Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rise Up_Prisoners of Hope

To get the full impact of this testimony, to show how God works to show forth His power and glory, and His concern for each of us individually, please start at the beginning (if you have not already).

The Testing was Not Over
It was also after the physical healing that other areas seemed to be targeted.  It started small, more of an annoyance than anything else.  I had purchased a blender about a year ago and it simply quit.  Changing my diet meant adding smoothies to try and heal my body from all the medications I had been on. 

Having a blender helped me to achieve that.  Frankly, I did not give it much thought because I had reasoned that it had lasted a good year for less than twenty dollars, so it did not bother me. It was merely an inconvenience more than anything. However, that was only the beginning. 

Approximately two weeks later, the transmission on my SUV gave up the ghost (quit, finished, kaput).  I still did not see the event as an attack from Satan as these things happen in life.  Was I surprised?  I was indeed! I had only had the vehicle for about seven months. There had been no warning signs that I was aware of.  It caught me completely off-guard. 

So, what was my attitude?  What was the condition of my heart? The glory belongs to the Lord alone…and I will not touch His glory!  In order not to mislead anyone, further testimony must be forthcoming in an effort to show the reader some of the ways God works.  His ways are unique with each of us.  There are times we can relate to similarities in His doings, but how often are we delighted and encouraged to hear how He deals with others?  We learn more of Him as we listen to testimonies that glorify Christ Jesus.

He has Torn; He will Heal
If God tears down, it is for a good cause and He will build up, restore. It all works together for good – for His purpose. [Rom 8:28]

God does not expose sin and pronounce pending judgment without also offering a solution and to grant hope and comfort to His people. His solution is for people to humble themselves and seek His face, pray, and choose to turn away from sin.  He knows all our struggles and helps us, if we are willing to let Him. In His mercy, He offers forgiveness; by His grace, He sent Jesus to die upon the cross for our sins. So great is His love. He tears down, but He rebuilds.  He is the potter, we are the clay.

Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He has torn, and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.  [Hos 6:1-3]

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up [Ecc 3:2, 3]

Be still. Believe for the impossible. Mary, the young virgin lady who was chosen to bear Jesus the Messiah said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Your word. (And the angel [who brought God’s message] departed from her.)  [Lk 1:38]

Step by Step
When I first returned to Canada after being in the United States for several years, I returned to BC, the land of my heart.  However, the cost of living in the province was off the charts and completely unexpected.  Finding a place to rent was not easy. The demand for affordable housing was high and apartments went as fast as they were advertised. It was so high in fact that getting a potential landlord to answer an email or return a phone call was a rarity.

As a result, I ended up staying in shelters for four months.  About six weeks after my arrival, I renewed my Canadian driver’s license and purchased a 2000 Grand Am, thinking that it would be easier to find a place with a vehicle, but no, it would still be another two and a half months before I finally would find a place.  Even then, it was only a room, with a shared kitchen, living room, bathroom and laundry. How happy I was the day I was finally out of shelters.

It took yet another five months to finally succeed in finding an apartment, which is the one I have lived in now for slightly over two years.  Not quite a year had passed when the motor of the Grand Am blew.  There was no way I could afford another vehicle.  The apartment is located outside of town, more in the country.  How was I going to get groceries and do business?  My attitude left much to be desired when I found out that it would be about two grand (thousand) at the minimum to replace the motor.

Instead of remembering how it had been a blessing to even get the money for a vehicle so quickly after my return to Canada, I became quite disgruntled. The cost of replacing the motor was not only out of my reach, but given the age of the car and the high mileage, it simply was not worth it. I had already replaced other parts, and had just put a new battery, an expensive hydraulic hose (with a silicon chip) and winter tires on the vehicle as well.
Despite the fact that the external body of the Grand Am was in excellent condition, it still had to be scrapped.  I had tried to sell the car for parts, but there were no offers or calls.  For two days after the motor ceased, I grumbled and complained.  The Holy Spirit alerted me to my poor attitude and my lack of trust in the Lord. Somehow He amplified my words so that I was fully aware of not only my attitude, but my tone.

Those who know me or have followed the blog for some years know full well the challenges and the suffering I went through in the shelters. When I shared my experiences on the blog and on Blogtalk radio, it was not for sympathy. Not at all!  But rather, it was to share how God allowed everything that I had learned in my Christian walk to be tried, tested.

 It will not be repeated here, but less than a year later, it was still recent enough to remember the things the Lord taught. It was simply a matter of putting it into practice.  Was I such a hard work for the Lord that He had to keep allowing testing in major areas?  Obviously, there was still work to be done, or perhaps the fruit of His work had not yet come to the surface.  Or was my heart’s condition worse than I realized?

