Time To Go Into Battle

As I was driving home from speaking last night, my car began to act up (as it sometimes does) and the engine light comes on.  In that moment I got a revelation.  See just in the last 12 hours the previous post I was going to write about was about a spirit of expectancy. It has been in the mid-60’s here in Nashville and you can feel fall in the air.  I was thinking how fall reminds me of apples, pumpkins, comfort food and bonfires.  Then something came over me, that it also reminds me of the word - Harvest. God began to show me that what I was writing about was what my spirit was feeling, a spirit of expectancy. So now we go back to the car acting up.  Again revelation happened. In the last 24 hours our marriage has been attacked, our finances have been attacked, delay in work was put off from Friday (today) to Monday, and now the car! I then realized in that moment that I needed to pray, no yell as I was driving back home from speaking last night, that the enemy had better take his hand off!  I began screaming that he had no place here.  That he is to remove his hand on what he is trying to do.  Let me just tell you that joy began to renew in me.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10

No weapon formed against me shall prosper – Isaiah 54:17

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  – II Corinthians 4:18

See I was always one that knew there was a devil; knew that he was out there looking to turn those away or against God.  But I hated giving him credit. When a trial or situation came I always was one that came to a place that said “God knows how much I can handle” or “He trusts me with this much” as though a refining was taking place.  Look at these scriptures:

1 Peter 5:10 - And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

James 1:12 - Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Romans 12:12 - Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

This was me.  I knew that God would see me through every trial and circumstance. But some of us, me included, need to realize there is an enemy out there that wants to destroy what God is doing.

When I got home, I was sharing with the hubster about my “prayer time” in the car as I was driving home.  I began sharing with him about a spirit of expectancy and how we need to rebuke “the devour”. That this delay, this setback, is just another place when we begin to say, “enough already God, we need breakthrough” or “God when?” But now it changes. What I believe I’m about to say is not just for me, but hopefully for you too – we no longer need to put setbacks back on God and ask those questions, its exactly what the enemy wants us to do. To mope around and say, “When God? How much longer?” with that we keep our eyes only fixed on Jesus.  Which yes we need to but I believe we need to put our armor on and get ready for war! War over our finances, war over our marriages, war over our families! That there is a devil out there that we need to get mad at, that we need to yell at, that we need show he messed with the wrong person, the wrong family.

Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Wiles are every kind of cunning art, deceit, lie or trickery.  Satan has us fooled. Yes, God is there and we will receive a crown of life, look at James 1:12 again. But as long as we are not rebuking, as long as we are not waging war for what is rightfully ours, we will never put that armor on.

So today I want you to put the armor on and go into battle.  Fight for what is rightfully yours. This is our harvest season and that time is now.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

For Richer or Poorer

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments from yesterday's post. Like a lot of folks today, times are lean in our household. Jose and I watch every penny … as it rushes out the door to keep some creditor at bay. It wasn't always this way for us. Just three years ago we were enjoying the bounty of being paid well from our Roofing business we started when we moved to Nashville seven years ago. Four years of our cup running over. Our income rose over six figures and we loved going on vacations to Florida to lounge around the beach, to Colorado to see family and having the four kids in private school.

We weren't wise enough to put money aside for two years of rainy days.  We thought the forecast was always going to call for sunshine. We didn’t listen to Dave Ramsey when he taught Financial Peace at our church and start an emergency fund. We simply didn't think a financial emergency of this magnitude would happen to us. We're Christians; we have that veil of protection, right?

But the trips and contentment came to a crashing halt in October 2008. That was the month we were to move into our brand new house.  You know the one with $40,000 in upgrades. When the mortgage market crashed was the day we had to requalify for our loan.  There sat our house, completed and no family to move into.  They qualified us for half of the amount of the house price.  We had to walk away from it and lose close to $60,000 when it was all said and done.

Just think that was October and we were 2 months away till Christmas.

Builders were beginning to drop like flies and mortgage companies were not giving any loans.

How were we going to make it for Christmas if there was no work?

Suddenly, we'd become “those” people. You know the ones I'm talking about- the ones who don't pay their bills on time. The ones who get reported to collection agencies. The ones whose credit scores can be mistaken for dress sizes. The ones who obviously have no integrity about themselves or they wouldn't be in such a financial mess.

We cried out to God. We pleaded forgiveness for our contentment and never saving for moments like these. We pleaded with God that we would be better stewards if we were ever given a second chance. We kept waiting for things to get better—praying and waiting, waiting and praying. I told Jose no Christmas presents for me.

As a new year started, Jose and I yelled, cried, and gone to bed silently sulking. We aren't truly mad at each other. We each want the other one to whip out a miracle wand and make it all go away. He hates feeling helpless. I hate feeling insecure.

Through those years, I learned something as a wife.  If I can love my husband in the good times, I can love him even now.  Yes, I was happy before because we had money.  But, had I really placed my security in something as shallow as money.  It’s the hard truth ladies.

The formula can look like this sometimes: Good times + Money = Loving Wife

But what about this equation: Hard Times + No Money = Nagging Wife

As I am writing this it has truly brought a smile to my face.  To look back and see how far we have come.  That marriage is truly for Better or Worse, Richer or Poorer. I smile because I can look at this financial attack we’re under and know that it has no idea who they are messing with.  LOOK OUT because in the stress and worry we can hold onto His Word. And it’s in His Word we are set free.

Stress and Donald Trump

The theme song on the Donald Trump show The Apprentice is “The Love of Money”; when we hear the first words of that song, what do we hear first…”money, money, money, money”.  Back in 1973 the O’Jays sang this song and 38 years later it seems as though life is still based around money.  And for women in this day and time in 2011, it’s not a fun subject to talk about.  It stresses us out, brings tears to our eyes and, dare I say, can make us gain weight! For the next week, I want to talk to you about stress and money.  Why does it seem to stress us out more than our husbands?  Why do we tend to look for the answer to the problem first instead of looking to the Problem Solver?

I was talking to a few friends this week and we were talking about how we are just tired.  Tired of the worry, tired of the unknown, tired of fighting this battle with finances. For me, I see the “sin” of trying to “keep up with the Joneses” is an effect of where we are today.   I am at the point of where my flesh has been broken and stripped to nothing and all that is there is my spirit.  But now my spirit is arguing with God. Why? Because I’m done. How many of you can say the same thing?

I’m done fighting this battle. I’m done wondering when this will ever end. God and I have been havin’ some conversations (southern draw added). Then He gently calms me down and reminds me in Proverbs 19:2:

“It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.” (NIV)

“A person without knowledge is no good. A person in a hurry makes mistakes.” (GW)

I don’t want to rush, I want to be stretched.  I want to go as far as God wants to take me. Why? One word…Trust. Because I know that in a little while I will enjoy great peace (Psalm 37:10-11).

See when we stress and worry, it’s like telling God we don’t trust Him.  And yes, I know that at times it’s easier said than done.  But know that He’s there.  That He sees every tear and knows every struggle we are facing. But joy is coming.

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6

I love what Smith Wigglesworth says “There is no dry place in God, but all good things come out of hard times. The harder the place you are in, the more blessing can come out of it as you yield to His plan.”

My prayer is that through this time together as we discuss finances that you would begin to experience joy again.  That breakthrough would come as God inspires to write these words.  That these words would bring healing and comfort to you.  That we will share testimony after testimony of God’s incredible faithfulness as we hold onto His Word.

Talk to you soon.

 

{Job Update – I was looking outside the glass door where I work Monday.  It’s just me and another gal there.  And as I went downstairs and paused and looked out the window, I began to cry.  I was crying because I missed God.  I miss spending time with Him.  When I was home, I could be in His Word for hours.  Folding laundry and just having a conversation with Him.  I realized how much I missed it.  It was like that door was locked shut and I could see outside into that blue sky yet I was not able to go anywhere with Him.  It’s as though I want an “old friend” back.  Don’t get me wrong I know He’s there, but I sure do miss Him}

Not my will, but Thine will be done

Have you ever had one of those times where your not quite sure what it is your suppose to do with your life? I'm sure many of you have and I am not alone in this journey. But it is striking me so hard lately, that I can really say I'm just not sure. I know I enjoying speaking to women, but I don't get paid for that right now. I'm still considered a newbie and love the seeds I'm sowing for my future. But with these economic times it doesn't pay the bills. Trust me I go around and around in my mind..."where is your faith Michelle. If anyone can restore your husbands business, He can. Just stay in my will" Ugh, it's so hard to stay put and not do anything and watch my husband struggle to make ends meet sometimes. The burden is so heavy on him right now. God will make a way where there seems to be no way I keep telling myself! Even in the trying of doing things myself is unsuccessful. Let's see I've applied at Macy's, Gap Distribution Center and most recently as a Marketing Director with a real estate company I am licensed with. I have an education, I have experience, I have, I have and nothing!! And then God comes in a says, "Be still and know that I am God." And my flesh says, I know Lord, but today we woke up with our cell phones turned off. Last week it was not sure we had money for groceries. We only had $14 to our name because contractors were coming up with so many stories as to why they couldn't pay us. Oh, oh and don't forget the week before that I was sitting in my house for a day with no electricity, praying that somehow we would get money to turn it back on before the kids got back from school!! Oh...but the God of our tight-places has brought us out through it all and will continue to bring us out! Jose received money from a builder that day to turn the lights and heat back on! Thank you Jesus! We might have had $14 that week for groceries, but we were together as a family that day only to receive another check the next day! God you taught us how to appreciate what we have and the cost of it. And yes, we turned our cellphones back on today. We had money in the bank for that!

So God I thank you for bringing us through. We're not out yet, but I know that like an olive is pressed only to drip oil through the pressing, through the tight-places the "gallons" of oil we are producing is only for YOUR GLORY!!

Lord...not my will, but Your will be done!