Before going on to tell about my experiences after I left my college teaching job, I feel it necessary to speak about some significant things that happened while I was still employed. God did not take a break from molding and shaping this son of His during the two years He graciously allowed me to work as a college instructor. After a brief time of ease, the lessons and trials began again in earnest.
I mentioned that I had a period of nine months when I was teaching thirty hours a week. This was truly a time of rest for me, and I know of no great trials I experienced during this period. When my work hours were decreased, God began once more with the tests and purifying work in my life, and some of these trials were quite severe, at least in my thinking.
We kept our townhouse for a year, which was the duration of our lease, and I felt within me that God would move us to another home in the area when our lease was up. A few weeks before our lease was to expire I was at work one night and I had a strong witness in the spirit about this. I determined that I would take my wife out to dinner the next night and tell her what I was sensing, however, my wife did not need me to tell her anything, for she had already been hearing from God.
When I arrived home that night my wife told me she had a visit that day with an old friend. This lady’s husband had recently retired from an executive position with a local manufacturing company and he was now buying up some properties to rent out to others. This friend told my wife that her husband had been praying about a new piece of property he had just purchased, and he felt that the Lord wanted him to contact us about renting from him. They did not know our situation, and were not even sure whether we owned our home, or were renting.
It seemed evident to me that God was once again directing our steps by bringing such an opportunity before us right when our lease was about to expire. The fact that I was also sensing a witness within that God was going to move us just added to my confidence. The home this couple offered to rent to us was larger than our previous one, in a nicer neighborhood, and it also cost slightly less than we had been paying, so it was a very attractive offer to us. The home was located on the corner of two streets that had very intriguing names. It was on the corner of Branch View Circle and Branch View Drive.
God has spoken to me very specifically through street names and addresses before, so I was alert to what He might be speaking to us here. I found that the names of these streets were referring to a small body of water, just down the hill from the home, that bore the name of Saul’s Branch. Saul’s Branch was not very spectacular. It was merely a small channel of brackish and stagnant water that had formed off to the side of a creek that ran nearby. There was no outflow to this body of water, and it was a haven for frogs and a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
While we lived at this home the Spirit began to teach me more about the two branches of His church that existed side by side. One was pictured by the reign of King Saul, and the other by the reign of King David. One body was Saul’s Branch, and one was David’s Branch. I was comforted somewhat in knowing that we did not live on a street named Saul’s Branch, for such a street did exist in this neighborhood. Instead, we merely lived on a road that had a view of Saul’s Branch, and God would speak to me various things about this branch of the church that knew little of faith, and which was pictured perfectly in a stagnant backwater that was going nowhere while providing a breeding ground for things that were both noisy and obnoxious.
There is present at this time a Saul Branch of Christianity, and they have control of the reins of the church. They guard the doors, and choose what message will be proclaimed to the masses. Their message is not one of a vital and active faith, for Saul failed in this regard, being unwilling to wait for God in the midst of a crisis. This branch of the church does everything through the power and strength of man. It is marked by programs of man, and it is a kingdom of man. It looks very impressive on the outside, even as Saul was impressive by being head and shoulders taller than everyone else around him.
There is also a Davidic Branch of the church. At times this branch of faithful believers is allowed to dwell in the households that Saul controls, but more often than not those of this Davidic branch are driven away by the jealousy of Saul. Many in this group find themselves living as outcasts, having their place and their ministry (pictured in Michal, the wife of David) given to another whom Saul chooses. These are without honor, and are often hounded by the Saul Branch of Christianity who wishes that they did not exist, for the Spirit expressly testifies that a day is soon coming when the reign of Saul over the people of God will come to an end, and other, more faithful servants, will stand in his place.
This is a most precious truth that those who find themselves outside the camp suffering the reproaches of Christ should take to heart. The kingdom will shortly be torn from the hands of the Saul Branch and given to the Davidic Branch who are being trained through hardship while suffering many reproaches.
We had only been in this home on Branch View for a couple months when I came to a financial test. There was a three week break before the summer quarter began at the college, and as an adjunct instructor I only received pay for actual hours taught in the classroom. Added to my recent reduction in hours to twenty per week, I now also had a three week period with no income and very little support was coming in from other sources. I pleaded with God to send forth His provision, but none was forthcoming. My bills began to get behind.
Not being able to pay rent on time was a particularly grievous trial. It was not like being late on paying a phone bill, or utility bill to some impersonal organization. We were renting from friends whom my wife had known from her youth, and I did not want them to think ill of me. I had already found that it was pointless to try to reason with people about the walk of faith God had called us to, for even Christians could not understand God dealing with modern day people in such a way. They might admit that God required men and women in years past to follow Him in faith, such as Abraham, or David, or Elijah, but I had been unable to convince anyone that He would require something similar of me. In my distress I asked God to let me take another job to supplement my income, but the Holy Spirit was constraining me greatly in this regard, and I knew it was not His will that I should do so.
When my rent was about a week late I knew I needed to contact our landlord and let him know that I was committed to paying him when I had the funds to do so. When I spoke to him he asked me if I had gotten the letter he had sent, and I told him I had not. He was somewhat surprised at this, but it turned out he had put the wrong address on the envelope and it took two weeks for the letter to arrive at our house. He told me to expect the letter, and he suggested I get another job. I thanked him for his patience and hung up.
