Ripples in the Water
Linda C. Tardy
Copyright © 2008 by Linda C. Tardy
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. All Scripture has been taken from the King James Version of the Bible. Vision House Publishers’ publishing style capitalizes all personal pronouns pertaining to God in Scripture that refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Catalog Number 2008925744 ISBN 978-0-9816828-1-2
Cover designed by Iesha Butler Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by Vision House Publishers www.visionhousepublishers.com
Table of Contents Introduction
Chapter 1: Wounds of the Past
Chapter 2: Miracle Child (Moses)
Chapter 3: Winter 1998
Chapter 4: Conversion (Christianity to Islam, 1977-2000)
Chapter 5: Saved (Islam to Christianity, September 2000)
Chapter 6: The Day My Brother Got Saved
Chapter 7: Tried in the Fire (Winter Season)
Chapter 8: The Lordâ€™s Money Tested
Chapter 9: A New Season
Chapter 10: God, Hear My Cry
Chapter 11: Working in My Purpose
Chapter 12: Jesus on the Move: A New Level in My Purpose
Chapter 13: Deliverance
Chapter 14: Freedom: Flesh and Spirit
Chapter 15: Closed Doors: Living in the Supernatural
Chapter 16: The Voice of God: Obedience
Chapter 17: Walking in the Supernatural: Preparation
Chapter 18: Bride of God
Chapter 19: Divine Setup
About the Author
Foreword Selecting and reading any of the twenty chapters may cause you to find yourself caught up in the flow of a ripple, bringing you to the reality of God’s awesome plan for life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” These twenty accounts are noteworthy because each shows how a ripple in one’s life, no matter how small or large, can possibly set us up for a divine intervention. That is, if we have an ear to hear the Word of God, allow it to find a lodging place in our hearts and (dwell richly) James 1:22 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” Revelations 1:3 says, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Colossians 3:16-17 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.”
If you have ever found yourself at the bottom of the sea of the waters of life and caused the ripples to continuously keep coming and going, then this book is a must read for you. Read Linda’s memoir and discover, as she has, that trying to throw oneself into life and solve personal problems without a committed relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ causes one to have a stagnated life, one with no flow of God’s Holy Spirit. — Dr. (Elder) Edith Faulk Joynes Jericho City of Praise
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Thank You Holy Spirit, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I welcome You in my life. I hunger and thirst for the fullness of Your power and unspeakable joy. You have brought me to a new level of obedience in my life. Praise God! Thank You, Jesus, for knowing my needs. Thank You for putting Your commands in my memory so I will be ready to obey. I will forever remember Your command—“If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Thank You, Lord, for teaching me, establishing me, grounding me, and changing my behavior so I could glorify God! Thank You, Lord, for teaching me that this journey is not about me but about Jesus, who said He would give us another Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit. I thank You, Lord, for teaching me to show my love and appreciation by walking in obedience to Your awesome leadership and powerful Spirit who lives in me every day. I honor You, I exalt You, and I lift up Your name with praise! Bless the name of Jesus Christ.
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Introduction I am eternally grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus CHRIST for allowing me to complete this book. In this book you will find my life experiences before finding Christ. Maybe you have not found Christ yet, but are seeking to find Him. This book will put you on the right path. You will discover that the beginning of your life is the start of a journey to eternity. This world is not our permanent home, but a place for preparing, molding, establishing, conforming, and transforming into a Christ like mind. Because we were born in sin and shaped in iniquity, our minds are conditioned to live in a world of iniquity and transgression. This book teaches us that finding Christ Jesus is finding out who we are. Afterwards, a whole new life begins, a life of purpose, peace, prosperity, and unspeakable joy. You will begin to understand why you were created. Being a servant of God means finding your purpose and vision in life. Read this book and discover that your life is a divine setup. â€”L. C. TARDY
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Chapter 1 Wounds of the Past For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
On January 1, 2002, I was baptized at Jericho City of Praise. I learned that baptism of water is symbolic of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The answers to my questions from childhood to the present are much clearer in my mind, like an orange I peeled off the covering of the world and revealed the supernatural being God had created in me. So this is what the sovereign Lord says in Isaiah 28:16: “Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Apostle Paul said, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:17-18). Like Jesus, I lived in the flesh for a temporal moment of longsuffering, not understanding why I suffered if my God, the God of all creation, was so powerful. I felt that God should have been there to save me from so many days of fear, anger, 3
Ripples in the Water depression, and oppression. But each time I suffered and struggled to survive, I expected life to get better because I tried so hard. Instead, life only became more of a challenge; and for every obstacle, I found another challenge. I cried and looked for excuses to blame others for my downfalls. I pointed my finger and blamed society and its systematic rules and regulations. I was defiant, prejudiced, militant, and rebellious. I had no respect for authority; worst of all, the “white man” was the devil in my mind. I was living in darkness, and my mind was held in captivity, controlled by the ways of the world. I remember Mama used to say, “Walk with your head up, carry yourself with confidence, and smile.” Mama had learned to follow this advice very well. She was a nurse, and everyone loved her. Although my mother was the one who instilled confidence in me by calling me “Mama’s little educated baby.” There was not one prejudiced bone in my mother’s body; she was a lovely, kindhearted lady. But there was still something missing inside me that caused me to search for answers. From my childhood days until now, I have been on a mission. I always knew that life, which was bigger than it appeared to be, was a mystery to me. I was observant, curious, and quiet— which made me different from the other kids. There was something about me. I had a drive and talent—so many talents. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with all of my talents, so I tried them all out in the world. I took singing lessons, dance lessons, music lessons, songwriting lessons, poetry writing, martial arts, fashion modeling, and photography. I appeared in talent shows, poetry readings, and fashion shows (and won). Yet I still had that feeling of fear, uniqueness, and separation. Mama went home to the Lord on September 8, 1998. I was devastated, and fear was again reinforced by hollowness and emptiness. No one was there to provide comfort and reinforce that strength and confidence Mama had given to me. In spite of my 4
Ripples in the Water fears, I was supposed to be the strong one in the family. But I guess just knowing Mama was there had given me strength to make it from day to day. It almost didn’t seem fair, even when Mama was sick. Just knowing she was there had made me strong. I moved on, struggling and suffering inside. Before Mama went home to the Lord, she and I shared a onebedroom apartment in Hyattsville, Maryland, with my nephew, Chicago, and my niece, Crystal. We all struggled together in trying to care for Mama. Mama had multiple illnesses; she went from being a one-hundred-sixty-pound, strong, hard-working woman to a thin, ninety-pound woman. But Mama’s mind was still strong. She told me the only reason she was hanging on was because of me; she said I would take it the hardest if she passed away. I told her I didn’t want to hear that talk, but she said, “Well, you better get used to the idea because it’s going to happen. Besides, I will be happier in God’s world; I am not happy in this world.” I used to get very quiet when Mama said those words because deep down inside, I wasn’t very happy in this world either, but I couldn’t say so to Mama. I had to be strong for her, though she was my strength. Mama was a firm believer in God and knew Jesus in her heart. She was a strong, lovely, warm, and kindhearted lady. I cared for Mama seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day while trying to discipline and care for my niece and nephew. They were both teenagers—you know, rebellious and defiant. They had their inner problems, too, after losing their mom and being fatherless. Well, we struggled hard through the rough times, arguments, fun times, financial hardships, and grievings. My nephew, a rap artist, hardly ever stayed home. My niece stayed home most of the time, but she had her little way of sneaking out—she was boy crazy. Both she and my nephew were going through that adolescence period. Their mom, my sister, had gone home to the Lord four years before Mama did. 5
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Chapter 2 Miracle Child (Moses) For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12)
My sister, Darlene Moses, was thirty-eight years old when she died of heart disease and went home to the Lord. The doctor told her she would live six months, but she lived eleven years. Darlene was strong, hardworking, and full of humor. She always made everyone laugh, and her spirit now lives on in her children. I call my sister the “miracle child” because she survived so many mishaps in her life. At age two, she almost died in a house fire after Mama gave us a bath. I remember the day well. Because we didn’t have heat in our house, Mama used to light the kitchen stove to keep the house warm. That day she wrapped both me and my sister in a towel after our bath. Because the house was cold, she told us to stand near the oven to keep warm.
