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My reason for writing this is to encourage you to hang onto that dream, to remind you that no matter how small you feel right now and no matter how big your dream may seem to be, God is powerful enough to bring it to pass.
If God has given you a dream—a dream of doing something so great and so wonderful it seems almost impossible—this article is for you.

My reason for writing this is to encourage you to hang onto that dream, to remind you that no matter how small you feel right now and no matter how big your dream may seem to be, God is powerful enough to bring it to pass.

The Bible is full of people with impossible dreams. God intended for us to read about them and be inspired. But all too often we look at them as if they were somehow different from ordinary people like us.

We forget that they had faults and failures, weaknesses and inadequacies, just like we do (see James 5:17). As a result, we sometimes shy away from the great dreams God tries to give us. We stagger at the thought that God might be able to work through us in the same powerful ways He worked through those faith heroes of old.

That's why I want to show you today, not just from the Bible, but from my own personal experience that if you'll just believe Him, God can do impossible things through you. I know that's true because today Ken and I are standing in our dream. We are seeing things come to pass that God put in our hearts many years ago.

If you've only known us over the past few years, you may not realize what an amazing work God has done in our lives. You may think God has given us a worldwide ministry—opportunities to spread the Gospel, not only in person, but also in print, on television, and on radio—and allowed us to participate in bringing millions of souls into the kingdom of God each year...all because we're something special.

But I want to assure you that Ken and I aren't anything special. We aren't super-successful people that God was grateful to find for His service. On the contrary, before He got hold of our lives, we were an absolute mess.

Big Debts and Bad Decisions
You see, Kenneth and I haven't always been preachers. In fact, I'd always said I'd never marry a preacher and the first time I ever saw Kenneth Copeland, he was far from a preacher. He flew planes and sang in nightclubs, and the first weekend we went out, he asked me to marry him.

What surprised me was when I heard myself say, "yes." I couldn't believe I had done it. Of course, I was only 19 years old and I didn't have much sense. I thought, What have I done? I hardly know this guy. (He was quite a charmer. I'd never had anybody look into my eyes and sing "Misty" to me before.) Then I assured myself, I can get out of it later!

Unfortunately, in those first few years, the kinds of adventures we had weren't exactly what I had hoped for. For one thing, we started out deeply in debt. I married Kenneth Copeland and his notes. Debt had always been a way of life for him. Sometimes I think he borrowed money on his tricycle!

What's more, we immediately began to make dumb decisions. (I know you probably think you're the only one who's done stupid things financially, but trust me, we all have.) Right after we married, Ken went to work with a great new company that was just getting started.

We were so sure it was going to make us rich quickly that I quit my job and went to work there, too. I was the secretary, but only for two weeks. Then the company went broke.

I'll never forget those desperate days. While Ken was out hunting for a job, I sat alone in the three-bedroom house we had rented and wondered what would become of us. My world had crumbled. I had nowhere to go. No money. No job. We didn't even have any "real" furniture.

We just had a rented rollaway bed that sagged in the middle, a wrought-iron coffee table Ken had made in his high school shop class (you can imagine what a stunning piece that was!), a black and white television, and a couple of lawn chairs. Nothing else. No refrigerator. No stove.

I cooked in my coffeepot and in an electric skillet. And since it was winter, I put the food outside in a cardboard box to keep it cold.

If God Cares About the Birds
Worst of all, I had no hope. I didn't know to trust in God. I'd been raised in a denomination that taught that He didn't do anything anymore. Healing, miracles and all that had passed away, or so I'd been told. I didn't think anyone could even be sure of getting to heaven. You just had to take your chances and, odds are, you wouldn't make it.

One day, I picked up the Bible Ken's mother had given him for his birthday. In the front she had written, "Ken, precious, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33).

I didn't know much, but I did know I needed a lot of things added to me so I opened to that passage. I read about how God feeds the birds and clothes the grass of the field, and I thought, "If He cares about them, He cares about me!"

I had never before known that. No one had ever told me God would help me. Spiritually, it was the first good news I'd ever heard. That day, I prayed and told Jesus that if He could do anything with my life, He could certainly have it.

