What Belongs to Us as Believers!
Copyright © 2016 Heather M. Bates
First and foremost, I credit ALL the honor and glory for this book to my Heavenly Father, who has both inspired and helped me to write this book in a timely manner. Even in the midst of constantly managing a home, filled with six dynamic children, He was always with me to help see this project through. Otherwise, had I needed to find the “spare time” to write this book under the sofa cushions, more than likely I would have found socks instead!
A close second to my Heavenly Father when it comes to credit due is Jonathan, the man I am honored to call my husband! The burden of all financial responsibilities of our lives weighs on him -- a decision he selflessly made when we got married. He always wanted me to be free from any financial stress and to have the ability to be the wife and mother God was calling me to be. I am forever grateful for that decision. As I have told him countless times, I would never want to trade places with him. I honor him as the head of our home and know his heart for our family.
Jonathan has supported me through the process of writing this book and has always been the BIG DREAMER of our family - encouraging me to press on with the assignments God has put on my life. I love you, Jonathan, and I am truly excited for the life of adventure that I know you are providing for our family!
For those precious people out there in the mass of humanity who know they were created for a specific purpose and are actively searching for what that purpose is.
Also, for those wondering exactly what does belong to them when they become believers. Those who are tired of simply floating along in life, chalking up each sunrise as “just another day.”
My prayer is that every person will grab ahold of the principles in this book and be able to create the life God designed for them to have.
There is so much life to live and so little time to live it!
A Special Thank You To The Editor
I would like to offer a special thank you to my brother-in-law, Harry Bates, Jr., for editing this book. His attention to detail and strong grasp of the English language made him the perfect person for this job. He has dedicated countless hours to making sure this book simply and effectively communicates the intended message.
Harry is not only Jonathan’s brother, but also his best friend and business partner. I also want to mention that among the many hats Harry wears, one of the most special hats is his Uncle Harry hat! He has a HUGE heart for our children, and they are always excited to spend time with him!
Harry is a very special part of our family, and we love him so much!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 -- ENDLESS LOVE
Chapter 2 -- THE SPIRIT OF AN OVERCOMER
Chapter 3 -- FAITH
Chapter 4 -- CREATIVE WORDS
Chapter 5 -- THE HOLY SPIRIT
Chapter 6 -- A RICH INHERITANCE
Chapter 7 -- RIGHTS AS KINGS AND PRIESTS
Chapter 8 -- THE MIND OF CHRIST
Chapter 9 -- GIFTS
Chapter 10 -- A GLORIOUS FUTURE
Chapter 11 -- ULTIMATE DOMINION
Chapter 12 -- PROSPERITY
Chapter 13 -- MADE ALIVE
Chapter 14 -- DESIRE TO BE A GIVER
The twenty minute long message I had selected began to play on my iPhone as I held the speaker side of my phone to my ear. Even with the volume turned all the way up, this was the only way to listen, as I began the three-hour drive to my mom’s house in Delaware this past Christmas day. All six children were settled in the Suburban and excited to visit Gramma for a few days! Ok, “settled” might not be the right word to use here.
Hence, the need for the phone to touch my ear. Even with a DVD movie playing, random conversations were happening between the three and five-year old girls, the eight-year old girl complaining about the seven-year old boy farting and the seven month-old baby making happy screeching sounds. Our oldest, newly turned thirteen year-old was my co-pilot, and with his amazing ability to focus on any media, seemed to be completely blocking out the other noises.
Every message that I hear blesses me, but this one had me hanging on every word and even replaying it two more times. Was it possible to find out everything that our Father has given us? I found myself saying out loud, “I wish there was a book out there listing out exactly what is available to us as believers.”
Right away in my spirit I heard God say, “Why don’t you write one?!” My immediate answer was, “Ok, I’ll do it!”
My excitement about this new assignment made the rest of the trip to Gramma’s house fly by. I knew this book was totally going to be God’s work, considering I had barely enough hours in each day to keep the laundry caught up! The commercial-sized washer and dryer we had just picked out for our new home would be a big help, but they still required me to do the loading and unloading!
We had just finished celebrating Christmas with Jonathan’s parents and brother, with multitudes of packed boxes accompanying us in our living room. Paper products had been stocked up to use in place of the dishes that were now all packed away, and Christmas break was well under way. This phase of our lives was truly a milestone for us, and would not be soon forgotten.
Even though we had spent the entire month of November packing to move into our first home on December 31st, this annual Christmas visit to my mom’s was a do not miss! With every fiber of my being I wanted our family to move out of the tiny 1,200 square foot townhome that we had been renting for the past five years. No amount of work (and preparation) or holiday craziness could stop me from beginning work to make this dream of a heaven-sent book a reality!
