Beauty of Comfort

  • 3:27

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Asking and Listening for the Answer

Twenty years ago I asked two friends to pray with me that I might know the will of God for a personal ministry.  The answer came – ‘Use the gift I gave you and write books and tracts.   I will give the subject, the title and the money for printing.’ 

Since that time, I have never been short of all three.

When I first began to send materials to Africa, friends said, ‘Why work over there?  Why not work for Australians?’   My response has always been, ‘I do, but when a call comes, how can you ignore it?’   

In the Christian community, there is always the Macedonian call, ‘Come over and help us’.  You can’t force people to read, but gladly will you supply a request.

Most of the workers email from Internet cafes. One brother rides his bicycle two hours to type his two-finger message.   Another brother walked four hours just to tell me he had arrived safely in a distant territory.

Public transport is available, but quite often the choice is the bus or the email.    However, if the driver is amenable to turning off the radio, the worker can pay his fare by preaching to the passengers!  Many take advantage of this to evangelise the country.

Of course, it is always ‘weather permitting’, as the rainy season makes travel almost impossible. But workers do need to travel, even when the roads are impassable.   One worker took a bus along a short route available for travel, but from there he had to walk.   It took two hours to go one kilometre, as each foot sank knee deep into the mud.   But the gratitude of the group of believers was worth the effort.

The workers rely on book sales in the market place, on the buses, house to house and businesses, for their daily living.   But they must be supplemented with mission offerings to purchase literature and tracts for these missionary journeys.  A portion of the funds given in Australia goes straight to workers, but some is needed for printing tracts and airmailing them to Africa. 

Only small boxes can be mailed at a time, as the custom duty is sometimes so high the parcel must be forfeited.   Later the contents are sold in a post office sale.  If money can be saved to pay the duty, there are additional fees for storing the parcel.  Certainly this is a thorn in the side of the poor workers.   (Thankfully, this is not in all African countries)

At times a grateful message comes from a brother and his wife, ‘We were down to our last bit of food – a pound of corn, and your money arrived.  Praise God.’

I have never been to Africa, but my world is enriched with their experiences.   Letters and tapes reveal the sacrifice these workers are willing to make that others might have the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My going to Africa would be fun, but the indigenous men and women have a greater advantage than a white lady unused to the hardships of African life.  My place is alternating between the armchair, the post office and my knees. 

Daily I praise God that not only does He inspire the Macedonian call, but He speaks clearly to those who ask and are willing to listen for the answer.


Learning to Listen

When Elijah was running for his life from Jezebel, he came to the mount of God, and hiding in a cave, heard the voice of God say, “What doest thou here Elijah?”    Then He told the prophet to stand before Him while He passed by.   

“And behold…. a great strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks… but the Lord was not in the wind  After the wind was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.    Then came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.   But after the fire was a still small voice”.   1 Kings 19:12.

God speaks through His Holy Spirit, often called the conscience.   It seems to fill the mind, sometimes with warnings against sin or a sense of guilt;  at other times the blessedness of peace, joy and comfort.   Jesus said the Spirit would “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”.   John 16:8.    His messages are understood, rather than ‘heard’, and yet the exact words can be repeated.

But there is another voice -- the voice of our guardian angel.   It is different from God’s Spirit, for we actually ‘hear’ the words spoken, not with our ears, but in the mind.  I usually think the words are  my own thoughts, and many times they go unheeded.   

Sometimes it is counsel and I have not followed it.   Or directions.   Other times it is a warning, after which I have said, ‘It will be alright.’   It hasn’t been.   And then I remember, ‘I heard those words’.  

How many times I have remonstrated with myself for not listening.

One time I had driven to Melbourne, and after taking some money out of the bank, went to visit a friend.   As I parked my car, I had the idea she was not home.    I got out of the car to knock on the door, but left my handbag on the passenger seat of the car.  There was no answer, so I decided to look around.   Perhaps she was in the garden.  

Then I heard a voice, ‘Don’t leave your bag in the car’.     Thinking I had thought this myself, I said, ‘It will be alright’.

I walked through the open side gate calling out to my friend.   When out of sight of the car, I heard the voice again, ‘Don’t leave your bag in the car’.    By this time you would think I had realised it was a warning, but no, I was not listening.

Again I said, ‘It will be alright.’    

The next moment I found my friend.   After our greeting we went into her kitchen.   In a few moments the telephone rang.     As I sat there relaxing, I felt an extremely strong impression to go to my car.    I actually felt like I was being pushed, but felt nothing touch me.   

I got up and walked out the kitchen door.    From that position I could see the car.    The driver’s door was open and a young man was standing at the door.   He had my handbag in his hand.    As I approached him, he put it down, stepped back to allow me to stand at the driver’s seat.    I calmly and quietly picked up my open bag.    Taking out the purse I could see it had been opened, so I casually looked inside – the money was still there.   

The boy, still standing beside me, said, ‘Do you think it’s bad to be on marijuana?   My mother thinks its not good for me.’    I replied, ‘Yes, she is right’.   Nothing else was said and he walked away.    I shut the car door and walked back to the kitchen, handbag safely clasped in my hand.    

My friend was off the phone and I told her my experience.

She was shocked and said, ‘My son is on heroin.  I should have told you not to leave money anywhere because he will find it.’

