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A voice of one, calling from the Kingdom

Welcome, this is one person’s journey through the Kingdom of God, in a story called “The Kingdom”.  The Kingdom takes two forms; Zion – the Kingdom that will come, and the Kingdom Of God that is within.   Jesus told Pilate “My Kingdom is not of this world”, and the Pharisees were told “the Kingdom of God is within you.”  Jesus stood on the mountain and taught the crowds to seek this place first, saying “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God”.  This story is a take on that.  I drew inspiration for the setting of this inner world from Psalm 45, an ancient song about the King;

JesusMy heart is stirred by a noble theme
    as I recite my verses for the king;
    my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer

He (the King) is fairer than the sons of men
    and his lips have been anointed with grace,
    since God has blessed Him forever

Since it is written in John 1:10 that all who believe in the King and receive Him are given the right to become children of God, in the Kingdom I call myself a Princess.  The gown of the Princess is woven with gold.

The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace;
Her clothing is woven with gold.
She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colours.   Psalm 45

In the inner world of the Kingdom, I am but one Princess.  There are many of us in the worldwide Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God.  He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.  (1 Samuel 2:8)  We who are many are one body, for we all share the one bread.   Together, the threads of our stories weave into a robe of many colours.  Let me bring you to the King’s palace.  In my Father’s house are many rooms.  The King has gone to prepare a place for all who will accept Him as Lord.  You may already know the way.  If you don’t, let me show you.

♥♥♥

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy the story.  I will put extracts from the story in my posts.  If you want to read the whole book you are welcome to.  I will send you the password.  Any constructive feedback will be welcomed.  The story can be downloaded here: The Kingdom

The Amazing race

amazingrace2Have you watched the Amazing Race? Imagine you are competing in it.  Millions of people are watching you on TV.  The prize is $1,000,000.  It would change your life to win it.

You finish the first leg, and those watching you are excited about the way you’ve run the race so far.  The race organiser is there to greet you as you come up to the finish.   You’re still in the race.  He is happy to see you make the pit stop, and while you rest you think about the decisions you made, the risks, the trials, the challenges you overcame, the pitfalls and mistakes, the detours and roadblocks.

The Kingdom is like the Amazing Race.  We have to follow directions, search for signs, work out the clues, overcome the obstacles, and get through the road blocks and challenges.  Only at the finish will we know if we’ve won, and what we’ve won.

The Kingdom of Heaven is open for all, if you believe in the Lord and confess your faith in Him.  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”  Romans 10:9-10.

But you still have to contend for the race.  There is an adversary, the devil.  If he can’t stop you from getting that precious ticket to Heaven, purchased for you by Christ, he will try and keep you from running the race.  He will find your weakness and attempt to ensnare you.

Ephesians6-12Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  Philippians 2:13

What you inherit when you enter the Kingdom of Heaven depends on how you’ve run the race here.  Not everyone gets a prize.  Many are called, few are chosen.  Matthew 22:14.  You have to overcome to inherit the promises, and they are great.

What you inherit is up to the Lord.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:24-25

Get this, y
ou can lose your inheritance while still being allowed into Heaven.  Some people are going to get into Heaven with the smell of smoke on them and nothing else.

If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.  If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.  1 Corinthians 3:14

“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 6:9-10

If you are in one of those ‘nor’ or ‘neithers’, have a really good think about what you stand to lose because of that sin.  This should make us intentional about how we live our lives; working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  Philippians 2:13

Just like in the Amazing Race, where the competitors are gunning for the finish line, the prize in sight.

relayYou may run the race alone, or as part of a team.  For years I ran alone or with friends until Isaac came to join me in the race.

When I learned about inheritance, I found there was even more to the race than I first thought.  There are people who have run before who have a baton to pass on.  You will know if you are on their team.

Hebrews 11 speaks of people of faith, who believed in what God promised; “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for them so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

The baton can be promises to be fulfilled, victories to be obtained, or mantles to be taken up.

The Church fulfills its commission in telling everyone about salvation, but often it stops there.  I hope I’ve given you something to think about.  The next chapter of my story is about running the race.  I’m still running.  I’ve got a funny looking baton which you can read about in Chapter 79 The Year of Inheritance.

Here’s a good site I found that teaches on what I’ve mentioned here, in more depth;

http://remnantreport.com/cgi-bin/imcart/read.cgi?article_id=292&sub=25

Here’s “Stay strong” by the Newsboys.

