Sooner or later, the realization that God is real and trustworthy will come as long as you are searching for proof of His power and love. The test is not whether He proves Himself worthy. It is whether we choose to believe in His worthiness. We are the weakest link and that is where religion proves its weakness. Those of us who were raised in religion have the hardest time realizing that we are the problem in building faith, not God. I should know because I had to overcome Lutheran and Christian Reformed religious dogma to realize that God has never been my problem. I have always been my problem.
I can’t and won’t implicate the religious instruction I received in church and in Christian college. My problem was closer to home than right or wrong teaching. It was my own failure to take an active stand to make God my partner in life. It’s true that I had no idea how to make God my active partner. It’s also true that religious instruction really didn’t show me how to do it either. But there were always people who had a strong, personal relationship with God around me. My failure was to dismiss their example as frivolous or meaningless. I didn’t know that they had developed a relationship with God through trial and error, just as we all developed relationships with one another.
Why was this so hard for me to recognize? It’s because I had developed a defense habit against prejudice that included keeping my friendships “at arms length” at all times. I saw what my friends were doing, but did not really observe. I knew the friends I had that were close to God, but made no effort to understand how they were close to God. I didn’t even try to ask them how they built their relationship with God because the few people I did ask when I was younger replied with these main answers:
- You have to take it by faith.
- You just need to have more faith.
- You will know when it’s God.
- I don’t know how to tell you, it was just a natural thing for me.
- Ask your preacher, he knows how.
- Just do what the church tells you.
- Just do what the Word says.
In my mind, I had these objections to their answers.
- What does faith look like and feel like?
- How can I get more faith, when I don’t know what faith is?
- How will I know when it’s God, could it also be a deceiving spirit?
- If obedience to God is natural, why is it so hard to accomplish?
- I did ask my preacher, he gave me the first three answers.
- When I obeyed the church, (any of them), my life was still the same, or worse and I still didn’t have a relationship with God, I only had a better relationship with the church leaders when I obeyed them, and a much worse relationship with church leaders when I questioned or did something they didn’t like.
- How can I do what the Word of God says, when I wasn’t shown how to study the Word myself? (Church Bible study was rarely or never a true Bible study. It was only an extension of Sunday service where the leader was still the teacher, a group where everyone could voice their varied opinions, or a play gathering.)
I came to the conclusion that God really does interact with people, but most of the time, those people don’t know how He does it. For these people, I saw that they failed just as often as they succeeded, but their successes could just as easily be attributed to good observation, education, intelligence, or people skills. My question was this, how could they tell the difference between their own skills or God’s spiritual intervention? It’s the same question I’ve had to ask about myself as well. How can a believer like myself know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Holy Spirit is speaking?
It had to be possible. The first believers in the church knew when the Holy Spirit was working within them. They had no doubt. When the Spirit told them something to say, they knew it was the Spirit and said it. When the Spirit led them to go somewhere, they knew it was the Spirit and went there. When the Spirit inspired them to do something, they knew it was the Spirit and did it. I wanted to have that same kind of relationship with God they had and I wasn’t satisfied with a form of believing that acknowledged God, but denied His power.
2 Timothy 3: 5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Too many of us have been taught this form of gospel. We’ve learned to display our “godliness” by our service to the church, our service to our community, and our service to our causes, but did it all without the power of God. We learned to trust our own strength and abilities. We accomplish our good works, with the intention of serving God. An old English proverb says: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Usually, it means, we know what we ought to do, but out of fear or laziness, we never do that thing we know we should.
I had to learn its other meaning by or according to the Spirit. We can serve God by our flesh in many ways with the intention of obedience to God, but never obey God. The only way to obey God is to obey His Word. That is the seventh piece of advice I received above. But when I did exactly what the Word said and even quoted the verse where it said it, I lost my income, two cars, my health insurance, and very nearly everything else I owned. I sold off all that I had that I didn’t need, paid off all of my debts, and moved to serve God in obedience to a call from a minister in another state. My family and I moved to serve God and the church in obedience to this minister. But when we got there, we were on our own. That minister had no network of support to get us started and moving in any direction. We had to find our own jobs, our own place, and our own church. He didn’t have a suggestion for us until we lost all our money living in hotels with all our belongings in rented storage.
