I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12:1-2

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God's word impacting real life--the story of the minivans

I have a story to tell today. It is a story I am currently living, a story that is not finished. It is not normally in my nature to tell about things like this, I prefer anonymity and being behind the scenes, but the Lord really prompted me to write about it here.

About six months ago the air conditioning in my minivan quit working. It was May and it was going to cost about $1000 to fix. I had the money, but at this point I started to wonder if it was time for a van upgrade. My 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan had been a huge blessing to me (and it is its own God story), but maybe it was time to move on. I did some looking and narrowed down what I wanted: a Toyota Sienna, 2005 or newer, 8 passenger, with a CD player but preferably not a DVD player. The bad part was that I would have to take out a loan, and I am extremely against debt, having been deep in debt, DEEP in DEBT, at one point in my life and having received revelation from God about my finances. All the same, I started praying for my Toyota Sienna.

At this same time, God impressed me to give my current minivan to a friend of mine who is also a widow. I won't go into her situation, but I knew she would really benefit from having a reliable vehicle. I felt bad that she would have to fix the A/C, but that sure seemed a lot cheaper than buying a new car. Of course all of MY money would have to go to the new vehicle...

The deal is, it isn't MY money. I already knew that. I have had that revelation for years. In fact, money was probably one of the first areas of my life that I came to totally trust God in. I felt God prompting me to fix the A/C. So I did.

Before getting the A/C fixed, I excitedly called my friend to ask if she was having vehicle troubles. She wasn't at that exact moment (other than her A/C being out), but she described the constant worry she was in about her vehicle. I told her that I was praying for her and that God knew her difficulties since He was prompting me to pray. Was it a lie? Not exactly, but I sure didn't tell her that He told me to give her my van.

After I got the A/C fixed on the Dodge, I lost my motivation to buy a new minivan. I still halfheartedly looked and visited car lots on my way home from church, occasionally checked Craig's list, etc. But the excitement and motivation wasn't there. I almost (but not quite) forgot what the Lord had told me to do.

Fast forward six months to November 15 (two days ago.) My Dodge Grand Caravan is running great. I had completely stopped looking for my Toyota Sienna. I had even pretty much stopped praying about it, except when I happened to notice one and think about it (not often.) I thought about my friend. I hadn't talked to her in a while. She is almost never on Facebook, but I posted on her FB wall (after seeing she had posted a couple of pictures so still was coming to FB, at least occasionally.) Later that day SHE posts on FB that she needs to find a new car because her mechanic told her it was time to give up on the one she has. She was looking for wise council and a reputable car dealer. God immediately brought back to my remembrance what He had instructed me to do. I prayed about it, saying, "But I need a vehicle to drive. I can't just give mine away and have nothing, and I don't have the TIME right now to do a car search, You know how time consuming that is, God." I wasn't unwilling, exactly, just not seeing how it would all work out and feeling like I was in a busyness crunch with the holidays coming up. I wasn't quite trusting, yet. I felt God prompting my heart that he would find the right van for me and it wouldn't take up an inordinate amount of time. I looked online briefly and saw that the one car dealer I personally know (he is a friend of my dad's) had a 2000 Toyota Sienna with lower miles than my van for an amount I could pay cash for. Hmmm...I prayed about it, felt pretty good about it, decided to sleep on it before doing anything drastic.

Yesterday morning when I woke up, I prayed, read the Word in 2 Cor. 8 where Paul is talking to the Corinthians about giving. Verses 10-14 were especially appropriate.

2 Corinthians 8:10-14 (New Living Translation)

10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.

WOW! Did you read that!?! Amazingly appropriate!!! When God speaks to me, He ALWAYS confirms it in His Word, if I ask and seek. That way, I know that I am not flying off willy-nilly, half-cocked. I have often been SHOCKED at how verses written thousands of years ago apply DIRECTLY to my situation. God is amazing!

I had woken up knowing what I was to do and starting to trust God with it, and after reading the above I was SURE. I then got on the computer to do a little research. I looked up Blue Book values of the 2000 Sienna and I went to another website to research the 2000 Sienna. That website had a "search for cars in your area" button, so I clicked it and it took me to AutoTrader. Listed on AutoTrader was the 2000 Sienna that I already knew about and a 2001 Sienna with lower miles for a comparable price and with a free Carfax report. It was being sold by a private seller. I prayed...amazed that I had two good options. I felt best about the private seller, so I called the phone number at around 9:00 a.m. She mentioned that she didn't really want to sell the car, but her husband had recently died and she didn't need the extra vehicle anymore. I could go on and on and ON about this sweet lady and the coincidences and things we have in common and how great this minivan is and how she lowered the price to lower than the other one I was looking at and how much lower than blue book value I got it for; but to make a long story short, by 12:45 I was the happy owner of a 2001 Toyota Sienna with a CD player (and no DVD player) and was on the phone to my friend telling her that God told me to give the Dodge Grand Caravan to her.

Not just one, not just two, but THREE widows are blessed because of this. God is an AMAZING God! HE IS SO GOOD!!!

I am hoping that today I can get the Grand Caravan to my friend. Also, you may have noticed that my new Sienna is not a 2005 or newer, also it doesn't seat 8 (they didn't start making ones that seat 8 until 2005.) I am super-excited, because I am confident that that minivan will come at the right time for the right price and that I won't have to take out a loan and that I will be able to bless someone else with the 2001 Sienna. The way God has worked this out has been so amazing that it leaves no room for doubt that I am in His good hands. I don't need to fret or worry...just listen and obey. His plans are ALWAYS better than our plans. And I can tell you, it TRULY is more blessed to give than to receive!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


"...shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock." II Peter 5:2-3

From the margin of my Bible there are six verses cross-referenced to the phrase "examples to the flock." Look them up and see if there are marginal note for them.

John 13:15
Phil. 3:17
1 Thess. 1:7
2 Thess. 3:9
1 Tim. 4:12
Titus 2:7

"For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you." 2 Thess. 3:7 (this was not cross-referenced above, but was cross referenced from 2 Thess. 3:9.)

Ouch. I could not say this to my children and have it be the truth. I have to work on my own life before I can set a good example for them. "Do as I say, not as I do" is not a Godly principle. I need to have the Holy Spirit show me where my example needs to change and then look to Him for the strength to change it.