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Living Beyond Your Means

Conventional wisdom teaches that trouble comes when you begin to live beyond your means. You end up spending money you don't have to buy things you don't need and end up in a place you don't like: back-breaking debt and hopelessness about your financial future. Your best bet is to live within your means, spending only what you make, being content with what you have and committing yourself only to that which you can faithfully steward. This is a balanced approach to life, and its benefits are many!

Yet, without disagreeing with the conventional wisdom, I would like to suggest that there is a sense in which God calls us to live beyond our means and that striving to live within our means in this regard restricts the work of the Spirit of God in increasing our territory and expanding our boundaries. The call of God always pushes us beyond the boundaries of the practical and requires us to embrace the faith that commands the practical to submit to the spiritual. This means that if you are doing only what you can do with the resources you have, you have not yet fully discerned the call of God upon your life or adequately responded to it. Until you stand before a hungry multitude with nothing in your hands and hear the Lord say, "You give them something to eat," you have not heard God call you! This is what I have been learning in this new season that God has taken us into, and this is what I want to share with you in this post.

First, let me catch you up on what has happened over the past couple months. On the last Friday in May my wife called me to inform me that a three-day notice had been placed on the door of our 1,000 square foot condo in Dublin, CA. We purchased that condo four years ago and were happy living there; though the place was small and greatly restrictive, we were thankful for it as it was the first home we could call our own. But within a few months of closing escrow we began to hear the reports of the crash of the real estate market and became concerned. By year 3 the home had lost nearly 40% of its value and we were facing the prospects of foreclosure as we were fighting to continue paying an interest only loan that was about to fully amortize and go through the roof!

During that season my wife spent her Friday nights in prayer at the church with a few members of her missions team. They began praying at 10pm and finished at 5am. During one of those sessions the Lord spoke to my wife and said, "Let your condo go, go home and start packing and I'll give you a five-bedroom house." She came home and told me what the Lord said and so we let it go, fully expecting that at any moment God would drop that 5-bedroom home in our laps! What we discovered was that God almost never drops blessings out of the heavens. Instead, he requires us to learn how to inherit them through faith and patience. In other words, your blessing will not happen to you, you've got to happen to your blessing!

Ten months later we received notice that the bank had sold our condo at auction for less than 50% of what we paid for it. We were given 30 days to vacate and $2,000 for our trouble. Not bad!

Meanwhile, in early May we received word that the building that our church has occupied for the past two years had sold to a school. The plan of that school was to use our sanctuary space for classrooms space and put us back upstairs in the smaller space that we had occupied for a year before moving downstairs. At first I was adamantly opposed to the whole scenario. I declared boldly to my congregation, "It is not possible that we should be put out of the Lord's inheritance! This is the sanctuary of God and this building is ours!" There were two major prophetic confirmations of this word, so we simply expected something to happen that would prevent the school from occupying the building.

But low and behold, their permit was approved, their loan funded, and they came and took possession of the building, moving us upstairs immediately. It was a difficult time, but the Lord forbad me to grieve over it. Instead, I kept hearing the Spirit of the Lord command me to rejoice! So as we were breaking down the sanctuary, pulling up the carpet, etc., I just kept thanking the Lord: "Lord, thank you that you saw that this place was far too small for your vision for us and so you have delivered us from it and into a greater space." I kept hearing the Lord say that this was not loss and that we could not be diminished! So I boldly proclaimed that to the congregation.

Then June 1st came and my wife and I had to surrender the keys to our condo. We had been frantically searching for a new home for a few weeks already, and our search kept coming up empty. I kept thinking that the problem was that the rental market was flooded with people like us who had recently been foreclosed on. In hindsight I realize that tthe blockage was actually in our faith, rather than in the market. Our search had two criteria: it had to be in alignment with the word we had received from the Lord (five bedrooms) and we had to be able to afford it! What we found is that it was impossible to meet both those criteria!

We came close though! At one point we stumbled upon a 3,200 square foot home in Concord that was renting for $2,800 per month! That's a great value in this market, and even so it was beyond our budget. My wife was uncomfortable with the amount, but because of the word of the Lord, she opened her heart and agreed to reach for it. My mouth was wide open as we toured this property! I frantically filled out the application and submitted it. It took them several days to get back to us, and finally, on the day we were moving out of our place and the night before we had to surrender the keys, we drove to the office of the real estate company that represented the owner. I walked in and said to the property manager, "Look, I need to know if we got the place or not. We have to move out of our old place tonight!" The manager very kindly informed me that they had decided to give the place to another applicant.

At this point I could feel my heart rate increase. I went down to the car where my wife and baby were patiently awaiting the good news and as I climbed into the driver's seat I felt my fear intensify and my faith flee. I felt like our only chance had just slipped away. I felt like I had failed my family, like I had lost everything, like a failure of a father and husband. I felt physically sick as I shared the news with my wife. As we began the drive back to Dublin to begin the move, I began to develop a headache, and then I felt nauseous, and then dizzy and I knew that my blood pressure was up. When we got back to the house I took a blood pressure pill and then laid down for a few moments. The headache intensified, the nausea increased, and the dizziness and light headedness escalated. I drove myself to Safeway and took my blood pressure twice: 165/106. I sat in the car and cried. I even thought I would die of a heart attack right there and leave my wife and baby without a husband and father.

