Legacy and pause for thought…

This third series ended in the belief that there is so much more to life than we have imagined and we have the opportunity to experience the Kingdom of God on earth when we walk daily with Him.   The 120 entries you will have read were to reveal God wants to break into our present, and the message is, “’For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

My aim was to leave you a legacy to give you food for thought that even in living our ordinary lives if we do so in faith, we will come to realise that we serve an extraordinary God, and He loves us despite our failures.

In Genesis 29  Leah is a prime example when married to Jacob instead of Rachel. Yet it was Leah’s children who became the twelve tribes of Israel, and hundreds of years later from Judah’s line, Jesus was born.  In serving the Lord to the best of our ability, we have no idea how the simplest things in life God can use, and bring outcomes beyond our imagination.

Everyone has the opportunity to press into the Lord. John 3:16: “For God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Psalm 34:8 tells us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him”

Today, God is pouring out His Spirit far beyond that of my young days.  This is probably because the things of world have become darker, but where the Spirit is, light shines brighter and my ceiling is now the young peoples’ floor.  I have drawn from my own walk with the Lord, and sat with Him and truly believe He was inspiring and revealing the different aspects and episodes, steps and keys.

There are many promises in God’s word.  James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” It is then the Lord invites you to feast with Him, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”  Revelation 3:20.   Note the ‘if’- that means you have to make a response!

Life on earth has its up and downs.  Scripture is a living Word. It can soothe, help and give you words to declare over your life.  Psalm 27 is a good example. “The Lord is my light and my salvation…I don’t need to be afraid…”    Jeremiah 33:3 adds “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” The apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

We are also told in Psalm 23:5-6 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.”

On most days for nearly fifty years, I spend time ‘seeking the Lord while He may be found’ Isaiah 55:6.   Over the years, through a variety of traumas, those words have proved to be true. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28   Rest always comes “with the peace of God that passes understanding.” Philippians 4:7.

God says, “’In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17.  We are in those days.  If we listen, we will recognise God’s voice within us, which answers our questions, guides and keep us on His path.

I hope, at whatever stage your faith is, you have found new truths, been excited or inspired in your walk with the Lord.  There may be a fourth series, which I sense could be investigating His Holy Mountain, but at this time, I have not heard the Lord’s call to continue.  Perhaps He is just giving me a time of rest after eight months of writing!

Worship and thanksgiving are essential keys to opening up the windows of heaven and communing with our awesome Father God.  Lel has prepared a page of song links to those used on the blog which could prove a useful play list.  I truly believe the Lord is releasing His songs on earth today, drawing us into worshipping and heralding His arrival. Below, are alternatives to the songs we finally chose for the blog, which you may also enjoy.

We would love your comments on this blog and do sign up to be notified if and when a fourth series begins by using the Feedback button.

Further songs of worship:

Faith”  Jordon Feliz.  3.5 mins

In Control”  Hillsong Worship    5 mins

This is our God”  Hillsong Worship   6 mins

Indescribable”   Chris Tomlin   5 mins

All of Creation” – Suzy Yareil   9 mins

Only Jesus” -Casting Crowns  4 mins

The Rhythm of Heaven” -Vineyard Worship    5 mins

Here I am” -Lincoln Brewster   4 mins

All of Creation” –MercyMe    4 mins

 

 

Key 40 – Preparation

A year after your dream, you see in continually seeking the Lord He is transforming and using you to touch the lives of others.  Despite your belief of having a heavenly portal where you review your dreams, gain fresh vision, truth and understanding, you long for more. Yet know the need of preparation if your seed of faith is to grow.  Many heroes of faith spent their lives in preparation without seeing the fulfilment of God’s promises.  A sudden urge fills you to go to the farm, if God met Adam and Eve in the garden, maybe you could catch the warmth of the sun’s meagre rays.  On arrival, Jenny, Tony’s wife returning from the kitchen garden with a basket laden with winter vegetables walks over. Pointing to the wooden door in the wall she says, “The Lord said to expect you.” At your surprise, she chuckles, “You’ll see…”  In the far corner, hedged by the tall wall and waist high laurel bushes the sun is shining on a wooden bench.