With that simple prayer, I was born again. I didn't realize it, of course. I'd never heard anything about the new birth. I just knew that after that, my heart began to change. I started wanting to know more about God.

I even wanted to go to church. Within two weeks, Ken had a new job. We moved into a new apartment. We bought a better car. And in the midst of it all, another amazing thing happened. God spoke to Ken and said, "You have to get this family in line with Me now!"

Even though Ken's mother and dad had always been strong Christians, Ken had been running from God most of his life. But the Lord dealt with him so strongly this time, he couldn't ignore it. So he followed the instructions he'd heard years before from his boyhood Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Taggert. He bowed his head and asked Jesus to come into his heart.

The Big Question
The day we moved into our new apartment, Ken called me into the living room and said, "What would you think if I started preaching or making talks about the Lord?" I remember thinking, "You, preach? I can't even get you to go to church!"

Soon after that we went to a meeting with Ken's parents where we learned about receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

I'd never heard of anything like that before and I wasn't sure if it was of God or not. So I went out to smoke a cigarette and think about it. While I was out there I said, "Lord, if this is of You, I want it." I must have looked funny to heaven, sitting there smoking a cigarette and worrying about receiving something that wasn't of God!

A Big Dream in a Little House
You may be expecting me to say that after we were baptized in the Holy Spirit, Ken and I heard the call of God and started turning the world upside down for Jesus, but we didn't. We grew a little spiritually. But for the most part we just rocked along, barely keeping our heads above water.

During the next five years, we moved to Fort Worth and Ken went to work for his father selling insurance. The problem was, he didn't like it and in spite of the fact that he was a natural-born talker, he wasn't a very good insurance salesman. (His dad used to jokingly say, "Ken, according to the Bible, Samson killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. I believe you've killed ten times that many sales with the same weapon!")

We were still facing overwhelming debts. Creditors were threatening to sue us. Financially, we'd had one failure after another and we couldn't even make ends meet. On top of it all, Ken began to sense the Lord leading him to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma and enroll as a student at Oral Roberts University.

To Ken, the idea of becoming a college freshman at thirty years old seemed absurd. "I don't even have a job in Tulsa," he said. "We'd starve." "We're already doing that," I answered. "We might as well go to Tulsa and starve in the will of God as stay here and starve outside His will!" Ken agreed, so we packed up what we had, put our two little children in the car and moved.

Naturally speaking, things were worse there than they'd ever been. We lived in a shabby, little house with brown walls! I wouldn't unpack for weeks. But God was helping us. The first day Kenneth arrived on the ORU campus, he got a job as Oral Roberts co-pilot. His salary was one hundred dollars a month.

As tight as things were financially, we were happier than we'd ever been. We were in the will of God at last! For the first few months, Ken worked at his studies and flew with Brother Roberts to his meetings. Once there, Ken's job was to drive him to the meetings and do anything that was needed. Ken loved it. And what an opportunity it was. He got to watch and learn firsthand from Brother Roberts, and that was a blessing.

Hungry to know exactly what God was calling us to do, Ken decided one day in May 1967, to go down to the river near our house. It was there that God began to speak to Ken about a worldwide ministry. "You will preach, sing, pray and minister to the people. My people, by My power. Whole nations will come to Me." And He gave Ken the dream of ministering to millions for Jesus.

Of course, that all sounds very grand and he was excited, but you must realize that once he received that great word from God, he had to march right back to that dumpy little house where we lived. He had to reconcile that big dream of preaching all over the world with the fact that it was a challenge to even have enough money to go to Fort Worth to visit his parents!

Our First Steps of Faith
But, praise God, we were learning what to do. We'd been going to Kenneth Hagin's meetings and learning about the integrity of God's Word. We'd discovered that we could trust the written Word just like we'd trust the word of a doctor or a trusted friend. The fundamentals of living by faith were filling our hearts and mouths. We knew the only way we could get out of the mess we were in—and into the plan of God—was by faith in God's Word. So we gave it our total attention.

