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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Windfall Blessings

I've been blessed and honored by Jim Croft in his asking me to write a book with him on Wlndfall Blessings, so I wanted to share just a couple of my own. Since I've been on FB I really haven't shared anything of my testimony and journey with the Lord and this just seems like an appropriate time.
In late December 2013, the Lord distinctly told me that I was to 'step out'. My immediate question was "into what?" For two years I had ministered deliverance and healing in S. Florida, mostly privately when I was asked to pray for people in their homes or hospital rooms or nursing homes or to minister house cleanings or deliverance in former Santeria worshipers homes, but I had no full time ministry. I had seen great miracles ranging from stage four pancreatic cancer vanishing overnight, proven by scan, to a woman waking from a three year long drug-induced coma, but I had no 'ministry' to speak of. I had also never accepted a dime for any of it and had even turned down checks that were offered to me - something I was admonished by Jim for doing when we finally got connected. I was working for a global technology company and doing fairly well at it - which made it more difficult to see the logic in God's command for me to leave all that and step out into, well, nothing. I argued with the Lord for two weeks before succumbing and submitting my letter of resignation, not knowing where I was to go or what I was to do. To make things worse, in my mind at least, I had just paid off some debt and was almost broke at the time, something I didn't share with many. Before resigning, I had the thought go through my head that if I asked my boss to fire me he would and at least then I'd have unemployment coming in. The Lord's answer came immediately - 'stepping out with a crutch isn't stepping out. I want you to depend solely on me" I started that week with five possible destinations across the country, which was whittled down to one by week's end - Tennessee. I set it up to stay with a friend so I'd have a rent-free roof over my head while I did whatever it was that I was supposed to do when I got there - and God obviously agreed, because I didn't get rebuked over that at least.
The Saturday before I left Miami, at Jim's home church in Boca Raton, I did share that I was leaving for Tennessee, to do what and for how long I didn't know. Two days before I was to leave S. Florida I got a call from a friend, fellow minister and co-worship leader in Jim's church asking me to have lunch with him the following day. I explained that I was busy packing, etc but he insisted so I agreed. We met at a Chinese restaurant 90 minutes north and toward the end of the meal he pulled out a checkbook. He explained that ever since I had made the announcement that I was leaving S Florida, the Lord had put it on his heart to 'seed my ministry.' As he was writing out the check, he explained how he asked the Lord for the amount - and ended up at $3,000, saying that the Lord 'wanted me to be comfortable'. My eyes filled with tears as I accepted. Another minister also called to plant seed before my leaving. I met with him on my way out of the state the next day. God was providing.
The entire time I was in Tennessee, money came in from several unsolicited sources. I never asked anyone for anything but when the few bills I had were coming due, a check would show up in the mail - just enough to get by. After spending 6 unfruitful (monetarily anyway) months in Tennessee I was asked to come back to S Florida to minister at three different gatherings in three different cities in three days. What I didn't realize at the time was that this was over Memorial weekend - if I had realized it I probably wouldn't have gone and would have missed out on an incredible faith-building experience. My airfare, room and board were taken care of - good thing because on the Friday that I was to preach the first session at a large home gathering, I had exactly $17.81 in my checking account. That Friday was supposed to be the biggest financial event of the weekend - with an approximated minimum of 50 people to be gathered. I had lined up the worship leader from IHOP KC, who was in town, and a prayer team of 7-8 from the area. Invitations were to be emailed from West Palm Beach from a woman with a virtual 'who's who list' of S Florida's faithful. As it turned out the Murphy's Law of ministering came into play - the woman who was supposed to send out this massive email invite forgot until the day of the meeting. Fifteen minutes before the service was to begin there were seven people gathered. I told my prayer team that I needed to be alone and went off by myself on the patio. I told the Lord that I surrendered it over to him. I was there, I wasn't going anywhere and finished by saying 'let's just minister'. All told, ten people showed up - equal to the number in my prayer and worship team. The 'service' lasted four hours, with worship lasting almost two hours of that. The Spirit of God was as thick as molasses as there were multiple healings and several set free from decades long bondage. It was a wonderful time ministering with the Lord.
The next night I filled in for Jim at his Boca Raton church while he was out west preaching. Given the previous night's experience and the fact that it was Memorial weekend, I wasn't expecting much at all financially from this night or from the remainder of the weekend - but when I arrived, 'dear Prudence' called me into the kitchen and handed me an envelope, saying that it was from the church but there'd be a separate offering taken. While I was in the men's room before the service I had to peek - $3,000. I was absolutely overcome. Everything I had expected about this weekend had blown up but through the experience of the previous night I had completely surrendered the entire thing to the Lord. I gave up on my own expectations and decided that whatever happened the Lord would take care of me - and He had performed a complete turnaround!
The next morning I ministered at a small church in S. Miami and half way through teaching, the Lord said "Stop, let's minister". I stopped and asked for anyone who needed prayer to come forward. The most amazing thing I've ever seen happened next. As I began to lay hands on people and pray for them, each one was getting slain in the Spirit. After 4 or 5 people, they started to drop at a distance of 6 feet away from me. At one point half the congregation was laid out on the floor as I stood in amazement at what the Lord was doing. There were healings and revelations, answers to questions that had been on minds for years, and deliverance.
This entire experience, being obedient to the voice of the Lord and surrendering everything to Him taught me that completely being dependent on Him would truly bring about completely unexpected blessings. Not just blessings but windfall blessings! Not just spiritual and physical but financial windfall blessings! When I first went to Tennessee I thought, "this is it! Full time ministry!" What I got was a lesson in humility, patience, faith, trust and most of all, expectancy! Expectancy on the promises of God.Through surrender and trust I had been tremendously blessed in every area in three short days. I flew back to Tennessee with over $4,500 in my pocket and a spirit of the wonder of God. This pattern has repeated itself over and over again and again. That's windfall, that's the nature and promise of God.

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