Tag Archives: Patience

Tales from The Amazon – The church built on a pond

We walk by faith and not by sight

I have often wondered what first entered the mind of Jesus when the Holy Spirit instructed him to spit on the ground and make mud out of the soil and rub it in the eyes of the blind man! Did He think like me and say, ‘You want me to do what? Surely, there must be another way?‘ Or did He blame the devil for the thought (like some of us would when God asks us to step out of our comfort zone) and say, ‘I rebuke that thought! Devil, I bind you up right now!

Being Jesus, He probably just said, right away sir, as you wish! See, it is easy to justify, rationalize, intellectualize our way into why we are not doing what God wants us to do, when He wants us to do it, and how He wants us to do it. But no matter what the excuse, disobedience is disobedience.

Pastor Natalino of Renovation Church in Belterra had the opportunity to walk in disobedience when the Holy Spirit stopped him and told him to declare that he was going to build a church in what was a good sized pond! From a conversation with him, his first thought was, ‘Really God! Of of all the places, you want me to build a church here!’

Unlike many of us,  Pastor Natalino decided not to make the voice of the Holy Spirit of no effect! He went to the city council and informed them of what He wanted to do.

They thought he was crazy and laughed at him!

Do not be surprised if the world laughs at you when you are walking by faith

But Pastor Natalino would not be deterred! Like Nehemiah, he would not listen to the laughs of his detractors but pressed forward towards the mark of his calling. He rented a pump and over a number of days promptly drained the large pond. But would you know it, no sooner had he finished draining the pond, an enormous deluge of rain befell Belterra and filled up the pond once more! Now what was he to do? He did not have any more money to spend to drain the pond a second time! What was he to do?

Though crest-fallen, Pastor Natalino would not stay disheartened! He passed the test of endurance and obedience.

He said to God, ‘God, you are the one that told me to build a church on this land. This is your will. I am being faithful to you, therefore, help me bring to pass what you have ordained.‘ Lo and Behold, the pond which was completely filled up dried up within the next few days! In his testimony, Pastor Natalino said: The first time, I climbed the mountain of draining the lake. The second time around, I spoke to the mountain to be removed

I tell all of you with certainty, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ if he doesn’t doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him

– Mark 11:23

See, the bridge to success is many times filled with trial and tribulation. When they come, what we must not do is fill our minds with doubt of God’s calling on our life. Instead, we must ask God for wisdom while actively waiting patiently for the manifestation of the promises of God. (see James 1:1-8).

Ultimately, Pastor Natalino was able to build the first phase of the church God had promised him. It is his picture that you see in the top left corner of this blog. I am honored to have met and him and to have had fellowship with him and his congregation in Belterra!

Food for Thought: Though the enemy will laugh at me in the beginning, I will have the last laugh in the end if I do not grow faint and weary but continue in faith

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How Can I Get Doors of Opportunity to Open for Me?

Called and Chosen to Execute – Bezalel

For a minute imagine that you are an architect. What a great honor it would be if the pope asked you to build the next great cathedral or the Queen of England asked you to build her a castle! It would not only be a great honor but it would the opportunity of a lifetime. Your name would be immediately stamped in history and people would read about you and get to know your works long after you were gone. Moreover, you would not have to worry about finding work anymore, and financial worries would be a thing of the past.

This is exactly what happened to Bezalel. Once day, Moses called out to him and told him that God had selected him to build His (God’s) house.

I bet the other skilled architects must have wondered within themselves, why Bezalel and not us; we are just as highly skilled as he is! Not finding a suitable answer to this question, it would not surprise me if many of them simply put it down to luck. But luck had nothing to do with it.

Luck hardly ever has anything to do with being chosen. What may look like luck is usually the hand of God in action.

I reckon many of them were called to be great architects. I would wager that many were filled with the spirit of wisdom, ability, knowledge, understanding, and intelligence in all works of craftsmanship. Yet, only one was called by name (chosen).

If you have been filled with the Spirit of God, then you have been filled with the spirit of wisdom, ability, knowledge, understanding, and intelligence to prosper you in everything you do. It means you have the ability to be called by name just as Bezalel was called by name. Even so, to be chosen you must not just have the ability of Bezalel but you must have the character of Bezalel.

To have ability is to have potential; to be chosen to fulfill potential requires character

Bezalel’s Character

Honesty and Integrity: Large sums of gold, silver, bronze, and clothing were required to build God’s house. Bezalel knew how much of each material was needed to build the house to specifications based on his skill. When the people started to bring more material than was required, he promptly told Moses to tell the people to stop the collection (Exodus 36:5-7).

