"The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the LORD who does all these."
Several times, I have had the urge to write this chapter due to the fact that it seems that each day I see more clearly that I am being set up. Knowing that I am writing to an audience of different cultures around the world, I am not sure all of you clearly understand this term “being set-up.” So before I explain how and why we are being set-up (and by whom), I need to establish this concept. A simple definition of being set-up is “to cause someone to be caught and blamed for something.”
Now that this concept is basically established, I can move on to why I see that this is clearly happening to me, and so that you know it is also (more than likely) happening to you too. Let me begin by saying that for most of us to realize something is happening to us (like being set-up), it very often needs to have happened before. So let me take you back and use just one example that I think easily explains what I mean and how I was able to realize we each are being set-up.
In May of this year, I was just finishing a tour in Asia. I was in Hong Kong for the fifth time and was actually there to enjoy the city before heading back home (after a speaking engagement with the group of women living there who are part of RMI). That morning, I was delighted because I was about to get on my computer to see and speak to my children at a time we’d agreed to meet. After just a few minutes of saying hello, my son stopped me and said, “Dad says he wants to speak to you.”
Well, all of you know the feeling—we know we are about to face something new and probably difficult, especially when your ex-husband asks all the children to leave the room. That is when he looked into the computer and calmly told me that he was going to destroy all of the RMI ministry resources (books and videos I’d purchased). Though I had been gone for only a few weeks, my mind visualized the boxes that lined my office and also my garage where we warehoused the rest. [At that time, we were able to save half the price of the books and videos by buying cases at a time, so that’s what we’d done; this was prior to my ex leaving.] At that very moment, God was setting me up.
As I have mentioned before in my books, most of us who have been in church for a while have been taught to blame the devil for anything “bad” that happens to us, but the more that I read certain portions of Scriptures (that for some reason never make it onto most pulpits or into most Christian books), and the more I live this abundant life that He died for us to be allowed to live, the more I see that it is God Himself who is setting you and me up.
“That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these” (Isaiah 45:6–7). When you read this, there’s really no other way to interpret what it says.
Sometimes it is the enemy who is at work or is asking to sift us as wheat (as he did with the apostle Peter), yet even then— it is God who is just using this demonic figure attempting to do his dirty work—knowing full well it will only prove to be for the good of his victim. Remember, the enemy has no power whatsoever, or force equal to that of the believer. “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). So I have chosen to ignore this infamous little figure just as I do a fly that has gotten into my home—he can be annoying but poses little threat to me. This is how I explained the enemy to my three youngest children as I drove them to church just last week: the enemy is annoying but hardly a threat, just like a pesky fly.
So, with this principle, we can also put the people in our lives (husbands, ex-husbands, our boss, our mean in-laws, or even the attorney who represents them) in this category of those who cannot harm us. “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed . . . He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them” (Psalms 2:1–4). If he laughs at their futile attempts, no matter how things look, we have the confidence that once the evil has done what it was intended to do, the tides will turn.
Being set-up, as you know by now, first appears as something bad, when in fact, it will result in the opposite conclusion—we are actually being set-up by God—in order to be blessed! Now, if we really believed that every adversity was the condition for blessings, not for destruction, and we believe that it was God, not the devil, who was in control, then wouldn’t we be able to go through it with enthusiasm rather than dread or fear? This is what God continually tries to assure us throughout the Bible, but instead we choose to fear and dread often due to a lack of this principle being taught properly and much more often.
Over these past two years, like never before, I see the incredible happening, as a result of the: tragedy, incredible attacks, and unfair treatment we’ve faced. False accusations against my character resulted in being set-up, then honored by men and women around the world (and most importantly, for me, honored and respected by my own children). And the destruction of my books also resulted in being set-up. After discussing, and trusting God with Erin, it’s what led her to be asked to sign with one of the largest publishers in the world, and the books will be sold and printed on demand (with new videos that are being planned to be played online rather than needing anyone to buy a DVD). Therefore, I (and RMI) will no longer need to purchase in bulk or warehouse or even mail to anyone! The Lord lifted the burden so His brides can spend more time just loving Him and being loved by Him!!
Which is where this newest journey all began, remember? It all began by my losing my restored marriage, once again, cheated on, and also sued by my ex-husband for all I had, which as you know, was simply God setting me up, in order to bless me—finally and completely becoming the Lord’s beloved bride—with a honeymoon that took me around the world with Him!!
Of course, the blessed results are also due to having the right response. “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (Matthew 5:38–40).
As we discussed in many previous chapters, if we resist an evil or an evil person, we miss what that adversity was sent to do for us in the first place. This, as I want to remind you again, is where most Christians live—resisting evil (never mind taking it to the point of receiving the blessing by blessing their attacker). Though many may not even resist outwardly, they’re certainly resisting evil in their prayers, which is often where the Christians are focusing their prayers, praying against the evil. So since God does hear our prayers, so often the wave of attacks may subside, but often return again and again, hoping to accomplish why the adversity (and its messenger) was sent. “So shall My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
Jesus went through the middle of the worst adversity in history and was not delivered from it. Though He prayed that this cup (of adversity) pass from His lips, His desire ultimately was for God’s will to be done. This entire principle, that Jesus’ life was based on, is one that is entirely overlooked by today’s Christian—God’s will and not resisting evil. There’s no doubt that it is His will that we are each set-up— in order for us to be blessed and as how God will also be glorified.
