I have not written much regarding personal events in our lives, however recently after a conversation with my wife we decided there may be some small benefit to our readers that they may glean from reading of these stories.
This lesson was inspired by US Senator Bernie Sanders when he stated “When you’re white you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor,” Poverty knows no race, it has no boundaries, it has but one purpose, destruction of all who are caught within its grip. Ghettos hold anyone who live therein, color of the skin is does not make the ghetto. Poverty is the task master and the ghetto is his home. Slums are his housing and destruction his goal.
Poverty is a ruling spirit which targets anyone. Government cannot fix poverty, they throw billions of dollars into repairing the problem but until the spiritual destruction of poverty happens it will continue and grow. Government cannot repair it, but the church can, yet instead of teaching the way out of poverty they teach how to stay therein. They in fact get angry and preach against any who are bold enough to say “you do have to poor no more”. A ghetto is any place that poverty can cause you to reside therein.
May 18, 1980, a major volcanic eruption occurred at Mount St. Helens in Washington state, ash poured down on Northwest Washington state along with southern British Columbia in Canada, the hopes of many seemed lost, the world darkened for a moment. Conspiracy theorist preached doom and gloom, the ignorant declared that Christ had returned, or, Japan caused the explosion, or even that the eruption was caused by the military to destroy a Bigfoot breeding ground. Yet the world moved on.
I wondered as I watched that eruption if perhaps the mighty mountain was speaking to me as well, what I faced now could it really be as bad as all that ash pouring down upon the earth, my heart certainly seemed that way. Unemployed (again) recouping from the lost of our first restaurant, a wonderful beautiful wife and two babies but that darkness floated literally above.
We found a job that provided both housing and a meager income; we became managers of a slum motel. Rooms that rented by the hour (shocking to my wife) a strange and bizarre clientele, sex trade workers on the job, some looking to avoid the law or their wives, or others who were just eccentric and vastly different. Like Fred, a guy who wanted roller skate across Canada, but before he left he had to discard a small bundle, he decide to skate into the motel and leave the bundle with us. He hadn’t stayed there but for some reason he chose us to discard that bundle.
I asked him “why” he answered “because you will do what’s right with it”.
“What will you do now” I inquired.
“I’m rolling skating across Canada” then off he headed on his skates down Lougheed highway.
What to do, I opened the bundle of course. It was a old burlap coffee bean sack which had been tied together with chicken wire and held together with duck tape. Once in I found, three switch blades, two sets on numb chucks, three brass knuckles (one with blades) but the prize was a sawed off double barrel shot gun. These were not the type of gifts I possibly could have hoped for, certainly not what I wanted around the motel given my young family or even the type of clientele we had staying there. I called police who came quickly in two squad cars, I showed them our “gift”, one set of officers questioned us further and the second sped down the highway in search of Fred. They found him (roller shaking along) and returned him to the motel where he repeated what he did and said to us. He actually thanked us for calling law enforcement stating he just couldn’t turn himself in. After much questioning of Fred the officers let him go and they departed with weapons in hand. I asked Fred “what now” he answered “I am rolling skating across Canada” and off he went. (I never did find out if he made it.)
We had stopped all of the hourly rentals and all of the known sex trade workers, we began to rent by the week and quickly filled all rooms with good paying customers but everyone had a story that could break the hardest heart. I didn’t want those weapons around, one day a young lady came to the office in desperate need, she had been cut from her forehead to her waistline by her boy friend in a fit of rage. He had broken a mirror and used a shard of glass as a knife to slice her up. There was no need to risk any event occurring while weapons may be at someone’s disposal, in fact I was happy to know they had been disposed of. This was just one day, every day there were events big and small, horrific and laughable occurring, we had no knowledge how to handle them but in each one we came through with a little more knowledge, closer to each other and closer to the Lord.
As difficult as our circumstances were, and they were, our restroom had a ceiling that literally had caved in and we could watch the sun rise or set from therein, we didn’t need the shower, we just had wait until it rained and stand in the restroom.. Ants had infested the apartment so badly that one night we awoke to our baby sons cries finding him completely covered by them. Six inch slugs, snakes, rats, mice and wild dogs all had to be contended with alongside the drug and alcohol addicts, hookers, crooks and thieves, this is where God had placed us? At least that is what we thought, how could God allow this to happen, and what was He trying to tell us? How strange it is, when adversity comes we blame others, we blame God and find that we begin to hear Him clearer, or, refuse to hear Him at all.
Psalm 34:3-5 (KJV) O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.5 they looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
Ignorance, desperation and fear, when poverty moves into your life then so too do these other spirits, and eventually God gets blamed. Poverty brings spirits of destruction with her, addictions (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) higher crime rates, higher death rates, all are within the power of poverty, she is the ruling spirit of destruction and her rule is extremely harsh.
You with God are always greater than your circumstances. Circumstances gives character an opportunity to shine. Those who have traits that embody those of Christ will go through the circumstance with peace ruling their hearts. Those whose character is situational focused will struggle as they seek to overcome, and those who are just ego will find failure and are doomed to repeat the circumstance until they have seen the way out. Circumstances come, regardless of who you may be, it is within your spirit that the situation is resolved for good. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we choose to respond. Looking to God is not just a way of comfort but it is the best way to eliminate every situation that may give place to fear. The Psalmist (above) states He will deliver us from “all” our fears. Sure the devil is there to rob, kill, destroy and bring complete destruction but his spirits of fear have no place. We have been greatly delivered from all fear. Notice the verse says our heart is lightened, the burden is taken; shining faces of victory can be seen by all.