I went back to the house and laid down for a few minutes, then got up and tried to help with the move. I just couldn't leave the whole thing on my wife! I carried a few boxes, then practically collapsed onto the ground. My sister in law saw me, took me inside and made me lay down on the floor. She said I was ice cold. She covered me with coats and then laid hands on me and went into intense prayer and intercession. Then the Spirit of prophecy fell on her and she spoke this word from the Lord: "Bring glory to me my son for I am with you and I will be glorified in all that you do! Keep your eyes upon me, for I am about to bring you abundant blessings!" As I received that word I just wept before the Lord and began to say, "Father I bring you glory!" After a while my parents came and my mom took me to their house while my father stayed and helped finish the move.

The next day I processed the experience with my spiritual father. After explaining the whole situation to him he said, "Benjamin this whole thing happened because you left your place in the Spirit. You keep thinking you have to provide a home for your family with your own resources, but God is calling you to move beyond that. You've got to stop thinking about what you can afford and begin to trust the word of the Lord. God said he would give you a 5-bedroom home, he didn't say you had to go rent one yourself!" In other words, the problem was that I was trying to believe God's promise and rely on my own resources at the same time. This is enough to kill anyone! Can you imagine Moses thinking he was supposed to part the Red Sea with his own resources? The disciples thinking they had to feed the five thousand with their own resources? The miracle is always in the hand of the disciple, but the power that works it is always in the hand of God! In order to access that power, you must learn to live beyond your means.

On the first of June we moved in with my brother and sister in law. The day we moved in the Lord gave me this word: "Tell the congregation to watch what happens to your family; to the extent that I bless you over and above what you lost, to that degree I will bless my house and my people." That next Sunday I stood up before the people and explained what had happened to me when I left my place of faith, and then I made the announcement: "We are a sign and a wonder that God has placed in your midst. Now watch us! Watch what God gives us! To the degree that God blesses us over and beyond what we lost, to that same degree you can expect him to bless this house and this people!"

The next four weeks were stretching weeks; our minds had not yet arrived at the place they needed to be in order for God to open the door that he wanted to open. We were still in the old season in our thinking. God had much more. When our minds finally began to move in that direction we started looking in outlandish directions. We looked at homes that were far out of price range and in the 3,000 - 5,000 sq ft range. Every time we stumbled upon a house that we could afford and were tempted to settle, I would hear the Lord say, "Don't limit me! Watch what I am about to do!" We were looking, but only out of obedience. We had no plan and no understanding of how it would work.

Finally, my spiritual father shared this with me: "I sense the Lord is moving your wife into a new season: give up your salary and live by faith. Let the church provide a home for you, but nothing more than a home. Instruct the people of the house to give you a love offering every month. In that way they will learn how to sow directly into their inheritance, and you and your family will lack nothing." We shared this with our financial presbytery and they agreed. We turned over the housing search to them after a month of fruitless searching.

Two days later a member of our financial presbytery stumbled upon an ad for a house in the Hayward hills. 4,300 sq ft, fully furnished, in a gated community and on a country club. The presbytery scheduled an appointment to look at the house, and we all went up together. There was an instant witness in the Spirit that this was indeed the place! The owner liked us immediately and very easily approved us. Yesterday we moved in!

Our New Home

Last night I had to drive to Oakland at 11:30pm to pick up my daughter's medicine from my brother in law's place. On the way home I was overtaken by gratitude to God. I said, "Lord, I can't believe how lavishly you have blessed me! This is too much!" The Lord immediately replied, "This is not because of your righteousness but because of the generations that have gone on before you. I have desired to show honor to those who have served me in your lineage and have waited generations to show you favor on their behalf."

I thought of my grandmother, National Evangelist Williette Means, who served God so faithfully, leading revivals, planting churches traveling around the nation ministering in the power of God. She was never financially affluent, but she didn't care as long as she could serve give the love of Jesus to the least of humanity.

National Evangelist Williette Means

I thought of stories I had heard of my grandfather, Elder William H. Means, who planted churches that are still reaching people for Christ to this day.
Elder William H. Means

I thought of my grandmother, Elizabeth Robinson, the great woman of prayer she was and the great legacy of faith I have received from her.
Elizabeth Robinson

And I thought of my parents, who have made many sacrifices to pave the way for me to stand where I now stand.
Pastors Peter and Diane Robinson

I was overcome with thankfulness and wept before the Lord out of sheer joy. The Lord has not only fulfilled his promise, but he has exceeded his promise! He has enlarged our territory in every way; but the enlarging of our territory first required the enlarging of our hearts and of our minds. The struggle was custom tailored by God for this purpose, and now we are very peacefully living beyond our means!


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Author: admin
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  1. So powerful! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wow! Just read the entire entry! Thanks for sharing pops! Such a powerful testimony!!!