Offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom.—Romans 6:17-18 Msg.
WITH JEHOVAH-JIREH OUR FREEDOM WILL NEVER QUIT
When we make Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives and offer ourselves and all we have continually to Him, our freedom will never quit. The ways of God for us are the same as they were for Abraham—to lay everything meaningful on the altar. That includes possessions, professions, houses, and family. When we obey, Jehovah-Jireh will return these things back to us one-hundred-fold, with His supernatural stamp upon them.
The Biblical foundation for the principal of giving all to God and being able to believe for the hundred-fold return comes from the parable Jesus taught about the rich young ruler. He ran to Jesus, fell on his knees and asked what he needed to do to obtain eternal life. He had kept all the commandments. He had done so many things.
“Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said, ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’
“At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’” (Mark 10:21-23).
“Peter said to him, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’
“‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first’” (Mark 10:28-31).
The rich young ruler had kept the commandments since he was a boy, but he had failed the first one, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3). If he could have done what Jesus asked of him, demonstrating his love for God by letting go of things, Jesus would have supplied more seed to him as the sower and “made [him] rich in every way so that [he] could be generous on every occasion” (2 Cor. 9:11). We can hope this man obeyed Jesus later, but according to Scripture, we do not know.
In this chapter are stories of those who obeyed God in giving up possessions, professions, houses, and children to God, and how Jehovah-Jireh returned His abundant blessings to them.
FREEDOM WITH POSSESSIONS
Kim Crowe [from chapter 6], now over fifty and single, dreamed of a house of her own. But, it was something she would never possess. She had to lay it on the altar and give up that dream forever. She had to be willing to rent, room with her sister, live in apartments and eventually with her aging parents to care for them. But Kim and her cars was another story, indeed!
Shortly after she became a Christian at thirty years of age, Kim began to pray for her own car. She saved $300 to buy one, without praying about a specific purchase. After buying a car, her parents happened to give their red car to her. Her hasty purchase lasted only one week before breaking down. She thought, I should have prayed about it first, now I’ve lost $300!
Shortly afterward, the red car was stolen from the parking lot of her apartment. It was found in front of a Hells Angels’ apartment two blocks away. Only a Bible was missing from the inside. She traded the red car for a blue Escort.
When leaving her apartment to go to work, again, her car was gone. She thought, Oh, swell, second time. No one is going to believe this!
As Kim was filing a police report, officers were having her blue car towed from the middle of an intersection. Whoever had stolen it went on a joy ride, let it run out of gasoline and abandoned it during noon rush hour. Before the police report was taken, the car had been found— unscathed. It had been hot-wired, was covered with fingerprint dust, but was cleaned up at the Ford dealership before being returned to Kim.
When the red car was stolen, she was not frantic. By God’s grace, she went to Him and asked, “Okay God, why is this happening? What am I supposed to learn from this?”
The answer she heard was: It all belongs to me. I let you keep what you can have, and I take what you place above me or anything you don’t need. I can take it all. I can leave it all with you, one way or the other.
“I learned that everything I have belongs to God, and should be given back to Him. I learned this with possessions. It took longer to apply this to people.”
She told the policemen, “My car belongs to God. If He had wanted it, it was okay with me. If He had kept it, He would make a way for me to get to work. I guess He wants me to have it.” The police had never heard anything like this before. “It blew them away,” Kim said.
When she told them it was the second car she had stolen from her and returned, “That really blew them away!”
Kim traded her blue Escort in on a truck before moving from California to Kansas where her daughter lived. She was unable to keep up with the payments and it was repossessed—two months before her employer sold to another company. She moved back to California.
Kim was without a vehicle for nine months before her grandfather finally gave her his car. It sat in a garage so long that the tires were rotten—an eighteen year old car with 67,000 miles, no air conditioning, but it lasted a number of years.
When September 11, 2001, hit, her pastor, friends and parents said, “You need to go back to Kansas to be with your daughter and grandchildren.”
She prayed about it, and agreed God was leading her back. Meanwhile, Kim’s grandpa gave her an advance on her inheritance from him, and she purchased a three-year-old Caravan. Her job was then down-sized, yet Kim’s attitude was always upbeat, in complete trust, “God is so gracious. It’s awesome!”
Kim’s sister had become ill, her favorite aunt had died, her mother was dying, and she knew God was leading her back to California, in her debt-free Caravan, to care for them. She also found out she needed to go to the west coast for her own specialized surgery.
FREEDOM IN PROFESSIONS
Kurt and Davi M. moved to Michigan after his Army service. He took a position as distribution manager with a large corporation, shipping hospital beds all over the world. Davi managed government housing complexes throughout the state. After years of these high-stress jobs, seeing little of each other and no “life” together, they knew a change had to be made. But what, and how?
They began to seek the Lord and His will for their lives. They read their Bible, good books and prayed. In a short time-span, six relatives died on both sides of their families, meaning missing work and making trips home for the funerals. Kurt decided to go back to school for his master’s degree and applied to universities near home. To do this, he and Davi both had to place their successful careers and nice house on the altar.
They both thought the way would be made clear for them, jobs waiting, before leaving Michigan, but that did not happen. The last days on the job came and went, and furniture was being moved before Davi received a phone call. She was already in the car on moving day. Another employer wanted her to do training for the housing managers of other states, from her home-based business, working half the time for the same amount of money she had been making!
Later on, Kurt finished his master’s degree and was in the process of looking for another job when he experienced breathing problems. Tests revealed his aortic valve, which had been replaced nine years prior, was not working properly. Another surgery was scheduled. A mechanical valve replaced the valve that had become like porcelain.
One week before surgery, Kurt received an opportunity to write his testimony. His story, “Change of Heart,” was accepted the next day and became a chapter in the book, His Forever: Stories of Real People finding Jesus.
Before Kurt was completely healed, he was sought out by the university that gave him his degree, to work from his home doing research—all this happening while making another move. The next move was to a brand new house that had been on the market for many months. Their offer of $16,000 below asking price was accepted.
FREEDOM WITH HOUSES
Janice and David Lamb lived in a mobile home on five acres with their three children while they were building a house on the land. They were not yet believers, but Janice was seeking the Lord. Each day she brought out her Bible to read Scriptures about salvation, trying to understand what they meant. Every time she did, she could feel evil. After a couple of weeks of this, she started to cry and yelled, “I can’t stand this!”
Janice had a Godly aunt who had been a great influence on her. She went to Aunt Ninnie and said, “I feel evil in my own house. What can I do?”
“Plead the blood—in every nook and cranny!” she replied.
“What does that mean?”
“The word plead is a legal term meaning to take legal action,” she said.
While turning to the book of Hebrews in her King James Version of the Bible, Aunt Ninnie said, “In the Old Testament, Moses sprinkled the blood of animals on the people and everything used in the tabernacle that were used for worship. In this way everything was cleansed. But today, we have Jesus. So, what we are going to do is take the blood that Jesus legally shed for the forgiveness of sin for all mankind, into every nook and crannie of your house. With our words, we are going to purge it, and cleanse it of all evil. There’s no telling what went on in your house before you bought it.”
She then read Hebrews 9:22, “. . . things . . . are purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission [of sin].”
Aunt Ninnie and Janice opened all the cabinets and every closet and said, “In the name of Jesus, we plead the blood in this closet; we plead the blood of Jesus in this cabinet; we plead the blood of Jesus in this nook, and in this crannie.”
By the time they had worked their way from the back to the front door, there was a great calmness Janice could feel. She cried. It had worked!
In this way, she gave her house to the Lord, and it was in that home that Janice and David both accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.