Tag Archive | test

Will you past the test?

Testing occurs on a regular basis in the battle for your soul and today, I was given another test.  I had an opportunity to obtain an item for “free” that I really wanted and was a desire in my soul.  At first glance, I was excited about the “gift” from God.  I even had loved ones tell me it was a gift.  So, I made plans to go get the item.  But a problem arose.  I began having an uneasiness in my soul about the item.  So, I asked the Holy Spirit specifically to let me know if it was okay to obtain this item (valued at about $2,000) at no charge.  He began to whisper truth into my spirit.  I tried a few more times to “rationalize” the find as God and I talked back and forth.  But the uneasiness persisted and suddenly, my spirit was settled.  I knew, just like a teenager arguing with a parent about why she should have something (knowing that it was wrong, but wanting permission from her parent to do it anyway).  She suddenly realizes that her parent was right.

The peace of God flooded my soul.

Then, I saw it clear as day.  The enemy was trying to rob me of my future destiny by getting me to come into agreement with him, thereby opening my soul up to demonic spirits.  By my own permission, I would have allowed these spirits to mess with my blessings that God has in place for me.  I quickly repented and thanked God for His guidance.  He reminded me that I must be tested and tried and come through the test in order to receive promotion in the Kingdom.  Just like Jesus in the wilderness, Satan made the temptation seem right, even using Scripture.  But Jesus rebuked him and defeated him at his own game.  I did the same thing today.

It’s difficult to explain the joy in my spirit as I realized that I had passed a test which I had fallen victim to several times in the past.  What test?  Trying to obtain something that God says is good through methods that are not or before the timing and release of God to possess the item.  Pastor Asa Dockery just preached a message on January 29, 2012 about this very subject, called “After the Fast Has Ended” and today, I passed the test.

Thank you, Father, for perfecting me.

God used a pig and some fish to persuade us.

I grew up with some knowledge about God and Jesus and Heaven.  I have a vague memory of attending a Christian class in the Lutheran Church across the street from my high school  (yes, Bible classes were taught in public high schools back then.)  My family knew about God, but we had no relationship with God.  My young teenage years were filled with abuse and rejection.  Details are not necessary, but I remember sitting on my bed under my window one night, staring at the stars, weeping with a deep ache in my heart.  I asked God if He really existed to deliver me from my situation.  I did not think about Him much anymore, and little did I know that I was on His mind.

I was on His mind...

I graduated from high school and left home quickly and  met my future husband, Skip.  He knew even less about God, but it didn’t matter to me.  He was wild and adventurous and I loved him as  much as my teenage heart could love.  We were two wounded young people, hoping that the love that we so deeply desired would be fulfilled in each other.

Fast forward several years to 1976.  We had been married for four years.  We were clueless about God and childless.  We did not get the clueless part yet, but the childless part was evident.  As clearly as if it were yesterday, I recall sitting on my little back porch in our Maryland apartment and weeping again with the same aching  in my heart that I had as a young teenager.  I asked God again if He existed and if He did, would He give us a child.  We had exhausted all of our means and I desperately wanted a child to love.  Little did I know that I was pregnant at that very moment.

Our firstborn son  arrived in March 1977.   Although I was filled with excitement, I had continuous lurking thoughts about death, either his or ours.  If he died, how could I live with the pain?  What would happen to him if he died?  Worse, if we died, who would take care of him?  Or if my husband died, who would take care of us?  Or if I died, how would my husband take care of him?  What if God would take him away from us as a punishment for our sins.  Once again, I asked God if He existed.  I called the church where we were married and asked them what would happen to Mike if he died.  I don’t recall the details that followed, but I remember that we took Mike and had him “sprinkled” and dedicated to the Lord.  We had no idea what that meant except that the preacher assured us that if he died, he would go to Heaven.  We felt better, but forgot about God again until a few years later.

God heard my cries

We had bought our first home and I was preparing for Easter.  I love to cook and entertain, so every occasion to do so was fun for me, especially in my new home.  We celebrated Easter with an Easter egg hunt and a ham dinner.  I had a Bible, which was a “sacred ornament” in our home and it laid on the coffee table.  I kept it dusted and wouldn’t allow anyone to put anything on top of it.  Sometimes, I’d pick it up and read it, but only on special occasions, so this was one of those times.  I had no idea where to read, so I would just open to a passage.  On this day, I opened the Bible to this passage:

Leviticus 11:7-8

New International Version (NIV)

7 And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.8 You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
I quickly closed the Bible and started thinking about what I just read…I must  not eat pig.  I was going to have a ham for Easter in a few days.  I began to wonder if I ate the pig if God would hold me accountable and then something awful would happen to me.  Fear and confusion began to rise in me again.  I talked to Skip about it and he said that he did  not understand but suggested that I call Judy.  She was one of our new neighbors who had talked about her church and invited us a few times, but we had not yet accepted her invitation.  She had a daughter and Mike and her were playmates.  So I called Judy and explained my dilemma.  She giggled and told me not to worry.  Then she asked me if I would like a visit from her pastor.  I said that I would like that.
I’m not 100% sure, but I think that it was the very next day when Pastor Sam came to talk to Skip and I.  The quick response from a stranger immediately spoke to my heart.  He did not even know us and he traveled 45 minutes to sit in our home and talk to us about our pig situation.  He could have just called on the phone or sent a brochure, right?
He lovingly explained that the restriction that I had read was applicable to the Jewish people way back then.  It was okay for us to eat our ham for dinner.  God would not punish us.  Phew, were we relieved.  We enjoyed dinner, but this time, someone pursued us with the love of God.  Pastor Sam came back to our house several times and shared the glorious good news of Jesus Christ and began to teach us about God.  We began attending Church.  Then, my heart was ready and in May 1979, one week prior to our 5th wedding anniversary, I went to Church, accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and was immersed in Christian baptism.  I’ll never forget the moment that I was saved and I’ll never forget standing up in front of the Church confessing, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and that He died for my sins…”  Confession with the mouth is an important to element of salvation.  I’ll always remember how I felt: loved, forgiven and pure before God.  But, Skip did not come forward with me that day.  He was still unsure that this was the real deal.
God's Word will remain forever
We had made new friends in church.  One young couple was especially zealous for God and took us under their wings; Kenny and Barb.  We had shared several meals with them at their home, as they fed us physically and spiritually.  Their love for God was contagious.  What precious memories we have of our beginning days as new believers.  Kenny and Skip decided to go fishing.  Kenny was persistent with Skip concerning his salvation.  While fishing, they were talking about God sitting in the boat because they weren’t catching any fish.  But, then neither was anyone else on the river.  So Skip, being the skeptic that he was, decided to put God to the test.  Silently, he asked God, “If you are for real and this is real, then  let us catch fish”.

It's not Skip and Kenny, but you get the idea.

God knows what stirs each person’s heart toward Him.  He answered Skip’s prayer and Kenny and Skip began to catch fish and catch fish and catch fish.  They filled their cooler.  And just so that Skip could not mistake his “luck” with God’s answer to his request, no one around them was catching any fish!  Skip knew God had answered his prayer.  The next Sunday, on our 5th wedding anniversary (by the way, five is the number of grace), Skip came forward and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and was immersed in Christian baptism.
That’s how God pursued and caught us.  Now we were both born into the family of God and life took on new meaning.  The incredible fellowship and love shown to us by the family of God in that Church nurtured us.  God even sent another Earl (Skip’s real name) and Georgia (what are the odds?) with whom we developed an eternal friendship.  We will be eternally grateful for Pastor Sam (who has since gone home to his reward) and our new church family.  Little did we know how much we would need them in the years to follow.