Two days of bad attitude were two days too long…I sincerely repented.  The Holy Spirit shone a spotlight on my attitude and it could not be ignored.  The Lord is never wrong, but I can be…and sadly, I was. It took the faithful Holy Spirit to open my ears and eyes to my behaviour. 

Immediately after repentance, the work the Lord had already done in my heart took over and my attitude made a 180° turn.  I repented of not trusting Jesus and began to thank Him instead.  As soon as any of us begin to thank God for one thing, numerous other things to be thankful for come to mind.  It has always seemed to me that when one begins with genuine thanksgiving, it automatically leads into praise.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name [Ps 100:4]

It is no exaggeration when I say that only a few days after I changed my attitude I received a phone call from my landlord. He and his wife had discussed my dilemma. He called to tell me that he had purchased a (year?) 1998 Nissan Altima, for $800.  I could pay him back as soon as I was able to, without any pressure or deadline. 

I could barely believe my ears, but I immediately connected the unexpected blessing with my changed attitude.  I thank God for the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  From my editing, I just happened to have half the amount of money ($400) when he informed me about the car.  We arranged to get the vehicle the following day, as it was in the next town about 40 minutes away. He was glad to have half the money upfront, although surprised. That was God’s doing and timing, undoubtedly.   
Less than six weeks later, I managed to pay off the remaining amount.  No sooner was the car paid for than an accident occurred.  I had been approaching a stoplight in the left turning lane.  A truck that was exiting a mall parking lot broadsided my car on the passenger side (T-boned).  No one was injured.  The young man was very apologetic, took full responsibility without argument, glad that I was alright and very cooperative in giving me all the details needed for the insurance company.

From my observation, the Nissan only seemed to have a hint of a dent and a couple of scratches, one being a long scratch down the side, so I was not even going to bother with a claim.  However, the passenger door would not open or shut properly, but I had thought that it would not take much to fix.
The next day an appointment was made with a claims adjuster in the government office.  Unfortunately, automobile insurance in British Columbia is not privatized.  It is a public insurance program that is owned and operated by the government, a Crown corporation owned by the Sovereign of Canada. 

I had fully intended to do the repairs and continue driving the car, but it was not to be. The insurance adjuster wrote the car off, stating that it would cost more to fix the door (deemed to be an unsafe and illegal condition) than the vehicle was worth.  

Since only $800 had been paid for the car, I knew that more than likely, I would again be without a vehicle, and I surely could not expect my landlord to step up to the plate a second time.  He had been most kind in helping me out, and I was not about to take such kindness for granted or frivolously.  Now perhaps the reader can understand why I have forgotten the year of the car.  I had only owned it for six weeks, and now it too had to be scrapped.

Who Rules Your Heart?
What was my attitude this time?  I made sure my heart attitude was not one of bitterness, or grumbling or complaining. But again, all praise be to God whose Spirit exposed my negativity and rebuked such when the Grand Am had to be scrapped. Well, my Christian brothers and sisters would be pleased to hear that the Lord had done a good work. No way was I going to grumble and complain this time around. I was thankful for the opportunity that the landlord allotted. 

As he was not a Christian, I was convinced that the Lord had moved upon his heart, since he was in the financial position to assist me.  Even still, whether he was well able to afford the assistance or not, it was still an act of kindness.  No one can deny that fact.  

I believe that the landlord had acted on the Lord’s prompting, although he gave no credit to Him.  And yes, he had boasted to my neighbours (his other tenants) about how he had bought me the car. Of course, they would learn that the loan was paid back.
It was a couple of days before the insurance adjuster called me to say that I would receive $2,091 for the $800 Nissan.  Pardon me??  I was flabberghasted, but pleasantly so!  I saw it as coming from the hand of God. In fact, I am convinced that the Lord orchestrated the outcome of all the occurrences, to teach me and to try me.  Shortly thereafter, about two weeks, give or take, I purchased a 2003 Mazda Tribute SUV 4x4.

I had never owned a vehicle that new, never mind the fact that it was a 4x4 (4WD).  I was over the top, high with happiness and delight. The kilometers on the engine were high, but it had been well maintained.  The previous owner had originally purchased the vehicle for his wife and looked after it.  He had told me that his reason for selling it was because his wife wanted a newer vehicle.  The money from the insurance covered the cost of the SUV, plus the taxes. All glory to God!

The accident and resulting purchase of the vehicle occurred last year, in November, 2016.  I would enjoy driving the 4x4 for the following six months. It was in June (2017) when I was returning home from town after running some errands that suddenly the Mazda would not accelerate when I stepped on the gas.  I was travelling in the midst of heavy traffic upon the main highway that ran through town.   

I immediately turned on the hazard lights, scouting for a quick exit off the highway.  There “just happened” to be a convenient entrance to a bar and lodge parking lot to my right, so I quickly turned in so as not to slow rush hour traffic, and surprisingly coasted through the lot. If the reader saw the size of the parking lot, you would see the wonder that the SUV had coasted through without stopping.

Incredibly, there also happened to be a back street that was adjacent to the rear of the lot. I was able to coast onto the street before the vehicle came to a full stop, unable to go further.  I had reverse, but no forward gears, not even in 4WD mode. The transmission had failed. Praise God that I had brought my cell phone with me.  Many times I left it at home when I was not going to be away for long – I’ve changed that habit now.

I also had about $15, which just covered the cost of a taxi to get home.  God went ahead of me.  Not only was it amazing that I was able to coast through a fair-sized parking lot that just “happened” to be there, but the odds of a street being adjoined to it was nothing short of miraculous.  It was also in a place where there were no parking restrictions.  The SUV was still plated and insured, so it was safe to leave it parked there without concern about being ticketed or towed.

The incident was completely unexpected. There had been no evidence of leaking from the transmission, no burnt smell, no “check engine” light, no trouble switching gears or popping out of gear, and the transmission fluid level was fine.  There had been no warning signs for me to take the vehicle in to be checked, but the end was definite.  

Over the course of the next two days, I placed multiple calls trying desperately to find an inexpensive transmission.  Just as the Grand Am is infamous for blown motors, Mazda has been notorious for tranny problems.  I did not have that foreknowledge when I purchased the vehicle.  

As a result, there were no used transmissions available anywhere in western Canada at the time, but there was one available in Ontario.  The cost of the transmission plus shipping fees from Ontario to British Columbia, as well as the cost of labour to replace it, combined with the high kilometers already on the vehicle, was far too much. 

What was my attitude? Ha! Guess!  The devil was not going to get even so much as a whimper out of me!  When the Lord does a work, He does it well.  How could I not thank the Lord? Even being able to buy the SUV 4x4 in the first place was a gift from God.  I had never owned a 4WD before.  I had a riot in it, meaning it had been a real enjoyment, especially in the winter on BC’s mountainous roads. 

Its initial cost, including taxes, had been covered by the claims settlement. If I was to complain or grumble in the least, then I had surely learned nothing about trusting God after the Grand Am episode at all, not to mention I would be guilty of ingratitude and bitterness. Yes, the vehicle had to be scrapped.  I had accepted the fact that I would be without transportation for likely a year or so, until I could save a couple thousand to get yet another vehicle. 

I purchase my water from a depot because of the smell of chlorine in the town water that comes up from the tap, not to mention the foul smell that crops up randomly. At the time the Mazda went out of commission, the township had a “boil water” warning in place.  How was I going to carry two five gallon jugs onto a bus?  If I did manage to do so, I would have to take a second bus trip to town to get groceries, plus take care of other business in town.  

Buses are not as frequent in this small town as they are in larger communities.  One has to be prepared to wait, even up to an hour if a bus is missed.  People were asking questions for transportation, but I had no answers except to say it was all in God’s hands, and that it could be a year or so before I would be able to purchase another vehicle.

A Hard Hit
There had to be a reason behind everything that had been taking place.  The incident occurred very shortly after my knee had been healed.  The reader does not need it all repeated.  The friend that I had gone to the hospice with offered to pick me up for church.  I gladly accepted her offer.  The brethren prayed to the Lord on my behalf.

Five people had approached me at different times prophesying that God would provide a car for me.  It was indeed encouraging to hear, but personally, I could see no way how that was possible.  I am not in any position to get a loan and pay interest fees.  I live humbly but have no lack, thanks be to God.  Yes, God can make a way where there is no way.  Nothing is too hard for Him.

But despite the spoken statements grounded in faith from the brethren, it was impossible for me to figure out how my Lord would do that (leaning on that logic (reasoning) instead of trusting God, which we are counseled to avoid, and not be wise in our own eyes, but to fear God, as it is written in Proverbs 3: 5-7)

When I had looked up the local scrap yards, I saw an intriguing name that appeared in the search engine. When I clicked on the site, I learned that the province had a non-profit program that offered incentives to people as part of what is called RYR (Retire Your Ride) or “voluntary early retirement program”. 

Apparently, these vehicle scrappage programs exist across the country, which I had previously been unaware of.  If another unaware Canadian reads this, perhaps it will help them if they find themselves in a similar situation as I found myself in.  These programs are not well advertised and are not commonly known amongst the majority of citizens.  Anyone I mentioned it to were unaware of the program.

