July 4: Keep praying for our nation

Happy 4th!
Happy 4th!

Tomorrow is July 4th, our country’s Independence Day. Our nation’s motto is “In God we trust.” Sadly, I think that as a nation, we’ve come a really long way from that. Today’s frightening news headlines were prophesied in the book of Revelation. But Jesus told us that when we see all these things happening, to stand and look up, for our redemption draws near. (Luke 21:28) This gives us great hope, peace, and courage. It won’t be long now!

What we can do today for America is to continue praying for her. 

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)

I hope you have a happy 4th of July. Ray has to work until tomorrow night, but I’m spending tomorrow evening with some dear friends, who are grilling burgers and brats and we’re watching fireworks. How are you spending yours?

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Love anyway

Valentine's Day Image source: Google
Valentine’s Day
Image source: Google

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. The other day when I was eating chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant, I heard a man griping to his (male) friend that Valentine’s Day is “just a made-up holiday to force men to buy flowers and candy for their girlfriends or wives.” In my head, I was thinking, “Actually, no, it’s a perfect opportunity for a man to show his wife how very much he loves her!”

In my recent blog post on love, I shared how God has called us as Christian believers to love as He loves–not to hate. 

The way we learn to love God, others, and ourselves is by spending time in the presence of the One who is the epitomy of love–God. God is love. (1 John 4:3) By praying. Worshipping and praising Him. Meditating on His Word, the Bible. Having fellowship with other believers. Operating in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Crucifying our flesh daily. (Romans 6:6) Repenting of sin. (Acts 3:19)

God’s anointing–the presence of His Holy Spirit–teaches us all things, including love. (1 John 2:27) 

Jesus at well with woman
Jesus at well with woman

I guess it’s easy for God to love because, well, He’s God! But what about us mere humans, we who are fragile jars of clay, so prone to sinning and who eventually return to the dust from which God made us? (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

Asian woman praying
Asian woman praying

Let’s face it. Some people are not easy to love. In fact, sometimes they are downright unloveable. 

They can be:

  • Rude.
  • Hateful.
  • Mean.
  • Spiteful.
  • Harsh.
  • Cruel.
  • Arrogant.
  • Indifferent.

And let’s face it; you and I can be very unloveable, too. 

Unhappy couple
Unhappy couple

What to do with these kind of people?

You and I make an intentional choice to love anyway. 

Jesus on the cross
Jesus on the cross

The way God does with you and me. He loves and gives first. The way Jesus looked down at those who crucified Him and mocked Him and said, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 22:34, International Standard Bible)

Jesus DIED for them, the same as He did for you and me! Love lays down one’s life and prays for others–even those who hate and despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)

couple holding hands
couple holding hands

Love is a decision. Love is an action. Love is a verb. 

Is it easy? NO! I really struggle with this at times. I constantly have to ask God to help me to love others the way He does. (Sometimes this is hardest to do in your own family!)

Is it what God desires for you and me, to be vessels of His unconditional (agape) love? YES!

*******

eBook cover
eBook cover

I’m writing a new book now, Metamorphosis: Transformed From Hate to Love. 

If you sign up with your name and email address for my personal mailing list, you’ll be first to hear about its release for sale for your Kindle on Amazon. You’ll also get a free gift when you sign up. 

Just sign up at the top of the page on the right hand side.

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We bought a house! Praise the Lord!

Our new home!
Our new home!

About nine years ago, we moved to the tiny, rural town of Butler, Missouri (which means it’s out in the sticks!); I always say not willingly, but ONLY because my husband Ray got a great job there as a paramedic at Bates County Memorial Hospital. We wanted a house located close to Ray’s work, so we wouldn’t have to fight Missouri’s winter snow and ice driving him to work (we have one car and I usually take him to work).

Initially we lived in a small, brick rental home, and then moved to a larger house in Butler, that was built in 1960 and the landlord who bought it inexpensively remodeled it beautifully. As soon as I saw the ad in the paper to rent the house, something in my spirit leaped.

Couple leaping
Couple leaping

When I met the landlord to go look at the house, and she told me that she flips houses for a living, as soon as my feet stepped inside the back door, I sensed that God wanted to bless Ray and me with this home to buy it, for us to improve it a little, and then us flip it, too, for a profit after several years.  I just felt that the house was mine.

Ray and I knew from the start of signing the year-long lease that our landlord intended to sell the house at some point. She had worked hard on remodeling it and she preferred to sell it to us, because she knew we loved the house, especially me, and that we’d take care of it.

The house is my personal taste and style, with the original wood floors stripped and polished, arched Spanish-style doorways, a sunroom like many homes in Florida have, and many other nice features. 

Image resource: https://katjacoby.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/this-week-is-national-pay-your-bills-week/
Image resource: https://katjacoby.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/this-week-is-national-pay-your-bills-week/

Ray and I have had a LOT of financial struggles during the 25 years of our marriage, including a home foreclosure, filing bankruptcy, and bills going into collection agencies (such as Ray’s medical bills), because we were living hand to mouth, just trying to survive and pay the basics each week.  Because of all this, Ray’s credit score wasn’t high, which is usually necessary to buy a home. 

Marines in war
Marines in war

When our landlord decided to sell the house after we’d lived there the first year, she offered it to us first since she knew I really liked the house. Ray served over 14 years in the Marines military, and wanted a VA (Veterans Administration) loan, because they don’t require any down payment.  He applied several places, but was turned down due to his credit score.  The VA usually requires a minimum credit score of  620.

Ray immediately began working to improve his credit score. We prayed and asked our family and our friends to pray for God’s favor and a miracle to buy this house.  

Our landlord generously allowed us to sign another year’s lease as Ray rebuilt his credit.  It took longer than expected, and then she allowed us to sign another year’s lease while God worked behind the scenes on our behalf! This is God’s FAVOR!

“”For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD.”–Proverbs 8:35

The landlord also added a rail to the steps outside the house, which the VA required, and made repairs (paying for them  herself), including a new roof, hiring plumbers to fix a major plumbing issue, repainting,  and other expensive improvements to the home.

When God speaks, it shall be

Two of my friends gave me prophecies that we were going to buy the house, as well as people I didn’t even know—prophetic vessels of God’s on Periscope. When God speaks, it shall be. 

“So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” –Isaiah 55:11, AKJV

Ray applied for a VA loan and his application was again turned down. He said it looked like we’d have to move, which we both dreaded as we have moved a lot in our marriage and own a lot of stuff! I began searching the papers for a new rental house, but wondered about the prophecies. Like Mary the mother of Jesus, I pondered these things in my heart. (Luke 2:19) Had all those people simply missed it and given a false prophecy?

Then one morning in town, I met a woman at the post office as we waited in line, and admired her beautiful silver bracelet. She said her daughter bought it for her from Tiffany & Co. It turned out that she was a realtor, who knew a lender. This turned out to be a Divine appointment and the lender had a VA lender contact, who made it possible for us to buy this house! Look at God go!

Our house: God did it!
Our house; God did it!
Back door & sunroom
Back door & sunroom
Detached garage
Detached garage
Pink azaleas blooming in our yard
Pink azaleas blooming in our yard

You can see pics of the INSIDE of the house by clicking here. I have made some changes to the decor and furniture since I wrote that blog post. 

I’d told Ray that a VA loan would involve a lot of red tape, and I was right. He was about to pull out his hair from all the paper work he had to keep filling out and the information he had to get in order to process the loan. At times it still seemed “iffy,” but I continued to stand on God’s word. While I struggle with faith in the area of our children and grandchildren, I did have FAITH that we were going to buy this house, and at times I had to encourage Ray to BELIEVE and TRUST GOD!

My friend Stephanie Carter, one of the women who prophesied we’d buy the house, encouraged me to do something as an act of faith that the house was our own, so I planted wildflower seeds outside with Ray as we waited to hear for the response about the loan.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” –Hebrews 11:6, NASB

Stephanie urged me and Ray to ONLY speak words of faith over this house and the loan, and go to the four corners of the land, praying silently over it as the people of Israel did at Jericho before the final victory. (Joshua 6) She said tell everyone I knew that this house was ours, even strangers, lol. I did all this, and I dropped the communion elements of bread and wine at each of the four corners. (Matthew 26:17-30)

I also buried a mustard seed which was inside a heart charm for a necklace of mine, at my friend Shelley Valasek’s encouragement, right beside the wildflowers. (Matthew 17:20)

Here’s a picture of me planting the seeds, and Ray and I holding a green stone that says “Faith” on it that I found at the Dollar General store. 

me planting wildflower seeds
me planting wildflower seeds
Ray & me Holding our "faith" stone, as we wait for final approval of the VA loan for the home we're buying this year
Ray & me holding our “faith” stone, as we wait for final approval of the VA loan for the home we’re buying this year

Here is Ray in the picture below, signing the papers with the attorney and our landlord at the attorney’s office. 

God gave us favor to not need a down payment, AND our landlord even paid all the closing costs! Praise JESUS!

Ray signing papers at the house closing
Ray signing papers at the house closing
Landlord signing papers at house closing
Landlord signing papers at house closing

After the papers were signed, Ray and I went out to lunch to celebrate at Olive Garden! All the glory and praise goes to Jesus Christ! This is a miracle, with our financial problems in the past and Ray’s previous credit score. God did it, halleluah!

Ray & me toasting at OG
Ray & me toasting at OG
Ray's green apple Sangria
Ray’s green apple Sangria
Me with Italian Moscato red wine
Me with Italian Moscato red wine
OG bread sticks and salad
OG bread sticks and salad

I’m so happy to tell you that we are now proud home-owners! Ray and I prayed over the house, the land, our marriage, our children, our grandchildren when we bought this house, breaking any curses over it and asking God to bless us and our home.

Me & Ray at 25th "silver" wedding anniversary & home purchase party
Me & Ray at 25th “silver” wedding anniversary & home purchase party

We had our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary and home purchase party on Mother’s Day 2017, which I’ll share about in another blog post. Thank you to all who prayed for us to buy this house; it wouldn’t have happened without YOUR prayers!

GOD DID IT! PRAISE THE LORD!

What are you believing God for in your life? What miracle do you need? Leave your comments below.

Are you needing more faith? Read my book on praying in faith at Amazon by clicking here. 

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