Two of the many interesting ways that God teaches me lessons about life, myself, obedience, and more, is through interactive visions; ie, visions where He presents me with an object or scenario which I can manipulate or tinker with to learn something He wants to teach me, as well as long, details conversations where He presents me with something that I can play with, tinker, manipulate, and work with, trying all kinds of things, and seeing each one's potential outcome until I learn the lesson it was meant to teach. One of these, which was very informative, was what I would call the "Slider board vision." For any of you who have ever worked in music, media, etc, you know what a mixer board is, right? If you don't, google it.
Anyhow, one night, while contemplating one of the many "what ifs" that I love to play with in my mind, God presented me with a very interesting vision. I don't get these very often, and they're never prophetic, but they are always educational. In the case of this one, it happened around a time when I was wondering what it might look like if my family had been "so saveds" from before I was born. For those of you who don't get the reference, it's from a joke about a woman who prayed for her husband to get saved, and when he did, he became extremely on fire for the Lord, and the woman complained that, "I wanted him saved, but not so saved." Hence the phrase. I liked that phrase so much that I've used it ever since to describe those who are on fire, that they're not just saved, they're "so saved". :)
Anyhow, looking at this mixer board I noticed that each slider (fyi, this was a TALL mixer board, a good 3ft or more, so it was big, as were the sliders) was attached to a name fo someone dear to me in my family. This included my mom and dad, my sister, three of my aunts, a couple uncles, cousins, and some others. Anyhow, when I first looked at the board, I noticed that the slides were already set at specific heights. They weren't all at the bottom. When this started, they were all at various heights on the scale. On the left side of the board, and on each slider track, were lines denoting years. I'm not exactly sure what year this started at, but there was a common starting point on this mixer board, almost like it began at a specific year, and then went forward from there.
Now, where this becomes interactive and interesting is what happened when I started playing with each level. With everyone's sliders down as low as they could go, every slider had a brilliant gold strand or thread embedded into the slider groove. Above it was empty space. The gold strands were absolutely gorgeous, and I was made to understand that they were on the purest gold possible. I was then made to understand that each slider, in its position on the board, represented each person's life, and how long they would live. Wherever you'd pull a slider down (I could literally tinker with the sliders in real time in the vision), it would reach a point and stop, and you couldn't pull it any further down. Like I said, that bottom point varied between sliders. If you moved it up, indicating that the person to whom it belong lived longer, something curious happened.
That gold thread below the slider would begin to dim, and turn from gold, to silver, to a dark, dingy gray. Lower the handle, and the reverse would happen. What I was made to understand was, each person had a set amount of gold, silver, and precious jewels assigned to them. (see the Beaumont seat of Christ judgment in the bible for an explanation of these) If their life was shorter, then they only really had enough time to earn everything that was to be given or allotted to them. If their life was longer, then they'd still get that same amount, but they had more time to fill in that extra space with wood, hay and stubble. So basically, the shorter your time that you lived, the greater your reward shined. The longer you lived, the less it shined, and the more time that was wasted.
In the scenario that I pictured, my family would all go to heaven with a maximum reward, and very little wasted time. Note, this is just the example God was showing me would be the case if I had it to do over again, and is not a reflection on the present or future, or even how people live. So being old does not mean your reward is less, or soiled or dimmed. Remember, this was meant to teach me a lesson, which it did. Basically, what was being shown me was, were God did this for me, while I might raise their place in the eyes of Heaven, and make for a better life for them, one of greater service, I would need to realize that all of them would be dead by the time I was 18, and I'd be on my own. So, while the shorter, golden threads they displayed would be to their benefit, I would need to suffer near total loss (physically speaking, not spiritually) early in my life as a result.
However, if I selfishly held onto them and desired for them to stay longer, I would damage them in the process, by reducing the luster of their reward by allowing added time for them to accumulate wood, hay and stubble. So I was better off to let them go hard, go fast, and then go home early, than to stretch things out while on this Earth. So, I ultimately decided to let them have their maximum reward, even if it cost me my entire family by the time I was 18. Now, the next part he showed me was my thread. It was a golden thread and started partway up the board from the bottom (just like my sister's), save only that mine continued on from the death of my last family member upwards for several decades. Mine stopped well before the top of the board, but that was fine. The thread remained golden all the way up to the lowest point that I could adjust the slider, much as was the case with the rest of my family.
Now, here's where things got interesting. Partway up from when I was 18 was a point where I saw the word "marriage". I'd say it was around 20-21 years old per the scale. So a few years past the death of my last immediate family member. Anyhow, at this point on the slider, off to the side, were four black pearls. Or maybe they were charcoal. I'm not sure. All I know is they were jet black. Anyhow, I was made to understand that these represented four women who were picked to possibly be my wife. Take note again of the fact that all four were jet black. Anyhow, no matter which of the four women I picked, when I added them to my golden thread, at the exact point where I added them, they became their own sliders, with tracks. However, everything below that point when they were added was jet black. Once they were added they became....silver.
