Author Archive

Dream for the Church: March 2011

I feel led to write about a dream that I had in March of 2011. I dreamt that I was in an old church. The church was in need of an enormous amount of work. I was helping to clean and work on the church with many other people (none of whom I knew). As I was working I was also eating. I had this bowl and I would just keep eating this food that looked like a cross between communion wafers and crackers. And as I was cleaning, working, and eating I looked down and there was a rattle snake right in front of me. It took me by surprise and I jumped back and yelled to this woman who was in the same room as me. She just seemed to ignore me, so I went closer to her and told her again that there was a snake in the corner. She seemed irritated, almost like I was wasting her time, and she finally looked over and said that she didn’t see anything. (This dream was so different from the rest of the dreams that I normally have. Most of the other dreams I have all seem to be in parables and I must look up certain symbols, write the dreams down, and pray about them to get an interpretation of what God is saying to me. In this dream it seemed like God was talking to me the whole time as though there was a running commentary.)

I was still eating and God told me that what I was eating was manna, which was the Word of God. He (God) said that the reason the woman could not see the snake which represented satan and his lies, was because she was not continually eating from the Word of God. He said that too many in the Church are blind to satan and his lies because they do not eat enough from the Word of God. He told me that if I continue to eat the manna all of the time, that I would be able to see the things that satan is doing and know his lies.

I then went down the halls of the church. They were walls almost like concrete. They were very old and they looked like something you would find in the Mediterranean parts of the world. They needed plastering, cleaning, and repair. There were many other people working on the walls of this church, but none of the people that I remember seeing were eating. As I ate the manna, it would either replenish itself or if I happened to run out I would just pretend to eat and within no time at all the manna would reappear.

I decided that I wanted to walk outside to see where the church was; like if it looked like it was in Minnesota (where I am from), or if there were palm trees, etc. I went outside and the church was beautiful, but it was very apparent that it still needed a lot of work. I could not tell where the church was. There was a makeshift parking lot and it almost looked like the church was in a forest. The trees were beautiful, thick, dense, dark, and so big.

Here is what I believe that this dream means, and what God wants the Church to hear… I believe that the church building in this dream represents the Church or Body of Christ. I believe that the Church is beautiful, but needs a lot of work. And that the Church is in a forest so to speak, a place where there is an abundance, but a place that if not tread upon properly can be very dangerous and unproducing.

First, the church walls needs plastering. In the Bible it says, “8 This is what the Lord says: ‘In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, 9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. 10 They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. 11 ‘I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.’ 12 See, they will come from afar—some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan. 13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. 14 But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ 15 ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.’” Isaiah 49:8-16

I believe the Church’s walls need to be plastered. If you look up the meaning of the word “plaster”, it literally means to “cover”. Speaking about us, I believe God is saying that our walls (us…who we are, and those things that we put up to protect ourselves) are ever before Him. And He wants to be our protection. He wants to cover us! Just like plaster covers and protects walls, so God wants to cover and protect us.

Last night I finished an amazing book called, “Outrageous Courage: What God Can Do With Raw Obedience and Radical Faith” by Kris and Jason Vallotton (a father and son). I really like the Epilogue where he talks about how we are all created for MORE, how we are created for adventure and how God wants to use us in great and mighty ways. And how in “each of us is this incredible need to be significant, even heroic…” But how “when the curtain begins to close on our life’s drama, many of us are left with a boring script about a monotonous journey filled with carefully planned, riskless days that we have somehow exchanged for the Great Adventure.” He then continues by saying that when we are “born again by faith” that God gives us a document to sign and that the Holy Spirit also signs the contract, but He signs it “Comforter”. And “it seldom occurs to us, however, that we are supposed to live our lives in such a way that we need” a Comforter! “Some folks are ignorant of what they got themselves into when they asked Christ into their lives. You can pick these baffled believers out of a crowd because their prayers sound something like, ‘Here kitty, kitty, kitty.’ They are stunned when the Lion of the tribe of Judah emerges out from behind the door, with a roar that would raise the dead! Then they spend most of their lives trying to domesticate and potty train the big cat, hoping to control their own destiny. But until you stick your head into the mouth of the Lion, you have not really seen the depths of the Kingdom!” 1

The point is, God wants to be our Provider, our Comforter, our Cover, and our Protection! And we as a Church need to let Him be!
Second, the church needs cleaning. For far too long, the Church has believed the lies of the Enemy! And in believing those lies we have become “unclean” so to speak. We have allowed those lies to affect every aspect of our lives, and we need our lives cleaned out from those lies.

