One Dream Becomes Reality

If you are old enough to have watched television in the 1970s, you remember George Jefferson, the African-American neighbor of bigoted Archie Bunker in “All in the Family” who went from living in a modest home to a penthouse with a live-in maid. The show’s theme song was “Movin’ on Up.” If you in financial difficulty, God has his own time to move us from the prison to the palace.

The time we spent saving our house was for a reason. Sometimes we said, “Let’s just let it go and start over.” But God had a reason for keeping us in the frame of mind to keep it. And lo and behold, we had a huge amount of equity in our property despite the fact that we weren’t smart enough or savvy enough to have refinanced our property multiple times. And of course, we were unemployed! So after I worked for three years, Gino received the vision and burden to move. So we mapped out the best areas for education for our three children, but we were still open for other ideas.

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We had been living next to an affluent area called Beverly, which had nice houses and mansions. I had lived in the adjacent areas most of life, so I knew that area was out of our reach financially.  It was like being in the friend zone. Next the person all the time, but no relationship.

I had always walked through that neighborhood, looking at the tree-lined streets and valuable homes, with their distinct landscaping, and historical/landmark placards and thought, Well maybe one day, when Gino and I retire, we’ll be able to afford something here.

There was one house I really loved, but it didn’t have much closet space.  It was in the school district we wanted to be in, though, and it was a good financial buy because the houses were selling quite high in that area.  It sat and sat and sat and sat; no one wanted to put a contract on it. It was a perfectly good home that had been sitting for about nine months by the time we looked at it.  The owners accepted our offer and we moved into our dream neighborhood that I never thought we’d move into in my lifetime. It certainly wasn’t our real estate savvy or intellect that got us what we have—it was entirely the Lord. As always, all glory goes to Him.

Looking back, I don’t know how we went through hospitalizations, job injuries, financial ruin, employment problems, deaths, and illnesses on both sides of the family, in addition to church turmoil. Whew!

It was during the early years of these trials that God gave me the Psalm 37 formula for overcoming a trial, which I outline in this book, which has guided me through many heartaches and difficulties in my personal walk.  I have not been through everything; maybe I haven’t even been through as much as some, but I’ve been through enough to realize that all power belongs to God and He turns our lives however He chooses. We just have to hold His hand through all the twists and turns.

Through all this, I learned to trust God with my life—my money, my time, and my future.  I learned to rest even when it seemed I should not be resting.

I learned to wait because I never knew what God was trying to work, not only in my life but also in the lives of others during that time.

It took us years to recover from having little or no income, but now I walk down the streets of my beautiful neighborhood and tears come to my eyes because I know where God brought me from spiritually and naturally. Gino and I have never forgotten having so many bills and so little money.

We are just happy to have received God’s favor.

Feel free to leave your story:

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A Package Just in Time

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Here is another story of God working on our behalf.  During one of the many times we had fallen behind on our mortgage, the mortgage company threatened us with foreclosure. This is it; we thought. This time we’re going to lose our home. The lawyers sent us a letter and told us we had to have $2,000 in their office by the next week, or they were going to proceed with foreclosure.

None of our friends really knew how much we needed; Gino just asked for prayer during church services about a “business matter.”  That was on a Friday. Sunday night after service, a dear sister approached us and said that ever since she heard our request, God would not let her alone. She felt burdened to give us a sum of money to the point that she said she did not want to disobey God.

This was a humbling experience; we almost felt ashamed to take any money from her, though we were both certain she wasn’t going to give us any amount that would be terribly helpful. She also said that she told her mother about her burden, and her mother had an envelope for us, as well. She handed my husband both envelopes and told us she was glad to get God off her. We thanked her, thinking it was so nice, but that we were still in trouble.  $2000 was a large sum of money.

On the way home, I opened the first envelope.  $1,000 in cash.  I opened the second one and found another $1,000 in cash.  We were speechless. Of course, we immediately put it in cashier check form and took it to the lawyer’s office. God had miraculously worked on our behalf.  If God has ever so precisely met your needs, you know that this type of blessing is extremely humbling. It does not make you proud or lifted up; it makes you awestruck beyond all reason because it puts you face to face with a real God who can meet real needs.

 

MONDAY MEDITATION -Finding Joy in Darkness

How do you find joy in tribulation?
Often when I’ve been in dark places, I am awed at the peace that surrounds me, and how the Lord helps me to keep emotional pain from damaging my faith in Him. This process has to be supernatural. My mind tells me to panic or be depressed and feel hopeless. To possess joy, I must go beyond the natural and cultivate the spiritual mind. (Romans 8:6b).

about-joy1How do you find joy in tribulation?

Often when I’ve been in dark places, I am amazed at the peace that surrounds me, and how the Lord helps me harness my emotional pains and keep my faith in Him. This process has to be supernatural. On the one hand, my mind tells me to panic and on the other hand, I may begin to feel hopeless and depressed. But I learned that to maintain joy, I must go beyond my thoughts and feelings and cultivate the spiritual mind. Romans 8:6 tells us that to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Having the mind of Christ is a daily challenge. It is a mental state that is easier to achieve before tribulations come, and tough (but not impossible) to achieve after troubles set in.

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6 Things That Will Boost Spirituality in 2017

This weekend I was at an annual family breakfast. The family passed a book around where we could write down our goals. I thought it was a novel idea, but I purposely did not put down spiritual goals, because every year, I plan all these lofty spiritual goals in January and by oh, let’s say March, reality hits me like a ton of bricks.

This weekend I was at an annual family breakfast. The family passed a book around where we could write down our goals. I thought it was a novel idea, but I purposely did not put down spiritual goals, because every year, I plan all these lofty spiritual goals in January and by oh, let’s say March, reality hits me like a ton of bricks. One year, I thought I’d complete a read-through-the-entire-bible program, and I did pretty well until about March. It all fell apart one night when I couldn’t decide whether to study my Sunday School lessons which seemed more immediate, or read five to ten chapters of Genesis because I had skipped a day or two and had to catch up to the reading plan. I couldn’t do both. So the Sunday school lesson won and it was downhill from there. After a while, I dropped off the plan.

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Year-long Bible reading plans are great if that’s the only reading you’re doing by the way. Honestly, I’m not trashing them, but the best-laid plans of mice and men…

Well, you know the rest?

This year, though, I’ve decided to focus on two spiritual goals:

1. Re-reading and studying the gospels and;
2. Begin a local bible study focusing on verse-by-verse study.

The bible study thing, I’ve been praying about for a couple of years, so it’s not a sudden move. I just believe that this year is the year. These aims are not at all what I put in the goal book either–way too much mental energy and explaining to do.

At this moment, my goal is to get past March with my goals intact. I am setting up a teaching ministry with my husband, and I guess that was a previous goal which is coming into its own this year. But, I don’t count that as 2017 goal because it’s in progress already.

Patience truly is a virtue.

The 6 Things:
God made humans ambitious. As a whole, we always strive to improve (no jokes about the lazy people you know). We want to get a little better at something, anything. So we set standards and activities that we hope will get us to the finish line.

By nature, I am a goal oriented person. I am known for getting stuff done because of my A-type personality. I tackle a multitude of little tasks like a pit bull and stay on them entire the entire project is completed. I figure as long as I am moving toward the finish line, it doesn’t matter how fast I’m going. I just want to stay on the path.

I recently woke up with I Corinthians 3 on my mind. In this chapter where Paul chastises the church for taking sides behind different favorite preachers. The Corinthian church wallowed in so much division, side-picking, popular preacher flag- waving and mudslinging that he couldn’t even speak to them on common spiritual things.

Well, since you and I don’t want that type of testimony, let me share six tips gleaned from this bible chapter that will help us boost our spirituality in 2017:

1. Refuse to focus on the size of your church. This is carnal thinking and indicates nothing. Focus instead on the truth that is coming over the pulpit and your own obedience to that message. A church should be a local assembly of sold out believers in Jesus Christ, with the salvation of others as their primary goal. Whether it’s 100 or 10, the warmth of the love of Christ is what is important.

2. Make prayer your highest priority this year. The Corinthians were not a prayerful bunch, and so they ended up arguing about preachers and who is following who, and my preacher is better than your preacher. Tragic. Try to drown out ALL such carnal noise with the serenity of quiet time alone with the Master.

“Sitting at the feet of Jesus, Oh what words I hear him say. Happy place so near and precious, may it find me there each day” (hymnal song)

3. Take time to realize that if it’s good, it’s because of God. THINK SPIRITUALLY. Everything we accomplish in the secular or spiritual world is because God allowed it to prosper. When we focus on His sovereignty over our events, our spirituality will increase, and carnality (from the sinful nature) will decrease. Carnal thinking focuses on things like personality, status, and influence; spirituality focuses on God and Him alone. Paul realized this when he told the Corinthians, “who is Paul or Apollos but preachers by whom you believed?” Both were just instruments in God’s hand. That’s spiritual thinking.

4. Ask God to give you a quality experience with Him. Experiences that will refine you and not burn you up. That is the whole point of Paul’s admonition in this chapter. He says the fire “the test” will reveal the quality of our experience. The next time you are ready to scream in 2017, think about this: it’s the hard times that make us great.

5. Recognize that God is in control. Even though things may seem out of control, understand in whose hands you’ve left the problem. We can look at due dates on bills and wonder how we’re going to meet that and not know the answer, but God knows.

6. Walk circumspectly. Be aware of where you are in your spiritual walk. I always talk about this because, lessons-learned, if I had slowed down and took better inventory of my own life, I would have avoided a lot of entanglements that were spiritual poison and from which I am still recovering. Look around you as you walk forward in God.

Have a great New Year!

 

DO YOU BELIEVE GOD?

Do we have faith in our everyday circumstances and difficulties? Do we believe God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him?

faith-quoteDo we have faith in our circumstances and difficulties? Do we believe God is a deliverer and a rewarder of those that diligently seek him? Is there anything that you are facing now where you can ask yourself do I believe God? We know that Faith without works is a dead faith, but Jesus also said the work of God is to believe on Him.

Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

St. John 6:29

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