For the last five weeks, we have learned what the Bible says about debt and how to become debt-free. Learning what the Bible says about something and practicing what it says are sometimes two different things determined by circumstances in your life at that moment. When life is easy, we have no problems understanding what the Bible says and acting on it in faith. On the other hand, when life gets hard, what seemed natural just a short while ago can suddenly feel as if we can’t do it. Then it would be a source of great inspiration, and even perhaps motivation if you had the opportunity to read how others in the same or similar situations handled their lives. This is where I come in; I want to give you the chance to share in my life and see how I use what I preach to handle expected and unexpected circumstances. How I use the Bible in my life to manage things could be a source of inspiration and motivation for you to control what happens to you. It could also give you hope, knowing that there is someone else out there who has found their way through the storms of life acting in faith in what the Bible says.
We all have a desire for security, knowing for sure what will happen to us and how to handle what is coming our way. Life was like that when we were children because back then, we knew our parents would handle whatever happened to us, and they would care for us. As an adult, you have to be ready to handle whatever happens in your life, and that can be scary at times.
Yehovah saved me in 2001, and I soon got a basic understanding of the Bible that went something like this: Belief in the cross, repent, and keep the law of Moses. Back then, as a new Christian, I lived the Bible in many ways. I saw people healed when I prayed for them; I had dreams and visions where I battled demons in the name of Jesus and concurred them. Then things started changing; I started meeting other Christians telling me I was legalistic trying to get people to live under the bondage of law instead of grace. The idea of being legalistic, combined with the idea that these older Christians knew more about the Bible than myself, lead me away from the truth in the Bible. So I soon adopted their view and abandoned my former belief in the importance of obedience to the law of Moses as a sign of salvation. I had become religious instead of a Christian and a follower of Jesus.
As the years went by, I sunk deeper and deeper into religion. I attended seminary to get my bachelor’s in practical theology, where I learned tons of religion but not how to read the Bible. And when I left seminary, I considered myself a Christian, but I felt I had lost the authority in Yeshua I once had. As a new Christian, I had dreams and visions where I battled demons in the name of Jesus. And then suddenly, after seminary, I had this one dream where I saw three men dressed as hippies. They were following my wife and myself when all of a sudden, their faces changed into these grotesque demonic faces, and I shouted to my wife in the dream “run!”. When I awoke from that dream, I knew something was wrong somewhere because I had lost the authority I once had, and it was religion that had stolen it from me.
This experience leads me on a quest to regain what I once used to have as a new Christian. I wanted to restore my spiritual authority and the love for the Bible when I just gotten saved in 2001. At the same time as this happened, my wife and I got into some serious financial problems. Wounds from the past in both our lives, combined with life circumstances, tempted us to acquire a lot of debt. As the spiritual leader of my home, I can remember thinking to myself, why did I allow this to happen to us, and how can we get out of this.
The first thing we did was, of course, confess and repent. We changed how we lived our lives and went from maxing out all our credit cards to living healthy, fulfilled lives on very little money every month. At first, it was terrifying because I did not know if I was doing the right thing. I did not know if I made the right decisions, so I was winging it, hoping this would turn out ok. I can remember back then how I so desperately wanted to talk to God and have His direction in my life and how much I missed hearing His voice the way I used to do when I had just gotten saved in 2001.
Looking back, I can now see that He was there the entire time directing my steps, making sure I did everything right even though I did not hear Him the way I used to do.
As the years went by, we slowly but surely went from being deep into debt to making our way out of it. We owned a house back then, and we could barely make the monthly payments on the house. I can remember my biggest fear was that they would foreclose on our home. So I prayed, and I prayed, asking if we could keep it, or at least avoid foreclosure. I can remember hearing Yehovah making me a promise that nobody would take the house from us. Back then, I interpreted it to mean we would get to keep it.
Suddenly and without warning, the bank foreclosed on us. When that happened, I felt as if Yehovah had left me. This was not what Yehovah had promised me. At the same time, I knew I could not dwell on what should have been; I had to deal with the situation the way it was the best way I knew how. So I told Yehovah I dont understand what is happening, but I really need your help right now. Through a series of circumstances, we were permitted to sell our house volunteer, and the foreclosure was momentarily lifted. This gave us control over our situation, and now we got to decide when to move and where to move to instead of the bank choosing these things for us.
For the next three months that followed, we sold our house, we moved from a big home into a small apartment and was able to put most of us stuff into storage. When we were selling the house, the estate agent discovered the house had some serious construction errors we were not aware of that had caused us both some severe health issues. Moving into our new apartment, we very soon started feeling healthier, and we suddenly understood how the house had made us sick. Here I had been hoping and praying for us to keep the house, but Yehovah knew all the time the house was making us sick, so He turned this situation into something good for us so we could move out of the house and into an apartment. Trying to sell a house that has a lot of hidden construction errors is never easy, but after some time, a buyer showed up, and we got rid of it. The new buyer knew everything about the house and had planned to refurbish it.
When we were settled in our rented apartment, we had gone from grieving over losing the house to rejoicing over losing the home. Slowly but surely, we felt our health return to us, but we were still in debt. Looking back, we know it was not Yehovah’s will for us to acquire all that debt, but when we first did, He used it for our good. If we had not been forced to sell, we would probably be living in that house right now, plagued with several different physical ailments all brought on by the construction errors in the house.
A few months after selling the house, we filed for chapter 13. We did not know if we would be approved, and they told us not to expect an approval due to the fact our debt was not big enough. If we did not get this approval, we would be slaves to debt for the rest of our lives.
Even though it at times has been terrifying because we knew we did not have the liberty to make any mistakes, Yehovah has guided us through it all and delivered us through it all. The only thing He required of us was faith and a willingness to act on our faith, and at the same time, He has used what we have done as a means to bring us closer to Him.
It was never His will for us to acquire all this debt, but when it happened, we were not living right. We were your typical traditional Christians, confessing to being saved but being more obedient to men’s traditions than the Bible itself. Yehovah has used our own sin to bring us closer to Him and show us what the Bible really says, and now we have become only obedient to the Bible and not the traditions of men.
Through it all, we have done our share of mistakes. We have written in for prophetic words that have never happened, and we have written in for prophecies we are only now seeing starting to happen. But He has used all of those mistakes to show us the truth of the Bible and the importance of obedience to His Bible.
Are we still in debt? Yes, but we are less in debt than we were a year ago. And we have learned how to handle being in debt and how to have peace during the storm in a way no Christian ministry has ever been able to teach us. Now we are learning how to walk in trust amid the storm, and the truth is the more we obey the Bible, the easier it gets.
I do not know your situation, but I know that the storm and waves you are in right now terrify you. Sometimes it feels as if you are going to drown, I know, I have been there. But because I have been there, I know there is hope. I know Yehovah is working with you to use your sin as a way to bring you closer to Him, and when you are closer to Him, He will save you from the consequences of your sins. How can I know this? The Bible says so, and the Bible does not lie.
I hope this week has given you a glimmer of hope, showing you where I have been and where I am now. If I got to this place where I can feel a supernatural peace in the midst of the storm, then I know you can as well. Next week we will see what Yehovah did for me when someone else sins almost managed to ruin everything for my wife and me.
Before we close for this week, what advice would I give you? Do not allow passivity; whatever happens to you. Do not wait for a voice from heaven to guide you, go with your gut feeling sometimes, and ask Yehovah to guide you through whatever the crisis is. There are no quick fixes, but if you draw near to Yehovah and focus on Him and His word the Bible, everything will speed up.
Until next week, Yehovah bless you, and remember, I am praying for you.