And thirdly, we need to be repaired. Those broken things, those hurt things, those damaged areas of our lives need to be fixed, repaired, and restored. And when these things are made right; when we allow God to truly be King over our lives, when we trust Him above all else, when we get those lies of the Enemy cleaned from our midst, and when we get those hurts and damaged areas fixed and made right by our great Physician, then and only then God can truly use us and give us the MORE that He has for us. But in order for the Church to get to where it needs to be, we need to eat of His Word.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

“16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
1 Taken from “Outrageous Courage: What God Can Do With Raw Obedience and Radical Faith” by Kris and Jason Vallotton, pages 149-152.

Healing Part 1: Where Does Sickness Come From?

Jesus says in John 10:10 NIV, “THE THIEF COMES ONLY TO STEAL AND KILL AND DESTROY; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  Satan is the thief that only comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  But Jesus comes to give us a life of fullness.

Some translations say that that Jesus comes so that we can have life to the abundance, the word abundance means: “a large amount: a plentiful quantity of something, a lifestyle with more than adequate material provisions, and the fullness of spirit that overflows”.

In Luke chapter thirteen, Jesus heals a woman that had been crippled for eighteen years.  In Luke 13:16 KJV it says, “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, WHOM SATAN HAS BOUND, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?”  Here it says that Satan had bound this woman, not God.

In Acts 10:38 NIV it says, “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and HEALING ALL WHO WERE UNDER THE POWER OF THE DEVIL, because God was with him.”  Here it says that Jesus went around doing good and healing all those that were under the power of the Devil.  Whose power?  The Devil’s!

In reading Kenneth E. Hagin’s “Redeemed From Poverty, Sickness, and Spiritual Death”, he tells the story of John Alexander Dowie and how he received revelation on the subject of divine healing.

John Alexander Dowie was a pastor of a church in Sydney, Australia when the bubonic plague struck around 1875.  He buried forty members of his church in less then one month and four more people from his congregation died and were yet to be buried.  Many others became sick with this awful plague, in which there was no cure.

“After visiting the many sick members of his flock one day, Dr. Dowie returned home and sat in his study, his arms folded upon his desk, his head upon his arms, weeping before God.

‘God, is everybody going to die?’ he cried.  ‘Are you going to take everybody?  Where did this plague come from?  Are you the author of this?’  He was heartsick at the thought of the families that would be torn apart by the plague; at the children who would be left orphans.”

John Alexander Dowie later wrote that the words found in Acts 10:38 stood out before him as a light, showing Satan as the Defiler, and Christ as the Healer.  “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”  Acts 10:38 KJV

“‘My tears were wiped away,’ Dr. Dowey said, ‘my heart was strong.  I saw the way of healing, and the door thereto was opened wide, so I said, ‘God help me now to preach the Word to all the dying around, and tell them how ‘tis Satan who defiles, and Jesus still delivers, for “He is just the same today.”’

He did not have long to wait. Within minutes, two young men burst into his study, pleading breathlessly, ‘Oh, come at once.  Mary is dying!’  Dr. Dowie ran down the street after them, not even pausing to take his hat.  He was furious that Satan should have attacked this innocent young member of his flock.

Dr. Dowie entered Mary’s room and found her in convulsions.  Her medical doctor, having given up on her, was preparing to leave.  He turned to Dr. Dowie and remarked, ‘Sir, are not God’s ways mysterious?’

The revelation Dr. Dowie had just received from the Word of God was burning in his heart.  ‘God’s way!’ he thundered.  ‘How dare you call that God’s way!  No, sir, that is the devil’s work!

