GOT LITTLE FAITH? PART 2

 

DIVINE PROTECTION

 

In my previous message, I wanted to demonstrate how the move of the Holy Spirit in this land is hindered by the lack of Faith on behalf of Christians concerning the Provision of the Lord on their behalf. As a result we get preoccupied with chasing after things of this world FIRST, rather than seeking after the Lord and the establishment of His Kingdom. Personal debt, financial instability and the anxiety that follows those things result in rendering Christians ineffective in the area of spiritual warfare because they are too entangled in the affairs of is worldly kingdom to make the Kingdom of God their priority.

As I said in the previous study, there are FOUR areas in scripture where the Lord rebuked the disciples for having little faith. The first was in the area of Provision. The second place where He rebuked them for having little faith was in the area of Protection. Trusting God to protect us in every aspect of our lives, whether it is financial, physical, spiritual or emotional is essential for a true move of God to take place in this nation. It is when His children understand that HE is their strength and their shield that they will go out and do exploits in the Name of Jesus!

If we can’t trust Him, we will be caught up in fear (of losing our provision, of getting hurt or killed, of getting possessed or getting curses or hexes put on us, or of losing our loved ones or our friends because of our stand for the Faith), and fear and faith cannot mix. Fear is what keeps revival at bay.

Mat 8:23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

I believe one of the primary reasons if not THE reason so many Christians don’t go out into the Highways and the byways and the marketplaces to share their faith is because they are fearful of the unknown. Because most Christians are not well versed or are downright illiterate concerning the Bible, they are apprehensive about the possibility of someone throwing something at them that will shake their faith in the Word of God, or that they will be poor representatives of Jesus Christ because of their lack of scriptural understanding.

We like to be in control of our circumstances. People want to be in control of their situation because they have fear of the unknown. The disciples had lost control of their ship, and they were panicking, even though Jesus was with them. Do you realize that Jesus is always with you, regardless of the circumstance? Why won’t you relinquish your control of the situation to Jesus? Some examples of control are when the employer tells the employee that he will fire the employee if he mentions Jesus Christ during work hours. That’s an obvious example of control.

But what we don’t view as control is when the employee is asked about his faith by a co-worker, or asked to pray for his co-worker, and he fails to respond accordingly because he doesn’t want to lose his job. If the Lord was in control of the situation the employee would say “whether it be right to obey God or man you be the judge, but there is a higher Authority at work here, and He is drawing this one to Him, and giving me the opportunity as His servant to speak the words of Life to this one, and I am not going to miss this opportunity regardless of the cost!”.

I have had many Christians who came to me for comfort or prayer telling me of a friend or a co-worker who died suddenly, and they missed the opportunity to tell them abut Jesus thinking they would have another chance. Because so many are afraid of losing their source of income, they take control of the circumstance, and decide what is an opportune time for witnessing and what is not. Yet the Word of God exhorts us to be ready always to give an answer to every man of the reason for the hope that is within us!

Under the covenant of Faith, we should KNOW that the LORD IS OUR PROVIDER! If I get fired, so what? A soul is worth more than any amount of money we could make. What amount of money can supersede the value of the Blood of Jesus Christ, Who died so that no soul should perish? Fear of losing control of where our provision comes from keeps us silent. And fear is evidence of a lack of Faith.

The word “CAREER” has more weight among Christians in America than the word “CALLING”. The United States is swiftly losing its designation as a Christian Nation (some would say it already has lost it!) because Christians choose their career over the Lord’s Calling. If the truth be known, many choose their career over Jesus. They choose to embrace a gospel of convenience over obedience to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. It’s because truly walking in faith means relinquishing our control to a God we cannot see!

It’s fine and dandy to speak "Christianeze", but to live a surrendered Christian life is another thing altogether. Words like this grates against the flesh. We want to rare up and shut our eyes and plug our ears and say “la,la,la,la,la,la…I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” But, friend, we cannot have genuine revival without being willing to give all control up to Jesus! “YOUR WILL BE DONE, LORD, NOT MINE! NO MATTER WHAT THE COST, I THROW MY LIFE AT YOUR FEET. I SURRENDER TO YOU TO BE THE LORD OF EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE. I PUT MY TRUST IN YOU AND IN YOU ALONE!”

When (if) the Church really gets beyond just mouthing these words, we’ll see a wonderful move of God in this Nation! Friend, for the sake of this nation’s well being, ask yourself: “Where do I really line up with the Word of God in Colossians 3:1-5?”

Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

Just so the reader understands: I haven’t always been in full time ministry. I have been on the road in ministry for 19 years. For seven of those years I was bi-vocational. Working mainly in the construction fields to support my family and the ministry of evangelism the Lord had entrusted to us. When I worked, I would work like I was in the employ of Jesus. I would work hard, and do everything I could to do a good job. But if I was told I would have to work on the Sabbath, or that I could not share my faith on the job site, I would humbly (not arrogantly) explain my convictions to my employer, and if he was adamant in his stance, I would quit without a moment’s hesitation. I never wasted my employer’s time in my witness to others. But I would be vocal about my faith. I lost a couple of jobs because of my stand, but the Lord ALWAYS provided me with better ones! Most of the time, though, the employer wouldn’t want to lose me because I was a hard worker, and he would acquiesce to my convictions. The Lord’s Protective Covering has always included the area of our finances. I am only mentioning this to be clear that I practice what I preach. People who know me know that’s true.

But some who visit this web site know nothing of the ministry the Lord has entrusted me with. This isn’t to brag or to say I am something or that I have arrived…I understand the admonishment that warns us that if we think we stand, we need to be careful, lest we fall! All of my boasting is absolutely in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has shown Himself mighty in our lives ever since we were saved 24 years ago! I just know that He is our Protector in Every area of our lives.

I suppose I could take control of the situation and send out flyers and solicit monthly support from the churches I have the opportunity to work with. I could probably work it out so that I am ensured speaking engagements every week. I know I could do all that. That kind of thing is an accepted practice in the Church in America today. But my covenant of faith with the Lord won’t allow me to do that in good conscience. The Lord solicits my finances. The Lord opens the doors for speaking engagements. The Lord finances me to go where He calls me to go. I like it that way. If I am rich, hallelujah! It’s because of the Lord. If I am poor, hallelujah! It’s because of the Lord! He is in control, and I strive to be yielded to His Will in every aspect of my life. I have learned the truth of the Word that says Godliness with contentment is great gain!

Truly walking in the Covenant of Faith requires the relinquishing of control, and letting the Lord be in control in every situation. Relinquishing control of our “itineraries” and truly allowing the Lord to direct our steps. Relinquishing control of our environment and being willing to step out of our comfort zones. Relinquishing control of the way we get our Provision from the Lord. Relinquishing control of our adult children and entrusting them to the Lord. And most important, relinquishing control of our ministries. That is what “Thy Will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven” means!

The Lord’s Protection is over those who fear Him, revere Him and who honor Him with their lives. In every aspect of our lives, the Lord should be our shield and our Defense. Under the covenant of Faith, the only fear we should have is for the Lord. Jesus meant it when He said:

Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

What a beautiful Psalm and what precious promises and assurances we get from the Lord when we read Psalm 34. There were many times when David was between a rock and a hard place. One time Saul was out to kill him because of his jealousy, and he fled from Saul, only to fall into the hands of the king of Gath. I believe that the Lord gave David the wisdom to feign insanity, and the king of Gath booted him out! You can read the account in 1 Sam 21:10-15. The king could just as well have killed David, but the Lord showed David what to do at the right time! Spontaneity. That’s where the Lord is Glorified!

Psa 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Spontaneous Praise +

2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

Spontaneous testimonies +

3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Spontaneous Worship =

4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Spontaneous Protection! AND...


8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

Spontaneous Provision!

One on one ministry thrusts you into a situation where you have to be spontaneous in your response to any thing the devil might throw at you, and spontaneity is where the Lord operates through the Holy Spirit. That’s why Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow.

1 Peter 3:15 says that we need to ALWAYS be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about our Faith in Jesus Christ. This letter is all inclusive. It is written to the believers who were in the Church back in Peter’s day, as well as to you and me.

1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear....

In context, Peter isn’t telling Christians that they need to have fear of the situation, but fear for the other person’s soul, as well as being careful not to be hypocritical in our witness to others, while we tell them they should repent of their sin, and we ourselves are entangled in sin. But if we have a good conscience before God, then we can withstand any accusation the devil may throw against us.

....16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

A case in point here (concerning the exhortation that we ought to have a good conscience) is that it is very common (almost on a daily basis) when I am bragging about Jesus to those who don’t know Him yet, to hear someone object to Christianity because “it’s just a gimmick for preachers to make a buck.” That’s what they have seen when they have gone to program oriented churches, or turned on the television. They have heard the servants of Mammon making their pitches for money in the Name of Jesus.

