Dedicated to Briana Stoltzfus

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I have known this girl for three years. I don’t claim to have been the most perfect friend to her like Jesus was to me all my life, but I have loved her. I was in her life in one of its darkest moments. Since then, I’ve been in her life from a distance, checking in, a little love here, a deep prayer there. But from day one, I have seen God put His mark on her life that was evident when she didn’t want it or even see it herself.

From a distance, I watched one thing after another try to tear her down. Satan pulled her this way and that way with voices, threats, physical issues, and lies. He almost won, but God’s fingerprint never left. And while people on the sidelines either laughed, cried, or pointed fingers, Lion God rent open the Heavens, pushed back the demons of oppression, and growled, “Enough!” Finally, she was left alone, but not for long. He came to her, in her darkest hour, crumpled on the floor, totally spent of any earthly strength or power.

Amidst the flutter of angel wings at his sides and all around, His hand touched her head, and she felt Him come into her mortal soul and breathe eternity into it. His warm breath of favor stamped, “mine” on that smudged fingerprint, and it became clear as crystal again, just like the day He formed her, years ago.

“This is what I was made for!” Her heartbeat quickened and became stronger.

With a holy love that never fails, His touch came through Heaven to her earth and wiped away the sorrow of life without Him. She is never without Him again.

When Bri does something, good or bad, she does it with intensity. It’s part of her DNA. It may have taken her a while to give in to His love, but when she did, she did it with intensity and vibrancy all her own. People may judge her, they may not understand, and they may not think her faith is sincere or proper. (I myself was guilty of questioning whether Love really touched her.)

Man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart. When I stopped putting up walls, being driven by feelings, and questioning God’s ways, I could actually see His fingerprint. When I put aside my ideas and opinions and asked God for His, suddenly I see His mark, just like I did in the beginning, except this time, it’s bigger and clearer. It’s in her eyes. It’s in her voice. It’s alive in her heart.

Sometimes the unexpected happens.

On June 11, 2013, Bri was diagnosed with Aids, which was transmitted to her from her biological parents. Then on August 22, she was diagnosed with an Aids related cancer called Kaposi’s Sarcoma. (Doctors say she may have had it for 2-4 years, but it’s not easily diagnosed because it looks like blood blisters.) She was given three months to live, give or take.

Tests results showed tumors throughout her body. Six were surgically removed, but the 16 others are inoperable. There are multiple tumors in her stomach/intestines, one in her neck beside her esophagus, and one behind her right lung. Doctors say if it begins to grow even a half inch, it will puncture her lung. If chemo or radiation is a choice Bri makes, doctors couldn’t legally begin the process until Sept. 16.

Ok, so that’s the medical standpoint of this situation. Thankfully God is able to do beyond anything we can ask or think. 

Bri wants Jesus to be glorified by her life, and she has made a choice towards complete trust in her Father. 

She is giving him a chance to heal her body. She made a choice towards Him, and she wants to give Him full access to her future. When God said, “If you really believe me like you say, show me,” she said “yes.”

Although God has allowed Satan a [limited] amount of influence to plan assignments against us, God has definitely commissioned believers to stop operating in that small realm of Satan’s influence and start operating in the unlimited realm of God’s power, which is an inheritance to those who come to Him. Satan seems big when cancer cells rage in our bodies, but God [created] the body, and unlimited authority is His!

Let me explain.

Satan is no creator. He is subject to a higher power. He can only work with what is always created by God. This is usually evidenced by him wreaking havoc to steal, kill, and destroy from God’s design.

We cannot afford to give Satan credit for creative design and power that belongs to God. Satan really isn’t all that great, you know. His power comes from our belief in a lie. Without our agreement, he remains a dog on a chain, with a big whine.

When we think we are simply victims to the hand life dealt us, isn’t it awfully hard to believe that God is good? We are afraid to ask for healing because if God is in charge of all things, He must want us to be sick, since He allowed it.

We messed up God’s perfect design by choosing Satan as our master in the garden. Satan tried convinced us that to obey him would make us like God, when we were already in His likeness. Satan was just jealous.

For years since then, we remained under that curse of sin and death, but when Jesus died on the cross, He broke the power of death and became the way to eternal life once more, starting now! Provision was made to live in the inheritance of God’s beloved.

Under the new covenant, God no longer requires that we bite the bullet and try, try, try  to measure up for our restoration. We are now able to come boldly to His throne. In fact, we have gone from slaves of God (who only do as commanded) to friends of God, who have entered the holy place, the most intimate place with God’s heart. We know Him, and can have insight into what He’s doing.

Why the timidness? With the confidence that God is our friend, we are in a position to move the heart of God. Crazy, right? I know God’s heart is moved by Bri’s love and full surrender.

There is no more shame. Think of it, it was only after the first couple ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil that shame and religion entered the planet. We operated on that hamster wheel system the best we could for hundreds of years. But Christ has bruised Satan’s head, and we are now free to walk intimately with God and co-labor for His purpose: to see His kingdom advance on the earth.

Satan’s weapons against us no longer have to prosper. It’s our choice whether we walk in this new opportunity. God is crazy about us, and is dying (no pun intended) to see us walk in our inheritance as co-laborers with his heart.

Join me in claiming Bri’s wellness for Christ. We declare that God’s favor is on her body, and we speak the health and wholeness of the King to every cell.

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(At my wedding)

I know Bri doesn’t want pity, but what she does need is people to agree with her that God will win, and Satan will get no glory, because God already owns it. 🙂 

I am so excited to see what God will do for Bri. 

I’m leaning hard on the promises of Jesus. God is not done yet with my friend yet! He just got started.

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I love you, Bri!

 © Brenda Kanagy

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11 thoughts on “Dedicated to Briana Stoltzfus

  1. This is beautiful!!!!
    We are believing with you all for complete healing in Bri’s body!!! I believe God still has a great work for her!!

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  2. I am totally believing for her, there is guy called Jim Richards he has his story on how he was born with a liver disease and he almost died three times,when The Lord reviewed to him that the door to the enemy was open because of generational beliefs and curses, and when he delt with that he was healed, it is always Gods will to heal never in scrip did he say I am trying to teach you something come back at a different time, but when they came he healed all!He already died for your healing close all the doors to the enemy so he has to stop harassing you and your body will follow with healing,

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  3. God has NOT allowed Satan a [limited] amount of influence to plan assignments against us. The Bible tells us that God is love. John 3:16 says- For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([a]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
    Would you allow Cancer on Bri’s body or somebody that you loved if you had any control of it???? I think we both know the answer to that question. So then why would God who loves us sooooo much more allow satan to put sickness on us???

    Some people accept sickness as God’s will. Yet the same people will take medicine, be operated on, or do anything else they can in order to get well. Christianity is not just on Sunday morning. Spiritual things work every day of the week. The Bible makes sense because it works! It works on Monday just like it does on Sunday. It is God’s
    wisdom written in man’s words, so that we can be victorious on the earth. Some people say, “Well, maybe God doesn’t put sickness on you, but He allows Satan to.” There is
    only one person who allows Satan to put sickness on you, and that is YOU.
    As a believer, you have authority in the earth over Satan and sickness and disease. If sickness has come upon you, you have allowed it, NOT God. We need to stop blaming God for something he had absolutely no part in! God doesn’t have to allow Satan to make you sick. Satan is always ready to do the job!
    Sickness incapacitates you and makes you no threat to Satan at all. We need to lay aside what tradition has taught us and realize that only Satan could be the source of such powerless, defeated beliefs. The Word of God is the incorruptible seed. Satan does not have the power to stop it. Disease cannot overcome it. Only you have the power to stop the Word from working in your life. As you study the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, keep your mind and spirit open to the Word to change your thinking. Doubt and unbelief will come against you and say, “Now, you know what they say about this….” Who are “they”? Well, “they” will be the ones who bury you early if you listen to their traditions. Cast out the doubt and keep the Word. Receive the Word. The power and blessing that you get out of the Word of God is according to how you receive it. You must receive it literally as God talking to you, as the Word of God and the authority in your life. You must decide that whatever you see in the Word you will act on. If you just receive it a little here and a little there, thinking, Well, now, that could be true, you will get nothing from the Word. You have to receive the Word and give it the place of authority in your life. When you allow the incorruptible seed to go into your heart, it will produce the crop you desire.

