FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
16 May, 1999
So are you ready to continue on with The Good Fight Of Faith (The Spirit Of God Verses The Flesh Of Man) part VI? Well I donít know about you, but I am! Because you see Iím starting to realize that when it comes to fighting the flesh I need all the help that I can get. And itís through this weekís sermonet that Iím sorta like fessing-up to the fact that Iíve got a whole lot more learning to do.
Because you see it was early last Sunday morning, before I jumped in the truck and headed off for church in Dell City, Texas, that I asked the Lord (in prayer) what would He have me to do about my unemployment. And the very good reason (which is really not a good reason at all) that I prayed that prayer was because the day is rapidly approaching that I will have been without a job for two whole months. So last Sunday morning I was feeling just a wee bit nervous about the whole situation. I mean it wasnít like I didnít trust Father God to get me that job at Toro, but I just wanted to make sure that I was doing everything possible in order to help Him out.
So I prayed... and He answered. And the answer that He gave me was for me to fast for three days and then He would give me His answer. So I went without food Sunday... and I went without food Monday.... and I went without food Tuesday. And it was sometime Tuesday morning that the Lord told me both when and how He would give me the answer that I had been so patiently waiting on. Because you see what He specifically told me was that He would give me His answer in the message that Pastor Charlie would be preaching during the Wednesday night church service in Dell City, Texas.
And after having said all that, can you guess what I did last Wednesday afternoon? Would you believe another long drive to church? Well to be perfectly honest with you the long drive was really not that long... because the Lord kept me pretty busy catching up on some required reading... that just so happens to be Tim LaHayeís book series (Left Behind) on the rapture of Godís children (the Church). You see it was my special friend at Toro who recommended that I read the books, but then it was Father God who followed it up by telling me to read them. And seeing how Iím such a terribly slow reader anyhow, the Lord even encouraged me to get all five books on audio tape. So thatís what I did and of course thatís what Iíve been doing on all those very long four hour drives to and from church.
So Wednesday afternoon I listened to my book as I drove on out to church. And then came church.... and then came the message from God through Pastor Charlieís sermon... which of course was one more earth shaking revelation from God Almighty concerning my present day unemployment. And getting it on down to the bare basics, the message that He had for me consisted of the same message that He gave to Moses so many years ago: "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM..." (Exodus 3:14)
You see God is The God of the Universe, He has A Plan, and He is very capable of putting His Plan in place (I AM THAT I AM). And if we will only follow His instructions (as given through both His written Word and spoken Word), then the only thing remaining for us to do is to just believe in Him and wait. But... because of our fleshly tendencies (mine in particular) we want to do everything that we can possibly do to help Him along with the process. And seeing how His Spirit canít do His own Perfect Work when our flesh keeps getting in the way, thatís the very good reason why He told me to fast for three days while waiting on His answer.
Now for those of you who might not be too familiar with the word "fasting", please allow me to explain what it means. Fasting is a God designed process in which a person tells his or her flesh in no uncertain terms to just "shut up". Because you see when you go without food for several days the flesh kinda like screams out real loud that itís hungry. And of course seeing how thatís what the process is designed to do in the first place, itís right about that time when the person whoís doing the fasting should tell their flesh that it ainít a gonna get what it wants. So through the process of fasting a person proves to his or her flesh that what the Spirit of God wants is much more important than what the flesh of man needs.
So thatís exactly why God the Father had me to fast for three days while waiting on Him to tell me that everything was under control. Understand? Well the single most important thing that we must all realize in order to become full fledged adopted children of God is that Satan works through our flesh. And if we let our flesh control our lives then we wonít be able to obey God the Father... and if we canít obey God as our Father then He doesnít consider us as His children.
And since we are on this subject of fasting, I might as well go ahead and mention that Iíve noticed something during my visits to these churches that doesnít set too well with my spirit. Because what Iíve noticed over the past several weeks is one particular denominationís acceptance of the NIV Bible as the standard Bible version to use. Now even though I could go right on into a full blown sermonet series on the "New Age Bible Versions" I wonít. But what I will do is make just one small comment on the corruption lurking inside these so-called translations of the Holy Bible.
Because you see even when it comes to this one subject of fasting, the difference between the King James Version and the NIV is what you might call night and day. And just so that you can see it for yourselves, letís turn in our King James version and read from Matthew 17:19-21, "And then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him (the evil spirit) out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
All right, so thatís the not-so-popular story of the disciples as they failed in their attempt to cast out the demons from a young boy. You see through the authority of Jesus Christ they had the power to come against all demons of darkness... and they had successfully used this power many times before... but for some unknown reason to the disciples, it just flat out didnít work this time. And of course the reason why it didnít work was because of the fact that their flesh got in the way. And thatís why Jesus added His very important final note to His message: "...this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
But, if you read that same Scripture from the perverted gospels of the NIV youíll get something with an entirely different meaning: ĎThen the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldnít we drive it out" He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ĎMove from here to thereí and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."í
So do you see the difference? Well even though the NIV does have a footnote added at the bottom of the page stating that some manuscripts also have included "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting", it does not positively say that this was what Jesus said. And seeing how it was what Jesus said, then it is of upmost importance that we understand it to be exactly as He said it. Because you see the reason why the disciples werenít able to defeat those demons in the first place was because of their flesh. They failed to do the job that they were called by God to do. And if those disciples didnít figure out that it was their flesh causing them to lose their Holy Spirit power over the demons, then those same demons could have just possibly ended up overcoming them.
And thatís why Father God let me know that my flesh was about to get in the way of His Perfect Plan in my life. And even though I learned a lot from that Wednesday night church meeting message, that ainít even all of story. Because you see it was during that long late night drive back from church service that Father God gave me the details of the message for this week. And if you think Iím going just a wee bit overboard on this thing about the Spirit of God verses the flesh of man, then just wait and see what Father God has in store.
Because the real life story that Father God wants us to read for this week concerns a great man of faith whoís name was Abraham (Abram). And seeing how that particular story takes place later on in AbrahamĎs life, why donít I kinda like bring you up to speed on where heís been and what heís done up to the time of our story. Because going back to Genesis 12:1-4 we find: "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy fatherís house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing... So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran."
OK, now if youíll put yourself in Abramís sandals, and think really hard about what the Lord had told him to do, I think that youíll agree that this had to be one more gigantic battle between what the Spirit of God wanted and what Abramís flesh wanted. Because you see not only was Abram 75 years old, but his very large family (kin folk that is) was also extremely well to do (lots of money and social power). So Abram was probably already in early retirement... living in the lap of luxury... until the Lord told him to put it into high gear and leave the rest behind.
So thatís what the Spirit of God told him to do... and thatís almost what he did. You see Abram was able to overcome all but one of his fleshly desires. And the fleshly desire that he had a hard time getting rid of was his relative named Lot... so he took him along with him... and of course that one flesh problem almost got him into some pretty hot water. But anyway, after the problems with Lot (the flesh), God gave Abram a few more of His promises in Genesis 15:2-6 : "And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
All right. Now Godís first promise to Abram was that He was going to make him a great nation. And His second promise was that Abram would have so many children that he wouldnít even be able to count them all. So those were Godís promises... and that was Godís Perfect Plan... but Abramís flesh got in the way... and the resulting problem of his flesh turned out to be a great big problem called Ishmael. Because you see Abram wanted Godís promised child so very badly that he decided to just go ahead and help God make it happen. And of course the results of Abramís fleshly attempt to help God with His Perfect Plan was a child born through Saraiís maid, who likewise turned out to be the biggest pain (the Arab nation) ever imaginable for the rest of his children (the nation of Israel).
But letís not stop there, because reading on into Genesis 17:1-19 we find: "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly... and thou shalt be a father of many nations... As for Sarai thy wife... I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her... and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?... And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him."
Now please keep it in mind that the Lord gave me this great man of faith (Abraham) as an example of the way He expects us all to be. Because when you really get down to the nuts and bolts of Abrahamís life, this fellow went through some pretty stressful moments as he was dealing with his flesh. But seeing how he was learning, and he didnít give up, God kept right on teaching him what he needed to know (the battle strategies). And of course all of this goes right back to me and my little anxiety attack over waiting two months for my job. I mean get real Bruce, Abraham waited twenty-five years before finally getting his very first God promised child Isaac.
But thatís not even all of the story. Because the story that God wanted us to cover is the story of all stories when it comes to Abrahamís battle of the Spirit and the flesh. You see God used at least twenty-five years of Abrahamís life to train him for the Big Test. And that Big Test is exactly what weíre going to read about in that story that God put on my heart last Wednesday night. So turning to Genesis 22:1-19 we find: "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."
Now what do you think about that test? I mean just think about it! Abraham went through years of pain and suffering to get the child that God had promised him, and then God the Father tells him to kill him (sacrifice Isaac). So after having heard that unexpected command of God, what do you figure Abrahamís flesh wanted to do?
