I have always found it interesting how the Holy Spirit ‘opens up’ pieces of Scripture or daily devotionals on specific days when I seem to need it most. Certain verses that I have been reading for many years without really ‘seeing’ the meaning or fully understanding it. One morning, while having my quiet time, I read the following in different devotionals, “Take time for prayer”; “Take time to be alone with Me”; “Spend more time alone with Me.” The next morning … “Make prayer a priority.” I have never actually seen all these messages in the Scriptures and my different devotionals so clearly.
I just knew I had to go to our farm and spend some time alone with God. I had to clear my diary, but I did not feel like going. I don’t enjoy going to the farm alone … and yet I unmistakably heard the words, “Take time to be alone with Me.”
I drove out to the farm (196 km from Pretoria) and after settling in, I sat on the patio and started praying for the many family members and friends that were very ill. That evening I saw seven bush babies crawling out of the garage, and leaping into the trees. I had never seen seven, always just two or three.
Before sunrise the next morning, I drove up to the highest point on the farm to have coffee and rusks and to pray. Just as I became quiet I clearly heard the Holy Spirit say, “Take off your sandals, you are on holy ground.” I was shocked and immediately obeyed. I started praising the Lord whilst looking over the mountains as the sun rose, reciting Ps 212, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.” I had an amazing time in God’s company.
That afternoon I again sat on the patio thinking of that morning’s experience, wondering what to do next. Could anything surpass that morning’s ‘high’? I heard, “Read Ezra.” “Ezra?” I asked. What could be in the Book of Ezra that would speak to me? (Ezra tells the story of the rebuilding of the temple 90 years before Nehemiah came to rebuild Jerusalem’s city walls.) I was so encouraged by what God was about to reveal to me, not only from the verses but also from the footnotes in my Life Application Bible.
- Ezra not only knew God’s Word, he believed it and obeyed
- God cares more about what we are than what we accomplish. Magnificent accomplishments decay and disappear. Do not be discouraged – your relationship with God is more important!
- I need to celebrate more during and after significant events in my life – such as when we completed the foundations of the Primary School (July 2006) and the last phase of the High School (June 2013).
- Do not allow circumstances or lack of encouragement to slow you down. PERSEVERE! “Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord!” Ezra reminded me of Zechariah 4:6 that weaves like a golden thread through our school’s (Eduplex) history.
On the very last morning, the Holy Spirit gave me a message for the way forward. “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what God has promised” (Hebrews 6:12). I needed to enhance my daily quiet time and not buckle under the pressure. I had to persevere in faith and patience.
My reading that morning from Streams in the Desert summarised the weekend, “When the fire in your life is the hottest, stand still, for later on … it produces a harvest of blessings (Hebrews 12:11). Sainthood finds its source in suffering. Remember, it requires eleven tons of pressure on a piano’s strings for it to be tuned.”
Nico – withstand the strain while being tuned … through faith, patience and perseverance. Don’t give up, it’s the last few yards that count!