John 16:15 was the verse that had caught my attention that day, during my drive to visit my mom in Delaware. Jesus said, “All things that the Father has is mine, therefore I take what’s mine and show it unto you.” Jesus said He would show us everything our Father has given us. What exactly does our inheritance entail?
A study into God’s Word will reveal everything the Father has that belongs to each of us—an heir. A joint heir. The first thing that comes to mind that the Father has and really is, is Love.
Everything else that we have hangs on love. We are told in 1 John 4:8 and 16 that God is love. God showed us how much He loved us by sending His only begotten son, Jesus, into our world, that we might live through Him (John 3:16), and that we might love through Him (1 John 4:9).
When we love, we look just like Jesus. Imagine that … our demeanor actually changes depending on how we act! We literally look different when we love someone as opposed to when we mistreat someone. God equipped us to love like Jesus when He shed His love abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us (Rom. 5:5). This allows us to walk in love at all times.
On the other hand, a whole book could be written on what God hasn’t given us. In Deuteronomy 28, the list of curses is actually longer than the list of blessings. But the root of the curses is fear. That’s the number-one thing that does not come from God. It is explained in 2 Timothy 1:7 that “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Those things have been made a part of our spirit (who we are). How comforting to know that God has given us a sound mind! An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages eighteen and older (one in four adults) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder every year. This translates to over fifty-seven million people in the United States alone (thekimfoundation.org). The number-one weapon to overcome this is God’s Word. God gave us His Word so that we can use it as a handbook to solve all of life’s problems.
The Word was God; the Word became flesh (Jesus) and dwelled among us (John 1:1&14). How thankful we should be that God gave us His Word, the Bible. It contains His love letters to us, our inheritance, His written will to us -- His children. Everything that He has purposed in His heart to give us can be found there. He, in turn desires for us to live the same way.
2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us that every man should give as he purposes in his heart to give -- not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.
The summer of 2005 found me at a point in my life that felt hopeless. It had been three years since I had last visited a church. I had been living only for myself, but something burst in me at the end of a church service when I heard an invitation to rededicate my life to my Father. I was overwhelmed by how much God still loved me and how much He desired to have a relationship with me.
I didn’t know a soul at this church, but that didn’t matter; I had just been reunited to my first love! Through a flood of tears, I committed the rest of my life to serving God.
Only a couple of weeks prior, I had been at the Salvation Army in York, Pennsylvania, gathering my weekly allotment of bread and other foods to supplement groceries for me and my two-and-a-half-year-old son. The food stamps the government gave us didn’t quite meet our needs. I was a single mom, and every day was a struggle—especially since I was trying to do everything on my own, constantly putting out fires.
The lady who was helping me at the Salvation Army had a little plaque on her desk that said something about God, and I commented that I liked what it said. She asked me what church I attended, and I responded that I hadn’t been to church in a long time. She recommended I visit her church. That church is where I recommitted my life to God.
I was overwhelmed by how much God still loved me and how much He desired to have a relationship with me.
It was also during this time that I was desperately looking to move out of my roach-infested apartment in downtown York, to a better place for my little boy. Although I was thankful that the government was helping me pay my rent and that we had a place of our own, I couldn’t believe I had gotten myself into this situation. Nobody in my sphere of influence growing up could have predicted this would be my life by the time I turned twenty.
I had accepted Jesus into my heart as a five-year-old girl and was raised in a great home. I graduated from high school with my mom as my teacher, home-schooling me all of those years. Yet even with that solid foundation, I still somehow decided there had to be more to life than just what my parents had taught me. I was determined to find out for myself what else was out there instead of just believing what they had taught me to be the best way to live.
Sitting in my dingy apartment one day shortly after that church service, I made a deal with God that if He opened up a nice place for us to live, I would quit smoking cigarettes for good (a terrible habit I had picked up three years earlier).
Within just a couple of weeks, I got connected through the local newspaper with a Christian landlord who, to my great surprise, attended the church I was now attending! The landlord had a duplex in a nice, quiet neighborhood in the suburbs. There were mature trees along the sidewalks instead of neighborhood crime-watch signs and trash. The landlord even accepted Section 8, the housing program I was using so I could afford to pay the rent!
We moved into our new home right away -- a beautiful two-bedroom duplex with a yard and a garage in a peaceful neighborhood. This felt like luxury! It even came with a washer and dryer so my son and I didn’t have to go to a Laundromat anymore!
I quit smoking before moving in and have never smoked since. God had held up His end of the deal, and I was surely going to hold up mine! I bought a notebook (not a nice journal) and began a new journey with God.
When we are filled with the revelation of how much God loves us, we will have the desire to give. God designed us to give the way He gives. He is the ultimate giver and desires for us as His children to act the way He acts.
Ephesians 3:17–19 encourages us to be rooted and grounded in love, that we may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses mere human knowledge; that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.