Look up and live
by Liz Howland • July 20, 2015 • Faith, inspiration, Rural Ministry • 0 Comments
This month,I feel to write on the topic, ‘Look Up and Live’! It is so easy to fall into the trap of being bogged down in the ‘bad news’ of the hour!
Bombings, rumors of wars and reporting of human injustice, when pondered upon and added to the personal challenges we all experience can drag us into hopelessness and despair. If that is you, STOP! Take time to still yourself. Find a quiet place where you can pour your heart out to our all seeing, all knowing loving heavenly Father Who LONGS for us to acknowledge Him and ask for help in the midst of circumstances that disturb. He and He alone holds the answers to ALL that concerns us!
When King Hezekiah faced such a situation he turned his face to the wall, (away from every circumstance that would distract), and prayed.
Prayer is not some ‘super spiritual’ sanctimonious experience available to a chosen few, but available to us all – especially to those who are only too well aware of their own shortcomings. Romans 3:23 says ‘We have all fallen short of the glory of God’ – none of us in our own ability can possible attain the perfection of Jesus Christ. Self effort places all of us in danger of becoming prideful – a very dangerous place. Pride blinds us to our own shortcomings whilst magnifying the failings of others. Prayer is simply talking to God and listening for an answer. It does not require any form of eloquence – just an open honest inquiring heart.
I am very aware of the many hardships in the bush at the moment. Some areas, after suffering severe bushfires, have had no rain culminating in forced sale of livestock on a declining market. Many are facing foreclosure due to declining land prices – something many did not envisage ever happening. Still others are facing life threatening illness, family breakdown. Some of you in private enterprise or doing contract work have huge amounts outstanding for services you provided in good faith. God’s Word says ‘a man is worthy of his hire’! I pray that all power of heaven will undertake to see those funds released to you!
I feel God is saying ‘FEAR NOT! THIS SEASON TOO SHALL PASS’!
In the midst of these challenges, I fervently pray you would choose to place your trust in God for wisdom and strength. He is but a whispered breath away, as simple as a gut wrenching cry of ‘God help me’! Hebrews 13:5 (Amplified version) ‘God Himself has said, ‘I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not, in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake, nor let you down (relax My hold on you)! Assuredly not! V.6 SO WE TAKE COMFORT AND ARE ENCOURAGED AND CONFIDENTLY AND BOLDLY SAY, ‘THE LORD IS MY HELPER; I WILL NOT BE SEIZED WITH ALARM (I WILL NOT FEAR OR DREAD OR BE TERRIFIED) What can man do to me?
These Scriptures when meditated upon, stabilize us, bring peace in the midst of the storm, enable us to think more clearly and give us the ability to endure. Matthew 24:13 says, ‘He who endures till the end shall be saved.
‘Endures’ in the Biblical sense here means ‘to hold one’s ground in conflict, bear up against adversity, hold out under stress, stand firm, persevere under pressure, wait calmly and courageously. It is not passive resignation to fate and mere patience, but the active, energetic resistance to defeat that allows calm and brave endurance. ‘Saved’ in this instance, means healed, preserved, made whole
I remember a particularly difficult time in my own life after experiencing foreclosure on our property. As a result of forced sale, I watched my beautiful Stud cows, being driven away from the cattle yards with their proud old heads above the planks on the cattle truck. These foundational breeders were an inheritance from my father, into which I had passionately poured my God given ability to breed quality cattle. At that moment, I found myself singing an old gospel chorus many of you will know:
‘Lift Jesus higher, lift Jesus higher,
Lift Him up for the world to see,
He said if I be lifted far above all the earth,
I will draw all men unto Me’.
THAT, my dear friends is the power of the Gospel! How grateful I was in that hour that I had become acquainted with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ before facing that gut wrenching ordeal! Faith and dependency upon God’s sustaining ability carried me through one of the most trying periods of my life as I chose to worship instead of wallow.
His strength enabled me to transition from the only life I had ever known into a broader place I had never contemplated. It was a time of opportunity – a time to dream again, free from the debilitating encumbrance of financial debt. His strength undergirded me and gave me hope and courage to face an unknown future with unflinching confidence and trust that HE HAD A GOOD PLAN FOR MY LIFE and that the current hardships were only temporary. As I searched the wondrous Word of God for comfort, encouragement and clarity of purpose in that season, He never failed to ‘speak to me’, leading me day by day out of the dark hopeless place of disappointment and a sense of failure.
A Scripture that was very meaningful to me during that time came from Jeremiah 29:11 – 14a ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. … call upon Me and pray to Me and I will listen to you. … seek me with ALL your heart. I will be found by you says the Lord’.
That is why I am so passionate about sharing the hope that is in Christ Jesus with you! I have tried and tested the faithfulness of God in the furnace of affliction.
Whatever your cross to bear in this hour, the principles are the same, seek God whilst He may be found, surrender all to Him, immerse yourself in His Word, follow hard after Him. He has the most perfect, fulfilling plan for your life and He cares profoundly and personally for you. Ask for divine intervention in the midst of your situation and BELIEVE that He Who has promised is faithful!
May God bless you, encourage you and strengthen you. I fervently pray that you receive a resurgence of fresh hope as you read this message!