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Faithful in the Small

How many of you are believing God to prosper you? Maybe you are believing for a new house? How about a new vehicle? Maybe you want a promotion at work? A new job?

As human beings we don't like the idea of stagnation. We want to continuously move forward. If someone told you that in ten years your life would be exactly the same as it is now, most of you would not be happy. You are not wrong to feel that way. We are made for growth.

Some religious people would say that God doesn't prosper us with material things, but that is not what the Word says. Go see for yourself in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 what God promised Abraham. We are heirs according to that same promise.

It is God's will for us to prosper and be in health (3 John 1:2.) We should expect increase and improvement in every way, every day.

"Well I have been believing for something for a long time and it hasn't happened."

The chances are that you have stagnated because you have not been faithful with what you have. Even if it is just a little. Especially if it is just a little.

Several years ago, I began thinking and dreaming about moving into a new house. I had a constant obsession with looking at houses, scrolling through new listings, and even attending open houses. I was not ready for a new house in any way, but it was brewing in my spirit.

There was a point where our finances were such a mess that we were on the verge of foreclosure. Every bill was past due and we owed money to everyone. It was awful. Financial pressure is one of the most miserable trials.

One day I was praying and asking God what the issue was.

I heard Him clearly respond, "Your pipes are clogged."

At first I didn't understand, but then I realized what He meant. His way of prospering us is through the seed we sow. If we aren't sowing any seed, then we are getting all backed up, and His harvest provision cannot flow through us the way it should.

I've heard it this way, "If He can get it through you, He will get it to you."

That means that if He can trust us to sow into His kingdom through our tithes and offerings, then He can act on our behalf and bless us, because we are operating in faith. It takes faith to give your money away, especially when you really need it. Faith is the currency of heaven. If you want to see things start happening, start stepping out in faith. Finances are a great place to start.

We began faithfully tithing, even if it meant no money was left for groceries. God always provided and we began prospering.

Back to the house story. The house we lived in was constantly having problems. The ac units would break, the roof would leak (several times, in several places) the plumbing would clog, the hot water heater broke, the fridge broke, the washer broke. There were never ending issues.

How many of you know how hard it is to take care of something when you don't like it? When you get a car off the showroom floor, you are a lot more inspired to keep it nice than you would be for an old beater.

It would have been really easy to just let it all go or do a quick fix to the issues.

We never did that.

We knew that if we wanted something better, then we would have to be faithful, even with a house that was falling apart. We maintained that house as though it were our dream house. We had to prove ourselves faithful, even in the small.

I remember cleaning and telling God how much I didn't want to do it. It's funny because He gave me reassurance that I was doing the right thing and it made it much easier to complete my tasks. I knew there was a purpose bigger than the feeling of that moment.

The time finally came for us to consider a move. We had done lots of things in preparation for a new house. We paid debt off, worked on credit scores and got our bills down to a bare minimum. We felt the nudge in our sprits to move forward and put our house on the market.

We listed the house for a lot of money. We knew it was above market value, but we weren't going to compromise.

Do you know that we got a full price, cash offer within a week?

Not only that, but they didn't want an appraisal, which would have meant we wouldn't have gotten our asking price. To make it even better, we had a five thousand dollar lien on the property, which we would have to pay at closing, but the buyer offered to pay it for us. We still don't know why he did that. Only Jesus.

All that hard work and misery paid off. The Lord brought the perfect buyers and the hard work we put into maintaining that house was worth every minute.

If you are faithful with your little bit of money, God will give you more.
If you are faithful with your current position at work, God will promote you.
If you are faithful with your piece of junk car, God will provide a new one.
If you are faithful with your little house, God will give you a bigger one.

If you are asking for something better, the first thing you need to do is make sure you are giving the current thing your very best.

After we closed on our house, we bought our dream house. We got this house for less than the appraised value, have a lower interest rate than our previous loan, and we were able to remodel and furnish the house to be exactly what we wanted. Not to mention it is 1000 square ft bigger than the old house and in the absolute best neighborhood! If we live our lives according to His Word, it will never fail us.

I say all this to brag on God. His Word is true and it will work for you. He is faithful. Let's be faithful like He is.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10

Prison Diaries- Lowell Correctional

Last night Jessie and I went to Lowell Correctional in Ocala to minister to the women in the Annex. We went with one message, Jesus. Many were saved, healed and delivered last night as we brought the Word and laid hands on them. Each time we go the size of our meeting doubles from the previous visit.

One lady came up for nerve pain in her legs. Several of the bones had been broken in an accident and she hadn't been the same since. She wanted to be healed. When I laid hands on her and commanded the pain to leave in Jesus name, I told her to walk and see if the pain was gone. She did, and said, "it's better." She was excited but I told her that by the time we left last night it would be gone all the way. A little while after I asked anyone to come up who had unforgiveness. She came up again and told me that she needs to forgive her sister Janet. This inmate confessed that she burned Janet's house down- down to the ground... Sometimes it's hard not to awkward laugh because this is not the kind of stuff you hear everyday. We prayed, she forgave Janet (to me it seems Janet is the one who probably struggles with unforgiveness towards a sister who burned her house down, but anyway..) As soon as we got done praying I said, "Okay now walk, is the pain gone?" It was!! She walked pain free and was so excited! I told her that unforgiveness was the reason she didn't receive a complete manifestation of her healing the first time we prayed and now that block was gone, she was healed! It's truly amazing how God is able to work when people are hungry to receive.

Another lady came up who had injured her hand playing sports, she said the pain left as I was praying for someone else.

Jessie prayed for an inmate who just got off death row in May and now is instead serving a life sentence in the general population of the prison. She had been saved on death row, but received the baptism of the Holy Spirit last night and spoke in tongues. She was among the many who signed up to receive a copy of my discipleship book, Rise Above, that we will bring more copies of next meeting.

Another inmate came up to Jessie concerned about her salvation because she had been taught by other ministers that her sin was going to send her to hell, even though she had been born again. She is a lesbian and was told that she was going straight to hell because of that. Jessie explained to her that she is not going to hell for that sin if she is born again. She smiled with a huge sense of relief. Jessie went on to further explain that it is God does not speak to us through fear and condemnation and just to work on the discipleship book we gave her and strengthen her relationship with God and he would speak to her about this issue with love, not fear of hell. You see, it is not our job to change people's hearts. We must simply deliver the truth in love and let God do the heart work. This girl needs love. We know from past conversations with her that every man in her life has hurt her in horrible ways and the last thing she needs is to think of God as just another person who is going to hurt and punish her. These situations are so sensitive and while we never condone sin in a person's life, we must be gentle in the approach and let God do the inside work.

Another girl came to the front for prayer but looked lost. I asked her what she wanted me to pray for and I realized she didn't really know what she needed. I said "do you know you need something, but you don't know what?" This happens a lot. She said yes. I knew she needed deliverance and laid hands on her and rebuked the spirits. When we were done she looked up at me almost in a trance, but seconds later started sobbing a huge cry of relief. That girl walked out of there a totally different person. So amazing. Praise God!

Last time we were there I prayed for a woman to be delivered and when she looked up at me here eyes were black and also looked as though she was in a trance. She was set free and threw her hands in the air with excitement. If you don't believe in demons, you would change your mind after visiting a prison. These are just a few of the stories. I wish you could be there. I wish you could see. God has a deep love for the least of these. We can't forget about them.

“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” Mark 16:15-18

XXOO Courtney

Let Your Kids Be Bored

We live in busy times. Full days of school, activities, sports, time with friends and church. My favorite movie quote (from my favorite movie, Sound of Music) rings very true these days...

"Activity suggests a life filled with purpose." -Captain VonTrapp

Being busy makes us feel important. It makes us feel as though our lives have value. People are terrified of boredom. They fill their schedules so full that downtime is a treat and rare occasion. For whatever reason we push this same mentality onto our children. We put them in activities that they could care less about when they are way too young to handle such a crazy schedule and then wonder why they drive us crazy by the time summer comes and schedules clear.

Having a busy schedule is not good for kids. Boredom promotes creativity. It allows time for exploring themselves. It sparks their imagination and helps them identify what they are truly passionate about. 

Every summer when our oldest gets done with school there is a transition period. Transitioning from being at school where everything is planned and scheduled, she is told when and where to be, and monitored every second, to being home, without a schedule and very few pre-planned activities.

The other day we "celebrated" our first day of event-free schedules by staying home, working on house projects and mostly staying in pajamas. With our younger two this is nothing new so they were off to do their own thing when I discovered the oldest in her room crying. I went in to ask what was wrong and she finally admitted she had nothing to do and was bored. I am sure you Moms can relate to my initial feelings of wanting to just give her something to do, or worse reacting like, "really? Crying about THAT?" but I pushed my feelings aside and told her what most adults should probably hear as well. I said "Listen Bre, we all have different gifts that God has put inside of us. We are all good at different things and we all need to figure out what those things are so that we can spend our time working on them." She seemed to really be listening so I continued, "Being bored is a really good way to figure out what you are really passionate about. Why don't you go up to your room and pray. Ask the Lord to give you some ideas and help you figure out what your gifts and talents are, write down the ideas, and if there is something I can do to help you with them we will go from there. The Bible says if we ask Him for wisdom he will give it to us (James 1:5)" She agreed, stopped crying and went up to her room. When she came back down a few minutes later she had a few things written down. She seemed a lot less discouraged and began working on a couple art projects. This was such a practical way to show her how the Word of God can work for her! It's also amazing how much easier children can hear from God without constantly questioning if that was really him. We have a journey still in front of us but it was a great starting point. 

Since that day all three kids have played together from sun up to sun down. Restaurant, house and ice cream shop are among the activities, but most importantly they are just being carefree kids! Just as it is sometimes painful to establish any new habits with your children, allowing them to be bored is just another one of those habits. In our house we avoid electronics as a way to fill that void, and encourage reading, art projects and going outside. I remember as a kid spending a lot of time in my room or outside with my brothers. We rarely had scheduled activities and almost never watched TV. This helped me figure out who I was a lot quicker and I have always been really confident with who I am (to a fault at times! LOL.) I am glad I had that time of self discovery and I want to give my kids that same opportunity.

Let your kids be bored this summer. You might find that it won't just be your kids who discover themselves, but you as well!

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