He challenged the physician, who was a member of his congregation, ‘Can you pray the prayer of faith that saves the sick?’

The doctor replied, ‘You are much too excited, sir, ‘tis best to say God’s will be done,’ and he left.

‘Excited!  The word was quite inadequate for I was almost frenzied with Divinely imparted anger and hatred of that foul destroyer, Disease, which was doing Satan’s will,’ Dowie wrote.

‘It is not so,’ I exclaimed, no will of God sends such cruelty, and I shall never say “God’s will be done” to Satan’s works, which God’s own Son came to destroy, and this is one of them.  Oh, how the Word of God was burning in my heart…”

Furious at Satan’s work, Dr. Dowie then prayed the prayer of faith for Mary and the girl’s convulsions immediately ceased, and she fell into such a deep sleep, so much so that her mother worried that she had died.  “‘She isn’t dead,’ the triumphant Dr. Dowie assured them.

After several minutes, Dr. Dowie awakened Mary.  She turned to her mother and exclaimed, ‘Mother, I feel so well!’”

Dr. Dowie quietly thanked God and then went into the next room where Mary’s brother and sister lay with the same plague.  After prayer, they too were also completely healed.

From that day on John Alexander Dowie ministered to his

flock on divine healing and continued to pray for their healing, and because of his belief in divine healing he never lost another one of his church members to the plague.

The Bible says that Jesus healed ALL that came to Him!!!

In Matthew 4:24 NIV the Bible says (talking about Jesus),“News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.”  The Bible doesn’t say that He (Jesus) healed some, or His favorites, or those that were religious enough, or good enough, but it says that “he healed them” Who did He heal?  “all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed”!  Jesus healed them ALL!

Again in Matthew 8:16 KJV it says “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and HEALED ALL THAT WERE SICK:” Once again, He didn’t just heal some, but He healed ALL!

In Matthew 12:15 NIV it says, “Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place.  A large crowd followed him, and he healed ALL WHO WERE ILL.”

Luke 4:40 KJV says, “Now when the sun was setting, ALL they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on EVERYONE OF THEM, AND HEALED THEM.”

And Luke 6:19 NIV says, “and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them ALL.”

So it is very apparent that Jesus went about not only healing some, but most of the time He healed all who were sick, depending on whether they believed or not.

One of my favorite verses says in Acts 10:34 KJV, “… God is no respecter of persons”, another translation reads that God does not show favoritism.  The reason I like this verse so much is that God is not impartial, He loves us all, no matter what we have done, or who we are, or where we have come from.  What God does for one, He will do for all!

The Bible says in Matthew 12:25-26 KJV, “…Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?”

And again in Matthew 3:24 KJV, “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

So Jesus couldn’t give people disease and sickness and then heal them, because then His Kingdom could not and would not stand!!!

So with all of these verses, it is more than apparent that the author of sickness, disease, and death, both physical, mental, and spiritual is from Satan, NOT FROM GOD.  God does not put sickness and disease on people to teach them a lesson or to try to mature them and make them into better Christians.  Sickness is NOT a blessing, but a curse!  Sickness is pain and suffering and steals from people.  It steals their hopes, their dreams, and their very life.  It steals family members, children, parents, siblings.  Sickness destroys people, and brings death!  It is Satan who does those evil things!  Not God!

Isaiah prophesied about the coming of Christ and what He would do for His people.  In Isaiah 53:5 NIV it says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”  Jesus died so our sins could be forgiven, we would be free from poverty, and so we could be free from sickness and disease, all while we are living on this earth.  If we say that God is the author of sickness and disease, then His life and His death were in vain, but praise God He is the Author of Life and in Him there is life to the fullest!

Amazing Testimonies of God Providing for His People

Rolland and Heidi Baker have a ministry in Mozambique, Africa called Iris Ministries. The below testimonies are taken from their website:

Before being called to Africa, Rolland and Heidi Baker longed to go to Africa in fulfillment of their calling to prove the Gospel in the most challenging situation they could find. They wanted to see a continuation of “Visions Beyond the Veil,” which is a book that was written by Rolland’s grandfather (H. A. BAKER) after he took care of and ministered to orphans in China, in which the orphans were saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and were taken up in visions to God’s Holy Throne. Roland and Heidi were drawn to Mozambique, officially listed at the time as the poorest country in the world.