It was not until the Israelites were set-up with much more unfair treatment, which by the end of the plagues, concluded their captivity when their captors sent them away with all “articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing” from their nation leaving it broken and “plundered” (Exodus 12:35–36).
It wasn’t until Joseph was set-up by his brothers that he was taken captive by Egyptians and he got to Potiphar’s house, where he again was set-up by his master’s immoral, then rejected wife, that then led him to years of prison. Remember too that Joseph was also set-up by the cupbearer who “did not remember Joseph, but forgot him” to spend one more year in prison until God had the Egyptian nation set-up for its famine. All of this set-up was in place to save Joseph’s own family and to make Joseph ruler of the nation just under Pharaoh.
There are many women of the Bible who were also set-up for greatness.
Ruth was set-up through the death of her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law so that there were no men in her life just so that she would be favored in that particular field where she gathered a few kernels in order for her and her mother-in-law to survive. And where her future began, meeting her husband, Boaz, and was part of the lineage of Jesus Himself.
Esther was set-up to be the new wife of the king in order for the Jewish people to be saved (and so that her faithful cousin, Mordecai, could be honored as well).
Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was set-up as a young, unmarried, pregnant girl to be “blessed among women” as the virgin mother of our Savior.
God didn’t put all those examples in the Bible for us not to get Who set these great men and women of faith up—and for what purpose! The purpose of evil (in the life of the believer) and why God sets us up is, again, for us to be blessed and for Him to get the glory He deserves.
So, dear one, all the adversity and all that evil that is coming against you today, rejoice! This is a set-up—God is about to bless you!!
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Peter 4:12).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Thank You Lord!!
My beautiful brides, this chapter on 'You're being set-up' in the LAL series is course-altering. It explains why we should rejoice under all circumstances, and why our trials should result in praises to the Lord. We learn that if we resist evil or an evil person, we miss what that adversity was sent to do for us in the first place! I knew we aren't to repay evil for evil, but rather with good, but I hadn't quite figured this as one of the reasons and the best reason yet. We go through trials to be perfected, mature, complete, lacking nothing. All the murmuring and complaining hinders that growth and makes the trial last longer than it ought to; instead we must submit to it cheerfully and gracefully, for we are told that our trials should result in rejoicing!!
My HH, How could I have been so mistaken? With all the changes my heart needed, the transformation that was necessary, how else did I expect you to achieve that? I had tried on my own my whole life and failed, then I called on you, you answered and acted on my behalf, turning hearts away from me so you could lead me to the desert to begin the good work in me. How can it be that I am now crying, not out of trust in you as you work in me, but out of frustration at the very trial that you are using to change me! Forgive me for being short-sighted and double-minded. Forgive me for not being grateful for the changes you are working in me. May I never cry again from frustration, may every new tear be of seeking comfort from you as you change me, giving you thanks for the work you're pressing in to complete and rejoicing with you in the results of a changed heart. May I never murmur and wander about in confusion at my trials, for they are here to bless me -it's a set up!
Fellow brides, it appears that the purpose of evil in the life of the believer, and why God sets us up, is for us to be blessed and for Him to get the glory He deserves. Truly, God loves when the odds are stacked up against us, for then He can show off. "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto myself" - John 12:32. Remember when Elijah filled his troughs with water then called on the God of heaven to send fire to consume the sacrifice to show off to the Baal gods? Or when He bragged to the enemy on Job passing the test. Or when He let Lazarus die all the way before coming to raise him from the dead... When you see the odds are stacked against you, take a victory lap and give Him praise, raise a hallelujah!!
It was also a good reminder that the enemy is annoying but hardly a threat, just like a pesky fly, which is an amazing realization for me. The more time I spent in prayer with my Lord, the more I was beginning to sense this but hadn't articulated it yet. I kept thinking: if we are fighting from a position of victory, exactly what power does the enemy have in all this expect to threaten us, discourage us, get us to give up, and get us to speak contrary to God's word? his tactics really are very limited, the imp has no real power! For someone that roars that loudly trying to imitate the lion of Judah, it's laughable once you see through his façade, powerless as he is, even needing God's permission to sift us -ha!
Dear Bride, you have been set up for a blessing. I am blessed to read that the tide will turn once evil has accomplished what it came to do. Trials come to refine us, so we have to watch our attitude as this will determine how easily we get through them. However tough the journey gets, remember that it is to bless you, God has a plan to bless you, you need only trust Him and stand still as the changes you need occur and you await their manifestation. You cannot cry when you understand the purpose of your trials. You will praise your Father when you realize everything is a set up to bless you. My life is altered, my journey is forever changed, I pray yours is too.
“Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed . . . He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them” (Psalms 2:1–4).
Job 2:3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
John 11:11-17 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
1 Kings 18:33 He (Elijah) arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood."