Given for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO, 12/10/06
"Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Heb. 4:7b).
When Lenny and I were in the real estate business full time in California, we regularly attended seminars designed to motivate, train, and inspire us to ever greater sales production. The competition was stiff and the time management aspect of sales was critical. We lived and worked in Thousand Oaks, CA, where the real estate agents could not sit around and drink coffee, eat doughnuts, and swap war stories if they wanted to make enough to live in that pricey area. Being a left brain, cognitive person, I took to time management like a duck to water and learned the lessons well. In business, you can make more money, hopefully, but you can not make more time, so if you squander what you have, you're behind the eight ball in short order. In the kingdom of heaven, time as we know it is irrelevant. God does not live by either calendars or atomic clocks. If we don't realize that He speaks from eternity and we live in time, we may misinterpret what He says. Lenny and I fully understand that, having been walking by His voice for decades, but seemingly, I missed Him big time recently.
We have learned the hard way that Father really does know best. Between His will and ours, there is no contest, and no question about which way we'll walk. If He says it, we do it, like it or not, uncomfortable or not. We've learned that He has a plan for us, which is always better than our ideas about what needs to be done, no matter what it looks like. Entering into the rest of God means that only He gets to choose, to decide, to say how things go in our lives. Our family does not get a vote; our friends do not; nor anyone but the Holy Spirit. We live by Jesus' declaration, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). What it boils down to then, is to whom do I listen? To my family and friends, or to the Lord? As for Lenny and me, we choose God as our guide, for He never makes a mistake.
He speaks to everyone, but not in the same way. Since I am a cognitive person, He often speaks to me in words (not audible, but in my mind). I know His voice. It was His voice that spoke to me in the middle of the night in summer of 1996, and said, "You will write, write, write, and your words will flow out over the mountains, the valleys, the seas." That was the prophetic announcement for The Glory Road Internet Ministry. It did not come into being until almost nine months later, but we had learned to wait on Him and not run ahead of the Spirit.
It was His voice to me in December of 2000, which said, "I am your flu shot." With that proclamation, He delivered me from the chronic sinus and bronchial infections that have plagued me in this climate since I was a child.
Other times, He speaks to us in events, like answering our prayers to go to California for the winters of 2004 and 2005, by providing the funds to do so. Lenny suffers from several chronic diseases like arthritis and fibromyalgia which are made much worse by the cold and damp winters of Missouri. The Lord has graciously provided for us to get away from the weather the past two winters. For me, these times in California allow us to be with our beloved daughter and her family. Our grandchildren are growing so fast and I've missed so much of their lives by being in Missouri, that I long to be with them, to know them better.
Therefore, this year, when God provided the funds for us to go to California, and Lenny's brother invited us to stay in his guest house for the winter, we both assumed that this was God's provision for us, and that He would take care of my elderly mother in our absence, as He always has in years past. Accordingly, I began to plan for what we needed to do before we left. I made lists of things to take (prices are so much higher in California that I regularly take things with us that I know we'll need). I wrote a little light verse to send to our friends telling them our winter plans and giving them our address at Lenny's brother's house. It began: "Ho, ho, ho. We want you to know that winter is coming and we hate snow. So, we're loading our van with our clothes and our gear, and heading to California again this year."
Because I didn't want to buy postage for two mailings, I put that little poem on holiday paper and stuck it in with my short story, "Mrs. Magillacutty Goes to Hell and Back" (See link at end), about which the Lord had spoken to me, "Send it to everyone." Figuring that was a lot of postage I could save, I mailed out the first batch of stories and the Christmas poem. Realizing I would run short of the stories, I went to the printer to have more copied, and when I got home, Lenny met me at the door with the shocking news. "The Lord said, 'California, no.... You are going in power'."
Lenny has been looking forward to being in California for the winter; his brother is so eager for us to get there because his wife died this summer and he is very lonely. I have longed to hold my daughter and grandchildren in my arms for such a long time now. We were reeling and shaken by this unexpected news.
"The Lord is on the throne and all is well in the kingdom, but upon the earth, there are earthquakes, fire and hail." Our earth has been rocked for a fact, and there is more to come. Lenny said, "He spoke so softly I could barely get it," which is often the way Got speaks to me as well. Sometimes, it's a fleeting word that carries volumes of meaning; other times, as in this instance, His words are mysterious, like the "going in power" part, because we do not yet know what, why, how, or when. As background, the Lord sent us to Missouri in May, 1998, so Lenny could be a witness of God's light, life, and power to a group of Baptist men in a local church. Lenny regularly attended the adult men's Sunday School class and delivered whatever message the Spirit put on his heart to give them.
Then, unexpectedly, about two and a half years ago now, he says the Spirit drove him out of the 5th wheel where we live, back behind the barn, and the Father told him, "It is finished. I will perform my word to you. You will not go back until you return in power." By that, he knew he was not to attend the class, nor even to intercede for them, which he had been doing since about 1995. He said he felt like he'd been fired from a job. From that time until this, his physical condition has gotten worse as well.
We both have seen wondrous things from the hands of our Father and if this is the time we've been waiting for, then we rejoice. I cannot but hope it means also that Lenny will receive the healing we've expected for so long, but even if that's not the case, seeing people delivered from the bondage of Law into the glorious grace of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is enough to make our hearts sing, even though we feel heavy at the loss of being in California this winter.
When Lenny told me we aren't going, the first thing I said was, "Well, Lord, You might have told me before I mailed out those poems" (with our winter address)." There was no answer to that, and I didn't really expect one, but unlike our earthly families which never allowed us to question their decisions, God is our Father, who lives in eternal relationship with us. We can ask Him anything, and certainly are free to express our feelings to him, positive or negative. There are many people in your life with whom you must put on a "happy face" and family members with whom you are only allowed to agree, but God is not one of those. He is the most real being in the Universe, and if you don't know Him that way, or you are still afraid to tell Him how you feel or what you think, my prayer is that He lets you feel His unconditional love, because it alone will cast out your fears. God is wonderful. The Supreme Commander in Chief of the cosmos is approachable, lovable, and relational. Sit on His lap and let Him hold you. He's got time for you, love for you, and the best advice you'll ever get from anyone.
Most people love the verse in Rev. 7:17: "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes," but they project it out into the future, after death, when they're in heaven. Isaiah said, "He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken" (Isa. 25:8). If you substitute the word "spirit" for "heaven," you get a clearer picture of what the scriptures proclaim. In Spirit then, God wipes away your tears, delivers you from your fears, nullifies your sins and the effect they have had on your lives, plants your feet on Mount Zion, and brings you victorious into a glorious relationship with Him NOW, a relationship which will never end.
He will never leave nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5); He will not judge you (John 5:24); He is your best friend (James 2:23); He is your mother, your father, your sister and brother (Matt. 12:50); He is your past, your present and your future. God is now, and so are you! So are we all!
We only have right now. Our adventure with him began before the foundation of the world when He chose us to be His children, and it will continue long after the world has ceased to exist and the sun has gone super nova. A moment in time has nothing to do with God's eternal reality, or His plans for us.
We have no idea what it means to "return in power." God is full of surprises, as His life on earth attests. No one would have guessed that the King of kings and Lord of lords would be born in a stable and laid in a manger. Power? There is nothing more helpless and less powerful than a human infant, but from such a beginning, the world has been forever changed along with all of us as well.
Living in the now means WAITING for the Spirit's instructions. My first thought when Lenny gave me the word he got was that I had run ahead of the Spirit; that I missed Him in the fog. Perhaps what I thought was efficiency and organization was only "self effort," and not flowing from Him. I didn't think so at the time, but no matter if I did it on my own, or IF He planned for me to do exactly what I did, God uses even our mistakes to get His message across.
The day Lenny got this word, we also received an e-mail with a short, but very profound article written by Martha Kilpatrick (Martha@shulamite.com). It really struck me since what I was being was organized and efficient. She observed:
"Once in my early walk, I was moaning to the Lord about how I wanted to be more organized. He quickly answered me that His value was flexibility not organization. He wanted me to turn with the Spirit on a moment's notice, able to go another direction, believe a new thing, see a new face of God. God doesn't mind mess. He minds rigidity."
Father, we thank You that YOU are our covering, our planning committee, our results guarantee, our harvest bringer, and our rest. We love You and glorify Your holy name, now and forever. Amen. Jan Antonsson
To Be Continued......
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Mrs. MaGillacutty Goes to Hell and Back
The Glory Road
We're always happy to hear from you!
This page was uploaded to the web on 11/29/06
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister,
and last edited on 10/10/08.