Beth Sandland
I wasn't feeling well today so I stayed home from church and had an intimate morning with God. I worshiped, I read, I studied and prayed, and I caught a couple of good messages from the Christian airwaves as well. Later on I opened up the computer to check the headlines and was surprised to see that Oklahoma had one of the biggest earthquakes on record for them. What surprised me wasn't the earthquake, but more that we hadn't felt anything down here in northwestern Arkansas. 
Matt 24:7-13
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth-pains. "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
I was talking to Carolyn the other day and we were discussing the "quickening" that is going on all around us. Of course as Believers we follow the Word of God, and the Word clearly warns of us the signs that we are seeing all around us. When we see these signs, we know that Jesus is coming back very soon, and most Christians today agree that Biblical prophecy regarding the "end times" is here. 

I personally worry that as I am dealing with my own issues, I am too busy self involved and self absorbed to do the work of Jesus. The worst thing I can think of is that He's called me out to lead others to Him, to lead others out of darkness into His light, and I've been too dang preoccupied with my own junk to actually lead anyone to Him. How horrible it would be to have to stand before Him tomorrow and have Him look at me and say "Why didn't you bring anyone with you?" The idea of disappointing Jesus is just too much to bear!

As the wold seems to grow darker and darker day by day, it seems more imperative than ever to get busy leading the lost to the Lord. We can no longer spend days and weeks and months hoping that people find their way - we may not have weeks or months left, and every person that is not reached for Jesus will be lost for all of eternity. If you are a child of Christ - get busy! If you don't know Jesus, seek Him out. He heals the sick, mends the broken, and loves YOU like no other!
Beth Sandland
Job 1:1-5
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil  He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job’s regular custom.
The book of Job. It's the one book of the bible that makes people groan. Or cringe. Or shake with fear. At first glance, Job appears to be about how God can turn on us - no matter how good we are, how much we honor Him, how faithful we are - God, on a whim (or a bet with the Devil) can turn on us, destroying our lives in an instant.
Job 1:6-12
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going to and fro in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no-one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

When my ex husband talks about why he left God, he often cites the book of Job. He reasons that a God that would turn on his faithful servant, especially for a wager, is not a God he would want to serve. And if that were really what the book of Job was about that would be an understandable rationale. But Job actually has very little to do with God, and everything to do with Job.

The night I put Ishmael to the desert, the Lord roused me from my sleep. I got out of bed and walked over to my desk, flipped on the light and opened my bible. Right to....the book of Job. Oh, God. Job. Anything but Job. And right then I fell on my face before God and said, "All that I have is yours. If you take it all away, everything I have - Jake, the horses, the dwelling, all of it - I will still serve You and praise You. Everything I have is yours."

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were ploughing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you! "While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
The next day my horses were gone, stolen by folks who claim to be followers of Jesus. A day later Jake was gone, on a plane to Oregon with his dad. Two days later everything I owned was in the back of a Uhaul, and I was once again homeless. It happened that fast, and still I praise the Lord! Because "Job" is not about God, it's not about loss, it's not about Satan, it's not about possessions - it's about Job, and who Job was in  his relationship with God.
On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going to and fro in it."  Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no-one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"  He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
God clearly tells us at that Job was blameless. He did not "do anything" to "deserve punishment. All that happened to him was not in relation to anything he did or didn't do - God considered him just, faithful, and blameless before Him. God loved Job, just as he loves each one of us. But sometimes bad things happen to good people. They just do. The key is in how we will handle those things when they come our way, and how they will affect - or not - our relationship with God.

Despite his intense loss and suffering, Job did not speak out against God. In fact, for along time he didn't speak at all. I think we can all learn a lesson from this; when we're in a full blown crisis, it's easy to let the tongue fly and "vent" our frustrations and often that means saying things we might later regret. Managing to stay still in a crisis is not something that has ever come easily or naturally for me, but I have learned that with God in control, it is not only possibly, but remaining still and letting God be in charge brings a quiet comfort that would be otherwise unobtainable in the midst of chaos. 
Job 3:1-26
After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said:  "May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, ‘A boy is born!’  That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine upon it. May darkness and deep shadow claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm its light. That night—may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months. May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it. May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes.
"Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed? For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest with kings and counsellors of the earth, who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, with rulers who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day? There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest  Captives also enjoy their ease; they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout. The small and the great are there, and the slave is freed from his master.
 "Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul,  to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?  For sighing comes to me instead of food; my groans pour out like water. What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.  I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil."
Eventually Job does speak, and his first words are to curse the day he was ever born. He sounds down right depressed - and who wouldn't be! - but despite his pain and anguish, he remains true and faithful to God. He may feel like it would have been better if he'd never been born, and he may even curse his own birth, but he never, ever casts blame on God.
Job 2:11-13
When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathise with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognise him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No-one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
Understand this clearly - Job was once the most blessed man in the entire world, and over the course of a few short days he lost everything he owned, all of his children, and he became so sick that his friends could barely recognize him, and still he did not speak badly of God or put the blame on Him because Job knew what we all must understand - God is not just the God of the good times, of the plenty, of the harvest, of  good health, but He is the God of all times. Do we only worship Him when things are going our way, or do we praise and worship Him always, through all things, through all times,  because we know that He is God and we have faith that through it all He will be there?
 Job 42: 7-9
After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.
The book of Job consists of 42 long chapters. Through the majority of it, Job's "friends" try and get him to admit that he has sinned against God and therefore deserves all that has happened to him. Job remains true to himself and to the Lord - he tells his friends that they are wrong and he is blameless - and at the same time he never condemns or criticizes God. Imagine that you are in Jobs place - you have lost everything that has meaning to you in the natural world, you have not only lost your health but are covered with open sores and boils that are so painful you can barely breath, and your best friends show up not to comfort you, but to argue with you about whose fault it is that you are in the sorry state you are in! For days his friends torment him with their false assumption that Job is to blame for all that he's been through and he, in his pain, sorrow and desperation can do nothing but tell them they are wrong. In the end, the Lord hears what Job's friends have been saying and He becomes angry - the Lord knew that Job was blameless and that the afflictions were not due to any sin on his part - yet when He lets Job's friends know how wrong they have been and that the deserve His wrath  He still gives them an out - if Job prays for them He will accept his prayer and spare them the justice they deserve.

And perhaps this is what makes Job such a special man in the eyes of God; despite everything he does pray for his friends. He prays for them not knowing how his own life will turn out. Not knowing how much longer he will suffer. Not knowing if there is any end to his pain in sight. He prays for them because he is a good man, a man that is fair and just, a man that truly loves God and wants to do what is right; so despite the pain his friends have subjected him to, he prays that the Lord will forgive them and that they will be spared. 
Job 42: 10-17
After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters.The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch.Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years.
You see, the point of the book of Job is not God's faithfulness to us - we cannot begin to fathom or understand the mind of God, and therefore have no right to judge Him under any circumstances. The book of Job is about Job, and therefore also about us, and how faithful  we are to God, all of the time, every day, under every single circumstance, regardless of how wonderful or how devastating. It is easy to praise the Lord when the times are good and all is fine. The question is, will we praise Him when times are hard and everything goes wrong? Will we be faithful to God, no matter what?

In the end, Job was rewarded for his faithfulness to God. All that he had was restored and then some, and the Lord blessed him with living to a ripe old age to enjoy it. Our faithfulness will always be rewarded. Even if we are living a Job experience and never recover, never receive another earthly blessing, by remaining faithful to God we will have the pleasure of standing before Him in heaven and hearing "Well done, my good and faithful servant," and that is the ultimate reward.

