You learn a great deal about yourself when you go through rough times. Now, it hasn’t been all that rough lately, but I do wonder what God is up to. For the life of me I cannot figure it out! To catch you up if you are new let me fill you in. About 6+ months ago, when I was in prayer, God spoke to me to sell our house. Hubby prayed about it, too and up on the market it went. It sold for the full amount we were asking lickety split! Now, we live in a travel trailer because we cannot find the next home.
During this time we have felt God’s grace and peace on us, but I am beginning to feel unsettled. I want my house, I want to know where it is, and I want to know what our purpose in all of this has been and what it is to be. I have offered everything to God…my life, our possessions, and if anything is left I truly don’t know what it is!
I have a cousin who is in her eighties. She is beautiful, sassy, still wears high heels every day of her life, and she is a free spirit. She and her husband have been in the ministry for over 60 years. I remember them coming home from ministers’ conferences and Momma would get a phone call and my cousin would say, “Well, we are packing up and moving to Kansas! We have decided to pastor a church there!’ We would drive to their house across town, and true to my cousin’s adventurous nature and words, there would be her husband’s truck and her car loaded up with boxes of towels, kitchen supplies, and pieces of furniture.
I remember this same cousin once sold every possession they owned and bought a travel trailer (this was in the 70’s) and they went on the road to be evangelists. She home schooled her son, their daughter was in college, and off they went as we waved until we could see them no more.
Many people tell me I look like this cousin. I can see it profoundly! I look in the mirror and there is her face staring back at me. Many tell me I act like her, which I never agreed with. Since we sold our house, I am beginning to see it more. I can see selling everything we own, packing up, applying for seminary, and graduating to other things in life.
I have done things lately I never thought I could do. I can fix full meals on a gas travel trailer stove without blowing us all sky-high or without catching the whole place on fire! I truly never thought I could do that! I even deep-fried hot water cornbread and lived to eat it!
I can see waving good-bye to friends and family to go into territory only God has been to ahead of us. But, what if that isn’t what God sees? Unless God builds the house the laborers labor in vain. I tell the Lord, ‘God is this what You want? Do you want us to sell all we have and pursue a life of service solely to and for you? What do You want and why won’t You tell us?” All my life I have waited for something it seems. All my life I feel like I have been at the back of the line. If that is where my place is that is fine, but why then do I feel it isn’t? And if it isn’t, then where? I have so many questions and so few answers. This one is ongoing. I am still waiting to see the end of this new beginning…
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Not long ago, I observed a young woman who I was very impressed with. She was happy, loved her life, was well-rounded and well-adjusted. She loved her family and took great joy in the simple pleasures of life.
I noticed not long ago she had put something up on Facebook that went something like this, “I get so annoyed by ignorant people.” It wasn’t long until I noticed she didn’t seem as full of joy as she had been. I noticed she wasn’t interacting with others as I had seen her do before. I noticed her posts were getting to be fewer and when she did post, the happiness and joy did not seem to hold the same intensity that was so rich it blessed me to just think about it.
I began to wonder what happened, but I didn’t have to wonder long to know she was offended. My heart was just crushed over this! Why? Because I used to be offended. I know what follows if you don’t deal with it and deal with it quickly.
Offense carries with it a multitude of problems! First comes the offense, then comes anger over the offense, then come walls of ‘protection’ when they are actually prison walls set firmly in place by satan, himself. After the prison walls go up, you find yourself more and more isolated. The more isolated you become the more lonely you are. You find people don’t want to be around you the way they had in the past. Why? Because you have become negative, quick-tempered, and irritable. Gone is your joy, your peace, your gratitude for God‘s great blessings because you are consumed by the one or ones who ‘annoyed’ you! You are miserable and so are the people around you.
Your marriage begins to feel it because your heart has changed. You have literally begun to change. Your children are no longer the joy they once were because you have become negative and satan is sure to make certain the littlest things now get under your skin. You have left your love walk and opened the door to strife.
You are no longer the powerhouse in God you once were. Why? Because you are letting a different voice have precedence in your mind, and without realizing it, it is the voice of the devil! You were baited and you took it and now you are on the hook. He will pull and push you wherever he wants.
He will pull you out of church because the people you once loved and loved seeing now are flashing neon signs of problems to you. He will infiltrate your home and the love of your life will be someone you ‘need time’ away from. You will become exhausted with dealing with the smallest of things, including your children, because you blame their noisy play and refusal to go down for their nap for your lack of peace and your new-found stress. You have been deceived and trapped.
Offense is a poison. It quickly turns into bitterness and when it does it spreads like a cancer! My great-grandmother had a beautiful wisteria bush in her yard. She loved to garden! She would plant different plants in cans and they would thrive! She had planted the wisteria bush quite a few feet from one of her towering oak trees. She had several oaks in her yard and it was beautiful! There wasn’t anything she couldn’t grow, or bring back to life…until the wisteria bush was planted.
The wisteria bush began to grow, and it began to crawl. What started out as a small plant in Grandma‘s yard began to reach out and grow beyond the space she intended for it to occupy. It crept across until it reached the beautiful oak tree. It began to wrap itself around the bottom of the tree, then it began to climb and wrap its vine around and around the tree. It wrapped and wrapped and tightened its grip and with each day it grew. It was not long until the wisteria had literally taken over the towering oak tree and choked the life out it until it was dead. The wisteria dug in and took the tree over and even Grandma could not stop it. God can’t stop it either. You have made a choice and you have been given a free will. He has to allow what you allow because He will not and cannot violate your will. Be careful who and what you give permission to occupy any part of your life!
Offense and bitterness are the same way. What starts as a small seed grows quickly. It spreads from a small annoyance to all out dislike. Soon it isn’t just one person, it is several you have become ‘annoyed’ with and critical of. The root of your offense is growing. Its tentacles are reaching into every part of your life until it chokes the very life of love out of you that once flowed so freely and beautifully! It chokes out your joy. It chokes out your blessings. You no longer look forward to the day, but dread it because you are squeezed and the pressure is uncomfortable instead of being free to bloom as you once were!
God is love. You were full of that love at one time. That is when you felt close to God and now He seems so distant. Why? Because you are bound and the nutrients of His love and Spirit have been blocked. You were destined to be a powerhouse for God and now you just can’t seem to concentrate on God like you used to. Satan knew what you were destined to be. He knew if he could get your eyes on the wrong thing, he could stop your progress and your future and all the mighty works that would have brought great glory to God and all the blessings He had for you would be lost.
No longer would people look and see you shining, but they would look and see someone they pray they will never become. From the palace to the pit is what satan intended and that is what he accomplished. You had it all, and because someone was ignorant, instead of praying for them and walking on in love, you let it become your hindrance and stopping point in God! If you ask me, that is what is ignorant! Knowing you did it and not doing anything about it is just plain foolishness!
Go to God and confess if you have any offense in your heart. Get rid of all malice and wrath as the Word tells us. God will deal with those people, and if they refuse to change don’t let it change you! Allow God to cleanse you and preserve you. Allow Him to bring back your joy and your love for others! You will never be happy any other way.
Have you ever written your mortgage payment and thought what you could do with that money if you were free and clear of that debt? How wonderful it would be if you could pay your house off and then sell it and not owe any lending institution any of that money? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to pay a thirty year mortgage in ten years or less? It is possible and I am going to show you how to do it!
Today, as I spoke to a young man, the Lord led me to share my testimony of how God led hubby and me to become debt free. He told me I should write about it because few people his age knew this one small trick in doing just that! I had no idea that not many young people know about this until he told me. I was happy to tell him and I would love to share it with you as well.
When we started out with one of our first homes, we had no idea about borrowing money, principles, interests, etc.. I had no idea that for years we had paid nothing on our home itself, but instead all of our money was being wasted on interest! Instead of a mortgage payment, you could have called it an interest payment.
When I found out how long we had to go to actually pay our house off, it was almost sickening! Thousands and thousands of dollars was going straight to the bank, instead of paying down our house!
The Lord led us to get out of debt years ago. Now, I am not telling you to do this, but for hubby and me it was what God wanted for us. We had almost drowned in debt and if it had not been for the goodness of God we would have gone bankrupt! There were times I could not even buy groceries our money was so tight!
We always tithed and gave an offering, and thank God we had the good sense to do that. Just about the time I could put going to the grocery store off no longer, there would be a check in the mail from our insurance company either saying we had overpaid or we had met our deductible and had paid too much to the doctor. That is before we walked in the complete knowledge of healing, but that is another post!
One day I went to the Lord in tears. There is no pressure in this world like financial pressure! It is no fun being poor and doing without and it is even worse when you see your children doing without! I cried out to Him and told Him we had to have His help. I had seen other tithers and givers who had plenty of money and then some besides! I didn’t understand why we were barely scraping by. It just didn’t seem fair.
God was so merciful and gracious to me when He answered me. He told me we were spending more than we realized and it was wasteful spending. He had me get out our charge CARDS. We had more than one and that was a great deal of the problem. Many times it is tempting, especially when you are young and don’t really realize how fast money can slip through your fingers, to not cash a check before you go out to eat or to the movies. Whatever the case may be, it is so easy to slip that plastic out of your wallet. It is convenient until you get the bill. What is bad is many will max out one charge card and turn around and get another and, before you know it, that one is maxed out as well and you are now drowning in a sea of debt. Let me add, we did not have a debit card. I knew if I had one, it would be as if I had written a check and failed to write the amount down. We just were not comfortable with the possibility we could overdraw our account.
The Lord had me get together all of our bills and put them down on paper. As I began to look at our charge cards, it was obvious they were the culprit. I began to see a pattern of where we were going wrong. We would go out to eat, and we were amassing a debt of about one hundred dollars a weekend in eating out and ‘recreational’ activities. BAM! The problem was so simple.
As those ‘weekend outings’ began to pile up to the sound of 100.00 a weekend and we were paying the minimum on our charge cards, soon I discovered we were over 8,000.00 in debt to charge cards alone. This did not include our car notes, day care, or household expenses. We were in over our heads and we were drowning.
God in all of His grace and mercy began to show me how to budget. I had never been able to stick with one before, but I knew God had heard my cries and was giving great grace to me. I went to my husband and showed him where we were going wrong and what God had said to do about it.
God told us we could only go out to eat once a month and it HAD to be cash or we couldn’t do it. I learned how to cook during this time. Little did I know one day I would be a contributing writer for a nationally known recipe site. God takes even our biggest goof ups and brings us great blessings through them.
At the end of one month, after budgeting not only on the food bill, but cutting some other corners, we had actually saved 800.00. When I showed my husband that figure at the end of the month we both cried and praised God. God told us to take that 800.00 and pay it on the charge card that had the smallest amount of debt. Within about 3 months the card was paid off.
After paying off the first charge card, God told us to take the full amount of money we had paid on it, along with what would have been the minimum payment and begin paying it on the second and largest one. When we did, we were able to pay the 8000.00 in debt down in just under a year. We went from seeing no end to being DEBT FREE with charge cards to being debt free in less than 12 months! Glory to God!
At this point we were able to take the money we had paid on the cards and we began to apply it to the principle on our house payment. We went from a thirty year mortgage to having our house paid off in 11 years!! Another miracle for us.
If you can just pay 200.00 a month on your principle, you would be shocked at how quickly your debt will dwindle! It won’t be long until you will be holding the deed to your home in your hand instead of the lending institution holding it in theirs!
We had to learn that you HAVE to mark how much is your monthly payment and how much is your principle payment. Often banks will apply that to your next mortgage payment instead of putting it toward the principle. This does you no good. Make sure you earmark it and double check with the bank and triple check by closely examining your bank statement!
You may feel as though you are drowning, but there is a way out! If we can do it, so can you! Remember, we had God’s mercy and His Word working in our favor by doing what God commanded in being tithers and givers! We paid our tithe straight off the top! You cannot afford to not tithe! Try God in this and see if He is not faithful to you. I am proof He is!
It is ‘National Cancer Awareness Day’ and I find it very proper to concentrate on things that prevent cancer and even aid in the cure of it. What I have discovered, which is no secret to the medical community, has astounded me and I think it will you, too!
This week I had to go to my doctor for a regular check-up. My doctor was diagnosed last year with a very rare form of cancer. Only 2 per cent of the nation is diagnosed with it.
When I saw him my heart went out to this dear, compassionate man. He walked into the examination room with a broad smile on his face, but he walked haltingly. I saw he was walking with a cane and I could tell he was trying to obscure it from me by holding it close beside his leg, I think to not upset me. He is not only my doctor, but our dear family friend!
My heart welled with compassion for a man who has never been short on compassion for me! I got up and gently put my arm around him and hugged him. He looked really good, especially with all he has been through, which has been extensive.
He began to tell me some of the things his oncologist had told him. One of the main things she wanted him to do was laugh daily and regularly. They have found that patients who laugh often are experiencing remarkable results, even being cured of cancer.
Studies have shown laughter releases two chemicals from the brain that keep us healthy and aid in the healing of diseases. One class of chemicals is called ‘endorphins’ and the other is ‘serotonin’.
Serotonin aids in decreasing inflammation in our bodies, which has been found to be the cause of many health issues including cancer and heart disease. It is thought to be a ‘balancer’ of our physical bodies and of our mental state as well.
Endorphins act similarly to codeine and morphine in response to pain in the body. It is often called the ‘runners high’ because they produce a euphoria. Endorphins have been shown to not only reduce pain, but to build our immunity to diseases, such as cancers. It is also shown to be a very effective stress and anxiety reliever!
When I was in college, I went to a revival at my church. This has been over thirty years ago, but I will never forget this part of the evangelist’s message. He told us of a friend he had who had been diagnosed with cancer. It was incurable and the doctor sent him home to die. This man was friends with his doctor and due to that he told him to come back in three weeks and he would run a few more tests.
This man went home and called his evangelist friend and had him pray for him. He felt a strong impression to laugh, and to laugh daily! He began to watch ‘Laurel and Hardy‘ tapes. This was the age of the VCR, and I am telling my own age on this one! He did this every day for several hours a day. The cancer had already disabled him from being able to work so he was able to watch the videos for several hours a day in which he laughed basically all day, every day.
When he went back to the doctor only three weeks later, his tests results showed such a significant improvement. His doctor questioned him as to what he had done. He told him he had simply been laughing on a regular basis! The doctor told him it was having a phenomenal effect on his body and to continue it. It turns out this man was cured of cancer and lived a healthy life!
Laughing does not only aid in the area of cancer. I know a woman who had taken a drug for her stomach, that has now been recalled due to the harmful side effects. She developed uncontrollable ‘twitches’ in her face. It then began to spread to her limbs. She could not keep her arms or hands still, nor her head from having uncontrollable movement.
This became so bad, she had to be taken to the emergency room one evening. The emergency room doctor told her it was the medication she was taking for her stomach that had caused the uncontrollable movements throughout her body. This was one of the main reasons it had been recalled. He told her she probably had permanent nerve damage to her face. He prescribed Benadryl and told her it was just as important that she smile and laugh for fifteen minutes a day as it was to take the medication to reverse this damage as much as possible.
He told her when we smile, we use and condition muscles and nerves in our faces! He said the endorphins released from the laughter would help in relaxing the muscles which were constricting the nerves, hence causing the nerve damage.
She went home and did just as the doctor had told her. Within a couple of days she began to see improvement. Within a few months she was cured!! The damage, although thought to be irreparable, was completely healed and gone! I must add, she was also prayed for and believed God and His Word for her healing! Nothing replaces faith in God…it is your greatest assurance of healing! God can and will do what modern medicine cannot!
It amazes me how science always proves the Word of God. In Proverbs 17:22 KJV, it tells us, ‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.’ Everything the doctors are saying and prescribing literally lines up with this verse of scripture.
If we will do what God tells us in the Word, the Word of God and our faith in it, will literally bring healing to our bodies! Just ask those who have experienced it for themselves! The ‘proof of the pudding is in the eating’.
And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Deuteronomy 28:1-68
I could literally laugh out loud now. I guarantee you God has a sense of humor! I have sold my house, and we are living temporarily in a travel trailer. We are looking for another home and there isn’t a prospect in sight, and the Lord has me writing on ‘The Blessing’! Now tell me God doesn’t know how to make us laugh!
For about two years, I tried to really study out the blessing of Abraham. I knew as God’s children we were under that same covenant of blessing, but I really didn’t fully know what all it entailed, nor could I fully explain it. I tried to study it in depth but it was as though the timing was always off. I would pick up my study materials and I just could not stick with them. I just seemed led in another direction every single time.
Since our house sold, the days after are now turning into weeks and I have needed this knowledge to keep my faith up! I will never lie to you, dear reader. I did cry a few tears tonight, but praise God for hubby who spoke the word to me and I felt myself rallying again in the Spirit!
I have read Deuteronomy 28. It is the blessing God spoke upon Abraham. What is so marvelous is the fact it is the same blessing we as Christians live under as well. We don’t always see the effects of it in every Christian’s life, because it is not known by all Christians. God has a full account of all good things that are yours for the asking and receiving! You can’t withdraw from an account that is in your name if you don’t realize it exist.
It is as if a parent or grandparent opened a savings account for their child or grandchild. Years can go by and steadily that person deposits money into that account for future use. If the child never becomes privy to the fact they have money in this account, they will never be able to withdraw from it or benefit from it.
God will not and has not left us in the dark and He has not hidden information from us. It is all in His last ‘Will and Testament’. That ‘Will and Testament’ is the word of God! If we don’t know what it says, we can never lay claim to what it says we can and do have!
Do you know the blessing of Abraham spans the entire Bible? For God to say something over and over, He meant for us to take it and take it seriously! He doesn’t give false hope nor does He give empty promises! Let’s take an in depth look at what God says about living in the blessing!!
In Genesis 12:2-3 and 13:2 God tells Abraham, “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing ; and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be BLESSED….And Abram was very rich….”
Now let us look in Galatians. Galatians 3:14 ” That THE BLESSING of Abraham might come on the Gentiles…” That is US!! The same blessing God promised Abraham, we now qualify for by receiving Jesus as our Saviour! We have become the seed of Abraham as well!
Look at Galatians 3:29 “And if ye be CHRIST’S, then are ye ABRAHAM’S SEED, AND HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE.” This is shouting ground for me! What a mighty promise and what a precious and loving Father to plan this for ALL who would come to Him through Jesus! He truly is our Father!! Glory to God!!!
Galatians 3:7-9 tells us, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, ‘In thee shall ALL nations be BLESSED. So then they which be of faith are BLESSED with faithful Abraham.”
THE BLESSING, is the gospel, the good news!! Verses 13-14 tells us, ” Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree; THAT THE BLESSING of Abraham might come on the Gentiles THROUGH JESUS CHRIST; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Verses 26, 29 “For ye are all the children of God BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST….And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Now when people ask you how you are, you can say, BLESSED!!” and know why you are saying it and just what you are BLESSED with! We will get deeper into the blessing tomorrow. For now, I want this to sink into my brain very, very well and into yours, too! Isn’t it good when we find out just who we really are and we didn’t have to get in a sailboat and sail around the world in less than a year to do it! The things of God are so simple…we complicate them far too much!
You are blessed, dear reader! I will see you soon!!
Reference: “The Blessing of the Lord” by Kenneth Copeland