Not gold, silver. And kind of a dingy silver too. What's interesting too about this is, my golden thread became silver too. Not dingy, dirty silver like theirs, but rather a silver that was kind matte finish. Not shiny, just kinda matte. Remove that one woman/pearl, and my line would return to a brilliant gold, and hers would return to a jet black. Put in another, same thing. Rinse repeat as much as I'd like, and no matter what, whenever I added one of them, my color was always dimmed, even though doing so would bring up hers. In short, God was showing me that, no matter who I picked (this is not a dig on women, or even the four women that this represented, whoever they were, but merely an example God was showing me at the time of the outcome should I choose to do so), they would drag me down, even though I would lift them up somewhat.
God was already telling me at the time I was not to get married, so this basically reinforced that idea. IE, I could obey Him, and my thread would remain golden, or I could disobey, and lose some of my reward as a result as that woman, no matter who I picked would pull me away from the Lord enough to dim my work, and, reduce the value of my reward. It was one of the ways God used to teach me several lessons, one of those being that I was to remain single, no matter how much I wanted it. Anyhow, that's just one of the ways that God teaches me. The other is through discussions, and my ever favorite "what if" scenario mind puzzles. I'm a huge lover of "what if" scenarios and questions. Why? Because they make you think. Sort like, "What of this and this happened instead of what actually happened? If that did happen, how would things play out, and how would the future be different?
Those are amazingly fun problems to solve because it forces you to look at every side of a situation, look for pitfalls, how would people react, what might interfere, how would this play out, etc. It's an amazing way to learn problem solving, or practice and improve it because it forces you to think out every possible outcome, how it might succeed, how it might fail, etc. Anyhow, that's how this second, and recent scenario played out. It began with me kinda hypothesizing and dreaming about how God might bless me some day. As I did this, God presented me with an interesting scenario. It went something like this, "If I gave you $150k, and told you to immediately give it away, in its entirety, would you obey?" (please, don't ask me for money. I don't have any, and almost certainly will never be given this much at once. This was merely presented to me as a means to teach me a lesson. So no, I'm not rich, and not likely to ever be rich. ^_^;; hehe. Anyhow...)
He then reminded me of two things He'd promised me. The first would be that He wanted me to fund the building of His church. IE, I was to fund some future project that would build His church. I wouldn't be the one doing the building. That was for others. My job was to supply them with what they needed to do that. In the dream where this promise was presented, I was led to a pile of lumber (ie, God provided the resources for me to do this, meaning that this would not be done of my own strength, but rather of God's divine provision at some point, which was also part of the foundation of the question presented in the previous paragraph), which I was then to pick up and bring to the guys building the church. The church building itself, when I saw it, was sorta like this pencil drawing, where the lines that made up the drawing were made of boards. And it wasn't a detailed drawing. It was more like a stick people drawing in 3d, made of wood instead of pencil lines.
Anyhow, that's how I saw that church. In the dream I remember picking up boards and walking them over to him. I didn't move all of them. I merely began by picking up a couple boards, and heading in their direction with them. That was part 3 of a 3 part dream filled with 3 individual promises. The first two have been fulfilled. That last one has not. Anyhow, the second promise that came into this discussion is another promise God brought to me, but has yet to fulfill. Namely, the complete removal, elimination, and payoff/forgiveness of ALL my debts. That one is in progress, but not yet completed. However, there is movement on that, and I can prove that to you. At one point I owed a total of about $85k. I am now down to $65k, and have one of the four major debts paid off. The first big victory was paying off my car.
The second item I'm working on is my credit card. Lord willing, that'll be sorted by December. After that I have two student loans I need to crush. I don't know if God will miraculously pay those off at some point, or if I'll need to grind until they're all paid off, which will likely take another 5-7 years. Anyhow, all that aside, you can see that I've got quite the fight ahead to get that sorted. However, God promised me that He would pay off ALL my debts. And I don't know if that'll be miraculously, all in one moment, or over time. If it's the fore, it'd be a lesson in trusting God for the miraculous, as it'll take a miracle for them all to be paid off quickly. If it's over the long haul, it'll be a lesson in responsibility, making me hoe the hard row in order to teach me to never, ever, ever again be in debt, ever, for any reason, save at the command of the Lord for His purposes.
Anyhow, going back to the discussion, the idea was simple. Take the $150k He'd give me, and give the ENTIRE, to the VERY LAST DIME, amount away. ALL. OF. IT. PERIOD. He then dangled the $65k in front of me that I owed. I was given that $150k, I could use part of that to pay off the debt, then give the rest away. However, I was then notified that, if I did, I would be punished, because I would have disobeyed Him and kept back a portion of it for myself. As punishment, something would happen that would result in that ENTIRE $65k of debt being returned to me, and it would stay with me for the rest of my life, never able to be removed until I paid back to the Lord every dime that I had taken for myself of the $150k He gave me. Now, you might ask yourself, "But wait, didn't He promise to you that He'd pay off your debt?"