Chapter 79 The year of inheritance

RunningThe Princess tossed and turned, wishing she was at home in her own bed.  It was their first year of being in business, and they had to work nights to support themselves.  They worked as nightfill staff stacking supermaket shelves, and as commercial cleaners.  In addition the Princess had a weekend job as a caregiver for five intellectually disabled people.  The work involved a sleepover, which was where she was now.

Sleep eluded her, even as the Princess tried to quiet her mind.  Still awake an hour later, she sighed and crept into the Kingdom looking for the King.  She needed to speak with Him about an issue she was wrestling with; inheritance.  The King had spoken to her of inheritance, and now the church had declared 2007 as the year of inheritance – with promises fulfilled, victories obtained, answers received, influence granted, mantles taken up, and vision birthed. They talked about it at the King’s gathering every week.

What did it mean? Why did the King want her in business? Her brother came to mind. He was still only 21. They had started out on the road to the Kingdom together, but he had been taken away by death, causing the grieving Princess to leave the road rather than travel alone.  Forever young, he looked more and more like her son every year that passed.  She remembered what her father said, he would never grow old.  Where was his inheritance? He never got a chance.

She went to the King with a request. “Last year when we found Anna’s grave you told me that your promises weren’t buried with her, and you wanted me to seek your blessing.  Is it really the year of inheritance?”  The King nodded, and she continued; “I have something to ask.  Is it possible for me to receive a double portion of the inheritance, so when I stand before you, I can give my brother half? Only, it is not in your word.”

Searching his face, she asked the King. “Father, is it possible? Can I run for him too? Can it be done?”  The King answered her question by taking her to a place in the Kingdom she had never been before.  She found herself on a field of darkness, lit up by a light. A hand reached out of the light with a baton, as a foreign voice implored her to believe and reach for the inheritance. The Princess knew the hand and voice belonged to Anna. The arc of light showed a race track, where she could hear the roar of voices from the grandstands.

The dragon sneered, saying “You have a big imagination. It is written that the dead know not anything.” He was absolutely right. The Princess did not take the baton.  She held back and went to the King. “I believe your promises did not die with them. If it is a relay then I do want to run, and take whatever you promised to the finish. Most of all I want to run this leg of the race for my brother, but I need to know it is your will. I cannot find it in your word. Father, you are just going to have to tell me, and please make it loud and clear”. She bade the King goodnight and at last fell asleep.

Later that morning, she gathered before the King with the other believers. Princess Rachel was preaching that morning, as the King stood beside her. The Princess noticed she had a plunger in her hands.  Princess Rachel announced “This morning I am going to talk about inheritance in terms of receiving the baton and running the race….”

plungerShe waved the stick around with a cheeky grin “This is really the end of our drain plunger, but for the purposes of this morning, this is a relay baton!”   The King laughed at the dumbfounded Princess, her eyes fixed on the drain plunger that Princess Rachel waved around.

Her eyebrows were raised and her hands were on her cheeks, partially covering her open mouth.  “Are you serious?” she asked, not knowing whether to laugh or cry! “Yes.  Is it loud and clear enough?” He asked, laughing at her joy and amazement.  Swallowing hard she nodded, sat down and listened attentively.

Princess Rachel spoke of those that had gone before, the settler women, and the price they had paid to come to this country; “These women left their homes, left the comfort of all they knew, of an established and civil society, to go with their husbands into the bush of New Zealand. They all lived under extreme hardship, poverty and isolation. I could see their faces, and I could see a baton in their hands.”  Anna came into view, holding the baton.  Their eyes met.  This time, the Princess held her gaze.

Anna Dassler“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16.

Opening up the Kings word, Princess Rachel taught from Hebrews 11 about the race, and about faith. “This is our day, this is our hour. If we just say we’re going to remember what a great work they did and make a monument to them, we’re not fulfilling biblical inheritance – because we should be advancing the Kingdom of God unlike any day that’s even been seen by this nation.”

“Look at the team we are running with; “they through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”

Princess Rachel carried on; “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for them so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:33, 35, and Hebrews 11:39

Hebrews 12-1“Do you know what this means?” she asked. “Whether they receive their prize is dependent on us. They are dependent on us! The individual runners do not win the prize for their leg of the race, it is dependent on the last runner – and only then does the whole team receive the prize. No pressure!” she laughed; “and they are watching us in the grandstands of heaven.”

She continued “This is a different leg of the relay. We are born for such a time as this. We need the Isaachar anointing, to understand the days we are living in. The sons of Isaachar discerned the times, and knew what to do. We are part of the generation who will run the last leg of the race. The best runner is saved for the last leg, and the enemy knows this. He also has saved his best for the last leg, and there will be an increase of wickedness. The dark is getting darker. The King has saved His best wine for last. This is symbolic of our generation. We need to train.”

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Warning“The prosperity gospel will get us off track” Princess Rachel warned.  “We could even end up running on the wrong team. This preoccupation of self is not producing the spiritual muscle. We have to harden up, learn to say no, learn to resist.   The dominant message of ‘prosper, accumulate wealth, get all the toys you want, love life, have fun’, have been over-emphasised to the detriment of the Church. It sells lots of books, and pulls big crowds, but it is to the detriment of our spirit. That would not have washed with the generations that had gone before.”

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Afterwards, the Princess ran into the Kingdom, all doubt gone.  Opening the gate, she headed straight for the racetrack, and bowed to the waiting King.  “I am here, one of the 4th generation reporting for this leg. I realise now why it is that Anna and I share a name and a birthday.  I will run.  Let me keep the faith and finish the race.”

The King led her to the race her Great-Great Grandmother had run, to finish the leg her brother had started.  The track had the number 5 on it.  Anna appeared in her vision, again holding the baton.  The Princess looked at Anna with understanding, as she accepted the baton.  “Father, you are loyal.”

As she left the track, she wondered about the roar from those in the grandstands. Who were they? The Kingdom was a mysterious place. For now we see in a mirror dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

The Princess smiled happily at the King, remembering the day. “I have it on faith that this is a baton. I would not like to think I’m going to be running this leg of the race with a drain plunger!” The King smiled back. “It will be whatever I give you.” The Princess looked to see what He had given her, expecting to see the staff. She was surprised to see she carried a pen.  “How can I advance the Kingdom of God?” she asked.

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, so he may run that reads it. Habakkuk 2:2

The Princess bowed to the King. “I will write down the vision given me, but how will I ever get it published?” she asked. Within a decade technology changed, and the tablets appeared.  The Princess knew what she had to do. She finished the story, proffered it to the King and bowed low. “Lord, you promised you would use this story to speak to others. I am your servant.  I hope the story is of use to you.  May it help the reader avoid some of my pitfalls I encountered, find the others who are on the road, and run the race you have marked out for them.”

I pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened, in order that we may know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of your glorious inheritance in your holy people, and your incomparably great power for us who believe.  Ephesians 1:19

landscape_race_track-wide

Seek first the Kingdom

Ephesians 3-20Do you believe that God is able or willing to provide if we ask, or do you believe that “God helps those who help themselves?”  I had to grow up self reliant, so I believed more in self help.  That was until I came to a place in my life where we’d just left college,  we didn’t have jobs, and we were nearly out of money.  We ended up in this tenuous position through no fault of our own, work we’d been promised didn’t materialise.  I called that place “the mirage”.

Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount not to worry about stuff, our Father in Heaven knows what we need;

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 

SparrowLook at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:25-34

I wanted to believe that if we seek first the Kingdom, all these things will be given to us – but I had trouble trusting God for provision after the mirage.  I worried about the future big time!  My husband didn’t pray very nicely to God about our situation, he just barked “God, we need money, RIGHT NOW.

Eye on the sparrowGod heard us.  The next day we entered a period of supernatural provision that lasted for two months, ending when we got our first pay packets.  We got jobs working nightfill at a supermarket 3 nights a week, commercial cleaning on the weekends and early mornings, and I also worked as a caregiver on Saturday night through to early Sunday afternoon.  We were building a business during the day, and I wondered how we were ever going to get that off the ground.  God got us seed funding for that as well.  He did above and beyond what we asked for or ever could have imagine.  Our business was able to pay us both after the first year, and we were able to give up our night jobs.  That was seven years ago, and we’re doing okay, despite the recession.

The story is told in Chapter 78 The seed

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

 

Chapter 78 The seed

diploma_hat_graduationAt graduation the Princess stood at Isaac’s side with her hard won Diploma in her hand, her eyes seeking out her children. It would have been perfect if she had been able to beat Isaac, the Dux of the Business course.  They had competed with each other fiercely for marks. “I would have beaten you if not for statistics” she teased him.

After completing the Diploma of Business earlier in the year and leaving the campus in the early winter they found a little white cottage to rent on the main road. It was a bit bare.  Some of the furniture did not survive the move and had to be replaced. They needed a sofa, washing machine, fridge, and lawnmower.  It would be a good location for the business – if and when they could afford to get it started.  Their money had been depleted by the mirage – that desert place where their promised jobs had not materialised.  They’d had to resort to living on a student allowance for two years, and now they had to find work.

The Princess looked at their depleted bank account after forking out for the bond, rent in advance, plus a week’s rent to the property agent for their “services”. There was precious little left. The minimal earnings from their student allowances plus the small amount earned from her part time job did not allow them to recover the costs of going to College. She was worried as she stated the obvious; “There is no money to start a business. How are we going to build a business and earn money in the meantime?”

Isaac’s request to the King was short and sharp; “God, we need money, right now!” The next day, Isaac’s bank rang. The bank had some money for Isaac from a mortgage insurance policy that had been overpaid years ago. The princess was amazed.  She had never heard of a bank doing that.  It was enough to keep them going for the rest of the month. Following that, a refund from the College for overpaid accommodation kept them going for another month. The King provided for them until they could get jobs at night.   Despite the financial miracles she still had the jitters. The mirage had taken its toll. It took a lot for her to come back from that place and learn to trust the King to provide. “God helps those who help themselves!” she’d been told growing up.  The King said;

Seek Ye FirstSo do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.  Matthew 6:31-33

Not long after that they received a bill from the accountant for his services. How could it be that much when they did not even have a business? Furious with Isaac who had prematurely hired him before he left City College; she threw the bill that was now up to $1550 onto the floor, slammed the door in his face and walked along the street.

The King caught up with her at the beach. He understood her frustration and anger. She kicked the sand. “How are we going to start this company when the accountant is taking all of our hard earned seed money? You know we need that money to start our business!” she snapped, exasperated and disillusioned. “I will provide!” the King said, but He couldn’t reassure her, or get through the fog. Her black mood kept her from hearing the King’s response.

She sacked the accountant after that, telling Isaac “We can’t afford this. What did we go to college for? I have learned enough to do the books myself, and I can do the tax returns. We can do it ourselves, until the business is established.”

Seed

The David Yaxley Enterprise Fund

Not long after that Prince Trevor and Princess Jan, the founders of the College, called them to a meeting in the lecture theater at the College with great excitement. Like her, they had long dwelled in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, after losing a son about her brother’ age.  The Princess understood something of their loss from the death of her own brother.

Princess Jan’s eyes shone, as they described the fund that was going to be available for the business students. The seed capital was named in memory of their son.  It bore the symbol of the acorn.  The Princess recognised it as the acorn the King had given her ten years ago after she had bought her house.  He had named it as ‘the first seed to be planted on the land made barren’.  She remembered the King telling her “it was to replant the waste fields”.  The seed had taken ten years to germinate.

Photo_hand-acorns_lgHer eyes shone like Jan’s, as she approached the King, the acorn in her hands.  “I remember you giving me an acorn the year I bought my house.  I didn’t know what you meant by it, but I do now.”  The King was financing them into business, and He wanted her included.  In the families she had come from, the men ran the businesses with no input from their wives.

The Princess asked, “This was your plan all along, that I should work for myself as a business owner?” He replied “Yes. It is written in my book that women own property and run businesses. They are respected figures in their own right, not shadows of their husbands.”

“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard,
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” Proverbs 31

The Princess thought about her first husband’s businesses. In Sydney, there had been no place for her except as an unpaid factory labourer on weekends. She did not have any say in that business. When the family sold the business to buy a foundary back in small town Wanganui, she had been forced to give up her life in Sydney, her career, everything. She had come away with nothing to show for all the sacrifice.

Feeling the pain and regret of her past, she said “they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” Song of Solomon 1:6

The King rested his hand on her shoulder as He reminded her that the vineyard would come from the wilderness.

Therefore, behold, I will allure you,
Will bring you into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to you.
I will give you your vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope. Hosea 2:14-16.

His other hand rested on Isaac’s shoulder. “You became my partners, and I have made you into a team. You are the partner I spoke to Isaac of, long before you came. He has confidence in you, as do I.”