Seated, in lifting your face toward the sun’s warmth the golden glow and scent wafting by,  brings memories of your heavenly anointing along with an awareness of God’ awesome Presence. Similar to a film you see Havej’s vineyard sloping upward through the trees to the house. The picture moves, takes you in and upstairs where newly decorated rooms are devoid of furniture.  You are drawn to the windows.  The east ones reveal a wide boundary of olive trees separating the house from fields of corn and wheat. The north has an extensive view across cliffs to a distant castle, and to the west an endless sea. Unseen activity fills the air.  At ground level huge casks are filling with new wine. Below, in a tunnelled cellar racks are being filled with bottled wine. Steps down lead to a large cave where sacks of churned grain are stacked floor to ceiling.  And again, another cave has boxes of small stones, beyond which an olive press is draining it’s oil into barrels.

A sea smelling breeze coming in breaths, carries the words, “These elements represent My life. I am in you, you are in Me.  This is your harvest.”  You have barely taken in the enormity of that when the breeze feels more forceful.  “All of creation is waiting.  It’s time. My people must take their place. Remain in Me.  Wait for Me. The earth is being prepared for the greatest harvest.  My Kingdom is coming.”  A human voice breaks into your trance, you open your eyes, the sun has gone, and hurrying towards you is Jenny asking, “Are you alright, you’ve been out here for hours?”

Word:  “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”.  Phil 3: 12-14 (NIV)

Worship:   “Communion”  (ft Steffany Gretzinger and Brandon Lake ) Bethel Music  6 – 14 mins

This series ends, tomorrow we will finish with a Selah.

 

Key 39 – Rest

Within your regular pattern of life, you are growing and thriving on the opportunities that present themselves.  After your Monday ‘worship workout’, you turn to the New Testament, finding it easier to read than the Old. Today, in Hebrews it is about faith bringing God’s people into rest. You have seen, and now know, what Jesus means when saying, ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand’. Each day you embrace your connection with Him, His Spirit and His Kingdom. He is a refuge in weakness, a strength to draw on and brings peace in times of trouble.  The Lord’s love creates and fills you with anticipation and excitement as His plans and purposes are outworked through you.

The Agency, is still running at full capacity, but with streamlining staff have more time for friendly interaction, and are able to take their two days’ rest.  Rob, quick to learn, has become a valuable employee, liked by customers and staff.  He sees potential, takes interesting photographs, writes good descriptive advertising and is very different to the scruffy boy who rang your bell hoping for a free lunch.  Like you, he occasionally joins the staff down the pub. He sparked Heidi’s interest when saying he played the drums in a band, and she is becoming a regular to the Barn where all ages are now gathering on a Saturday night. Your colleagues seem unperturbed by the friendship between you and Rob. Heidi obviously enjoys the worship, listens to the short talks and often asks questions.  Recently she has joined the Alpha Course at the farm on Friday nights. Yesterday, you asked Rob if there was a romance blooming between him and Heidi, he blushed and diverted the answer by informing you there was one between Tom and Margie!

The Barn’s finances are healthy, as are the number of young people giving their lives to Jesus.  Tom’s parents are excited by the move of God’s Spirit drawing all ages to worship. There has been much discussion about having a family meeting on Sunday mornings.  Liz anticipates if that happens many would choose to join the Barn Project. Those leaving the church would be sorely missed, but it was inevitable unless those in charge were willing to change. She had advised, “Before making that decision ask people to seek the Lord, and only leave after telling the eldership their reasons.

Word: “…There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish…”  Hebrews 4:9-11 (AMP)

Worship:  “Stay”  William McDowell  6 mins

Key 38 – Joy

Joy bubbled up at the Lord’s guidance in dealing with Victor’s dishonesty. You hadn’t needed to challenge, or be snarled up in a confrontation.  Victor didn’t return, but next morning an envelope was on the doormat and inside a brief letter with his resignation and expectancy of basic pay and commission.  After consulting the Lord you replied his salary was paid up to date, but all else he believes he is owed will be used to cover the shortfall of his half price deals.

Joy and thanksgiving came together at the next staff meeting when what could have caused staff rifts and dissention brought your colleagues to tell you how they appreciated you. When Judy said you were an encouraging and inspiring Manager who had taken agency to a new level of sales and success, everyone agreed. Heidi admitted to knowing what Victor was doing. Phil confessed to aiding and abetting Victor over several years and begged to keep his job while offering to pay back the lost Agency commission.  In knowing how easily wrong choices can be made, you thanked him for his honesty, and added as a good salesman and with his expectancy of large commissions he should be able to pay that back over the next few months. His relief was evident by his profuse thanks. In pointing out every Agency has its up and downs, you added that while recognising their hard work and the extra hours they were putting in, it would be wise in this profitable season, to put aside a nest egg on which to fall back on.

