James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journeyand cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4D

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Heaven Is Still Open!



God can and does move mountains in our lives! Amen! Today I paid off a mortgage, a new car loan and personal debt all totalling close to $160,000. Below is my blog entry from December 2015 - I'm sharing this again because today the Lord did exactly what he promised he would do for me back in mid 2015 when I prayed and asked Him for some things.

The blog below tells the story of how God answered my prayer to get a new car and how he used me to help someone else become debt free and just as he promised me then - today he cancelled all my debt also. When I prayed that prayer I never could have imagined all the things that were going to happen in my life to get me to the point that I could pay off all my debt, some very traumatic things, which eventually lead us to move to  a larger city to live with and help take care of my ex-in laws (but that's another story I will need to save for another blog post).

I have no idea what my future holds but I told God if he chooses to bless me with my own home again, I'd still want to be debt free.  This process has taught me that with our faith it's not about focusing on how God is going to answer our prayers, but it's about staying focused on what you want God to do and never stop believing and when you do not doubt what the Word of God says for you, your prayers will be answered.

What is it you need to start believing God for today? Be blessed my friends!  ~Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries~
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15


 Living Under an Open Heaven

Do you know we live under an open heaven? I truly believe we do. What is that you might ask. What does an open heaven look like?

A pastor and fellow blog writer Bill Johnson with Bethel Church describes it as: “There’s a nearness of Heaven on earth. There’s a sense of presence, there’s a clarity of thought, of heart and mind that is unusual. People think for themselves within an open heaven and aren’t influenced by the spirit of the day or the spirit that seems to have dominance in a certain geographical area.”

I believe that heaven has been open for us for a long time. God has an “open door” policy. If we would just embrace this truth, that there is an open door to heaven, we would begin to recognize the power of God that is available to those that believe. We would begin to walk out our lives so differently as His people.

Revelation 4:1 – After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”

In the Bible there are many examples of how the power flows back and forth from heaven.  We read how God’s power flowed down to the earth as a dove and rested on Jesus and how it’s power flowed back up to heaven as Jesus ascended back up to His father. Mathew 3:16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him.  Mark 16:19  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

I was blessed recently to buy a brand new car. How I came upon this vehicle is just a sign to me we live under an open heaven. I know buying a car seems like a strange example, but I believe God cares about every little thing in our life, and we need to recognize this power from heaven exists even when we go about the daily things of this world.  We need to see that we have and need this power from on High working in our lives everyday. Back to my story…

I had prayed and was believing for most of 2015 that I was going to get a new car this year. With only a few weeks left in 2015 I was beginning to wonder, then I won a spa day for my 10-year-old faithful little KIA Spectra. I laughed so hard when I climbed into a fully loaded 2016 SUV that they had loaned to me while my car had its spa day. God came through and answered my prayer I thought, here’s my new car, too bad I only get to keep it for three days.

Later on that night, I shared a picture of my “new car” with my Facebook friends and declared what a funny God we serve and how I should be more specific when I pray.  A good friend of mine reminded me that 2015 wasn’t over yet, and maybe I just needed go back to God with a more specific prayer and ask God for a car I can keep and include all the features, colour etc. So I made a mental list of my “new car” and then asked God again, “God I know you don’t want me to go into debt again because you already told me you were going to cancel my debt next year, so maybe I shouldn’t believe for a brand new car.” I clearly heard him say to me, “My daughter you deserve whatever you want, because you are my daughter, a princess of the living King, don’t worry I’ve got this covered, I’m still planning on cancelling your debt.” So I prayed believing for a brand new car with all the bells and whistles.

That morning around five am, I awoke to a notification on my Facebook page. It was a message from a friend asking me if I was looking for a new car. I said that I was and she told me she mistakenly agreed to help her son acquire a 2015 Hyundai Accent and he had been unable to afford the insurance and gave the car back to her to deal with after only a few months of having it. I knew this friend didn’t drive, so really had no use for a car, but worse I knew she was on disability and really could not afford this car and certainly not the $20,000+ debt she had been left with.

Right away I became excited, because the car I had prayed for was a Hyundai. “Lord is this my new car?” I prayed. I suggested to my friend I could perhaps take over the payments and take this car from her to help relieve her stress. We made arrangements to drive to the dealership together and see what they could do. On the way over to pick her up I prayed, “Lord if this is the car for me, let me know.” All I heard God say was, “Cancel her debt.” So I was pretty sure I was to take this car and burden from her.

As we drove her car to the dealership together, I just knew it wasn’t the car God was going to bless me with. For one thing, it was blue and I had asked for a red car! I prayed to myself, “It’s okay God, I will take this one if this is what you want me to have.”

We arrived at the dealership and met with a bright, bubbly and very tall sales advisor, named Jonah who my friend had previously dealt with. We soon discovered that I couldn’t just take over the payments, he suggested if we wanted to do this we could set up a private business arrangement where I gave her the money each month and she paid the loan payment. I knew this wasn’t the wise way to go and I knew God just wanted me to cancel her debt. So I turned to the sales advisor and said, ” Yeah, that’s not gonna work, I’ve actually been planning on getting a new car anyway, can I assume her debt and then trade this car in for a new car?”  Then I said, “I’ve prayed for a new car in 2015.” He looked at me and said, “Oh, are you a Christian?’  I said, “Yup!” And then he said, “So am I.”  I knew in that moment  that the God of the open heaven was real and was right in the middle of all this and that I was hearing directly from Him about this whole situation. Turns out we even attended the same church – go figure!  So began the adventure!