From one of several pages on the websites belonging to the Government of Canada, there are a few dedicated to explaining the purpose behind offering this program to Canadian citizens, but it helps significantly if one is first aware of such a program in order to search it out, or unless one just happens to discover it in a search for something else, as I myself had first heard or learned about it.

“The Government of Canada is committed to improving air quality across the country and reducing the health and environmental effects of air pollution. Accelerated on-road scrappage programs are positive steps in the right direction. 

These voluntary programs are developed and run by local organizations in communities across Canada and supported by partners, including Environment Canada. They are designed to improve air quality and to help reduce smog-forming and climate change emissions by permanently removing older, high emitting vehicles from Canadian roads.”  (Quoted from one Canadian government website)

It is the government’s aim to get all older vehicles off the roads of Canada as part of an effort to help control climate change, and emissions have a “greenhouse effect” due to the gases older vehicles emit, such as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, toxic air pollutants and more.  The terms “global warming” and “climate change” are often confused today as meaning the same thing.

Even today, the topic and two terms stir up heated debates not only amongst scientists, but also amongst the general public.  It is true that although both are used interchangeably, the two expressions are not new ones and the definitions and meaning of each differ. Many consider global warming to be a hoax. 
A page on the NASA website uses both phrases interchangeably.  It is not my intent to delve into the topic here either, but rather to shed some light (clarify) on the motive and intent involved in the Canadian government creating such an opportune program that would encourage public cooperation.  The offer of money is, and always has been, a powerful incentive and motivator.

Why I had not come across the website previously in the search engine when I had to scrap the Grand Am was beyond me, but there it was now.  The offers are particularly compelling for those who are strapped for funds.  The downside of the program is that the onus is upon each individual to deliver their old vehicle to a scrap dealer. 

Not only are the types of vehicles on the government’s list expensive to buy, but the transportation must be one purchased from a limited list of models found at one of the local dealer who has partnered with the program. Everyone knows that buying from car dealerships is the most expensive avenue to take, due to overhead and added fees that are not included in a similar transaction done privately between citizens.  The interest fees on a lease-to-own vehicle are extremely high.

Despite the fact that my SUV was only eight blocks from the scrap yard, local companies quoted $150 as the minimal set fee for towing. A call was placed to the scrap yard.  Their fee was competitive with the local businesses, but when I explained my dilemma, the representative excused himself momentarily, placing me on hold. When he returned, he stated that since the vehicle was in close proximity to them, they could offer to tow the truck for $50. 

I was blessed and am absolutely convinced that the Lord moved on some hearts to help me out further.  Not only would the incentive (which could take up to six weeks to receive the cheque) that I chose cover the towing cost, but it also covered the expense of taxis I had to take to town over the course of three days.  Once an application is made online, it can take 24 hours or so before one knows if the application was approved or not.  The approval must then be printed up and submitted to the scrap yard.

Papers needed to be signed to transfer ownership over to the scrap yard, as well as to meet up with the tow truck driver, hand in the license plates and cancel the policy at my local insurance brokers.  When the cheque did arrive, the settlement amount would also pay the expense for other unavoidable and necessary trips to town via taxi over a three day period.  The Sovereign God always goes ahead of us, whether we are aware of it or not.

Without lengthy explanations, suffice it to say that the only incentive offered that I could take advantage of was the offer of a payment of $200 if a person scrapped their vehicle at a participating local business.  To me, the offer was a tremendous help when funds are lacking. 

After having scrapped the Grand Am at a loss (considering all the new parts or replacements I had made) and that it had only lasted me a year, I still considered it to be a blessing from the Lord, as I had been unaware of such a program.  I am convinced the Holy Spirit led me to the information, according to God’s wisdom, His way, His will and His timing.   

On the third day after the Mazda became permanently parked on the side street, I arranged for the truck to be towed. Suffice it to say that an application had been filled out online to the BC non-profit program, which was approved. The vehicle was confirmed as being the official property of the metal recycling company and scrapped.  It was then a matter of waiting for a cheque would be issued.

It was official – I was back to being a foot soldier. (A little humour is required here – very little.) 

When Is It Enough?
The upside was that I would have more time to work on the long-awaited article “Comfort My People” that  I had felt led to write after having opened at exactly Isaiah 40 three separate times, back in March (2017).  As soon as the Mazda was taken away, and plates were handed in with cancellation of the insurance policy, I headed home.
Once back, I eagerly fired up the laptop and…oh no!  Now what?  Pages were slow loading, often receiving an “Aw, snap!” message (page loading error/crashes).  An arrow prayer to the Lord met with silence.  Even trying to Google a solution was nearly impossible.  

Rather than being redundant, it took day after day of trying everything possible, from scans for viruses, Trojans and malware, which I initially thought was the culprit, to finally restoring the laptop to an earlier date.  Nothing, nothing worked.  A technician was willing to check out my computer remotely for $75 an hour.  I had no money to throw away like that.

