the west he was surprised to see that the churches here were dead in comparison, and there were no miracles performed in almost all the churches he visited. He has some ideas about why that is and I want to share some of them with you.

“After I arrived in the West, it didn’t take long for me to realize that something fundamental was missing in the body of Christ. That missing thing was the power and presence of God. I don’t say this to condemn anyone, but rather I point it out in the hope that it will speak to your heart and help the church. Thousands of churches today do not preach the word with the authority and power that Jesus promised to all who follow Him. This is a tragedy as such powerless churches end up relying on human wisdom to see “results”. The fruit of such half-baked gospel invariably produces a harvest of half-baked believers, most of whom will fall away at the first sign of trouble.

Countless churches, missions and families are full of deadness. This is a terrible stain on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the living God. Everything He does produces abundant life. Jesus said that Satan “comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Jesus never attended a funeral where the person remained dead. The same applies today. If He turns up, our homes and churches will be dramatically changed.

The good news is that Jesus has not changed! All our human methods and techniques will result in failure and amount to nothing if God is not with us in His power and glory. When Jesus comes in, He breaks off the shackles and people’s lives are instantly reformed. You never have to look for help from big-name preachers when the glory of God is present! It is all about God, not man. One second in the presence of God’s glory can achieve more than years of human endeavour!

These days there are many preachers who have attended seminary and learned how to speak in public, but if that is all they have, you will do well not to listen to their messages. If the words being preached are empowered by mere human wisdom, they will not benefit the listeners in any spiritual way. The apostle Paul was a very smart, highly educated man. Yet he was careful not to rely on those attributes when he shared God’s Word. Pay careful attention to what he told the Corinthians: ”My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor 2:4-5)

Did you know that it is possible for your faith to rest in the wrong place? Paul wanted the Corinthians’ faith to rest on God’s power and not in the wisdom of this world. When this sound advice is followed, it produces strong followers of Christ who will not fall away when tested. In Chi.na most people come to Christ after they see a demonstration of the power of God. Perhaps they are healed from an illness or set free from oppression. After people experience the power and authority of God for themselves, they have no trouble believing the gospel and giving their lives to Christ. Not to do so would be to deny the reality of their experiences.

Do you believe that God can work through you in such a way? Can He use you to do miracles so that Jesus Christ may be glorified and many people experience salvation? The apostle Paul issued a challenge to some of the believers in Corinth: “I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (1 Cor 4:19-20)

Satan wants people to think that the sustenance they need to live a successful life can be found inside themselves or in the things surrounding them. They search for substitutes in a bid to procure the true joy and peace that only come by knowing Jesus Christ. The moment people fall for the lie that they can prosper without God, they cut themselves off from His presence and power, for “the mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Rom 8: 6-8)

During the times of strongest revival in Chi.na, miracles were so commonplace that we didn’t even think about them much. They were as natural as breathing the air. They helped thrust millions of people into the kingdom of God and strengthened the faith of all who experienced such miracles. Even young children went out and shared the gospel with other children, and mighty miracles of healing, deliverance and signs and wonders accompanied them wherever they went. This was not considered strange, because the Lord Jesus promised us, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16:16-18)

When you present the gospel to somebody, it needs to come with demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. This may occur in a variety of different ways, such as through a healing, or a word of knowledge about a person’s life, or the working of another gift. The demonstration of God’s power convinces unbelievers that the message is true and that Jesus is alive today! When the power of the gospel is truly demonstrated, only the most heard-hearted of people are unwilling to respond to the claims of Jesus Christ upon their lives.

Miracles and signs and wonders are not just for within the walls of your church building. No! They are to be demonstrated among the people, in the marketplace, on the bustling city streets, and in the homes of those who are trapped in darkness. This is where Jesus and his disciples did most of their miracles. They knew nothing of scheduled “healing meetings” inside church buildings. The power of God accompanied them wherever they proclaimed the good news that the kingdom of God is available to all who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Christianity without the power of God is no Christianity at all! Power is a fundamental part of God’s workings with humankind throughout history. On every page of the Bible, you can read about God’s miraculous power in operation, beginning with the very first verse of the Bible, when “God created the heavens and the earth.” It continues throughout the Old and New Testaments, right up to the conclusion of the book of Revelation when Jesus declares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev 22:13)

Did you ever wonder that God is so powerful He didn’t even need to create the universe with His hands? He simply spoke, and it came into existence. Our God is not just powerful. He is all-powerful. In speaking of the majesty of our Lord, the Bible records that “earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them.” (Rev 20:11) His power is beyond compare!

What kind of message does your church preach?

