Once again, I have been finding myself in quiet times of reflection, recalling my life lived largely unprepared and unrehearsed. I can see all the
paths God led me down -- even when I was unaware He was lighting the
way. I can tell you that if left to myself, I would not have
ended up as blessed as I've been. And so I am thankful that I was willing to
let my spirit be shepherded. There were critical points along the way
at which a crucial decision had to be made that would have far-reaching
consequences. I am grateful that I didn't stumble too many times in making those
decisions... and when I did stumble, that I humbly received the correction from God that put me back on His path.
And here is something that I believe with all my heart: God's purpose for each of us here on earth is written next to our names in the Book of Life. But that doesn't mean we always adhere to God's will for us, and I'll be honest, I can be stubborn and rebellious. So, I'm here to testify of the goodness of God in my life; to use both His rod and His staff to guide me.
There have been many pivotal crossroads in my history, and the history of my marriage. but I think the one that has yielded the most benefit to us [and fruit for God], was when we took the leap of faith to trust a vision my husband had in which God told him that He was going to sanctify us and our property for service to Him. You need to understand that this was highly unusual for my husband, Mark. He is not one who has lots of dreams or visions. But when he began to earnestly study God's Word and seeking His Truth, God showed up. He revealed the steps He wanted Mark to take to consecrate and purify us and the land, so that we would be approved to serve His particular purpose in our lives. In return, He would lead us to that purpose as He trained us and equipped us to carry out our assignment. In reality, God was calling us into covenant with Him. From that day, it's been about believing in Him and His promise.
I want to make it perfectly clear that the path we are on has been unconventional, to say the least, and there are Christians who will find it hard to agree with our testimony. You see, the Lord led us away from the "religion" of the Church building to show us His heart for the world and our place in it. Maybe you identify with us, and know that leaving the building does not mean you've left God. In fact, you've been shown how to impact the world for Him in ways that show the un-churched that He is real and worth getting to know ... really know!
And maybe you remember those years in which you felt a prompting from the Holy Spirit to store a little extra food, or you spent the time to learn how to defend yourself in the case of a national crisis. Maybe you, too, were looked upon as "conspiracy nuts" or suffered those smirks and rolled eyes. You were told that your concerns were unnecessary because "nothing can happen; we're the United States of America and the greatest country on earth". Or, maybe like us, your Christian friends kept trying to convince you that the faithful didn't have to worry -- Jesus has already won the victory, and where was our trust in Him that He would never leave us nor abandon us? But let me ask you this ... are those same friends (both believers and non-believers) now coming to you and asking, "How do I ____?", or "Where can I get ____?" or "Do you think Jesus is coming back soon?"
It's not that we were [or are] prophets or anyone special. It was just part of the journey that God was taking us on. In fact, my introspective husband recently told me that he has realized that God has been training us up for this very time. Our Father knows the beginning from the end, and knew that we would one day face the very real possibility of a collapsing economy, with a shrinking dollar, food shortages, loss of jobs, a pandemic, etc. etc. He knew the people who would be trainable and willing to consider preparing by learning to plant a garden, store a little extra food, learn how to can, and learn how to live without. And He knew who He could trust to minister to the souls and inner wounds of people who will be victims of the lies of the Enemy; people who are going to be hurting from oppression, depression, and torment as they see what is coming upon the earth. God needs His people to lead in all these areas; physically, emotionally and spiritually.
It is time for each of us to become who God made us to be in this time. We must lift all people up! Not just those who are members of our church denomination, but each and every person who needs the saving grace of Jesus Christ. And I'm not talking about grace as "unmerited favor". I'm suggesting we offer them Biblical grace -- the power of Jesus Christ in them to help them do what they can't do on their own. We are all going to need that power in the coming months and years. Yes, our hope is that we will offer Jesus's invitation to accept Salvation [and that it will be received]. But I have also heard the religious principle that it is the Church's responsibility to care for their own first, and then for others as they are able. But, that has never seemed to me to represent Jesus's heart.
From everything I've read in the four Gospels, Jesus commanded His followers to help all in need. That is made clear in Matthew 25 when Jesus commends those who fed the hungry and gave drink to the thirsty; welcomed the stranger and clothed the naked; visited those in prison and met the needs of "the least of His brothers". I see no qualifier that any of these people had to be part of His inner circle or even have known Him. He simply tells us what He expects from us ... But love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; for your reward will be great (rich, abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High; because He Himself is kind and gracious and good to the ungrateful and the wicked (Luke 6:35).
With this admonition in mind, it is now time to put into practice all that God has equipped us with, trained us for, and enabled us to do. We must encourage all people, because what we see happening applies to all of us, both believer and non-believer alike. The Christian community is looking for God to rescue them because He's already won the victory, right? And those who don't know Jesus are going to come to the realization that what they've achieved in their comfortable lives is not giving them the security they thought it would provide. Both groups are going to need encouragement to rely on Him; only Him. They are going to need to hear from those of us who have experience and a history of being trained up by God for this very time in our history.
We must be honest about the earthly difficulties we face, and share our wealth of practical knowledge and skills. If like me and my husband, your journey has been unconventional, you are uniquely positioned to lead in this unfamiliar and unprecedented time. But most importantly, we must approach our neighbors on this planet as servants of the Kingdom of God. We must share the fruit of God's training in our lives; how we've learned to endure, persevere, and trust in Jesus; and how our relationship with Jesus has taken on a depth that we never would have encountered if we had not decided to be "trainable" and open to submitting our will to His. There is so much fruit to be had! And it's found in a freedom from societal norms, a deeper understanding of our purpose on earth, a supernatural connection to the Holy Spirit and being aligned with our own spirit [which is seated in Heaven with Jesus] -- it has all led to an indescribable covenant with our Creator and a life that is full beyond anything the world would measure it by.
So, if my journey mirrors yours, then join me in being prepared to share it with all those who will need to know they can make it through whatever is coming our way. And if you are among my fellow human beings who are just not willing to stare reality in the face, let me give you hope ... you have been created to thrive in this season of your life. You are made in the image of God, and if you don't know Him, then I urge you to ask Him to come into your life. He's waiting to respond to your request. Your life will never be the same again, and I promise you that He is exactly what you are going to need as we face an uncertain future. Let my story become yours. I have overcome the fear and the worries that the world tried to convince me were mine, and I walk in the strength and power and security of belonging to the Lord -- no matter what comes! And it is my hopeful prayer that each of you can know the magnitude of His presence in your life. Let His fruit abound in you! Bless you and God Bless America!
Matthew 5:46-48 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.
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