A story of faith rewarded

whyWhen tested, how do you react?
“Why me?” most people ask. It’s a question you can ask God.  He promises wisdom if we ask and don’t doubt.

Job certainly asked,”why me?”  Job was a man the devil was allowed to attack after his hedge of protection was removed.

The latest five-star review of “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” by Wyborn Senna likened my struggles to that of Job.
A Moving Journey Reminiscent of The Book of Job.

Why did Job get attacked?  God held Job in high esteem, pointing him out to Satan, “the dragon” in my story.

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied, pointing out how God had blessed Job.  “stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face,” Satan promised.

God then allowed Job to go into Satan’s power to be tested.

Job, although he questioned God, ultimately passed the test and God rewarded him.  Unlike Job, Peter underwent testing and failed, but Jesus restored him, giving him another chance.

Like Peter, we are all to be tested, sifted like wheat.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  Luke 22:31 – 32 (NIV)

James, the brother of Jesus said, “consider it all joy whenever you face trials”

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:2-4

What would you feel if you gained fatherly wisdom from a trial, knowing the wisdom was from God?  Would you feel joy knowing you had a purpose, knowing there was a reason for the trial?

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In my book, you’ll see me asking God the reason for the trials that befell me, and you will read God’s answers.  I hope it will encourage other people when they see how God answered.

Job said, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”  Job 23:10 

Like the Book of Job, mine is a story of faith rewarded. I recommend my book to those who are struggling, who are being tested in various ways.

My hope for you, for 2015

Hope is a powerful thing, and if God gives it the world can’t take it away.

I once heard a good acronym for HOPE;

Honest Optimism Practically Expressed.

Hope opens up the power flow for the Holy Spirit to move in your life.  Doubt closes it.  The Lord would tell me off when I expressed any doubts about His promises.

Hang in there and don’t stop believing.

Here’s Psalm 25 put to music by Third day.  It’s called “My hope is in you.”  We played this at our wedding at the conclusion of the service.  It meant a lot to us, as we’d put our hope in the Lord – and he did more for us than we ever expected or imagined.

I hope you have some en-JOY-able times this year, even in the midst of challenges.

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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 three 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.