As the church approaches the new millennium, we continue to hear one messenger after another-most of them true men and women of God-refer to this century-turning season as "the time of the Lord's blessings." Many believers have received this prophetic word, embarking on a pursuit for their own blessings from God. I have personally experienced wonderful, overwhelming seasons of blessing from the Lord. Still, I believe a word of caution is in order. Blessings are good, but over the years I have seen SO many Christians start on this same journey-only to end up with empty hands and scarred faith. In prayer one morning my heart became burdened for believers who "sow seeds" and "stand in faith," eagerly watching their "field" for a sign of blessing-only to receive a spirit of what they were believing God for. What do I mean by a spirit? I mean something less than what they were expecting; just enough of a return to keep them hoping for the best, but not enough to satisfy their heart's desire. That morning I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart. There is a principal to receiving anything and everything that we have, He seemed to say. The enemy has deceived many of us into believing that if we just give, we will automatically get back double and triple whatever we sow. "But there is a missing link that sits between the seed and the harvest," the Spirit gently explained, "and that missing link is what determinesTHE QUALIFICATION PROCESS The Holy Spirit took me to a passage in His Word that many of us are familiar with-the story of Jacob wrestling overnight with a mysterious man who had the power to bless him (Gen. 32:22-32). But to fully understand the story we have to go back in Jacob's life. the quality and the quantity of your return."
The day Prophetess Joy walked down the aisle, she knew she was about to make the biggest mistake of her life, but the gown and the draw of crowd and the gleaming limousine beckoned her on towards matrimony. One year and two months later, Joy's blissful dreams ended in a failed marriage. In her newest book, Fighting Temptation: The Truth About Sex (Pneuma Life, 2001), Joy recounts her tale of how she was delivered from her self-destructive past to become the powerful messenger of God's truth through obedience to God's will and principles. "There were some very strong things already wrong with me before I connected myself to that individual," says Joy about her life before marriage. In her book, she recounts how she began experimenting sexually while a young teen. Although she was a virgin when she married, she still carried deep wounds from her past relationships. Fairytale idealism clouded Joy's perspective towards marriage. "I went into the relationship after an exciting wedding and not the ministry of a marriage," she says. Like many women, she went into marriage with what she terms a "gold digger mentality" -- the expectation that the significant other would give her things she lacked, whether that be money or glamour or status. Joy knew she had married a man outside of God's will and soon she would pay the price for her disobedience to God's plan for her life. Her marriage was dismantling her public ministry as a preacher in the church. She went into a deep depression and sought out her pastor for wisdom and support. While at her pastor's house, Joy says she was overcome with a desire to take her own life. So she swallowed every pill in their medicine cabinet and left. Fortunately, the pastor's wife realized what Joy had done and they both saved her from being run over by a semi as she walked back home Soon after, she prayed for forgiveness. God told her to fulfill all of her marriage vows so that she could experience spiritual freedom. So she tried everything to honor her husband and serve the Lord. One day she got the crushing news that her husband was leaving her. Joy could not believe she was being abandoned. Racked with emotional pain from her recent separation, she was unable to work and was reduced to living on welfare. Her ministry unraveled. Joy went from one bad relationship to another with men who did not respect her or serve the Lord. In 1999, three years after her marriage to her first husband, Joy went through an emotional crisis. One evening, she blacked out. A deacon found her walking down the middle of the street in nothing but a T-shirt and jeans and no shoes in the middle of winter. She was taken to the hospital. Alone in a padded cell, Joy remembers banging her head repeatedly against the wall. "I couldn't talk," says Joy. "Just the inside of me was crying out." Eventually her mother paid someone to get Joy out of the hospital. For some 20 days, joy lay in her mother's bed crying out. Then one night, God visited her. "I audibly heard the voice of the Lord calling my name," she says. joy saw the ceiling of her mother's bedroom open up and in a vision, she saw a hand clasping a spool of thread. The hand was tying one end of the thread to one mountain peak, and the other end of the thread to a different mountain peak. Then she saw herself naked on that thread looking down at the flames below her. The hand said, "Come to me." So Joy walked towards it. As she walked she cried out in fear that she was falling. But the voice of the Lord spoke to her. He said, "As long as you keep your eyes on me, you shall never fall. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Instantly the power of God came upon her and she began speaking in tongues for several hours. God then proceeded to show Joy her new destiny. "And it was during that time that he gave me an open vision of me ministering in front of thousands of people," Joy recalls. "He said, 'This is your final destination. You're under the mandate of my hand, but with my mind. The minute you decide that you don't want to do what I've called you to do, I will give you back the mind you lost, but right now you are operating with my mind.' And from that point on, my ministry just took off."Although God healed her mind, joy's trials were not over. The worst was yet to come. In 2000, Bynum began struggling with anorexia. As she struggled to hold food down, Joy went from a size 16 to a size 5. She dropped drastically from 160 to 114 pounds. She knew she needed another miracle from God. Otherwise within six months she would be dead. After a lifetime of struggle, joy knows she has found the answer to her past pain. "Every single day of my life I struggle to crucify my flesh," she writes. So what is the solution? "The bottom line to walking out any form of deliverance, whether it's sexual, whether it's emotional, is obedience to God. He knows the way that we take and when He has tried us in our obedience, when He has tested us to see if we are going to do exactly what He has called us to do, then we're going to come out as pure gold." joy is currently an Apostle and prophetess with her own ministry. She has also been a speaker at Juanita. Bynum Womens Weapons of Power Conference. Her newest video, The Spirit Of The Lord IS Upon Me, was the top-selling video of 2004 with millions of copies sold.
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