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Chapter 5: Palm Trees

Palm trees are known for their long life. To flourish like a palm tree means to stand tall and to live long - upright, strong and unmoved by the winds of circumstance.

16 March 2005

After Bible study today, at Cath’s house, I stayed on for a bit longer and we talked and shared like we always did. I told Cath that there was something about Solomon’s temple that is pulling at my heart, and when I opened my Bible it opened on 1 Kings 6! I could feel myself shaking but yet it was not visible from the outside, strangely it felt like my body was shaking on the inside. (This happened often in those days).

I felt I needed to learn something about the temple and relate it to my own spiritual temple and my heart. As we read through the scriptures we noticed there was a lot of mentioning of palm trees. We started speaking about them, and the flowers, and the cedars and Lebanon and so on. We both felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as we got more and more excited about what we read! Cath was very adamant that G_d wanted to tell me something about the palm trees. I kept what she said in my heart.

I left Cath’s house to pick up my daughter from Bidi Bidi pre-school. She was still busy with her ballet class and I sat down inside the class waiting. I looked around the classroom and my eyes fell on the curtains that had pictures of palm trees all over and it had dates on them – just as Cath said..fruit-bearing palm trees – the fruit is the date! So, at home I looked up the meaning of these in the dictionary just to see what is written about it:

DATE PALM = a tall palm tree that bears clusters of fruit (dates)

PALM TREE = an unbranched evergreen tree with a crown of very long feathered or fan-shaped leaves

a leaf of a palm awarded as a prize or viewed as a symbol of victory

As I paged through old papers for Bible study and notes I made previously, I stumbled upon the scripture that Anthia gave me in 2004, and this also caught my eye:

Psalm 92:12-15

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,

He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our G_d. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

CEDAR = a tall elegant coniferous tree yielding typically fragrant, durable wood (Cedar of Lebanon)

JESHURUN = The Upright One

UPRIGHT = vertical; erect; (piano) having vertical strings; greater in hight than breadth; strictly honourable or honest; a vertical post, structure or line; pillar

Right after I looked up the meaning of 'upright' I received the following scripture:

Psalm 33:1-3

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!

For praise from the upright is beautiful.

Praise the Lord with the harp;

Make melody to him with an instrument of ten strings,

Sing to him a new song;

Play skilfully with a shout of joy.

STRINGS = (spiritually) vertical strings attached to G_d - no one can break those strings

Psalm 112:2-4

The generation of the upright will be blessed

Wealth and riches will be in his house,

And his righteousness endures forever.

Unto the upright there arises a light in the darkness;

He is gracious, and full of compassion and righteous.

In the following days, I started getting a lot around palm trees, and I believe G_d caused me to see it everywhere! Jeremiah 10:5 says 'upright, like a Palm tree. Psalm 92 speaks about 'to flourish like a palm tree', and in my NKJV footnotes (at Ps 92) it says:

'Palm trees are known for their long life. To flourish like palm trees means to stand tall and to live long. The psalmist saw believers as upright, strong and unmoved by the winds of circumstance. Those who place their faith firmly in G_d can have this strength and vitality.' - Footnotes NKJV

Other scriptures that kept popping up were about 'righteousness'. I knew G_d was busy teaching me about living a righteous life and to live an 'upright life', like a palm tree; be a Jeshurun!

Jeremiah 10:5

They are upright, like a palm tree

Isaiah 32:17

The works of righteousness shall be peace

Cath also pointed out 2 Kings 6:17 - the footnote in my NKJV Bible, "Look through the eyes of faith and let G_d show you his resources."

I also remembered Gwenie speaking about the floating ax head at my baptism and it tickled me ever since. I searched and searched for it but couldn't find it (I did not have a cell phone or computer) but this day, when I sat down to read on the 16th of March, I literally opened my Bible on it - 2 Kings 6. (I still did not quite understand what Gwen said about the scripture or why she gave it to me).

19 March 2005

Scripture from my mom to me

Psalm 37:3,4

Trust in the Lord and do good.

Dwell in the land, and feed on his faithfulness.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,

and he shall give you the desires of your heart.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep him in perfect peace,

whose mind is stayed on you,

because he trusts in you.

20 May 2005

I was working for Patrice Moyal in Rosebank. He started his own Fund Management company and asked me to join him to do his administration and secretarial work. Patrice was a very good and beautiful Jewish man and I was very happy to work for him. At the time he was renting office space in the CorpCapital building.

I started my own freelancing administration work by going to a few different companies and working a few hours a week at each company. None of these companies wanted to hire a permanent administrator so it suited them very well. I charged hourly rates and because I worked as a freelancer I was able to charge a higher hourly rate than what I would have earned had I worked as a permanent employee.

I was at Patrice's company at my desk working, and out of nowhere I heard clearly in my heart: "You will have another baby girl and you will call her Nicola." I was stunned. What I heard and experienced was so real!

If this was indeed from the Lord it will be.

The week leading up to this day I had seen the surname 'Viljoen' everywhere. I was wondering why the surname kept popping up everywhere, and the only person I thought I knew by that surname was my Gynaecologist, but I could not remember really. I thought that maybe I needed to go for a check up or something. I was a little concerned because Dr Viljoen had to remove potential dangerous cells some years ago and maybe it was time again.

I looked up the name Nicola and it means 'Victory People'.

This was amazing! The palm tree leaf was viewed as a symbol of victory!

30 May 2005

I was scheduled to work at Gus's office today but I got there and was locked out the office, so I decided to go work for Patrice instead. I did some filing and my eyes fell on a name on one of the papers, 'Nicola'! It felt like electricity running through my body - I was surprised to see the name popping up and with the same spelling!

I looked up the meaning again and it said "Peoples Victory'.

I decided to phone the clinic and asked if they had a Gynaecologist by the name of Dr Viljoen, and they said they did.

My heart knew what I heard but my head was all over the place! What if I heard wrong? The fact is, another baby was not on my mind - I was not longing for a third child, in fact, quite the opposite. Another child would not be my choice, but I heard it so clearly. My devotional for the day began with:

So the other disciples told him: "we have seen the Lord!" But Thomas said to them, "unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand in his side, I will not believe it."

Perhaps I am being like Thomas?

02 June 2005

Today I was working at Prima, for Amir Levy. Waiting for Amir, I thought it would be best to go to Lesley to sort out the Voyager Miles issue. She was on the phone and so I waited in the little lounge area outside the offices. I picked up the newspaper, which is something I never do because I do (I do not read news or newspapers) and I read the first article on Jacob Zuma, and I saw the name 'Nicola'! The writer of the article was Nicola, the exact same spelling as I got it.

I left and went to Patrice's office. Patrice and Amir were renting office space in the same building. When I got there I did some filing while waiting for Amir, and there is another clipping with the same journalist, Nicola!

I don't know why but I told Patrice everything about Nicola, which is a little awkward because Patrice is a Jew and Jews don't usually want to hear about Christianity. He looked at me with a frown and a smile, making a little joke and laughing. He asked, "how do you hear G_d speaking to you?" He and the other person who was there made a little fun of me and what I said.

But, in my mind I said 'you wait and see, this will be a testimony!'

And I remembered the scripture I received yesterday, and I did not really understand the scripture, but now it seems fitting:

Ezekiel 2:5-8

As for them, whether they refuse - for they are a rebellious house - yet they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.

So the above scripture I read yesterday helped me not to get upset about there jokes and making fun of me. Maybe G_d wanted me to talk to them - they are both Jews.

I left Patrice's office to go back upstairs to Amir's office, and I decided to phone DR Viljoen and make an appointment.

My devotional for the day:

1 Corinthians 1:25

For the foolishness of G_d is wiser than man's wisdom and the weakness of G_d is stronger than man's strength.

I later continued to tell Patrice about the Holy Spirit who dwells with believers. I told him that Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. They were all baptised in the Holy Spirit and received tongues. I said to him that I also pray in tongues. He said 'what'? I said that if you have a relationship with G_d, he speaks to you, through scriptures, other believers - many different ways.

He was still very curious about how I heard G_d's voice in my heart, and he said "what if it is a boy?" I said that it is not going to be a boy because G_d said it was going to be a girl and I must call her Nicola.

(On the 19th of May, I was working for Michael Berman, also a Jew, and I also told him about the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.)

