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, 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.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Modern Day Healing

November 24, 2017 will forever mark a special day for me. On the road during a twelve hour trip, I, yet again, asked God for His healing. For a few years now, I’ve suffered a gut issue, eczema, dandruff, and inflammation which demands I keep a controlled diet. (Probably caused by candida—my own self-diagnosis.) However, this time I was beginning to feel a bit desperate. I had been battling my neck slipping out of place for the last couple of days. Now, at the onset of our trip, a quarter-sized knot had formed at the base of my skull and was causing my head to pound. I knew if my vertebrae slipped further I was in for a terrible time. So I prayed … and begged.
God spoke to my spirit and revealed, “You don’t trust Me enough to heal you.”

“‘What?” I was shocked. Just a few weeks ago my family and I had gone to Aldi’s for groceries and we didn’t have a single quarter between us. I said in full assurance, “God will provide.” At the entrance a man offered us his cart despite the fact we couldn’t pay him back. I was ecstatic! I’d known in my heart God would provide and He certainly had. But now God was saying I didn’t trust Him … and He was right.

I trusted God to provide the little things like a shopping cart, but I didn’t trust Him with my health. Each time I would ask for healing with one breath, in the next I would plan what to do if He didn’t heal me—try another natural health remedy, finally give up and go to a doctor, etc.
While I was pondering this I read over Mark 16 and verse 18 stuck out to me. “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” Jesus was speaking to the disciples, instructing them to spread His word. God knows my heart. He knows I want to be a disciple to Him. And judging from this scripture, I assumed He didn’t want me sick. (He also knows I long for the gift of healing. But if I can’t trust God to heal me, why should I be entrusted with that gift?)
So with my head bowed, I silently asked forgiveness. I also asked God to remove my doubt and fill me with trust in Him. Within a short amount of time, the pain in my neck vanished. A little while later, the knot was gone. I turned to my husband and announced my healing, relaying all that had happened while I sat in the passenger seat of the truck. We rejoiced together, along with our daughter that was with us and continued on our journey.
The next day, about mid-morning, I noticed my hip didn’t hurt. This was huge as I’d battled an acute pain for six months straight. I told my husband, “I bet I can eat whatever I want and not be affected.” Later in the day, I ate what was before me, including pizza, a small piece of cake, salad dressing, white potatoes, and even half a cup of coffee (white flour and sugar—a big no-no for me and I’m actually allergic to coffee). My scalp didn’t itch in response to the coffee and my gut stayed strong!
Although it would seem God had snapped His fingers and everything was healed, it wasn’t. I started out with some issues and I still had them, but they were improving. Yes, the knot in my neck was healed, but to date, my hip is still improving. It hadn’t hurt at all that day, but the following day my excited nephew unexpectedly leaped into my arms, knocking my neck out of whack again. The thing to remember is, our bodies are flesh and bone. They’re going to decay. So yes, God can heal us but that doesn’t mean we won’t have future problems. (Mine happened to be much closer to the future than I had anticipated! Lol) But through a day of prayer and fighting off doubts, I was again relieved of much of the pain. Each day I feel improved and I must say, I’m thankful for the way God is working. Had He healed me all at once, I wouldn’t be experiencing so much spiritual growth. By healing me day by day, He’s training me to continually rely on Him—not the internet search bar (a real weakness of mine) and not a doctor.
Here are other verses I wrote down to continually encourage me. Prov. 4:20-22, Ps. 107:19-20, Jer. 17:14, Mk. 5:34, James 5:16, Ps. 103:2-3, Mk. 6:56, Ro. 10:9, Is. 53: 5, Acts. 10:38, 3 John 2, Rev. 12:11, & Heb. 6:12.

(What I’ll tell you in my next post is how I was also staying in prayer for others and God’s amazing presence—so please don’t miss that as it’s equally important.)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Armadillos Make for Exciting Mornings

This morning I'd like to give you an insight to the life I live ...

The dog barked all night...  but I learned why when I went out to garden.
She anxiously nosed my hand til I went down the stairs. Rushing behind her bed (underneath the porch) she started wrestling with something. I went to the end of the porch not knowing what I might find. (You've read a similar scene in one of my books as this has happened before)  What I didn't expect was what happened next.

An armadillo rushed straight at ME! I hollered and made for the stairs only to see it, not only hot on my trail, but bounding the first stair!!!!

Much to my instant relief, it dove between the stairs to return to it's spot behind the ladder. Whew.