“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land”.  Proverbs 31

“Thank you for believing in me” the Princess said, bowing to the King.  “Now will you believe in me?” the King asked, looking at her.  “I promised I would provide” He added, as they looked through the loan application.  The Princess lifted her eyes to His, saying “You have done exeedingly, abundantly more than I could ever have hoped for or imagined.  You deserve the glory for what you have done in my life, and again, I want to thank you.”

Holidaying on the smell of an oily rag

Camping at Te Aroha

Camping at Te Aroha

Have you ever gone on a holiday with no money?  We have!  We were forced to some years back, through having to vacate our student flat on campus over the December-January holiday period.  As far as our finances went, we were running on the smell of an oily rag.

We prayed about what to do and where to go before leaving, and God didn’t disappoint us.  “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes” He said.  It seemed a great idea.  Off we went with $80, a $1000 overdraft, a tent and a 16 year old car.

In the end, we spent only 3 days camping.  We got houses to sit in big city Auckland and in Waipawa, a friendly little town in Hawkes Bay.

We went camping at a place called “Te Aroha” which means “the mountain of love” or “the loved one”.  The river its next to is the Waihou river, meaning “new water”.   One of the walks we did took us along the banks of the Waihou river.  It’s a river of crystal clear water, which I’ve covered in earlier posts:

Come to the river and Salus per Aquam, Healing through waters.

New Zealand is a country of outstanding natural beauty, so we went exploring.  We spent several days in the Karangahake Gorge, an old gold mining area of bush clad gorges, waterfalls and sparkling rivers.

If you are ever in the North Island of New Zealand, I recommend these places for hiking.

From there, we eventually made our way to Hawkes Bay, where we were going to house-sit for my sister and brother-in-law.  The road we travelled was the Napier-Taupo road.  The road isn’t as bad as when I was a kid, but I was a bit worried because there were some big hills for the old car to get over.  The Australians call our hills “mountains”.  My worst fears were realised after we scaled the Gentle Annie, a hill that was over 2300 feet high. The car engine overheated and converted all the water to steam at the summit.  It still went after that, but it was flaky and never the same for the rest of the holiday.  We had to spend some of the overdraft money on products to try and fix the subsequent overheating and leaking problems.  I think the hill lead to the engine’s demise.  Six months later, my husband replaced the engine as soon as we were able to afford it.

I felt the presence of God on that holiday, especially in Hawkes Bay.  He spoke to me a lot out of the book of Isaiah, even though I was reading Proverbs at the time.  That holiday has to be one of my all time best holidays, even though we had no money and a car with overheating problems.  I believe it is better to be time-rich and money-poor rather than the other way around.  Experiences don’t have to cost money, but you need to have the time to enjoy them.  Joy is part of the word ‘enjoy’.  That holiday, I learned what joy was.  The joy of catching up with family and friends.  The joy of going back to childhood places.  The joy of hiking through beautiful places.  The joy of being free and not having to be anywhere.  The joy of discovering things that had been hidden for years.

My next chapter “Chapter 77 Treasures of darkness” tells the story.

Chapter 77 Treasures of darkness

M4031M-4208The princess put her books away and plomped down on the sofa.  “I’m glad that’s the last paper for the year, but now what do we doIt’s the summer holidays, and we have to be off the campus over December and January.  We’ve got no income over that period, and we have to find accomodation.”  “Let’s ask the Lord what He wants for us” Isaac suggested.

They sought the King for His will.  Pleased they had asked Him to lead them the King replied “Go camping”.  Trusting in His direction, they spent the last of their money on some camping equipment and left the campus before Christmas.

They camped near the Karangahake Gorge, an area of outstanding natural beauty where gold was once mined.  The sparkling Ohinemuri River cut through one gorge, the Waitawheta River the other.  History was everywhere in the mining ruins and tracks.  There were a lot of tunnels to explore, and on the first day they did not have a torch.  The King helped them by sending a guide at the precise moment the Princess was about to trip in the darkness of a tunnel.  Their unofficial guide was a Department of Conservation employee who had keys to the locked tunnels.

The King said “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”  Isaiah 42:16.

Karangahake Gorge

Karangahake Gorge

“Would you like to see the mine head?”  their guide asked.  He didn’t have to ask.  They jumped at the chance.  As he opened the gate the guide told them this place hadn’t been seen for a century.  The Princess peered into the darkness at the minehead and the glow worms.

When they returned to their camp, the grateful Princess thanked the King.  “You were a light in that tunnel for me.  I am so grateful you sent that guide at just the right moment.  Not only did he have a light, he had keys.  He opened a locked gate and showed us things hidden for over a century”.