I am very thankful my angel did not give up.   If I would not listen to him, he would do something else.   But this has not always been the case.    Oh that I will learn to listen always.


Listening and Believing

I praise God that He does not leave us without communication from Him, either by His holy Word the Bible, the Holy Spirit or angelic beings.    The Bible says, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”   Isaiah 30:21.

Last week I spoke about the experience of hearing the voice of my guardian angel warn me regarding my handbag.    His words were said clearly and rather quickly in my mind.   Was I listening?   No, I thought they were my own thoughts.   But after that experience, I have begun to learn.

A friend heard the voice of his angel when he was about to make a turn into traffic on his motorbike.  As he began to press his foot on the accelerator, he heard a voice say, ‘Joe stop’.    At first he thought it was his own thought, but realised he does not name himself when he thinks.   Praise God Joe listened to his angel’s voice, because it saved his life.

Another friend, who is not a Christian, heard a voice say, ‘Stop’ as he was driving along a very hilly narrow road.    Although he did not know who said the words, he stopped, and as he did so, a car sped out of a hidden driveway.    It would certainly have collided with him had he continued on his way.

One morning I was having my daily devotions in the lounge room.    It was early in the morning and  no one else was up.    At that time I was pleading with the Lord to take me away from a very difficult situation, but as I had no money, I felt it was impossible.   

Suddenly a voice said, ‘Go to America’.    It seemed to come from about four feet behind me, and yet I heard it in my mind.

I spun around and said, ‘You’d have to be joking’.

As I turned back, the Spirit of the Lord also spoke to my mind.  His “still small voice” spoke very gently,  ‘Who are you speaking to like that?’  I had heard my angel’s voice before and should have known, so I apologised to the Lord for being so flippant.  

As I was living solely on donations from those who supported my ministry, I knew I had no money to travel to the United States of America.   However, I said to the Lord, ‘If you want me to go that will be wonderful, but you will have to supply the money.’

In eighteen days I was in the United States.

Nine days after I heard my angel’s instructions, I received a phone call from a friend in America.  ‘We have been praying you will come to America.  We will pay your fare and keep you while you are over here.’

It took nine more days to prepare for my trip and fly across the Pacific Ocean.   How amazing to be sitting in my friend’s lounge room in Madera, California!

“Ministering angels are waiting about the throne to instantly obey the mandate of Jesus Christ to answer every prayer offered in earnest, living faith.”    Selected.

Oh that I had always listened, but I am thankful I am learning.

God is Listening

There is a promise in the Bible that assures us God is listening.   It is in the setting of the new earth, but applies to all who speak to Him today.  “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer;  and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”   Isaiah 65:24.

I had an experience some years ago that made it very clear God was listening to me, in fact, He had prepared for my needs through someone who knew nothing of them.  For four years, I did not have a regular income.  In fact, I had no money at all, nothing in the bank and no car.   After a very specific prayer, God promised He would provide my needs, so long as I continued my ministry for Him.  

To confirm His will, I was inundated with donations, enough to buy a cheap car and pay the postage for a monthly newsletter ready to be mailed.

It was a wonderful time of ministry.   

I never had a lot of money, but there was always enough for food, petrol, electricity, gas, rates, the mortgage, and all the other expenses of modern living.  I still had nothing in the bank, but that was alright with me.

One day my son said, ‘Mum, can you lend me $20.00?’    He understood my circumstances, and so I said, ‘Warren, you know I don’t have much money.  In fact, right now I have only $20.00 in my purse.   That’s all I have.’     He replied, ‘Yes, but you only have to go to the post office and you’ll have some more.’     I smiled, but with serious tones said, ‘But I don’t take that for granted and neither should you.’     I gave him the $20.00.  

On my daily walk to the post office, a friend passed me in her car.    She stopped and said, ‘Margaretha, I have some money for you.’    It was $25.00.

As time progressed, the money continued, but it was never quite enough to pay the bills.   Gradually they mounted up -- $200.    $400.    $800.    ‘Oh my Father’, I prayed, ‘What is happening?  Are you listening to my prayers?’    $1000.    ‘My Father, I am working for you, and you said you would supply my needs.   Will you help me?   In Jesus’ name.   Amen.’    $1200.    $1300.    $1400.   

Finally my debt reached $1500, and in desperation, I pled with the Lord, ‘My Father, I come to you in great need.    I have been obeying you in every way I know, sending out materials to all who request them, but I don’t have enough to pay the bills.    I know I am unworthy of all your blessings, but I am your child through Jesus Christ, and I don’t know what to do.   If you want me to get a job, I will, but as yet, you have not given me direction to do it.   

Father, if I can’t believe you will provide the money to live, I can’t believe you for anything, so I trust you and ask you to send me $1500 today.’  Never before had I specified a time for God to answer my prayers, but this was a real test. 

Would I continue to trust God?   

In peace, I went on with my daily tasks.

That afternoon the time came for my walk to the post office.   It was always exciting, in fact, I could never wait until I got home to open the mail and would meander back enjoying all that had arrived -- letters from friends, requests for books, small amounts of money.   

But what was this?    A bank cheque without a letter and no return address!   

The amount on the cheque/check?     $1500 exactly.       

God had heard me.   In fact, He had prepared the answer even before I had uttered the words.  

Friend, God is listening.


Short Stories on Answered Prayer