• Overwhelmed with gratitude

    by  • May 26, 2017 • Faith, inspiration, Rural Ministry • 0 Comments

    I recently reached a ‘milestone birthday’ – 70th. Though my life was not without hardship, it is a life that could not ignore the reality of the grace of God. As I look back over those 70 years, I AM overwhelmed with gratitude for so many things – my parents and the wonderful example they set.  My former husband for the many wonderful fun filled years we enjoyed raising our 4 sons, the goals we kicked together and also the hard times. I’m so grateful for the hard times.  I learned that the hard places can be the catalyst for change, for character to be transformed by seeking God’s principles in the midst of a situation and allowing Him to adjust me to respond as His example sets out so clearly in His ‘handbook for Life’, the Holy Bible.

    One particular time in the midst of the cattle slump in the 70’s, whilst both holding down full time external jobs and parenting 3 young sons, we were selling a load of fat steers. With a night shift looming ahead of us, we loaded the steers and headed for home. The road was through very hilly country and a couple of the steers went down. We had to jump a couple off to make room for the rest of the load to stand up, so continued on with a smaller load that was worth 1/10 if its value before the cattle slump. Just as we hit the bitumen, about 8 pm at night, with two more hours to the saleyards,  a couple of the boys began to vomit behind the seat in the truck. It seemed like the straw that broke the camel’s back on top of everything else we were enduring at the time.  We did wonder that night, if it could get any worse. (Many of you reading this will identify with a seemingly insignificant incident would seem to be the last straw)’!

    We have a choice to allow setbacks to make us ‘better’ or ‘bitter!’ I’ve found that if we throw ourselves upon the grace (undeserved favour) of God in those times, He will bring us through. I am a walking living testimony to the GRACE of God. I’m grateful for my 4 much loved sons and their families – the wonderful men they’ve become – for so many things too innumerable to mention.

    I can now see how the hand of Almighty God led, has guided, protected and comforted me long before I ever acknowledged Him. Long before I sought Him, He sought me.

    HE WAS WATCHING OVER ME LIKE A LOVING PARENT OVER A WAYWARD TODDLER, ANTICIPATING MY EVERY STUMBLE AND DEFTLY PRESERVING MY LIFE.

    You may look back over your life thus far and recognize the hand of Divine intervention.

    He is with you right now, He’s wooing you with His love, drawing you to Himself. He knows your every strength and every flaw and loves you unconditionally. Jeremiah 29:11 says it this way, ‘For I know the plans I have for you’ says the Lord,’ plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope’.  The vital condition following this Scripture of great promise is: ‘if you call on Me, come to Me and pray’.

    I see spiritual principles in pictures and see the Lord yearning over our Nation for hearts to turn back to Him. I see so many at a crossroad in their lives and the Scripture from Jeremiah 6:16 NLT springs to mind, ‘Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old Godly way and walk in it. Travel it’s path and you will find rest for your souls’. The following verse sounds like the response of many of us today, but they said, ‘we will not follow’ and they went on to reap the calamitous consequences of their poor choices.  I feel to say God wants you personally to trust HIM with your future, your health, your plans and your families. (I’m trusting Him with mine). It’s never too late.

    Romans 2:4 says it is ‘the goodness of God that brings a man/woman to repentance  (turning 180 degrees from ways that are unwise and destructive and heading in the opposite direction).  The GOODNESS of God is just one of many facets of His character. His goodness and kindness extends to us whether we feel we are deserving or not.

    I sense many are concerned about the unknown on so many fronts this year – business, family matters, health and the weather. Many of these things are beyond our control, BUT NOT HIS! We’re carrying so much unnecessary weight and pressure in these times, but right here right now, we have a loving heavenly Father who longs to lift the load off if we would dare to trust Him with it. You may be feeling like me the day I came to the end of my own natural ability and resources and decided to surrender my life to Jesus Christ. He’d been waiting for me to come to the realization I needed Him to take the steering wheel. The starting point is for us to cry out in the hardest places, “HELP ME LORD, if you’re real, show me! I guarantee He will take you at your word!

    Psalm 55:22 and 1Peter 5:7 speaks about ‘CAST your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you… Cast ALL your anxiety upon Him for He cares for you’.

    ANXIETIES AND CARES ARE TO BE CAST/THROWN OFF NOT CARRIED!

    Cast off readily and willingly like unloading a heavy hiking pack. The relief from the weight of that heavy load is so freeing! So it is with the things of God, as we make a decision to ‘cast off’ the load, there comes lightness and fresh hope. My prayer for you today is that you would sincerely seek a quiet place and a quiet time to cast ALL of your cares upon Him being ABSOLUTELY ASSURED that He cares for you. Thank Him in advance for His faithfulness and goodness towards you and watch and see what He will do as He turns your ‘mess into a message’ that will bring life and hope to others.

    As I prepare for a prolonged western trip, I look forward to seeing all who would like a visit. I feel to continue to travel across our Nation with the good news of the reality of God’s love which I have personally experienced in deep and tangible ways, whilst ever there is health and breath in my body. My motivation in this life is to humbly offer the reality that ‘GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD’ that He sent His only son Jesus Christ to redeem/buy us back by the ultimate sacrifice of death on that cross on Calvary’s hill. I am forever indebted that He ‘saved a wretch like me’! He cared enough to pick up the broken pieces of a self willed woman and put them back together and bring me into a place of peace like I’d never ever known.

    I passionately believe our Nation needs a mighty encounter with the reality of a Sovereign God who shows up in such a way He cannot be denied. I’m so grateful that in some small measure, I can be part of the answer to those in need of a helping hand.

    If you would like a listening ear, an informal Church Service in your town or on your property under a tree or round your kitchen table, please contact me. If you’d like a Bible also let me know.

    Lovingly always,

    Liz

     

    About

    Pastor Liz Howland (formerly Liz Collins of “Wandilla”, Marlborough) Liz was born into a pioneering Central Queensland rural family. Her passion is to see our Nation come to the life transforming knowledge of Jesus Christ, to convey the message that God’s life giving Word, (the Bible) is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago, and how to practically apply God’s principles in everyday life.

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