Johnny Hickley - Serima Zimbabwe Convention - 2006

Hymn 288

Genesis 12:1, we read here of the time that God found Abraham and when He called Abraham.  Aren’t we glad that we found the truth?  Jesus said, "I am the truth."  Aren’t we glad we found the truth?  Some places we go and we invite people to gospel meetings, no, they do not want to come.  I think in my heart, "Thank you, Lord, for remembering me.  I could have been just like that."  Often we are thankful that we found the truth.  Really, it is the truth that found us.  Even these days as we sit in these meetings, nobody knows what is going on in our hearts.  The light of the truth is showing things to us, showing that we are standing in a wrong place, come away from that.  The truth finds us all the time. 

This day when the Lord called, "Abraham, come away from your country, from your father’s house," it was a day of separation, a big separation, had to go to another country.  This was not the biggest separation that came in Abraham’s life.  As Abraham went on with the Lord, the Lord showed him things in his own life to separate from them; Abraham was willing to separate from Isaac.  Doesn’t it happen with us, also?  As we go on in the way of God, the Lord shows us that His thoughts are not our thoughts.  Sometimes we can have good thoughts.  The Lord tells us, "They are not My thoughts."  As the heaven is high above the earth, so are the Lord’s thoughts above our thoughts, and His ways are above our ways.  The Lord has to bring a separation so that we can come more into His favour. 

As Abraham listened to the word of God, he received faith in his heart.  We are not born with this faith, but as we listen to the word of God we receive this faith in our heart.  Abraham went out.  He did not know where he was going, taking steps in faith.  That is how we walk in the way of God.  People want to know why do you do this, why don’t you do that, but we are walking in faith.  The faithful ones finished in the way, and we would also like to be with them.  Abraham began to journey to the land of Canaan.  Every day Abraham could have started the day and he would have said to himself, "I am not in Canaan yet.  I must go to Canaan."  We would like to remember also, "I am not like Jesus yet, a lot of work to be done.  I must be willing for this work in my life, to become more like Him." 

The Lord said to Abraham, "I will make of you a great nation.  I will make you."  Sometimes we want to do things, but it is what we allow the Lord to do for us that is the most important.  The Lord's work is a great work.  The Lord’s spirit can work where no man can work.  The Lord said to Abraham, "I will bless you."  The people of God have the greatest blessing.  There are two kinds of blessings:  natural blessings and spiritual blessings.  Sometimes when as farmer has a good harvest, he says, "I am blest."  When a man finds a good job, he says, "I am blest."  Many natural blessings, but aren’t we so glad for spiritual blessings?  Even this convention, the Lord has blessed us to be here.  A great blessing, getting food for our souls.  Other people don’t know about this food.  We heard about sitting at the king's table, a great blessing.  The Lord has really blessed us.  When we come to the end of the journey and we look back, we will see blessings and blessings that came from the Lord. 

As Abraham went, he began to build altars where he made sacrifices.  We have two kinds of altars in our life as we make sacrifices, not that we want to speak about sacrifices, for we want to feel it is a privilege.  There are two kinds of sacrifices:  one is the sacrifices we make and other people can see what we are doing, then there are sacrifices in the secret places between us and God, the Lord only knows about those, and those are more important to the Lord, those sacrifices that bring us nearer to the Lord.  As Abraham journeyed there was a famine in the land, a difficult experience.  Don’t we find that also as we go on in the way of the Lord?  We never expected it, but the Lord did not tell us in the beginning, that there won’t be difficult times, won’t be battles to fight.  No, but he promised to be with us all the way.  We would like to go through these experiences with the Lord. 

An old sister was in the hospital.  She was very sick.  She could not speak.  The friends came to visit her there.  There was one man who did not know about her.  When he visited these people in the hospital, he saw that woman.  One day when she was alone, he went to speak to her.  She spoke to him in a very difficult way.  She could not speak clearly.  She was in pain, but she never complained.  That was what spoke to him.  He came to meetings, he and his wife.  They both professed.  What he said afterwards, "It was the spirit in that woman that spoke to me."  Sometimes God’s people go through difficult times but then we can help other people. 

The time came when Abraham had so much cattle and flocks and Lot was with him.  They had to separate.  Abraham, from the beginning, let God choose for him.  He said to Lot, "If you go to the left, then I will go to the right."  A wonderful spirit, he let God choose for him.  We know so well, when we allow God to choose, we never lose.  In the eyes of man, it looked as though Lot was winning.  He chose the place where there was all the water.  When he went away from Abraham, the Lord drew near to Abraham.  The Lord said, "Lift up your eyes from the place where you are standing.  Look all around, as far as you can see I will give it to you."  The Lord did not say to Abraham, "If you were a better person, I would have helped you.  If you had more victory in your life, I would have helped you.  If you were more kind, I would have helped you."  No, He said, "You look from the place where you are." 

Sometimes we come to a place where we feel that we have been defeated.  The enemy says, "There is no hope for you."  We are in bondage, even from that place the Lord would like to show you what He can do for you.  The Lord can bring a change, when we work with Him.  He can bring a big change and He can bless us.  This happened in Abraham’s life a few times when he had to lift up his eyes.  Sometimes we look down, we can’t see.  The Lord helps us in meetings like this to lift up our eyes again, to see the very best before us.  All the time, the Lord seeks to help us to have the right vision.  If we see we go the right way, and if we go the right way, it brings happiness into our hearts. 

We read of another time when Abraham was sitting in his tent door.  He was guarding his tent, keeping the right things inside and the wrong things outside.  The wrong things that creep in, they don’t just walk in, they creep in, they don’t creep out.  Sometimes we have to fight to get them out, and that is our part.  God want us to guard our hearts.  We are glad for the heart God gave us.  He wants us to guard it.  That day when Abraham was sitting there, he looked up again.  He saw three men coming to him.  It was the Lord coming to him.  What an encouraging word!  When we are struggling the most, then the Lord comes to us to help us.  This was one day that Abraham would never forget the help he got from the Lord.  It was a happy day in Abraham's life. 

We read of the other time coming when the Lord asked Abraham to offer up Isaac.  As they journeyed three days, Abraham lifted up his eyes.  He saw the place afar off.  Abraham would have realised that is the place where he must sacrifice and he went there.  Sometimes the Lord shows us the place of sacrifice, the place where we have to say no to self and yes to the Lord.  I am so slow to go there, but you know in that place of sacrifice, others have found such great blessing.  Abraham went there and we know what happened.  The angel of the Lord had to stop him.  He lifted up his eyes again and he saw that ram caught in the bush there.  The Lord showed him his sacrifice.  The Lord showed him that day, because he was willing for this sacrifice, he was able to see much further.  He was there on the mountain and the Lord showed him Jesus 100s of years before Jesus came, Abraham saw the Lord Jesus.  This is what Jesus said, "Abraham rejoiced to see My day."  He was glad.  Abraham could see that day such full provision that God would make through His son years later, provision for our souls, salvation. 

When we think of a convention, we get the dates during the year, and we look forward to convention.  You know who looks forward more to those days?  The Lord Himself.  He knows these are My children, I know their needs and I have a big storehouse, full provision.  Don’t we find that as we sit in these meetings, provision and more provision for our souls?  The need in our heart can never be greater than the provision that God can meet at the king's table.  Abraham saw all this.  When he went back that day to his servants, they would have seen, "This is a happy man."  Such a change.  What happened?  That was a matter between him and God.  They don’t know what happened.  When he came home, his wife and others would have seen, "There is such a change.  Something happened.  Abraham is so happy."  We heard about one woman coming to convention.  She was the only one professing in her family.  When she came back from Convention and she came home, her relatives asked her, "What did you hear?  What happened?"  She said, "I can’t remember much, but I feel so clean inside."  That is what the Lord does for us at Convention.  He wants to clean our hearts.  It can be seen on our countenance, seen on our faces.  Abraham lived many years.  It speaks of the days of Abraham.  That is what happens to us, also. 

We serve the Lord day by day.  The Lord is counting our days.  He would like our days to count for eternity.  The Lord does so much for us every day.  Sometimes I can worry about the future.  Then I can’t see what the Lord is doing for me today.  One day, the Lord is going to come back that day, and so we want to make the best of every day.