December 21st, 2012
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – Roman 10:17
Faith in action … It happened many years ago, but I would like to share it with you to both publicly glorify God and to help encourage you to keep trusting – obeying God in the midst of every dark trial you will face in the future, and may be facing right now.
At the time I was a single mother and my oldest daughter was rebelling against me, so I requested of the Lord a job that would give me the same schedule as my children. Within one month I had a job in the school system. I was an assistant teacher in the Pre-K department. I had been assigned to teach eight 2-year-olds without the primary teacher. I consulted the Lord and He counselled me. These were His specific instructions in my hearing.
“I want you to walk to work every day. I want you to get there 30 minutes early and then read out loud the 91st Psalm 3 times a day before your students arrive.”
I obeyed this daily, and The Lord gave me a schedule of activities for the kids that we all enjoyed. Working with the kids was a very easy job. It was working with their parents that made the job frustrating. Nevertheless, I now had the same schedule as my children, and this allowed for me to be a better and more aware leader of my own household.
As a single parent, I think this is imperative, especially if your children have reached their teenage years. This allows you to keep possession of leadership in your household (along with communion with God). Otherwise chaos and confusion and feelings of powerlessness as a parent may show up on the scene. This may stress one to the point of giving up leadership of the household and let the inexperienced adolescent make decisions that are not theirs to make!
God only knows how the request for a job that allowed for the same schedule as my growing children made a difference in my respected authority as the leader in my own household. NOW I got off work and made it home one hour before everyone else, which was great. I decided that I would worship God in that hour on a daily basis. I had a secret place in my home that I had dedicated to the Lord; a meeting place for me and Him. I would go there everyday and just worship. I must tell you that during this time of worship there was only one thing that I was aiming for. I simply wanted to be in the presence of the Lord. I did not go asking for anything except to be closer to Him. Many times there was no prayer, there was no song, there was no music — only a time of worshipping the Almighty in silence. Being still in the presence of the Lord.
Looking back on it now I realize that this was a very, very prosperous time in my life – SPIRITUALLY! The Lord had accelerated my growth and I was growing exponentially with leaps and bounds.
Soon after I got the job, I went to the Lord and I TOLD him that I wanted a few things for the house. I wanted some items for the bathroom and kitchen. I did not wait for the Lord to give me a yea or a nay about this matter. I just proclaimed to Him that I was going to Walmart to start a lay away, so that’s what I did. I went and purchased about $300 worth of merchandise and immediately starting paying it off.
One day in early September – while I was in my secret place, worshipping the Lord – I heard the Lord give me more specific instructions. He spoke into my hearing , “I want you to make sure that you make it to a meeting in Dallas, Texas on New Year’s Eve.” It was so profound in my hearing that I got a pen and paper out and wrote it down. I believed with all of my heart that God had spoken this to me, and I had every intention of obeying this Rhema word.
I had been following a ministry in Dallas TX, but I had been following afar off. I lived in Biloxi MS at the time. I did not know one soul in this body of believers. I just listened to the Word by tape that God used them to minister through on a regular basis.
On a different day in the secret place, I heard the Lord speak to me again, and give me more specific instructions. He said to me, “I want you to give up your layaway at Walmart! Take the money, then go to Sam’s Club and buy 20 sweatshirts and then put designs on them.” Once again I believed this was God speaking to me and giving me direction for my own personal life. I had every intention of obeying this Rhema word.
And OBEY is exactly what I did! By this time, I had about $30 left to pay on the layaway, so I cancelled it as the The Lord had instructed. I went to Sam’s and bought 20 sweatshirts; had designs put on them at a screen printing shop and went out and advertised. Each sweatshirt cost $20. (Now it did not take me days to obey God; I obeyed God immediately). But you know what? I did not sell one shirt — NOT ONE! But in my heart I knew that God had spoken to me to do these things.
So I pressed on. I took all of those shirts, put them in a plastic bag, and placed them on the top shelf in the closet, and continued with all the other instructions that My Father had given me.
Then we were up to the month of November, and I made a request of the Lord concerning the meeting in Dallas TX. This is what I said, ‘Lord – if that was You speaking to me about the meeting in Dallas TX, please have the ministry send me a brochure.’ Within two weeks I had a brochure, with the location and the times of this meeting in Dallas TX.
