CHAPTER THREE: MY PERSONAL FIRE AND THE TRIUNE CREATURE-BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT!
Failure to read this message from page one to the last pageand from chapter one to the last chapter could cause the reader to misunderstand this message. Please read page to page and chapter to chapter. Thank you and may God bless the reading of His Word. CHAPTER ONE
CHAPTER FIVE CHAPTER SIX
CHAPTER SEVEN HOME
CHRISTIAN FORUMS-PRAYER REQUESTS-QUESTIONS-COMMENTS!
TRIED WITH FIRE, IF NEED BE!
Onward to the chapter that most people find the most difficult to write, at least I did, my testimony. Most of my testimony is based on my ignorance of the spiritual battle that I was going through and a lack of understanding that God has a plan and purpose for my life and He loves me unconditionally through the Blood of Jesus. The devil wasn’t real to me and it was difficult for me to take God’s Word and defeat him if I didn’t have knowledge of his wiles and the way he attacks the children of God. The reason I even include my testimony is not to look for “right or wrong,” but that we can look at what happened to me as a spiritual battle and if there are others that have gone, or are going, through a similar battle we can help them be set free from the power of the past so that they can look confidently to the future. So many Christians have bad things happen to them or fall away and think that disqualifies them from serving God, when in reality God uses this to prepare us to serve Him and then take our experience and teach others to win their battles with the forces of evil. Anytime we go through a challenge in our life it is always to prepare us to help others go through the same challenge once we have overcome and won the victory.
Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Always remember that God is there with us through His precious Holy Spirit. In John 14:16-18, Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever. Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I [Jesus] will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.”
Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended [perceive]: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Now I can praise God and thank Him for being with me as we went through the “bad” times and when it is all said and done I have a new testimony or witness of the loving kindness and mercy and grace of God that carried me through. Hebrews 12:5-11, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
Luke 22:31-32, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Peter later denies Jesus three times in Luke 22:54-62, and verse 62 says, “And Peter went out and wept bitterly.” Peter repented, “metanoia.” Peter or Simon wrote from experience when he wrote, First Peter 1:6-9, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
Peter can be seen as a leader of the apostles throughout the beginning of the church. In Acts 5:15, “Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them."
Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist talking, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; But He [Jesus] that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” This is another reason for receiving the Holy Ghost, you can’t go through the fire, if need be, without being sealed by the Holy Ghost. If we are taught correctly we do not need to go through manifold temptations or the purging process and that is one of the goals of this ministry to keep you from having to go through what I went through by having the correct teaching, the truth of the Word of God. The best way to describe going through the fire is that it is a time of purging so that we can become a vessel ready for the Master's use.
Second Timothy 2:19-21, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet [qualified] for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work.” I didn’t include the definition of iniquity because this was more of a lack of knowledge of God and His ways versus satan and his ways than iniquity. Iniquity is the Greek word, “adikia”, moral wrongfulness (of character, life or act):-iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong. We will learn more about God’s plan to help us “depart from iniquity” as we go along. I definitely have gone through the chastening of the Lord to “depart from iniquity”, but we also need to recognize an attack of the enemy as opposed to “moral wrongfulness.”
It is imperative that you are filled with the Holy Ghost as we learned in chapter two and if you have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, then you need to find a body of believers that has been and will stand with you and see you through the wrestling match to receive the Holy Ghost.
Ephesians 6:10-18, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
We are going to study the authority of the believer later and we must learn the difference between “tried with fire” and the “evil day” because satan is constantly trying to steal our time with God and prevent us from becoming ready for the Masters use by being purged of our old ways so we can serve God to the fullest. God has a plan and a purpose for our life as Romans 8:28 and others tell us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” And those plans are for good and not evil, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” And we can expect to be profitable for the Master’s use in the end.
MY PERSONAL FIRE-THE BEGINNING OF MY TESTIMONY
When I was born again on October 18, 1983 at 3 pm the church I was attending began a singles ministry that coincided with my born again experience and replaced my Friday night dance that I went to before I was born again. I have always thought God did that just for me. I started attending a “Through the Bible in a Year” course and I was the person that was in charge of getting people rides to the singles activities. Through this church I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and heard some of the best evangelist of our time, T.L. and Daisy Osbourn, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Norvell Hayes and testimonies from missionaries and pastors and teachers from all over the world. It was a time of learning from others and also learning from making mistakes. My social life became centered on the people in the singles group as I attended church at least five times a week and my life became centered on the church, but, unfortunately, as I will explain later, it wasn't centered on Jesus, but I learned a lot and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
FEELINGS, LUST OR LOVE
The first year after being born again it seemed as if I had an invisible shield around me because I was free to read my Bible, go to church, control my emotions, etc. I remember that I had given a lady a ride to lunch after church one Sunday and when I returned her to the church I could feel a spirit of lust. I just kind of looked at her and wondered what was going on when it suddenly went away which gave me a false sense of superiority and I thought I was invincible and satan was under my feet like I was being taught in this church. satan will flee if and when we submit ourselves unto God and resist him. James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."
I feel in my heart that the church has a one-year grace period within which to teach a new born again babe in Christ the spiritual truths they need to be able to overcome in the spiritual realm. When my year ended the only way to describe what happened is to say that all Hell broke loose. The same lady I so easily resisted only a few months earlier suddenly became irresistible and since this was the same way I had been “attracted” to the opposite sex in the past I figured it had to be love. James 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:” Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
I have talked to people that if they don't have “feelings” for someone of the opposite sex that they meet, and are thinking about having a relationship with, they will quit seeing that person. With the “feelings”, or spirit of lust, out of the way we can submit ourselves unto God and get to know the person and let God show us if this is the person He wants us to be with for the rest of our lives. The feeling we need to be sensitive to is that warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of our stomach when the Holy Spirit is saying “Yes, Yes, Yes, this is the one."
She had several leaders in the church that we were attending praying for us to get together and when I questioned them about us going to see a Christian counselor they replied that she and I being together was an answer to prayer. They had been sitting around the kitchen table praying for us to get together, but they forgot the husband and three kids and God’s will. Matthew 19:6, Jesus speaking, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” They told me that her husband had supposedly beaten her so it was okay. I was praying once and God gave me Matthew 5:32 as scripture reference as what to do, “That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication [adultery, incest, unlawful lust of either sex, harlotry and idolatry] causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:32 means what it says and there are no footnotes or exceptions.
I now had a choice to obey Jesus, the Word of God, or the church I was attending and you must realize at this point that I did not know that the Word of God was my Lord and Savior. I found out that the church had actually helped her separate from her husband and forcibly had him removed from the church grounds. He was going to a Christian counselor and was attempting to get her to go and now satan was using me to be sure she and the father of her three children wouldn't get back together and I would be temporarily sidetracked in my Christian walk. satan had a plan and I was being taught that he was a defeated foe that was under my feet and I had not been properly prepared for the battle in which I found myself involved.
BUILD ON THE ROCK, NOT SAND
As you probably have figured out by now, we got married the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 1984 and just like Matthew 7:24-27 says I had built my house on sand and great was going to be the fall of it. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a Rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house: and it fell not: for it was founded upon a Rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
The Monday after our wedding, day five of our marriage, I was at work and she was at our house. She called me at work and told me that she had found a letter that I had received from a former girl friend who was the last lady that I dated before being born again and had wrote me the letter asking me to forgive her for any hurt that she might have caused me during our relationship. It was in my mail box on the day that we had gotten married and instead of putting it in the trash I left it on my dresser.