Bezalel could have stashed away some of the superfluous material for himself. He could have colluded with the other artisans to make a profit. But he did not do this. He did not allow his eyes to become greedy nor did he covet the gold and silver. His thinking did not become selfish. He did not say: what am I getting paid to do this work? He did not convince himself that it was his right to take of some of the collected material. He did not want to defraud the people of their belongings by continuing to collect unneeded supplies.

Would you have done the same if you were Bezalel?

Patience  and Obedience: Moses looked at the work Bezalel did and saw that he had done it just as God commanded, therefore Moses blessed him (Exodus 39:43). Since we know that the children came to the wilderness of Sinai in the 3rd month after the start of the journey out of Egypt (Exodus 19:1) but the tabernacle was not raised until the 2nd year of the exodus (Exodus 40:17), we see that it took a while for Bezalel to be paid for his work. He did not know he was to be paid and was only paid after the work was completed. Thus the honor of doing the work in obedience to the will of God was enough for him.

Can you say the same? Are you focused on what you have been called to do or are you focused on the blessing?

Moreover, he did not doubt the instruction that Moses gave him. He could have said to himself, I know a better way to do this work, let me change this and change that. No! He let God be God, forgot about his own opinion, and did exactly what God commanded through Moses. He would have missed out on his blessing if he had not obeyed without adding or subtracting a thing.

Is this you or do you mix your own way with God’s way?

Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it – Deuteronomy 12:32

Good Steward: Moses only saw what Bezalel made when he brought it to him (Exodus 39:43). Thus the only way Moses knew how much gold and silver was used (Exodus 38:25) is because Bezalel was a good steward of all materials used. Bezalel was an overseer of the work that was being done and ensured that nothing was wasted.

Are you a good steward of everything God as given you? Are you a good steward over your time and resource? Are you disciplined enough in your stewardship?

The way we answer these questions will ultimately determine whether we reach our full potential or if our lives will be summed up by could have, should have, and would have!

Food for Thought: Dedicate yourself to honesty, integrity, patience, unwavering obedience to God, and good stewardship and you will see great doors of opportunity swing wide open for you.

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3 Keys to Take Hold of Your Birth Right

Morning Sunrise near BellingenWhile the Lord had already given the promised land of Canaan to the Israelites, they still had to take possession of it (see Jeremiah 32: 22 -23).  Just as Israel had to take possession of the land God gave them, we also have to take possession of all the victory and glory that has already been won for us on the cross of Calvary. See, God has already paid the price for us so we may live heaven or earth and attain all the covenant blessings. It is now ours by birth-right – by being born again of His Spirit. Yet, many of us constantly forfeit our birth-right simply because we do not know how to take hold of it. How much it must hurt God to see us refuse His blessings.

So how do we take hold of our promised land (heaven on earth)? We take hold of it the same way that the Israelites took hold of their promised land – through faith and obedience, and by patience and prayer. And unlike the Israelites, we make sure that we keep our promised land by refusing to revert back to disobedience. We have to maintain an attitude of letting go and letting God.

Faith and Obedience

In the battle of Jericho, the children of Israel were successful because they obeyed the commandment of God by marching around the city seven times and by blowing their trumpets so that the city walls would fall. Think of how silly the commandment of God must have seemed. Some may have said, ‘Do what God? You mean to tell me that if I march around this city and blow my trumpet, that this wall, this great wall that is more than twelve feet wide is going to fall.  You are very funny God!’ But Joshua was well trained and understood that no commandment of God is silly. His faith was strong in the Lord and he had seen the power of His might beforehand. He knew He had to do just what God told him if the walls were to fall down and if they were to take the city.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Victory is not about our logic, thoughts, or feelings. It’s about faith-filled obedience to the word of God.

Patience

Looking again at the battle of Jericho, can you imagine the complaints against Joshua? ‘Come on Joshua, this is silly’, they must have said. ‘We have already walked around this city six times and nothing has happened. Instead of wearying us by walking, why don’t we build up our strength to take this city in battle?’ While it is tempting to revert to our own ways when we do not see the result of what God is telling us instantly, it is best to stick with what God has told us even if it means going around the same mountain many times. Remember, it took 21 days for the angel of God to reach Daniel because the Prince of Persia withstood him (see Daniel 10:12 – 13). Likewise, patience is essential if we are to take hold of the blessings God has for us. Remember, it is by faith and patience that we inherit the promises (see Heb. 6:12).

