While I was in Vanuatu I was asked to speak in church. As usual I was travelling with more notes and pre-prepared sermons than I expected to use, but as I had been given enough warning I wanted to share something fresh from the Lord. I started to pay attention to my dreams…would the Lord use one of them as He often does? I started to read not just chapters of the Bible, but whole books at a time, expecting for Him to speak that way, as He often does. I was listening for the Spirit’s whisper, waiting, ever hopeful for a profound revelation to share with an expectant audience, the way He usually speaks. But the Lord was unusually silent.
For a whole week – nothing! Then Holy Spirit gave me eyes to see and I realized the Lord had been speaking loud and clear all week, but because I had a pre-conceived idea, based on previous experience, I was blind to the message. All week, my travel companion and I had been favored. We never waited for a bus (unusual in Vanuatu, where everyone and his dog use public transport), we never waited for a water taxi (same story – it doesn’t leave until there are a certain numbers of passengers) or for a spot in our favorite café, even though huge ocean liners spat swarms of tourists out in the port as regular as clock work. We were an offered taxi trip for less than the price of the bus, the best table in the nicest restaurant on Iririki was ours and we were even offered land to build a missionary training centre – at the owner’s expense! Suddenly it seemed as if people were throwing stuff at us – blessings were overtaking us.
It was only after Holy Spirit enlightened me and I started to count those little favors and blessings that I realized the extent of it. I had my message, titled “Expect favor”. Then we moved on to Fiji, eventually I returned home and tried to settle into the usual routines of being wife and housekeeper. It’s strange, but on the mission field hardship is easy and here, in the privileged first world, comfort and complacency is hard and my memory seems very short.
So, this morning, while I am contemplating the hardship of assimilating back into the normal and mundane and meditating on a prophetic word I received regarding a new season I am entering, I found myself thinking “new levels, new devils”. This is a common saying circulating through the church and it implies that with every promotion in the spirit, there will be an increased level of opposition and attack. As I started to come into agreement with this though, I heard Holy Spirit whisper “expect favor” and suddenly I remembered the week of overwhelming favor and blessing and I realized that right there is the reality of kingdom living. I had to confess and repent of my agreement with the enemy. Whom the Lord promotes, He also protects and favors and blesses and keeps.
Jeremiah 29:11 has been a favorite scripture of mine for a very long time.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future
Like I said, my memory is short but Holy Spirit reminds me of everything the Lord has said and suddenly, again, I feel overwhelmed by my own lack of faith, and by the enormity of the Father’s love for us. Father loves us and plans for us a future where we are prosperous in every way, where we will be promoted and have angels assigned to us to keep us safe, where we can live in hope and live free from every tie that bind us. Instead of girding our loins in anticipation of the next battle, fortifying our walls to keep any and every perceived enemy out, we should be expecting favor, prosperity and know that the hope we place in Him will never leave us ashamed. We need our expectation redeemed and our memories of past experiences healed. So this morning, all I can say is, “Come, Holy Spirit, come!”
Lord Jesus, do a new thing, touch our hearts, our minds, redeem our memories and experiences and help us to renew our mind, so that we can think Kingdom thoughts, that we can expect blessing and favor to be our portion. Heal us, Lord, from every lie that we believe, set us free from every tie that bind and reveal to us the Father’s love.