Every day my wife would come up with something else she had found from the past. I had heard a sermon a few months before where the preacher had made the statement that a new Christian should go home and throw-away everything from their past that reminded them of their old life. I failed to do so because my old life didn't mean anything to me since I had determined to do things God's way, but I still needed to be taught what God's ways were. Throwing away everything that reminds you of your past ungodly life is not a bad idea, but I was going to have to learn the old fashioned way by the experience of losing and letting the devil run wild in my life until I would finally put my trust in Jesus for the solutions to my problems. This would take 15 months of total frustration in which I would cry out to God almost daily and ask Him why this was happening to me as I was reminded almost daily of the past life that I had wanted so desperately to escape. I was a new creature in Christ Jesus and wanted to serve God and satan had a plan to keep me in the past, but God had already made me a new creature and filled me with His Spirit and He keeps battling until He gets you to where He can use you. I was in a spiritual battle and thought that I was invincible. I had head knowledge of the devil, but I had never believed in my heart that he was real. First Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour:”
In July of 1985 I quit my job of 18 years to open a Christian bookstore. I will find out in eternity if I was in God's will, but I don't think I would have ever been able to write this if I hadn't been, because God needed my testimony. I got the bookstore open in November of 1985 and I laid it out, stocked it and included a frozen yogurt business. It looked pretty good, but I knew that the business would never make it and the store did okay considering we were arguing and worrying about every female that came in the store. I remember once we were in a warehouse store making some purchases for the yogurt shop when we were told that the last check we gave them had bounced and a man from the church we attended was in line with me and I was very embarrassed. After we left the store my wife was obviously mad. She said she wasn't mad about the check but that woman. What woman? The one in the tight pants. I was too busy looking at my shoes and hoping no one else I knew would walk up and find out about the bounced check. Later on I will show you what God has taught me about fiery darts, but they were coming hot and heavy this day. Ephesians 6:16, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."
One day I was carrying on a conversation with a lady customer in the store about the Catholic Church and looked back at my wife in the yogurt shop and she was giving me a dirty look for flirting and I was accused of opening the Christian bookstore so I could meet women. I do not mean to lay all the blame for the problems in my marriage on my wife because I should not have married her to begin with, but I had determined to do things God’s way and I wasn’t interested in other women. I was ignorant of the daily spiritual battle that we were all involved, but I knew I didn’t want to end up arguing and going broke and feeling separated from God. I wanted to live my life for Him and it seemed like I was a lot worse off than before I was born again. I never dreamed that the enemy had a plan to keep God’s plan and purpose from coming to pass in my life. I was totally ignorant of spiritual warfare.One of my biggest contributions to the strife that was going on was my old way of trying to control the people around me by being loud and boisterous, which worked well before I was born again, but I wasn’t getting the same results now. Do you think maybe God had something to do with that? After we got married, and it was obvious that we were going to have a few problems, I told God that I didn't want to get into a situation where I might hit her like she said her first husband had done. It seemed like the biggest battle we had was trying to get me to hit her and I was constantly trying to keep from hitting her and this had never been a problem in my relationships before. I wish I had understood that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but spiritual wickedness. The devil was the problem not her, but God has shown me since that I was in an all out spiritual war to destroy my credibility that also included witchcraft. God has also shown me that witchcraft has been a problem my entire life. satan has his people everywhere, especially churches.
While we were together we spent a lot of time going to a Christian counselor. I liked him because he kept a Bible in his lap and the bulk of the teaching was Bible based, but she didn’t like him because he didn’t agree with her all the time. There were good things and bad things we learned. There was too much emphasis on sex and we were given some pornographic “christian” literature on how to have sex. God is a God of simplicity! People spend too much time trying to have the perfect sex life. People need to kick the devil out of the bedroom and keep the marriage bed undefiled and they would find that sex would be much less stressful and much more enjoyable.
Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honourable [“timios”, valuable, that is, (objectively) costly, or (subjectively) honored, esteemed, or (figuratively) beloved:—dear, honourable, (more, most) precious, had in reputation.] in all, and the bed undefiled: [“amiantos”, unsoiled, that is, (figuratively) pure:—undefiled.]” Anything other than God's way of doing anything will always result in stress and give the devil place. Ephesians 4:27, “Neither give place to the devil.” We need to remember that God invented sex, the devil perverts and complicates it and it also helps if couples are in agreement with each other and not arguing all the time.
There were good things in the sessions, such as the man's role in a marriage and the woman's role. The man really has the bulk of the responsibility in a Christian marriage and if you Christian couples would just pray and have faith enough to let God take charge of your Christian spouses instead of trying to do it yourself you would be much happier. Going to counseling is great as long as it is based on Biblical principles and the two people involved are looking to change and do things God’s way and have a born again marriage. Ephesians 5:22-33, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
ANGER IS FEAR
One night I was trying to get an order ready to stock the bookstore and my wife came in and before I knew it she hit me in the side of the face with her fist because she was mad that I wasn't paying attention to her. I was unemployed at this point and needed to get the store open so we could have an income. I just grabbed her and held her until she got control of herself and I am glad I never did that, I was too big.