Prayer

After the victory at Jericho, Israel decided that they no longer needed God. They allowed success to get to their heads and so did not go to God in prayer prior to sending out an army against the puny city of Ai. As a result, they tasted defeat and lost men in battle. Oh, how too many of us leave God after He has granted the desires of our hearts. The story of the battle at Ai is a warning to us that we lose every time we forget God and take matters into our own hands.

If only Joshua had asked God (prayed) concerning what to do before he sent men to battle at Ai, God would have beforehand revealed the sin that existed in the camp (see Joshua 7:10 – 11). But no! Men had to die before God was sought after.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: We suffer unnecessarily when we leave God out of our lives. Just as prayer was the first thing that went out of the window after the victory at Jericho, the erosion of a prayer life (not when asked) is always the first sign that we have begun to rely on our own strength.

To conclude, the keys to take hold of what is rightfully yours by birth are as follows:

(1) Seek God in prayer

(2) Obey His voice no matter what

(3) Patiently wait for the victory that is already yours.

When you do this and do not turn back, you ensure you spend all of your days in the Promised Land rather than be cheated taken into captivity by the king of Babylon (Satan). Satan has stolen too much from us. It’s time to take back what is ours!

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Godly Vision: The Role of Vision in Creating Success

Faith does not allow our present circumstance to change our outlook (the vision of the sure future that God has spoken over us), but instead allows His outlook to change our attitude about our present circumstance. Unfortunately, when there is no vision of the sure thing that God has spoken to us through His Word, we tend to allow our present circumstance if bad to turn us over to bitterness. In doing so, we tend to perish in our thoughts – thinking that He has neglected us and questioning His love for us – and so fall away from the path of blessing that God wants to shower on us by taking matters into our own hands. If we do not understand that we will all face testing circumstances, we may end up in a mixed funk of melancholy and legalism; sure that bad things are only happening to us because God is mad at us. In the depths of despair, it is at times easy to forget that our situation is temporary if we do not give up on God, for He does not give up on us.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world – John 16:33

Without a godly vision, even the good times bring anxiety in that we can be dissatisfied with the status quo and hunger after more wealth and pleasure. The earliest example of a person who had this problem was Adam. He had the good life but he became dissatisfied with it after drinking the poisonous speech of Satan who gave him a false vision of a better life – the promise of a step-up life of being like God. Adam fell because he had no vision or outlook of the fantastic life that God has already prepared for him. All he had was a vision of lack. Since faith can be defined as the sighting/vision/evidence of the sure thing that God has promised (see Hebrews 11:1), we see that Adam ultimately perished for his lack of faith – for he disobeyed out of the fear that he was not living the best possible life.

We are not to be like Adam, but are to be like Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross (see Hebrews 12:2). What was the joy set before Him? It was the joy of being reunited with the Father, the joy of reconciling us to Himself, the joy of sitting at the right hand of the Father and being the overseer of all the Kingdoms that had been given into His hands. It was the vision of the sure things that He was to inherit that made his trials and tribulations bearable!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: If we know we are to inherit a great collection of jewels upon completing a marathon, the hardship and pain we endure during the training and subsequent run to not much matter. Our focus will simply be on the joy that is to come.

God has a vision for each of our lives, and the vision is to prosper us and to give us a good future. The problem is that many of us do not see it. The truth is we do not have to walk this life without vision. We can set ourselves apart and go up to our quiet place away from the busyness of the world below – seeking the Lord in fasting and prayer. When we do this, the scripture tells us that we will get a vision of what God wants for us.

I will stand upon my watch, and set myself upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved – Habakkuk 2:1

Once we are given our vision, we are then told to write it down so that we do not forget and so that we may continually chase after it.

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

See, vision is what makes us run! The vision of the sure thing God has promised; that which will surely come to pass for God cannot lie is what produces diligence and energizes us for our work; it is what produces patience and perseverance. Let’s put it this way: If we know we will gain our dream vacation simply by cutting down a tree, we will find a way to do it and do it quickly! The problem is not the lack of patience, diligence, and energy (these are the symptoms). The real problem is the lack of vision.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: While vision produces faith, diligence, and patience, lack of it produces laziness, lethargy, and defeat

If you do not have a vision today, I urge you to set yourself apart and go up to your watchtower and then see what He will say to you. Say yes when you are corrected and acknowledge your wrong-doing. Clean the muck out of your house and start running after the target God has given you knowing that His power is following His purpose for you; knowing that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them. Then watch and see again what happens to your attitude about your circumstance; watch and see what changes occur in your life.

Food for Thought: No man who has ever had godly (love based) vision has ever been defeated in life

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