    Praying and standing in agreement for Bri’s total healing! 🙂

    Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
    5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. Isaiah 53:4-5

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    • Hopefully, you identifying yourself as a believer of the Word is not implying that I’m not. 🙂 haha.
      Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry if from my writing, you gathered that I think God wants us to be sick. When I write, I am mindful of the fact that people from a vast variety of backgrounds will read it. I ask God for the right terminology that will penetrate the [same] truth through varying lenses of culture and preconceived ideas about what I say. Basically, my blog is viewable to Jews and Gentiles, so to speak. 🙂 I want to be respectful of them all.

      If you knew me personally, it would be obvious that I am far removed from the assumption that sickness is Gods will, which is why I speak out and tell people it’s possible to live above the curse of sin and death! If the word choice “God allows” is offensive, let me rephrase: [Man chose] to obey Satan instead of God in the garden, and that is why to this day we aren’t living in a thistle free, sickness free Eden. The only reason I say “God allows” is because Satan has no power unless God lets him have it. (Job wouldn’t have been touched by affliction unless God allowed Satan to do it, and He did.)But thats not to say that we should therefore assume sickness is Gods will. On the contrary! It’s just to prove how limited satan really is, and how unlimited God! I totally agree that God is overflowing with readiness to heal people. That much is obvious through Jesus’ example.
      I dont blame God for the pain in the world. Like you said, it is our fault because we agreed with Satan instead of God in the beginning, and now that we live in the new covenant (restored to God’s design) it still comes down to who we agree with. The entire point of my post was that since Jesus came and BROKE the power of sin and death that entered the world because of our disobedience, He made it possible to live in RESTORED access to relationship and wholeness, including physical. It’s available to all who believe and receive this new life. You’re totally right, our agreement is a game changer! We either agree with God’s assignment or Satan’s.
      Thanks for praying for Bri. I know God’s going to be faithful, and I’m excited!

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    • wildheartsalive has said it well ! You say “Then why would God who loves us so much more allow satan to put sickness on us?” In the story of Job, God clearly did allow satan to put sickness on him. We don’t always understand God’s ways,and the way He works…but we do know that He is in control and sometimes He allows trials in our lives so that He may show Himself faithful and get glory through the trial.

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      • Here is a artical that i thought you might enjoy….
        The Sovereignty Of God
        By Andrew Wommack

        My heart was really stirred this last month. I attended a meeting where an old friend of mine was ministering. He had been through some terrible things that nearly destroyed his faith. He became bitter and angry at God for the things that had happened. When I heard him, he had humbled himself and was again loving the Lord and excited about the future. Praise the Lord! However, in the process, he had come to believe that it was the Lord that caused all his problems. He had resigned himself to the “sovereignty of God.”

        I believe this is the worst doctrine in the church today. I know that this is a shocking statement and is near blasphemy to some people, but the way sovereignty” is taught today is a real faith killer. The belief that God controls everything that happens to us is one of the devil’s biggest inroads into our lives. If this belief is true, then our actions are irrelevant, and our efforts are meaningless. What will be will be.

        If we believe that God wills everything, good or bad, to happen to us, it gives us some temporary relief from confusion and condemnation, but in the long-term, it slanders God, hinders our trust in God, and leads to passiveness.

        THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

        The word “sovereign” is not used in the King James Version of the Bible. It is used 303 times in the Old Testament of the New International Version, but it is always used in association with the word “LORD” and is the equivalent of the King James Version’s “LORD God.” Not a single one of those times is the word “sovereign” used in the manner that it has come to be used in religion in our day and time.

        Religion has resulted in the invention of a new meaning for the word “sovereign,” which basically means God controls everything. Nothing can happen but what He wills or allows. However, there is nothing in the actual definition that states that. The dictionary defines “sovereign” as, “1. Paramount; supreme. 2. Having supreme rank or power. 3. Independent: a sovereign state. 4. Excellent.” None of these definitions means that God controls everything.

        It is assumed that since God is paramount or supreme that nothing can happen without His approval. That is not what the Scriptures teach. In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter said, “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This clearly states that it is not the Lord’s will for anyone to perish, but people are perishing. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matt. 7:13). Relatively few people are saved compared to the number that are lost. God’s will for people concerning salvation is not being accomplished.

        This is because the Lord gave us the freedom to choose. He doesn’t will anyone into hell. He paid for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10), but we must choose to put our faith in Christ and receive His salvation. People are the ones choosing hell by not choosing Jesus as their Savior. It is the free will of man that damns them, not God.

        People virtually have to climb over the roadblocks that God puts in their way to continue on their course to hell. The cross of Christ and the drawing power of the Holy Spirit are obstacles that every sinner encounters. No one will ever stand before God and be able to fault Him for withholding the opportunity to be saved. The Lord woos every person to Him, but we have to cooperate. Ultimately, the Lord simply enforces the consequences of people’s own choices.

        God has a perfect plan for every person’s life (Jer. 29:11), but He doesn’t make us walk that path. We are free moral agents with the ability to choose. He has told us what the right choices are (Deut. 30:19), but He doesn’t make those choices for us. God gave us the power to control our destinies.

        Typical teaching on the sovereignty of God puts Jesus in the driver’s seat with us as passengers. On the surface that looks good. All of us have encountered the disastrous results of doing our own thing. We desire to be led of the Lord, and teaching that nothing happens but what God wills fits that nicely. However, the Scriptures paint a picture of each of us being behind the wheel of our own lives. We are the one doing the driving. We are supposed to take directions from the Lord, but He doesn’t do the driving for us.

        Man has been given the authority over his own life, but he must have the Lord’s direction to succeed. Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” God created us to be dependent upon Him and our independence is at the root of all our problems. As if it wasn’t bad enough for man to try to run his affairs independently of God and His standards, it has been made even worse by religion teaching us that all our problems are actually blessings from God. That is a faith killer. It makes people totally passive.

        James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This verse makes it clear that some things are from God, and some from the devil. We must submit to the things that are of God and resist the things that are from the devil. The word “resist” means, “Actively fight against.” Saying “Whatever will be will be” is not actively fighting against the devil.

        If a person really believed that God is the one who put sickness on them because He is trying to work something for good in their life, then they should not go to the doctor or take any medicine. That would be resisting God’s plans. They should let the sickness run its course and thereby get the full benefit of God’s correction. Of course, no one advocates that. That is absurd. It is even more absurd to believe that God is the one behind the tragedy.

        Acts 10:38 says that Jesus healed all those who were oppressed OF THE DEVIL. It was not God who oppressed them with sickness. It was the devil. It’s the same today. Sickness is from the devil, not from God. We need to resist sickness and, by faith, submit ourselves to healing, which is from God through the atonement of Christ.

        I know someone is thinking, What about the Old Testament instances where God smote people with sickness and plagues? There is a lot I could say about that if I had the space, but a simplified answer to that question is that none of those instances were blessings. They were curses. God did use sickness in the Old Testament as punishment, but in the New Testament, Jesus bore our curse for us (Gal. 3:13). The Lord would no more put sickness on a New Testament believer than He would make us commit a sin. Both forgiveness of sin and healing are a part of the atonement Jesus provided for us.