When God is glorified in the midst of dire times, He gives the victory and gains the glory as we declare to others His goodness. His will is never to bring any hurt or harm, that is what Satan does. His will is to walk you through in victory. We give thanks in the circumstance (not for it) because we know He is bringing through. Many were the times we spend weeping at that No-Tell motel slum, but that is just a relief mechanism because deliverance would come, we just had to remain in attitude of prayer and thankfulness. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Remember that your struggle always leads to might within the spirit and soul. Might is an explosive power, it is the ability to use Gods power in any situation; it is the believers power to achieve. What? Anything that is required, poverty desires destruction but God instills His ability to overcome such. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 It is not that all things are good but rather that good will come within that circumstance.
Gods plan is always perfect. The best of the Lord comes with attack, God wants the best for you but there are enemies that want the worse. In cooking we like to say “the juice is in the squeeze” in order to get the most juice from a lemon or lime you must apply pressure to it. Roll it under pressure, then cut it in half and squeeze. It will run freely with its reward, sweet delicious juice. You gain much more juice by applying the pressure.
As the enemy attacks pressure is applied to us, poverty wants our destruction. However as we allow God to lead and guide through that pressure we will come through with something far greater than what we could have thought or dreamed of, a very sweet result.
While seeking the prefect plan of God to lead us out from poverty we know that trouble will come we must keep our eyes upon the Lord, it is His plan that will lead us in hope, that will give us the kind of future that is one of His goodness.
We call Him Father, why, because a father loves and cares for his children. He keeps them from harm and defends them with his life. He always wants only the best for his family. God is the greatest example of what a father is to be.
It is beyond stupidity and very insulting to the Lord when you hear people who say “God did this” some evil twisted thing. Poverty is an evil twisted thing and does not flow from a God who is the great Father. God does not bring sickness and disease to teach us anything, nor does he sent disasters of any fashion, he does not place His children in destructive situations or kill man, women or babies. It is wrong for someone to says “God took him or her” scripture tells exactly who is the killer and thief: John 10:10 King James Version (KJV) “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
To steal: is to scuttle our dreams, dash into pieces our hopes and excitement of God goodness and to crush any action us that will cause us to do better.
To kill: To devastate us through the power of belief in the ability of the enemy, to coerce and force us into deaths grip.
To destroy: To destroy our faith, who we are, our very being, to annihilate our family, to completely crush our relationship with God through extremely harsh circumstances.
That is the squeeze by poverty, but what follows is the promise, that abundant life in Christ. When the love of God moves upon your heart and into your life all else must move out, and the ruling spirits are driven out as well, including poverty. Begin to believe the love of God for you, learn and follow His plan and not that of poverty, for God’s plan is always good. Poverty wants you to believe the squeeze is all there is, God knows it’s the juice.
God and you are a winning team. Think of juice as an acronym:
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Learn in your heart that God will never leave your side. Psalm 118:6 King James Version (KJV) “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” How can you fail, lose, or come to destruction when the creator of heaven and earth is on your side. God and you are winning team.
Excellence is achieved by having a spirit of excellence, how, by and with the Lord. Focus yourself completely on the Lord and what would He do in any and every situation or circumstance. Colossians 3:23 –“ And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Keep your focus on the Lord, when you are joined in spirit with the Lord then excellence flows to you.” Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”
Jesus, Jehovah and The Holy Spirit are all on your side, you are not going through your circumstance alone; God is on your side. Just stay resolute on the Word, it is your guide into victory and out of poverty. No matter how bad it may look for you stay with the Word and stay in faith. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Do not stray from what you know to be the goodness of God. Affliction, death and destruction are in the hands of the enemy and the enemy looks for those who stray from the Word and quickly moves to crush them so that they continue to wander away from the Lord. Yet when you fall (falling is not failing) and we all do, run to God, seek his Word for He forgives, He loves and it is He who will pick you up.
Psalms 119:67-68 “ Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.”
Psalm 34:17 “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Colossians 1:13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.”
We overcome poverty and the spirit of poverty by forcibly driving him out of our lives. Yes by the Word and in the name of Jesus we command it to leave, but we must back that command with our actions. Faith is a force and the application of faith is the weapon that destroys poverty. We put on that might and do warfare against poverty. Just because you are living within it does means you have to stay in it. All the weapons that the enemy uses against you are completely destroy by staying in the Word, staying in faith. In faith the question must be asked, who can stand against me, and the answer of course, no-one and nothing, all come to destruction when it is against the Lord, His Word, and His children, those who stay in faith.
Romans 8:37-39 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) “Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors [a]and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things [b]impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We were in a horrible place, poor, without proper housing, living a rat infested life. Yet by keeping faith and applying the Word we soon turned that situation around, the No-Tell motel became a residence for some under crushing needs, those in turn heard the Word and the slum became repaired to the point where the landlord sold the property. We moved on to another town and our circumstances improved. No, we hadn’t conquered poverty yet, not completely, but by faith life improved.
Ephesians 6:10-17 King James Version (KJV) “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”
Biblical joy is the knowledge that God is in control of your circumstances and allows only that which is good for you into your life. Joy is an established position of contentment, confidence and hope. For most the lie of the enemy is “trials and tribulations draw you closer to God” it is not the trial, the tribulation or the circumstance that draws you closer to the Lord, but rather what you do within those circumstances. 1 Peter 1:6-9 King James Version (KJV) “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
Keep the Word, stay in faith and walk in joy and you with God (your team) will defeat poverty in your life and then have the power to defeat it in others lives as well. Keep these final scripture as your starting point in the destruction of poverty in your life.
Psalm 27:1 King James Version (KJV) The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Isaiah 41:10 King James Version (KJV) Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Acts 27:25 King James Version (KJV) Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 King James Version (KJV) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith ([a]your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!
Psalm 23 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with [a]oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.