Yesterday's devotional:

There is no shortcut to spiritual victory in order to obtain joy and prosperity from life. It is essential to nurture a personal relationship with your Saviour and allow Him to guide you and influence you in everything you do.

1 Corinthians 1:18-24

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of G_d. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'

PRUDENT: acting with or showing care and thought for the future

PRUDENTIAL: involving or showing care and forethought, typically in business

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not G_d made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of G_d, the world through wisdom did not know G_d, it pleased G_d through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified; to the Jews a stumbling block and the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of G_d and the wisdom of G_d.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of man but in the power of G_d.

14 June 2005

Today I received the following scriptures:

1 Chronicles 15:1

Moreover, David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals.

1 Chronicles 28:19

All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the words of these plans.

I do not understand what the above scriptures has to do with me but I will keep it in my diary.

20 June 2005

Today, at 14h45 I have an appointment with Dr Viljoen. I am hoping for an answer from G_d regarding Nicola.

Went here and received no answer. I asked Dr Viljoen if I may ask him a personal question, 'do you believe in G_d?" He said, yes.

I told him that I believe G_d told me to come and see him this day, and that I was hoping the visit would be confirmation on certain things. I asked him if the name Nicola meant anything to him and he responded: 'that poor girl, Nicola, who just found out that she has cancer - is she your friend?'

I said no, I was hoping it would confirm something, and I believed that G_d told me I would have another baby girl and I should call her Nicola.

He said that I was perfectly healthy and still beautifully young, and he thought I should. He has three kids and he thought it was wonderful to have three.

As I waited in reception I picked up the New Testament that I found on the reception coffee table, and I read:

2 John 1:1-4

To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from G_d the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the son of the Father, in truth and love.

23 August 2005

It has been very busy since I last wrote in my journal. I read the book "The Dream Giver" and I was inspired to start my own business. A friend of mine, Anita Schalkwyk, gave me the idea for the business and I decided to act on it. I would be the mediator between venue and company, liaising for best pricing and conference venue for the client, and I then get a lovely commission on each event from the venue.

Garth left Bova Safety Smart and I am now down to working for Patrice only (administration).

Today, I received my first proof of the business cards and the brochure from Nicole Hall, and it looks beautiful! I decided to call the business "THE VENUE SHOP". I worked with Nicole at Broad Marketing prior to joining CorpCapital Bank, and she insisted on doing me a favour and not charge for it.

Patrice offered me his office space to work from as I am setting up the business - how amazing!? So I could use his phone, computer and desk and time. What gracious gift! He still pays me for 3 hours per morning for administration.

In the meanwhile the cake orders have also been coming in like mad and Sterkfontein Heritage Lodge is placing nice orders, and so I have also been baking and decorating 3D cakes every week.

We also started building the granny flat in the backyard.

So, it has been extremely busy with baking, designing brochures, business cards, and getting the business name approved, and the CC will be registered next week. I also registered a domain for the email address, and will be printing business cards and brochures next week.

During this time Cath and Ian went through severe financial struggles and I spoke to Garth about it - he decided to help them out with R500 and I bought a few bags full of groceries. I was so surprised that Garth decided to give them money - this is just not the sort of thing he would do!

17 October 2005

I was sitting in bed and having my Bible open I decided to pray first before reading. I asked G_d to talk to me again about Nicola and give me something to hold onto since it has been such a long time since I last heard about 'Nicola'.

The previous week I received many scriptures from the book of Kings, and again this morning, I opened my Bible on 1 Kings18:20-38, and "how long will you falter between two opinions?"

From the scripture above I realised that it is okay to ask G_d for a sign.

This evening Garth and I had a conversation about Christianity. He asked a lot of questions and I tried to answer as best I could.

I prayed that G_d would make Nicola be to proof to Garth, Patrice and all the other Jews that G_d is real and that He is the one and only G_d.

I opened my Bible again and on Judges 6:36-40 "The Sign of the Fleece". So again, I knew that I could ask G_d for a sign, but amazingly, this is where I also made a note in my Bible regarding Nicola on 7 June 2005, when mom gave me this scripture regarding Nicola! How amazing!!! Mom gave me this scripture at the time I was going to visit Dr Viljoen to hopefully hear about Nicola. Oh my, G_d you are amazing!