Short, but oh so memorable!! lol

Monday, August 14, 2017

Gifts from our Heavenly Father

Early this year, my husband offered to buy me a nice vehicle. It wasn't too old--which means it was costly. We both know at over 188,000 miles, the one I'm driving doesn't have much life left in it. So I test drove the vehicle twice, but the price didn't set well with me nor could I get over purchasing something with so much plastic. I'm an old car kinda girl. I drove a '49 Plymouth all through high school, and we started out our married life with Jeep Cherokees and Wagoneers--'78 & 79 models. The kind where you're wrapped in tough metal and not squished all over with so-called comforts. I know I sound weird, but I need my space, not wrap around cushions and cup holders.
So when he said, "If you don't love driving it, then there's no reason to buy it."
Really, I thought to myself. This is about loving to drive a vehicle. "You know what I would love driving?"
He asked, "What?"
"A '78 Jeep Cherokee!"
So the search began. All spring and summer we've searched for the 'right' one. At one point, we found an ad that made our hearts thump with excitement, only to realize the ad was a couple yrs old. Nevertheless, I saved the pictures to my computer to remind me what the perfect Jeep for us looked like. Blue, like a Montana sky inside and out, with the white Cherokee sport trim on the side, not to mention the little Chief emblem. It didn't have the factory radio anymore but that could be replaced. So the search was on.
We came close to buying a couple of times, but something would fall through. Once, there was a green Wagoneer with narrow wood trim down the side and brown interior. Although not the perfect color scheme, still it was a nice Jeep. The dealer called my husband after reading his email and explained he had a buyer, but the buyer was being a pain. He had given the man 'til noon that day, but the dealer was so aggravated he offered to sell it to my husband right then. Despite potentially losing the Jeep, my husband said, although he did want it, he was an honorable man and the other buyer should have until noon. If he didn't come through, then we would purchase it.
The guy must've come through because we didn't hear back. We were okay with it though. This is just another adventure for us, and I'd also prayed about it all. If we weren't even supposed to have a Jeep I had asked God to take away my desire and just provide us with what we needed. In fact, I was even okay with keeping what I had and continue fixing the problems that arose.
So fast forward a couple of weeks, and I'm sitting at the computer editing my book and a nudge prompts me to look for Jeeps. I was less than thrilled to do so. I had stepped away from that for a little break, but I went ahead and listened. As I started to type in craigslist, I was nudged again and told to go to ebay. Again, less than thrilled since I know we'd have to bid on the vehicle there. But I listened.
Bam! There it was, our 4-door Montana Sky '78 Jeep Cherokee Chief. I was thrilled and knew without a doubt it was the one we'd saved pictures of. I shoved the computer onto my husband's lap. He was just as thrilled. We had to wait out the auction, which I knew we could lose. But we both gave it over to God and were okay with whatever the outcome was.
The final outcome--a lesson about God. He's not just our Creator and Judge, He's also our loving Heavenly Father who likes to gift us with good things. Yes, we got our Jeep. We drove it home--a 10 hour drive, me following my husband for most of the way as he drove it. I never tired, because I was seeing the love of my Father right before my eyes the whole 10 hours.

Warnings from God

Earlier this spring as I was driving home I noticed a bright orange vehicle on a side road that I was approaching. You know how sometimes a thought will jump into your mind and you think, interesting, then brush it off? Well, a voice spoke to my conscience warning me this car wasn't going to stop and we would hit each other.
I thought, okay weird, but I didn't really believe it. Then as I drew closer, the voice said, here it is. It's about to happen.
So I did slow. I mean, who wouldn't at this point? This is a continual conversation now.
Sure enough, the vehicle pulled onto the road I was on without stopping to look for traffic. Had I not slowed, he would've rammed right into me.
Now to make this more interesting. The orange vehicle--wasn't even orange! I can't remember for sure, but I think it was brown or black. A color that wouldn't have grabbed my attention, but God in His goodness made it appear orange when I saw it traveling down the side road. He's so good!!!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Giving God Control

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I thought so too, until I tried it with my books. I’d say I wanted God to lead me then hold onto a morsel here and there in case He didn’t go the way I intended Him to go. It’s like when a woman carries her money in her purse, but stows some in her shoe as well. That way if her purse gets lost or stolen she still maintains some control over her money. Shame, shame on me.
Over a year ago, I asked God for direction with the sales and marketing of the books I write. He distinctly answered me through three different people. That didn’t happen by accident either. I asked Him to speak His answer through two or three people so I would know it was from Him. First it was my husband, then my daughter, then my sister-in-law, all within a few days of each other. They all said they thought I should go back to the beginning.
Hmm, the beginning … and that’s where I kept control. I thought, hmm, the beginning of when I was doing well in sales? Okay! In 2013 I was making an admirable income with my books and the only thing I did at that time was blog about self-publishing and submit my .99 books on a few free advertising sites. I hit number one in a couple separate categories on Amazon and life was looking good. That was all before ebooks saturated the cyber world, so it was easy to stay on top.
But is that really the beginning?
In the beginning … (sounds like a catchy first line for a book (JK) It is—Genesis) all I did was write. Write, publish, write. And of course plenty of praying was involved as I wrote.
Could that be where God meant for me to go? Yes. That’s the beginning.
Yesterday I ended my Amazon ad. Earlier this week I hopped off facebook. I still have two ads already paid for that will run once in April and once in May. But otherwise and after those, I’m giving this all to Him. Should everyone do this? No. He didn’t call everyone to do this. He did call me, though. His reasoning was simple. Whenever my books draw attention and people ask what did I do to get here, I’ll only be able to point up. It’s not through me that they’ve done anything, but through God. That’s where He wants the attention. That’s where I’m going to give it … finally.