The church we were attending had a minister by the name of Jim DeVeau who had given his testimony that he and his wife had actually gotten into fist fights on the way to church. They kept going to church and praying and seeking God and worked their way through to where they had eight children. I succeeded in not hitting my wife for 14 months until one Wednesday night on our way to church, as she once again was threatening to leave; I finally reached over and pushed her shoulder. She hit me and grabbed me by the throat. When we got to the church parking lot I got out and walked in the church and God had Jim DeVeau walking in the back of the church and I grabbed him and hugged him and told him what had happened and burst into tears. Jim was the best possible person for me to confess my sin to as he understood what I was going through. He got us outside and asked my wife if she was okay and she said she was and we made an appointment to get together with Jim and his wife. When we got together I felt encouraged by the progress we made until the end when I told her I loved her and she said, “No you don't.” I felt very discouraged and felt that for some reason we were fighting a losing battle. I never dreamed I was fighting satan and not my wife or even myself and I do wish Ephesians 6:10-13 had been real to me at this point. We will study ground or place in chapter six, but I now know satan had all the ground he needed to create chaos in our marriage since I had disobeyed God in the beginning when He gave me Matthew 5:32 and I choose to marry her anyway.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore” and verse 16, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
One evening, very soon after this, we had retired for the night and I could just tell there was something very wrong and when I say very wrong, I mean even worse than usual. She said that God had told her a lot of things about me that day and, like I said earlier, one of the first things God wanted me to know was to be able to identify fiery darts, the wiles of the devil. God has since taught me about how a person “makes up a story” in their minds about other people that aren’t based on fact and then react to that person like the story is true. It wasn't too long after that when I was talking on the phone with her and she was threatening to leave and I got mad and told her to leave. She came to pick me up from the store and I told her I would walk home and for her to go on home. The closer I got to the house the madder I got and when I got there I found out that God had intervened and she was gone.
After fifteen months of marriage we separated and she wanted to go to our church for counseling. Remember, the church we attended was still my god and praise the Lord that was about to come to an end. I was out of town when she went, so when I got there they had already talked to her and had decided I was demon possessed. I was told that I shouldn't even have a bad thought much less become angry. [I have since learned that bad thoughts that result in anger are a result of a lack of knowledge of the spiritual battle that we are involved. I needed to know that they are the fiery darts of the wicked and the anger is the end result of a spirit of fear. God’s Word says He has not given us a spirit of fear. My fear was a result of my disobedience by not obeying Matthew 5:32 which caused me not to have confidence in my relationship with God. Anger is triggered by a spirit of fear which is the opposite of faith. Second Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”]
The counselors began to look in my eyes at the demons and telling them to come out and at this point, to be set free from the turmoil I suddenly found my life in, I would have let them do anything. I wish it was that easy. I was told afterwards to create an image of her and me and Jesus walking down a beach together and try to think on that as much as possible. At the end they called her in and I looked at her and told her that I loved her and I felt as if I was looking down a long tunnel with her at the end of it, as she told me once again that I didn't love her. Love is a commitment, not a feeling, Ephesians 5:25 and 33, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;” and “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
After I left the counseling session I was crushed and felt totally defeated. A spirit of suicide was attacking me, because I felt as if my god, the church I was attending, was rejecting me. On the way out one of the counselors handed me a list of scriptures and when I got back to the store I got them out and began to read them and began to feel a glimmer of hope amongst the turmoil and strife and as you can tell I made it through. I was learning that man may reject somebody, but once you put your faith in Jesus He will never leave you nor forsake you and I Praise Jesus for being there with me. Hebrews 13:5b-6, “For He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
I went to church one Sunday morning about two weeks after this to listen to Oral Roberts and my wife was there and wanted to try to get back together. I really believe God intervened, and I remember leaving there that morning knowing way down deep we would never get together again. From that time on I began to finally draw close to God. My wife, car, job and money were gone and I finally realized I couldn't rely on my church and the Christian bookstore I had quit my job of 18 years to finance was going to have to be closed. When I was a sinner I was lost and undone without God, but now I was lost and undone with God. Big difference.