A few days into their initial visit to Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, they were offered an orphanage that no one could or would support, not even large churches in South Africa or European donor nations. The Chihango center, was a previously government-run children’s center. Conditions were bleak. Over 30 years of warfare within the nation’s borders left an enormous population of orphans, with countless others living in extreme poverty. Government aid was nearly nonexistent. At Chihango – which represented the government’s best effort to care for homeless children – food was scarce, living quarters stark and medical care all but absent. The most “incorrigible” children from street gangs were often brought there as a last resort. Physical and sexual abuse were common. A very large proportion of the children were infected with STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). Thievery was to be expected, especially from the officials in charge. Efforts at education were insignificant. It was horribly neglected and dilapidated, with 80 miserable, demon-afflicted orphans in rags.

Rolland and Heidi thought it was a perfect test of the Sermon on the Mount. Saying that “our Father in heaven knows what we need. Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, and these things will be ours as well…Take no thought for tomorrow. Why worry? Jesus is enough for us, for anyone.”

On one of Heidi’s first visits to the children’s center, she gave away an open bag of potato chips from her truck window as she prepared to leave. This began a miniature riot. Children instantly attacked one another, tearing at the bag. They bit and clawed in the dust for the last of the chips. In the mostly empty buildings, roofs had collapsed onto bare concrete floors. Chihango displayed all the most terrible realities of the developing world, but Iris had also found what it had sought, a place where it could make the greatest possible difference in the day-to-day lives of those who had lived as the unwanted.

Alone and without support, they offered to take over the center and provide for the children in return for the opportunity to bring the Gospel to them. Within months the children were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, weeping while still in rags with gratitude for their salvation.

Jesus provided miraculously; more so as the children prayed night and day for their daily food. God provided more than enough food, every day – which at times required various miracles of finance, unsolicited aid from strangers, and occasionally of supernatural multiplication. The Iris staff began to take in more children from the streets, and after a year there were 320 children.

Despite story after story of extreme neglect, most of the children began to show a remarkable joy in short order. They worshiped and prayed with all their hearts. Many were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to manifest healings, visions, and many other spiritual gifts. IrisMinistries brought in teams, improved the center, and took the children to the streets to testify to more orphaned and abandoned children. Some were lost in visions, taken to heaven and danced around the throne of God on the shoulders of angels.

While all these things occurred, witch doctors often chanted curses around bonfires at the property’s edges at night, and the echoing sounds of AK47 fire, both far and near, were heard daily. Electricity was sporadic, and maintaining access to clean drinking water was difficult. Many thousands of dollars worth of goods were stolen over the passing months. Bureaucrats obstructed paperwork in an attempt to acquire bribes. Corrupt police and displaced ex-soldiers stopped vehicles constantly, extorting bribes for trivial or invented violations. Burglars broke into the property repeatedly. The staff at Iris underwent many muggings, and some were supernaturally rescued from deadly threats. These were relatively small difficulties compared to what was coming.

But abruptly, after they got up to 320 children, the government evicted Iris Ministries and denied the children permission to pray and worship on the property. And Heidi was informed that she personally could not re-enter the property. It was also said around the community that a contract had been put out to kill her (for twenty U.S. dollars).

The children were immediately forbidden to pray or sing any of the worship songs they had learned. Many more of the activities they had enjoyed came to a sudden stop. They missed their friends at Iris, the long-term staff and the short-term visitors. They greatly missed Papa Rolland and Mama Aida (Heidi). So when they next entered the big dining room, which had also been used as for church meetings on Sundays, they simply began to sing praise and worship songs at the top of their lungs. They were beaten and chastised for this, but in the end they absolutely refused to accept the changes. They would take their chances on the streets rather than live under such rules. Totally without a back-up plan, the children marched off the property barefoot and without a home. They lost everything.