Ripples in the Water I left the room to use the bathroom. When I returned, Darlene stood in the corner near the refrigerator, and the kitchen floor was on fire. The flames were leaping toward my sister. I screamed for Mama, and Mama ran into the kitchen. She began screaming and trying to put out the fire because the flames had caught hold of the towel wrapped around Darlene. Five minutes later, the fire department and Freeman’s Ambulance service showed up. I don’t remember who called them. Maybe it was my brother, Walter, but I don’t remember my brother being there at the time. Mama managed to put out the fire and wrapped my sister in a blanket. Darlene was so tiny and pretty with long, sandy brown plaits. A red barrette hung on the plait in front of her eyes. Darlene wasn’t crying. She was just making grunting noises when the paramedics took her from the house in a green Army blanket. My sister and I were so close. We looked at each other, and Darlene said in her sweet voice, “Bye, Ma. Bye, Linda.” She was a strong little girl. She was taken to Freeman’s Hospital and diagnosed with thirddegree burns on her legs and stomach. The next day Mama and I went to see Darlene. On the way we stopped at the store so I could buy some Wise potato chips for my sister and me. When we arrived at the hospital, Darlene was lying in a bed that looked like a crib. She had lost weight, and her complexion was a raw, pale reddish color. The minute Darlene saw me walk into the room, she began to scream and cry, reaching out to me. I walked over to hug her, but she pushed me back. As I said, she was strong. Darlene didn’t want a hug; she wanted the potato chips—and not the unopened bag, but the bag I was eating. As I said, Darlene was humorous. I gave the potato chips to her, and she stopped screaming and sat in the crib to enjoy her chips. Mama and I looked at each other and laughed. 7
Ripples in the Water Mama said to me, “Your sister will be home soon; she is getting better.” Ten minutes later a nurse walked into the room and told Mama that someone was waiting in the hallway and wanted to pray over Darlene. Mama and I went into the hallway. There stood a tall man dressed in black and wearing a hat that looked like the one Abraham Lincoln had worn. His hair was thick, long, and black. He had a light olive complexion, and he spoke softly. The man explained to my mother that he wanted to pray the fire out of my sister’s spirit. I don’t remember the man’s name, but after he left, well, Darlene was calm. But still that guy couldn’t get those chips away from Darlene! Shortly after the man left the room, my mother went to thank him, but there was no sign of him. The next day, Darlene came home. Her tiny, little stomach and legs were bandaged, but she was still the same strong, rambunctious little girl. I was so happy to see her. Yes, the little “miracle child” was home again. Mama said, “God sent His angel to heal my daughter.” Later, when she was an adult, Darlene was told after bearing two children that she shouldn’t have anymore. If she became pregnant, the doctor said, the baby would not live, or she might die. But we all know that the devil is a liar! Darlene’s third child, Rodney, was born on July 29, 1988, the same date Mama was born. Rodney, now twenty years old, is a professional basketball player and honor student. He is also a “miracle child.” Darlene’s oldest son, Chicago, is a youth minister at Bethal International Baptist Church and a graduate of Jericho Christian College. Chicago, also a survivor of so many mishaps in his life, managed to devote his life to the Lord. He, too, is an overcomer and a “miracle child.” 8
Ripples in the Water Darlene’s daughter is also a “miracle child.” Twenty-five-yearold Crystal is an awesome writer and comedian. Both Darlene’s sons and daughter have the same spirit of strength and laughter their mom had. Darlene Moses served her purpose here on earth and went home to the Lord. The enemy began attacking my sister, Darlene, when she was a child. I knew his attacks were because she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She was tried in the fire, but she survived. Even during the struggle of raising her three children, Satan tried to take her life and her second-born son’s life. But she prevailed through it all. The devil tried to damage her heart, but little did he know that in Darlene’s heart a seed had been planted, a seed of Abraham according to the promises of Deuteronomy 28. The devil had been trying to devour her for a long time; he knew she was a “miracle child” and a partaker “of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12). Now I say to you, Satan, that I can prove that you didn’t take my sister’s soul because these are the words from my God: “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” (Josh. 23:14) “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” (Col. 1:12-13)
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Chapter 3 Winter 1998 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand. (Psalm 37:24)
My biological father, Walter, went home to the Lord when I was thirteen years old. I donâ€™t remember much about him except that he and Mama separated when I was two years old, but Mama managed to keep good thoughts about him in our minds. He was from Merrifield, Virginia, a hardworking entrepreneur. Landscaping was his field of interest, and he was very athletic. But like Willie, who was my stepfather he enjoyed drinking. My stepfather, who was a believer went home to the Lord three months after my mom. And then there is my oldest brother, Michael, but Michael went home to the Lord twenty years before my mom and everybody else did. Michael had kidney disease. I guess Michael must be the one I got my militant attitude from. He was a member of the Black Panther Party and a boxer, deeply rooted in black history. Michael never stayed home; consumed by the ways of the world, he had developed a drug problem. After enduring the pain and loss of my family members, all I could think about was how I would continue to suppress the fear 11
Ripples in the Water and hollowness I felt inside. I was afraid to be alone, but Mama said, “Never let ’em see you sweat!” I wasn’t used to being without my mother and sister, who were my best friends. I kept remembering what Mama used to say while lying next to me. Three of us lived in a one-bedroom apartment, so Mama and I shared the same bed. Mama said, “Linda, when I go home to the Lord, I want you to be strong ’cause if you don’t, I’m coming back to straighten you up, girl! And if I see you poking your lips out, I’m going to slap them right in your mouth, so you had better straighten up and fly right, girl!” (Believe me, I think about what Mama said, and sometimes I laugh out loud in the midst of shedding tears.) I would laugh some, and then I would start crying again. I was always looking for ways to uplift my spirit. I was a loner, so I never craved for company. I sort of got through the rough times by strengthening myself through books, primarily black history, the Bible, self-help, and the holy Qur’an. Yes, I had more than a double mind; I had a triple mind. I was not ready to face the world alone. The idea of not having the one thing that kept me going all of my life—and that was my mom—was devastating. But I managed to survive. I thank God that I managed to find the answers to all of my problems in just one book, the Bible. Yes, the enemy had rested upon my family and performed his job description quite well. I think about what Mama had said. “I’m not happy in this world, but I will be in the next.” I knew she meant in the presence of the Lord. “Thank God I’m in the world, but not of it, not in the world anymore, but in Jesus Christ, and I have overcome the world. Jesus said, (John 16:33) “In the world you will have trouble, but be courageous, I have overcome the world.” The Bible says in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” If the enemy had attacked my mama in the physical world, satan spiritually couldn’t have stopped her from entering the Lord’s house because she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior before 12
Ripples in the Water she left. I don’t really think satan received a very good performance rating after all. “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.” (Ps. 37:24)
While the devil has such a short time on this earth, he needs to remember this: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifested in our body” (2 Cor. 4:8-10). And one more thing, Satan. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).
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Chapter 4 Conversion (Christianity to Islam, 1977-2000) Now I am no longer defined by the world, but a “child of God.” The Bible says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). I was born and raised in Washington, D.C. My mother, a Catholic, never talked in detail about her religion, but she always talked about how good the Lord is. She also accepted the Lord Jesus as her Savior before she went home to the Lord. She always talked about how angels watch over us all the time. Her favorite words were “God sends His angels in disguise, so never slam the door in anybody’s face because it could be the Lord trying your heart out.” Mama always gave to those in need. She told me that when she had applied for welfare when we were kids, the social worker said to her, “You don’t appear to be the type to be on welfare. That’s a nice coat that you’re wearing.” Mama had another favorite saying—“Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you have to look
Ripples in the Water like it.” On the wall Mama always hung crucifixes and pictures of Jesus and the Last Supper. When I was a child, I remember the rain coming down really hard. The thunder was so loud that we had to go down to the basement and stay there until the storm was over. Mama told us to get on our knees and pray and to turn off the lights and television because God was doing His work. Perhaps some of your parents spoke of the same things. After the rain stopped, the sun shined. In our neighborhood was an old saying—“When the sun shines after the rain, that means the devil is beating his wife.” I don’t know and don’t ask. We children had all kinds of clichés, and old sayings. Thank God for deliverance. Mama was a courageous and strong believer in the Lord, and she rubbed off on us, at least until I got old enough to discover my own world. From ages twenty-one to forty-five, I made a complete U-turn. I forgot all Mama had taught me and became indoctrinated by the ways of the world. I was born again, but this time I was African. I didn’t think of myself as a child of God, but as a “black women” caught up in the realm of society as a victim and treated as a second-class citizen. In my heart, I believed in what Malcolm X had said—“We are not Americans, but victims of Americanism.” My associates, all Muslims, believed Jesus Christ was only a prophet and not the Son of God. I went to the mosque religiously every Sunday and learned the ways of the world. I learned that the “white man” was my enemy. Though Mama didn’t have one prejudiced bone in her body, I allowed the world to define me. My first encounter with the Muslim religion was through a close friend named Rickey. A faithful and devoted Muslim, he prayed five times a day, all in the name of Allah. He had influenced his entire family to become Muslims. He forbade his son to watch TV or to eat meat of any kind. As far as he was concerned, Jesus Christ was a prophet and not the Son of God.
Ripples in the Water But I had been taught just the opposite. When Rickey asked me if I believed in Jesus, I replied, “Of course I believe in Jesus.” Immediately, I began feeling apprehensive about Rickey and wondered if he was some kind of psychopath or something. I started to feel like he was trying to brainwash me, so from that point on, I didn’t feel comfortable with Rickey. Though I was a strong-willed young girl and didn’t understand what love and the world were really all about at the time, I managed to fall in love with Rickey—or at least what I thought was love. Yes, I allowed him to brainwash me into thinking that Christianity was a “white man’s religion.” In my mind I was finally settled. I had a permanent government job as a library clerk, my own place, a permanent unwedded relationship, and a permanent religion. This was in 1977. Mama, still alive then, thought the world of Rickey and used to call him “Mr. Casanova.” Rickey was intelligent and respectful but confused. We were both confused, but I didn’t realize that then. Rickey and I stayed together for eight years, read the holy Qur’an, studied the ingredients on the back of food packages, and didn’t eat anything containing pork. We were fanatics about eating the right foods. I didn’t wear shorts or short skirts, and I didn’t straighten my hair. It was natural or nothing. I remained a Muslim for twenty years and nine months, to be exact. Five years later, Rickey and I broke off the relationship. The ways of the world had consumed Rickey, and he was incarcerated for many years. The last I heard, Rickey had been released from prison and was trying hard to change his life for the better. But on his first job interview, he had a heart attack and died. I didn’t find out about his death until years later when I ran into Rickey’s twenty-eight-year-old son, who is now a firefighter and tall and handsome just like his dad. Sometimes I think about all the good times Rickey and I had in spite of the bad ones. My mother used to say that Rickey and I 16
Ripples in the Water were inseparable. We enjoyed life to the fullest. We went swimming, went horseback riding, and enjoyed picnics. We enjoyed music. We prayed together. We had so much fun together, at least what we envisioned as fun. Conformed to the things of this world, we didn’t really know who Jesus Christ is. We were like many today who believe in religion and follow various denominations. Religion is a culture, which is not like having a relationship with Christ. We were living in darkness and held in captivity in our own minds. We didn’t understand that our mere existence depends totally on knowing who we are and whose we are in Christ Jesus. I thank God that the Lord was able to see the future of Rickey’s life and divinely set up a son for Rickey, who will follow in the ways of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. I thank God for teaching me who I am and whose I am in Christ Jesus. I thank Him for establishing my identity in 1 Peter 2:9—that is, I am “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation.” I have been “called . . . out of darkness into His marvellous light.” Praise God! For those of you who believe Christianity is a white man’s religion, who think of yourselves as a particular color or culture or defined by your so-called nationality, who think the Bible was written by man and is interpretive—think again. You’re living with an Egypt mentally, a slave mentally. Moses already brought the people out of Egypt; therefore, your mind should be free. God has a more sure word of prophecy. The Bible says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:19-21). Now I am no longer defined by the world; I am a “child of God.” Christianity is not a “white man’s,” religion. Christianity is 17
Ripples in the Water a religion based on the teachings and miracles of Jesus Christ, “Christ,” meaning, “the anointed one.” Apostle Paul said (Galatians 3:28) “There is neither Jew, nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, but we are all one in Christ Jesus.” God does not judge us by race, but we are brothers and sisters when we all have accepted Jesus as Lord & Savior of our lives. The “white man,” is not the devil, the devil is an evil spirit, that was kicked out of heaven, whose name is now satan, whose name used to be Lucifer – who was removed from his position as chief covering angel. Lucifer got the name satan after he was thrown out of heaven, along with his angels who chose to follow him. Satan causes pain, sorrow and destruction in the earth, and he would like to destroy every person who belongs to God. It is your choice to choose today who you will serve. As for me and my house I choose to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says, (John 10:10) The thief (satan) came to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came so you may have life, and have it more abundantly. To live the life that Jesus came to give you involves a simple process: Repeat these words: (Romans 10:9-10) I (say your name) confess with my mouth, that Jesus is Lord, and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead, and now I am saved. Now you need to repent (turn away from your old ways) study the bible, get baptized with water, and start to live the life that Jesus commands us to live. Find a good word church in your area, and learn as much as you can about who you are in Christ Jesus. Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me (John 14:6). “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).
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Chapter 5 Saved (Islam to Christianity, September 2000) Two years after my mother went home to the Lord, on September 15, 2000, at 4:30 p.m., while experiencing financial hardship, a knock came at my door. I looked out the small windowpane of my apartment door and to my surprise saw my nephew, Chicago. I hadnâ€™t seen him since Mama went home to the Lord in September 1998. We hugged each other, and he told me he had been remaining steadfast in the Lord. He was attending the School of Ministry at Jericho Christian Training College and had his own place. He was blessed and doing fine. We talked, laughed, and joked around about old times, but I could sense the hurt and pain in him from the loss of his grandmother and mother. For a few seconds my life flashed before me, and I thought about the times when Chicago and I used to debate about who Jesus is. Being Muslim then, I believed Jesus Christ was a prophet, and Chicago believed Jesus was the Son of God. In spite of what was going on inside both of us, we were happy to reunite as family. Chicago asked me to go to church with him
Ripples in the Water the next day. I agreed to go. It was my first time attending Jericho City of Praise. I was so amazed at the size and beauty of the church. I hadn’t been to church in three years. Though Muslim, I had attended an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church back in 1996. There I was converted to Christianity and was saved, but didn’t understand how to walk with Christ. The most recent word I had received was at the mosque, preached by Minister Louis Farrakhan, titled “Jesus, the Second Adam.” I had a double mind then and had no idea what he was talking about. I thought Farrakhan was becoming confused. But after hearing the “Word” preached by Apostle Betty P. Peebles that Sunday and being converted and “saved,” I started to feel part of a family again. Yet it was a different family, a family in Christ, a family of true love, spiritual love, holiness, and unity. Some of the teachings about Jesus I had learned as a child, although then I didn’t understand them. But now the truths started coming back in my spirit. I told my nephew that I would come to church on a regular basis. I knew we needed to rebuild our relationship after so many mishaps in the past. What better way to build a relationship than to build it on the solid rock, our Lord Jesus Christ! We left church that Sunday and went to Chicago’s house. Chicago cooked his favorite meal, egg amulets with cheese and boloney, fried in butter. We laughed about the meal because it was the most economic one since we didn’t have a lot of money. Chicago used to make egg amulets for grandma. We listened to the Word and some praise and worship music. Then he took me home. When I got home, the first thing I did was thank God for delivering me and my nephew from darkness and bringing us together again as family. I thanked God for saving me and prayed that the Lord would bring me through the financial hardship I was facing. I was in the midst of moving that week and had two days to find a place to live. I had also lost my job, and my landlord was 21
Ripples in the Water impatient. He had already promised to rent the apartment to someone else. Two days after I was “saved,” I found another place to live. Glory! God is an on-time God! My nephew, Chicago, was a blessing in my life. Thank You, Jesus! As I type, I have tears in my eyes; I just need to express that. Every time I think about my nephew, Chicago, I remember a threeyear-old boy with fifty-two freckles on his little light-skinned face and curly red hair with highlights of gold. But most of all, I remember that there has always been a calling on Chicago’s life. I noticed his calling in 1996, but wasn’t sure just what God was calling him to do. He didn’t know either because we were not in fellowship with Christ then, but I knew there was a calling. The Lord has a way of revealing things in His time. It was in September 2000 on the day I was saved when God revealed to me the calling on Chicago’s life. I knew then that the Lord had a plan for both of us and would reveal it in His time. Chicago has been devoted to serving the Lord for five years now. He has experienced longsuffering in the world, losing his mother and grandmother and growing up fatherless. Now he knows that no father, mother, sister, brother, grandmother, or grandfather can take the place of his true Father in heaven and family in Christ, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Chicago is a Spirit-filled faithful Christian brother now. He is a senior at Jericho Christian Training College. Last year Chicago and I graduated from Jericho Christian Training College. While we are on this journey in the body of Christ, it has taught us that we have passed from death to life. We now know the importance of family prayer. We both understand that the greatest legacy we could ever leave our 22
Ripples in the Water children and their children is their seeing and knowing the importance and power of family prayer. I truly believe in that old saying, which says, “A family that prays together stays together.” Sorry Satan, but Jesus won my heart and joined me and my nephew together as one blood, “fitly joined together and compacted” in love in the body of Christ forever (Eph. 4:16)!
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Chapter Six The Day My Brother Got Saved That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)
My brother and I are the last two left in my immediate family, along with my nieces and nephews. Believe it or not, my brother reminds me of Jesus. He is so humble. He’s always been that way, even when he was a teenager. He was different than the average teenage boy growing up. He is my younger brother. My older brother went home to the Lord in the early ’70s (story in Chapter 3). My brother, Walter, is what you would call the “good son.” As kids, my siblings and I always looked forward to my brother bringing something home for us. He always brought home flowers for my mother and gave dolls to my sister and me. Good at making things with his hands, he made ashtrays from clay, painted them, and gave them to my mother. My mother didn’t smoke, but she set the glass ashtrays on the cocktail table for decorations. I guess my brother knew that and made them for Mama. My brother is a grown man now with four grown children and eight grandchildren.
Ripples in the Water My brother, Walter, came to visit me one Friday afternoon. I was talking to him about going to church with me the following Sunday. He replied, “I will think about it.” The following day I didn’t hear from my brother, so I assumed he was not going to church. At about eleven o’clock on Saturday night, my phone rang. It was an officer from the fourth district police department. The man asked if I was Walter E. Tardy’s sister. “Yes,” I replied. “Well, we have your brother here, locked up on charges of driving with dead tags,” the officer said, “and it costs $50 to bail him out.” I was not driving at the time, but I told the officer I would be there soon to bail my brother out. My roommate took me to the police station, and I arrived at about twelve thirty in the morning. Then I had to wait two hours before my brother was released. That was two hours of longsuffering and enduring the spirits present at the time. My brother was released at two o’clock in the morning. He came out smiling and humble as usual. Yeah, that’s my brother— always humble and of good character. We hugged and smiled and then had to walk a mile to his car. We were wondering how we were going to drive his truck without tags; the police had taken the tags off the truck. I told my brother that we needed to pray at this time, so we did. When we arrived at the truck, we got in, and my brother drove three blocks before pulling over to the side of the road. “I do not want to go back to jail tonight,” he said. I suggested we get a cab, but we were in the District, and I lived in Maryland. It would cost us more than we had, and the buses had stopped running. Of course, my roommate could not wait for us. As we sat there, my brother decided to get out of the truck and think a while. A man was walking across the street. Because my 25
Ripples in the Water brother is friendly, he engaged in conversation with the man. I came to find out that this guy gave my brother a pair of tags so he could drive home that night. Immediately, I began to thank God for answering our prayers. Then the old enemy tried to enter my mind. “Those tags are stolen,” he said, “and where did this guy get those tags from that fast?” I said, “The devil is a liar and the father of them.” God had answered our prayer, and I was going to give the glory to God and not to the enemy. God not only answered our prayer but also divinely set up my brother. He allowed my brother to get locked up so he would end up staying at my house and going to church with me the next day. God can upset the flow of things in order to save our souls. Hallelujah! Well, the next day my brother was saved. I looked over at him, standing next to me in church, and my heart was filled with joy. My brother is usually a low-key type of guy, but when I looked at him that day, he was jumping for joy and praising the Lord. I thought, God is an awesome God! He had strategically directed my brother’s path. God is an awesome God! Psalm 91 declares unto me that as long as I dwell “in the secret place of the most High,” I “shall abide under the shadow [the protection and provisions] of the Almighty” (v. 1). I remember my brother telling me a story about an experience in his life. He had lost his job and his home, and all he had left was the clothes on his back and a miniature Bible in his back pocket. He slept in a gas station restroom. Dejected, he asked the Lord, “Why do we suffer?” At that moment the Lord spoke and said, “Open your Bible to 1 Peter 2:21.” “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.” To God be all the glory! 26
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Chapter 7 Tried in the Fire (Winter Season) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
A new season started on January 1, 2002. I was baptized with water at Jericho City of Praise; I had experienced the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. On February 1, I completed the Solid Foundation class at Jericho City of Praise and received my certificate. On May 3, my birthday, I attended the Joyce Meyer Ministries Praise Fest at the Capital Center; and on that day I received my prayer language from the Lord. I was baptized with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I completed all of the required exams for Biblical Chronology I and II, but there was another task to complete, “My Assignment,” which began on January 28, 2002. It was another season. I was being tried in the fire on this assignment. I was given an assignment by the Lord to work in the field (world) and to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). This assignment was a difficult one, but my goal was to please God by 27
Ripples in the Water upholding my faith and bringing God the glory. Then I would graduate to the next level. So I began my assignment at a place called the Hospice of Washington. Torn by the voice of Satan and the voice of God, I worked diligently, trying hard to stay in the spirit while laboring with those who were held in captivity or were unsaved. The Lord had made me steward over all the patients’ files, keeping them alphabetized and making sure patients were certified. This part of my job was vitally important for the company to stay in business. The company was a predominantly white company that engaged themselves in an “Egypt mentality” or prejudice, if you will; but I was not going to allow the spirit of Satan to interfere with what my God had taught me. God does not look at the outer appearance; He looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). I continued to walk in the Spirit, regardless of the circumstances, and let God fight my battles. You see, I know how the enemy tries to lure the children of God back to the old man we used to be. He also tries to make our lips become the snare of our souls, causing us to be defeated. I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Daughter, I want you to keep in mind that you are performing for an audience of One, which is Me. Wear the armor of God and let My peace rule your heart; then you can stand against the evil day.” I stayed prayed up twentyfour/seven. Although the enemy is persistent in his behavior patterns, so is my God, who is all-knowing, all-sufficient, faithful, and incapable of lying. I carried on my duties in spite of the enemy’s patterns. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me the enemy wanted to hire one of “his kind.” The Holy Spirit spoke again and said, “I sent you here, not to make a career of this job, but because I wish to establish and ground you, to move you from milk to meat.” I began to acknowledge the presence of the Lord on my job every day and came to work happy, joyful, and peaceful. When I encountered someone, I would leave with him part of the light shining in me.
Ripples in the Water This scenario went on for five months. There were even days when I had no money or lunch, but the Lord set up the scene and used somebody to prepare a luncheon so the children of God present on the job could eat. Hallelujah! Sometimes my “earthly boss” gave me tasks beyond my level of expertise, but God spoke to my spirit and said, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee” (Jer. 1:5). In other words, God would not give me an assignment and not give me the power to carry it through. Especially when I acknowledged Him, He said, “If you acknowledge Me, I will acknowledge you.” Keeping this situation in mind, I did so well on the task my earthly boss had given to me that she complimented my work. “I just want you to know that you are doing a great job,” she said. Since the boss was “carnally minded” (Rom. 8:6), (she believe in God, but was ruled by the flesh and not by the Spirit of God), I couldn’t say, “To God be all the glory!” In the spirit realm I knew God was saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). The apostle Paul said, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:5-8, emphasis added). This incident occurred during the sixth months of my employment at the company. Around the third week of the month, which was the month of June, was pay-period ending week. All time slips had to be turned in. The person in charge of turning in the time slips had forgotten to turn in my time slip, and I knew my rent was due that week. A series of mistakes were made that week, and all were directed at me. I knew I was being attacked by the enemy and found myself running to the restroom every fifteen minutes to talk to God. Each time I spoke to the Lord, the attacks only grew worse. Being a “babe in Christ,” I began to get frustrated and felt like God wasn’t listening to me. I started to feel alone like I had lost 29
Ripples in the Water my “armor.” Each time I tried to put it on, it just wouldn’t fit. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I thought I was walking in the Spirit as God had asked me to do. It was as though God had left me in the middle of chaos and expected me to stand up for myself. It was as if the Lord had gone on strike. My boss’s assistant moved her office across from my desk. Every day she came to work and monitored everything I did. Bringing my anointing oil to work, I anointed the offices and hallways when no one was around. Finally, I began to realize I was going through a test. I started telling myself, Linda, you can pass this test, and the Lord said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). Shortly after leaving the restroom from praying to the Lord, I arrived at my desk. I noticed that my boss’s assistant had about twenty patient charts on her desk. She looked up at me, and our eyes met. She said, “I’m just checking the charts to make sure that everything is in its proper place because we’re having an auditor come in this week.” My spirit told me that “the devil is a liar.” I was being monitored for performance, or—as the Holy Spirit had revealed early on—the company was about to hire one of its kind. In other words, my season was up at that company. Not keeping this fact in mind, I allowed the enemy to frustrate me. I immediately started thinking and worrying about how I was going to pay my bills if I lost my job. At this point I had allowed the enemy to enter my spirit. I became so upset that I went into the boss’s office to have a meeting with her. I asked her what was going on. Why was her assistant checking the patients’ charts? Were we supposed to be working together? My boss began to explain. “Well, for the past week or so, we noticed that we couldn’t find some important records belonging to one of the patients.” While she was speaking, an awesome thing happened. The Holy Spirit began reminding me of His Word, and the frustration I 30
Ripples in the Water had been experiencing left me. The Holy Spirit said, “I am your Source (Boss). Nothing happens unless I allow it . . . You are performing for an audience of One . . . I wish to prosper you . . . ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you . . . thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end’ (Jer. 29:11) . . . The things you see are temporal, and the things you cannot see are eternal . . . It is faith that pleases Me.” By the time the supervisor had finished talking, I was at peace and humble. I was ready to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Later that evening I found the records they were looking for, but as I stated, “The devil is a liar.” That fact wasn’t good enough; other records were still missing, but the Holy Spirit had already told me how my season would end. Therefore, I continued to do my job the best I could and performed for an audience of One, waiting for the end of my season. The end finally came on Friday, June 20, 2002. I was offered two weeks’ pay and was asked to resign, though I never signed any resignation papers. I left peacefully and joyfully. “It’s just a new season,” I told my supervisor, “and may God bless you in your future endeavors.” It was a beautiful, sunny summer day. The Lord ended that season just in time. He gave me enough time to go shopping because on the next day was the banquet at Jericho Christian Training College. And on the day after that, I would be graduating. The Holy Spirit spoke to me again after the graduation was over. He said, “Daughter, you have graduated from death to life. You have been tried in the fire. You are in a new body and a new season.” You have been tried in the fire like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. “Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.. And the princes, governors, and 31
Ripples in the Water captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them” (Dan. 3:26-27, emphasis added). This is symbolic of our lives when we experience trials and tribulation. Jesus said, “He will never leave us nor forsake us.” The fourth person in that fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was Jesus, and that is the way it is when we go through hard times in our lives; Jesus is in the fire with us, and we come out like gold, not smelling like smoke, nor a hair of our head singed. Glory! I was still curious about some things. I asked the Lord, “Why did You leave me for a while at that job?” And this is what my God said: “In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee” (Isa. 54:8). “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed” (v. 10). And He said to me again, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11). .
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Chapter 8 The Lord’s Money Tested Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)
Four months after the graduation and banquet at Jericho Christian College, the Lord sent me to another “training field.” This time it was at a retail store called Sears & Roebuck. The Lord made me steward over the “merchandise.” I asked Him, “Why was I sent here?” The answer became more apparent after I started working at Sears. I was placed in the lingerie department. While browsing the department, I noticed a white dress hanging before my eyes. I removed it from the “T-rack.” The dress was similar to the one I had bought to wear to the banquet at Jericho City of Praise. I looked to my left and saw the lingerie and the shoes I had bought. I thought to myself, “Oh no, Lord. Did You send me here to work and make back the money I spent on the merchandise for the 33
Ripples in the Water banquet?” You see, the day before the banquet I had gone shopping at Sears. I had spent the Lord’s money and didn’t have any money left to give back to the Lord’s house. The Lord made it clear to me that if I cannot be a good steward over what He has assigned to me, then He will not move me to the next level in my Christian life. Therefore, I worked at Sears for one month. That was enough time to make back the Lord’s money and be a good steward over it. I received two paychecks in total. I was proud of myself and of the way I had handled the Lord’s money this time. I gave to the house of the Lord and paid my landlord. The Lord has His way of rewarding us for being good stewards of His money. I had accepted the job at Sears until the Lord decided to move me to the next level. My salary at Sears had been $6 per hour. Prior to accepting this job, my salary had been $30,000 per year. However, that season had ended six months prior to working at Sears (read the story in Chapter 7, “Tried in the Fire”). The Lord doesn’t always give us a financial increase. Something may be lacking in our “fruit of the Spirit” that the Lord needs to establish and ground in us. For instance, He may want to move us from “babe traits” to be a “mature Christian in Christ.” The Lord wanted to establish and ground me not only in “finance and loyalty” but also in “patience.” Sears required a training test all employees had to take before working on the floor. It was supposed to have been seventeen hours long, but it turned out that the test was actually three days long, which was equivalent to twenty-four hours or eight hours per day for three days. It was comprised of the entire Sears department and was about how to handle the merchandise, customers, sizing, color organization, promotional sales, and so on. While I was taking this test, the Lord spoke to me and said, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:4). I said, “Okay, Lord. I’m ready to perform for You.” 34
Ripples in the Water When I finished that test, I had learned how to be a better organizer. The test had developed patience, good conduct, temperance, faith, loyalty, longsuffering, love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, and meekness in me. I did so well at servicing one of the customers that he actually placed a five-dollar bill into one of the wallets on the store rack. He said he had found the money there and that I deserved to keep it for being patient with him. In my spirit I shouted, “Hallelujah! Thank You, Lord.” That day, I had only seventy-five cents in my pocket. I knew the Lord was telling me, “Well done, Daughter.” What amazed me so was being able to see the work God was doing in my life. I recognized my old self in those held in captivity, those who didn’t understand the things of God. Most of all, God enabled me to be strong through it all and “to bear the infirmities of the weak” (Rom. 15:1). I saw the darkness of those held in captivity. I saw that their ideas of freedom, promise, and prosperity had been hindered by the enemy. They had received their awards and rewards from their earthly bosses and had become complacent in their labor, which was unknowingly in vain. The Lord said, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:18). During the time I worked at Sears, I discovered that a member from my church home had been working there for thirty years. She had also been a member of Jericho for thirty years. Later, I discovered that we were both in the same class at Jericho. Each time we saw each other at work, a spirit of joy existed between us. The Lord spoke and said, “Now she is one of My soldiers, who remained steadfast and learned to stand in the evil day, and her labor is not in vain.” During my last week at Sears, what God was doing became clear to me. I remembered what Dr. Myles Munroe had said. “When you start getting tired of doing that which you have been assigned to do, then your season is up.” It was the third day of the fourth week at Sears. I woke up that morning feeling unusually tired. I decided to call in and take the 35
Ripples in the Water day off. First, I spoke to the Lord and asked Him if I could rest on that day. I asked Him to direct my path and let me know what to do concerning the job at Sears. The following day I returned to work. After lunch I was told to report to the boss’s office. The Lord spoke again and said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). My season ended, and I had rendered unto God that which is God’s. I had fought a good fight, kept the faith, and finished the work God assigned me to do. On the following Friday, I received a check from Sears and my unemployment check. Prior to receiving my unemployment check, I was told that I owed an overpayment of $630 and that I may not qualify for benefits. Well, I gave the matter to the Lord. A week later I received a letter stating that all I owed was $92, and on the same pay date as Sears, I received my unemployment check. I had enough money to give back to the house of the Lord again. I knew the Lord was rewarding me for performing for an audience of One. On the following Monday I received a call from an employment agency, asking me if I would be available to start working on a contract assignment lasting one year for federal service. The pay rate was $14.22 per hour. My spirit again said, “Hallelujah! Thank You, Lord.” “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. 15:22)
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Chapter 9 A New Season On November 16, 2002, author Jennifer R. Stovall and a friend held a book signing at John 3:16 Christian Bookstore. Her book is titled, Answering the Call, Discovering Your Purpose. It was a blessing to be there and to give my support. The minute I walked into the bookstore, Jennifer greeted me at the door, and we hugged. She told me that just five minutes before she’d had a conversation with a lady who had started her own magazine. The lady was looking for people to write Christian articles. I immediately knew the Holy Spirit was ordering my steps that day. I had been writing articles and trying to submit my articles to various Christian magazines. Jennifer pointed the lady out to me. I walked over to the cashier to purchase Jennifer’s book, and immediately the lady and I made eye contact. She smiled, and we spoke. She was holding a magazine in her hand. I ask her if that was her magazine. She replied, “Yes, I’m just starting out, and I’m looking for writers.” I replied, “I’m a freelance writer.” We both laughed and said, “Praise the Lord!”