I really wrestled with what God was doing in my life at this time. I told God that I was faithful in my expenditures. I had not incurred any more debt, and I was living in a frugal manner. I told Him I was quite willing to work a second job if He would release me. All I received in return was silence, and a knowledge that I had to patiently endure this trial.
For the past couple years I had followed God wherever He led me, often at great cost to myself in pain and sorrow. I knew in my heart that I had never fought so hard to remain faithful to His will, and it chafed at me greatly that others did not recognize this fact. Instead of people recognizing my obedience, God allowed me to bear reproach after reproach, and to routinely be numbered among the transgressors. This did not seem right to me, and I poured out my complaint to God on numerous occasions.
About a week later the letter arrived from our landlord, and it was very terse, and a bit threatening. In it he stated that I needed to take steps to pay the rent as soon as possible to avoid any future unpleasant actions. When I read this my heart sank, and I felt very dejected. I went and sat down on the edge of my bed and looked out the window. I told God that I had been walking as faithfully as I knew how, and yet He was not allowing me to pay my bills on time and now our friends saw me as a slacker. I told God I was greatly discouraged and I needed some encouragement from Him.
I was praying these things silently, and I did not hear my wife approaching, but, as soon as I said these words, she was standing beside me placing a piece of paper in my hands. She left it with me without any explanation. I looked at the piece of paper, and the first thing I read was the words, “Joseph was discouraged….” I looked at what she had placed in my hands and it was a prophetic word someone had sent to my wife. She was led at just that moment to print it off and give it to me. Following is the text of the message:
Prophetic Word by Teresa Seputis
Child of mine, do not lose heart. Know that I am with you in all things, and I will cause My glory to burst forth in each of your situations. I know the testing of your faith is not always easy, and I know it is difficult to be in the refiner’s fire. But My desire for you is that you come forth as pure gold. Do not become discouraged and do not lose heart.
Joseph became discouraged in prison as I prepared a humility in him that would allow me to thrust him into a place of prominence in national politics. He looked to his surroundings and not to My overall plans, and his heart was heavy and his walk was more difficult than it had to be. He placed his hope in a man, in the chief butler of Pharaoh’s courts. He expected that the chief butler would rescue him from prison because of the anointing and accuracy with which he interpreted his dream. But the chief butler was wrapped up in his own affairs and ambitions and quickly forgot his promise to Joseph.
If you put your hopes in man, you will be disappointed, even as Joseph was disappointed. Rather, keep your eyes and your vision and your expectation upon Me. For I am faithful to fulfill the promises that I have made unto you. And no matter what the circumstances look like, I am able to work My glory in them, and to make you come forth into the calling and anointing I have given you. Do not fret because of circumstances. Do not fret because man lets you down, or because man does not recognize your calling and anointing. Rather, place your hope in Me, place your trust in Me and watch how I will turn your situation around and work My glory in the midst of it.
I am able, and I will work on your behalf in My perfect timing. Trust in Me and know that My plans for you are good.
I read these words with tears filling my eyes. I knew God was speaking directly to me. At the very moment I had told Him I was discouraged He had sent me a word of encouragement. The reproach I was encountering became bearable as I understood that God had brought me to this place, and He was using these things to prepare me to one day enter into the promised promotion that was ahead of me. As this word testified, He would cause me to come into the calling and anointing He had chosen for me, but first he had to prepare me to be able to bear these things.
I considered God’s preparation of that other Joseph so many years ago. He walked faithfully even when he was in the midst of a great trial of his soul. Having been separated from the father he loved, and sold as a slave into a foreign land, he remained faithful to God and served with integrity in Potipher’s house. Despite his faithfulness he was accused as an attempted rapist, and of being a sexually impure man. He had to bear this reproach for many years, yet God used it to form a humility in him that would allow him to receive the authority he would one day walk in.
As I considered it, I thought that it was more agreeable to me to be thought of as a slacker, and an irresponsible fellow, than to be accused of sexual sins I had not committed. Though I too was numbered among the transgressors, I saw the mercy of God in the reproach He had chosen for me to bear. It was on August 27th, 2002 that my wife printed out this word and handed it to me, and I have carried it in my Bible since. I have read it many more times, for there was to be much more reproach I would have to bear. I needed to remind myself frequently that God was ordering my steps and there was a great purpose behind the sorrowful events in my life.
I have often asked God why He could not have chosen to let me suffer reproach for some religious activity such as preaching against the sins of this present evil world. Why did He choose for me to suffer for not being able to pay my bills on time, for there is nothing noble in such a thing. Yet that is precisely why He has chosen this reproach, for it will lead to humility, even as Joseph’s reproach did. In suffering for some overtly righteous activity we can become prideful, even while enduring reproach, but it is much more humbling to suffer shame as an evildoer. Christ was perfect in humility and He was accused of violating the Law of God and being a blasphemer. He learned obedience by the things He suffered, and God has chosen that His elect should do the same.
God could have chosen for His Son to only heal six days a week, and not to heal on the Sabbath. The Father knew His Son would be accused of being a Sabbath breaker, a sin punishable by death, if He led Him to heal on a Sabbath day. It was the Father’s will for His Anointed One to suffer reproach that He might be perfected through suffering. If we would also be perfect, we too must suffer. We will know reproaches, but they will only serve to conform us more to the image of Christ if we receive them willingly, and do not despise them.
This is extracted from the book Evidence of Things Unseen: