Matthew 17:20, my favorite verse. "... If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What Will God Reveal Next

I want my faith to be as strong and natural as breathing. So I start out by praying for God to use me to do His work. I also often pray for Him to direct my day. This week I have several days to myself, but they’re not being spent the way I would’ve expected. Such as yesterday. Although I rejoiced at the heavenly reward my former pastor received, saying good-bye to loved ones isn’t always easy. No, I hadn’t planned a funeral into my day.

Today, I prayed the same thing, only to spend most of the morning without power, find a little snake residing behind the breakers in the fuse box, and then lock myself and my cell phone out of the shop. (I need to get an extra key!) The lovely thing is, these detours don’t upset me. Instead, I pause in the thrill of expectation, waiting for God to reveal what’s next. R

A Good Day in the Lord

Yesterday was a good day in the Lord.

I left to attend the funeral of my childhood pastor and the man who married me and Jerad 25 yrs ago. I asked God to use me however He saw fit …

This resulted in running out of gas a few miles from the station. I managed to turn the Jeep into a driveway where a man was working out back. I asked if he had any fuel to spare. He graciously emptied the last of his extra fuel, which accumulated to half a gallon into my tank and shook his head, stating he doubted I’d get very far. I replied, then I’ll pray for God to bless it the same way He did the fish and loaves of bread in the Bible. I left with a promise to return with payment and a prayer on my lips. Ten minutes later I did return to give him money for the fuel. He was thankful and said I needn’t have done that. I explained I had to. I take God very seriously because of all He’s done for me and I represent him in all I do. So yes, I did have to come back to pay him. This led to more conversation where I learned he sometimes went to church. That single word, “sometimes” held a lot of meaning to me. Enough that I’ll remember to pray for him often.

Shortly after I left, I nearly careened into someone as I made a bone-head decision to take the road I nearly passed rather than driving on and turning around. That was another Jesus moment as I nearly sent someone to meet our Savior—Ahh! After repenting of that, I attended the funeral, cried even though I know he’s celebrating, then went to town for groceries. I talked to every attendant who checked me out. One lost a brother a month ago—I said I’d pray for her family. Another couldn’t count my change back to me, but instead of insulting her (as evidently a lot of people do) I showed kindness and mentioned an area I lack in too—not being able to stop talking! Lol The last attendant I’ll mention has a story behind it.

As I was crossing the parking lot, a young lady approached me and said she was homeless and asked if I could give her some money. I said sure, let me see what I can spare. I had her walk toward the store entrance so I wouldn’t be away from the public eye since we didn’t know one another. I retrieved a bill and instead of reaching for it she waited patiently as I asked her questions. She stated she didn’t have family and sometimes stays with a friend, but since the friend had a husband she couldn’t always stay there. I asked if she slept outside which she responded yes, if she had too. Because women with children get into the shelters before singles, she wasn’t able to get help there.
This moved me and I told her I’m glad she approached me as it reminds me to be thankful for every blessing. I gave her the money and asked if I could pray with her. I got her name, held her hand, and led the prayer. Although someone brushed past us, she didn’t shy away but continued with me. Afterward, she said this reminded her she needed to get back into church. I hugged her before going into the store—something I’ve never done to a homeless person, but my heart was all in.

At the checkout, I asked the cashier what the city had to help the homeless. She immediately became aggravated that an elderly woman may have approached me because the cashier knew she wasn’t homeless. I explained it wasn’t the same person. I admitted to giving her money and had no regrets, for it’s like the Bible says, “When I was hungry you fed me…” She brushed this off and continued her tirade. I gently explained, “I know it’s a risk every time I give money to someone, as to whether or not they’re truly homeless, but I’m okay with that. And we often don’t realize how easily homelessness can happen. Such as the story I researched and used in one of my books about a family’s apartment being sold and the fact kept hidden from the renters until the day of eviction by the new owner. Homelessness doesn’t always mean the person is a deadbeat who refuses to better themselves. All I know is I hope to never experience it. I ended by saying, it’s a chance to pray for someone. So *** is her name. If you pray, please remember her.” It’s doubtful the woman will, but perhaps I planted a seed to the younger attendants standing by. We never know who we’re actually entertaining or encouraging.

But this I do know—it was a Grand Slamming Day to walk in the Lord!!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Spiritual Battles--in Dreams?

To tell the truth, this is not the first time I've had a dream where I knew the battle was spiritual and not physical and, therefore, rebuked Satan through Jesus' name. However, this is the first dream I was muted by a demonic force.

In short, in the dream I left the safety of my friends and family and climbed the open staircase to the next floor. It seemed to be a big motel with a large opening in the middle that let you see down to the first floor.

Image result for looking down several flights of elevator stairs

It was there I met a woman whom I actually know in real life but will keep her unnamed. (Oddly though, I've always felt guarded around her.) She suddenly became ... demonic is the only way to describe it ... and with inhuman force lifted me with one arm up into the air. Sensing within my spirit I was dealing with the devil I tried to call out in Jesus' name. However, another force welded my mouth shut.