One by one at first, and later in groups, almost all of them left Chihango and began to hitchhike and even walk the many hot miles back to the city. Since arriving in Mozambique, Rolland, Heidi, and their 2 children had been renting a small, single-story house in Maputo. Staying there now, uncertain of their future in Mozambique, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by a swelling crowd of children who wanted to stay with them and worship God, no matter what. There was no space for so many, but it was unthinkable to turn them away. Dozens began to camp at the house, and their numbers were growing fast.

Iris’s people began scrambling to find some sort of emergency location for the children to stay. Two small Christian missions heard about what had happened, and volunteered to keep groups of children in some of their unused buildings for up to three months. Their offer came just in time. Everyone who had fled from Chihango found shelter.

At one point during the week after this exodus, with more than 50 children still packed into Rolland and Heidi’s house, food had begun to run low. Nelda, a friend from the U.S. embassy, came to visit them, bringing a pot of chili for Rolland, Heidi, and their two children. But “I have a big family,” Heidi replied. Nelda protested that she had only brought enough for the Bakers, but Heidi gave thanks for the food and immediately began serving it to the encamped kids. The pot, brought to feed 4 people, was not empty until more then 50 people had eaten!

The situation continued to appear desperate for some time, but as the three months were coming to an end, they began to taste the power of God in Mozambique. Land was donated by a nearby city. They got tents and food from South Africa. Provision came in from supernaturally touched hearts all over the world. Soon they could actually build their own dorms. And practically overnight a new village of children sprang up where a week before there had been only grass and trees. It was even more basic than Chihango had been, but it would do for the time being – and the children were overjoyed. Iris’s little community had prayed long and hard for water, both in spirit and in the natural. Very soon, a new well was dug at Machava, yielding fresh, clean water. Iris now had an abundance of both kinds of water.

By the end of its third year in Mozambique, Iris had acquired and lost one major center, begun a new base from the dirt up in Machava, and purchased a new compound at Zimpeto, an outlying district of Maputo. Zimpeto lay at the outskirts of the capital, close to what Heidi calls her favorite church: the “bocaria,” Maputo’s largest dump, where crowds of the poor scavenged mountains of trash for a scant living. Many of the greatest miracles Iris has witnessed occurred there. Many circumstances at this time remained difficult, but all the most bitter setbacks – of which there were many more than can be told – were more than offset by the extraordinary wonders and the manifest presence of God.

One such event, which has permanently shaped the values of Iris, occurred when Heidi, exhausted in the midst of the Chihango struggles, flew out to a Christian renewal conference in North America. She was in especially desperate need of renewal, exhausted by the work and the responsibility of over 320 who called her “Mama Aida.” Finances were tight. Two doctors had just told her she absolutely could not make the trip because she had a serious case of double pneumonia and blood poisoning. But being stubborn in faith and spirit, she boarded a plane anyway and flew more than 30 hours to the conference.

At the very start of the event God opened up her lungs and allowed her to breathe freely. Each day after, amid constant worship, teaching and prayer, her strength increased. She spent many hours receiving prayer from loving people on the ministry team. Heidi often tells of finding it difficult to be still and receive after years of speaking and teaching, but this soon became a deeply healing time for her.

One night she began to feel like she was having birth pains, and lay groaning in intercession for the children of Mozambique. She began to see them. There were thousands coming towards her. She cried, “No, Lord, there are too many!” Then she saw Jesus, and heard him say, “Look into my eyes. You give them something to eat.” He took a piece of his broken body out of his side and it became bread, and she began to give it to the children. Again Jesus said, “Look into my eyes. You give them something to drink.” He gave her a cup of the blood and water that flowed from his side, and she gave this to the children to drink. The Lord said, “There will always be enough bread and drink, because I paid the price with my life. Don’t be afraid. Only believe.” She returned to Mozambique with supernatural strength.

Ever since, one of the absolute core principles of Iris has been to offer a home to any child found in Mozambique without a family, regardless of financial or other considerations. The numbers grow. More testimonies are now accumulating than can be written – but the great story of this rising generation of children is just beginning.