Another extremely frustrating and stressful week!  Silent tears of exasperation rolled down my cheeks.  I had only begun to recover from the months of anguish, disorientation and confusion in the three weeks that had passed since my healing.  Was it all a test, an attack from Satan, or was it just life in general?  If it was a test, I longed to pass it.  If it was an attack from Satan, I sought to overcome it.  If it was life’s problems in general, I would just live it and keep on.

Weariness was upon me.  Is there no reprieve Lord?  Jesus said, Come unto Me all you that labour and are heavy laden (weary) and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.[Mat 11:28, 29]

If the Lord wanted to take the computer too, He had every right. First, there was the raging in my physical health. Then, the battles within my soul which included strained relationships (Satan was working), questioning my faith and my standing with God, as well as the confusion, disorientation, depression and angst that came with the side effects of medication were simultaneously challenging me.  Then, last but not least, there was the battle that my spirit man had been involved in with the wrestling against both my carnal nature (flesh) and the adversary. 

Four more days passed where it was nearly impossible to do anything on the computer, but the climax took place in the latter part of the week, namely the last three days. Indeed, I prayed. The Lord had tried me before to see if I would give "all" up, when He sent me to the United States. 

Surely I would not need to be tested again?  But what if...what if I DID need to be tested again?  So, I determined that day that if the Lord took it all again, I would just wait on Him and not complain.  He has my life in His hands and I had to choose ...either I choose to trust the Lord or I do not. Period!

I chose to trust, even if my heart was heavy at times, God knew that I wanted to do what was right in His eyes simply because of all the patience He bore in teaching me hard lessons. How could I disappoint Him? He had even taught me about love...after all this time...true love; the kind of love that does not betray, or abuse, or reject.  Do I believe Jesus loves me? I do...

So once that was established, I went back to my computer. It was late in the day, but that is when I called the landlady after I had the idea that the router may need rebooting. The information had come before my eyes a couple of times (as a possible problem) the few times I did manage to get a page or so loaded.  The rebooting was a last resort. If that failed, then my back was up against a wall without remedy. 

Why was all this happening?  What was I was to learn?  The thought occurred to me that ever since I had named a website “Time of Revealing (Warriors of Endurance), and a radio program “Warriors of Endurance in the Time of Revealing” in mid-2014, heavy trials and tribulations were my portion.  

The website is defunct as of June 1, 2017, and the radio program was discontinued shortly after I came out of the shelters, both due to finances.  If I were to determine where and when the latest trial began, I would have to consider mid to late 2014 as a starting point. Well, I certainly did not feel like any enduring warrior, but we are taught not to rely on feelings and emotions. 

We are taught not to be overwhelmed by outward appearances, but to keep our eyes on Jesus (Yeshua) the Christ.  We are to walk by faith and not by sight.  We are to speak the Word of God, which spiritually is a mighty two-edged sword of the Lord.  There are superb instructions, guidelines, armour, tools and weapons given to us in the Word of God.  It is wonderful that we have these things to utilize, but they are of little value if left unused.

It seemed that after I had prayed to the Lord, ending with admitting that I did not know what to do, it occurred to me that as a last resort, I should call the landlady to see if she would reboot the router (modem). The router for the entire building is located in the neighbour’s apartment next door, but she was away at work. It was later that day the router was rebooted and viola!  A victory shout sounded!

THAT was the problem all along. An entire week was needlessly lost.  Indeed, the devil may laugh, but God will see to it that His people are never ashamed.  It is waiting on His timing and His ways to bring about good that is hard and yes, even incredibly difficult for us.  The devil can only go so far. He was defeated at the cross as the Saviour’s precious and costly blood was shed for the sake of sinful mankind.  

My computer (hallelujah!) was safe. So many are weary, tired and under vicious attack in every area imaginable.  We must keep pressing on, my brothers and sisters.  Let us keep each other, the true ones in the Body of Christ, covered in prayer.  We have need of one another…we must know this, and even if we know it, reminders are helpful.  

Although our God still issues severe warnings by His Spirit, at the same time, He desires that His faithful, battle-weary ones be comforted and encouraged, so that none of us give up or give in, so that we will rise up, rise up higher with renewed (restored) hope, and endure to the end.  Hallelujah!

Expect the Unexpected and the Suddenlies
The Lord God is known to do unexpected things suddenly, whether in blessings or whether in judgment.

I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. [Is 48:3]

The week after the Mazda quit on me, a friend and her husband picked me up to go to a prayer meeting.  Perhaps ten of us humbly gathered together.  The saints of God prayed over me.  Only God knows everything and only He can move upon a heart.