23 February 2006

I wrote down my hearts desires:

  1. For Garth to become Priest of this house.

  2. To have a piano.

  3. To have a beautiful house on a mountain with a great view.

28 February 2006

Today G_d blessed me with a big client, FNB! God answered my prayer for my proposal (The Venue Shop) to find favour with FNB. Praise G_d!

3 May 2006

This morning I told Garth about the dream I had about my mom. I dreamt she went to the dentist. She looked beautiful! It was her younger version with her hair dark and long and tied back. She was wearing a beautiful blue top with a white jacket.

I dreamt that the work that needed to be done on her teeth was at no cost to her. I was not sure if the dentist would pay or Stephan would maybe paying for her, but the fact is she did not have to pay.

I had an uneasy feeling about my parents. I felt that something was wrong, or something was bothering them. So late morning I phoned mom, and I asked her what she was doing, and she said that she was crossing the street to go to the dentist. I was blown away! No ways?! I told her about my dream last night and that she would not be paying. She laughed and said, "oh, now why would the dentist do that!?"

4 May 2006

I had another dream last night. I dreamt I saw my dad, he was sitting on a park bench in a beautiful green park. He was by himself. So as I got closer to him I saw that he was actually hanging back in this bench and he was struggling to breath! He could not breath! It looked like he was having a heart attack! I ran to him and asked him what was wrong and he could not even speak. He tried to speak but he waved his hands in the air, trying to show me something, and all he could say is, "it is gone, it is all gone". The next moment I also saw a helicopter coming near and circling above us. I remember taking his face in my hands and crying and saying 'no daddy, no daddy!' And I kissed his face all over and sobbing.

I was crying so much in my dream! The shock of seeing my dad as if he is taking his last few breaths! It was so vivid and horrible to see! I woke up and immediately sat up straight in my bed and started praying and begging G_d to be with him and to protect him and save him! I prayed for a long while in the night for my dad.

Late this morning I decided to phone my mom. I phoned her yesterday but today I know something is up with them! I asked her to tell me the truth. She said what do you mean. I asked her if something was wrong, or bothering them - is there something that is gone? She kept quiet for a while and I realised she was crying and trying to hide it. She asked me how I knew that and I told her G_d showed me in a dream last night.

She explained that dad bought cattle and the cattle was grazing on someone else's land (my parents did not have a farm of their own. Having cattle was a good investment). So there was an auction and at the auction the owned of the land tricked them and sold all my dad's cattle and took the money for it! (He was a thief, a liar and criminal. He had so much debt and stole my dad's cattle!) She said my dad was in a state of shock and very stressed about it.

I told her about my dream and how I saw dad sitting on the bench not being able to breath! I told her how G_d woke me up from that and had me praying for his protection. I believe the enemy wanted to use this incident to steal his life - to give him a heart attack!

She also told me that yesterday, when she went to the dentist, he needed to take x-rays and that quite a lot needed to be done on her teeth, but she told him not to continue and to just leave it. He asked her why. She told him that they did not have medical aid and they just received the shocking news about their cattle that got auctioned by this other man!

The dentist did not charge her anything!

Oh my goodness, I am blown away by G_d's grace and mercy! I am so incredibly blessed to have received the dream and warning from G_d, and that He woke me up to pray against the attack from the enemy and to ask G_d to rescue and save my dad! All praises to G_d who saved my dad!

3 June 2006

I was going through all my gospel music and sitting on the kitchen counter, I sorted the CDs and listening to some songs. The one song from PETRi-D was playing and I felt like dancing, and I turned up the volume. Michaela came walking in and started dancing! we had so much fun, moving and shaking and laughing! Then Bradley came in and joined us too. Oh what awesome fun!

12 June 2006

I had a dream last night. My family and I walked into this beautiful new home. Then I saw myself preparing for a wedding. My task was to put flowers in the bride's hair and to sprinkle little little white flowers on the path where the bride would be walking.

26 June 2006

Mom said to me that I must remember that this earth now, is not our home, and to think of my house as my tent. (I was not happy with my home - very old and needed a lot of maintenance). She said I should just thank G_d for my tent every day. This helped me in the way I was viewing my home.