Joy filled you when several weeks later you saw Debbie, Victor’s wife in the High Street, and she waved at you in a friendly manner.  Excited, she told you with Victor’s short-term contract having ended, and a friend interested in buying their house, Victor had agreed to move nearer to her parents.  As property there was cheaper he was going to rent a shop and start his own Estate Agents.  Another answer to prayer as you had asked, for Debbie’s sake, something good would come out Victor’s deceit. Added to which Mr Tuck had quickly sold his house and purchased one of the new one-bedroom bungalows Mr Chandler specifically built for the elderly. Many of Mr Tuck’s friends were now selling homes in order to join him.

Word: “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness, therefore God, your god, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”  Hebrews 1:9 (NIV)

Worship: “Beloved”  Faith Harvest Church   6 mins

Key 37 – Justice

On Sunday you look for Bible verses on judgement and justice. In Deuteronomy 1:17 the Lord tells Moses that ‘if any case is too hard for you, bring it to me’.  Another verse says, ‘true justice is to show mercy and compassion’.  You’ve already done that!

You decide to consult Mr Chandler.  After exchanging pleasantries you tell him about Victor.  Throughout he nods knowingly, before stating, “I did wonder when you didn’t enquire why Victor had left, and Anna moved on, if at some point, you had been complicit in his deceit.”  At your explosive ‘What!’ he chuckles before adding, “I decided to push doubts aside and still ask you to head up the agency. So, imagine my surprise in seeing Victor reinstated! However, in talking to you I realised you had a trusting naivety and needed to warn you. I doubted he had changed, but I had no evidence of his siphoning off sales, but you have.  As Manager there is only one course of action, which, if done in front of colleagues, will show them where you stand in such matters.”

It sounds harsh!  Next day you tell Judy to inform Victor that Mr Tuck’s coming into the agency that morning.  You watch Victor pacing by the window. When you call Victor into your office, he says he’s expecting a client. Judy pipes up, “I’ll let you know when Mr Tuck arrives.”  Indicating to Victor to sit, you ask if Mr Tuck has his business card and been offered a half price commission fee. As Victor blusters his way out of that Judy announces Mr Tuck’s arrival. Victor leaps to his feet, and rushes out of the office whereupon in seeing Victor, Mr Tuck immediately puts out his hand saying, “Good to see you again.”  Victor shakes it, you introduce yourself and remark loudly, “Mr Tuck am I right in thinking you’ve accepted Victor’s half price commission offer.” Heads turn, eyes widened, as happily, Mr Tuck reports, “Oh yes, he’s made the same offer to several elderly friends, and with three interested people in buying my house the price has risen by a thousand pounds.”  Victor looks pale under his fixed smile. You thank Mr Tuck for coming in, and ask Judy to take him into your office and make a note of his friends’ details.  Scowling, Victor glances around, before marching out the front door.  

Word: “And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8  (NIV)

Worship: “Oh Lord”  Lauren Daigle   4 mins

Key 36 – Faith

You ask the Lord for wisdom in dealing with Victor. With the agency continuing to flourish, there is no urgency, so you ask the Lord for clear evidence and a Godly strategy to deal with the situation.  In knowing how quickly you can rush into things, you determine for the present, to only watch and wait.  Two weeks later, when announcing to the staff that Rob is going to take the apprenticeship, the younger staff are delighted, but notice Victor and Phil exchange a grimace.

That Saturday as you lock up, Rob tells you, “When I was gardening this week, Mr Tuck, the elderly gentleman next door, asked me to tidy his garden, as he was selling his house. I asked if he was using an estate agent.  He replied he visited one, didn’t want to pay their fees of around three thousand pounds, and the nice man at the agency said as he was elderly he could give him a half price deal.  On asking the name of the man, Mr Tuck fished from his pocket a card. On the reverse was scrawled Victor’s mobile number.” You give a heavy sigh.