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turns it wherever He will.  [Prov 21:1]

A suggestion was made to take up a collection (completely unexpected)...and I was given $75. Considering there was very few of us gathered together that night for prayer, it was amazing.  I was blown away by the unexpected generosity and kindness of my brethren.  It immediately went for food…but something else happened.

I had listened to a random sermon online not long before that particular day of the prayer meeting.  I cannot say who the preacher was. At the time, the title caught my eye, but I cannot recall the name of it now.  The preacher man was teaching on listening to God and was using Naaman, a valiant commander of the army of Syria, as an example. [2Kin 5:1]

To cut to the quick, God’s prophet Elisha had given instructions from the Lord to Naaman when he had come to him to be healed of leprosy. 

And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, God and wash in Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean.  
[2Kin 5:10]

Naaman’s pride was greatly bruised when the prophet sent a messenger to a warrior of high caliber and rank such as himself.  Even the directives from Elisha infuriated him because he had expected the prophet to call out to God, lay hands on him and he would be healed. [vs 11] It also enraged Naaman that he was to wash in the Jordan, which he considered to have murky waters in comparison to the cleaner waters of Abana and Pharpar, which were two rivers of Damascus. 

Did the prophet not know who he was dealing with?  The pride of the commander was evident.  When one of Naaman’s servants saw the anger of his master, he encouraged him to listen to the prophet.  Naaman chose to swallow his pride and followed Elisha’s command.  As a result of his obedience to the prophet, Naaman was healed to such perfection that it is written that his “flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”  [vs 12-14]

One statement that the preacher made seemed to be highlighted.  It was a statement that I would not forget.  “When a prophet of God tells you to do anything, no matter how strange it seems, do it anyway.”  I remember thinking that no prophet these days told people to do odd or unusual things in order to receive a miracle.  That night I went to the prayer meeting at the little church in town.

A vibrant and godly couple from the UK who came to BC Canada, obeying the Lord’s leading, were at the meeting. They are musicians who lead the people into worship with an anointing that cannot be denied. The husband tells the people that the music is not about entertainment or emotionalism, it is about worshipping God.  He plays guitar whilst his wife plays keyboard; they both sing.  The brother has a prophetic gifting as well.  When he prayed over me, he also prophesied. 

Taking a handful of change from his pocket, he took a tooney, the largest coin in today’s Canadian currency with a value of $2 and gave it to me. The coin is silver with a gold-coloured center.  He told me to plant it in soil and not spend it.  He said not to expect a money tree, but prosperity. He made certain to point out that there are many ways God prospers people besides finances.

He went on to state that God also prospers His people in body, soul and spirit.  Of course I have well-learned that in my walk with the Lord.  However, since he knew nothing of me at that time, he wanted to be sure that I understood. I did.  Was this not an odd or strange directive from spoken through a prophet of God? With childlike faith and a desire to obey God, I planted the tooney in the soil of a small rubber tree plant that I have.  No extra watering needed!

Two days after placing the coin in soil, my new friend and a sister in Christ from the church called me and asked if I would be home that afternoon. Yes, I would be. This was the same friend that I had gone to the hospice with to visit the woman with cancer just two days before she died.  This was the same friend who had also been the one to initially ask people at the church to pray for the woman.

In less than an hour, she arrived along with her husband and sister.  She took me to the parking lot of the apartment building and asked me who a certain van belonged to.  Recognizing it immediately, I said, “You.”  She said, “No, it’s yours!” and with that her husband handed me the keys to a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan (NOW the newest vehicle ever owned), with only 91,000 km (lowest I ever had), fresh oil change, new brakes, excellent summer tires (under warranty still) and more.  In my shock, I truly did not know what to say. 

Simply saying ‘thank you’ seemed not enough. They took me to town and transferred the vehicle in my name, got it plated and insured for the month and gave me the keys again.  It is no secret to those who know me that when an emergency or some significant event happens, I have what is called delayed reaction.  

It takes awhile for things to fully hit me. I would say that is why I am good in an emergency, as I am okay until time passes.  It could be hours, days or weeks.  It is possible that it is a defense mechanism that was developed over time, given certain traumas that happened in my life.

As I was about to get in the vehicle to drive home, I noticed tears in my friend’s eyes and upon her face.  Knowing that the van had previously belonged to her mother before she passed only a couple of months earlier, I interpreted the tears as being the result of sadness at seeing her mother’s vehicle go out of her possession.  Deeply touched by her tears, I told her that if it was too difficult for her, I would truly understand, and still ever appreciate the heart…anything so she would not be torn. 