Bush pastors longed for a Bible school, and to receive what the children had received from the Holy Spirit. Graduates went out and began healing the sick and raising the dead and church growth in the bush exploded.

As churches swelled and community outreaches multiplied, Iris began to expand into other nations, opening bases in similar ways. As of this writing, Iris is active in fifteen nations, and is still growing. As expansion has proceeded far faster than all initial expectations, Iris is hard at work to develop effective, Spirit-led, new organizational capacities to serve the movement. Their ministry has been entirely miraculous: they currently feed well over 10,000 children a day, as well as various members of many other communities, currently including 4,000 families in Malawi.

Its network of churches also numbers more than 10,000, including some 2,000 churches among the Makua people of northern Mozambique. Iris operates 5 Bible schools, in addition to its 3 primary schools, and its school of missions in Pemba. Current major projects include continuing outreaches to very remote coastal regions and a special well-drilling initiative.

Iris ministries believe that the best is yet to come as the Word of God is spread in power to the remote corners of the world, to the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, and to the people who have never before tasted the goodness of God. They believe these people will be drawn to the King’s great banquet!

God’s Not Sleeping

One thing that amazes me is that in life it is very easy to pass judgments.  As people, we are constantly passing judgments on others for how they do things and whether we think that they are doing them right, or properly, or if we think that there is a better way to do them.

I have always been very good at judging.  In fact, before I had children (and sometimes even after) I was the master at judging.  I would constantly look at others and think that there had to be a better way to do certain things.  These people could keep their house clean, or get their laundry done, or they could spend more time with their children if only they did things the way I thought that they should do them.  I justified this behavior because I really cared about the people and wanted so badly to help them and to make their problems either go away or I wanted to help them lessen the loads that they were carrying.  But then I had children and every theory I ever had just jumped right out the window, and I realized that God does different things in different people’s lives and who was I to judge another?  And I also came to recognize that it was such a pain to have good meaning people who loved me, try to tell me how to live.  I wasn’t un-teachable; I just needed to live and to do things my way, just like every other person in the world.  I needed to stumble and I needed to get back up and do it over again, because this is how we learn.

One kind of judgment I constantly passed was actually on different men and women in the Bible.  I would read about, and look at the different Bible characters and really get frustrated!  What were these people thinking?  I mean look at the people from Moses’ time?!  How could they have seen God do all that He did in Egypt, and even see Him open the Red Sea and yet not trust Him to take care of the rest of their needs?  Did they really think He would go to all of the trouble of saving them, just to leave them in the dessert?

Or how about Peter?  Really, even after being told that he would deny his beloved Friend, his Teacher, and his Lord, he did it anyway!

But you have to love God.  He is able to turn men’s hearts.  It wasn’t until I was in my dessert and crying out to God that He gently pointed out that I really wasn’t that different from the people of Moses’ time.  I was shocked!  He was right!  I was acting the same way.  Here God had shown me over and over that He was faithful and that He cared and that He wanted to not only take care of my needs, but He also wanted to bless me.  And the whole time I was crying out to Him saying, “Oh, Lord, have you forgotten me?”

I was amazed; maybe I wasn’t as different as these people after all?  But I thought, I am also faced with a choice, I can either choose to continue in my lack of faith and die in my dessert or I can step up and out of the hole I have dug for my self and make sure I get out of my dessert.  And the only way I can do that is to trust God, even when it is beyond hard!

The word trust means to rely on, to depend upon, and to have confidence, belief, or assurance in someone.  God wants us to trust completely in Him.  He wants us to rely on Him, depend on Him, have confidence in Him, believe Him, and have assurance in Him.

The people in the Bible times continuously saw the greatness of God.  The disciples that were with Jesus day in and day out watched Him heal the sick, bring sight to the blind, and do so many other amazing miracles, and yet when the time to trust Him came, they were not always so quick to trust, nor was it always very easy for them.  I have always loved the story of Jesus calming the storm.