For about a year, we hardly did anything except listen to teaching tapes and study. After a while, Ken was out preaching. I was at home with the children, but we were both in the Word day and night.

That year, every time Brother Hagin held a seminar (and he held a number of ten-day seminars that year) we were there. Some winter nights we had to slide over there on the ice, but we did it because we were hungry for the Word. Then we started taking the first faith steps toward our dream. When I say that, I don't mean we went out and bought radio airtime. No, we had to start right where we were. We had to have a car and a place to live. In other words, we had to start believing for the necessities of life.

We had to start by believing God for food on our table. Some days I had to exercise great faith and pray in tongues just to make sure I had enough money to pay the cashier at the grocery store! That may sound like an insignificant thing. But years later, Ken and I found we could use that same kind of grocery-store faith to believe for millions of dollars needed for television broadcasts.

Actually, when I look back now, I can see that during those times God was laying the foundations in our lives. He was teaching us the lessons from His Word that would equip us for what we're doing now. It was in those days, for instance, we learned about tithing.

In earlier days, we'd tithe and then stop because we figured we needed the money more than God did. But as we studied the Word, we made a quality decision that we were going to tithe no matter what. We decided that even if we had to go hungry, we would give God His part of our increase first.

Financially, that was a turning point in our lives. That was when things began to consistently improve for us, and we're still benefiting from that lesson today. In return, God has been faithful to do what He promised. We continually live under an open window. It was also in those early days that we found the scripture in Romans 13:8 that says, "Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another" (AMP).

I'll admit to you that initially we weren't thrilled with the idea of living without debt. We had lived on borrowed money for years. How can we ever have a car? we thought. How can we ever have a home? How can we ever build this big ministry God has put in our hearts?

We didn't know the answers to those questions, but we already had made a commitment to obey God's Word no matter what, so we immediately stopped charging anything or borrowing any money. We weren't doing it to be blessed financially. We didn't have much revelation of prosperity at the time. But we did know that God had promised to take care of us, so we just put our trust in Him.

Eleven months later, we were completely out of debt. I still don't know exactly how it happened. We weren't making much money and we owed thousands of dollars. But somehow during those months we paid it all off. Little did we know that God was laying a foundation, training us in the principles that would eventually enable us to head a worldwide outreach and fulfill all we are called to do, without depending on the world's system of finance.

The Longest Night in History
God taught us vital lessons about ordering our home life according to His Word in those first years, too. We learned the importance of agreement, for example (Matt. 18:19). We saw in the Bible that "where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work" (James 3:16). So we made a decision that we would walk in love and keep strife out of our home at all costs. I have no doubt that if we hadn't learned that early in our lives, the devil would have used strife to stop the power of God in our ministry at some point.

Of course, I could go on and on about all God has done for us and taught us over the years. I could tell you how we had to hold onto the dream of worldwide ministry when people were staying away from our services by the millions. In the beginning, Ken preached meetings where just a handful of people attended. Back then a crowd of three hundred seemed like a multitude. (It took a long time to get three hundred people.)

But no matter how few people were there, Ken preached like there were thousands, because that's what God had promised him. That's the dream he had in his heart. Someone once said to Ken, "Your ministry just took off overnight." "If it did, it was the longest night in history!" he answered.

Remember that next time the devil tries to discourage you by pointing out how slow things seem to be progressing in your life. When he taunts you about your failures and shortcomings, when he magnifies the obstacles in your path and says, "You'll never make it. You don't have what it takes to do anything that big," don't let him steal your dream. Just answer him and say, "Yes, I do. I have Jesus. I have the Word of God. I have the power of the Holy Spirit. And that's all I need."

Ken and I can tell you from personal experience, that's the truth. We were total failures before God got hold of us. Now, look what He has done! We are standing in our dream, and if you'll continue trusting and obeying Him, one day you'll be standing in yours too.

Excerpt permission granted by
Eagle Mountain International Church, Inc.
aka:  Kenneth Copeland Ministries

Author Biography

Gloria Copeland
Web site: Kenneth Copeland Ministries
For the last 50 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God's WORD to their lives.

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