Ripples in the Water I purchased her magazine and discovered through reading it that she was co-pastor Janice Warren at the Church of Greater Commission. Her magazine is called First Ladies. She gave me her business card, autographed her magazine, and wrote, “Linda, your steps are ordered. Step out on faith.” She asked me to send her my article. I said, “To God be all the glory!” We hugged each other. Pastor Warren replied, “Our steps are ordered.” I had met Jennifer a month before. We had both signed up to work at the polls to give our support to Minister Bobby Henry, one of the members at our church who was running for state senator. While having a general conversation with Jennifer, we started talking about how Minister Bobby Henry had said that we would be blessed after supporting him at the polls. Jennifer mentioned that she had been a member of Jericho City of Praise for two years, and so was I. She also knew my nephew, Chicago Long, who was in Jennifer’s class at Jericho; they are both senior students in the Revelations class. We went on talking about the trials and tribulations we both had gone through in our lives. Ironically, Jennifer said that she had just completed her first book and that she hadn’t begun to see the blessings in her life until she completed her book. I was also working on a book, but had not finished it. Jennifer replied, “I was blessed with a good job after completing my book.” The Lord set a word in Jennifer’s heart to tell me to finish my book. During this time I was between jobs, and Jennifer took me home and blessed me with $10 that day. At the book signing Jennifer charged $10 for her book. I was happy to be able to give back the blessing to Jennifer by purchasing her book. She also autographed her book for me. Jennifer took me home that night after the book signing, and I was happy that I had come out to support her.
Ripples in the Water When I returned home that night, the first thing I did was kick off my shoes and get comfortable. I wanted to read Jennifer’s book. Well, I finished reading her book at two o’clock in the morning. To my surprise, the Holy Spirit revealed to me the reason he had sent Jennifer into my life. The reason was revealed in her book. I remembered the Scripture my mother had repeated to me before she went home to the Lord. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccles. 3:1). This Scripture flashed through my mind over and over again because the things I read in Jennifer’s book were a carbon copy of my life and all the trials and tribulations I had gone through. I said to myself, “Lord, what are You saying to me?” He answered and said, “This is your season and time to pursue your purpose, and I have revealed to you through the brethren’s book your life. Jennifer had experienced the same trials and tribulations, and she had remained faithful through it all. Let the devil know that he is defeated.” Now, my brethren, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11). The personal testimonies in Jennifer’s book had blessed my spirit. The anointing of her book had sent me a message to “Step Out on Faith,” the same message co-pastor and author Janice Warren of First Ladies Magazine had written on her magazine on the day of the book signing. “Linda, your steps are ordered. Step out on faith.” I felt the Holy Spirit communicating with me the whole time I was reading. The Holy Spirit confirmed my purpose and gave me His final answer. He wanted me to complete my book and start submitting my articles to Christian magazines. I realized that my meeting Jennifer at the polls that day had been a divine setup. The Lord had put me in remembrance of His word. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). I just need to pause a moment to honor the Lord for His awesome wisdom and knowledge. There are no other words to describe how God operates in our lives, but to say that He is . . . 39
Ripples in the Water Elohim, the Creator of heaven and earth El-Shaddai, the God Almighty of blessings Adonai, my Lord and my Master Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider Jehovah-Rapha, my Healer Jehovah-M’Kadesh, the Lord my Sanctifier Jehovah-Nissi, my Victory, my Banner, and my Standard Jehovah-Shalom, my Peace Jehovah-Tsidkenu, my Righteousness Jehovah-Rohi, my Shepherd Jehovah-Shammah, who will never leave or forsake me Yeshua, God our Savior El-Elyon, the Most High God and Highest Sovereign of the heavens and earth Well, Jennifer and I were blessed after giving our support at the polls for Minister Bobby Henry. The Lord said that the “blessings will return unto you one hundredth fold.” To God be all the glory! I can now say to the enemy, “The things you tried to attack and destroy in me are still standing tall. In fact, let me use a better word, they are “Catapulting,” present tense, that’s right, and they have” Catapulted,” past tense. Catapulting: to thrust somebody unexpectedly and suddenly into a particular position or situation. Catapulted: it has already been launched or thrusted into that 40
Ripples in the Water particular position: God has already blessed us before the foundation of world, and the blessings shall continue eternally. Scriptural support: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of world” (Eph. 1:3-4, emphasis added). You see, 2 Timothy 1:7 tells me that my God didn’t give me “the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Nor did He give me anger, depression, oppression, and those feelings of uniqueness. Why yes, Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 2:9 that I am a “peculiar” person “called . . . out of darkness” and placed into my God’s “marvelous light.” I am different because there was a light (Christ) that was created in me from the beginning that I didn’t even know about. But now I know that God knew me before I was formed in the belly (Jer. 1:5). He told me that He had sanctified me and ordained me a prophet over the nations (Jer. 1:5-6). Jeremiah 1:10 tells me that I now have the power “to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” Not only that, but God told me that He would “hasten [His] word to perform it” (v. 12). Most of all, Apostle Paul said in Romans 8 that I am a child of God and a joint-heir with the Lord Jesus (v. 17). I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus who loves me (v. 37) and that “if God be for [me],who can be against [me]?” (v. 31). In addition, my God told me not to be “afraid of their faces” (Jer. 1:8) because He is “with [me] always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20). Like Jeremiah, God is telling us not to be afraid of spreading His gospel through our books and periodicals or whatever entity God gives us to spread His word. God will never leave us or forsake us. (Heb. 13:5). God told Jeremiah that He had put His words in Jeremiah’s mouth (Jer. 1:9). The enemy tried to separate me from my family, to literally destroy me, to cause confusion in my life. But when you know who your “true family” is, there is no end to what you can accomplish through Christ and all the brethren who do the will of God. “For whosoever shall do 41
Ripples in the Water the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother” (Mark 3:35). My mother, father, sister, friends, relatives, and brother have all gone home to the Lord, and the ones who are left under heaven are still a part of the “True Family of Christ” and doing the will of God. Let me take this opportunity to prove to you how the devil is defeated. At this very moment I am rejoicing because the devil didn’t want me to publish this book. He tried to give me writer’s block, but see—my God taught me how to wear the “armor of God,” to have my “loins girt about with truth,” (Eph. 6:14) and to have my “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (v. 15). I’ll say it again: the devil is defeated! My goal has been accomplished. To God be all the glory! “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. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith y shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Eph. 6:13-18)
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Chapter 10 God, Hear My Cry My soul, wait thou only upon God. (Psalm 62:5)
I was fed up with the ways of the world. To be honest, I hated the next assignment in my life with a passion because it was an old, familiar spirit. At this point in my life, I really began to question God and His plan for my life. I didn’t know whether I was hearing the voice of Satan or the voice of God. All I knew was that I had worked there before and was terminated from the same place in April 1993. On November 12, 2002, I arrived at the gates of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. As I walked up the path toward the hospital, I thought, I’m a soldier in the army of the Lord. But when I left this place, I didn’t know Christ, and I fought with my physical strength and lost the battle. Now, I know that it is not my battle, but the Lord’s. I began working that day in the medical records department, servicing military patrons. I remember the kind of atmosphere at Walter Reed years ago; there was always a thin line between love and hate in the relationship of the military with the civilian employees. This same relationship still exists. My mind was made up this time. I was not going to take the dictates of Satan in my life anymore. I had learned that Satan is a defeated foe and that I am a daughter of Christ, seated next to Christ. I wasn’t going to take it anymore. A holy boldness was in 43
Ripples in the Water me this time. A very thin line existed between the world and me— and God knew it. During my second week on the job, I was having lunch at my desk and reading the Word. I could feel the demon spirits looking over my shoulder, making remarks, laughing out loud, and deliberately trying to disturb me. Because I was a babe in Christ, I was still learning how to cast down all imaginations, to be dead to criticism, and not to be easily provoked. I know about all the tricks of the devil. I closed my Bible and went to the restroom to pray. I asked the Lord again, “Why did You send me back here? What is going on, Lord? If You are testing me, You are doing a great job at it.” I returned to my desk, feeling uncertain, and the phone rang. It was a personal call for one of the military staff. It seemed that this particular guy received a lot of personal calls, and the commanding officer had spoken to him about them. Well, I had answered three personal phone calls for him in the middle of servicing patients. I immediately got up from my desk and kindly gave the message to the staff member who had received the call. While walking away, I said to myself, “He shouldn’t be getting personal calls anyway.” But the man heard me and immediately got up out of his seat. Rushing toward me, he lashed out at me in a loud voice so the entire staff heard him. He drew a crowd. “You need to watch your mouth, or I will report you to the commanding officer!” he replied. I felt my flesh rising; my spirit was offended. I felt like Satan had attacked me, and I began to think, Oh, no. You have no power over me, Satan! So I rose up out of my seat and said to him, “Who do you think you are talking to? You have no power over me. You speak that way to your peers, but don’t speak to me that way!” In other words, I wanted to say, “The Lord thy God rebuke you in the name of Jesus” and “I command you, Satan, to be thou removed from my presence.” But I was around unsaved people. I knew in my spirit who my Commanding Officer was, and it wasn’t the military. 44
Ripples in the Water The commanding officer arrived on the scene and spoke to both of us individually. I had been hired by a temp agency and sent there to work. The assignment was supposed to have been for five years, but God knew just how long He wanted to assign me to that position. My assignment ended that week. I went home that same afternoon and prayed with tears in my eyes. I said to the Lord, “I am tired. I don’t want to work for this world any longer. I am tired, God! I worked for this world all of my life. I want to work for You, Lord, full-time. I am tired! But Lord, You must tell me what to do with my life; I want to work in my purpose. Please forgive me, Lord, if I failed the test and didn’t perform for an audience of One. Please, Lord, FORGIVE ME!” The days went by, and I called the temporary agency back. But the personnel wouldn’t assign me to another position, so I called other temp agencies. I couldn’t find work anywhere and was getting frustrated. I knew in my heart that I didn’t want to work for the world again, but I wasn’t sure if God had heard me. A desire and talent in me wouldn’t stop pursuing my dreams or my Godgiven talent. I was determined to work in my purpose. I had a desire in me that God knew my needs and was going to answer my prayers. That deep desire I had was faith. That faith said, “Lean on Him, trust in Him, acknowledge Him, and He will acknowledge you. ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Matt. 6:33). ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God’” (Psalm 62:5). God had given me the gift of writing. As a freelance writer, I was pursuing the writing venue, seeking out various publications to publish my articles. I had been looking for a reputable magazine to write articles for. I was invited to a book signing by Jennifer R. Stovall, author of Answering the Call, Discovering Your Purpose. While at the book signing, I met a pastor/editor/author who just happened to be looking for writers. To make a long story short, I bought a copy of her magazine, First Ladies Magazine, a magazine based on 45
Ripples in the Water women’s issues. Well, she asked me to send her one of my articles, so I did. She asked me to condense my eight-page article to three pages, so I did. Then she told me that my article would be published in the February issue of First Ladies Magazine. My article was called, “Married, Saved, and Unhappy?” At this point, I was truly excited. Of course, I had published other articles and poems in the past, but I hadn’t written them under the Holy Spirit’s will. I was divinely happy. Well, you know how our Father God is by now. He’s usually the One who orders our steps. So here I was, all excited about having an article published. All of a sudden the Holy Spirit spoke. He said, “Daughter.” I was just relaxing and reading an article by Joyce Meyer called “Get Comfortable Not Knowing” when the Holy Spirit spoke again. “Daughter, I want you to create a magazine and call it Visions. Instead of you putting your articles in other magazines, put them in My magazine.” I thought about the book by Jennifer R. Stovall, Answering the Call, Discovering Your Purpose. So I decided to answer the call, to listen to what God was telling me to do. I had to ask God, “Is this Thine will? If it is, confirm it for me. Don’t let this be my will. Amen.” I received an e-mail from Pastor Janice Warren of First Ladies Magazine. She said, “Linda, I received your e-mail about your new magazine.” (I had told Pastor Warren about my vision.) She said, “I think God is telling you to publish your articles in your own magazine as well.” That was confirmation! Ever since God gave me the vision for Visions magazine, it has been nonstop. I was beginning to realize that God had answered my prayer about working in my purpose, and I answered His call. All of the talent God had given to me was to be written in the magazine. 46
Ripples in the Water I finished the draft of Visions magazine, though it was not the final draft. I needed to do a rate sheet for the magazine, so I researched rates of other magazines. Then the Holy Spirit spoke again. “Daughter, you will not charge for any of these ads in this first issue.” I said, “But, how am I going to pay for printing, editors, graphic artists? I don’t have a job, Father God!” God said, “I know, you have a purpose.” The Lord said, “I will make provision for the vision. Do not worry about tomorrow or what you’re going to eat or wear. I am your total Source and Resource; for I am God. You wanted to work in your purpose; so be it.” It’s been just a two-person team—me and God. I thought my magazine was going to be twenty-four pages. I began putting the pages together in draft form. God did it all. He said that before He formed me in the belly, He already knew me and my purpose (Jer. 1:5). So I am just working in my purpose to promote the Word of God. Jennifer R. Stovall, who wrote the book Answering the Call, Discovering Your Purpose, was the managing editor of the first issue. The Holy Spirit spoke it, so it is written, and so it shall be done. I had to be obedient until Visions Christian Magazine, Inc., came to fruition. The first issue was not twenty-four pages, but fifty-two pages. It came out in April 2003 on the same date I was terminated from the military hospital ten years ago. I am a soldier in the army of the Lord. To God be all the glory!