All the while, I was obeying all the other instructions that My Father had given me concerning my household, concerning my job, concerning my life, because I really believed that the Almighty God was (IS!) speaking into my hearing.
We started approaching the Christmas Holidays, and my children had their Christmas list. Bills still had to be paid and food still had to be put on the table. I was still a single mother. No shirts had been sold, and there was no extra money in sight.
Christmas had come and gone – it was on a Monday that year – and it was now December 26. The New Year’s meeting was approaching and I did not have a quarter. NOTHING! But, I knew with all my heart My Father had spoken to me and commanded me to be in this meeting in Dallas TX on New Year’s Eve.
The entire week passed, and the Lord had not allowed any money to touch my hands.
The meeting was for three days. Saturday thru Monday, December 30-January 1 — Monday was New Years Day.
Saturday morning arrives: I am still in Mississippi with no money. And according to the brochure, the meetings in Dallas TX start in two days at 11 am.
It is 8 am and no money.
9 am – no money!
10 am – no money!
10:45 am – no money!
By this time I was really starting to lose hope. It felt like I had been flying in a high place and all of sudden, someone hit me with an oversized bat. I began to tumble down into an earthly realm of depression and defeat. I was so depressed that all of a sudden, I got in the bed and I curled up like a baby and began to cry. My desire had been so strong to please the Lord … yet when I started to accept the fact that I could not attend this meeting, depression and defeat came to torment me.
BUT OHHHHHHHHHHH … WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!
As I was laying in the bed crying, this huge angel stepped into the room. He was so huge that He fitted himself into the contour of the room! He had to bend down to talk to me, because if he had stood up straight, he would have been completely above the roof of the house — a two story house, I might add. This angel took one of his wings and pulled me close to his bosom and spoke these words into the hearing of my spirit: “GOD has spoken. Can He NOT perform it?!”
Ohhh – when he spoke these words into the hearing of my spirit, the FAITH in me rose up like a mighty governmental mountain! I literally made it to my feet, stood erect like a soldier in the military and SALUTED! (THIS WAS A POWERFUL VISITATION!). As a soldier under his commanding officer, this was my response to this God-sent messenger: “What would you have me to do?”
The Angel responded to me, “You have shirts, don’t you?”
I said, “Yes I do!”
The angel commanded me, “Walk this floor and decree a thing; decree that money will come to your door!”
I immediately began to walk the floor, back and forth, decreeing that money would come to my door.
Within 15 minutes I heard a knock on the door, and it was a young man asking to buy a shirt!
I took the shirts from the top of the closet, laid them out and let him make his choice. And in this same room that this MIGHTY messenger of God had shown up to give me guidance, the young man bought one.
I was so amazed that I followed him to the door. I stepped out the door and just watched him as he made his way down the street. I watched in amazement … because I knew this guy as a petty neighborhood drug dealer. GOD can speak to and use anybody to do His bidding! He is no respecter of persons.
As I continued to stare in his direction, all of sudden the guy turned around and comes back up to me on the porch and says, “Hey, Ms. Stephanie, I want to buy another one.”
It is now 11:30 am and I have $40.00. So I go back to the spot where I encountered the angel and I speak these words—- “Ok Lord, I have $40. What would you have me to do?”
Believe it or not, I got a response! I could no longer see the angel, but my hearing was so keen. This is what I heard. “Go ask your sister for $20 and she is going to give it to you.”
You see, that’s not my thing at all — to ask my family for money. But you know what? I obeyed.
I asked and she gave it to me immediately.
It is now 1:30 pm and I have $60.
I approach the Lord afterwards with these words. “Ok Lord, I have $60. What would you have me to do?”
Another shirt was sold for $20.
It is now 2:30 pm and I have $80. I go back to the Lord and speak these words. “Ok Lord, I have $80. What would you have me to do?”
This was His response to me. “Call Ann. Tell her that her shirt is ready, and she will come right over and pick it up.”
I immediately picked up the phone, called Ann and told her that her shirt was ready. Within 30 minutes Ann was in the yard, ready to buy her shirt!
So it is now 4 pm and I have $100.
I go back to Lord with a different question this time, because I realized I would be in Dallas TX on New Years Eve for the meeting that the Lord had commanded me to attend.