Well thinking logically (fleshly), I can only imagine that Abrahamís flesh tried to convince him of the fact that God didnít want any innocent life to be taken by another man. And seeing how Isaac was innocent enough, then the voice that Abraham heard must not be Godís. So Iím pretty sure that the flesh must have told Abraham not to kill his son, but letís see what happened next: "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together."
What a man of God that Abraham was! He did exactly as Father God commanded him to do, and he didnít even hesitate one day in doing it. So against all fleshly desires Abraham traveled to the appointed place where he would take the life of his one and only son. But, even though Abraham successfully made that very long journey, it still wasnít too late for his flesh to change his mind. So letís see whether the Spirit or the flesh wins the battle in those final few tense moments: "And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son."
All right. So this is the moment of truth. Will Abraham hold up under the pressure? Will Abraham be able to follow through with Godís commands? Well letís read it for ourselves and see: "And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing how thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen."
Wow! Talk about a heart stopping thriller! And just to think that it wasnít even a Hollywood movie production. I mean this was a very real story that happened in the life of a very real man named Abraham. And because Abraham was willing to do WHATEVER God the Father asked him to do, he likewise received all the future blessings God had promised him: "And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of the heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba."
So are you starting to see the connection with this story and the sermonet series of The Good Fight Of Faith? And are you starting to realize just how unmistakably important it is to obey the Spirit of God instead of the flesh of man? I mean even though God the Father had given Abraham the promise that his family would become the nation of Israel, the promise didnít become genuine until Abraham totally and completely believed it to be true. In fact Abraham had to believe in Godís promise so much that he was actually willing to kill the promise that God had given him. Understand?
Well just in case you still donít totally understand this thing about believing in the Word of God, Paul goes on to explain it right nicely in Romans 4:13-22: "For the promise, that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For... (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations, ) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarahís womb: He staggard not at the promises of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."
You see Godís laws are kinda like etched in stone (get the pun---Ten Commandments). Theyíre going to do what God intended for them to do, and theyíre going to do it regardless of the circumstances. Come Hell or high water Godís laws are going to remain. But on the other side of the coin sits Godís promises. Now the promises of God are just a little bit different in that they only become etched in stone after we first believe that they are what He says they are. Because once we really and truly believe that they are what Father God says they are, itís then and only then that they are.
Wow, I donít even believe that I said that! But if you still arenít clear on the subject letís take it one step further in Hebrews 11:6-12: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him... By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went... Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised... By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."
Now even though Abraham knew that Isaacís life was a very necessary part of Godís promise, he was still willing to obey Godís command. Because you see Abraham knew that if he killed his son God would bring him back to life. Abraham believed in what God had promised him... and he believed it to the point of being willing to kill his own son. And that my friend is what you call believing!
And thatís the kind of believing that God not only expected from Abraham but from the rest of us as well. Because reading on into James 2:19-23 we find: "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead. Was not Abraham our Father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."
Now just so youíll get the connection, the only way that any of us are ever going to get to Heaven is by first becoming righteous in the eyes of God. And when you really get down to the nitty gritty of things, nothing has really changed since the time of Abraham. Because you see Abraham believed God and likewise he received his salvation because he totally and completely believed in God ("Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness...")!!!
And that brings us to the point about believing totally and completely in God. Because reading on into Hebrews 6:1-12 we find: "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection... For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift., and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whoís end is to be burned."
Now what we have just read is probably the most confusing part about that one word believing. You see itís possible to believe in Jesus Christ and still bust Hell wide open. Because what most people consider believing is not really believing in the eyes of God. Because in order for anyone to be a true believer in Christ they must likewise follow the same pattern of life that He lived... which is none other than a life totally and completely dedicated to God the Father.
And thatís why if we are true believers we will likewise obey each and every command that Father God gives us. And after having said that, we can finish up with the Scripture from Hebrews: "But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation... That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For... it was impossible for God to lie... Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul...even Jesus."
Well I fully realize that this is some pretty deep material... but so is salvation. In fact one of Godís promises for each and every person walking on the face of this earth is His Salvation for our souls (Heaven). But... the only way that we are going to receive that promise from God is through a total and complete belief in God. So are you going to make it into Heaven? Do you believe God enough to do what He tells you to do?
God is not a liar. What He says is the truth. So believe in Him, obey Him, and Keep On Keeping The Faith In Jesus!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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