        Deuteronomy, chapter 28, should forever settle this question for all who believe the Word of God. The first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28 list the blessings of God and the last 53 verses list the curses of God. Healing is listed as a blessing (Deut. 28:4). Sickness is listed as a curse (Deut. 28:22, 27-28, 35, 59-61). God called sickness a curse. We should not call it a blessing.

        Knowing that God is not the author of my problems is one of the most important revelations the Lord has ever given me. If I thought it was God who killed my father when I was twelve, and some of my best friends before I was 20, if it was God who had people kidnap me, slander me, threaten to kill me, and turn loved ones against me, then I would have a hard time trusting God, if He was like that.

        On the contrary, it is very comforting to know that God only has good things in store for me. Any problems in my life are from the devil, of my own making, or just the results of life on a fallen planet. My heavenly Father has never done me any harm and never will. I KNOW that.

        I am not saying that there is nothing to learn from hardships. Most of you reading this article have come to the Lord because of something in your life that overwhelmed you and caused you to turn to the Lord for help. That situation was not from God regardless of the results. It was you turning to the Lord and the faith you placed in Him that turned your life around, not the hardship.

        If hardships and problems made us better, then everyone who has had problems would be better for them. Those who have the most trouble would be the best. That simply is not so.

        Let me illustrate this with a story about my son, Joshua. When he was only a year old, I was loading lumber on a large truck in the heat of a Texas summer. I had Joshua with me, and he was having a big time playing in the lumber yard. By mid-afternoon, he was tired and sleepy and started to lie down in the dirt for a nap. I knew his mother wouldn’t like that, so I put him in the cab of the truck to lie down and take his nap.

        He had been wanting to get into that truck all day, and when I put him in there, he revived. I had to roll the windows down because it was hot, and Joshua was leaning out the windows and waving at me in the side view mirrors. I told him to lie down and even gave him a spanking, but he didn’t take heed. He leaned out the window too far, fell out of the cab, hit his eye on the running board and landed on his head.

        I ran up to him, prayed over him, and held him until he quit crying. Then I told him that was why I told him to lie down and go to sleep and not lean out the window. I used that situation which caused him pain, to teach him, but if Joshua would have been like the sovereignty teachers of today, he would have gone out and told all his friends that his father made him fall out of that truck to teach him to obey. That’s not so. I did what I could to restrain him. I would be very hurt if that’s the way Joshua thought I was.

        Likewise, I don’t believe it blesses our heavenly Father for us to blame Him for all the problems that come into our lives. Sure, He will comfort us when we turn to Him in the midst of our problems, but He doesn’t create the negative circumstances that hurt our lives.

        God is sovereign in the sense that He is paramount and supreme. There is no one higher in authority or power, but that does not mean He exercises His power by controlling everything in our lives. God has given us the freedom to choose. He has a plan for us. He seeks to reveal that plan to us and urge us in that direction, but we choose. He doesn’t make our choices for us.

        In many instances, it is our wrong choices that bring disaster upon us. In other cases, our problems are nothing but an attack from the devil. In some cases, natural forces of an imperfect world cause us pain. Our tragedies are never the judgment or correction of God. Jesus came to give us abundant life. The devil came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Don’t ever get that confused. If it’s good, it’s God. If it’s bad, it’s the devil.

        This is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity that must be understood properly if you want victory in your life. Believing that God controls everything renders a person passive. Why pray and believe for something better? Whatever God wants will come to pass. That simply is not true.

        The Lord is the answer to all our problems. He is not the problem. If you would like more ministry on this pivotal point, please order my teaching entitled, “The Sovereignty of God.” There is much more detail on the teaching than I was able to put into this article. This teaching will change your life.

        I suggest that after you listen to it that you share it with someone else. I really believe that confusion on this subject is how Satan pushes his will off on most people. This teaching could change someone’s life.

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  4. Pingback: [PART 2] “Paul’s thorn” misconceptions and Jesus’ adopted generation [a real talk] | wildheartalive

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