zondag 01 februari 2009 00:00
"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart." - Psalm 40:6,8
I am often amazed at how we overlook this simple truth. To be active for the Lord is good but sometimes it is the smallest act of obedience that carries us through the most difficult times.
The Command of God
In times of difficulty or trouble God will give a command. It might not necessarily be what we would like to hear but it would be the one thing that would carry us through the battle or fulfil the plan of God.
- God said to Moses, "Lift up your hand and stretch out your rod" - Exodus 14:16.
- God said to Joshua, "You shall march around the city" - Joshua 6:3.
- Elisha said to the widow, "Go and borrow empty vessels" - 2 Kings 4:3.
- Jesus said to the blind man, "Wash in the pool of Siloam" - John 9:7.
- The angel told Phillip, "Arise and go towards the south along the road which goes down to Jerusalem" - Acts 8:26.
These in themselves are small commands and yet they were the very commands that led to the next step or breakthrough.
Obeying the Voice of God
Sometimes we tend to get very involved with lots of different activities and although that is very important and correct, we sometimes get so busy that we completely forget that God really desires "obedience more than sacrifice". It is not the spectacular, nor even the miraculous that is always so important, but simple obedience that God is after and He will test us in.
Being a very active person it was of course extremely difficult for me when no healing took place after the first operation. The nerve in my leg was damaged and two new plates had to be inserted during an extensive second operation.
Not being able to walk for 5 months and having to find my way in a wheelchair was practically and emotionally exhausting but right after the first operation the Lord spoke to me and said, "I want you to take holy communion every morning before you drink or eat anything". It was such a simple command. It wasn't dramatic or difficult and it was the only command He gave me during this entire time.
Obeying that simple command took real discipline at times and yet it carried me through the darkest moments of the last six months. It became an anchor, something to hold on to when it felt like I was being tossed back and forth in a sea of emotions and physical pain that were determined to drown me.
- It was not the sermons that helped me, though they are from God.
- It was not the worship that helped me to stay focused, though music is a wonderful tool and encouragement.
- It was not even praying the scriptures that carried me during this time, although we know the Word has power and cannot return void.
- All of these things can be wonderful tools at the right time but it was this one step of obedience every morning: getting out of bed, going into the kitchen in my wheelchair and taking communion. Concentrating for a few minutes on the Lord and His cross helped me to remain focused, especially when I wanted to pull the blankets over my head and fall into a spiral of discouragement not having the strength or breath to pray.
- When I had a small lung embolism due to a blood clot in my operated leg it felt to me as if life itself had drained out of me. I remember holding the bread and the cup of communion and not having the strength to speak or pray but as I simply obeyed, peace and strength filled my spirit. Focusing on Jesus who has paid the price for me already once again became my anchor.
What was the last thing you heard the Lord ask you to do?
Have you done it? Or was it so small that you disregarded it? Did you not see the results or breakthrough as you expected and decide to lock it away like a valuable instrument in an unused cupboard? What does your command look like?
- For one person it would be to go and distribute tracks in the predestine zone weekly.
- For another it would be to pray as part of an intercession group or for a ministry.
- For someone else its to volunteer at a soup kitchen for the homeless and for another it might simply be to encourage others.
They are only small things but that is what God is after; obedience despite seeing nothing spectacular or miraculous, even when being obedient becomes boring and mundane.
Have you put aside what God had told you to do and let the ashes of discouragement cover it like an old violin, once played so beautifully in the hands of the Master? Why not bow your head and in a simple prayer once again and let the Master of Masters lead you back into that one thing He wants you to do for Him.
Hear the words of Samuel, "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams" - 1 Samuel 15:22.
Receiving such love and support from my prayer partners humbled me deeply and moved me to tears before the Lord. I could never thank you enough for making a place in your heart for Voice in the City and for me as a person, as well as praying so faithfully for us.
In times when I felt lonely I read the many e-mails and letters sent to encourage me and it warmed me like a blanket of love from the Father's heart. All the sermons in the world could not mean as much to me during this time as the cards, letters, e-mails and phone calls that let me know I am not alone and I have a caring family in Jesus. Thank you so much!
The ministry continues and the team is working at full steam ahead preparing the outreaches and projects for this year. I have more physiotherapy and since 2 and a half weeks ago have been walking for the first time since the second operation allowing 20kg of weight on the leg. Last week, x-rays were taken of my leg and there is progress but very slow. There is still a long road ahead for me but I have the confidence in God that I will walk again.
I see "light at the end of the tunnel" and look forward to the day I can walk throughout the land, preaching the wonderful message of salvation again.
We look forward to the Belgium and Holland tour in March. Thank you so much for standing in prayer with us as we continue with the harvest for His kingdom.
Together for the lost,