We started to look through the showroom for my new car. After checking out a few – we finally arrived at a shiny brand new 2016 “RED” Hyundai Elantra. I stood behind it and prayed and ask God what He thought even though I was already pretty sure this was it. Jonah, began to rattle off the features, and one by one he hit every thing on my list, including the front and back heated rear seats (a must have with teenage twins). Now, I’m one of those fortunate ones, who feels the physical presence of the Holy Spirit, so my body was on fire and all of me was beginning to shake, in fact I was ready to run around the dealership hooting and hollering, but I did what I could to keep it to a minimal excitement. I just knew this was the car God had for me, now off to buy it and a visit to the finance manager.

Noah whisked me over to his desk and as he took my information he said, “You are gonna test drive it before you buy it right?” I laughed and said, “Why yes, I guess I should.” Even though I knew it was the car I was the to buy.

He crunched the numbers and advised me because the car I was trading in still had a large debt and no equity there was a deficit equity – I would be taking on some of my friends debt to help her out of this predicament.  He said with an uncertain look on his face, “Are you sure you want to do this?”  He showed me how much and my flesh rose up and said, “No way, you’re not gonna do this!” Then I heard God’s voice again say, “Cancel the debt!” So I said, “Yup I’m doing it, but is there any wiggle room on this car, can you help lower the deficit? “I’m trying to help someone out here.” I literally begged. So he sent us back to the sales department and I prayed, “Lord help me out here.”

Back at the sales department, we shared with Jonah the full story of my friend’s predicament and how she was just trying to reconcile with her estranged son and never thought he’d leave her with this car. Jonah said, “I get it, I understand because I’m a Christian, I know why you are doing this, but I have to say this is blowing me away. I’m usually a tough nut to crack, I’m pretty choked up, this is incredible, I will see what I can do.” So he went off to the sales manager and my friend and I grabbed hands and prayed.

When Jonah returned, he offered some concessions including a very low-interest rate ( I had taken on a higher rate from her loan).  This new interest rate almost lowered the interest to nothing, and a few other things were given to me, including a free year of service for the car. They weren’t able to completely lower the deficit from my friends loan, but it helped considerably. I was happy and I knew that he had done his best to help.

Jonah suggested perhaps my friend could pay me a little every month to help with the deficit. The Lord, brought to my mind the story (in Mathew 18) of the slave who owed his master a huge amount and the owner forgave him after he begged for mercy.  The slave went away and when someone who owed him a much smaller debt came to him he refused to forgive his debt.  He was thrown in jail when his master found out and he did not forgive his debt.

God said to me, “Cancel her debt, because I’ve already cancelled your debt, a bigger debt than hers.”  I know this verse is speaking about forgiveness, but I knew God was showing her mercy for her poor judgement and was using me to help forgive her of this financial burden and maybe even for her poor judgement and for not praying first and asking God if she should do this. I knew I wasn’t to have any sort of business arrangement with her. I looked over to her and shared this scripture and then said, “Your debt is cancelled.”   She said, “Thank you, thank you so much!”  We all knew quietly without speaking in that moment the true nature of the spiritual debt Jesus had cancelled for us all.

What I did makes no sense in the natural world, but in the spiritual realm I choose to do this and I’m trusting because I gave to help a friend in need and because God cancelled her debt through me, He will also cancel my financial debt. Jonah was visibly shaken up. He said, “This is incredible, what you are doing, you don’t know what a testimony of God’s love this is.  None of the staff here can believe you are doing this.”  I said, “I’m doing this because God loves my friend, and he loves them too. Tell them God is real and he just performed a Christmas miracle.  He cancelled my friends $20,000+ debt.  Yesterday she was distraught with this burden, today she is free.   Jonah said, “Oh you know I will!”  I felt the praises of the angels rise up to God as they ascended up through the open portal to heaven in that moment.

The next day, I picked up my brand new 2016 Red Elantra which my daughter Emily has since so beautifully named Ruby red (or Ruby for short). The colour red by the way is my favorite colour, but I realized the day I purchased it, that it also represents the shed blood of Jesus which he shed for all, so that we might be set free from sin and death. Now every time I look at this car it reminds me of this fact, and I smile and feel so blessed.

I’m no one special (except in God’s eyes of course).  I didn’t do anything that any other Christian can’t do when they walk in step with God and walk in the reality of an open heaven and it’s power to do the miraculous for someone.  It is available to every believer down here.  The portal isn’t closed, we all can do supernatural things, like forgiving someone who has hurt us really badly, or like me,  help God forgive someone's financial debt. We can even heal the sick or deliver someone from evil when we tap into this power from heaven and pray in the name of Jesus.   On earth as it is in heaven, it’s a reality not just nice words we pray….

May the truth of this testimony strengthen your faith today and may you know the power that comes from Jesus and walk in the power of this open heaven everyday.  It flows back and forth to each one of us when we live and walk in it.  I believe the more we walk in it, the more it can manifest on earth and touch a dark world that is so in need of God's visible power and presence.  With love,   Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries~