21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”Exodus 3:21-22(NIV) 2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.”Exodus 11:2(NIV) 36 The Lord caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth! Exodus 12:36 (NLT) 37 The Lord brought his people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold; and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled.Psalm 105:37 (NLT)
2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.”Exodus 11:2(NIV)
36 The Lord caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth! Exodus 12:36 (NLT)
37 The Lord brought his people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold; and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled.Psalm 105:37 (NLT)
You might think, "okay, so God just got them out of that situation and that was that." But no. You see, in God's mind, OKAY is not enough. I don't know about you but I hate the word OKAY. People tell me, "it's going to be okay" and I'm thinking, "I hate okay." Because okay is just "alright". I hate "fine" too.
I want GREAT. I want EXTRAORDINARY. I want EXCELLENT.
The good news is, God is all about great, extraordinary and excellent too. It's never God's design to just get you out of bondage and make life okay for you. There has to be compensation for what you go through. God is definitely the God of the payback. And when it comes to the devil, he charges him out the wazoo! Please note this is not a post about finances although I do believe the devil definitely does have to pay you back in that regard too. I am talking about every kind of blessing imaginable!!!
God wanted the Israelites to go to their Egyptian neighbors and ask them for silver, gold and fine clothes. The Israelites didn't walk out of there just being okay...they left there living large. What was all that stuff for? As payback for the hell they went through!
What am I trying to tell you? Despite what things you may be going through, God will come through for you and not only make it alright, but He will make sure you get paid back and then some. One of my favorite verses in scripture is Psalm 138:8 where it says, "the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me." (KJV) Many things concern me, and I tell you today that God says He'll perfect it. I like the sound of that!!!
When God makes the devil pay back, does he give you exactly what you lost? NO. The answer is NO, NO, NO my friend. He has to pay back MORE THAN WHAT YOU LOST because that sorry devil has to pay you with interest!
Listen to how the Bible puts is in Proverbs 6:30-31 (NIV): "Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house."
I just want to tell all of you today that I'm in a season of payback. Some of you know a trial I've gone through recently. Well, the devil has had to pay me back some things lately and oh what a great feeling. And it's not over yet. I'm loving the spiritual gold, silver and fine clothing I'm getting. :-) I believe a lot of this is the culmination of the 50 day fast we just came off of. And some of it is just the law of sowing and reaping. God pays back His faithful servants, plain and simple.
One of my paybacks is the open doors of ministry in Africa. Here's another awesome realization I came to... I wondered in the past why I went through some of the things I went through in my life. Some of you know my testimony and some things I went through growing up. Trust me, if you look up "dysfunctional" in the dictionary, well...my life story and photo would be there. I used to wonder when I first went into ministry, "How will God use me coming out of something like this? But reading the Bible I discovered God has a lot more Simpsons & Osborne's than Huxtables and Cleavers who were used for Him!
My friends, your start does not determine your finish!
Your past does not determine your future!
Those who caused yesterday's pain don't determine tomorrow's outcome!
Glory to God!
Still, I wondered "why" so many times. I doubted God's love for me at times in my life because of what he allowed to happen to me back then. Throughout the years I have been able to minister to people in the church and other places I've preached using my testimony. It has helped in relating to people, and God has been glorified. But it still didn't quite seem like "enough" for all the stuff I went through. At times, I even said that to God. I had never came to the point where I said, "yeah, I'd do it all over again..." until Africa! Because never, never, never have I ever experienced God using my pain as my platform as He did in Africa! Just as with Joseph of the Old Testament, God took what Satan meant for evil and turned it around for good. I felt now that there was a reason for my pain. It was not all in vain.
When I shared my testimony with the African people, we immediately bonded. We shared a common pain. The missionary there said it was uncanny how my story so related to them in a different culture, thousands of miles away! God used my past in a way that I never imagined, as a bridge to their hearts in Africa!!! Let me tell you my friends, if that's the only reason I went through it, it was WORTH IT ALL. I got a payback in massive SOULS for Christ. I got paid back through seeing many HEALED! I got paid back through SIGNS AND WONDERS. The devil had to cough it up on a massive scale. And he's still paying.
God also dropped another incredible payback in my life on Friday!! I'm so excited! Remember my post this past week, inviting people to move to "paradise" and come help us win the city for Christ? I guess it too was a prophetic preview!! Because THREE DAYS LATER (dontcha' love the symbolism? 3 days!!!) that's exactly what happened! I can't share all the details yet, because they aren't finalized, and other people's personal details are in the balance. But, I will share as much as I can.
Some dear friends of ours contacted us Friday and told us they are planning to move here to Tampa. God willing, they are relocating to help us plow this ground and take the city for the Lord. These were some of our right hand people in years past in a previous church. I've missed these friends so much. I've longed for them to come, we've talked about it, but it's just never been the right time. But now, God said, "yes" in their spirit, and they have already started packing and selling stuff and everything to come. They are looking for homes here in Tampa and have put their house up for sale. With several different factors, this could take until a while, maybe even until Spring '09 for them to get their business, finances and homes in order -- but it looks like (again God willing) this could very well be reality. This is one of the greatest things ever to happen, trust me on this my friends.
Upon receiving this news, I heard the voice of the Lord in my spirit, whispering His love and care over me. Yes!!! This is the God who rejoices over me with singing and dances over me (Zephaniah 3:17) and even prompts people to move across the country if need be. This is the God who has blessed me with a strong marriage and wonderfully God-loving children. This is the God who has given me wisdom, grace and strength along with my husband to build a real family...a strong and healthy family. This is the God who has blessed my home and provided for me. This is the God who has given me many spiritual children. The God who pours out his love upon me daily and says, "the best is still yet to come..."
My friends, the deceiver does have to pay you back for what he's taken. Don't let him get you distracted!!! Don't focus on what you've lost. Focus on what's coming. Focus on your payback. When the enemy roars, remind him he'll have to give you full compensation and then some for all the grief he caused you. Maybe then he'll think twice before he decides to bark up your tree again.