One of my goals for 2022 is to be an extravagant believer.
Do you know someone who is an extravagant believer? I mean someone who holds back nothing as they expect God’s hand in their lives. I don’t mean someone who is foolish, but someone who knows that God can accomplish what we can never do on our own. Are you such a person?
The Bible has lots of stories about people who believed extraordinarily. There were those around them who believed … sort of, but these people believed in ways that seemed extreme.
One such story is in Luke 8:43-48.
I want you to put yourself into the story – into the crowd.
There was a huge throng of people following Jesus as He walked through the street. He had no body guards as He walked with His disciples. The crowd was pushing and shoving, trying to get closer. They wanted to get a good look at this unusual man, who was becoming famous.
Suddenly, Jesus turned and said, “Who touched Me?”
His disciples were confused. “What do you mean? The whole crowd is pushing up against you.”
Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I felt the power going out of Me.”
And He turned and looked at the woman who was touching the hem of His garment.
In the crowd, there was a woman who had been sick for a very long time. She had a hemorrhage of blood which had lasted for 12 years. She had spent all of her money going to doctors, and no one had been able to cure her. In fact, the Bible says that she had just grown worse.
Yet that day, when she saw Jesus, she was inspired. She had heard about Him and she thought, If I can just touch the hem of His garment, I shall be made well.
And that’s exactly what happened. When she touched Him, the flow of blood stopped, and just like that, she was well.
Jesus then said something very different from our mindset. He said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
Let this picture sink in. Jesus didn’t even know that the woman was there until He felt the power go out of Him. Her faith had put a demand on the power within Him, and she received her healing.
Let’s fast forward to today.
Our Savior is alive today.
There is a crowd of people all around us, some believing in Him and some not – just like when He walked the earth.
Within the crowd of “believers,” there are a few – maybe just one or two, who really believe. They are the ones who see His hand in their lives more than the norm.
They are the extraordinary believers, and they see things happen that the others don’t.
So how do you fit in? Are you willing to believe for miracles in your life?
In your health?
In your family?
In your finances?
Don’t look around at the crowd. They probably aren’t believing that much.
If you would like to be extraordinary, but think that you just honestly can’t muster the faith, don’t be discouraged.
Start reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and let the reality of Jesus be burned in your heart.
He is looking for super believers to show Himself strong.
In 2022, I want to be an extravagant believer, don’t you?
Forever Upward! Always in pursuit of God’s best!
There is power in hope. Regardless of the way things may look, when you have hope, you can count on a brighter future.
For 25 years we lived in a house which had been built in 1877. While there, one of my delights was being surprised by many outbursts of color as shrubs bloomed or bulbs suddenly created a splash on the scene.
And there were trees galore – of all sizes and shapes.
One of my favorites was an oddity. There was a tree which had been cut down, but which had refused to quit! It had a stump dwindling away, but right in the middle of the stump, was a tree. Standing tall and proud, this tree had grown right up out of the center of that stump.
I loved that tree. It wasn’t really the prettiest one around, but it spoke volumes to me.
Then I ran across these verses.
For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again. And its shoots will not fail.
Though its roots grow old in the ground, and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant. (Job 14:7-9)
That tree became a picture of hope for me.
Is there something in your life which seems dead? Your career? Your marriage? Your relationship with a child?
If so, pray and ask God to show you how to proceed. He is a God of Hope, and He will begin to impress upon you pictures which are different from what you see with your eyes.
Ask Him to guide you to verses in the Bible which uphold your vision of hope, and start speaking those verses to yourself and to the world around you.
As you do this, you will be developing your very own arsenal of weapons against fear, doubt, and depression. You will find yourself seeing with spiritual eyes more than the natural.
Then do what He says.
That’s how you fight the good fight of faith. And it’s how you turn things around.
Now be persistent and be patient.
Be like that Tree of Hope in my yard.
When that tree first got cut down, I’m certain that it looked completely dead. There was no evidence that any life remained.
But at the scent of water (in your case the scent of the Holy Spirit speaking life to you), the green in the tree began to grow. It had to fight its way to become a tree again. It had to be persistent and patient.
Eventually the shoot overcame the obstacles and won its right to be a tree again.
That’s like you and like me. We are determined not to be cut down and destroyed.
We are coming back. We will make the changes we need to make, and we will come back. Stronger. Taller.
That’s the way it is when we follow our God’s direction. We always have hope for a better day.
Our God is faithful to guide us to that victory.
May your Christmas season be filled with God’s hope!
Suellen’s Note: I want to share with you the testimony of a very special lady. The first time I met Candice, I knew that God had His hand on her in a mighty way. I could immediately see such a sweet spirit, and her desire to fulfill her purpose in God… Little did I know that her growing up years were so filled with turmoil and pain.
Guest Post by Candice Fowler…
I guess my story begins as a young child.
I was born into a family with lots of problems. From the time I was a baby, I was tossed back and forth from family member to family member.
There was a lot of abuse, drug abuse and neglect.
I never really felt safe and secure.
As I grew older, I began to walk that same path. I was heavy into drugs and lived a life full of sin and rebellion. The loneliness and hurt within me caused me to seek unhealthy relationships.
I could see my life spiraling downwards.
Yet even as an adult, I continued on that path. I only really thought of myself, and did whatever I wanted to. I was trying to cure my despair with momentary pleasures of drugs and promiscuity.
Around 2008, God started getting my attention. I knew that there was a better way and I felt drawn to God and His love for me. It was a hard road and It took me a couple years to completely straighten up my life, but God was still faithful and patiently waited.
I began to go to church and serve in the church, but something was lacking, and that was a relationship with him.
In 2016, I fully gave my life to God. I received Jesus, I learned what surrender was and I laid it all down. Totally surrendering my life to Him. It truly takes giving Him control of it all, allowing Him to change you.
On a daily basis, I pray and ask God to create a clean heart within me. For Him to search me and find any wrong way within me, and burn it up.
I can’t imagine living a day without him. He truly is my Rock, my Redeemer, my Fortress, my Strong Tower. Those are not just words to me, that is who my God is!
He takes us out of the pit of destruction and places us on firm foundation.
I look back at my life and I can see that I have a great purpose. There were several times when I could have ended up dead, but he protected me through it all.
He has completely changed my life.
I know without a doubt there is a God. I never thought in a million years I would be the person I am today, but GOD!!
A couple of weeks ago, the Holy Spirit woke me up at 3 am and spoke these words into my spirit. “Stir up the gift which is within you.” (II Tim 1:6)
I knew exactly what He was saying.
You see, our church had been holding a campmeeting with Ted Shuttlesworth and his son, Ted, Jr. The building was packed out with visitors praising and worshiping God, clearly eager to receive the divinely inspired messages. And they were not disappointed. The rafters shook with the booming praise, clapping, dancing, and rejoicing over our God and what He is doing in the earth. Healings were dramatic and often. Throngs were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time.
As the night proceeded, I felt the gifts were being stirred in me – and others. In that atmosphere there is always an awareness of heaven’s touch – and the reality of the Kingdom of God.
It reminded me of earlier days…maybe because it was like earlier days. It reminded me of the days when there was rejoicing in the city by the many people who were turning to the Lord, getting saved, baptized in the Holy Spirit and shouting their newfound truth to the rooftops. (more…)
The Lord of Hosts shows up in Israel. The Hebrew words for the Lord of Hosts are Jehovah Tsaba, and when He shows up, big things happen.
He is seen sometimes in scripture as the Captain of the Hosts, and He is leading hosts of angels to do the will of the Lord. When the children of Israel were led out of Egypt and into the Promised land, it was Jehovah Tsaba who directed the moves and caused the great demonstrations of God’s power.
Now here He is again. Israel has turned against God to the point where some elite members have already been carried off to Babylon. Yet there is still false word coming from the prophets saying that they will be returned in two years.
Jeremiah speaks words to the king, the elders, and the priests. Then he sends letters to the elders in exile. God will no longer relent. The Jews who are in captivity should build, plant, and settle, because they will be there for a long time. The Jews in Israel (really Judah) should get ready, because they are about to be taken to Babylon. There is no longer a second or third chance.
Of course, I don’t mean that Jehovah Tsaba is another God, but this is a different manifestation of the one true God. He is the warring God who forces his will to be done in the earth at the proper time.
There are many Hebrew names for God in the Old Testament, distinguishing His many characteristics. There is Jehovah Shalom, the God our peace; Jehovah Rapha, the God our healer; Jehovah Jireh, the God our provider, and others. It’s the same God, of course, but with many attributes. each name distinguishing the attribute which is being manifested at the moment.
So when Jehovah Tsaba shows up, the manifestation is the Lord of Angelic Hosts, and He is about to do something big.
Jehovah Tsaba could be the name used when the angels announced to the shepherds the birth of our Savior. Or during all of the demonstrations surrounding His death, burial, and resurrection.
There are many unfulfilled prophecies concerning the end times, and there are many prophecies coming forth that will require Jehovah Tsaba to show up again.
In our modern world, there are many – even believers who don’t believe in great manifestations from our God, but they are going to be in for a surprise. He is still a miracle working God, and when the time comes for Him to act, he isn’t shy about doing it! After all, He is the Creator of all things and the world belongs to Him. He will eventually take it back!
Whew! It gives me chills even thinking about it!
In the meantime, we are to live our lives above reproach in this world so that the gospel will not be maligned.
We are not to be argumentative or gossips or enslaved to wine, but to live honorable lives.
Paul goes on to say that we are to be patient, knowing that God’s glory will be revealed, and we are to be his witnesses. Our Father has purified us for His possession – and we will show His glory in the earth.
Fathers and mothers are to share with younger people what they know about God, and they are to exhort others to follow suit.
I want to be an instrument of God’s glory – shining for all to see His goodness.