Salvation

His inquiry led to his salvation!

This is a testimony of  a friend of ours Pastor Thomas from India, who is based in Oklahoma city. We hope that you will be blessed.

‘I was very strong in the Orthodox church and was studying to become a priest.We had good traditions and I liked them. I wanted to be a very good priest so I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation many times. The Bible was in my head but not in my heart. There were many children and people living in my house so I could not focus on my prayers. So I decided to go and pray in the church yard (cemetery) which was across from my home. My friend who came looking for me at the house was told to find me in the church yard. He brought a friend and we began to be praying together. (My friend when he found me praying waited for me to finish and then he he threw a pack of cigarettes he had and decided to quit smoking. The next day, he brought his alcoholic friend who also decided to stop drinking).’ The priest who would see them come to the church yard went to ask them what they were doing thinking they were up to no good. His friend replied, ‘we are praying.’ ‘That’s not where you pray,’ the priest instructed, ‘you come and pray on the porch of my house.’ So they met there for prayer.
‘I was tutoring some high school and college students so they all joined me in my prayers. One of the priest was invited to give a message in the prayer meeting. The prayer meeting had grown in number. There was a high school teacher who had recently converted from to Pentocostal. So the priest had a talk with this teacher. The priest was talking with great logic and understanding. Wonderful man. But this teacher who became a believer was only answering with plain scripture from the Bible. Suppose you are doing arm wrestling and someone gets defeated. So the scripture when it came, although the other side was great intellect, it was defeated. It was happening many times. So I felt bad for my priest. So I said to my priest, we called them ‘Father.’
Don’t listen to these people. They are crazy. They clap their hands, sing loud so blood will come into their brain. They speak something not logic (praying in tongues). If someone can beat these people with whip of thorns every morning and evening, maybe they come back to normal. The priest left. The prayer meeting went very well. Everybody went home peaceful except me. I had my 2 tutoring classes then I was sitting in a large room all by myself. I normally sat down on my knees and prayed to God all alone. I asked the ‘Lord’, a scripture came into my mind. ‘if you speak something against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven you, but if you speak something against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven you.’ The church I came from taught that when the Word of God comes into your hand, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are all seized. So that is what I had in my mind. So I asked the Lord, ‘Lord, is it true that this gift (tongues) still exists. Many people used to call me to speak in conferences. So I need to know. So I asked the Lord about the reality, if it is still existing, I needed it if not then convince me so I can speak loudly about it. I never drank alcohol or did drugs, my neighborhood knew that. I wanted to be a priest and a clean priest. So while I was praying like that, the Holy Spirit convinced me that I am a sinner. I am a real sinner. For the first time, I was so sin conscience. Tears came to my eyes. So many scriptures of sin came to my mind. I had a spiritual diary at that time. How many lies I talk on that day etc… When I was sitting in the presence of God to know the truth, the Lord convinced me that none of these things can please God. ‘All of our righteousness are like filthy rugs.’ So I received Jesus in my heart while kneeling there. So I continued, ‘is speaking in tongues wrong Lord? My denomination teaches that it is not right. It seized. So what is the truth, if it is still existing then give it me.’ Like that I prayed. I There was only a 60W bulb in that room but I felt like a thick layer of white light filled that room. My heart was rejoicing. I got a peace beyond my understanding. A good feeling. I am a bad singer, a bad singer back then even today. But when I was sitting there, I sang a song in tongues. I didn’t know what I was saying but I knew I was praising God. Suddenly I started to sing the same song in the same tone in my own native language (tongue interpretation). Then I prayed in tongues, then I prayed in my own language. This continued from 8:30 PM to 2:30 AM. It was a wonderful, joyful experience which I can not explain with words!

Not sure about something you read, why not ask God to reveal truth to you?

Provision

More blessed to give!

People are often amazed by how miraculously God provides for us, as if we are more special than others. ‘God is no respecter of persons.’ His principles work always. Someone recently told us that it seems like things just happen for us without any struggle. Here is a ‘behind the scenes story’. For years, we struggled and struggled especially in the area of finances. I had much fear and had to calculate everything. Now, I am not saying not to manage your money. What I am saying is that I didn’t trust God with our finances. We gave our tithes all the time, but I had a hard time going beyond that. Giving was not an easy idea in my life. I would come across an opportunity to give but then I would look on my own circumstances and conclude that I could not give. I kept thinking that one day there would be no need in my life and then I would be a joyful giver! Well, you got it, that day never came. Pitana on the other hand, had no issue in giving. It took a while as God worked in my life to first show me fear in me and then revealing and filling me with His love and convincing me over and over that He does not plan to harm me. When He asks me to give, it’s not that He wants me to suffer. God loves me and He loves you too. He so desires what is best for us. After what seemed like a long time and taking baby steps, I began to trust God with our finances and needs. We both remember vividly when I surrendered. I cried to God and told Him that, ‘I have tried budget, (financial counselor couldn’t help us. He said that in our budget we had made cuts that he himself didn’t know that could be made); I have done the math. But it has not worked. We are behind on bills, in debt. Lord. I thought I knew how to budget, but it has not worked for us. Lord I surrender. I let go of all I have known of managing money and ask that You teach us” I totally surrendered. Back then, I managed our budget. Pitana and I got in agreement and handed our finances and thinking to God. God then asked me to stop babysitting which I had started to do in our home. He also asked Pitana to quit his second job asking him to remain with only one job. God also instructed us to start giving our tithes on our gross income instead of net income. He explained to us that if we pay our taxes on gross, why do we then give out tithes on net income. Remember Jesus said, “give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and to God what is God’s.” Pitana has liken tithes to taxes saying that tithes are like our heavenly taxes.

Do you know what happened the month we surrendered our thinking and finances to God? Well, our income was less as we let go of 2 of our incomes. Our expenses didn’t change but we had $600 left over at the end of the month! wow!! We still don’t understand it intellectually, all we know is that God’s ways work. He began to teach us to be givers. From giving $5 to $20 to $1000 (our only savings then). The Holy Spirit led us to have a 6 months food supply in our home. He would send people our way and then ask us to bless them with all kinds of food. He began to teach us to be hospitable. No no, not the ‘lets have you over for dinner and why don’t you bring an appetizer or dessert?’. The Lord taught us to that when we have people over for a visit to not ask them to bring a meal over. He taught us to trust Him to provide for us and those He sends our way including the strength to host. ‘Whatever you did to the least of these, my brethren, you did unto me.’ And David said, ‘will I give unto God that which costs me nothing?’ We learned to offer our guests, the very best we had that day and trust God for tomorrow. What tremendous blessings followed! As we hosted and had fellowship, our faith was strengthened as we heard what God was doing in others; we encouraged others as we shared what God was teaching us; we saw the unsaved come to believe in Jesus and much more…

God has taught us to live a giving lifestyle. Some may think that just because we are missionaries, we don’t give (financially) but instead go around fundraising. God was very clear to us that He did not want us fundraising. He said, ‘the worker is worthy of His wages.’ He asked us to focus on doing our work (what He is commanding us to do) and He will do His part of giving the wages.

But even as missionaries, we are blessed to experience the scriptures that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Here is a recent  example: A few weeks ago, we had just over $200 to our name. We were praying for finances for this trip God was asking us to take to South Carolina. And do you know what God did? He asked us to give away the $200 we had!! After agreeing, Pitana went ahead and gave away the $200. Then we waited and prayed and prayed for provision for this trip. Well, the days were fast approaching and we had told everyone that we were leaving before the 20th as we needed to be in South Carolina before the 26th. Our desire was to leave earlier but that was dependent on when God released money to us. Well, on Saturday night, we found out we would have some money on Monday the 17th, so we decided to leave early Monday and  not rush through the states. On Sunday, we had no money to even fill up the gas tank. We still needed to have oil change done but no funds. In praying, God said, ‘I will send you some money but not all at once. As soon as you get some, just leave and trust Me to provide as you go.’ So, On Sunday morning we went to church and took care of making arrangements for the ministry work we oversee so that the work would continue while we are gone. While there, friends gathered around to pray for us. Before we left, they handed us $150. We held their hands and prayed over them asking God to look upon their giving and bless them. I cried as I prayed because God was just confirming His words to us that ‘as we go, He would provide.’ Here we had just made arrangements for ministry as we ‘go’ and God was already being faithful and I knew and knew that He would take care of all the details. On the way to church that morning, I had been asking God for some things I would like for our trip before we leave in the morning. Among those things were snacks for the road. We were in our van, pulling out of the church parking lot when a friend who doesn’t usually attend that church ran out of the church building to our van and asked if she could buy us snacks for the road! Isn’t God so good! We left overwhelmed by God’s goodness and faithfulness!!

We rushed home that afternoon and Pitana went to find a place where he could have an oil change last minute on Sunday and he did. Praise God!

We later went to a prayer meeting at 5 pm. We had not yet packed as we had just come out of a counselling session with a certain couple in which the man received Jesus. Hallelujah! But never the less, Pitana felt that we needed to go to the prayer meeting. So, we went trusting God that He would help us with packing! We had a wonderful time praying and worshiping with our brothers and sisters. They then prayed over us, some prophesying over us concerning the road trip. After the prayer, a brother stood looking at us steadfastly. He then came closer and asked us, ‘you are in need of money, aren’t you?’ He then handed us an envelope with $280. Money he had had left over after his vacation trip but now God had asked him to give it to us. Another lady came over and handed us $20 making it all $300. What a God we serve!

So off we began our trip the next day. Praise be to God!

Healing

Devil swept out!

Recently in Louisiana, we met a sweet elderly lady who shared this testimony with us. I think you will be encouraged.

One of her daughters had health challenges from a very young age. She also had arthritis and could not walk or do things that other children could do. One day, this sweet lady got tired of the devil messing with her daughter. So she took a broom and opened the door, and proceeded to sweep the devil out of her home commanding him to leave in Jesus’ name. And the devil left!! Shortly after, the daughter began to get better. Soon she could walk, play ball and have a normal childhood. Halleluah!! Glory be to God.