Patriarchs and matriarchs
It is 2016, a big year for many I am sure, filled with promises and dreams and hopes of bigger and greater things. For me, this year is a very significant year on many levels. It earmarks a completely new course of history and legacy for this current generation and those still to come until the time of Christs’ glorious return. This year 20 years ago, I not only was restored back to the Lord from a state of back sliding, added to this wonderful spiritual family I am still privileged to be a part of – but September 1996 I walked into Miracle Bible College (then Life of Christ Bible Institute) and now on 18 January 2016, 20 years later, our eldest child enters that very same Bible College to study the Word of the Lord and lay the first pivotal foundations for her life as an adult.
As a church we are encouraged to always think generational in everything we do. When we look at Gods’ promises to Israel we see that He said in Gen.15v16; Ex.20v5; Ex.34v7; Num.14v18 and Deut.5v9 that God is merciful and longsuffering, and yes if there is not someone down the generations that chooses for the buck to stop with them then the curses will manifest for generations, but read it from a new covenant perspective, at that which Jesus came to restore and see that He visits His blessings to those who love Him and follow diligently in His ways to the fourth and fifth generations. Therefore we see the greatest blessings and rewards come in the latter generations, yet we who pioneer the beginning already experience a reward for our labours, and just like the saints in Hebrews 11v13 we embrace it even though we may not get to see the full manifestation of it in our short life span here on earth.
I realise now that when we get saved and we begin our journey with the Lord, the dreams, desires and vision we begin to have for the future are often as Paul writes in 1 Cor.13v11 to 13 – When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but now I became a man (woman), I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (NKJV)
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me completely. Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love. (NLT) These dreams and visions are there but we don’t necessarily see them clearly, or believe so absolutely in them coming true, or as a child we just say it or decide it having absolutely no clue as to the implications of that decision or commitment, we do it light-heartedly. And often because of this when the trials and tribulations, test, temptations and troubles come our way we give up, lose hope, discard vision and turn back. But thank God for His Holy Spirit! When the Holy Spirit was poured out in our hearts so was the Love of the Lord – Rom.5v5. And love is that bond of perfection Col.3v14. So although that vision or desire or dream is still dim in its beginning, the more we walk in the Love of God, the more we persevere because of His love, the more we grow in His truth because of His love – the clearer the picture becomes until we see it perfectly clear. In Ps.139 the psalmist David explains how innumerable Gods plans are for us. How He had every day of our lives written out in His book before we even started living them. And this week it began to dawn on me how incomprehensibly (to our peanut brain minds and thinking) detailed and intricately God laid out the plan and the days for our lives. Let me share what I am beginning to see and understand and hope that with my testimony to encourage those who do read this to continue and to persevere.
I was born 8 May 1976 despite the enemy of my souls’ every effort to prohibit my life. (I can list from conception till my second marriage many, many instances the enemy used to try and kill me, but he failed and will continue to fail, and it is the same for every one if we choose to see as God sees and we choose to live for Him – Satan doesn’t want anyone to live and definitely not to serve God).
On 12 December 1986 I gave my life to the Lord and was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. This was due to the immovable decision from my uncle and aunt who visited with us in Gauteng over Christmas and insisted on going to the Rema church with all of us. There was a call for salvation and my mom and I; without communicating to each other and we weren’t sitting together either; got up to answer the call. After the salvation prayer there was opportunity given for those who want to be filled in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues and I went; later I found out so had my mom. I was filled in the Holy Spirit as soon as the lady started praying for me. I felt the breath of the Lord breathed into me like an air-conditioner on full blast yet there was no such thing in the hall where I was. So my uncle and aunt have a hand in and reap a glorious reward and share in all the victories and glory that comes in my life and the lives of my children and the generations to come because they had tenacity to take a stand and not waver, and that led to my salvation. My parents continued to make sure I was at church and youth and attended all the youth camps offered over the years.
In January of 1996 whilst heading out for a warm up run before a tri-athlon race, a fellow athlete and acquaintance stopped in the middle of the road when they saw me, leaned out the window of his car and asked whether I was in a church, I replied I was not, to which he stated he was fetching me the next morning at 8:15am to take me to church. I told him where we lived (in the parsonage of the Presbyterian Church). The next morning at church as we found our seats he greeted someone seated behind me which turned out to be my Christian Small Group leader at school from 1992.
That same year 1996 in February I was transferred from one branch of a sports store I worked at to another closer to home when in walks a “clown”, spreads some laughs and invites me to come have lunch at the new coffee shop section they opened up in their book store. At lunch time I walk in and I spotted another guy that looked familiar. As we start talking I realise the two are brothers and they ministered in worship at our youth at our church in 1992. This new friend – the clown – then took me to home cell that Wednesday and in walks the same athlete that took me to church the month before. By September of ’96 I had made up my mind to give up every dream and plan and dedicate my life to the Lord whole heartedly by taking the first step and attending full time Bile College. I also met my late husband and we had gotten engaged, I had resigned my full time job and only still went in occasionally as a casual while attending Bible College in the mornings.
These people placed on my path strategically by the Lord including the founder of the church and Bible College and his son are still to this very day key figures in me and my families lives.
From here life went on, battles were fought and in 2006 the Lord started His deep surgical procedures on my life. With each deep and painful procedure He drew me deeper and closer unto Him. And here we are, 2016 twenty years later, and our eldest child is making the same decision.
You see when I returned to Cape Town in 2001 after the death of my late husband, I received a word from Apostle Andre one evening in church the gist of which was – that there was a harvest in my life that had not been reaped, that the seeds were still in the soil but the land had not been cultivated as it ought to have been. That if I put my hand to it and labour whole heartedly there would come a time where I would reap a fresh harvest. That wherever I put in the plough the land would yield fruitfulness and I would reap a new and fresh harvest.
In 2010 the Lord told Prophet Nola that in 2015 there would be a great harvest.
At the opening of last year I felt in my spirit I needed to walk carefully, fearfully (of the Lord) and circumspectly. I did not quite understand why or in which regard but I now do – it was so I don’t lose heart and bow out of the good fight of faith and miss my harvest entirely. From the end of the first quarter all the way to the end of last year we as a family, as individuals in the family and as a couple went through the toughest of battles we had yet been faced with. I came to a place where it was so intense, my spiritual sight started to fail. The enemy just kept coming; the punches just kept coming from every direction and I could no longer see God’s blessings, His hand or His love for us. Yet in September of 2015 as I drove past a ripe wheat field I heard the Holy Spirit minister to me on Matt.13 from v24 about the land owner who sent his servants to go and sow seeds. And at night his enemy went and sowed tares among the good seeds. As the harvest sprouted the tares became visible and the workers reported this to the owner and suggested they pull it out, but the owner said to leave it till the time of harvest. As the harvest was reaped the tares were reaped to, the harvest goes to the threshing floor where it gets ‘hammered’ on the hard floor, the seeds get collected and the tares get bound up into bundles to be cast into the fire. Jesus is there with His winnowing fan to increase the heat of the fire so that there is no doubt of the utter destruction of the tares.(Matt.3v12; Lu.3v17) The tares are lies, deceptions, words of death that we speak over ourselves, that others speak over us and things the devil uses to blind and destroy us and it often happens that without them intending to, those closest to us are the ones who speak these lies and words of death. (This word was confirmed in December of 2015 when Prophet Nola ministered it to the church to encourage us again). Remember the enemy attacks from within. We are all guilty of having been used of him to speak death or lies into the lives of others or ourselves because of our desire for good intentions which are most often works of the flesh which we know are dead works, or because we believe our opinion to be of such great value. The Holy Spirit tried to encourage me that what we were experiencing was this part of the harvest, where God once and for all deals with the lies, and the death. But I was so wrapped up in it and allowed my emotions to get the better of me that I could not see. In fact all I saw by November was darkness. I saw no light, no hope and no life. It came to a point where I was giving up on church, people and heading to denying my faith and Gods’ existence. I wanted nothing to do with anything man, God or church. My perspective was so warped and my eyes so blinded. But I thank God for His longsuffering and merciful love. I thank Him for my husband who stood solid as a rock. He just gently encouraged me and gave me perspective on how to walk and how to face things, and he continued to attend church even though I stayed at home, he continued to minister in the house hold meetings and to speak blessings over me.
It felt like all around me people were rejoicing in their harvests and receiving rewards and all I was faced with to deal was hell. Deep things that one cannot speak about. Years and decades of lies and actions that culminated to a head. Even though God promoted us in the spirit, and opened doors for the children I was just so wrapped in self-pity and resentment I couldn’t fully appreciate it.
Then I remembered the revelation prophet Nola shared with us in 2013 about Elijah in 1 Kings19. Elijah has run for his life from Jezebel after slaughtering the prophets of Baal and the Lord manifesting Himself to the nation of Israel because of Elijah’s tenacity. He is here under the tree wishing to die, feeling sorry for himself and convinced God had forsaken him. He wanted to die. In all honesty that is how I felt. I felt that all my efforts to serve God to remain on His path, to do all His desire to the best of my understanding had amounted to naught, that it was all for nothing, just as Elijah says in v4. In v 7 the Angel of the Lord (Jesus) wakes him up and tells him to eat for the journey is too great for him – so also, because God sent me a student to teach, and by the time the battle was most intense we had started to work through the Life of Christ, I was daily eating the Word, so I could go on. God is clever, He knows how to set things up so we can’t give up even if we want to because His Spirit in us is stronger than our weak will and stronger than he who is in the world. He sent me a student so that I would be ‘forced’ to go on. To get up every morning and to meditate on the Word and to call on His name – in other words, to arise and eat for the journey ahead is still long. And then we read that our incredible one and only God takes Elijah as he is, He understand him, He gets the state the prophet is in, and He speaks to him in a way that makes sense to him. He sends him out to observe nature. The Lord sent us to Witsand – a practically untouched stretch of wild life. And the Lord ministered to me there in just as soft and gentle a way as he did to the Prophet Elijah. There was also a very strong tearing wind the one day that one could not stand on ones feet, the next day we drove out somewhere and there were large rock piles everywhere which had not been there before. The day was blistering hot just like a fire. And then it was all quiet, and the Lord sent signs on my way; first I saw an eagle seated on the ground next to the road just open its wings, never flapping to lift off, and a current just came and lifted him off the ground into heaven to where he soared. Effortless take off, God just sent the wind to pick him up, all he had to do was spread his wings. Further on was another eagle, walking next to a sheep both not bothered with the other as if they weren’t aware of each other’s presence. Then there were the stretches of seemingly barren land (which is how I felt that all my life till now had yielded was barrenness). And in a still voice, the Lord spoke to me and said that after a reaping, to those who do not understand, the soil looks like a dry barren fruitless land, yet it had just yielded a very good harvest. That once one examined that soil one would find it is rich in nutrients and sustenance for the next seeds to be planted and to grow another harvest – just as God spoke to Elijah and then commissioned him to anoint two new kings and a young prophet. I am still busy with three more children who need to finish school before, Lord willing, they enter Bible College and life. Since we came back from holiday the Lord had not stopped answering deep searching questions I had in my heart at every single Sunday service. I received my answers in the church at the ministering of His shepherds – the Apostles and Prophets.
Last Sunday we heard how God had changed Peter’s nature the minute the Holy Spirit was poured out in his hear and we all received a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. This past Sunday in the worship we heard that we ought not to give up ever, that His faithfulness is strongest when we are at our weakest and that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. In the services we were encouraged to prepare for our promises and to ask the Lord to open our eyes to see the hope of our calling and the riches of His inheritance for us in the saints and in our selves – the riches God has worked and placed in us. And I cried out to God Lord that I want to see, to remove the blindness, I repented for being angry with Him, for wallowing in self-pity and I forgave by name each I was angry with and felt harmed or hard done by. We also received instruction to call the old obsolete – all the tags, negative experiences and bad memories that hold us back or are like mountains in front of us, obstacles we need to overcome – to say that in Jesus name it is finished and to allow Him to open our eyes to see what He is doing. The darkness lifted. The Holy Spirit told Apostle Aje there were people who were feeling oppressed, as he said it I felt like someone had wrapped their hands around my neck and I struggled to breath as one being choked – he instructed believers to lay hands on us and pray for us, my husband turned round and all I said was that as the apostle spoke the words I started feeling choked and as if I can’t breathe, he prayed for me and immediately it lifted.
Monday I spent the day meditating to recall all the things the Lord had done for us in 2015 and to write it down and give Him thanks for it. I filed pages of His goodness. As I went to bead the Lord revealed to me why the battle was so intense last year – I was the first in my family to follow the Lord no matter what the cost, to walk in His truth and according to His principles by His grace, not of my own ability but because of Him, for without Him we can do nothing, and now had come the time for the next generation to pick up the baton and continue this walk. The enemy knows it, therefore last year he pulled out all the stops in a most desperate effort to put an end to this work of the Lord flowing into the next generation. At the same time God was bringing an end to all the weights that so easily ensnare us and He rid us of them. He shone His light on every dark are so that nothing could hide in darkness any longer but every room of our lives could be filled with light. If I had bowed fully to the temptation to give up my faith and renounce God’s existence, there would be no next generation or it would be near impossible for them to continue. But God is ever faithful. He pulled me through!
Jesus went through everything we would ever imagine going through so that He can be a faithful High Priest who understands and is in touch with how we feel and what we experience and go through so that He can pull us through. My salvation is so, so, very, very much more real to me now. Jesus said to Peter that Satan had asked for him to sift him as wheat but that Jesus had prayed for him that is faith should not fail and that once he had returned to Him he ought to strengthen his brethren. Jesus prays for us that our faith fail not. He ever lives to make intersession for us. There is no other faith or religion or god that comes close to our God. NONE!
By remaining in the love of God – by continuing to go to church, no matter what state we are in, that is remaining in the love of God – He can save us, He can deliver us, He can open up our eyes to see, He can heal us, He can set us free!
The glory of watching our eldest entering Bible College of her own desire and own choice is a glory that outweighs the worst of any suffering, it makes it all worth it. It proves Gods’ faithfulness towards us when we believe. I was the first in our family line to study the Word of the Lord before embarking on the rest of my life, and now she follows. Our other three also plan to follow and Lord willing they will complete that desire. But now I am starting to see, much clearer, no longer faintly, but clearly. The vision is becoming plain. I wrote it down in my prayer journals over the years, with the news of each pregnancy I committed to raise that child to serve the Lord no matter what it takes, and I wrote it down and God has honoured it. Now I can see plainly the detail and the reasons for the various bends and turns and valleys and rivers and mountains in the journey to here – much like “The Pilgrims Progress”.
So take a moment and look back and see how intricately involved God has been in every detail of our lives to get us to the point we are at now. And He will continue to be there till the worlds end and beyond. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He really loved us first, while we were still sinners and lost, He was there orchestrating things so we have ample opportunities to take His hand and be lead into the Promised Land. Like Apostle Andre preached in his sermon ‘Glorified Ones’ (October/November 2015) (available from www.harvesterchurch.net) we were all called to be saved, since before the creation of the world the plan to save us has been there and was put in motion, so all we have to do is cry out to Jesus, believe He is, that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Believe that He is the Son of God, came in the flesh of a virgin birth, lived life as a mortal man, died for our sins, took captivity captive, rose from the dead, appeared to men and is now seated at the right hand of the Father and has the name above every other name in heaven or on earth so that all who believe on that name will be saved. Amen.
Don’t give up, never give up, I have good news for you, you were created to be an endurance athlete, you can endure, it is in you it is called Christ within the hope of glory. So be a patriarch or a matriarch and set in motion the history for your future generations in Christ. ©Celeste Glass