When the Lord instructed us to place both feet in the water, and then He confirmed His instruction with the story of Rees Howells standing in the queue to purchase tickets, I felt like the Lord would probably take us down to the wire before manifesting His provision for us. Rees Howells had two people in the line before him when God placed the provision in his hands. I suspected that we might get down to a couple days before it was time to move before He showed us where we were to move.
On April 23 we had a week left until our lease expired, and still no idea where we were to go. I had a growing feeling that we would be moving south toward the community of Montezuma, Georgia where the people currently resided. We were told repeatedly, however, that rental property in the area was very scarce. Being a rural community that had not grown appreciably in many years, the housing market was very slow. My wife had asked me whether we should ask the members of the church to help us locate a place to rent. I prayed about this, and I felt that the Lord did not wish for us to do this.
As I contemplated the Lord’s working in bringing us into fellowship with this body of believers, I understood that He desired for us to encourage them in their faith before God. I knew that the people He was looking to raise up were to be a people marked by a peculiar confidence in God’s ability to protect and deliver them. Our moving to the community was to be an example of God’s ability to provide for His children when they look to Him alone to accomplish His purposes, for the battle belongs to the Lord.
As I was considering this, I heard the Spirit tell me to pour water on the altar. I was reminded of Elijah pouring water on the altar when he was in the contest with the prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth. I looked up the Scripture and read the following.
I Kings 18:33-35
Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, "Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood." And he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time. The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water.
Elijah had such a confidence in God that he knew that he could not make the test too difficult for Him. Pouring water on the altar was merely a mark of Elijah’s great confidence in God’s ability to accomplish what He said He would do. When God finds a saint with great confidence in Him, He will at times allow them to pour water on the altar, which brings greater glory to the Father. Never before had I been given such an opportunity. I had followed the Lord in faith numerous times before, but I did not have the peace and confidence necessary to go beyond the demands of what God required in order to pour water on the altar.
As the Spirit spoke to me about pouring water on the altar, I understood that in our case, pouring water on the altar equated to telling our friends at church to not go hunt for a place for us to live. The Lord wanted to demonstrate to them that He could bring the provision to us Himself. On April 23rd we attended a Wednesday night meeting of the church and a brother asked about our situation. I told him that we were to be out of our house on the 30th, and at the moment we were not sure where we were to move, but we knew God would move us. He asked me if they could help us look for a place, and I respectfully declined his assistance. I shared with him that we wanted to know that the provision came from the Lord and felt that we were to rest and trust in Him.
The following Sunday my wife was talking to a lady from the church, and she also asked if she could help look for a place for us. As I was standing nearby, I once more poured water on the altar by telling her that it was not necessary for her to assist in this way.
The 29th of April came and we still had no prospect of a place to move. In all of this time, however, the Lord had allowed us to know an unusual peace that we had not previously experienced. The day began with individual prayer, and then our family met together. We reminded ourselves of all that the Lord had spoken to us, encouraging one another in our faith. We then prayed and asked God to manifest His provision quickly.
Some of the people of the church had arranged to get together and help us move, and they were to meet at our house on the morning of the 30th. We had already boxed everything up, and had as much as possible of our belongings stacked and ready to go out the door. I was considering how closely the Lord was taking us down to the wire. We were within one day of people from the church showing up to move us, and we still had no clue where we would move.
After we prayed Tony went and checked her e-mail, and then she excitedly called me into the room. In her inbox was an e-mail from a lady at the church telling us about a house she had heard about that was coming available, and it was close to the community and church building and sounded like it might be a good fit for our needs. Tony was excited, however I experienced reservations.
The Christian sister who had e-mailed this information was one that we had asked to not go out and look for a place for us, and it came into my spirit that if she had gone and found this place for us that it would not provide as strong of a testimony to the church about the Lord’s ability and willingness to handle things Himself. I did not want any man or woman to claim that they provided a place for us. I desired that the glory should go to God.
For about an hour I struggled with this issue. I considered how close we were to the end of our time and we had no other prospects. If I turned this down, and nothing else materialized, we would look like great fools and it could even lead to homelessness for our family. Yet if I accepted this house not having a clear conscience before God that I had acted in faith, then I knew God would not be honored and we would lose a great blessing. After wrestling with this issue I called our family together and I told my wife that she would have to call this lady and tell her that if she had gone and found this house for us that we could not accept it. In doing so I was pouring water on the altar for a third time.
Tony went outside to make the call, and when she came back in she had news to share. She related to us that this woman had wanted to go look for a place for us, but her husband told her that they needed to honor my wishes by not seeking a place. She had obeyed her husband and had not looked for a place. She then shared how two different people had called her the previous day to tell her about this place that was coming available, not knowing about our situation at all. A young couple was moving out of a double wide home set in the midst of pastureland on the family farm, and the parents of the young man were seeking to find if anyone in the community knew of a family needing a place to live. The people who owned the property were not even members of the church we were visiting, and they had no knowledge of us. The lady who contacted us confirmed that she did not go seeking a place.
I felt a release of my reservations about the home when Tony related these things to me. In my spirit I felt that we had poured water on the altar a third time by making the call that morning, and that in return God had honored our faith and made His provision known. If we had not made the call and told the people we could not accept the property if they had gone looking for it, then God would not have honored our heart attitude. The principle is true that “whatever is not of faith is sin.”
We still had to talk to the owners and see if they would rent to us, and all day we waited to hear something, and no word came. At 8:30 that night we were still in the situation of having heard nothing and we also had no money in hand to rent the place. At 9:00 I was finally able to get hold of the owner of the property, and over the phone he committed to rent to us without even meeting us or requesting references. Better still, the man said that he did not require any deposits, or even the signing of a rental agreement, and the rent was less than half what we had paid the previous two years. Ten minutes later our previous landlord drove up to our house to bring our son back from playing with his sons, and he told me that he would give our full deposit back in the morning. So within 15 minutes we had both a place to move, and a commitment that we would have the money to pay the rent.
God could not have waited much longer to manifest His provision. It was only 12 hours until the people from the church were to show up to help us move. God had tested us severely, and on this last day I struggled with maintaining an attitude of peace. Yet I was given grace to not murmur or complain against the Lord.
We did not see the house before we moved in. Some people asked us how we knew whether the house would be suitable. Some asked if it had appliances that we lacked, a range and a refrigerator. I told them that since the Lord was handling the arrangements I was sure that everything would be fine. Sure enough, everything was a perfect match for us. The bedrooms were larger than what we had before. The home was prettier and in better shape. There was nothing about the place that disappointed us. Our entire family just walked around the place and expressed their satisfaction with every detail.
As a family we felt like we had gone through a protracted battle and had come out on the other side victorious. Yet the victory did not belong to us, but to the Lord. Not only did He prove Himself faithful in His provision, but He encouraged us in numerous means all along the way. He desired for us to have peace as we waited on Him. He longed for us to succeed, and to rest in Him. True are the words of Scripture:
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, Yahweh, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is beyond searching out. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for Yahweh will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
Having begun this relationship with this body of believers in this way gave me great hope for the things the Father would do among them. He longs to prove Himself in such magnificent ways to the entire body of Christ, even to the entire world. Days of great exploits lie ahead for the body, for those who trust in Yahweh. We truly serve a risen Savior who is in the world today!
This excerpt is from the book Evidence of Things Unseen.
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