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Chapter 11 Working in My Purpose My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. (Psalm 62:5)
On December 3, 2002, while relaxing, I read an article in “Life in the Word,” a magazine produced monthly by Joyce Meyer Ministries. The article was called “Get Comfortable Not Knowing.” Joyce Meyer said, “I challenge you to fast from reasoning for thirty days—make a commitment to yourself and God to stop trying to figure things out, and I believe that as you do this, you will enter a new level of God’s rest, begin to experience more of His peace and joy, and when you least expect it, He’ll give you the heart revelation you’ve been searching for all along.” I had decided to just relax and let the peace of God rule in my heart on that day. After reading the article, I started visualizing about having my own magazine called Visions. I knew right away that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. The Holy Spirit told me to read two books, Answering the Call, Discovering Your Purpose by Jennifer R. Stovall and Woman Thou Are Called by Minister Bessie Ashworth. Both were good friends and sisters at my church home, Jericho City of Praise. So I decided to “Answer the Call.” The Holy Spirit told me to use all of my talent that He had given me and to put it into the magazine called Visions. 48
Ripples in the Water The Holy Spirit said, “Go out to gather all the saints who possess gifts and talents. Have them to be an advertisement for Me by using their gifts and talents. They will spread the gospel of Jesus, win souls, and bring Me the glory!” Fifteen minutes earlier I had spoken to Jennifer Stovall about “waiting to hear from God.” The day before, Jennifer had called and asked if I was at the eight o’clock Sunday service because Assistant Pastor Joel Peebles had preached on “Working in Your Purpose.” Pastor Joel Peebles said, “If you have been searching for a job and cannot find one, you need to start working in your purpose, and your purpose will finance your future.” I realized that the Lord had used Jennifer to speak a word to me concerning my future, God’s purpose for my life. He had also been speaking to me through Joyce Meyer’s articles. I immediately sat down at my computer and started putting together a draft of the magazine called Visions. The Lord had put me in remembrance of His Word in Proverbs 16: 9. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” And my Lord also said, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Ps. 37:23). Joyce Meyer had referenced a Scripture in her article: Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Joyce Meyer said, “As long as you and I are trying to figure everything out on our own, we are proving that we are not trusting God. But when we choose to rely on God to let us know what we need to know, when we need to know it, we prove that we are trusting Him, and we put ourselves in position for Him to move miraculously.” On May 3, 2002, my birthday, I attended the Joyce Meyer Ministries Praise Fest at the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland. On that day I was baptized with the Holy Spirit and received my prayer language. This is the best gift and miracle I have ever 49
Ripples in the Water received, and Visions Christian magazine is proof of another of the Lordâ€™s miracles manifested in my life. To God be all the glory!
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Chapter 12 Jesus on the Move: A New Level in My Purpose In February 2003, the Lord moved Visions Christian magazine to a whole new level. Now the Lord has sent more than fifty Christian authors, editors, pastors, attorneys, columnists, church ministries, testimonies, cover stories, upcoming events, and various Christian businesses that have submitted their information for advertising. Now that God has given me this vision, I have made it plain upon the tables. â€œAnd the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarryâ€? (Hab. 2:2-3, emphasis added). God is bringing this vision to fruition by bringing the body of Christ together in love. I have been on assignment for God, and my mission is to spread the gospel of Jesus through my gifts and talents. God has allowed me to see beyond this vision, and it connects to the Great Tribulation. It reaches the coming of Christ, when He comes to claim His church without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27). It is through Godâ€™s Word that He is preparing us to put on 51
Ripples in the Water the pages of our books, testimonies, cover stories, and the gospel of Jesus so we believers may win lost souls and bring God the glory. Our visions and assignments in this earthly realm are all connected to God’s purpose for our lives. We were all wonderfully designed for the same purpose that God designed Jesus, to redeem mankind back to God. Using what God has placed in our hands, our gifts and talents, and our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, is a spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1-2) Regarding the vision of the throne, Revelation 11:11 says this: “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” The Rapture: Then we will be delivered up in a cloud with Jesus. “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them” (v. 12) “And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven” (v. 13) “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (4:11). To God be all the glory!
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Chapter 13 Deliverance Throughout this journey my life has unfolded like ripples in the water. Each ripple of water turns into a wave that overlaps the other, introducing a new level of life. I thank God that I now know who I am, whose I am, and what God’s will and purpose are for my life. When I was a kid, I used to think that life was bigger than it appeared to be and that there was a secret world hidden somewhere. I was curious about life in general, about what made people do the things they do. Life has always been a mystery to me. I used to think only a few people knew about the secret world, and they had been told not to tell . . . until the end of the world comes. It’s funny because there really is a secret world other than the one I lived in. That is God’s world, the secret place of the Most High God. I didn’t figure that out until I enrolled in Jericho Christian College. Romans 12:2 is my favorite Scripture: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” I thank God that I have been “called . . . out of darkness” and placed into God’s “marvellous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). So many of us 54
Ripples in the Water are still living in darkness as bond women and men, held in captivity of our own minds. We need to understand that “the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). We might ask ourselves, “How can we believe in what we cannot see?” Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is faith that pleases God, and “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). The Word of God says, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mark 4:11-12). Now that I know who I am in Christ, I am no longer of this world, but I am walking in the Spirit world now and cannot look at things in the natural, or the physical realm, but in the spiritual realm. Although I obey the laws of the land, I must obey the commands of God, who created all things. I know now that God is Master, Ruler, and Controller of every situation and circumstance in my life. This battle is not mine, but the Lord’s (1 Sam. 17:47). Now I must “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Ex. 14:13). I am free! To God be all the glory!
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Chapter 14 Freedom: Flesh and Spirit But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (Luke 18:16-17)
At half past eight on Tuesday morning, May 14, 2003, I sat in a cafe in downtown Washington, D.C. I thought, Three years ago today, I sat in the same cafe having breakfast. I can remember rushing through my breakfast for fear that I would be late for work. My stomach was full, and I was full of anxiety. I knew that if I was late, I would miss out on getting a work assignment for that day. I was registered with a temporary employment agency at the time. I was also unsure of my destiny during this period of my life. Wow! I’m sitting next to a window in the cafe. (“I just had an interruption.”) A man knocked on the window next to me. He appeared to be homeless. He was pointing at my food. My first thought was to ignore him. Then he left. Two minutes later he returned and knocked on the window again and pointed his finger at my food, suggesting that I give him something to eat. At that time I felt led 56
Ripples in the Water to give him my food, so I got up and went outside to give him my food. He spoke to me in an unknown language. I walked away and went back into the cafe. (“Sorry, for the interruption.”) As I was saying, I was unsure of my destiny at that time. Now I am able to sit patiently with no anxiety and no fear. I actually gave away a breakfast that cost me $5.68. I probably had only three spoonfuls. Although the man appeared to need physical food, I knew he was also lacking spiritual food, and his ears were dull of hearing. Three years ago I would have thought of the man as a threat and probably would have moved to another table, away from the window. Also, I would have been worried about where my next meal would come from, but God! He gives us this kind of “freedom.” It’s unlike the “freedom” in the world, but a peace of mind that surpasses all understanding. I was on a mission to find “freedom” in my life, but I had no idea what I was in store for. I had no idea of the kind of “freedom”—other than what I was taught in this world. God’s peace and freedom release our minds from so many years of bondage and captivity. God’s freedom comes by walking in the Spirit and not by the flesh. People in the world believe they are free simply because they are given an extra hour on their lunch break. “Oh, I think I’m my boss’s favorite!” Well, life is not about favoritism; it’s about obtaining “favor” with God, about following His commands and receiving His “rewards,” not “awards.” And His rewards are not temporary, but eternal. You see, we can’t walk on this journey alone. The world teaches us that having a good education, a good job, a big bank account, a marriage with children, a home, a car, a paid mortgage, paid tuition, and good health make us free and independent and strong enough to accomplish our goals. Then we are established enough to make this journey alone. I am here to tell you that a man without God is destitute! And the devil is a liar and the father of them. (Oops, I just had another interruption.) You see, I said that the devil is a liar! 57
Ripples in the Water Now, I just left the cafe in downtown D.C. I am now at the library in New Carrollton, Maryland. I haven’t been here in three years. In fact, the last time I was here, I took a smoke break, but I say again that the devil is a liar! The Lord has delivered me from that dreadful disease, and right now I am praising Him! Glory! You see, the devil tries to remind us of our past, but God also puts our minds in remembrance of His Word. “You have been delivered from darkness, redeemed from the curse of the law, and old things have passed away, and new things I will give you, saith the Lord.” “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11). (“Sorry for the interruption.”) Just flesh against spirit and spirit against flesh. As I was saying, I can prove it to you in God’s Word that the devil is a liar! The Lord said, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). Most Christians today, including leaders in the church, take this Scripture lightly. God’s Word is not to be taken lightly. He is a God of truth, a sovereign God. He is the Creator of all things, including the creature. God said, “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?” (Luke 12:25). He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern (Luke 12:31). God cannot lie! He is not the one who lied to you. The prince of the world, Satan, lied to you. When God said, “Be not conformed” (Rom. 12:2), He meant what He said. We need to start thinking like Kingdom children. We are no longer “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” not knowing the “covenants of promise” (Eph. 2:12). God has given us great gifts, and those are the Holy Spirit and eternal life. We are saved by His grace. Now that does not come from this world. It is time for us Christians to wake up! Father God does not want us to be comfortable with the things of this world. Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). We are now 58
Ripples in the Water citizens in the Kingdom of God, and the King will take care of His citizens, unlike the president in your country. Look around! Are all of the citizens in your country taken care of? Yet you rather believe that the government will take care of you more than God will? Again, Jesus says to us, â€œSuffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter thereinâ€? (Luke 18:16-17). So it is time for us to start walking in the Spirit and understanding how to discern the things of God and the things of this world. We should not walk in the flesh. We are now free spiritual beings and citizens in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, (Romans 8:1) Praise God!
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Chapter 15 Closed Doors: Living in the Supernatural He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 9l:1)
Today I called those things that be not as though they are. I saw myself in a joyful state of mind, knowing that I am the daughter of a great God! When I woke up, I asked the Lord to order my steps and direct my path, to give me a spirit of joy and peace, and to bless me and let it be a prosperous day. By the end of the day, I had been blessed with a love offering of $100. Five people had knocked at my door and offered to sow seed into my ministry, Visionary Ministries. The Lord had answered my prayer. He said that I have what I say, and I believe what He says. He said that all things are mine because I belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to the Father. I believe Him, I trust Him, I lean on Him, I acknowledge Him and He acknowledges me. I was living on a low income at the time, but I saw myself in the spiritual realm as having more than what I could see in the natural realm. And in the spiritual realm, the Lord had blessed me 60
Ripples in the Water with more than enough. He made it clear to me that He cannot lie. He said that He would pour me out a blessing that I would not have room enough to receive. Now I am living in the supernatural and in expectancy. The Lord closed all the doors to the world and opened His doors of blessings and promises in the spiritual world. You see, itâ€™s just not enough to have the knowledge of the Word of God. We need to have a relationship and experience with the power of God, trusting and knowing that God can do whatâ€™s humanly impossible in our lives if we believe and establish a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Sisters and brothers in Christ, I urge you to try fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. Your life will never be the same again. To God be all the glory!
Ripples in the Water
Chapter 16 The Voice of God: Obedience And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:8)
I am sitting here at McDonald’s. It is about half past nine on Tuesday morning, May 27, 2003. I was thinking about my circumstance and trying to make sense of it all. I’m renting a room in someone else’s home, and that person owns a day care center in her house. The owner told me that I needed to have a physical exam, fingerprinting, and a background check done in order to live on the premises while the day care is in operation. So I did all that was required. After mailing in the fingerprint information and background check cards, they were mailed back to me two weeks later. A notice stated that the office couldn’t process the paperwork because I hadn’t included a fee of $18 and $24. Before I could send in the payment, the owner told me that I couldn’t be in the house while the day care was in operation—or at least until my background check had cleared. Well, I never had the opportunity to 62
Ripples in the Water send in the fees for the background check because I was given a thirty--day notice to move with no explanation. Sending in my paperwork wasn’t necessary anymore. This news came two days after paying $400 for the rental payment, so you know how I must have felt. I prayed about the situation, and the Holy Spirit said, “Be obedient.” Each morning I had to leave the house by seven thirty because a mother brought her child by eight o’clock. The owner didn’t want me to conflict with the child’s mother. I was not clear on this information, nor was I clear on who made the rules—the owner or the child care administration. I was informed that the child care administration had no control over what was happening in the home—and certainly not the FBI, who explained to me that they had nothing to do with what was going on in the residence where I lived. Then the child care administration informed me that the owner had deceived the administration by telling them she had known me for five years. I had just met the owner the week I moved in. The owner had told the administration that I would be living on her premises for only two days, but I had filled out a month-to-month lease agreement. I didn’t understand why I was given a thirty-day notice. I kept hearing a voice telling me to go to the child care administration and talk to the regional manager, so I did. That’s when I discovered that the owner had deceived the administration and me. The Holy Spirit revealed to me how the enemy was trying to deceive me. The owner was not allowed to have renters in her home while the day care was present. She was supposed to have a license from the county to rent rooms while the day care was present. She had known all of these facts before I moved into her home, but she just wanted to pay her mortgage. I prayed on the matter again. The Holy Spirit said, “Be obedient.” Because I was not working and was drawing on unemployment checks, in the beginning it was a little inconvenient to get up that early when I didn’t have to and to pay all of my money out when I had to move. But if I didn’t get up and leave, the 63
Ripples in the Water owner would threaten to call the police. I didn’t understand her actions at all. I girded my loins and stayed prayed up because I knew I didn’t have another place to live at the time. However, I was used to getting up early and working on the vision God had placed in my heart—to develop a Christian magazine. In spite of my circumstance I continued to work in my purpose. I had completed the first issue of my magazine for April/May 2003 and started working on the second issue for June/July 2003. Once again I pondered my circumstances. I thought, Well, now the enemy cannot stop me from carrying out the vision God set in my heart because he is a defeated foe. So maybe this is a test from God to bring me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes the Holy Spirit sets us up, and His working may seem inconvenient in the beginning. But the Lord declares that the end of a thing is better than the beginning (Isa. 46:9-10). He also says in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” That’s exactly what happened; it was all a divine setup. Each day when I left the house, I asked the Lord to order my steps and direct my path, so He did. The Holy Spirit had changed my character to a whole new level of obedience. Glory! Each morning, instead of working on the magazine, the Holy Spirit told me to go to the library and start working on my book. Yes, that’s right, my book Ripples in the Water. Piece by piece, it was unfolding and coming together like ripples in the waters. Well, I actually started working on my book last year, in 2002, but the Lord set another vision in my heart and had me concentrate on Visions Christian magazine. Now that the magazine has come to fruition, God is telling me to finish my book. Well, I’m done eating here at McDonald’s. (I think I’ll head on over to Kaiser Hospital and make some phone calls until it’s time to go to the library.) The bus stop is right across from Kaiser. I usually stop here and have a cup of decaf coffee and a cheese 64
Ripples in the Water danish. Well, I just finished talking to Sister Tassie; she and I attend the same church home. I thought I would call Tassie and give her a praise report. The weekend was great, and again my steps were ordered by the Lord. I remember reading an article by Joyce Meyer. She said, “You will never develop into what God wants you to be if you don’t learn to follow that ‘Inner Voice of Obedience’ within you.” Pondering my circumstance again, I began to feel my flesh trying to rise up against my spirit and my spirit against the flesh. As Apostle Paul said, my members were warring against each other (Rom. 7:23). Sometimes we have a tendency to take our minds off what the Holy Spirit is saying to us and dwell in the physical realm rather than in the spiritual. Well, on May 29, 2003, I didn’t wake up and acknowledge the Lord. The first thing I thought was this: Why do I have to leave the house this early beyond my control after paying my rent? Why am I being inconvenienced in this way? I woke up with a complaining spirit and felt overcome by my flesh. But I discovered something great on that day! When we don’t wake up and acknowledge God and ask the Lord to order our steps and direct our path, our day isn’t going to turn out right at all. All day long I encountered bad spirits because my spirit was not in line with God. I was not feeling the anointing. I felt like the Holy Spirit had left me. Walking toward the library, I asked a lady for the time. She said, “There’s a clock on the wall in the library.” I said, “Oh, you’re right.” She replied in four-letter swear words, and the conversation grew worse. I went to the restroom in the library and prayed. I asked the Lord to forgive me for not acknowledging Him when I woke up that morning. I was completely overcome by my flesh and 65
Ripples in the Water had allowed circumstances to dictate who I was. I had forgotten that circumstances don’t dictate who I am in Christ. I am learning that the Spirit of God on the inside of us is a Spirit of discipline and self-control. I had to learn to suffer the flesh and be willing to suffer after the call of God. Everything we do is not going to feel good all the time. I read the book The Making of a Leader by Joyce Meyer. She wrote, “The testing process requires building character, developing stability. Self control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If we want to be leaders, we must control ourselves; trustworthiness is a byproduct of stability. It is imperative for us to develop stability, because God wants us to do more with our lives than we could ever imagine. We must learn to make the flesh suffer in order to become what God wants in us. The Bible says, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:13-14) I faithfully woke up every morning and headed to the library to work on my book. The Holy Spirit had set me up! I was on a mission for God. I found myself sitting at the bus stop and writing in my prayer journal the next chapter to my book. When I arrived at the library I pulled out my journal and began typing the next chapter. I realized something awesome: the Holy Spirit had organized each chapter. I was trying to figure out how I was going to put all of the chapters together once I reached the library, but God had already figured it out. Then I thought, This book was foreordained by God. That’s why I was divinely set up. Jesus! Circumstances were set up right down to the situation in the owner’s home, but of course she couldn’t have understood that fact with a natural mind. Now I am working for God every morning when I leave the house. I am discovering that I am not my own, but I belong to 66
Ripples in the Water Christ. My life is guided “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4)! I finally woke up and realized that life is not about the hard times or circumstances we face in our daily lives. It is about obedience, about obeying God and hearing His voice. God was actually developing my character. He wanted to establish in me a character that is just like Him. Now I understand why I never felt like getting up in the morning and going to work for someone else. I was not built nor designed to be a follower, but a leader. I was created for a greater purpose. Jesus said, (John 14:12) “Greater works shall you do.” Working outside of your purpose brings discontentment, frustration and sadness. You were created with a purpose in God’s mind. I was being controlled by a source outside of what had been spiritually placed inside of me. I realized that I was performing for the wrong source, one that was out of the order or position where God had placed me or foreordained for me. It is imperative to know who you are in Christ Jesus, and be obedient to the voice of God, no matter what the circumstance. “If anyone hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) Now God wants me to know that I have been adopted into the body of Christ. What that means is that when I rise in the morning, I will rise for God, whether I feel like doing so or not. It is God whom I first acknowledge in the morning. He is my Boss. God orders my steps and directs my path. I shall be obedient to all who cross my path because, as Pastor Betty Peebles from Jericho City of Praise said in her book, Performing for an Audience of One. “I am Performing for an Audience of One.” It is God who will give me my performance rating, my promotion, and my reward. I am to do right not just for a reward or blessing, but for the “Pursuit of God’s Presence.” It is our obedience that honors the Lord. Now I know that God gave Jesus to us, not only for easy times, but also for the most difficult times. Now I have learned how to stop complaining about the things that go wrong in my life. I am not of this world anymore, and I am not conformed to the things in 67
Ripples in the Water it. God has given me His Spirit. If I have God’s Spirit dwelling in me, then I can overcome any obstacle that comes my way. Amen? The Holy Spirit wants us to seek Him with a pure heart. So when I go to work in the morning, I know that I am obeying God and that He has a plan for my life regardless of my present circumstances. God wants us to see and walk in the things of the Spirit, to walk by faith and not by sight. Apostle Paul says, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters . . . as unto Christ” (Eph. 6:5). In other words, if you have a earthly boss who is difficult to deal with every day, God says to be humble and obedient as if you were serving the Lord because “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Gal. 5:22-23)
To God be all the glory!