If you are suffering right now, if you are going through your own Job experience like I am, hang tough! The Lord does hear you, He does understand what you're going through, and He does care! Just because He allows us to endure suffering doesn't mean He doesn't love us or isn't there; just look at the suffering His own Son endured for us! God does love you. God does care about your pain, and He will see you through it. Be strong, faithful warrior, and know that no matter what happens during this life, your true and ultimate reward will come soon enough, and you will spend all of eternity marveling in the joy and splendor of God.
Beth Sandland
When I realized that I had to send Ishmael to the desert, that it was absolutely imperative that I get back into the will of God, I wrote a letter of resignation which clearly outlined the services I had provided to the business and I requested compensation. I kept my letter extremely professional and did not bring up any personal accounts of lying or cheating or abuse that I'd witnessed by the business owners. I simply wanted to be paid for my work and move on. 
Psalm 64:1-4
HEAR MY voice, O God, in my complaint; guard and preserve my life from the terror of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel and conspiracy of the ungodly, from the scheming of evildoers, Who whet their tongues like a sword, who aim venomous words like arrows,Who shoot from ambush at the blameless man; suddenly do they shoot at him, without self-reproach or fear.
Upon receipt of my resignation, these "Christians" that I had been working with for 10 months came at me with both barrels blazing. I received hostile and threatening emails and voicemails from the wife where she actually threatened the well being of my 9 year old little boy,  and then a series of "notices" stating that I owed them various amounts of money for "board" for my horses and "rent" for the broken trailer. I continued to stay quiet and wondered what in the world was wrong with these people - and then it became clear. They wanted me to hand over every piece of work I had ever done - over $100,000 worth - for free. They wanted me to walk away with nothing. When it became clear that I was not willing to do that (I refused to turn over my work) they came and took my horses. That's right! These great "Christians" came and stole my horses, all because I dared to request payment for work I had already done. 
Psalm 64:5-6
They encourage themselves in an evil purpose, they talk of laying snares secretly; they say, Who will discover us? They think out acts of injustice and say, We have accomplished a well-devised thing! For the inward thought of each one and his heart is deep.
I called the sheriff, of course, and at first the sheriff said they could not do what they had done, that they had, in fact, stolen my horses. It seemed for a moment that I would get them back, but Ishmael was running rampant at this point; they had a county official in their pocket, and they would not be forced to return my horses after all.

Within a day I had Jake back in Oregon with his dad where he would be safe, and my mom was with me helping me pack up the trailer. I talked to state government officials who knew who these folks were and had nothing positive to say. In fact, they were concerned for my physical safety, so based on their urging I loaded up a UHaul and left the property within 3 days. 
Psalm 64:7-10
But God will shoot an unexpected arrow at them; and suddenly shall they be wounded. And they will be made to stumble, their own tongues turning against them; all who gaze upon them will shake their heads and flee away.And all men shall fear and be in awe; and they will declare the work of God, for they will wisely consider and acknowledge that it is His doing.The righteous shall be glad in the Lord and shall trust and take refuge in Him; and all the upright in heart shall glory and offer praise.
Now I'm dealing with courts and lawyers and trying to get back into God's will for my life. I'm trying to find my way back to where He wanted me to be 11 months ago, and I'm praying I have not missed my opportunity to serve Him, to be who He wants me to be and to do His work.

While it was comforting to spend time in the Psalms over the last week, we are not living in Old Testament times. While King David was justified in asking for God's wrath over his enemies, we no longer have that right. Our commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and to pray for our enemies. God is still God - He is still a God of justice and righteousness - and we have to trust Him to right the wrongs against us. We have to know that He sees all injustice, and sometimes he allows us to experience it so we can grow in Him and sometimes He shields us from it so we do not have to suffer, but in all cases, we should always pray for those that intend to do us harm. I have been praying for these folks for two weeks and I will continue to pray for them, and regardless of how all of this turns out I know one thing for sure - God is good, God is just, God loves me, and I will not only make it through this, but come out stronger on the other side.
Beth Sandland
My Ishmael was born innocently enough. Much like Sarah, I was just trying to help God along, and it all seemed so reasonable and made so much sense that despite the Holy Spirit rising up in me so strongly that I'd get physically ill, I managed to convince myself that taking a "job" to help God get the ministry started was not only what I should do, but the "job" that was before me, the one that made me sick every time I thought about it, was perfect! It is really amazing how we can convince ourselves we're hearing from God or doing what He wants us to do, even when He's shouting NO NO NO at us.

The Holy Spirit rising up in me was my first clue that I should not take this "job" or get involved with these people. I ignored him. The next clue was when, shorting upon meeting the folks starting the business, these "Christians" sat me down and told me how it was OK that they continue on in sin, because that is why God gave us Jesus. Specifically the husband explained how he had been a life long cheater, and that it was OK that he cheated on his wife and looked at other women with lust, because God gave us Jesus and He forgives us for our sins, so there really is no point in not sinning. Of course I knew this was absolutely contradictory to scripture, but I was so desperate for a "job," so desperate to get from point A. to point B., that I let it go.

God is not happy when we let sin, false doctrine, and false teachings slide. In fact, He gets pretty darn offended. I ignored the fact that I had offended God and even justified by saying that I shouldn't judge other Believers - but Believers strive to live a life without sin! Do we fall occasionally? Yes! But when we do, we seek the forgiveness of God and strive not to fall again. Only the lost continue on in sin and think nothing of it.

The third clue that I had that I was on the path to Ishmael was the way the husband treated his wife. He spoke to her as if she were a dog, or a slave - a lowly servant who should be treated with nothing but contempt. Worse yet, he treated her child the same way, screaming at him and spouting emotional abuse at every turn.Christians are lead by Christ and the Holy Spirit within us to be gentle, meek, mild and caring. Men are supposed to lead their families, and to love their wives as Christ loved the church. There was no way to pretend that this man was loving his wife like the church, yet I told myself that she was a grown a up and if she wanted to put up with it, that was her prerogative. How is that for selfless love!?

When I began working for this new business, I was supposed to receive a contract outlining what my compensation would be. The contract didn't come in January, or February, or March. By the end of March Jake and I had been living in my Aunt's basement for over 6 months, so when the business partners offered us housing as part of my compensation (they'd already been providing some board for my horses) we moved in, despite the Holy Spirit once again screaming NO NO NO at me. At this point, I would say Ishmael had been birthed.

Shortly after we moved in, the "wild ass" struck again; now I was hearing from other employees that they were not being paid what had been promised. I also was not receiving what had been promised to me, but the fast talking business owner kept making great promise after great promise and I kept thinking "as soon as this pays off, I can get the ministry started!"

In June Josh and then Randy came to visit. Randy and I had been talking about getting back together, but once he came for the visit it was obvious that was not going to happen. When he left in early July I started to get depressed. I have not been severly depressed since I met Jesus, but this was the same debilitating depression I'd suffered for many years up until I'd met Christ. I was tired all of the time. I didn't want to leave the house. I'd go days without showering. I'd be unable to sleep at night and then find it impossible to stay awake during the day. I was working 12-15 hour days every single day all the while trying to take care of Jake while dealing with a constant feeling of darkness, and I was not getting paid a dime. I knew I was out of the will of God, and until I changed what was happening and got back IN His will, nothing would get better.

At the end of July I was a staff meeting where two things happened; first of all I was informed that my horses, who were supposed to be taken care of as part of my compensation, were not in good shape. Second, the business owner made a comment about how it would be two years before the business was making money and we could expect payment. This was the first time I had EVER heard anything about working for two YEARS without getting paid, and at that moment I realized why I had not received my contract, which was "at the lawyers" for 7 months; they had no intention of paying me what I was owed.

I went to get my horses and I was absolutely horrified at their condition. They were so thin that I did not think my older mare would make the 3 mile trailer ride to my house. At this point I realized that Ishmael had grown up, and I now had to get back in God's will at all costs or some very bad things could happen. And they did.
Beth Sandland
Genesis 15:3-5
Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!" And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."
 Have you ever been in a place where you had heard from God but the words He spoke didn't seem to be bearing out? When we come to this place, one of three things can happen:
  1. We can trust in God and wait patiently until His promise manifests in our life.
  2. We can decide we didn't really hear from God at all, and forget the promise.
  3. We can believe God's promise for our lives, but instead of waiting on Him to deliver on His promise, we can run out ahead of him and try and make the "promise" come to life on our own.

#3 is commonly referred to as an "Ishmael experience," and with good reason! Before God gave Abraham and Sarah their new identities in Him, they were known as Abram and Sarai. From all accounts, we can imagine that they loved each other very much, and they were walking the journey of their destiny that the Lord had set in front of them together. The bible does not give us any real accounts of marital discord among Abraham and Sarah, but the text does tell us early on that Sarah was barren, and we know that this caused both her and Abraham much distress.

The Lord loved Abraham, and he had great plans for him; despite the fact that at age 75 Abraham and Sarah had no children, the Lord came to him and  said "Look, I know you don't have any kids yet, but trust Me, your decendants will number more than the stars in the sky." We know that Abraham believed God, and his wife would have followed suit. The problem is, they got a little impatient.
Genesis 16:1-4
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
In this case, it seems obvious (to most women, anyway) that this was a really bad idea.  Did God promise Abraham and Sarah a child? Yes! Did He tell them that they should go out an get a surrogate? NO! And most women would agree that letting their husband go sleep with another woman - especially their best friend, is not going to turn out well. And it didn't in this case either; as the bible tells us that once Hagar, Sarah's maid was pregnant, she began to despise her. Not dislike her, not get annoyed with her, not get a little angry, but despise her. But wait! It gets worse!
 Genesis 16:5-6
Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me."
"Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai ill-treated Hagar; so she fled from her.
And it got worse for me, too. Last year I left Oregon and relocated to Missouri to be closer to family after my husband left us. I was confident that I had heard from God that this was the right move to make, and Jake and I settled down with my aunt, in her very nice basement. I was still in a lot of emotional turmoil trying to get my mind around Randy leaving and how I was going to take care of Jake and I, when the Lord started speaking very loudly about getting the ministry started that He had laid on my heart years ago. He was telling me that it was time to focus on the ministry, time to step out in faith and follow His lead to get things rolling.
Genesis 16:12
And he will be as a wild ass among men; his hand will be against every man and every man’s hand against him, and he will live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen.
Now had I followed step 1 above, I could either still be waiting or I could be out helping the lost, but I, much like Sarah, I jumped right on in to #3 with both feet, and now have my very own Ishmael - a wild ass among men.

I, like Abraham, completely, totally believe what God has promised me. He wants me to step out in ministry and I believe this was His plan from me from the moment He called me out five years ago. I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing, I have no doubt. So what happened to step 1? Well, much like Sarah, I a) could not see how it could possibly happen and b) got tired of waiting.

When the Lord started talking to me last fall about getting the ministry started, I do what a lot of us do - I argued with Him. "Umm...yes, Lord, I know that You want me to start the ministry, but I AM UNEMPLOYED AND LIVING IN MY AUNT'S BASEMENT. How the heck am I supposed to start a ministry?" (I wish I could tell you  this was an isolated conversation, but unfortunately I often find myself arguing with God. Just FYI - if you are prone to arguing with God too, just know that you can never, ever win!)

I don't think God gets upset with us when we argue with Him; after all, He created us and knows our every thought and feeling before we ever have it, but I do like to think that He finds us somewhat amusing. However in this case I can see how God could have been offended; why wasn't I trusting in Him, believing in Him, recognizing that He was God Almighty, ruler of the entire universe, and if He wanted me getting a ministry started, He could make it happen, regardless of if I was living in my aunts basement or my car or a cardboard box? We have to know that God is at His best when He is creating something out of nothing, and the only way that ever happens is if we get out of His way and let Him be God.

When God called me to start up the ministry and I could not fathom how to do that (just get out of God's way and let Him be God) I decided that I needed to find a job to make money to get the ministry started.

When I found some folks on Craig's List that were starting a new business and offered me the world if I would help them, I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, we often don't realize that we've chosen step 3 until we are giving birth to Ishmael, despite some very obvious signs. The first sign that Sarah had that she made a mistake was that her faithful servant, who she allowed to lie with her husband, now despised her. In my case, my first indication was a very, very strong nudge from the Holy Spirit - every time I met with these folks to discuss the business, I would get physically sick to my stomach and would not feel "right" until hours after I left them. I knew I was not supposed to get involved with them, I knew the Holy Spirit was shouting "STOP! S T O P!!!" at me, yet I was so convinced that God could not get the ministry started without my help, and I was so tired of WAITING for things to change, I went right ahead and hitched my wagon to their cart, and the results were nothing less than tragic.

Wait on God. Let God be God. Hold His promises close to your heart and be patient and faithful. Don't pray for Isaac and get impatient and get yourself an Ishmael - life is hard enough without ending up with a wild ass that you have to deal with. And boy, have I had to deal with a few!
Beth Sandland
I have been blessed to have several mentors for Broken Road Ministries, but none has gotten behind us and offered as much support, love and advise as Pastor Carolyn. Pastor Carolyn is out in California, and has been a servant of Christ for well over 20 years. Her experiences with ministry are pretty intense and include a long stretch of ministering to (and taking in) street kids. She's run food pantries, preached on street corners and basically done whatever the Lord has asked her to do. In short, she understands and recognizes a calling from the Lord, and she has been loving and gracious enough to spend many, many hours on the phone helping me as I go about the job of working with God to get the ministry set up in a permanent location.

Toward the end of our very long conversation last night Carolyn said, "I know you're really busy, but you need to update your blog."  Although I have only had a few posts on here this entire year, I was not surprised to hear her request as I'd been getting a nudge from the Holy Spirit to make some updates for several weeks now!

Carolyn is right; I have been busy! This year has continued to bring change and chaos and many very important lessons - but it's also brought a lot of joy and transformation.  Earlier this year Broken Road Ministries was accepted by the state of Missouri as a legal non-profit ministry, and we are currently in the process of looking for a permanent location, which is taking up a lot of my time.

But God is faithful! He has provided for Jake and I through every single twist and turn over the last two years, and I know He will provide for the ministry as well. I will try and keep you updated on the progress, as well as get back to sharing some teachings with you throughout the days and weeks to come.
Beth Sandland
5 days ago on Monday morning I woke up, rededicated myself to the Lord, and started about making some changes. I asked the Lord to lead me and light my way so that I could move forward with confidence, knowing that the King of the Universe was guiding my steps.

I had to go to town to see the doctor and take care of some other things and as I got in the car and started driving down the dirt road that is my driveway, the Holy Spirit said, "The sole purpose that humans walk the earth is to help those in need. No matter who you are, there will be someone that needs something - your only job should be to help them."

It's really that simple. To be happy and free ourselves, we need to focus our lives on helping others. It's not about having a cool car or a fancy house or an expensive wardrobe - sure those things are fun and nice, but that is not what we were designed to strive for. We were designed to strive to help our fellow man and walk the narrow path to be all that we can be in Christ. 

If you watch or read the news on a regular basis, you've probably noticed that the world seems to be going a little nuts. Not only are we experiencing an unprecedented amount of natural disasters across the entire planet, but poverty, starvation and abuse are also at an all time high. It seems like we can hardly look at the news without hearing about another child that was abducted, abused or murdered. Regardless of if we think Jesus is coming back next week or 100 years from now, one thing is for certain - there millions of hurting people on the planet, all who need someone to not only care, but to go out and do something to help them.

I have stepped out in faith and started on what I believe is God's purpose for my life. I have filed our NPO paperwork to get Broken Road Ministries operating. One of my close friends has offered the use of his barn and arena so I can start working with girls and women who need help. My church is offering an outreach opportunity for me to work with some at-risk teens through Youth for Christ. All of this has happened in five days, all that I needed to do was to completely, fully surrender to God, and allow Him to use me.

What are you doing to help someone in need? What small changes can you make to allow God to use you, so that a BIG change can be made in some hurting person's life? Don't miss the call to do the one thing you were put on this Earth to do - don't miss out on the greatest job on Earth - to ease the suffering of your fellow man.
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