The jobs we had were a joke. Long hours at work, but receiving no income. (Commission sales, but with a manager that sent his crew to tapped out areas that had been worked by the same company already.) Short hours at work with good pay. Long hours at work with little pay. In the end, we couldn’t afford to keep an inexpensive, rented mobile home. The church owned the home and I did the maintenance for the church. The maintenance work wasn’t enough to pay the rent and my wife’s work wasn’t enough to make up the difference and pay the utilities. Obedience to men in order to serve God through the church was an utter failure. This was the point I needed to get to in order to learn how to listen to God directly.
I had nowhere else to turn. All of my resources were depleted. My parents were dead. My wife’s parents were dead. All of our friends and family were at least 300 mi. away. The friendships we built at church were only as strong as our attendance to that church. I had to learn that there was a point of separation between obedience to God and obedience to men. That there was a difference between the spiritual and the carnal. My obedience to the rules of religion and the expectations of church leadership had led me to a point of near bankruptcy and they had no answers. I was wrong to live on unearned income. I was wrong to accept earned income that required me to work instead of serving the church. I was wrong to believe in the power of God. I was wrong to believe I should listen to God.
Instead of teaching me that I should trust God directly, I finally realized that I was being taught to trust God indirectly by my trust in men. I was told I shouldn’t study scriptures that talked about the power of God or spiritual matters. Instead, I should concentrate on the scriptures that spoke of obedience to the higher powers and of good habits that build good character. God had to open my eyes to the fact that good character doesn’t insure good wages or good hours. In addition to that, obedience to men, even the men of the church doesn’t insure good results or good friendships. Only God can lead me to good jobs, good wages, good investments, good results, and good friendships. But only if I listened to His advice.
When I had the distinct thought to leave the church and serve another, I didn’t question it for the first time. God reminded me of the commitment I made to Him one year earlier. In response to my wife’s question to me whether the move away from home was right, I was inspired to tell her that we would know it was right after one year. I told God then that I would stay committed to the church for one year, (52 weeks). During that time, the preaching became increasingly venomous and incoherent. Communication with the pastor deteriorated. The church grew in reverse and interestingly enough, no baptisms were performed for over a year. The first baptisms I witnessed at that church, happened 53 weeks after our arrival, and only included the children of existing members. The church was dying spiritually and its leadership were divided. Of twenty-six members in attendance, ten were ministry trained and seven were ordained. Nobody that we brought to that church stayed more than two weeks. I left that church in obedience to God and over the course of the next three years, watched everyone cut off all communication from me. There is no going back to a Christian church after you leave in obedience to God.
Interestingly enough, friends who didn’t believe in God, had more to offer during our time of greatest need than the church or our friends in the church. God had to audibly tell us to accept help from “unbeliever” friends who were walking by His Spirit. It was from those friends that I learned the difference between obedience to God and obedience to religion. I had devoted my life to obedience to religion and “wise” men only to find out that religion was empty and the “wise” were anything but… I could freely speak of God’s love and power to these friends and watched them raise a successful child. I learned it was better to be independent and anonymous with the ability to help others than to be open and vocal without any ability or desire to help. These true friends were anonymous to the church but had a real heart of compassion.
One friend allowed our family to stay with them without cost, (except food) until we could get work and find a place to live. We stayed with them for almost a month. A random encounter with another friend, (one who I previously believed was an enemy), led us to an affordable place to live. A place that included all utilities in the rent. At another point in time, we needed a place to live again as we found out that family could not be counted upon for temporary residence. We were homeless and sleeping in our vehicles wherever we could find a place to park. A person we never met before, but knew people in the church we were attending offered the use of their office until we could find a permanent home. This person saved our family in the dead of winter, giving us a warm room and floor for a few weeks. This was enough time for us to find a home to rent and this person also became our employer later.
Yes, God works through people. But if we only expect church people to listen to God, we will be disappointed. Only the last person above attended a church and it was not the one we attended. Nobody in our own church had either the ability or desire to help one of their own members. When the church gave us money to get a room at a motel, it was only enough for five days. We couldn’t get enough to last one week. Money was not the need, shelter was the need and God showed us that the source of His provision may not come by means that we expect.
“Blood is thicker than water” is one phrase that family members use to justify supporting family more than the church. But the catch is this. Those that use this phrase expect the help to come to them. When called upon to help, they will be the first to deny the ability or they will feign a desire but include an excuse why it would be impossible for them to help. We found that family members are also unreliable. Our family decided in the middle of the night and during a storm that one night with family was not going to happen. We had just turned in for the night in their spare bedroom when we were suddenly told to leave and find our own place to stay until we could find work. We had no previous argument or altercation to justify the action, this is how we were shown that our battle is spiritual.
Why was the Salvation Army never considered? Their help comes by a “first come, first served” basis. No dogs are allowed, and we have an old dog that is both a rescue dog and a service dog. Though she is not a pet, they have no provision for her to stay with us if we chose to accept their help. We chose to trust God instead of the Salvation Army. This is not an indictment against them. We simply recognized their situation.
So here is the summary:
- Non profits may not have the ability to offer assistance to a believer in a time of need, they must abide by their own rules and by laws.
- Churches may not have the desire or ability to offer assistance to a believer in need, they are bound by their lack of understanding the spiritual competition.
- Family may not have the desire or ability to offer assistance in a time of need, they are bound by their own personal agendas.
- Friends may not have the desire or ability to offer assistance when a need becomes apparent, they have needs and desires as well.
- These all may fall short of offering deliverance in a time of need, but God can work through any of them to make deliverance possible.
As we go through life, it’s important for us to learn how to recognize God’s voice. Over time, we learn that obedience brings deliverance in a time of need. The deliverance rarely appears in a manner we expect, but it will always come. We cannot limit God’s ability to work only through people we know, deliverance may come from a total stranger who eventually becomes our friend. Deliverance may come from a former enemy, who has now become a friend. But no matter how God makes deliverance possible, we have to realize that He is the one behind the deliverance we need. Money is not deliverance, when the need is food and shelter. Employment is the deliverance that will supply the need for both food and shelter.
In every case where both food and shelter were our need, receiving employment leads always led to work. Work supplies the income that makes food and shelter possible. The only thing we need is the ability to recognize God’s voice to keep one step ahead of the next impending calamity. When you decide to enter the spiritual battle, the adversary has many allies that are more than ready to do his bidding to make a believer’s life appear useless and meaningless. But it is through these times of tribulation that the believer learns most. The times I mentioned, above happened over a five year period of time in our personal, family life.
Today, the entire world is being held captive to a perceived pandemic. If we really look at the numbers, Covid-19 isn’t any more deadly than the yearly flu epidemic. We don’t hear about the death numbers from the flu. Covid-19 is being effectively controlled in third world countries, but is running rampant in the developed world. Why is the effective drug ignored or maligned in favor of a hastily developed vaccine. We are experiencing social engineering before our eyes and the results will be devastating against anyone who attempts to tell the full story and dissent from the politically supported party line. Great fortunes are at stake and the most vocal people who support the government’s position are set to profit the most.
Christians who judge by the flesh are most vulnerable to deception. Christians who walk by the Spirit will not be deceived. How will you decide who to vote for in this next election? Can you believe the networks will give you true information? Do you really believe the politicians? If our choice is between bad and worse, who really knows what goes on in a man’s heart and is able to give the best suggestion? Only God can tell us who we should vote for. But God doesn’t tell us through Evangelical ministers, or our own pastor. God tells every Radical Christian who walks by the Spirit directly. As it is impossible for me, or anyone else, to say who is the best candidate, we need to learn to listen to God and obey accordingly. This will become a milestone election just like the last. Obedience to God will be our only deliverance from the evil that is trying to take over our government.
Do you want to blame President Trump? Look who is working against him the most. Look at both parties. Washington establishment declared war against him from the first day after the 2016 election. Congress and the non-elected power players in government are still against him. They have used the media for four years to undermine President Trump’s actions, programs, and policies. They have ignored every good thing he has done, making him appear to be one of the most ineffective presidents in history. The truth is just the opposite. Maybe we need to change the voices in Congress more than the voice in the White House. This may be our last opportunity to vote for a group of leaders that really care about the best interests of the people rather than the best interests of the government. If you are tired of liberal lies, vote for the people God tells you to vote for.
Just as God has saved our family time and time again. God can save our nation as well. God is always faithful. He will always tell who the best people are. They may not be perfect and agree with everything we want, but they will be the best available. They will be the people who can turn away the tide of corruption that controls the direction of our government. This is how God can re-enter our culture from the top down. We have to place the people He supports into leadership. They may not appear supportable, but we need to pray for more Gideon’s to rise up during this election. We need to see God’s shakeup continue beyond the White House. I don’t believe God has given up on Donald Trump. There is more to come if we continue to support God’s choice as President. We need to see God’s faithfulness to our prayers come to pass. We cannot give up the momentum begun in 2016.
Get the book below if you want to learn how to listen to God and defeat the ungodly liberal doctrine rampant in our government. Then please vote for the book at the Author Academy Award site as well. Thank you for making God your partner in life and for your vote.