The King said “I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of bronze, and cut asunder the bars of iron:
And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.  Isaiah 45:3

The Princess smiled and bowed to Him.  The King blessed their holiday as they made their way south, meandering their unhurried way through the North Island.  He led them to many beautiful places, eventually bringing them to Waipawa, a pretty little town in central Hawkes Bay where her sister Princess Christine and brother-in-law Prince Paul lived.  They were going way on holiday, and the house was theirs to house sit.

Both Princesses were born and bred in Hawkes Bay, and knew their Great Grandparents had settled near the Waipawa area. “Look at this;” the Princess said as they walked around the town, “Our family name is on the monuments.”  “Yes, we are known here.  When I give them my maiden name, they know of our family” Princess Christine replied.  “It’s nice to live in an area where we have history” the Princess replied.  “Yes, I felt a sense of belonging with the place, right from the start” her sister replied.  Princess Christine and her husband had moved to Waipawa the year before to take up a ministry position at St John’s, a Methodist-Presbyterian cooperating parish.  It was their first ministry position.

“How’s it going with the Church?” the Princess asked her sister.  “Great, I love being in ministry – although it is Paul who gets the recognition” Princess Christine replied.  Nodding sympathetically, the Princess said “God knows the work you are doing.  I know He’s got you here for a reason.”

The Princess thought about the vision she had received the year before at Prince Paul and Princess Christine’s induction ceremony.  As the thanksgiving prayer began “Our Father in heaven, we thank you for those who have given us our heritage …” the King took the Princess by the hand.  The sunlit church and people faded, as she found herself on the hill in Hawkes Bay where she and her sister had been born.  The hospital they had been born in was gone.  It its place were immigration barracks.  A harbour lay at the base of the hill, where the Friedeburg, a German ship newly arrived from Hamburg lay at anchor. The King was showing the Princess a scene from over a century ago.

“Vater unser im Himmel” … thanksgiving prayers were being said in the forgotten language, as a newly arrived couple stood on a hill at the ends of the earth, looking out over the land of Hawkes Bay. Although the woman’s lips trembled and moved she appeared to have difficulty with her hearing.  “Why am I seeing this?” the Princess asked.  “Today you are seeing a generational promise fulfilled” the King replied.  Out of fear she was just imagining things, the Princess said nothing about it to her sister.

In the days that followed, Waipawa welcomed them, wrapping them together in a sense of belonging, homecoming, and peace.  Isaac had some work on a house renovation while they were staying in the town.  He worked on a roof while the Princess took the teenage children to the beach, and came home smiling, his face made pink from the sun.  “Why are you so happy, when I’m the one that got to go to the beach?” the Princess laughed. Isaac said “I don’t know, but I feel I belong here.”  She felt the same. For years this land had called out to her, and now she would find out why.  “What is this place in the Kingdom?  Where am I?” she asked the King. “You are at the place of the forgotten gate, a gate that has been closed for over a century” He replied.

They went exploring, and found a place called Makaretu, the place where her forefathers had settled after leaving Germany. Nothing was left there except a cemetery, and a memorial gate. “Stop the car” the Princess asked Isaac.  As they walked through the gate, the call of the land grew into a single word; “here”.  The Princess had never been to this place before, but Isaac saw the King lead the Princess to a grave.

“Here” the King whispered, touching a headstone that bore no discernible name. “Here” she repeated, as Isaac found her scraping away madly at the moss, looking up at him with her eyes shining as her family name slowly appeared. “Here’s my name! We have found Wilhelm’s grave. He’s here, he’s here! Oh, thank you Jesus!” The Princess leaped up and jumped around in excitement, overjoyed at her discovery of Wilhelm’s grave. Isaac took over scraping at the lower half of the headstone. “So is she …” Isaac said, finding Anna.

“Here” she heard the word whispered again, “Yes, I am here” the Princess said, as she bowed her head.  A fragment, a memory, a feeling of something left forgotten and buried tugged at her heart and mind, as she stood paying her respects. Wilhelm Dassler had not chosen to settle at Makaretu, where he lay buried. He died before he could establish himself in the place where he wanted to be.

 The King said “They died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore I am not ashamed to be called their God, for I have prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11

Anna lay there with him, Anna who called the Father “Abba” like a child.  “My Father is also your Vater …” the Princess said, remembering. She looked up at the King standing on the other side of the grave. “You led us here for a reason, didn’t you?”

