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.

 

The Miraculous Bus Ride

In 1989, my husband and I got a chance to be chaplains in a bed-to-bed visitation mission at Hyde Park Hospital, which is now closed in Chicago.  One of the ministers’ cousins was on the religious board at the hospital and was able to recommend us for the task.

While people did come to the Lord during our time there, halfway through our first year, someone on the board started accusing us of not showing up on a weekly basis.  We were astonished because we had not missed a week and always signed in. So we left it in the Lord’s hands, and we were asked to appear before the board to answer their concerns. Whatever the Lord gave us to say was apparently satisfactory to the board and they allowed us to stay. God truly touched their hearts.  For some reason, a mix up with the sign in sheets, it looked like we had not been there in a while.  Faced with the evidence they had, they had a right to be concerned but it was not like it looked at all.

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So it was essential that once this was cleared up that we proved our faithfulness with their new system.   One day, however, we were scheduled to be at the mission, but Gino was also due to be at work at a certain time.   We were pretty poor at the time and this day, we didn’t have enough bus fare for us to get to the hospital and for Gino to get to work. We contemplated calling the hospital Chaplain to let him know we couldn’t make it, but my husband felt led to try to make it.  I always tell people, don’t try this type of faith at home, because people sometimes do crazy things in the name of faith.  You really have to be sure the Lord’s hand is what you are doing.  This time the Lord was with us.

So we went to the bus stop not knowing how this was going to work out, but Gino believed that somehow God would make a way.  I believed him and God had worked for him before.  I believed in his faith and I believed the Lord.  “Maybe someone we know will drive by,” I thought, but God had another way I never expected.

We walked to our usual corner bus stop and noticed the crowd was larger than normal.  So I asked what was going on and nobody seemed to know; except that they pointed out that the bus had been sitting at the prior stop for about fifteen minutes.  So finally, the bus driver pulled up, unceremoniously opened the door, and explained to everyone that at the prior stop, his fare box stopped working and he was doing everything he could to repair it, but it still didn’t work.  So he had to give everyone a three-hour transfer!  Perfect! Can you say “miracle?”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Gino and I looked at each other and said, “Hey, we ain’t gonna argue with that.”  I find it hard to believe that this was not the hand of God, and everyone else got blessed in the process.  That’s just like God.

Excerpt from How to Walk on Water

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A God of Miracles

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God is truly able to work miracles.  So I decided to pen down some of the ones God has worked out in the life of me and my husband Gino for the next few posts.

The Offering Plate

During one church service, Gino had $100 but it was all we had. We needed the money for rent.  My husband strongly believed in giving God the first fruits of his increase. Sitting in the church service, he was trying to decide whether to put the $100 in the offering plate.  As the plate came closer, he decided that “God comes first.”   He said he felt the strong urge to support the work of God and that God would take care of his needs. He believed if he paid his tithes, God would take care of the rest. So he put the $100 in the basket.  He sat there for a while and he told me that he really was feeling calm about his decision.  He just thought that God would allow him to find money or touch our landlord’s heart in some way.   During the preaching, the usher handed him and envelope with  $100 from a “concerned saint”, who had no idea of the struggle he was going through to pay his tithes/rent that day. But God knew and replace the $100 in the same hour.

 

Feel free to share your miracles

Can Oppression Make You Crazy?

Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.

Ecc 7:7 (KJV)

I had never considered this scripture before but it is filled with understanding. Trust me, I will probably be meditating on this for a long time.  Not to excuse crazy behavior, but because I never realized the depths to which oppression can drive a person.

Extortion is a special type of oppression, but in some versions of the bible, the Hebrew word simply rendered Oppression.   To be clear, oppression is being unjustly treated or controlled, especially over a length of time.  This may send anyone over the edge.  God made the human psyche to have free will and not be controlled.  When a person is controlled in everything they do or not allowed to exercise their abilities or gifts, it can make them act out of normal character.  It can cause them to break ranks from the norm.

I believe God wants us to have the understanding for people that have been oppressed.  To expect a group of people or a person to stay under oppressive systems or a person to continue to stay in an oppressive situation is unreasonable.  When God sends us through trials and difficulties, he never allows this just as an exercise in cruelty.  On the spiritual side, it is a controlled situation.  God will get us out of it when He’s ready.

God realizes that persecutions, tyranny, confinement is a punishment that’s against our natural creation. He does not mean for us to stay oppressed.  Even the wisest and humblest person can be affected.

The second part of this scripture says that  “a gift destroyeth the heart”, which is often rendered as “a gift can bribe the heart”.   People can change their principles and integrity for money or support. They get bought out because of something they want.  As Christians, this is something we should never do.  We should keep our beliefs and integrity even if the entire world turns against us, as long as we are leaning on scripture.

The moral of all this:  good men can be turned and we have to be careful to not allow ourselves to be moved from a godly path in life.

What Is Worth More Than Money?

According to the bible, money is less valuable than wisdom and understanding; neither of which you can spend at Neiman-Marcus nor Macy’s but stick with me.

Some people never realize that money has its limits.  Now, I know you may say “hold up”, everybody needs it and nobody really turns it down, do they?  And many may even quote me the scripture that it’s the “love” of money that’s the root of all evil, not the money itself.  All true, but here’s what I’ve noticed.  In all the talk of people trying to defend the value of money in our lives, nobody really talks about the limited value of money.

According to the bible, money is less valuable than wisdom and understanding; neither of which you can spend at Neiman Marcus nor Macy’s but stick with me.

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According to Solomon, who had lots and lots of the stuff?  He says that looking over his wealth he realizes that money will not protect you in times of trouble.  It may actually create more troubles for you.  You’d be surprised if you just did a quick search of the term money in the book of Ecclesiastics and Proverbs see what Solomon had to say about money.

 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it. Ecclesiastes 7:12

This is the same man who said that money is the answer to everything.  And that is probably true in more cases than not in this world.  However, Solomon wrote down his observations about life in specific and just his passing observations.   In his writings, it is clear that his greatest treasure was his relationship with God.  He knew that it would outlast every dime that he possessed.

So as you go about your week, and work hard to get money, keep in the mind the things that money cannot buy and the eternal things that Solomon tells us is worth more than all the gold in the world.