But that was not the case whatsoever.  The tender soul explained that she was thinking how happy her parents would be if they knew their vehicle had been a blessing to another believer.  She was overjoyed at being able to give such a tremendous gift. What a beautiful outlook and thought!  It greatly moved me.  But even more heartwarming was how they had prayed about the matter, and their immediate obedience to Jesus! It was humbling and a sheer delight at the same time.  How great is our God!

God tests our faith.  I had planted the coin without hesitation, despite how foolish and crazy it sounded, but I never expected a vehicle.  However, the words of the man of God are true.  The Lord is well aware of all that we have need of, but it is the condition of the heart that He works with.  He purges and refines us so that we will shine forth like pure gold.  This is prosperity at its finest – spiritual prosperity.

Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see.  [Rev 3:17, 18]

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.  [Zech 13:9]

When I wrote out the testimony of my life, the title was given to me by the Lord. It is “First the Inside of the Cup”.  Our Creator is more concerned with the inside of our bodies, the heart, the spirit man that each of us have, the part of us that is born-again when we believe the gospel of Christ Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Saviour.  The title had been inspired by scripture that the Lord had led me to when He instructed me to write out my testimony.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full extortion and excess.  You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.  [Mat 23:25, 26]

Whole Lotta Shaking Goin’ On
I do believe God’s word is Spirit and life [Jn 6:63] and truth! [Jn 14:6]  I do believe God’s word is timeless, that it speaks to us today, corporately and individually (that’s what SPIRIT and life and truth altogether accomplishes – the LIVING WORD of GOD).  

The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. [Ps 34:17]

It is a fact that there was much turbulence physically for me. I know full well that others have been going through excruciating physical (body) circumstances.  Others have or still are dealing with crushing matters of the soul (mind, emotions, feelings, doubts, etc), whilst others are struggling in the matters of the spirit (heart). 

Countless people are tormented, feeling condemned because of struggles with sins, battles with demons, generational curses (through blood lines; all forms of witchcraft, freemasonry, dark occult), false prophets and teachers, a corrupted, plagued world, all of which play a part in the suffering that mankind, from young to old, is up against in these last of days.

With great hope and faith, His intervention is eagerly anticipated and awaited.
I understand that the Lord had spoken to me about miracles taking place, but also the fact that great trouble was fast approaching. He again warned of the counterfeiter Satan who would also manifest “signs and wonders”, through the false prophets that are in the world. 

It was shared on December 31, 2016 about part of what the Lord had impressed upon me (as well as others) part of what could be expected in 2017.  Then, on January 5, 2017, I shared the message given to me. In part, the message:

“It is no game; it is war! I am positioning My people. Many are experiencing or are about to experience miracles (deliverance, healing, restoration), fulfillment of long-awaited prayers, dreams and visions, that which was once thought impossible becoming reality.”

“Yea, but beware, for Satan and his evil cohorts are also manifesting ‘miracles’ and the ‘impossible’.  This will increase, as it is written. The counterfeiter has always been a master of illusion, with flatteries and smooth speech and dark sayings, he plants seeds of doubt in a whirlwind of confusion.”

[End excerpt]

Yet, through Christ Jesus and by His Spirit, we will discern the difference between that which is of God and that which is of the adversary, Satan. I do not believe that our past experience, knowledge or wisdom will help us discern.
According to our Messiah Jesus, He forewarned that [deception] would be so grand that if it were possible, even the elect [His people] would be deceived [Matthew 24]. Such is the craftiness and cunning of Satan and his cohorts, the enemies of the cross of Christ.

Who in the days of His flesh, when He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and He was heard in that He feared (holiness, devotion); Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.  [Heb 5:7, 8]  

Yet, even now miracles are taking place that can only be attributed to God. These have been going on for some time, but mostly kept from vast public knowledge. However, in the recent past years (decade or so?), miracles have been taking place that are so spectacular and absolutely validated that even mainstream media has had to report on the events due to the widespread positive talk of the people.

Even critics and skeptics, who set out to disprove such reports, have themselves been healed or have witnessed undeniable miracles firsthand, thereby having their mouths stopped, except to admit that indeed, faith and healings are real. 

Even certain stiff-necked, obstinate doctors have had to admit that although there are some miracles that can be explained medically (sigh – such is man that LOGIC must define everything), they are hard-pressed to admit that miracles have taken place that defy logic and must have required faith in God.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.  [Heb 11: 6]

Our Lord has stated 2017 will see many blessings and miracles, but we are to keep aware that great troubles will also be seen. The Lord God keeps everything in balance and perspective when we cleave to Him. He is ever-faithful and whitewashes nothing. He has always given fair warnings, convictions and exhortations.

Prisoners of Hope

Satan presents all manner of temptations and will do all it takes to convince a person to choose to swallow his lies.  But those whose hope is in the Lord will not be ashamed.

Turn you to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto you.  [Zech 9:12]

The Silversmith is a short 2 minute video that packs a punch that will knock the wind out of you as you come to understand the beauty and fullness of God’s word. In an article last year, I had mentioned how a silversmith knows that silver is purified.

The story goes that two women came across a scripture in Malachi:

But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.  [Mal 3:2, 3]

Now only the part that is emboldened was used in the video. One woman decided to go to a silversmith. She asked questions, two of which make the story precious.  One question she asked was if he had to sit by the fire the whole time the silver is being refined.  He replied yes, but further stated that not only does he have to hold the silver, he has to make sure that he removes it from the flames at the precise and exact time, or it will be destroyed.

She pondered his words, then asked how he knew when the silver was completely refined.  He smiled and said it was when he could see his image in the silver.

But He knows the way that I take: when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. [Job 23:10]

For My name’s sake will I deferMine anger, and for praise will I refrain for you, that I cut you not off.  Behold, I have refined you, but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction[Is 48:10]     
Two minute video called The Silversmith

“Solomon taught his son to anticipate the LORD would prove, test and purify the hearts of His people by trials that test the heart, purify the motive and humble the spirit.”  Dr. Travis Smith (pastor) Source: Heart of a Shepherd

Marlene Kleepes had cerebral palsy, but she was also plagued with very severe spasms that were so violent that her attendants sometimes suffered broken bones trying to restrain her.  Marlene had been sent to the Mayo Clinic to get help and improvement, but her inheritance ran out.  She was to be sent to a nursing home.  She cried out to God and He gave her a vision of herself healed. 

She saw a certain “church” “jump off the page” and the pastor was called.
When he arrived, Marlene said he was the man in her vision who had prayed for her.  So the pastor took her to his church. He was not sure how to pray for healing, but he did and the congregation stood in agreement with him. 

After he prayed, he asked her if she wanted to stand on faith”.  Marlene did. With the pastor and another man lifting her up and supporting her, she took steps. At first, her knees and feet were pointed inward, but each step she took, they began to straighten out until she was walking normally. 

Within minutes, she was literally running around the church. Afterwards she returned to the Mayo clinic, where they recorded that they saw her walking for the first time.  Marlene was discharged.  

She returned some weeks later to the Mayo Clinic.  It is confirmed via medical records that all abnormalities (from cerebral palsy) are gone, and even Marlene’s eyesight is healed.  She no longer needs spectacles to see.  Marlene Kleeps is healed of cerebral palsy and enjoys a normal life to this day.  Today she preaches!

Another documented miracle!  Delia Knox, who was crippled (paralyzed) for 23 years after being hit by a drunk driver was healed.  

Behold you among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which you will not believe, though it be told you.  [Habakkuk 1:5]

Would you believe it when I tell you that my kettle quit on me, only seven months after buying it?  How about if I told you that the new thongs (sandals) that I was wearing last week broke after having only worn them for a month?  I went into the bank and the sandal was repaired with packing tape until I could get home.  They had to be “scrapped”. 
Haha!  I kid you not! If I could make this stuff up, I would be in high demand in Hollywood by producers looking for good scripts.  Satan will continuously accuse us, even making every negative thing that happens as though it were our fault. He is the father of lies.  Life goes on…but God is for me, for us who trust and wait on Him!   

What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?  [Rom 8:31]

for His glory


Special Note:  For the past few weeks, several countries are upon my heart.  Our brethren are scattered around the world and in their own trials and tribulations.  They are part of the body of believers.  

We do well to keep them in prayer.  Like us, they are under the rule of the government of their country, and are not responsible for trespasses leaders make against other nations and their people.  Sadly, we tend to judge an entire nation of people by the actions of their leaders. 

The Lord has His people praying for their own nation, as well as other nations globally.  He often rotates the countries He places upon hearts to pray for.  There are approximately 196 countries in the world and God’s people are in them.  He cares for every single child of us within each nation, and for every lost soul. 

The Lord is not slack as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  
[2 Pet 3:9]

Russia has been strong upon my heart, as has Germany (with Belgium noted) and the UK.  Other countries (in alphabetic order) that I feel led to pray for at this time are: 

Africa, America, Australia, Britain/England (all of UK), Bulgaria, Canada (BC noted due to fires, earthquakes), China, Croatia, Finland, France, Iceland, India, Israel, Japan

Mexico, Norway, South America (Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Puerto Rico), North Pacific, North and South Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia

Please join me in praying for any place that the Lord may put on your heart.  From time to time, I will post other countries that come heavy upon me to pray for. 196 countries – every one of them in need of prayer as much as our own country’s people need prayer.