God woke me up at three a.m. three days in a row about this time. The first time I blamed it on the devil and went back to sleep. The second time I decided to lay down to pray and went to sleep. The third time I decided I better stay up no matter what. God had me go to Psalm 91:14-16, “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” This salvation is the Hebrew word “yshuwah” that means “something saved, i.e. deliverance; hence aid, victory, prosperity:-deliverance, health, help(ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare.” Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”
One Sunday evening God led me to go to church and there was a man there that had once been an African witch doctor that was able to leave his body in the spirit at the direction of evil spirit beings and deliver messages to whomever he was directed. One day, after leaving his body and doing as he was directed by the powers of darkness, he was coming back to his body and found his way blocked by an invisible force. He was beginning to get desperate because he was unable to return to his body. This scared him because, he said, if a spirit doesn't return to it's body after a certain period of time it becomes a wandering spirit forever. [Probably goes to Hell.]
On his next trip into the spiritual realm he asked the evil spirits that he was in contact with why he wasn't able to get back to his body as he wanted. They told him that there was a Christian in his village that was praying and as long as she was praying he couldn't return to his body. He asked them how he could defeat her and they took him to a scaffold type arrangement that had seven stairs up and seven stairs down and they told him she was on the top step and to be able to defeat her, he had to bring her down. They told him the only way to defeat her was to make her angry and when he made her angry, he would then be able to take control of her and defeat her.
When he returned to his village he found out who she was and went to a stand of some sort that she had set up to sell something and took one of the items and turned around and walked off. She just watched him and didn't say anything. Later, as he was walking by where she lived, he walked up to her daughter and thumped her on the head and knocked her over. The Christian lady ran into the street and grabbed him by the ankles and begged him not to harm her daughter. Shortly thereafter, he realized he couldn’t defeat her and he turned his life over to God and became a Christian and God made a way for him to come to the same church I was at and tell his story. God knew I needed to hear his testimony.
Shortly thereafter in June of 1986 my son and I were at a theme park in Houston called Astroworld for Christian family night. I was talking to a lady from church when around the corner here comes my wife with some man that has his arm around her. I immediately felt angry and threw down a drink I had, and suddenly I remembered the man's testimony from church. Ephesians 4:26 tells us, “Be ye angry and sin not.” That enabled me to be able to walk up to them and take him by the hand and tell them if Jesus came back that night they would never know about it. They just shook their heads and refused to hear it.
That was on a Friday night and the very next Sunday morning God had me go to the church she was attending and read Matthew 5:32 to the man she was with and he said she was happy. We can't use happiness, and “it feels good”, as signs of being in God's will. I wish the father of my wife's children had read Matthew 5:32 to me. I had an “I Love My Wife” bumper sticker on my car until I finally realized they were married. Remember, love and marriage are commitments and should not be influenced by feelings or circumstances.
WAR ON THE SAINTS
As I sat in my bookstore everyday with not a whole lot to do but pray, cry out to God and read books as He led me to them, He could now begin to answer my question I asked Him in 1973 that I wrote about on page four of section one when I did something that was totally out of character for me and I asked Him, “Why God why?” In August, before I opened the bookstore, I was talking to a friend of mine, Hank Hering, and in the course of the conversation he had told me to read a book titled “War on the Saints” by Jessie Penn Lewis and Evan Roberts that was written in 1912. Of course I was too busy arguing with my wife and trying to get the bookstore open to read a book and I remember when I opened the very first box of books for the bookstore the abridged “sissy” version was right on top. Did I read it? Of course not. I called Hank and asked him to drop by and after I had told him about my dilemma the first thing he said was, “Have you read that book I told you to read?” So, six months after he first told me to read the book, I decided I better read the book.