The King said “Just as you have been an object of cursing among the nations, so will I save you, and you will become a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.” Zechariah 8:13

The Princess thought about the cursing.  Did the King mean by cursing that even though their name was on the war monuments in the area, there was the stigma of being German during the world wars?  Or did He mean something far worse, like Freemasonry?  Freemasonry offered a man brotherhood, light, and secrets – but when a man swore allegiance at the lodge, he swore allegiance to a different God.  It brought cursing, oaths that bound a family for generations. The darkness spread throughout the land, for with every New Zealand town, there was a church – and a lodge.  She knew her Grandfather and Great Grandfather had belonged to a lodge, and had broken off the oaths they made.

The Princess regarded the King and spoke; “It does seem we were cursed. Other settler families have farms they have been on for generations. We do not have land here to call our own, and even though our name is on the war monuments in this area, there is no one down my line of the family left to carry it. I read the curses you wrote for following other gods;

The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind.
At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you. Deuteronomy 28:27-29

I grew up seeing my blind Grandfather grope in the dark on the farm where we lived, and his Grandmother was deaf. We couldn’t hear, we couldn’t see, and we couldn’t think right.”

“Lord you have brought over us a deep sleep:
You have sealed our eyes
You have covered our ears
For us this whole vision was nothing but words sealed in a scroll.” Isaiah 29:11

The King watched the emotions flit across the face of the Princess. He remembered how she first staggered out of the darkness into the light, holding her hands to shield her eyes, unable at first to accept the Father’s love, or believe it. He wanted her to believe it now.

The King said “It’s not over. The oaths have been removed, but you have not come far enough. This is the day of my favour.  I want you to come forward for my blessing.” His voice was rough with emotion, as He extended His hand to her across the grave. “So many of you suffer judgment, but I am a God who longs to establish you, and show my favour! I am gracious and kind to all, full of compassion and mercy.

I loM4031M-4208ok at each generation, and call until my voice gets hoarse. Please come forward for my blessing. It is the blessing I promised your forefathers, the blessing I promised for generations.”

The Princess had already started to experience the Father’s blessing. She knew this was something important, and nodded. “I don’t know what you promised, it wasn’t shared with us, and I don’t speak German. What I do know is you are a faithful God, and your promises are for all generations.  Please give the blessing you have promised.  Show me what I have to do.”  The King came forward with keys in His hand.  “Would you like me to open the gate?”  He didn’t have to ask.  “Please” the Princess replied, nodding.

A monarch butterfly alighted near a bush with purple flowers.  The Princess chose some of the flowers and left them on the grave.

The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever. Isaiah 40:8

The wall

walk the wall

“Walk the wall!” A scene from “An Officer and a Gentleman”

Have you ever encountered an obstacle that seemed unsurmountable?  Its called “hitting the wall”.  What’s been your wall? 

Statistics was the wall I came up against, a paper I had to pass to qualify for a Diploma of Business.  We had 4 weeks to complete it.  I just couldn’t do it, I hadn’t been able to understand maths since the age of 10.  When I prayed about it, I knew I had to “throw my heart over the bar”.

Years before, I had won a major spiritual battle against bad thoughts.  After I’d got rid of the worry and hate, God wanted me to fill my mind with positive thoughts, so I read a book my Norman Vincent Peale, “The power of positive thinking.”

One of the things Norman Vincent Peale said was this;

Throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow.  Throw your faith over your difficulty, throw your affirmation over every barrier, throw your visualisation over your obstacles.  Fire the heart with where you want to go and what you want to be.  Get it so deeply fixed in your unconscious that you will not take no for an answer, then your entire personality will follow where your heart leads.”     

It reminds me of a scene from the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” that came out in 1982 with the hit song “Up where we belong.”  Anyway, the scene I am talking about is where the only female cadet on the course has a wall she has to scale.  The hero wouldn’t let her give up.  He coached her over the wall; “Walk the wall! Seeger! Seeger, walk! Seeger! Don’t you let go! You walk that wall! Pull! Pull! Pull, Candidate Seeger!”  Psalm 18-29

Have you ever hit the wall?  If you can’t seem to get over, consult God before you give up.  He will know whether you can do it or not.  He and my husband helped me scale the wall, just like the hero in the movie.

Did I pass Statistics at College?  Chapter 76 The new land tells the story.