Is your faith based on men’s wisdom or on God’s power?

The Bible warns us that in the last days there will be some people “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Tim 3:5)

Many Christians have developed a warped view of God. They think He only works the way they want Him to, according to their own plans. Such thinking is terribly sad and dangerous. God can never be limited. He is God! When we lose a proper perspective on God’s power and love, we harm ourselves and those around us. Such limited thinking becomes like a cancer, devouring our spiritual life and bringing death where God intends there to be life.

If you are a Christian I encourage you to examine your heart and ask God to reveal those areas of your life where you have placed limits on Him.

You may know in your head that God is powerful, but have you allowed Him to use His power to break you free from the prison of sinful habits and attitudes?

You may know in your head that Jesus said, “all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me” (Matt 28:18), but do you ever pray in faith for someone to be healed or to be delivered from demons?

You may know in your head that the historical Jesus is powerful, but do you realize that He wants to share His power with you so that you can be His ambassador to a lost and hurting world?

The time is short and God is looking for people who are serious about His kingdom. He wants to empower you to walk in purity and to proclaim the gospel throughout the earth.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, it’s time to wake up and stop living in a weak and pale way that denies the power of God. Repent from such a narrow, impoverished view of our Lord, and ask Jesus to reveal His power in your life.”

The main reason I brought this topic up today, is that I learnt about two miraculous pregnancies yesterday, so I want to share them with you, so that you can know it does not happen to a select few, God can, He wants to and He will help you if you just let Him! Both of them were posted on Fertilicare:

First Daryl shared a testimony of friends of hers: “I just heard yesterday that 2 dear friends of mine are finally pregnant after 7 years of prayers. The DH has basically no sperm, but didn’t want any treatment as they believed God would answer their prayers, and He has.”

Then Believe posted her good news: “It is cycle day 36 today. I usually have 28 day cycles with a few 30 day cycles when I have been on meds… So the question that myself and DH was asking, was what is wrong now that my cycle is suddenly a week longer than usual…

Over the weekend we thought about buying a HPT, but due to so many negatives in the past, we decided to leave it a few more days. I am currently on a slimming programme and another treatment was scheduled for today, but I did not want to go should there be a very small possibility that there may be a little miracle growing inside me. Then again, how many months have we been hoping and praying…for our miracle…

Soooooooooooo this morning before work, I decided to go and buy HPT’s. I have never bought HPT’s ever before. DH always does this for me, as I do not have the energy of bumping into someone I know and them then thinking that I am expecting when they see the HPT in my basket.

When I reached work I went to the ladies with two tests. And what do I see after a few seconds…My very very very very first two lines. I decided to test on another test, and jip, there it is…2 lines…Could not believe my eyes and sent DH a photo via BBM of the test results. He was crying when I spoke to him as he is soooooooooo very very very very happy. He will make a fantastic dad.

I went for a blood test during lunch time just to make sure that this is really happening, and yes, we have a healthy beta, and will be testing again later this week, and have our first scan scheduled for the beginning of November…

This is still so unreal. As I am typing here I still cannot believe that there is a miracle growing inside me. And that we finally have our BFP!

God has performed a miracle – Praise him, praise him, praise him.”

Here is her signature, just for in case you thought it might be co-incidence that she got pregnant:
ME: 31(possible egg quality issues) * DH:31(sperm issues)
TTC: 3 1/2 yrs * Married: 6 1/2 yrs * Together: 11+years
2009
4 x Timed cycles – BFN
IVF/ICSI #1 – BFN
ICSI # 2 – BFN
2010
5 x AI – BFN
ICSI #3 – Cancelled – Slow response – resulted in AI
DS ICSI # 4 – BFN
(P)ICSI #5 – BFN
2011
Hysteroscopy – Small septum removed
IMSI/ICSI #6 – BFN
DE IMSI/ICSI #7 – BFN
POA – Praying for a miracle – Taking Royal Jelly and Staminogro
October 2011 – Natural BFP
Aan die kinderlose skenk Hy ‘n huisgesin, sy word ‘n gelukkige moeder van kinders. Prys die Here! – Ps.113:9
Ek is tot alles in staat deur Hom wat my krag gee – Fillipense 4:13”

I hope those ladies don’t mind me sharing their stories, but I just want to prove that it is possible to get pregnant, no matter what is wrong with you. God is good and faithful and nothing is impossible with Him. I’m nothing special that I got my miracle, as a matter of fact I think that is why it’s so difficult to believe for some of those who know me, because I am as ordinary as can be! I think most of you might even be disappointed if you should meet me in real life. I could not do it on my own, never – it was God who did this miracle for us, and for the above mentioned people.

It really warms my heart to read testimonies like this and I hope to hear of a lot more soon!

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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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Thank you all for your messages of comfort with my last post.  I really am blessed by the people that read this blog.  And I must say God blesses me even more and I just want to share that with you.  I received “bad news” on Tuesday, but I did not see it as bad news.  I didn’t get upset or depressed or anything like that.  Why?  Because God is faithful and good.  God has comforted me so much with messages of hope all week long, that I cannot doubt that all this will work out for good.  I trust God completely.

That just shows you how much I have grown in the last few months.  There were times when I was frantic with worry, where I tried to make plans of my own to try and control the outcome of my own, Shumi’s, my mom’s or anyone else’s health…  Now I’m not even tempted to do that because I know they have been healed already.  The price was paid in full about 2000 years ago.  Nothing more can be done.  I am just waiting for proof of that healing.  I am waiting for God to complete the work He has started in us.  And I am waiting in anticipation!

I want to share some scriptures with you that have encouraged me so far this week.

1 John 4:17 (Amp):  17In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.”

Hebrews 11:6 (Amp):  6But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

The message that I basically heard this week was:  “never give up, be determined, keep strong in your faith and God will reward you for that.”

Now how can one get discouraged with that?

***

My mom says her meeting with the new Radiologist (I think that is what he is called) went well, he thinks she might only have to get 10 or maybe 15 treatments and not 25 as the Oncologist suggested.  It sounds like he has experience with this specific problem my mom has and she has a lot more confidence in this new doctor than the previous one.  It also seems this doctor gets quite a lot of patients that switch from my mom’s previous doctor to him. 

My mom will be monitored after a few treatments to see how she responds and the treatment will be adjusted accordingly.  (Something that the other doctor never did)  Obviously my mom is happy, because it seems better than originally suggested.  Also she will begin with treatment soon, last time she had to wait about 2 months before they could fit her into their schedule, and with this doctor it won’t take so long.  She has one appointment on Monday already to start the planning process and she will hopefully find out then when they will actually start with the treatments. 

Last time my mom went for radiation she went from Monday to Friday for 5 consecutive weeks, and I think this time will be the same except it will hopefully only be 2 or 3 weeks. 

I am not worried at all; I am confident all will go well and that God is in charge!  Jesus holds the keys to death and I know he will not allow the devil to kill my mom, “G” or Shumi…

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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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Psalm 121 (NIV): 
A song of ascents.  
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? 
2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore”

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I heard another awsome message yesterday that I want to share with you.  This message is from Angus Buchan and just confirms some things that I have heard lately, and which I’m trying to apply to my life. 

2 Chronicles 20:15-30 (NIV):  15 He said: Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.  17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’  18 Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.  19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.  20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.  21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendour of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:  Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.

 22As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.  23 The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.  24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked towards the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no-one had escaped.  25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value— more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.  26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, where they praised the LORD. This is why it is called the Valley of Beracah to this day.  27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.  28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the LORD with harps and lutes and trumpets.  29 The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.  30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.”

“The prophet came to King Jehoshaphat and said:  “The Lord is with you”.  So is the Lord with you or are you trying to make your own plan?  It happens to all of us, as soon as we are in a tight spot we try to make a plan for ourselves, but those plans don’t always work!  God said to King Jehoshaphat, and the same is applicable to us, that He will fight the battle for us and that He will win!  So the message here is that if we are in an impossible situation that we should surrender to God, trust Him, do not fight and see what God will do for you! 

So often we become impatient if God does not answer our prayers immediately, so we want to make our own plans.  But don’t do that! 

Psalm 46:10 (NIV):  10 Be still, and know that I am God…”

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV):  …because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Mark 11:24 (NIV):  24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

The battle is not ours to fight, it is the Lord’s as long as we are in his divine covering and anointing.  You can’t ask God to help you if you are not willing to walk in His precepts and commandments…

Because King Jehoshaphat was a man of great faith, he bowed down in prayer and worshipped God.  This battle was impossible to win – the enemy was too great.  Now that might sound ridiculous to some people to pray and worship in such dire circumstances, but King Jehoshaphat knew what God wanted him to do.

Sometimes we might also be in an impossible situation, and we should do the same in those situations.  We must get on our knees and ask God for help, we should acknowledge that we cannot do anything in the circumstances and just worship God.  We might not be able to do anything about it, but Jesus can!

Matthew 7:7 (NIV):  7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV):  3 Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Allow God to fight the battle for you and let me tell you something, you will see a victory like you’ve never seen in your life before!  But it takes a lot of courage not to get involved.  It is so much harder to wait, than to try and fix things yourself.  I (Angus Buchan) think it was Oswald Chambers that said:  “It takes faith to live from day to day.  It doesn’t take faith for the climaxes, because adrenalin does that for you.  It doesn’t take faith in the low times, because you are on your knees anyway, but it takes faith to live one day at a time.”  That is so true!

How about another example:  When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, Moses said to them:

Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV):  13 Moses answered the people:  Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

From that moment until today Egypt has not been a threat to Israel ever again.  My friends please know that there is no enemy that is too big for God.  No enemy!  I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ takes over today – stand back, start to praise Him, not for your problems, but for your victory that is coming – He can and will do it for you!”

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Lately I have been thinking a lot about why the Christians of today are not like the early Christians who we read about in the New Testament.  They could speak in tongues, they could heal, and drive out demons, they prophesied, etc.  Why cannot all Christians do it today?  Why do so few have these gifts of the Spirit? 

1 Corinthians 12:8-11 (NIV):  8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues   11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Firstly the Bible said it will happen:  1 Corinthians 13:8-9 (NIV):  8 … But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,” 

But I was not happy with this answer alone, and then one day I read on Elize’s blog about the book:  The Hea.venly Ma.n by Bro.ther Yu.n and Pa.ul Hat.taway.  Elize mentioned that it explained to her why miracles are so few in the Western world today.  Now that intrigued me.  I wanted to know the answer to that question too!  So eventually I found the book online and I got it this last Monday. 

I read through it in 2 days, I couldn’t put it down and I must say:  I’m ashamed!  I thought I was a Christian, but I’m falling short.  I remembered that Cur.ry Bla.ke mentioned that the definition of a Christian is someone whose life is like Jesus Christ’s life.  Well to be honest, mine cannot be compared to Jesus’ life and that’s why I feel ashamed.  But I definitely got some answers to my questions, and it has inspired me…

For those who know nothing about the book:  it’s the real life story of Bro.ther Yu.n, how he became a Christian and how he preached the Gospel in China, how he had to flee the authorities, and how he was persecuted for his faith.  It also describes wonderful miracles that happened and how on fire they are for preaching the Gospel to others.

What was amazing to me is the faith they have.  They had nothing and had to trust in God for everything.  That’s one reason so many miracles happened.  They rarely had Bibles so they had to memorized complete books of the Bible and they sang a lot of songs.  They praised and worshipped a lot, and they meditated on scriptures a lot.  God spoke to them a lot in visions and dreams.  Most experienced miraculous healings themselves or witnessed miraculous healings.  They shared the message of Jesus Christ and his salvation with everyone and immediately.  Another thing that really struck me was the message of love and forgiveness.  Bro.ther Yu.n could so easily forgive and love others even if they prosecuted him and almost killed him.   There was also no selfishness in them.  Very often they gave away their only possessions to others, even their food, when they themselves were hungry.

Bro.ther Yu.n says in this book that when he eventually got to the West he was stunned that so many churches were “spiritually asleep.”  He says that many meetings were “cold and lacked the fire and presence of God”.  He was amazed to see that many Christians had “a lot of possessions and lived in a backslidden state.”  That “they have silver and gold, but don’t rise up and walk in Jesus’ name.”  He says:  “Not only is knowledge of God’s word missing, but obedience to that Word.  There is not much action taking place.”  So I guess it’s no surprise that we rarely come accross someone that operates in the gifts of the Spirit…

I realized that I still have a lot to learn.  I feel so selfish for wishing for a baby, when there are so many more important matters that need attention.  I feel like a spoilt brat – we are so blessed, and I take it all for granted and then I dare complain about the one thing that doesn’t go according to my plan!  On Tuesday, when I went to the Feeding Scheme, I realized that even those people are so blessed, because they are getting so much more to eat than those that I read about in the book, and they are getting it for free, 5 days a week! 

I learnt that the fact that I have my own Bible and have had it since I was a young child is such a blessing!  Bro.ther Yu.n prayed for a Bible for more than 4 months before he got one, and that was a miracle in itself.  And he not only prayed but also fasted for it!  That convicted me for being impatient!  I was wondering how long it was going to take before God will heal Shumi, my mom and us.  How long it will take before I get my miracle baby…

One good thing is that I feel a lot more grateful and at peace.  I find that I trust God more and more.  I’m not so worried about Why God?  Or, when God?  I want to learn even more, there is still a lot I need to learn, and I think part of it has to be on the Holy Spirit.  I also need to do more – especially for others.  I must definitely share the Gospel more…

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