Over the years I have tried to encourage people to spend time in prayer and reading (the Word as well as daily devotionals) with the promise that God will answer them. Some of my favourite scripture passages that I used to illustrate this point was from
Matthew 7:7 (New Living Translation) – ‘Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.’
James 1:5-8 (The Living Bible) – ‘If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind; and every decision you then make will be uncertain, as you turn first this way and then that. If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.’
The past few weeks I have again done what I have been sharing for so many years – and God again answered me in miraculous ways.
Due to God’s grace, we need to find larger and less crammed premises for our Johannesburg offices. My wife Anita was rather adamant when she said to me and my son Nico jnr. (CEO of our Group) that she really trusts that this time we will cover our search for premises more earnestly in prayer. Unfortunately, I have to admit that, at times, in our zeal we have made some mistakes, thinking what we saw and eventually bought was from God, without really seeking His face as we should have done.
We took Anita request to heart and started praying. I also asked a number of prayer partners to pray with us before our visit to JHB and our search for new premises. We needed the ability to make a wise decision in difficult circumstances. Never did we pray so much for our Johannesburg visit. Then, during our visit, we looked at rundown properties that would cost millions to renovate and still not be what we would like to have. Some properties had great visibility but were situated on streets where prostitutes operated at night – not the ideal neighbourhood.
And finally we found what we were looking for. An old house with large offices situated in parklike surroundings, with parking for 35 cars. Exactly what we were looking for. But Nico jnr. and I have now learnt our lesson, we continued to pray, trusting that Anita’s stamp of approval will be the final confirmation when we show her ‘what we have found’.
I decided to show her and Jan (one of our directors) the premises the following Saturday morning. That morning I woke up at 03:00 and again prayed about the property. If this is not the property that God would like us to have, He must stop it. One of the biggest deciding factors would be for Anita to disapprove. She has declined a number of properties in the past which Nico jnr. and I thought would ‘be ideal’ – and she was right every time.
The past few weeks I have been working my way through Isaiah and after my time of prayer and asking the Lord for guidance, my reading that morning started with Isaiah 49.
Isaiah 49 –
v8 ‘Your request has come at a favourable time. I will keep you from harm.’
v15(b) ‘I will never forget you!’
v20(b) ‘We need more room, it’s crammed here! Then you will think to yourself “Who has given me all this”?
v23(b) ‘Those who wait on Me shall never be ashamed.’
I continued to read on Isaiah 50 v4+5 ‘The Lord has given me His words of wisdom. Morning by morning he awakens me and opens my understanding to His will.’
I then read from Spurgeon’s Chequebook of Faith (6 Feb) the bible verse was from Deuteronomy 28:2+3 and the piece that struck me was from v3 ‘You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country’ (NIV)
Spurgeon’s comment was ‘To go to the city with the divine blessing takes off the edge of its difficulty. To remain there with that blessing is to find pleasure in its duties and strength equal to its demand…. the city will afford us opportunities for usefulness. Today let us expect good things because of this promise, and let our care be to have an open ear to the voice of the Lord, and a ready hand to execute His bidding.’
Spurgeon continued and said ‘…the city will afford us opportunities for usefulness. It is good fishing where there are shoals of fish, and it is hopeful to work for our Lord amid the thronging crowds…. let us expect good things because of this promise….’ The new premises are right in the heart where most of Anita’s patients are!
I then read in Os Hillmans Today God is First of the previous morning (Feb 5th) which I could not read the day before – ‘The best friend you could ever have is someone with a prophetic gift to discern whether the big picture you see, is actually the picture God is directing.’
WOW! One of the few people I know with a prophetic gift is Anita and I am about to go and show her what I thought was ‘the big picture’ we saw for our new offices in Johannesburg. Her approval or disapproval would therefore be critical. I was very nervous. Will our years of searching for the right premises be over, or will it have to continue?
We viewed the premises that morning and Anita’s first words were “It’s so large!” and slowly she too started getting excited about the potential of the property. Before making the offer I again prayed for wisdom and the Lord encouraged me from Isaiah 52:12 – ‘For the Lord will go ahead of you, and He, the God of Israel, will protect you from behind.’
We are currently busy with a due diligence on the property and negotiating with the owners about numerous ‘stumbling blocks’ that are in the way as we need to ensure that we have all the zoning rights in place for what we are planning – including substantial renovations. I would have thrown in the towel, had the Lord not said that He will go ahead of me; that we need to trust and not be afraid and that ‘half-hearted work’ will bring no reward. Spurgeon did say ‘To go to the city with the divine blessing takes off the edge of its difficulty.’ It will not just be plain sailing, we will have difficulties, but we will overcome the stumbling blocks because we go with a divine blessing given by the God of the universe, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 62:10 – ‘Pass through, pass through the gates! (You drive through lovely gates into the property) Prepare the way for My people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones, raise a banner for the nations’ (NIV)
Jesus Calling devotional (21 Feb) – ‘Focus on Me, entrusting your concerns into My care!’
God Calling devotional (21 Feb) – ‘You do not need to see far ahead. Just one step at a time with Me… Remember, all you have to do is to keep calm and happy. God does the rest!’
The choice is now mine. I can continue to fret and worry, or I can calm down, relax, be happy and once again be amazed at what God is going to do.
May it also be so with you dear reader.