May 24, 2001
Given as a devotional at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO, on 5/27/01
"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6).
We have often talked here about the wonderfulness of God's plan which took us from being dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), and made us alive in Christ (Eph. 2:5), and then seated us in heavenly places with Him. It is so wonderful, so unbelievable in fact, that it is almost incomprehensible to the human mind, but we have the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16). With our natural minds, we cannot understand these deep things of God, but with the mind of Christ, we begin to see our place in Him, where we have been and where we are now. Growing up in God, becoming a "father in the faith," means giving up our own will, our own desires and our own self-efforts, surrendering them all to Him who knows the end from the beginning (Is. 46:10), and who works all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11).
We are programmed from our natural birth onward to make decisions in our lives, to make choices about things, and to act upon those choices. When we experience the new birth, God gradually grows us up into the maturity of Christ, as He conforms us to the image of His dear son. He uses all manner of things, good things and evil looking things to bring us to the place where everything in our lives is Him flowing in us and through us. Paul wrote the Roman brethren, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified" (Rom. 8:28-29). This verse tells us that the sure, guaranteed end of God's processing of us is glory, His, and ultimately, ours as well.
I began writing this journal in Greeley, CO. My husband Lenny has experienced a thickening in his larynx for the past month. He says it feels like something is in there. He woke up one morning recently, and said, "I feel like the Lord wants us to go see Bobby." The reason for that is that our health care provider, Kaiser Permanente, left Missouri, in April of this year, and since then, we have had no medical insurance available to us here. Bob is my brother-in-law, an ENT doctor. What we didn't know until we called my sister was that he has not regained the use of his right hand and arm since a skiing accident in March of this year. When we heard this news, we both felt like we might be going to Greeley to be a blessing for him. Meanwhile, the A/C on our Lincoln died on us. We had two estimates in Neosho, one for $700 and the other for $450, neither of which we could afford. The estimates were to replace and upgrade the type of Freon and to repair the leaking hoses and connectors. I suggested and Lenny agreed that we get some Freon put in just to get us to Greeley and back. It is 785 miles from Neosho to Greeley, and I could envision us frying in the heat along the way. Lenny got $100 worth of Freon put in (less than 25% of what was needed). Before we left, a friend gave Lenny an envelope with a check for $100 in it. She didn't even know we had trouble with the A/C, but God did and moved on her to give us the love offering. The A/C lasted until we got to the Colorado border and then died. We drove the last 230 miles in 90 degree heat with the windows down. I dreaded the trip home.
Our health care provider is in Colorado, and even though Bob, our brother-in-law couldn't do the work himself, he told us what tests Lenny needed. So, I called the clinic in Longmont, CO, and we got appointments to get the test done, and I also was able to get some routine tests done that I needed.
On Sat. night of that week, the Lord said to Lenny, "I want you to go to their (my family's) church, attend all the services, and feel the mood of the congregation." Accordingly, we went to the 8:30 "holy roller" service, the dedication service for the construction of the new fellowship hall, and the 11:00 AM "chosen frozen" service. This congregation has been through years of stress and duress from a Pastor who should be ashamed to wear the robe of someone delivering "good news." He was controlling, manipulative, vindictive, and altogether very "bad news" for this group of people. Before they finally got free of him, he ran off hundreds of members who couldn't take his spirit of control and hatefulness. One of the interim pastors spoke Sunday. We knew from the moment we saw him that he was God's man of the hour. His face shone like an angel and love, mercy and kindness poured out of him. The Lord spoke to Lenny and said, "See my servant? He is my appointed man for this time for this congregation. I am flowing through him in love, mercy and kindness. This is what the people need for their healing." When Lenny reported this to me, I said, "You have to tell him. You just have to." He did tell him after the first service, and it blessed the socks off this man, and was obviously a confirmation to him which he needed to hear.
On the way home from church that morning, we drove past a car repair shop which included A/C repair on its billboard. I said, "Maybe we should ask them what they would charge to fix the Lincoln."
My sister's neighbor is an auto mechanic, and when Lenny had told him about the $450 estimate we had received in Neosho, he said, "Well, you won't beat that here in Greeley." I felt very disappointed about that, but then thought, "Oh well, the Lord can bring cloudy skies and showers to cool things off. Or He can give us money. He can do anything."
As an aside, something like 30 years ago now, my other sister and her husband and young son moved from Arkansas to California where I was living at the time. Having no money for motels, they were camping out in a tent in the middle of summer. I was remembering her testimony that the Lord gave them overcast skies, i.e. shade, and showers all the way, cooling down the hot and dusty roads and camp grounds. Thinking about that really cheered me up, knowing that if God chose not to repair the A/C, he could certainly control the weather. As confirmation of that, on this particular Sunday morning, we woke up to bright and beautiful, fine weather and blue skies. By mid afternoon, a front had moved in, with 50-60 mile an hour winds, and by about 3:00 PM, the temperature dropped and it was snowing like crazy, big, fat, fluffy flakes. Sunday night, we went back to church through the snow storm to hear the Spring Concert that my sister sang in (a glorious time of praise), and again, on the way home, we passed the A/C sign and I wondered if God had something for us there. I'm a very logical person and my left brain said, "Now, you're being silly. You'll survive a few hundred miles in heat. Think of the pioneers who crossed the plains in a covered wagon." Still, I felt the urging of the Lord for us to stop and check it out. I fantasized about the guy saying he would fix it for half the cost we'd been quoted in Neosho, and then laughed at myself.
The next day, after a trip to the clinic for Lenny, we drove to the shop to get a quote from the mechanic. I waited in the car and braced myself for disappointment. Why? Because I was operating out of my natural mind, not out of the Spirit. In spite of that, God had it all under control. The mechanic gave us an estimate of $135 just to replace the Freon. It ended up costing us $225 because there were leaks and "O" rings he had to replace, but that was exactly half of the lowest bid we got in Neosho! My fantasy had come to pass because our Father had it all prearranged and foreordained. We serve an awesome God; His name be praised.
Meanwhile, we had a glorious time with my sister and her family. They were certainly a blessing to us, and I believe we were to them as well. We enjoyed them and they urged us to stay longer, which I really wanted to do. On Thursday night, however, the Lord said to Lenny that it was time to go home, and to put the icing on the cake, the cousin who was feeding and watering our kitties was going on a camping trip over the holiday and couldn't take care of them for us.
So, sadly, we knew that the time had come for us to leave. To my flesh, our business in Greeley felt unfinished. The Lord had told Lenny and me separately, before we came, that He would heal Bobby's hand and arm. It isn't healed at this point, though it is somewhat improved, but it is a comfort to know that God does not work in time, but rather in eternity. He is not constrained by our need to "Do it now, and hurry!" Lenny still has the "lump" in his throat, even though all the tests were negative. He said that at the time the Lord said it was time for us to go, he asked Him about Bobby's arm and his throat, and was told about each, "I'll take care of that." And so, it came to pass that we came to Greeley in faith, had an uneventful car trip with no traffic and no mishaps, and we left in faith, anticipating the same on our journey home. In my flesh, I hated to go, because we were having such a rich time of fellowship with them, and this is when I said to Lenny, "Do you know what it means that we are seated in heavenly places?" He said, "That's where we live." I replied, "Yes, but in my flesh, it feels like my feet are firmly planted on thin air."
Walking with the Lord, going when He says "go," and staying when He says "stay," is very unsettling to the flesh. We like to plan ahead, but with Him, walking by faith, rather than by sight, we can't. We take it one day at a time, and sometimes, one hour at a time. It reminds me of what the Apostle James said, "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that'" (James 4:13-15).
He brought us home at the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend safe and sound. The car performed perfectly and there was very little traffic. This is a homely little journal, not full of profound insight, but lots of thanks and praise to our God who does all things well, who really does know the end from the beginning, not to mention where to get the best deal on fixing our A/C. It's not too bad walking on air when you are holding His hand.
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
The Glory Road
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web on 5/27/01
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister,
and last edited on 11/03/08.