Ripples in the Water
Chapter 17 Walking in the Supernatural: Preparation To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
If you are a believer and believe in walking in the supernatural, then you should understand how God can close the doors of this world and open His godly doors. I couldn’t understand why it was taking me so long to find a job and why I was being turned down everywhere I went. I thought, Maybe I need to change my resume. Maybe it needs a new style. Or maybe I need to change my look or my approach during a job interview. I had tried everything. My last job was in November 2002. It was now September 2003. I thought of every single worldly thing I could think of until it finally hit me! God had called me. There was a calling on my life. I decided to answer the call.” You know, the Holy Spirit is truly amazing. I’m sitting here in the library right now, and the Holy Spirit just called to my attention a book on the shelf written by Joyce Meyer. I can’t see 69
Ripples in the Water the title from here, but excuse me a moment. I will go over to get the book. Give me a moment or two. Okay, the name of the book is Knowing God Intimately. The chapter I read is called “Understanding the Supernatural.” It was truly amazing. Joyce Meyer talked about how walking in the supernatural can keep us away from things that are not of God. This is my season for preparation. Preparation is the same thing as preparing a meal, yet we humans are being prepared for a spiritual journey back home. That preparation requires a lot of ingredients. When we bake a cake, we need flour, yeast, oil, sugar, milk, eggs, measuring tools, cake pans, and the list goes on. But with humans we need something different, like a new kind of blood in the body, then a little longsuffering. Then in the end we can count it all joy and appreciate the little things like love, peace, joy, and kindness. Then we are being prepared to become humble and meek; then we have temperance. All of the ingredients are needed for us to become rooted and grounded, and the ingredients prepare us to meet the King. We are now Spirit-filled little Jesus’ without spot or wrinkle. Preparation is a process of enduring “hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3). This time of preparation is crucial to moving to the next level. God is constantly watching and testing us on a daily basis. He knows that His children must grow in their knowledge of Him in order to receive their glorified bodies in the end. God does not dwell with anything unclean. We are being prepared to live holy lives and eventually to have Christ-like minds. When I learned there was a calling on my life, I didn’t want anything unnatural in my body or around me. The Holy Spirit will reject that thing or convict us if anything doesn’t belong in the temple. Yes, that’s right; we are the temples of the Holy Ghost. “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). So I learned not to grow “weary in well doing” (2 Thess. 3:13). 70
Ripples in the Water This process of preparation isn’t easy, but the strength of the Lord is a daily source of nutrition. We must always study the Word of God to show ourselves approved by God (2 Tim. 2:15). It is the Word of God that nourishes our souls and keeps us alive. The Bible says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Preparation involves more than just an increase in the next paycheck or being prepared to buy the next home or car. Preparation is essential to knowing who we are—and whose we are—in Christ Jesus. In addition, if a believer is single and asks God to send her a mate, God prepares her for a husband who is “known in the gates” (Prov. 31:23). But we must keep in mind that God is our “first love” (Rev. 2:4), and He is a jealous God (Ex. 20:5). During this preparation period, we also need to learn how to ask God for things and to know the difference between God’s will and plan for our lives and our own will. The Bible says that when we pray, we should pray in Jesus’ name and ask that God’s will be done first (John 14:13-14; 1 John 5:14). I read the book Woman Thou Are Called by Minister Bessie Ashworth. After reading this book, I discovered how to focus on my calling and start pursuing the things of God. I also discovered that it is imperative that we know God intimately, have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and enjoy fellowship with the Holy Spirit. This is the only way to know and hear God’s voice speaking to us and instructing us. After all, it is the Holy Spirit who orders our steps and directs our paths. During this time of preparation, it is essential that we know who the Giver of our gifts is. We must also learn to let God be God and worship Him in spirit and in truth because God is a spirit (John 4:24) and sees us as the same. God prepares us until we are ripe and firm “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Ps. 1:3). God gives us gifts, and then He prepares us to use them to bring Him glory and continue to edify the body of Christ. 71
Ripples in the Water
Chapter 18 Bride of God I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
I cannot imagine my life without Christ. I can’t even imagine waking up and not saying, “Good morning, Lord. Order my steps and direct my path.” You know, it’s a good thing that the Lord doesn’t hold our past against us, but He forgives and forgets our past. He said in His Word, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). That verse is simply awesome! We don’t need to blame ourselves or feel ashamed anymore. God has forgiven us for our sins. I used to think about the fifteen-year unwedded relationship I was involved in and daily asked the Lord to forgive me. But now I’m learning that we don’t need to keep asking the Lord to forgive us. After we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, repent (turn away) from our sins, and go through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, God instantly forgives us. We don’t need to ask for forgiveness again. God said in His Word, “I say unto you, that 72
Ripples in the Water likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). We have been adopted into the family of God, and we are no longer children of disobedience. God told the woman caught in adultery, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). Even if we backslide, God is standing there and waiting for us with open arms like a proud Father who loves His children. He waits upon our return. He created us; we are made for God and by God. God knows we turned our backs on Him and followed the ways of other gods (world), yet He still forgives us. I thought the man in my life was my god, but God show me who was in control. I used to wait up late at night for what I thought was my knight and shining armor and my god. I thought that was love. God showed me how the devil lied to me and that what I thought was love was just a counterfeit love. Now I know that God is love (1 John 4:8). I am His workmanship, created to praise and worship Him, and no man comes before God, who is the God of all creation, the truth and the life. He is my Elohim, the Creator of heaven and earth; El-Shaddai, the God Almighty of blessings; Adonai, my Lord and my Master; Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider; Jehovah-Rapha, my Healer; JehovahM’Kadesh, the Lord my Sanctifier; Jehovah-Nissi, my Victory, my Banner, and my Standard; Jehovah-Shalom, my Peace; JehovahTsidkenu, my Righteousness; Jehovah¬-Rohi, my Shepherd; Jehovah-Shammah, who will never leave or forsake me; Yeshua, God our Savior; El-Elyon, the Most High God; and Highest Sovereign of the heavens and earth. Now I am like the “holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). Shalom!
Ripples in the Water
Chapter 19 Divine Setup In summary, all of the chapters in this book describe the “divine setup” God foreordained for my life. If readers recall, back in Chapter 6, “Tried in the Fire,” is when the process of birth began, when I was “pregnant with a vision.” Looking back at all the circumstances that occurred in the past year, I can see now what God was doing in my life. I can also see what He is still doing and is going to do. My spiritual man was already developed before the world began. Therefore, this life is just a journey back home. I was given this dirt body to cover my spiritual man. The experiences of longsuffering, travail, and being tried in the fire are all part of the process. You see, my spiritual man dwells in heaven, and my dirt body (flesh) has to die before my spirit can rise again and meet up with my spiritual man in heaven. The process first requires that we accept the sacrificial Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ in our hearts. We must confess with our mouths that Jesus died for us (Rom. 10:9). Then we are saved, and our bodies are quickened and manifested with Christ. But before revelation knowledge can enter our spiritual man, we must be rooted, grounded, strengthened, perfected with potential, and then settled in the Word of God. After the flesh suffers a little while, 74
Ripples in the Water then the Spirit begins to develop other characteristics like wisdom, faith, potential, ability, fearlessness, and confidence. Then the Spirit begins to develop in us a branch with fruit on its tree, planted by the riverside. Then the Spirit develops “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23). The Word of God says that if we belong to Christ, then the flesh is crucified (Rom. 6:6), like Christ was crucified, with its affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24). The goal of this journey is to endure longsuffering until the flesh is under subjection so we are able to live and walk in the Spirit. Our bodies will be glorified, but there is no glory in the flesh. After we are prepared for glory, God gives us our job description, which is Matthew 28:19-20. (Remember this: We do not have jobs. We have a purpose, and that purpose is fulfilled through the foreordained assignment that God has purposed and plan for your life before the world began.) “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
In Conclusion I give all thanks, praises, and honor to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Rev. 22:21). Let’s go, saints, to win souls with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God!
Ripples in the Water
Ripples in the Water
About the Author Linda C. Tardy was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She attends Strayer University, where she is pursuing a B.A. degree in Business Management/Marketing. She is a student at the Jericho Christian Training College and has decided to devote her life to the Lord. She is president of Visions Christian Magazine, Inc., and Vision House Publishers. She is a published writer, poet, and the author of three books, Ripples in the Water, For Such a Time as This: Humility Before Honor, and Life Is a Divine Setup, a collection of real-life testimonies. Look for her next book, New Beginnings, and a Children’s book called, “Love One Another.”