A life of faith - Twenty years in the making

Posted by Mark Labuschagne on Monday, August 12, 2013
Chapter 1

An interesting start


Twenty years ago, after being in full-time ministry for five years, while pastoring our first congregation, Vaalpark Christian Center, in Sasolburg, Free State, I continued to asked the Lord why He had wanted me to pastor a congregation, and this because I knew that I had been called to the Office of Prophet and not that of Pastor. As I asked the Lord on many different occasions, it was my wife, Andi that the answer came through. The Lord had given her Eze 33:7 "Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me". 
At that very moment, I knew that I was a watchmen and a shepherd, guarding and leading the people the Lord had entrusted to me. Although God had spoken to many years before about the Prophetic office I would hold, it was confirmations like this one that kept me focused on the calling God had placed on my life. 

After three years, the congregation had grown and we were blessed to be part of this work, but the Lord had other plans for us and very soon, we would be moved out of our comfort zone and be thrust into a dimension that we never anticipated we would walk in. 

One morning, while praying and waiting on the Lord, He spoke to me about a shift that was coming and after I had received a prophetic word confirming that there would be much required of us, the Lord began to speak to me about moving and he told me that He was going to teach us to live by faith. At the time, I was not sure what this meant, nevertheless, when he had spoken to me, I knew that there was great change coming our way. 

When the Lord told me that our time was up, he instructed us to sell everything that we had and that we were to place our trust in his ability to perform all that he had promised. He never said where we were going and what we were to do. Although I had received a prophetic word earlier, it was only after the Lord moved and positioned us in Cape Town that we realized that He had spoken these words. I must be honest, I wished I had listened at the time, it would have been a whole lot easier.

These were difficult times, simply because, we knew that we had to move, but were not sure where the Lord was leading us to. I learnt a valuable lesson during these early days, never ask people what they thought about the word the Lord had spoken to us. Every time we asked someone what they thought the Lord was saying, they always added their thoughts to the mix and in the end, we were so confused, we even began to doubt whether we had heard from the Lord or not. I know now they had our best interests at heart, but you can never respond to the word of God by seeking confirmation from man. God has since showed us that he will lead us and bring us to the place of perfection, if we place our trust in him. Today, Andi and I only share our hearts with one another and allow the Holy Spirit to confirm the promise, using whichever method He considers best, and trust me it works every time.

Even to this day, when we pray and ask the Lord for confirmation, he faithfully does so. Most occasions, we find confirmation to what we seek in his word, but on the odd occasion, God sends confirmation through his servants. This way has far outweighed anything I had tried before. At least, even if I was not sure what to do, God, by his blessed Spirit, always ensured that we got the answers to our questions. I can remember, how the Lord said, he was going to teach us to live by faith, and to be honest, only twenty years later, can I confidently say that we are now starting to understand what that statement meant. At the time, I thought, okay, this is easy, I can do that, but the Lord must have smiled at my response, for surely he knew I had no knowledge of the journey we were about to embark on.

Living by faith, is not simply to put everything aside thinking that everything will now fall into place. Over the years, we were to learn that "living by faith" meant that we would learn to build an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father so that we could be so tuned in to His voice,so much so that when he spoke, we would know  his voice and could act on his commands without hesitation. Living by faith, meant that everything had to become a sacrifice. Every step, had to be in line with His will. We could not deviate from His plan and we had to learn to remain unconditionally submitted to His purpose in all that we would realize we have become. Living by faith now meant that we no longer lived by our own standards, but Christ lived his life through us and the only thing that mattered was that our Father would be glorified in all that we are.

Living by faith, was not just trusting the Lord for our daily needs, it was purposed that we would know his heart and that we would surrender unconditionally to his lordship in every area without compromising the relationship we had with Him. What an honor to be able to learn in this way. We had no idea what all this meant, but His grace, step by step, guided us into a glory-filled life, one that we would not change for a single moment.

Of-course, we very quickly learnt the difficulties of submission. You see, living by faith meant we could not function outside of him and that in everything we had to learn to submit. This was and had become a daily sacrifice of learning to surrender. One thing that worked in our favor, was the intense passion we had to live the Christ-life we so often heard God speaking about. We had to wait on him for everything. Every meal became a prayer request. Every action required God's approval and the expectation level continued to increase with every day.

I can remember the day the folks who bought our furniture came to load it all up. The kids bikes had to go and they were so small and unsure of what was going on, but I reminded them as best I could that everything they sacrificed, Jesus would replace. And what I love about our two, they never questioned the life we were now embarking on. Many months later, while sitting outside the grocery store, Carey saw bicycles in the window more or less the same as the ones we had sold, and I can remember her asking if we could buy them each a bike. The conversation continued back and forth for a while before I told her that we never had the money, but told them who did and reminded them of the promise the Lord had made us, and asked Carey to pray and ask Jesus for these bikes. I will never forget her words as she prayed, eight years old, asking for a bicycle for both her and her brother. The following Sunday morning, after the service, someone came up to me and placed four hundred Rand in my hands and said that this money was for the children and that we were to spend it on them. I was so grateful because I knew God was doing what He does best, being himself.

I have always learnt that if money is given for a particular purpose, that there was honor in using it for that particular need. Andi and I went to the local supermarket and in the store were two bicycles, identical to the ones in the window of the store that Carey looked. These were selling for one hundred and ninety nine Rand each. We waited for the next day and went back to the supermarket honoring God for all that He had done in making this possible. While the children were at school we got the bikes at the price we saw the previous day. Andi and I took them home and got them ready to give the kids their own bike when they got back from school.

We placed them in the garage, once they were ready and as soon as Carey and Ryan got home, we told them to go to the garage to get something for us, the funniest thing was, neither of them saw the bikes. We both laughed, and then took them back and showed them the gift the Lord had provided. Jesus faithfully responded to by keeping His promise.our children's requests. As a family, we thanked the Lord, and let me tell you, they enjoyed themselves.

This sort of miracle went on day after day, year after year as the Lord slowly gave us everything we had sown to the ministry. We never ever saw God do anything other than what He had promised.

To be continued...



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