At this point, I felt a surge of panic well up in my chest, but I knew not to give in. So I mentally cried in Jesus' name for the evil spirits to be rebuked. It was then my lips were freed and I could call out audibly. By this time, several of my friends and family had arrived on scene and in unison we were calling on the power of our Lord and Savior to bind Satan and his adversaries. It was quite the climax as I was still held in the air overlooking the long drop to the first floor and naturally, I woke up.

What does it mean? It's easy to assume it's God warning me from the woman mentioned. But is that all? That's for God to reveal, unless any of you think you have a Godly interpretation. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Offenses--Satan's Bait

Image result for irritated look

I know I’m being selfish, but …
Thus went my time in prayer today. Isn’t it sad when bowing before my Creator I still sought personal justification rather than His will? Thankfully this doesn’t happen often, but there are times I can’t seem to unwrap my thoughts from one gnawing irritation. Within that frame of mind, I don’t want to serve unless that servanthood fits in the parameters I’ve set in place. Boy, what a mess I am.

But God is slow to anger, full of mercy and love; enough to extend grace toward me during my pity-party and patiently wait for me to answer His call. So this morning I prayed, but I refused to open my Bible. Not until I could exhaust my thoughts a little bit more.

“Gina, read My word.”

I yawned, and told myself I needed more sleep. Thus, I crawled back into bed, threw the covers up to my ears, and … laid awake.

“Gina, read My word.”

I wrestled with giving in or finding another excuse to avoid the peace that was sure to come. (Writing that down really makes me look bad, but ultimately, that’s what I was postponing.) Finally, I did give in and wouldn’t you know, from the very first reading peace filled my heart and the irritating thoughts resided.

Are they resolved? Not to the effect my flesh desired, but from a spiritual perspective, yes. Because ultimately, I’m not here to serve myself. I have a greater calling. I’m here to serve God and through that, I serve others.

So next time offenses come my way, I’ll tell Satan (in Jesus’ name) to get behind me, ’cause I’m not taking the bait!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

God Still Calms the Wind

December 12th I experienced the power of our Lord when He calmed the winds on the Sea of Galilee. Do you remember that story from Matthew 8? The disciples woke Jesus out of fear for the waves covering their ship. His response, (v. 26) "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" Then He rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm."

Image result for pictures of a windy fallThough I was in a graveyard and not at sea, my experience mirrors this in a less dramatic way. I needed something from my mom and she wasn't answering her phone. Remembering she mentioned taking flowers to the cemetery, I drove there to find her. When I arrived the wind was fierce, blowing her hair, and mine, every direction. Knowing she catches cold easily when in a draft, I pulled up her hood to block the wind. She said it would only blow off again.

I looked from where she was bent addressing the silk flowers to the effects of the wind all around us. Then I prayed, "God, please calm this wind until we're finished so that my mom and I don't fall ill."

Scripture says in James 1:6 to ask in faith without wavering. Because he who wavers won't receive anything. There was a split second when doubt tried to push its way forward, but I denied it and focused on the power of my Lord and Savior. This was a small thing for Him to accomplish. But small or big, why should I doubt?

Within seconds, the wind calmed to a gentle breeze. I then described the prayer to my mom in order to give God the glory. The results lasted well after she'd finished at the grave site and only after we'd ventured across the cemetery did the wind gain momentum. Mom looked up at me and smiled knowingly. "Guess our time's up and we should be heading home." I agreed, smiling in return--the kind of smile that wells up from deep down because you know you're loved by God.

Ephesians 3:20 states God is able to do above and beyond all that we ask Him, and yet, doubt tricks us into believing some things are too hard for Him or too much to ask. Don't let doubt rob you of powerful prayers. Remember who you're addressing, all that He's capable of, and how much He loves you.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Let Go of Fear and Trust God

In my last post, I mentioned Larry Van Pelt, whom I met while celebrating our aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. His story, inspiring in so many ways, had a definite impact on me—as I suspect God knew it would.
Can you imagine how pleased God is when one of His children asks for another job? “Okay, Dad, I finished my last chore. What else can I do?” In short, thirty years ago Larry did just that.  He felt he could do more … thus he asked for a vision. Like our earthly dad’s response might be, God answered with precision and said to Larry, “I want you to draw.” But similar to Moses focusing on his lack of ability when God asked him to confront Pharaoh, Larry explained to God he didn’t know how to draw. Not only that, he’d never possessed the desire!
Isn’t his response familiar? In that small moment of time, we forget who we’re addressing. God already knows our strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, if He asks something of you, be assured He’ll grant you the ability to see it done.
God gave Larry ten years to hone his talent. God’s request was for him to draw people in everyday situations and show how He’s always with them, as seen here with our Uncle John.
See what God did through this man who started with stick figures!
However, the drawings weren’t the only part of Larry’s story that moved me. Like him and Moses, I related to their self-doubts. Writing presents a constant battle of confidence for me as I never managed an A in English class and still stumble over my word choices when speaking. With that said, I had yet another problem … probably even greater. Not only do I often lack trust in myself, I lack trust in God. About a year ago, God told me to give my marketing over to Him and go back to the beginning (regarding my writing career). In my weakness, I interpreted that to suit me. I would give up some things and still hold onto others.
Larry shared with me how his website took off. For the first year and a half, he accumulated 1800 hits. It wasn’t until coming home after a week away that the numbers reached 40,000—he had done nothing on his own to gain this. Before his excitement could wane another 30,000 were added the very next day. This went on and on and now he has over two million hits. All of this growth and he had nothing to do with it—it was all God.
As I listened my spirit squeezed with conviction. Wasn’t this what God had been asking of me? To TRUST Him with my books and leave the marketing in His hands? Like His request for Larry to draw, He’d asked me to write. Neither of us were asked to market.
I left Larry’s presence  determined to obey (but not before this man of God was kind enough to pray over me). With 300+ likes on my author facebook page and 600+ recipients of my newsletter, I closed them without trepidation, confident I am safe in my Master’s hands.

To this, I owe thanks to the Lord, but I also owe thanks to Larry, for being a willing vessel for the Holy Spirit to reach me where I was. 
Jesus with you always - YouTube (A video and song depicting his artwork)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Choosing God Over Self

The same date, 11-24-17, I was reading a book by Stanley Tam titled, God Owns My Business. This book can grow everyone whether you own your own business or not as it’s applicable to every area of life. Near the end, I read two things that will always stay with me. One was about a man who asked God to send him a soul to lead to Christ every day. At the end of the year he realized he’d averaged one person a day. So the next year he asked for two and so on. With that, I prayed and asked God for a soul for my family to lead to Christ that day. I knew the odds were against us since we were on the road traveling, but with God all things are possible. Now hold onto this thought as I jump in here with another.
The other thing I read was about the way Stanley prayed. Each day it went something like this, In the name of Jesus Christ I ask You to bind Satan and his workers of iniquity from my home, my family, my business, the orders going out and the orders coming in, from the radio station, from …. You get the idea. He prayed for God to bind Satan from every area of his life he could think of. That excited me as I’m often wanting to learn how to pray more effectively.
Not long after, I received a call about someone that had overdosed. The woman wasn’t expected to live, let alone make a full recovery. I put the above prayer into practice, praying for every part of the hospital I could think of and those involved, to the possession Satan had on this person—everything! And in my heart I had no doubt she would pull through as this was the soul I’d asked to lead to Christ.  Well, guess what? In the morning I learned she’d not only lived but hadn’t suffered any brain damage! God is so good! Although this person is still resistant to the Lord, I’m fully confident she’ll come to Him soon. Why else would she have beat the odds?
If you’ll remember from the earlier post, we were headed to a family event to celebrate an aunt and uncle’s 50 years of marriage. Although that’s definitely something to celebrate, I didn’t look forward to the long hours of endless flatlands we’d have to cover. But rather than internally moan about that displeasure I instead opted to use the time to pray. This would be a huge gathering of family and friends from all across the United States, so naturally we wanted God in the midst. I prayed for God to usurp Satan’s plans against us and to be present in conversation and deed.
To start with, He gave me the woman to pray for who had overdosed. Then He provided a pleasant time of re-connection with my in-laws. My sister-in-law and I don’t get to visit often so it was a balm to my soul to have time with her. At the first dinner, I was blessed to meet a young woman who is also a believer. Talking with her bolstered my spirits. At the second party, I met her brother and was able to encourage him toward letting go of past hurts. I was then blessed by a cousin who readily accepted all I had to share about God working in my life and also shared areas of her own life with me. Another entrusted us with prayer requests, then another, and it was like this the entire weekend.

I wonder if Aunt Margaret and Uncle John had any inclination what their celebration would bring about? It's a wonderful thing to stay married, especially in today's world and for that length of time. It's important to note their marriage hasn't been without life's problems, but they "chose" to stay true to the commitment they made. And through that, they brought together people that willingly shared and encouraged one another. They're decision was a blessing fifty years in the making and I'm so proud of them.
Now what if I had done the opposite of praying for this event, pouted about the long trip and created despondencies about every little thing? I would have robbed myself and others from so many blessings. It’s so important to keep God in the center of everything. Jesus instructs us to deny ourselves and take up the cross. By doing so I’ve found that’s when I truly feel alive. Each day holds a treasure waiting to be found. And because of "choice" I found several that day.

To keep these posts to a decent length, I’m separating them. But please join me in the next post to hear about the treasure I found in Larry Van Pelt.