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Living within God’s grace

12 Dec

There are many voices ‘out there’ vying for our attention, hoping we’ll conform to their standards.  Those voices could be divided into 3 basic categories; God, the devil and ourselves.  Unless we’re teachable and have great mentors as sounding boards, or a possess a strong God-centered internal ‘plumbline’, we could be easily confused or duped.

And ‘old fashioned’ character is still a virtue.  It will help to hold a person from being 1)naively impetuous… or from being 2)fearfully indecisive when these voices present themselves.  Both unbridled actions can derail us.  

Many people, without a God-centered ‘plumbline’, find themselves chasing ‘the three G’s’ – girls, gold and glory.  

For all that is in the world, the 1)lust of the flesh and the 2)lust of the eyes and the 3)boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. – (I John 2:16)

This leads to dissipation or exhaustion.  Anything that is not supported by God’s grace will automatically deplete us, because it requires our own strength to attain it.  

Jesus learned this truth and He invites us to embrace it, also. 

Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. – (John 5:19)

This truth and this lifestyle is sustainable.  For sure, ‘sabbaths’ are still needed, but you won’t ‘run out of gas’ doing Father’s business.  Listen to an insight from Jesus.

I receive My nourishment by serving the will of the Father who sent Me and completing His work. – (John 4:34 Voice version)

Our Grace level fluctuates throughout our lives. It’s imperative that we learn to live within God’s Grace.

Consider the scenario in this graphic.  We’re excited about the growth curve that’s happening in our lives.  God is blessing us with favor of many kinds.  We’re happy and life is rewarding.  

Getting more ‘things’ has become easily attainable and within our own power.  We want bigger and better positions, possessions and power.

So we ask for more favors, incur debt, burn the candle at both ends, experience anxiety and fatigue, and find that we have almost no time for personal sabbath-type refuelings.  Of course, everyone else is running hard, too, so it seems normal.  And besides, “We’ve got to keep up with the Jones.”  This reminds me of a Lily Tomlin quote: 

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you’re still a rat.”   

Without question, this life mode is guaranteed to have a ‘moment of reckoning’.  Something will break; health, finances, relationships, etc.  Then we’ll be forced to reconsider and reevaluate what’s really important in our lives.

If you’ve hit a snag in life… something isn’t working anymore… and your patience and endurance is running thin, consider that you may have exceeded the grace of God in your life.  You may have to ‘reduce’ back to where the grace level is.

It usually takes a pretty strong force to change a mindset and lifestyle… imagine stopping a locomotive or turning a ship.  And this ‘reckoning’ usually requires some level of trauma to ‘encourage’ us let go of self acquired things… especially, if our identity is wrapped up in them.

We’ll have to search for where we exceeded God’s grace.  Where did we grasp for something in our own strength?  Where did we exchange the unmerited favor of God, for sacrificing personal sweat?   Consider this:

godliness with contentment is great gain – (I Tim 6:6)

with food and covering, we shall be content. – (I Tim 6:8)

These two verses present values which serve as guardrails on our lives.  They show us the bottom-line.  We must coach our hearts into the ability to be happy even if these bare-bones conditions are present in our lives.  If we can be happy ‘here’, then everything else is icing on the cake.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not advocating poverty.  And this is certainly not a poverty mindset.  Rather, we’re getting back to living within the grace that God provides… whether that means to be abased or to abound.  (Phil 4:12)

This is how we stay out of the ‘sweat zone’.  Isn’t it amazing… God’s ways always prove to be better than our ways.

— MLH

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Your inheritance includes super-natural provision

3 Dec

So how do we get started living in supernatural provision?  Well, since you’ve asked, I’ve created a graphic that explains the transition that takes place on our journey toward living in the Law of Blessing.  This graphic also describes some of the pitfalls of not using wisdom on this journey.

Most of us start out with our vocation supplying our primary source of income.  And even though we may have some level of spiritual relationship with God, any ‘income’ derived from our spiritual ‘reality’ is fairly small to non-existent.  Our objective should be to move into a place where our spiritual life is vibrant and exercised enough that it begins to activate Heaven’s ‘supernatural’ supply… in other words, a supply that is greater than the effort, time and intellect that we’ve invested.