Most of these servants of Mammon will dismiss that argument and say that those heathens are just looking for an excuse to continue in their sin. I say take that excuse away from them! Get real with God. Trust Him for your provision! In every instance when that argument presents itself, I can look them directly in the eye, and tell them, “not every one who is in ministry is making a pitch for a buck.” I then tell them how for the last 19 years I and my family have only trusted Jesus for the source of our provision. I tell them that I have a wife and seven children, live in a motor home (a fifth wheel camper now), never make our needs known to anyone, only once in 19 years have made an appeal for money to support the ministry that the Lord called us to (wish I had a perfect record!) and am just about serving the Lord and going out and finding people who are hungry for change in their lives. I have found such receptiveness to the Gospel in those situations, because I am able to share the gospel with a good conscience. I can look them in the eye and say I am NOT about money. Despite my many failings and imperfections, I am all about souls and service to the Lord! Because my conscience is clear in that area, I don’t have to try to give a convincing argument to them as to why I feel it is right to drum up money to get people to support “my” ministry.

People are looking for GENUINE Christianity. They will embrace it when they find it, and I know that the Lord will continue to provide for us through those who can hear His Voice, so I don’t have to appeal for finances. Hallelujah! So many ministries today don’t realize what a blessing that is! Often I will have a non-Christian try to give me money, but I adamantly refuse it, telling them that their soul is my only concern. I’ve had people throw money at me, thinking I would have to take it, and watched it blow away in the wind. I’ve turned down hundred dollar bills and wads of money that heathens have tried to offer me, and because of that, have led many of them to the Lord. And because of that I can look them in the eye with a good conscience, and tell them that the ministry the Lord gave me is not about money.

1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

1Pe 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Christians may be fearful to share their faith in the market place, because they know that their lives aren’t lining up with the Word of God. Well, I say make up your mind to LINE UP! Another way of wording it is “repent!” What a Promise…to see good days. I love good days. Many Christians are afraid to share their faith because of the potential of getting hit by someone, or worse. But if we are truly walking in the Covenant of Faith, we will embrace every aspect of His Word:

1Pe 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

I was walking on the Mississippi River levee in the Plaquemines area of Louisiana on my prayer walk up the Mississippi River a few years ago (maybe 2003), when a small pickup drove by on the highway below me. Since a man carrying a cross wearing a white robe is not a real common sight now days, I usually have a lot of people who honk, or wave, or curse or scream at me. Most everyone slows down to get a better look, and some even come back around a second time to make sure they saw what they saw! The reason this pickup grabbed my attention was because it sounded like it had a hole in the muffler or maybe the muffler was missing. As the driver drove by, he slowed down when he saw me, and the tail pipe popped and sputtered with the sudden deceleration. It was a grey pickup, and had some kind of magnetic sign on the driver’s door. There was a lawnmower in the bed of the pickup. The driver stared hard at me while he passed…I figured it was just another curious onlooker so I waved at him and said a prayer for him as I always do when people pass and show some kind of a reaction toward what they see.

A while later, a car pulled up to me on the levee. There were three people in the car. The driver was a saint of God – a beautifully joyful African American woman who was praising Jesus as she got out of the car, and grabbed me and gave me a big hug. The other two in the car were her son and daughter in law, who did not yet know Jesus. My sister and I fellowshipped a while and you would have thought we had known each other for years! (Isn’t that neat how the Holy Spirit unites His children like that? I wonder why that spontaneity of Holy Spirit Love and compassion doesn’t happen across denominational lines? Hmmm….must be some FLESH in the way!)

After a while I determined that this saint of the Most High God wanted me to speak with her son and daughter in law. While I was speaking to them about their souls and the necessity to be saved, another car pulled up on the levee. This time it was a police officer. He loved the Lord, too! We were having a mini revival right there on the levee, with the son and daughter in law hearing me and then the police officer give testimonies of the goodness of the Lord, and the mother telling them that they need to be listening to us. I was about to lead both of them in a prayer to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord, when that little grey pickup came back, pulled over and parked at the side of the road at the bottom of the levee.

Two African American men came walking up the levee toward us. One of them had a video camera, and was filming us as the driver said “Sir! Would you mind if I asked you a couple of questions?” Immediately I thought “Black Muslims” because of the arrogant demeanor and the argumentive attitude in which the question was asked. I looked at the man, and said, “Sure, bro. You can ask me anything you want, but only if you answer my question first. Are you Born Again?” The man’s eyes opened wide like I had said something that really shocked him. He hesitated a moment while I waited for his answer, and then he hung his head, and said, “Man, I used to be. But I am running wild out there now, and I know I’m not where I need to be.” I told him that once we are born the first time, that’s a done deal. We can’t reenter our mother’s womb and do it all over again until we get it right. I told him the second birth is like that as well. If he had truly been Born again once, he was still Born Again…but maybe he was backslidden and rebelling against His Father, which isn’t a good place for anyone to be. I told him the parable of the Prodigal Son. I explained to him that he just needed to come to his senses, and repent and come back home! My precious sister jumped in and affirmed everything I said, and the police officer preached to them as well!

Wow! The camera man didn’t pray to ask Jesus in his heart, but the son, the daughter in law and the once arrogant man humbled themselves and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord, and all the while the camera man recorded everything. We all fellowshipped for a while, the big guy was weeping, knowing his sins were forgiven. Momma was all happy, and the police officer knew the big guy, and was encouraging him to be the man of God and an example to his running partners! GLORY! What a wonderful time that was!

Eventually the two guys started to go down the levee to the pickup, when the driver turned around. He walked back up to where we were standing, rejoicing in the Lord. “I need to tell you why I came here, man. I drove by a while ago and saw you walking, wearing that white robe and carrying that cross and I thought you were the Ku Klux Klan! I went and got my partner, and we were going to tape me messing you up!” I laughed and asked the camera man to roll the film again. I put my arm around my brother and said, “See how the Lord works? What the devil meant for bad, God turned around for good! He didn’t know it, but the Holy Spirit set him up to get back to his Father’s House.” We hugged each other as the camera was rolling. THAT WAS A GOOD DAY!

The purpose of this testimony is to let you see the protection of the Lord over His servants who are about His business. That man was going to hurt me, maybe even kill me, but the Lord brought three African Americans, one of which really loved the Lord, and a sheriff to be standing with me on the levee when he came back. No doubt he had to leave his weapon (if he had one) in the truck because of the sheriff. Glory!

I have a vast array of testimonies of the Lord’s Divine intervention on my behalf as I have been in service to Him. On several occasions, packs of dogs that come running at me barking and snarling have turned away when I said “get behind me in the Name of Jesus Christ!” The Word of God says that God gave men dominion over the animals. It is hard to say how many times He has defended me when I wasn’t even aware of it! I have been slapped on occasion, shoved and knocked down a few times. I have been threatened and cursed at countless times. But I know that EVERY TIME that happens, the Holy Spirit will deal with that person in some way or another. Sometimes I will see the results of the Holy Spirit dealing with the person, and sometimes I won’t, but I KNOW that a heathen cannot touch the Lord’s anointed without being dealt with, because the Word of God says it (1 Chr 16:20 -22).

I never desire to see any harm come to those who do me harm. I want to see them come to salvation. I have had many people come back to apologize for their behavior, and have led them to the Lord! I have had heathens that were mocking me just a couple of minutes earlier intervene on my behalf and fight someone who was going to do me harm.

2Ti 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

See how serious this admonishment is! I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ: This isn’t just a suggestion…it’s a serious admonishment. There is no option for the Christian. We need to understand that God will judge both the living and the dead! We must ALL stand before the Judgment seat of God, and this life is the one that we will be judged for.

MANY who we had an opportunity to share the gospel with, but didn’t will go to Hell.

MANY who thought “the magic prayer” would save them will slip into hell for eternity because they were deceived.

Yet so many (too many) Christians are silent as people die around them every day.

My mom used to have chickens. She had lots of chickens. Every once in a while she would go to the coop and grab one. Man, would there be a commotion as she chased the chickens around. There would be great pandemonium and chaos. Finally she would grab one and take it out of the coop. There would be a little clucking and disturbance for a while in the coop, but eventually all would be back to normal, and the chickens would go on as if nothing had happened, scratching away at the ground for their feed. Until the next time she came in. Repeat scenario. Nothing changed. More chickens would die, and more would be born. NOT ONE CHICKEN EVER STOOD UP FOR THEIR COMPANIONS! Of course, what do you expect? They were all chickens!

Unfortunately there are too many chickens in Christianity.

I was blessed yesterday as I visited with and counseled a few Christians. I had one of them say, “you know, I am getting more vocal about my faith. It seems that I am being more aware of the opportunities to lift up the Name of Jesus in different situations.” Thank You, Jesus! I have been teaching on Faith on Wednesday nights, and the gist is that if you say you believe in Jesus Christ, and aren’t bragging about Him, the chances are that you don’t believe in the Jesus Christ of the gospels. I teach that if you REALLY believed in Him, YOU WOULD TAKE HIS WORDS SERIOUSLY, AND STRIVE TO WALK IN OBEDIENCE TO WHAT HE SAID. That’s why we are not to be anxious about tomorrow (Matt. 6:34) or to make plans concerning what we are going to be doing in the future.

And that is why we are to go and preach the gospel, to lay hands on the sick, and to cast out demons! Because we BELIEVE IN THE JESUS CHRIST OF THE GOSPEL! No one can protect you like the Almighty God.

Psalm 34:11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

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