Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Testimony of God's Faithfulness

It is fun to watch things come together when it looks near impossible for them to work out right. I have been having a bunch of fun lately because God has been bringing numerous pieces together for us the last few weeks. Praise God for His faithfulness.

I am pretty transparent on this blog and in my preaching. I often tell about my struggles in believing God to do exactly what He has promised to do. Faith in God is one of my favorite subjects. Faith in God is a wonderful, amazing and often elusive thing for me. I pray often, "Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief."

The awesome thing is that just like the desperate father in the Bible that prayed that prayer, that statement does not disqualify me to receive the answer I am seeking. We think of that last phrase "Help thou my unbelief "as a disqualifier. But somehow in God's economy it often becomes a qualifier.

It is like God appreciates the honesty. God I trust you! God I have faith you will do it. God I believe! But, Lord, there is a little part of my heart that I am not sure of yet. In the middle of the night, when I am all alone. when the pain is great, when confusion reigns, Lord, I am afraid I have doubts, fears and misgivings. Lord, help my unbelief.

It seems that God takes our declaration of faith mixed with the honest confession of nagging fears and doubts and puts it in the balance and finds in us the faith necessary to send the miracle we need. Hallelujah!

However, there are other times that I do not talk or write about as much. There are times that I sense God pointing us in a certain impossible direction but in the depths of my soul I know without any doubt He is going to provide the open door and the means to walk through the door.

I can not explain how or why or predict when but sometimes I have the faith to believe God is going to do certain things when doubt seems more in order. This unexpected and short trip to Nigeria is a super example of that.

I knew that Bro. Shobanke was going to ask me to preach the dedication service of the new Osara Rd. branch church on the edge of Abeokuta. 

I also knew I could not go. I did not have a free Sunday to go and I did not have the money to go. So even though I felt like he would ask, I knew my answer would have to be no.

We usually take on one mission type project per year. Tent revivals have become a mission type project in itself but we want to do some type of foreign mission project in addition to tent revivals.

This year we ended up with three projects in addition to the load of tent revivals.

1. We had committed to preaching a tent revival for Bro. Landress and Holiness in Mexico in the state of Chiapas, Mexico in December.

2. We had committed to preaching a tent revival for a native American mission church in North Dakota with Bro. Martin and Hope for the Home Ministries.

3. Although we had already given toward the new church branch when it started and again when we were in Nigeria in December, we felt compelled to give again and to help Bro. Shobanke raise the money to finish the church.

Honestly we were stretched as far as we could go and then quite a bit farther in faith. I knew I would have to turn Bro. Shobanke down and I was OK with that. We were doing all that we could do.

But when he told me the church was finished and then asked me to dedicate it as soon as possible, I was terribly torn. I explained the impossibility of the situation to Bro. Shobanke and he understood perfectly. When I told him I would pray about it anyway he was thrilled.

Here is where my amazing wife steps in. I told her later that morning about Bro. Shobanke's invitation and then I went over all of the reasons why it was impossible for us to accept. The very first words out of her mouth were, "I think we ought to go. God will make the way." I said to her, "Kelly Jo, you are an incredible woman" and I instantly knew God would make a way if He was directing us to go.

I have preached for years that where God leads, He feeds and where God guides He provides! I have watched him do it time after time and I am in the midst of watching him do it again. He is amazing.

We had absolutely no money set aside for expenses to travel to Nigeria. In fact, we only had $40 set aside for the planned trip to Mexico in December. The day I decided to go to Nigeria some cash was put into our hands to use for whatever we wanted. That does not happen often but when it does it is often exactly right on time. It was not a tremendous amount of money but it was enough to put a good dent in our Nigeria expenses.

Within two minutes God had spoken to my heart to give that money to another need. Pastor Jared Burris and Amazing Grace Tabernacle in Atwater, California have found a building to purchase after well over 5 years of renting. I had told Bro. Jared that we would help with a certain amount when they found a building. I knew God had put that money in my hand for them and not for me. It was the exact amount that I had told Bro. Jerod a few years ago that we would like to give.

The next day I received word that $100 was coming from an individual toward the trip. The next day I received word that $200 was coming from a church. The next week we received an offering of $455 from a church in the mail to be used however we needed it for the ministry. None of these things are common for us at all.

A few days ago I received a $2000 check from a church that had felt a burden to receive and send a special offering for the Nigeria trip. Each one of those gifts was an absolute miracle. Although the $2000 may buy more that $100 it is all miraculous in our eyes especially when I know the sacrifice involved in each gift. God directed each dollar.

We have spent $2615 on visas and tickets and all of that is covered with $140 left over. We will have $6-700 in additional expenses plus money for  items we would like to take with us for folks there and offerings but we will be able to cover most of that with our own giving.

I am telling you all of this because I want you to see the faithfulness of God. Three weeks ago today we decided to go and we had absolutely no money for the trip. We had no savings to fall back on. Yet we sensed that God was pointing us in that direction and we stepped forward by faith. Wow! It is amazing to watch God keep His Word and pull things together. Praise God for His faithfulness!

I often ask you to help us pray. Help us praise Him for a while! Hallelujah!


PS We are a lot closer to paying for our Mexican trip too. Praise God!