More than the grains of sand

sand-grain-magnified-pictures

Do you see what’s hidden?

The sand at Cobham Beach in Florida where my husband comes from, is the whitest sand I’ve ever seen.  As far as sand goes, we’re polar opposites.  Where I grew up over 8000 miles away, the sand at my beach (on the west coast of the North Island of NZ) was the blackest.

sand magnified

Grains of sand magnified

Here’s a thought;
White, black, red, and gold – the sand has different colours – like us.

Did you know the grains of sand outnumber us, and God’s thoughts outnumber the grains of sand?

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand … “ 
Psalm 139:17-18

remember-me-sand-sculpture-14531294802839hJlHave you ever seen grains of sand magnified?

Every grain of sand is unique and beautiful.

Think of that if you feel insignificant or believe that you don’t matter to God.

Psalm 139-17,18

The gift of the Shepherd

The Lord is My ShepherdTired and drained, the Princess stood by the fire inside in her father’s house trying to get warm.  She tried not to look at her father’s empty chair.  The shepherd’s staff stood near it, unnoticed in the corner of the room.  It had been left leaning there since the day of her Father’s death. 

In the Kingdom, the Princess trudged through the Valley of the Shadow of death.  Her father’s house lay in that valley.  They’d gone there at his wife’s request for the sad task of sorting out his belongings.  “One of you girls can take that,” Sally his widow said, suddenly noticing the staff. The Princess recognised it. “That’s my old crook” she remarked.  Sally said “It was down in his workshop. He’d made it down there the other day, but he was too weak to walk back up the path.  I found him leaning on it, unable to move. It’s yours, please take it.”

They gave her his car.  As she got the engine running, a thin stream of water shot out of the radiator, landing in an arc on the concrete in front of her sisters.  She sighed and cracked an egg into the radiator water, praying it would hold until she could get the leak fixed.

She realised her father had been too ill to maintain the car.  It still had all his stuff in it, the paperback he’d been reading was face down on the seat where he’d left it. She put the crook in the back of the car with the rest of his stuff and concentrated on getting the car back to Wanganui.

At home she put the crook in the corner of the room and cried.  It was more than she could cope with. The endless winter days felt like a long, dark valley where she did not laugh and she did not smile.  Again the humble crook stayed unnoticed until finally the God of all comfort came.

Her tear filled eyes were drawn to the staff.  She noticed it had been varnished.  Mindful of the care taken in its preservation, she asked “Does this crook have some significance?”

The Shepherd replied, giving her some dates, and a number.  “From the day you left Napier on the 4th day of August, to the day of your Father’s death on the 4th day of August, 23 years were written in my book. When your father leaned on the staff, I was there.  Now the time for your father has ended, and you will go on. Read Psalm 23. It will be familiar to you.”

   The Lord is my shepherd,
   I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.

   He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness

   for His name’s sake.

  Even though I walk through the valley
   of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil;
   for you are with me;
   Your rod and Your staff comfort me.  Psalm 23

 

The Princess smiled at the Shepherd through her tears, carried back to the place where she had first encountered Him in the valley.   She could see the hills, the sheep, the creek and the quiet pool by the willows. “This is the place where we first met” she said, wiping away her tears as her eyes lingered on the crook, the shepherd’s staff.

Taking the staff in her hands she ran her fingers over the smooth wood, remembering.  The staff had come back to her as a great gift from the Shepherd, and it comforted her.   She wiped her eyes and said “It’s true. Your rod and your staff … comfort me.”

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Matthew 5:4

Featured

Write the revelation, and make it plain upon tablets

KWelcome to the Kingdom.  This is no ordinary story.  It’s in the same genre as “Pilgrims Progress”.  The story is an allegory, explaining a spiritual journey along the path that is narrow and hard to find. 
To begin with I wrote my story “The Kingdom” as a journal and to create a map of my journey.  It chronicled revelation that the King gave to “the Princess”.
I had no plans to publish it, although friends suggested I should.  I asked the Lord if He wanted it published.
“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the revelation, and make it plain upon tablets, so he may run that reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2

Digital tablets hadn’t been invented when I got this rhema word.  Now they have, I’ve put the chapters up on this blog.

Two Edged SwordRevelation

    What is a revelation?  It is defined as;

  • An enlightening or astonishing disclosure,
  • The communication of knowledge to man by a divine or supernatural agency.

Dragons

Sword of Spirit

Revelation is also a book in the Bible; it’s the last book and the only one where the reader is promised a blessing if they read it.  It is the revelation of Jesus Christ to the people living on this planet at the time of the end.  We all have dragons to slay, but the dragon in Revelation is going to be mad, bad, dangerous and everyone’s problem.  It is written in Revelation that they (the believers) defeated the dragon by the word of their testimony.  (Paraphrased from Revelation 12:11)

The Kingdom is my personal testimony.  The words of the King to me as “the Princess” are true.  It’s about how God guided me along the path, and helped me deal with my dragons.  None of them are on the scale of the big dragon in Revelation, but they’re all related.  If you like the idea of Princes and Princesses slaying dragons the story may appeal to you.

Dreams

Are you interested in dream interpretation?  In my story, “the Princess” was given dreams.  I would ask the King to explain them.  The story served as a context for the dreams.  When I was writing, the King would give me a verse from the Bible that went with the dream.  The prophet Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzard after he was asked to interpret his dream that there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. (Daniel 2:28).

Life can be a mystery.  Think about coincidences for instance.  Do you notice signs that appear at just the right time?  That’s God.  He wants us to seek Him out, and find the things He has for us.

Some things in life are hidden, but God can bring the concealed things to light through the great words of the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.   Proverbs 25:2

The Lord will bring revelation if you seek him.  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7.

JesusThe King, the Holy Spirit

The King in my story is the Holy Spirit, who works as one with God and Jesus.  He is the comforter, teacher and guide of “the Princess”.  He is the one Jesus promised He would send after He went back to God.  Jesus explains how He was sent to us in John 14;

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”  John 14:15-17

The final scene in my story

batonI ended “The Kingdom” with a scene where “the Princess” is handed a baton from another princess who had gone before her.  There is a race to be run. Sometimes we run alone, sometimes in a group.  At times the path is hard to see but there are signs.  The signs the Princess found along the path are recorded in the story.

The Kingdom story is my testimony.  It shows what I did with the words the Lord spoke to me as personal revelation.  God will speak to us all personally if we seek him through Jesus, the King.  I hope my story will inspire you to seek the King yourself.

The book can be read from the menu ‘List of Chapters’ on the left, or click here.  If you would like to know more, please ask me questions.

I’ve taken a photo of one of the places where “the Princess” goes to speak with the Lord.  The beach is at the bottom of my street.  The island off the beach is called “Kawau Island”.  It’s an island with no roads, where the residents get around by boat.  I’ve made a photo gallery so you can see other scenes from my story.

 

Habbakuk 2:2

One of the scenes from the Kingdom – the view at the end of my road.  This is where I was told to write the revelation I received in “The Kingdom” and make it plain on tablets.

Epilogue

The House

The burgeoning business they had started after graduating from College took a lot of room at their little white cottage on the main road, which had been too small to begin with. Isaac had his eye on another house to move to, but it wasn’t the house the Princess could see in her mind. When it came time to meet the property owner, she dawdled, making Isaac late.

When they got there, she was pleased to find that their prospective landlord had rented the house to someone else just fifteen minutes before. The Princess was relieved, but Isaac disappointed. “Did you stop us from renting the yellow house?” she asked the King, smiling at the good\bad timing. He replied “Yes, tell Isaac it’s not the house I have chosen. I want you to make a list of the things you need and wait the winter out. You are not to do anything to find the house yourselves. I will provide it.” Isaac agreed when she told him what she had heard from the King.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAOne Sunday afternoon in the winter they decided to go for a walk. It was a glorious day, sunny and crisp. The sun sparkled on the sea where it played on the water at Kawau Bay. They strolled along the shore and teased each other. “We should do this more” the Princess said. Their walks on the beach were infrequent even in summer.

As they rounded the corner from the beach and walked up the hill, they met one of their customers named Bill, a friendly and sociable guy. “Come into the house” Bill invited them. They walked in and met Gill who was measuring up curtains for her new house.

Gill made them welcome, as she showed them through her lovely home. “What are you doing with this house?” the Princess asked, her heart thudding with excitement as she met Isaac’s eyes. Gill replied that it would be rented out after they moved into their new house in the spring. By the time they’d drunk the coffee the house was theirs to rent.

House wish listThey thanked the King over and over. As soon as they got home she dug the list out of the “God Box” and ticked it off with glee. “Ha, you forgot about the bath!” she teased the King. “You got a dishwasher instead!” the King replied, smiling at her cheekiness. He knew what they needed.

They moved in at the beginning of spring. She loved the cream walls and timber ceilings.

The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.  Song of Songs 1:17

Heart

The heart in the window

When she arrived, she found the King had hidden little hearts around the place. A red heart in the office window above her desk did not escape her attention, it was a sign she cherished.

Princess Thea visited them and gave them a scripture;

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.  Song of Songs 2:4

 

Full circle

The Princess stood next to her father the King and surveyed the land from the top of the hill.  The sea lay in the distance, beyond the tree. She looked at the house that the King had selected with such care, and smiled with gratitude at the King. It was a lovely, comfortable, agreeable house to live in. She finally felt like she had her life back after unpacking things that had been in storage for five long years.

“I have learned to seek my happiness in you, and you have indeed given me my heart desire” she said, thanking Him.

Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire. Give yourself to the Lord; trust in him, and he will help you; he will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun. Psalm 34:4-6

The business was across the deck, in a neat and tidy workshop and office. It was established and had grown well. She was good at what she did, her skills complemented Isaac’s. Together they worked as a team, and the King had their back.

The year before, they had gone to Florida to meet Isaac’s Grandmother. They managed enough from their own resources for the airfares, asking the King if He could provide for the rest. He did more than they asked or expected. A friend named Princess Grace gifted them an accommodation package she had for Florida and Las Vegas. “The King asked me to gift this to you” she said. There were even tickets for Disneyland.

M4031M-4208They left for the States in the winter, as storms lashed the country. Flying on the wings of the dawn, they crossed the Pacific Ocean, international date-line and American continent. Winter changed to summer.   On arrival, it took some time to get their bearings and orientation. Prince Jim, whose computer she’d fixed long distance, came to welcome and help them. His was a friendly and familiar face in a vast and strange land.

They made their wM4031M-4208ay to Clearwater in Florida where Elanor, Isaac’s grandmother lived.  Isaac’s American Grandmother, Aunt and cousin knew the King well, and loved Him.  The Princess saw the joy on his Grandmother’s face as she came forward to embrace her grandson. She had not seen him since he was a twelve year old boy. Isaac was home. They were greeted with joy. “I have a new Granddaughter” Princess Eleanor Isaacson said in her soft American accent, as they hugged.

Eleanor sounded a lot like Isaac’s mother Ronaele, although her American accent was more pronounced. The Princess loved his family. They made just as welcome as Isaac’s Mother had.

Together, they looked at their ring, which had belonged to Eleanor. The precious diamond had come full circle.

 

Chapter 75 The Princess unmasked

Me - cartoonI am now going to take the mask of the Princess off. I’m Joanne, an ordinary woman who you probably would not take a lot of notice of, unless you had a computer you needed me to fix. Then you’d love me and buy me lots of chocolate.

I wrote in the third person to get ME out of the way, in the hope that the King could speak to you using the Princess. If you are a guy I know this is more difficult.

Thank you for joining me on my journey through the Kingdom. I have appreciated your company, even though we haven’t met in person.  The King knows who you are. Jesus told us to “go into the world and make disciples out of all men”. He did not tell us to “go into the world and make good church members”.

In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in Heaven “Your Kingdom come”.  Even though the Kingdom is a future Kingdom, the Kingdom can start now for us on this sin ridden planet, if we seek God the Father’s will.  That’s why the next words in the Lord’s prayer are “Your will be done”.  I hope you can see that from the story.  I am now living a life I could not have built by myself.  I cannot explain my second marriage, the trip to the USA to see Bert’s (Isaac’s) grandmother, or the house we’re now living in without God.

I wanted the story to show you the Father heart of God, and the King who is the exact representation of God the Father.  My hope is that through my story you will see Him, and take another look, and a look after that! He is amazing. I am so proud of Him. He is wise, gracious, firm, unyielding, witty, subtle, and He enjoys our banter.  He is complex, jealous for us, has strict boundaries, and will not share His glory with another. He sticks to His word.  If you don’t like it, He will explain it – He is that gracious. He tells it like it is.

In telling my story, I hope to inspire you to seek the Kingdom of God.

There is a race to be run. It’s no ordinary race. Some of you may be already running.  Some of you aren’t.  You may be the first in your family line to run, you may be the last. The gate to the racetrack is through Jesus. He said “I AM the Gate”.

Sometimes you will run, sometimes you will walk, sometimes you will stumble and fall, and sometimes, you will rise on the wings of an eagle.  Those are the best times, when you can stop running, wing it and see what the eagle sees.

If you think you are too old or too late for this race, that’s rubbish, the Lord doesn’t care how old you are. Age means nothing in the Kingdom. Go and get a Bible and read the story Jesus tells in Matthew 20:1-16, The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. This is where He explains what the Kingdom is like.

The important thing is that you make the journey. Run then and don’t grow weary. I’ll see you at the finish.

Ready, on your mark, get set, GO.

I promise not to hand you the drain plunger, unless you need one.

The End.

Now unto you the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Tim 1:17

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.relay

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.

You 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 74 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?  What about her brother’s inheritance? He never got a chance.

Her brother was still at the age of 21.  She remembered her father saying he would never grow old. In her mind, he looked more like her son with every year that passed.   She was still carting his belongings with her, even after going through two countries and eight changes of address.

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.

The Princess 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 dark field, 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.plunger

Later that morning, she gathered before the King with the other believers. Rachel, one of the Pastors, was preaching that morning.  The Princess noticed she had a plunger in her hands.  Rachel waved it 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! I am going to talk about inheritance in terms of receiving the baton and running the race….”

The King laughed. What a picture the Princess’s face was. “Are you serious?” she asked, dumbfounded, her eyes fixed on the drain plunger. “Yes. Is it loud and clear enough?” He replied smiling.

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 New Zealand bush. They lived in extreme hardship, poverty and isolation. I could see their faces, and I could see a baton in their hands.”  Anna Dassler

Anna came into view, holding the baton.  Their eyes met.  This time, the Princess held her gaze.

“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, 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.”

“They didn’t receive what was 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.” 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” 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 five 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 73 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.