“35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’  36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.  There were also other boats with him.

37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.  The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet!  Be still!’  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?’

41 They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” (Mark 4:35-41 NIV)

This was another time that I had been critical of the people mentioned in the Bible.  I looked at them and was filled with wonder at their lack of faith.  I must be a bit of a slow learner, because even after the great revelation that God had shown me about my heart and how I had acted like the Israelites in the dessert, here I was again, wondering how anyone could walk with Jesus every day, eating, and sleeping, and living with the Son of God and not trust that He would keep them safe in a storm?  Did they not know who He was?

But then one day the Lord brought this story to my mind and showed me the error of my ways, once again…  He said that I walked, talked, ate, slept, and lived with the Son of God and yet when the storms in my life come up, I wasn’t always so quick to trust in the Lord either.  I was astounded, and yet I couldn’t argue.  God was right.  I was no different then His disciples of long ago, just like I was no different then the Israelites.  I had seen all that the Lord has done in my life, and yet when my life became a little shaken, and the Lord seemed far away; as though He were sleeping peacefully on a cushion, I too would cry out to the Lord asking Him if He cared what happened to me.

But what I had once again forgotten as did the men of old was that, ‘Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!’”

So the next time your life seems out of control and you feel like the Lord is sleeping on the job and doesn’t care if you parish, or survive the battles that you are facing, remember, God is in control!  He is there with you, whether it feels like it or not.  God says, “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)  He has made a place for you to rest in His shadow, He will be your refuge and your fortress, He will save you from the trap of the Enemy, and any deadly disease (Psalm 91:1-4), “4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.  9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.  11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.  14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’” (Psalm 91:4-16 NIV)

God loves you, and contrary to popular belief, He is not out to get you!  He wants to prosper you, and give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  He is a loving Father, His will is always for your good, and that does not include sickness and disease or any other bad thing that you would not lovingly place on your own child.  The Bible says that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but that Jesus comes to give us an abundant life (John 10:19).  He wants to give us a life that is plentiful, well-supplied, copious, and rich.  He is the Father that none of us had!  And I am not saying that my own father was ever bad, but God is just so great, that His greatness and His love cannot be compared with that of man.  He loves you and He wants good for you, no matter what you have ever done.

He Golfed, and I Fought

I have found in my life that trusting God with every part of my life is not only imperative, but it is very beneficial.  God is so great and He will never let you down when you give Him your whole heart and trust him completely and entirely with every aspect of your life.

“I was eighteen when I got married, and my husband was nineteen. We were very immature and really knew nothing about how a marriage was supposed to work. We didn’t know how to communicate in any way, and from the beginning I believed God Almighty had sent me on a mission to change my husband in any way that I could. I knew that he would be the perfect man if only he would do as I wanted. We were both very stubborn, so I’m sure you can imagine what our marriage looked like. He golfed, and I fought. What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t fighting Satan like I originally thought, but instead I was fighting God and my husband. Praise God, divorce wasn’t an option in either of our minds (probably because we were both too stubborn), or I wouldn’t be sitting here telling you the testimony of God’s grace.”

My trust in God is what got me through the first few years of my marriage. Life was hard. I was lonely; I felt like I was the only one who was going through the kind of trials that I was going through. I was hard pressed on every side, and it’s hard when you’re in the midst of trials to realize that even though you’re hard pressed, you’re not crushed. I was confused about what was going on and wondering if things were ever going to change, but I was never left without hope.

Even in my loneliness I was never really abandoned or on my own. God never leaves us or forsakes us. During those few years, I constantly cried out to God. I tried to listen to what He told my heart and was willing to do what He wanted me to do. I spent every day in the Word. During those first few years I spent every second of every day dying to my flesh, and God delivered me from anger, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, condemnation, jealously, self-pity, and I’m sure many other things.

Somewhere during those first years, after crying out to God, I remember being in a Christian bookstore when this book jumped out at me. The name of the book was Is There a Moose in Your Marriage? (renamed The Politically Incorrect Wife). I grabbed the book off of the shelves and thought to myself, “Praise God! Finally, God has answered my prayers. Of course there is a moose in my marriage, and his name is Mr. Rory Wolff.” So I bought the book. Finally I was going to get the help I needed, and my husband would finally be the husband I knew he should be.