The book is about the influence of demon spirits in the lives of Christians and it deals with such subjects as deception, possession, passivity [complacency-Christianity's sleeping sickness], ground, counterfeits of the divine and deliverance through resistance based on the cross and the Word of God. God has shown me that complacency is a huge problem in the body of Christ. The definition of complacency in Webster's Dictionary is, “Satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” Complacency among Christians comes in many forms and they are all engineered by the enemy and does not line up with God's perfect will for our lives. One thing in the book that I have always remembered is that it states that once a person realizes they have been deceived by the powers of darkness, sometimes it is very difficult to accept and a person must fight or denounce the deception to regain control. Complacency and convenience are a huge factor in keeping us divided into denominations and we will get into this in depth in the preceding pages. “War on the Saints” is a book that is rather difficult to read and my prayer is that God will be able to incorporate it into this message.
HOWARD O. PITTMAN
Shortly after this I decided to investigate going to Bible College and Hank Hering had loaned me his 280Z, so my son and I left to go to Tulsa and South Bend, Indiana to check out the Bible schools of Kenneth Hagin and Lester Sumarall. As we drove to Tulsa, I was listening to the testimony tape of Howard O. Pittman from Foxworth, Mississippi and I felt as if God wanted me to talk to him, so I stopped along the way and called his home base to see if he was there. They told me he was driving from Seattle and would be in Independence, Kansas the next day so I just kept on driving and got a room in Independence and called the church he was ministering at and found out where he was staying.
The next morning I drove to the place where he had his mobile home parked and he greeted me at the door. Howard was extremely hospitable and blessed me with his three books “Placebo”, “Demons an Eyewitness Account” and “The Day Star.” He also blessed me with several teaching tapes and part of the manuscript of his fourth book “The Covert War” and I gave him a copy of “War on the Saints.” After I read his books and listened to the tapes, I ended up ordering several more of his tapes and I would sit and listen to them and take notes and the Holy Ghost would begin to teach me through them. This was my Bible College, Brother Pittman was the moderator, the Holy Ghost was the teacher and I was the student.
FORGET THE PAST AND HUMBLE YOURSELF UNDER THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD
I had finally joined Jesus! Philippians 3:13-14, “But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” I had belonged to churches all my life and I have met so many people that think a church membership is going to get them to Heaven. I was on jury duty and one of my fellow jurors asked me to what denomination I belonged and I told him I belonged to Jesus, not a denomination. I'm still not sure he understood. We must be compelled, feel urgency about, going to God's Word and God's Word only for the answers to our problems. Remember, when people ask you if you have Jesus in your heart and is Jesus your Lord that means is the Word of God in your heart and is the Word of God your Lord. Doctrine is fine as long as it line's up with the Word of God, but we also need a complete gospel. If a church can't prove what they are teaching or doing by the Word of God, get out! Run saints of God, run! Join Jesus-the Word of God-the Son of God the Word! I don’t want to discourage anyone from gathering with the brethren, but we need to be careful that what is being taught from the pulpit lines up with scripture. Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Go to church where you can volunteer and help hurting people or just people that need to know about the battle they are in and that Jesus won that battle at Cavalry.
At this point I needed to learn to obey First Peter 5:5-11, “And be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
In addition to Brother Pittman’s books and tapes the Holy Spirit also began to teach me through other books and tapes like E.W. Kenyon's “Two Kinds of Righteousness” [An excellent book on the Starter Kit righteousness], Kenneth Hagin's tape series on spiritual authority and his books on prayer and faith and a very good book called the Bible. It's amazing what you learn when you look up a word in the concordance and learn the definition from the Greek dictionary and you know the definition, and then see how God teaches it in the Bible and its rather easy. I have heard a lot of good sermons and some that weren't so good, but I have found that you can almost always learn something when someone is using the Bible as the basis for their message.
THE TRIUNE CREATURE CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE
As God began to teach me one of the first things He wanted me to know or realize is that I am a triune creature. I always knew that we were created in God's image, so consequently, I always would make God into my image of what He should look like and He would generally be an old man with a long white beard sitting on a throne. I got a copy of a book in the mail the other day that had the ugliest picture of God I have ever seen on the cover of it. An atomic bomb has just been dropped and He has this huge frown on His face and His hair is long and wild looking and His hand is stuck out as if He is about to destroy the world. This is the image of God that I pray will not be displayed in this message, because after twenty years of His gentle guiding influence in my life I would picture Him as more of a God with His arms opened wide to a world that doesn't understand that He is a God of unconditional love. We will find out that we are called, elected and chosen and we already know that He draws us to Jesus by His Spirit. I picture God with a tear running down His cheek as He is rejected over and over, but then again don't forget about His big ears that are always listening for a repentant heart. His love is so great that we will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. First John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.”
In Genesis 1:26 & 27, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;,,,,So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” What is the real image of God, the God that gave His only begotten Son so that we could be set free from our sins? John 4:24 says, “God is a Spirit.” Colossians 1:15 says, that Jesus is the image of the invisible God and as long as we are in this realm He is an invisible God. Deuteronomy 33:27 and many other scriptures tell us that God is eternal or immortal, “The eternal God is thy refuge.” God is an invisible, immortal Spirit and since God created us in His image we are invisible, immortal spirits also. First Timothy 1:17, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen”
When we combine Genesis 1:26 & 27 with Genesis 2:7 it completes the picture. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Until that day man was a spirit creature. We were created invisible, immortal spirits in the image of God, who is also an invisible, immortal Spirit, and then placed into a body of flesh so we could become a living human being with a body and a unique personality that sets us apart from each other not only physically, but spiritually.
I was born again on October 18, 1983 and I just recently realized that my born again date is my conception date. I was born on July 18th exactly nine months from my born again date. On October 18th my flesh was conceived and God sent forth my spirit into my mother’s womb to begin the developmental stage of my birth and nine months later on July 18th I was birthed into this world through my mother.
In Genesis 2:21-23 God created a helpmate for man. “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.”
I was in church one day and the preacher said that one day when his flesh died he would step out of his body and go on to his eternal reward and I didn't fully understand this until I read, Luke 8:49-56, “While He yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, He answered him saying, Fear not; believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when He came into the house, He suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but He said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again and she arose straightaway: and He commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished: but He charged them that they should tell no man what was done."
First Corinthians 15:44 says, “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” Second Corinthians 5:6-8, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight :) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
Second Corinthians 5:1-9, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from Heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [guarantee] of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him."
First Thessalonians 4:13-14, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” We will learn in chapter seven that this is when God comes back to establish His Holy Mountain on Earth for the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ as found in Revelation 20:1-6.
ONE IN CHRIST JESUS
The Word of God tells us that when we are in Christ Jesus, when we become God's children, we all become one. Galatians 3:26-28, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” When we were born again each and everyone of us were delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of God’s Son as Colossians 1:13 tells us and received “A Starter Kit” of truth, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, justification, glorification, holiness, remission, redemption, mercy, grace and peace with God, so we can take that “Starter Kit” and become wise, righteous, sanctified, just, trustworthy, holy, washed in His Word, redeemed, merciful, compassionate peacemakers. Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Regardless of what sex or race you are or where you live, if you are baptized into Jesus Christ and are a child of the most high God, the creator of the universe, everything in the Bible, all the promises of God, are yours too.
Ephesians 2:11-22, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles [Anyone that is not a Jew] in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands [Jews]; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [Strong’s 5418-phragmos-1) a hedge, a fence 2) that which separates, prevents two from coming together.] between us; [The Jews and the Gentiles] Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both [The Jews and the Gentiles] unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Jews]. For through Him we both [Jews and the Gentiles] have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
God broke down the walls of prejudice and hatred between the Jews and everybody else on the Earth, and the constant battle between the Jews and the Muslims or any body else is nothing but the devil and his demons stirring up trouble and keeping the world from living in peace with one another. Of course, the key is being one in Christ Jesus and humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that He can teach us His ways and we can make Jesus, the Word of God, the Son of God, who is also the Word, our Lord and Savior. Always remember that Gentiles are anybody that is not a Jew and there are only a little more than 13 million Jews. Make a list and start with the Middle East and go from there. First John 2:1-2, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Propitiation is an expiator. According to Webster’s expiator is “To make amends or reparation for (wrongdoing or guilt); atone for. To pay the penalty of; suffer for.” Hallelujah!
Let's see what else we can find out about God’s Starter Kit by Jesus through God's Armor!