Yes, He did. But here's the catch. Once that first $65k is gone, His promise is fulfilled. So the next $65k that I would acquire, would not be covered by that promise, as the original amount is only what's covered, and once that's gone, the promise is fulfilled. Whatever I would gain as punishment afterwards is outside that promise. Plus, here's the really sucky crux. I didn't realize this at the beginning of the discussion, but there was an even bigger blessing coming in behind the first one if I only obeyed in totality on the first test. If I didn't, then it would cost me easily, anywhere from 2-5x's the amount I kept back for myself. He didn't say He would kill me like He did with Ananias and Sapphira. Instead, I would lose further blessings, and would be made to pay 2-5x's what I'd taken. For those who are scholars of the bible, God mentioned in the Old Testament, in the Mosaic law that, if you're caught stealing, you must pay back 7x's what you took.
And I'm not saying that God applied that law to me, as He never said how much it would ultimately cost me in the end because of my disobedience. However, from what I was made to understand, it would be a pretty significant amount. Now, that being said, when I went back and replayed the scenario, I started out the scene all over again at the point where God said, "Here's $150k, I want you to give ALL of it to such and such an organization." (again, I was not given the name of "Who" gave me the money, or "Who" I was to give it to, only that it'd basically miraculously come out of nowhere, and I would be instructed at that time who I was to give it to. So, since there were no specific names of who the money would come from, or who it would go to, I am of the firm belief that this was merely done as a means to train me, and not foreshadow something that is to come. So again, please don't ask me for money as I don't have any, nor do I expect any in the near future. Seriously, I'm not joking.)
Now, here's the fun part of all this. After playing through this several times, and realizing the punishment for disobedience, I went back to the start, took the entire $150k, added in about $100 of my own, and gave it to the person I was told to give it to. No questions, no stopping on go, no collecting $200, nothing. It was from giver to bank account to check to destination. The extra $100 was me making sure that I even gave away the interest, whatever little it might be, that might be made on that $150k, plus a small gift of my own to make sure that every last dime of that $150k went to wherever God wanted it to, without missing even a single time. I was so shocked and blown away by what my disobedience would do to me that I made sure there was absolutely ZERO chance that I might still screw up and miss something and be punished for that, even if it was just 25c, because that meant the loss of future rewards. So that extra $100 was worth it to me, even if it exceeded the value of the $150k, plus interest, by quite a bit.
Anyhow, once I completed this, and God was satisfied, He added this little caveat. Immediately after I would obey His command with 100% obedience (probably 102% obedience given the extra money I added onto the end) an interesting blessing was presented to me. In the lesson God was teaching me through this discussion to not only be 100% obedient to His will, but to also trust Him in all things. And, again, this is merely a teaching moment, and does not, nor did, nor likely ever will involve real money in the quantities stated. So seriously, whoever you are, stop thinking about the money that you think God is/ will be giving to me!! He's not doing this!! The values discussed in this article were merely used as part of a teaching moment! So get your mind off the money already! It's not happening! Sheesh. The Holy Spirit has His eye on you about this, and it ain't good! Seriously, you need to stop!!
So anyhow, what was that blessing that He gave me at the end of this lesson? Well, At the moment that I showed myself to be properly obedient, out of nowhere, after my learning the importance of being obedient, and the consequences of not being, in the discussion I was presented with $450k that I was allowed to keep and use however I wanted to. I remember Him saying that He had no specific destination for it. At least, not at that moment. The only destination at present was my bank account, and with it, He fulfilled His promise to pay off my debts, which I did. The rest was then on standby for whatever He wanted me to do on the figure. To be frank, I really wish God would give me that $150k, then the $450k that came behind it, because I'd make sure that first $150k went out the door in its entirety, as instructed, and not a dime would be kept back.
But, that being said, while I don't expect that to actually happen (I'm not saying it can't. I just don't see it happening, but won't complain if it ever does, lol), I came away with an incredible lesson in obedience. And He allowed me to spend the 1hr+ that we talked thinking it out, mulling it over in my mind, grinding it through the gears, and so on until I properly understood it, both in the blessings that could be had, and the consequences of disobedience. And honestly, God could've used anything to help with this lesson at the time. It could've been a piece of bread, a prized possession, etc. He only used money, I think, because of what was on my mind at the time. Namely, my worries and concerns about the seemingly insurmountable debt that lay before me. So, with that in mind, using money was the best way to teach me a lesson, and it was taught through simple prayer and discussion with God.
Anyhow, that's just two ways in which God allows me to learn, by taking advantage of how I think and learn, and uses them to teach me the lessons I need to learn. Now, that may not be your best way to learn, but for me, God has taught me some amazing lessons through these two simple lessons. And, God may not use that same way for you. In your case, it might be something else that He uses that works best for you. That could be a loved one, through bible study, a family pet, a friend, coworker, and even your enemies. God works with each one of us individually, and this just happens to be two of the ways taht He works with me. I'd be interested in hearing some of the ways that God works with you. So please, share your thoughts. I'm very interested. :)