The book started out talking about how in Alaska once in a while a large moose will walk onto the road and just sit there. If you are trying to drive somewhere there is really no way to get the moose out of the way. Not only are they dangerous, but I doubt most moose are going to listen to you honk your horn. I sat there reading the book with a goofy grin on my face, thinking, “I know this book was written for me; and boy, she must know my husband.” The book continued on, and I soon realized that the author wasn’t referring to my husband as being the moose but me! This came as a bit of a shock. You see, up until this point I had blamed him, his parents, and everyone else for the problems in our marriage, never really realizing that it takes two to make a marriage and two to break a marriage. Sure, he had as many issues as I did, but I soon came to perceive that no matter what, I will never be able to change anyone but myself. And even in changing myself I came to understand that I really couldn’t even do that on my own. I needed God’s help. We are unable to do anything without God, but with God we can do all things through Him who gives us strength (Phil. 4:13). It was still very tempting to try to change him, but in changing myself and dying to my flesh, I changed.

When I finally changed and God delivered me from sins, past hurts, wrong ways of thinking, and many other bondages, for the first time I was happy, clean, and free, and I no longer had to have the control, because I knew that God was in control. I knew that if God was the one in control all would be well. This didn’t happen overnight. Everything in life is a process and a season. Just as most people aren’t instantly transformed after they have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior; most people aren’t instantly healed or delivered. I finally got to a point where I no longer had the need to change my husband. I wasn’t 100 percent satisfied with him, but I knew God would do a much better job than me. It was at this point in my life that my husband started to change, as did our marriage. He started to trust me and really love me, and we started to grow into one flesh. It was never easy, but it was a million times worth it to lay down my hurts, sins, pain, and even my husband on the throne and let God take the burden and fix it all.

I think it’s rough for Americans to get married because we are so used to having everything that we want. We are selfish, and we have these incorrect expectations. We enter into marriage and soon realize it’s not what we first thought, and then we want out. When I first got married it only took a week for me to realize that it was no honeymoon. I prayed to God and asked Him, “Why, after all the years of praying for the perfect husband and marriage, did You not give them to me?” I actually felt mad at God, like He had tricked me or had allowed Satan to trick me. But I clearly heard Him say that, like everything in life, if something is just given to you without any effort or work, not only will it not be worth as much to you but you will take it for granted. He really was answering my prayers, just not in the way I thought He would. He wanted me to have the best marriage, and He wanted me to hold it in high regard and never to take it for granted, but in order for that to happen I had to work for it.

Once I got my old ways of thinking out of the way I used to imagine Rory and I happily married. I would tell God my thoughts in detail. I would tell Him that I imagined that I would one day be a great vessel for Him to use and trust, and that I would be the woman of God that He created me to be. I imagined Rory and I would have the best marriage. We would be able to communicate. Rory would love me, and we’d have children, which at this time Rory didn’t want. I would dream out loud to God all of the time. I always made sure my thoughts were in line with His Word and His will for my life. Then I would tell God, “I imagine really big, God, but You promise to do immeasurably more than I ask or imagine.”

My life isn’t perfect, and I’m still imagining really big, believing God for bigger, but God has done exactly as He has promised. He has taken me to heights beyond anything I could have dreamed. He has restored my marriage, given me a wonderful husband, seven beautiful children whom Rory adores, and has changed me in the process. I still need a lot of changing. My heart isn’t always right. I still struggle with selfishness, I’m impatient in life and sometimes toward my children, and I struggle with how to balance my time in a fashion that glorifies God; but I know I am still a work in progress, and someday these and many other hidden sins will be taken from my life. I will continue day by day to grow closer to God through it all. I was willing to press through the hard things in life and was tremendously blessed because of it.”  (Taken from my book “A Heart After God”. Chapter Two, David Vs. Saul: Trust God In All Things)