“HOW do I get there? Do I take the bus, or do I fly? What is my mode of transportation?”
The Lord did not speak to me immediately about this matter.
During this time I had the task of returning a borrowed car. I had to stop to put gas in the car. I used gas money that my daughter graciously gave me – $3.00.
When I got to the gas stop, I noticed a woman at the bus bench. While I was sitting there getting things together to go inside and pay for the gas, this woman at the bus stop stood up and began to walk across the parking lot. I immediately noticed that she was on FIRE in the spirit. The FIRE of God consumed her and all I could do was stare in amazement at what God had opened my eyes to see! I realized she was going into the store, so I got out and I went to pay for the gas.
We ended up standing across from each other, and we looked at each other eye to eye for just a moment. She departed the store and went back to the bus bench, and I went to pump the gas.
To my amazement, the bus came. The bus just passed her like that! And it passed me TOO!
So I asked the Lord, “What is going on?” and the Lord responded to me, “I want YOU to give her a ride.”
So I finished pumping the gas and I drove toward her and let the window down, and I asked her where was she headed. “I’m going to the Edgewater Mall.” I tell her that I am going that way and said, “I will be glad to give you a ride” and she accepted.
I was so excited about the recent events of the day. I automatically assumed that God wanted me to say something to her, so I inquired of the Lord. “Lord, what do you want me to say to her?”
The Lord responded to me. “I don’t want you to say anything to her, because she is going to say something to you!”
So I started a casual conversation and asked, “Where are you from?”
She says, “Oh, I am from Vermont. I just graduated from college and I decided that I wanted to travel. So I hopped on the Greyhound and started riding across the country, and whenever I run out of money, I get off the bus, get me a little job in whatever town I am in, put some money back in my pocket, get back on the bus and keep on rolling.”
My response was, “Who are you with?”
She answered, “Oh, I am by myself.”
I responded, “You are out here traveling across the country by yourself. Aren’t you afraid?”
She answered, “I am not alone. God is with me.”
I exclaimed, “GOD?! YOU ARE A BOLD WOMAN!”
We chit-chatted for about 10 more minutes and she got out at her destination.
When she got out of the car — I went back to the Lord, and I asked, “God, what was that all about?”
The Lord immediately responded to me with these words, “You want to know how to go to Dallas don’t you?”
And I got it. I said “Ohhhhhhh – you want me to get on the bus!”
So immediately I called the bus station to find out how much a round trip ticket would cost to make it to Dallas TX from Biloxi MS. I was informed that it would cost $198 for a round trip ticket.
I immediately go back to the Lord. “Ok Lord – a round trip ticket to Dallas TX is $198! I’ve got $100. What would you have me to do?”
The Lord responded to me.
“Buy a one way ticket.”
I stopped in my tracks. “Buy a one way ticket?!”
I stopped and I began to think of all the reasons this was not a good idea. First of all, I knew no one in Dallas TX. There was no one for me to call and say, ‘ I am coming. Can you meet me here at this or that time?’ Secondly, I had never walked in the city of Dallas; not even one day in my life; had no idea of how anything worked; the city was absolutely huge compared to Biloxi. What if I got lost? I went through this mental process for about 45 seconds. Then I stopped and said out loud to myself…If you keep this up you are going to talk yourself right out of obeying God.
By this time it is 5:30 in the evening. I am back home from delivering the borrowed car, and the bus station is less than half a mile from the house. The next bus to Dallas leaves at 8 pm which will have me in Dallas, December 31, at 11:30 am. Glory to God! The very day that God had commanded me to show up!
I packed one bag. I told one person exactly what I was doing and why. That was my oldest daughter, and she looked at me in my face, and said these words to me, “Mama, you are a bold woman.”
You see, I was due back at work on the 2nd of January, or I would lose my holiday pay, but to be honest with you, I really was not putting that first. I wanted to know what God had for me in Dallas TX.
Another thing – I had never travelled by myself halfway across the country for anything. This was all new to me, but I was excitedly willing to walk this out. But the biggest thing was…I was going to Dallas on a one way ticket and I had no Idea how I was going to get back, let alone how I was going to get back on time.
But like I said earlier, I was excitedly willing! And I walked out the door at 7 pm on my way to the bus station. And when I did, I kid you not, I felt the spirit of Abraham surround me like a whirlwind and heard the voice of eternity speak to me, “Do not look back!”
So I did not! I looked ahead and with confidence I embarked on this God-planned journey of faith.
I got on that bus in the p.m. I bought the one way ticket, which was $98, but the bus attendant – without me even asking – said, “I am going to give you a discount. He charged me $92 instead of $98. I had $8 left. Glory to God! I was thankful for that!
As soon as we started to pull away from the bus station, I began to hear this song start to be sung over my head, and I knew the angel of the Lord was singing over me: “Jehovah Jirah, My provider … His grace is sufficient for me. My God shall supply all my needs, according to His riches in Glory. He will give His angels charge over me … Jehovah Jirah cares for me!”
This song was sung over my head the entire time I was on that bus!
I slept off and on and arrived in the city of Dallas about 11:30 am. I got off the bus and opened my carry-on bag to find the brochure. I needed directions. What a surprise I got when I realized I had left the brochure back in Mississippi!
I immediately consulted the Lord. “Ok Lord, I left the brochure back in Mississippi. What would You have me to do?”
I walked across the street. There was a man there and I asked him, “Can you please tell me how I can get to the Harvey Hotel?”
He said to me, “Which one? There are five in the city.”
I guess he saw me gasp, because I had no idea what to do.
Then he said to me, “It’s no problem. Just call one of the Harvey hotels and tell them what function you are trying to attend, and they can lead you from there.”
So I got changed, got the number and called the Harvey Hotel. Praise the Lord, I WAS FIVE MINUTES AWAY FROM WHERE I NEEDED TO BE!
I saw the big yellow buses, so I went back across the street to the bus station and I asked a stranger to please tell me about the buses in the city, and he said to me, “Where are you headed?”
I said, “I am going to the Harvey Hotel on Pearl,” and he said to me, “I am headed that way, I can give you a ride.”
But I hesitated, because at that very moment I heard my mother’s voice speak to me and tell me not to get in the car with strangers, and I felt the spirit of fear beginning to dress me up, like I was putting on a pair of pants. Immediately I heard and felt the presence of an angel behind me. He said in my hearing: “God has not brought you this far to forsake you, now GO with this man!”
So I moved forward and followed this man to his car. I got in and within 6-7 minutes we were at the door of the Harvey Hotel!
I thanked Him for his kindness and made my way to the meeting room, just as I was.
When I entered, I was amazed at the message that was coming forth, because it was the same exact thing that God had been teaching me personally for months: LIVING UNDER THE RULING GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD! I was amazed – so amazed!
By the end of the first session I knew that God wanted me to stay through the night, but I had less than $8 now. But I also knew that He had prepared a safe place for me to lay my head for that evening. I just had to wait for Him to lead me to this place.
I went out into the church foyer and I began to talk to the Lord about my short stay. I said to Him, “Lord – I know that You want me to stay overnight in this city, and obviously You have a safe place for me, because You know what is in my pockets. I am going to go over and have a seat, Father, and whomever You have chosen to help me, please let them come and sit and talk with me.”
Within two-three minutes a woman showed up and we sat and talked for about 15 minutes. I did not tell her anything that had recently transpired. We just talked about the goodness and the faithfulness of the Lord. After she left, a man showed up, and I told him about my current situation and he said he would help me. We chatted for a few minutes and we parted ways.
While I was sitting alone, the voice of the Lord spoke to me and told me to give the ministry $1,000. I started laughing, because by this time I had no money; a portion had gone to the offering and the other portion to a sandwich. But I was intrigued to learn of this request and stayed open to hear more.
The PM service started and God blessed me through His magnificent word once again! I was so glad to be there. Then the Pastor said God had laid on 10 people’s heart to give this ministry $1,000, (I was not expecting that). The Pastor said, “If that is you, please step forward.”
So I went forward. He prayed for me and explained that this was a seed that could be sowed over time. Praise the Lord, I went back to my seat.
When I got back to my seat there was a man there, sitting right next to me, that I had not noticed whatsoever before. He immediately started talking to me and I did not like it. So once again, I consulted the Lord. I said, “I want to hear what the man of God up front is saying – not this person beside me!”
Upon saying this, for some reason I purposely gave my full attention to the man that was sitting next to me. He was talking to me about jobs in the Dallas area. Suddenly, the man went into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet; took out a $20 bill and handed it to me. I looked at him and begin to refuse this money by shaking my head and saying “No” at the same time, but the man spoke to me with authority and said to me,” NO?! GOD wants you to HAVE this lady!”
So I took the money, and he returned his wallet to his back pocket. He started to talk again. Within 2 minutes the man took his wallet out of his back pocket again and handed me $20 more! So by the end of the night I had more money than what I had showed up with!
Not only that, but the brother that told me he would help me, introduced me to the same lady that had sat down and talked with me in the foyer. He informed me that she had volunteered to house anyone who did not have a place to go. GOD MADE A WAY, a complete and full way! And I went home with this lady.
When we got to her place, we fellowshipped a little bit and went to bed. I slept absolutely sound. WHAT A WAY TO BRING IN THE NEW YEAR! HALLELUJAH — underneath the manifested rule, dominion, provision and government of the Kingdom of God!
I woke up the next morning, rolling over in my mind all that had happened. Obviously through the night the Almighty God had delivered me from quite a few things, because all I could do was shake and cry! Here I was…in another city – hundreds of miles away from my home, and there was not one person alive who could take credit for it — not even ME! There was no church, no nonprofit organization, no family member, no friend, NOT my job, and certainly not my wit or some secret bank account…BUT GOD the FATHER Almighty had orchestrated all of these things on behalf of ‘lil ‘ole me! I had heard Him speak to me and I believed with all my heart that it really was Him, instructing me. And I stepped out on what I heard Him say to me. What a SUPERNATURAL result!
All morning I shook and cried. I shook and cried, because I knew under what circumstances I had arrived. By the POWER of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I was in Dallas TX. And not one man alive could get the Glory for it! Not even me, had I tried.
We made it to the church an hour early and I just could not stop crying. The glory of the Lord was manifest in my eyes and I was beholding it. All I could do was shake and cry — shake and cry — and behold how good and how pleasant He is. I was so WOWed and humbled of His choice! ME — that he would choose me! A single mother, never married, with a 12th grade education, who had always lived on the brink of poverty! …That He would choose to reveal Himself—TO ME. I could not stop shaking and crying. Who am I that you are mindful of me, to reveal such things to me?, I kept repeating to Him. I was in absolute AWE.
It was Jan 1, 1996, and I am at the Gates of Glory Church New Year’s Eve convention. It is a New Day. That day the Pastor was very busy ministering to the needs of the people, and you know I don’t know if he even preached the Word or not, because I was truly caught up to another place … even before we showed up to the place of worship! Nevertheless, at 2:30 pm the angel of the Lord showed up and begin to speak to me from behind—“IT’S TIME TO DEPART THIS CITY.”
I could feel myself responding like a military soldier. My response, “What would have me to do?”
The angel of the Lord responded to me, “Call Greyhound and find out the cost, to return home.”
I obeyed and went to the payphone. It was $96.
I said, “Ok Lord, it’s $96 to get back home. I’ve got $40 in my pocket and you told me to put $20 in the plate, so I’ve really got only $20. What would You have me to do?”
The angel of the Lord instructed me, “Tell the man of God your problem.”
Back with the people — I was standing somewhere between the middle and the back of the congregation. I lifted my hand, and the Pastor motioned for me to come to the front. I did. When I got to the front, it did not go anything like I expected. The Pastor simply stuck the microphone to my mouth and I instantaneously said, “My name is Stephanie. I am from Biloxi, MS, and I bought a 1-way ticket to make it to this meeting. Could you please help me get back home?”
People all over the building began to stir. I immediately saw this silver water begin to rain down in the room. One lady jumped up and slammed a $50 dollar bill in my hand. God provided $260 for me to return home that day! The Pastor graciously gave me every penny, and within the next couple of hours, I was out the door on my way to the bus station.
I made it back to Mississippi about 11 am the next day, Jan 2. I was late for work, but I simply did not care, even though it did not count against me.
The faith of God in me had been moved exponentially and I returned to my home not just believing that God was for me and not against me … but also KNOWING that God was very near me all the time and not afar off at all!