At the Barn Project a few hours later, your sudden despondency lifts as you watch the young people praying for each other, and bringing in mostly non-Christian friends. Between the two forty-five minutes of worship the band takes a break with drinks and biscuits served.  Recently, a short talk or testimony has been introduced, often followed by questions and prayer. Parents, family and friends have set up regular payments to the Barn Project having seen how their children benefit from these sessions, and wish they could stay on. Since stepping out to sing in the Spirit Margie has changed from a shy, introverted woman, into a confident singer who leads worship in her natural tongue and unknown one. When she sings, or prays in a prophetic way using scripture, you sense God’s anointing. The young people love and crowd around her and hang on to her every word. The Project is growing into a ministry, for those parents who don’t, or wouldn’t go to a church service, are now asking that the Saturday nights expand to Sunday mornings.

Word:  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt…”  James 1:2-6 (NIV)

 

Worship: This is Holy Ground”    Elias & Olivia Turco  5 mins

Key 35 – Discernment

On Tuesday when the Barn Team met for prayer Tom informs the group that the elders felt as Saturday nights involved the church’s young people there should be several responsible parents overseeing it.  They have conceded to the vision of expansion, if the children, aged thirteen to eighteen, wish to bring one friend of similar age.  Liz smiles adding, “And I’ve been designated to being the church oversight!  It is a sensible precaution in these times. Several parents have already expressed their willingness to support the evenings and I guess hope to experience that joy and faith their children received last Saturday night.

You report the ‘funding site’ is closed. ‘The Barn Project’ now has a savings account of which you and Tom are the signatories. And Tony has assured you the money is enough to build an extension to contain separate boys and girls’ toilets, a kitchen and snack bar.  To that you add if people give regularly, chairs and tables can be purchased. Tom pipes up, “Dad said he wants to invest in making the barn more habitable.  He envisions it becoming a club house during the week.  I think he’d also wishes to create a space for adults with events similar to those on Christian camps.”  It seems God is envisioning Tony with those things you have prayed, and hoped for.

A few days later meeting Debbie in the street she thanks you for ignoring Victor’s temper, giving him back his job, and the Agency’s recent success has him earning more than before and able to keep his precious car.  Either Victor was just boosting Debbie’s morale or, with his lower pay and commission had sold more houses than you realised.  You are reminded of Mr Chandler’s words about ‘little foxes. Ten days later Rob raises his concern at seeing Victor in a café an hour after talking to a couple who earlier had visited the agency. And, had been further disturbed, when he felt Victor was covering his tracks by explaining to him how meeting them had been coincidental, and he’d only sat within the hope to persuade them to sell through the agency. That alerted you to check Victor’s sale commissions from the last six weeks. As suspected, they fall short of his previous earnings, but you can’t accuse him of anything without evidence.   (398)

Word: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Worship:  “Walk by Faith” Jeremy Camp   4 mins

Key 34 – Blessings

The ‘Barn Team’ immediately agrees to a ‘crowd funding’ page, and within days your contribution is tripled. On Saturday night it appears the whereabouts of the barn had been discovered and young people flock in to dance with the band.  Your amazement and delight is quickly doused when, within an hour, a group of older teenagers cause a disturbance.  Tom intervenes to find that intoxicated and aggressive their intention is to have a rave. The band stops playing, Margie runs to fetch Tom’s Dad, but with the growing unrest he finally calls the police.  In the midst of that, and in the ten minutes before the police arrive, you and Margie gather, comfort and pray with those who are scared and crying before watching the police take away the troublemakers.

Everybody is shaken.  Inwardly devastated you see how your enthusiasm for fundraising has caused this debacle. Why didn’t you consult the Lord before going ahead?  The drum kit is damaged, but not irreparable, and Dan plays the keyboard as Tom speaks and prays. As Tom finishes, a beautiful clear voice, similar to one in your heavenly dreams, is heard singing in the Spirit. Your eyes flashed open you exchange a wide-eyed look with Tom.  Margie, with hands open, her face uplifted seems to glow as she receives and releases the song.  An anointing balm seems to flow, the young people slowly slide to the floor as peace and love pervades the atmosphere. Unable to stand you sink to your knees, before joining those lying face down on the concrete floor.  An awesome silence follows.

Next morning at church you are still apologising to bemused parents. At lunch Tony, Tom’s father says, “Stop beating yourself up for everyone had an incredible experience and it’s restored our faith in the reality of God.”  Bright-eyed, Tom stated, “And Margie, wow, the voice of an angel!”  As she blushes you see her as a stunted rose who overnight is blossoming into an attractive woman. “And Dad, I heard you reassuring parents that their children’s ‘spaced out’ appearance was the Holy Spirit, not drugs or alcohol.” Tony chuckled, “Most of them didn’t need to know, they could feel God’s Presence lingering in the atmosphere. Several asked if we met on a Sunday, others offered to help with security on Saturday nights.”  At that news you thank God for His  goodness in turning your failure into blessing.

Word: “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favour to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].”   Hebrews 4:16  AMP

Worship:  “He is Exalted”  Marantha” Praise Band    2 mins

Key 33 – Giving

God has given you the keys to His Kingdom, but what have you to give to Him?  Jesus blessed Peter to know his future, but seconds later rebuked Satan in trying to use Peter to derail God’s plan. You need the mind of Christ, not of man. Doesn’t the Lord say in everything we should ask Him?  Peter, even in his mistaken perception, six days later was given the privilege of going with Jesus to meet Moses and Elijah!  You begin to read Luke 12 before your mind takes you on a tangent to the people you met in your dreams.

It was through Joseph’s dreams he found favour in the King’s sight, and received riches while storing food for Egypt. He didn’t know God would use the situation to feed and restore his family.  Obviously, God has purposes beyond our understanding.  What are God’s plans and purpose for you?  The Lord asked Moses, “What have you in your hand?” Similarly, He revealed when bringing Rob to your door, your hand had contained more than you thought!  Time invested in Rob has caused his faith to grow, brought him plenty of ad hoc work, a comfortable bedsit, and should he take up your job offer, a lucrative career.

In thinking about Rob you put on ‘Oceans’ the worship song which is his favourite drumming piece. The musicians in the band have their own instruments, but the drum kit is on loan, should you buy Rob one? Money? You give ten percent before tax of your basic salary to the church, but are still undecided where to invest the ten percent from your bonus and commissions.  As you look down, the last line of the page in your Bible reads, ‘For where your treasure is, there…’ you turn over, ‘…your heart will be also’. You laugh!  How does the Lord do that?  What do you treasure…friends, the Barn Project?  Tom’s father pays for the electricity and built the stage from leftover wood.  Urgently needed are toilets to replace the one shared by thirty people. They need chairs and tables, but even twenty percent of your commission money wouldn’t pay for either of those. You’ve heard of ‘crowd funding’ sites.  You could set up one, put in your money which may encourage the parents of those who come to add to it.  And there’s the potential of promoting a safe and enjoyable Christian night out for young people.

Word:Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”   Luke 6:38 (NIV)

Worship:  “Oceans (Where Feet may fail) “ Hillsong UNITED

Key 32 – Obedience

Life has formed into a weekly pattern.  Six weeks ago, Rob, paid by the agency, using your bicycle began to distribute leaflets in a wider area, bringing an influx of inquiries. On Saturdays, it was left up to the individual if they made appointments, but everyone would take a turn covering the office. Now for those willing to work on a Saturday you have raised their salary and given an option to take a day off in the week.  With staff in and out, and the constant stream of enquiries Judy’s workload has increased, but doesn’t come in on a Saturday.  Chatting to Rob he suggested, in stopping the leaflet drop, he could cover Saturday’s in the office. In just two weeks his personable approach his innovative ideas have simplified the admin processes releasing you to continue meeting potential buyers.  Pleased with Rob you ask if he’d like to give up his ad hoc jobs for a full-time apprenticeship, leading to a career.

With Sunday and Monday now your weekend, it’s the day of your weekly ‘worship workout’. In thinking about Rob you realise, since finding the Lord, how much he has grown. From being just a drummer, he is now able to give a short Christian message between sessions. When talking to Margie after the Bible Study, Rob had sidled up and promptly invited her to Saturday nights saying with her Biblical knowledge she’d be an asset. Liz overhearing agreed, pointing out Margie knew Tom from secondary school.  Praying together with Margie her prayers have been so inspired by scripture you have a greater determination to read the whole Bible.

With that in mind you open you Bible to continue reading, but turning the pages are distracted by the words in Matthew which tell of the Lord giving Peter the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.  You are reminded of the keys you saw on that large hook, and in your mind’s eye see that hook is empty.  You ask the Lord, where have they gone, and He tells you, that every child of God receives a set of keys, and you have been learning how to use them.  Puzzled, you ask how and receive His reply, “In worship, in faith, in prayer, reading My Word, gaining wisdom, and releasing my love, all of which brings revelation of my anointing, power and authority I have placed within you.

Word:  “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 (NIV)

Worship:  “Anthem”  Phil Wickham