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;

guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are G_d my Saviour, and my hope is in you

all day long." ~ Psalm 25:4-5

Mom went to church with me and it was so wonderful to have her next to me. We held hands the whole service through. We squeezed tight against one another as it was cold and I remember looking at her little knees and her hands in mine and I felt so much love. It was such a beautiful moment. I thanked G_d for that special moment with my mom.

December 2006

I dreamt that Gwen received a car as a gift - a gift from Cath. Cath gave her white car to Gwen. I kept silent about this dream because it was a little 'much' and what if I was wrong? I was not sure if this dream was from G_d. I just could not tell Cath 'hey, G_d is saying give your car to Gwen'.

11 March 2007

I did not know anymore about Nicola, I was not sure if G_d indeed spoke to me and if it was indeed from G_d. I prayed that G_d would talk to me about Nicola so I would be sure.

It was a Sunday morning and both kids were sick so we took them to Medi-Cross. When waiting at the counter to pay for the medicine I noticed a stand there with lots of key holders. I was looking for one with the name Michaela on it to get that for my daughter. I saw one with the name Nicola. I turned the stand to see if there was one for Michaela on the other side and I saw another one with the name Nicola, similar to the one I bought before. I moved closer to see the picture on this one and it was a little girl playing a piano. (For a while now I have been drawn to piano music and really wanted a piano. I had this urge inside to play the piano). The key holder underneath that one said 'Victoria'. Victoria comes from Victory and Nicola means Victory People!

15 March 2007

Cath, Gwen and I got together for prayer again. Cath said she believed that Nicola will come from victory seed. When Garth had come to faith then Nicola will be conceived.

30 March 2007

I took the kids and went to my parents in Lichtenburg for a few days - just needed some rest from work. We left on the 28th of March and will head back on the 1st of April. Oh I love spending time with them. We shared so much on G_d and the things of the spirit. They have so much wisdom and I am learning from them.

Mom said she wanted to pray with me for Garth so I need to make a list so we can pray for the same things and declare 2007 as the year for Garth to come to faith and for the promise to be fulfilled!

Last night we had very loud thunder and lightning. The rains was pouring down. I praised G_d for the lovely rain and as I was listening to the beautiful downpour of rain, I felt G_d was saying to me in my heart that 'ýou cannot stop this rain from coming down, and as this rain is falling now, so when G_d's grace pours down onto Garth there will be no stopping it!'

So, I wrote my list and gave a copy to mom:

  1. Remove the scales from Garth's eyes.

  2. Open his spirit to receive the truth.

  3. Bring him to the rock on the island where he testified "I know now that G_d is real, that He exists and we cannot live without Him".

  4. Heal him, lead him and restore comforts to him and his mourners.

  5. Heap it up! Heap it up! Heal him from his backslidings!

  6. Remove all fear from him that might be keeping him from receiving the truth.

  7. Remove all pride in him that might be keeping him from receiving the truth.

  8. Remove any bondage from him that might be keeping him from receiving the truth.

  9. We declare: he will bow his knees and confess with his own mouth that G_d is G_d!

19 April 2007

Tonight I read a story for Michaela before bedtime - she chose the story. I read a piece which I haven't noticed before - it tis the scripture I received a long time ago from G_d:

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you." ~Isaiah 43:1-3

I know I have to jump into this river and swim! We need to swim to get to the island where Garth will find faith. I also know that if I jump into this raging river without G_d I will most certainly drown - I will not be strong enough! I need to swim with G_d!

I encircled this scripture at the bottom of my page in my hand-written journal:

Psalm 139:9-10

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

Your right hand will hold me fast.

I started growing bulbs in a glass bowl with pebbles and water - no soil. It is amazing to see how quickly it grows roots. Every day I stand over it an watch in awe - so beautiful!

I felt G_d saying to me, that it is how He stands over me and watch. He is watching the roots growing longer, deeper and stronger. And He looks at me also saying "Isn't this beautiful!" As the bulbs grow and as the roots grow deeper and stronger, so my own roots will grow stronger and deeper in Jesus.

18 May 2007

I had coffee with Cath and I told her that I don't quite understand the 'river and the swimming'. Am I already swimming - are we already in the river? I don't feel like I am swimming yet and besides, Garth is not swimming and in the dream we were both jumping in together and swimming. What is it that will require us to swim?

Cath said I should ask G_d how to swim.

Once we get to the island we will look back and think that it was not as difficult as we thought it would be. We will receive the promise of G_d. Then I will be like a well-watered garden!

I encircled this scripture at the bottom of my page in my hand-written journal:

Psalm 145:13

The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.

Today, Cath told me she felt that G_d was telling her to give her white Ford to Gwen! Because of the dream I had in December 2006 I could confirm for Cath that this is what G_d was saying and even though it was a big gift it was right.

19 May 2007

I received the following scripture:

Numbers 12:6

Hear now my words:

If there is a prophet among you,

I, the Lord, make myself known to him

in a vision; I speak to him in a dream..

20 May 2007

I picked up a little book Cath gave me a while ago, 'The Prayer of Jabez'. I opened it on page 17:

"Think of it this way: Instead of standing near the river's edge, asking for a cup of water to get you through each day, you'll do something unthinkable - you will take the little prayer with the giant prize and jump into the river! At that moment you will begin to let the loving currents of God's grace and power carry you along. God's great plan for you will surround you and sweep you forward into the profoundly important and satisfying life He has waiting."

20 June 2007

I had the most wonderful dream. I was playing with the kids outside and I loved it! I had Bradley and Michaela next to me and a little baby girl in her nappy was on my shoulders. We loved being together outside and playing. At some point this little baby was writing something and I was astounded to see how clever the baby was.

The next night I dreamt I was pregnant - 6 months already. I wasn't showing much though. In the dream also my dad was telling other people that I was pregnant.

Last week Sunday I really felt the urge to go to George's church again and I knew the message was for me - to cross the Jordan and enter into the Promised Land. I received the scripture about Joshua and crossing the Jordan and entering the Promised Land.

23 June 2007

Yesterday, I shared with Cath that I feel G_d wants me to read the book of Romans - I feel there is something in Romans G_d wants to teach me on. Today I think I know what it is - it is about faith. I have a lot to learn about faith and believing G_d's promises and all the things He has told me before. So I picked up my Bible to start reading and I opened it on Ecclesiastes 11, and there is a note in pencil that I wrote on 17 April 2007, and it says:

Do not look at your physical circumstances - trust G-d! Faith like potatoes!

Ecclesiastes 11:4

He who observes the wind will not sow,

and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Then as I paged further to get to the book of Romans, I opened it on another scripture, Habakkuk 2, where I wrote the date in pencil, 3 May 2006.

Habakkuk 2:2-3

The Just Live by Faith

Then the Lord answered me and said:

Write the vision

and make it plain on tablets,

That he may run who reads it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time;

But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.

Though it tarries, wait for it;

Because it will surely come,

It will not tarry.

Romans 1:17

The Just Live by Faith

For in it (the gospel of Christ) the righteousness of G_d is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

Habakkuk 2:4

Behold the proud,

His soul is not upright in him;

But the just shall live by faith.

Faith is a word with many meanings. It can mean 'faithfulness'; it can mean 'absolute trust', as shown by some of the people who came to Jesus for healing. It can mean 'confident hope', or as James points out , it can even mean a barren belief that does not result in good works (James 2:14-26).

Paul ties faith very closely to salvation. It is not something we must do to in order to earn salvation - if that were true, then faith would be just one more work, and Paul clearly states that human works can never save us. Instead. faith is a gift G_d gives us because he is saving us. It is G_d's grace, not our faith, that saves us.

In his mercy, however, when he saves us he gives us faith - a relationship with his Son that helps us become like him. Through the faith he gives us he carries us from death into life.

Even Old Testament times, grace, not works, was the basis of salvation. As the book of Hebrews point out. "it s not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins". G_d intended for his people to look the animal sacrifices to him, but all too often they, instead, put their confidence in fulfilling the requirements of the law - that is, performing the required sacrifices.

When Jesus triumphed over death, he cancelled the charges against us and opened the way to the Father. Because he is merciful, he offers us faith. How tragic if we turn faith into a work and try to develop it on our own! We can never come to G_d through our own faith, any more than his Old Testament people could come through through their own sacrifices. Instead, we must accept his gracious offer with thanksgiving and allow him to plant the seed of faith within us.

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