I describe supernatural provision like this:

If your income is only commensurate with the amount of time, effort and intellect that you’ve put in, then that is natural provision… which is simply living under the Law of Sowing and Reaping.  It goes like this: if I don’t sow… I don’t reap.  If I sow sparingly, I reap sparingly. Etc… Who’s in charge of this setup? I am, of course.

But if your provision measures significantly above the time, effort and intellect that you put in, then this is super-natural provision.  This level of provision is activated as we learn to devote ourselves to being about our Father’s business in the unique way that He’s made you and I.  At that point, I believe Heaven rallies to be our total Jehovah Jireh.  This is living in the Law of Blessing.

This is an overly simplified way of saying it:

If you put in a ‘dollars’ worth of time, effort and intellect… and you get back more than ‘dollar’, then you are experiencing the increase of Heaven.

Provision Chart

Consider this graphic:

Notice the left side of the graphic. Initially, our primary provision is ‘sweat’ income… in other words, it comes solely from our vocation.  Very little provision comes from our spiritual impact or influence.  But as time passes and as we mature, we want those dynamics to switch so that more of our provision comes from our spiritual impact and less from our ‘sweat’.

Of course, our society has it’s version of this. It’s called a retirement plan.  But who wants to work their whole life time, by the “sweat of your brow” on a ‘rock-pile’ job, beating big rocks into little ones, just so we can have a few years of retirement.  Why not (as early as we can understand these principles) get serious about cultivating and maturing our unique spiritual identity until it is honed and invaluable in it’s respective place in society.  That way we get to do what we love to do all of our life and eventually we find ourselves living in the Law of Blessing rather than the Law of Sowing and Reaping.

For more of my posts on how to find and live within our unique identity, click here and here.

A common pitfall is that people get trigger happy when they see this possible route to supernatural provision.  They think they have enough faith to jettison everything and live by faith… or ‘walk on the water’, so to speak.  They don’t realize that their ‘leap of faith’ isn’t true Biblical faith at all.  It’s just naive hoping.  They haven’t built a ‘position of faith’ sufficient to support them.  Sadly, many people live their lives in such a way that they don’t actually need faith to live… as a result they don’t have a history of faith.

Then, when a person tries to live beyond their level of faith, they inevitably face lean times of lack and want.  This will lead to a moment of reckoning.  Deut. 7:22 describes how this can happen; “I’ll not give you the promised land all at once lest the wild beasts overtake you.”  Some of the “wild beasts” of our day are; fear, bills, hunger, lack, etc.
Supernatural Provision book cover

So it’s really important to apply wisdom on this journey. But the reward of living outside of the ‘sweat’ zone, is so worth it!  And in the process, you get to do what you love to do… enjoy God and activate your true identity.  Now that sounds like living!  I’ve posted five practical steps here.

For more on this subject, check out my book Supernatural Provision.  To get a copy, click here or see me personally.  You’ll find priceless gems; insights, practical tips and inspiring testimonies to launch you into your own life of living in Heaven’s super-natural provision.

Are you ready to live in your inheritance?

— MLH

SP True Stories – Diamond ring found

25 Oct

(From a friend)

Incredible morning so far.  I received a phone call from St. Luke’s hospital saying they had found my wedding ring which was lost two years ago when I was assisting my daughter in the birth of my granddaughter.  I had taken my ring off due to my swollen fingers.  Without knowing it, the ring fell into an HVAC vent in the floor.  We tore the room apart looking for it, to no avail.

But two years later, the hospital is remodeling, and they tore out the heat vents.  Lo and behold, they found my ring.  Just a small kiss from heaven to me!  I had filed a report with security and someone remembered that a woman had lost her ring in that specific room so they asked security to dig up the report.  It is totally a God thing!  He knows and is control of all!  Just another sign for me of His omniscience and Love… not to mention His provision!

– KR/MO

SP True Stories: Above and beyond delayed reward

20 Jul

(personal testimony)

Many times, in the middle 90s, our family served in a church about an hour away from where we lived.  We loved the church and had lots of friends there.  But I can’t remember ever receiving any significant financial honorarium for our times of serving.  We weren’t concerned, since we loved the people and loved serving alongside them.

Years later, that church disbanded.  In the liquidation proceedings they decided to disperse their assets through a foundation which handles distribution of estates and trusts, etc.  The church chose several tax-exempt ministries to receive their assets.  We had no idea that this was happening, but to our complete and great surprise, we were selected as one of the beneficiaries.  This foundation sent us scheduled quarterly payments for seven years… the total amount of which, far surpassed any potential honorariums we would have received from that church.

Part of this unexpected blessing can be attributed to the principle of sowing and reaping, but the cleanest part about it is that we weren’t concerned about the payback.  Our serving was “as unto our Lord”. (Eph 6:7)

It’s been about 25 years since our involvement with that church and those quarterly payments stopped nearly 10 years ago.  But just recently we received another check for over $6K from that same foundation.  Completely unexpected, without adequate explanation, very timely and totally appreciated!

Our Great Banker saw our labors of love in that church many years ago.  He saw and never forgot.  His timing is perfect.  His care and over-the-top blessing system is the very best!  Thank you, Father!!!!

— MLH

SP True Stories: Bye, bye mortgage!

3 Jul

(personal testimony)

Back in the early 2000s financing was easy to get… so we selected a “stated”/”no-doc” loan.  But there were all kinds of confusing financing options.  I felt the Lord led me to get a 5-year fixed, “interest-only” for 5 years HELOC, which then became an (ARM) adjustable interest rate loan.  That may seem scary, but I was trying to follow the Lord’s leading as best as I knew.  The terms stated that after 5 years, our adjustable interest rate was going to fluctuate with the national prime interest rate.  Now, what I didn’t know, was what nobody could have known at that time… this would be an amazing blessing to us!

We always paid much more than our minimum required monthly payment.  But after 5 years, the interest rate and required payments started to rise, so I called the mortgage company and indicated that I was going to ‘go shopping’ for another loan.  They volunteered to reduce our interest rate by one point… at no cost.  Thank you Lord.  So we stayed with them. 

In 2008 Americans experienced the national real estate crisis and our nation’s prime rate dropped to 3.25%… which lowered our mortgage interest to about 2%.  That’s crazy low… for the last 10 years!!!  Only God could have fore-known that our type of loan would be such a blessing to us!  Thank you God!!!  

Except for our mortgage, we have had no outstanding debt of any kind, for about 15 years.  During this time, we were believing God for supernatural provision to provide for “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (II Pet 1:3).  including our mortgage paid off.  We even received prophecies that we were going to be mortgage free.

It’s now year 17 of our 30 year mortgage, with just over $11K remaining on our loan.  We were only about one year from paying it off… 12 years earlier than required.  Now here’s the latest fun development in this story…

Earlier this year someone asked about the balance remaining on our mortgage.  Shortly thereafter, they gave us the full amount to pay it off.  WOW!!!  So much fun!!!

Thank you God, for Your amazing care and provision!  Your ways are truly higher than our ways.

— MLH

 

SP True Stories: Literal gold coin provision

11 Feb

(A report from a friend)

Recently, my good friend was encouraging his friends who were struggling financially.  They got behind in their rent and were about to be evicted.  My friend told them, “Papa wants to give you a token like a gold coin to show you that He loves you.”

Twenty minutes later, (about 10 pm at night!) their ‘pre’-Christian neighbor came over and unexpectedly gave them the 1 oz gold coin in this picture! (Gold is about $1320/oz)

Then, within a few days, ‘out of the blue’, they were given $2500 from an anonymous source.

At that point, they felt an urgency to give $1000 to some ‘other friends’ who were also behind in their bills.  Their ‘other friends’ had just prayed the prayer on page 230 in the Supernatural Provision book.  A minute after they finished praying, their phone beeped, notifying them that $1000 had just been deposited in their Paypal account.

Is God good or what!?!?!

‘Supernatural Provision’ prayer:  “Jesus, I love how You were so unconventional with Peter.  I think I get it.  I think I understand what You did with Peter.  It’s way outside of the norms of my society, but it’s beginning to make sense now that I can see how good my Father is.  I have to confess that it’s still a stretch to think of these truths working in my life, but I really want Your reality to be my reality.  I want Your easy yoke.  And I want to make You really happy as You watch me just skipping around like a little child without an anxious thought about provision.  Oh, make it happen in me, Jesus; make it a reality in me!  Amen.”

MS/CA

SP True Story: Old car retired… new car acquired

9 Feb

Over the last couple weeks nearly 10 people have given us sizeable financial gifts.  God knew we would need it soon.  He’s so good that way!

Debbie and I made a ministry trip to the cold ‘Nordt Country’ Thursday Feb 1 through Wednesday Feb 7.  Our 2001 Accord still looked good, but it had 320,000 miles on it.  I thought it would serve us well on this trip.  Even so, as we drove out of our driveway, I said, “This will probably be the last trip with this car.”  I didn’t know how true that would be.  Without previous coolant problems, I had to unexpectedly add anti-freeze twice before we arrived in Richland Center, WI.  In addition, we realized gasoline was leaking from under the car. 

Early the next day our friend Johnny, repaired the rusted gas line leak.  It seemed that the engine may have blown a head gasket.  And as we had it up on the hoist, the water pump sprang a significant leak.  We added ‘stop leak’ to the radiator and replaced radiator cap.  That stopped the loss of water… and we found that the water pump only leaked when the engine was cold.  So we continued our trip, but had to add water before starting the car each time.  😦

We spent Saturday and Sunday with our good friends at Mel Wild’s Cornerstone Church in Prairie du Chien, WI – three great meetings with lots of help from Heaven. 

On Craigslist we found a suitable car in Sioux Falls, SD at the right price, but I couldn’t reach the owner via text, phone or email… and we wouldn’t have time to see it for two more days.

Sunday afternoon we continued to Rochester, MN to join a favorite event: a two-day Global Legacy Leaders Advance at Rod Marquette’s Destiny Church.  As usual, it was a Holy Spirit anointed time. 

Tuesday noon we decided to head for home early, just to accommodate any problems we might have with the car.  From Rochester, MN I had about 1 ½ hours of driving before we had to make a decision to turn south on I-35 to go home… or continue west on I-90 to Sioux Falls to look at the car.  Several things had to happen for us to continue to Sioux Falls.  1) The owner of the car had to answer the phone.  And he did.  I ask questions and was satisfied with car.  2)  Now we had to have cash.  We had money in the bank, but not in hand.  3) A good friend in Sioux Falls had to be home.  We called… and he was home.  4)  Would he have the cash to temporarily give us in exchange for a check from us.  He did.  He wouldn’t normally have that much money, but a medical bill hadn’t been paid yet, so it was available.  5)  The car test drive had to yield good results.  It did.  6)  We bought the car… but now we had two cars in Sioux Falls?  So we donated our old Accord to a local young man who I’ve mentored for the last 5 years.  We gave him permission to keep it and fix it… or sell it and keep the money.  He was happy to receive it.  

Each of those things were ‘make or break’ issues… but we didn’t ‘forced’ any of them to make them happen.  If any one of these issues had not happened we would have gladly accepted that divine guidance, without forcing the issue.  I really love being led by our Lord!  His ways don’t require (or allow) sweat!!  This is very much in keeping with our two-word life motto: Follow Life. (click to read more)

Interesting side note: That next morning our Sioux Falls host planned to participate in an early morn prayer session at the local House of Prayer.  He was to leave the house at 5:10 AM.  I told him that if I woke up at 4:30AM I would go with him.  I did.  We got to the prayer meeting and I thought I would just enjoy the atmosphere… but they discovered that their worship leader was sick that morning and wouldn’t be coming.  Hmmmm.  Somebody just happened to have left an acoustic guitar there… and so they asked if I would lead worship for their team.  I did.  God had a great plan for all of us!  🙂

Deb and I acquired a car and retired a car in Sioux Falls.  Then, ‘happy as a lark’, we drove to KC in our new vehicle – a 2015 Accord with only 17K miles. Nearly new!
  
Thank you so much, for your prayers, care and gifts… and THANKS to our over-the-top Lord!!!!

— MLH