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.
7 June, 1998
What a week this has been! You might even go so far as to say itís been a real doozie! You see it seems as though Satan had a few extra demons laying around with nothing to do so he sent them on my way. But with the help and grace of God I survived yet another demonic attack and I just want to say thank you Jesus for not letting them stick around too long. In fact it was some of those same demons that gave me such a struggle on trying to decide what to write the message on for this week. I was headed in a direction that the Lord didnít want me going in yet and it wasnít until Wednesday night that I finally got His leading and direction.
Well thatís how my week went and likewise thatís the very good reason why we should get on into the message of the week. You see this week we are going to start off a mini series on Obedience. And of course the word "obedience" comes from the word "obey" which means (in plain and simple language) "to do what youíve been told to do". So to start off this mini series Iíve decided to go ahead and use myself as the guinea pig (example).
You see it was several months ago, as I was washing the truck at the local car wash, that I pulled out of the wash area and into the drying area only to notice that the car next to mine was playing some pretty soulful gospel music. I mean this music was not only pleasing to the ears but it was doing a pretty good job on my spirit as well. But the only problem was that the black brother who was responsible for the sound had it turned down so low that I could barely hear it. So what did I do? Well I did the only logical thing that I could do, I asked him to turn it up. And not only did I ask him to turn it up but I also told him that he shouldnít be so stingy with the music because it was undoubtedly a blessing to my spirit. And from that point on the conversation just kept right on a going.
Because on that particular day at the car wash there were a few of us who nearly broke out into a full scale car wash revival meeting. You see we started talking about Jesus, and then this other black brother in the stall next to us heard our conversation and came on over too. So here we were, three guys shouting the victory of Jesus while the Alabama Blind Boys sang their hearts out in the background. What a day! In fact you might just want to call it my most memorable day at the car wash.
And of course before it was all over with I had given them both a copy of the most recent sermonet of the week. Thatís what I did and then the black brother playing the Alabama Blind Boyís tape did his thing by given the invite to visit his church. You see he was Baptist and his church was just a few blocks down the road so I volunteered without hesitation "One day when the time is right and the Lordís ready for me visit your church Iíll be there." Well thatís what I told him several months ago and then it was only last Saturday night that the Lord "told" me that the time was right. He wanted me to attend that particular Baptist church the very next day... so I did.
And what do you think I found? Well of course since the Lord sent me there it had to be a reason why, but exactly what it was I didnít really have the slightest clue. So the service started and there was nothing in it that really moved me; not even the music. You see the fellow playing the organ was having a very hard time finding the right notes for the song that everybody else was singing. And to be honest with you, the music that should have been reaching the Heavens with a joyful noise felt to me as if it were heading in the exact opposite direction. It was bad!
But overlooking that part of the service we moved right on into the preaching, and thatís about the time a light from Heaven seemed to come on. You see what I soon found out was that this was the first day of this churchís revival week, and it just so happened that the guest speaker was the preacherís son. And on top of that the preacherís son was a preacher out of Nashville, Tennessee, who was heavily involved in youth ministries. And of course the first thing that came to my mind after hearing of this ministerís particular ministry was just maybe this was the reason why I was there.
So in order to hear him preach I had to go back for the Sunday night service... and thatís what I did. But once again what I found when I got there was not what I had expected. You see it really wasnít that the preaching was that bad, but then again it definitely wasnít anything worth writing home about. However, as I continued to concentrate on what this young preacher was trying to say I did notice one particular statement he repeated throughout his entire message that really caught my ear. Because all night long that preacher from Tennessee kept preaching about how his sole purpose in life was not to obey man but God.
And just in case you havenít figured it out yet, those very simple but powerful words turn me on. Because thereís absolutely nothing more important than doing exactly what he said he was going to do (obey God and not man). So without a doubt, from that standpoint his sermon made me want to jump up and do a little shouting: Glory!!! Hallelujah!!! Thank you Jesus!!! You see there just arenít too many preachers in this world today who are willing to do what God wants them to do. In fact itís sad to say but most of them donít even care enough about God to even try and find out what He wants. So hearing a young Baptist preacher say what he said (come Hell or high water he was going to trust and obey God) was a very moving experience to say the least. So I figured it out right then and there that I had to talk to this man of God.
Now as well as I remember it was the very next day that I called this preacherís dadís house and left a message for his son to call me. And it was several recorded messages later that we were finally able to talk direct. But wasting no time I proceeded to tell him about the car wash incident and the leading of the Lord for me to attend his dadís church. And after hearing his message during the Sunday night service I felt it was important that we meet face to face and pray about Godís will in our meeting.
Well in so many words thatís what I told him and thatís what we did. Because it was Friday afternoon at 4:00 that I picked up this young Baptist preacher at his dadís church and we then drove on over to my apartment for an hour of talking and prayer. Now as most of you can well imagine we certainly didnít see eye to eye on everything that we believe in when it comes to the Word of God. But seeing how the Lord had led me to this preacher and how the Lord had put it into his heart to obey God only (and not some religion handed down through many generations) then you had better believe that before he left I made sure he had an adequate supply of reading material (FMH Childrenís Club sermonets) to last him through his flight home... and more.
So what you have just read is the introduction to the message on Obedience (obeying God not man) and weíll just have to wait and see if this young Baptist preacher from Tennessee does the same. You see I did what I believe the Lord led me to do, and I believe if this preacher does what he knows the Lord wantís him to do (obey God) then the Lord, him, and the FMH Childrenís Club International just might be working together as a team for Jesus. But in order for him to do what heís got to do heís going to have to rethink a few of the things that he has been taught to believe in. In other words heís going to have to prayerfully seek the Lord for the truth and then follow it; regardless of what his father or the Baptist denomination thinks.
You see this incident can be related very easily to what Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 4:1-5: "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; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
And as the Scripture we have just read warns us, the times are getting very wicked, the Devil is winning a lot of unsuspecting souls into his kingdom, and preachers are not an exception to the rule. You see most new versions of the Holy Bible are slowly but surely being changed to agree with what Satan wants taught. So it should be easy to understand that because of the lack of rock solid Holy Ghost inspired teaching there are a whole lot of preachers walking around preaching things that are not of God. And thatís why I hope you can see that itís so very important for those who do know the truth to let everybody else know it as well; and that even includes telling the preachers.
So God called me to do a job, I obeyed, and weíll just have to wait and see what the Baptist preacher from Tennessee does before we can determine the rest of the story. And because of the fact that I did obey God, I can claim one more small victory over this seemingly never ending day in and day out war against Satan; I won and Satan lost. But even though this one little story made me look like the obedient child of God, Iím sorry to say that I have way too many instances of Satan convincing me to do other than obey God. You see I know it as well as anybody that it just ainít easy to be obedient to God. And of course the reason that I know this is because of experience.
Take for instance the other day at work. I had a friend approach me with a request to loan him some money. And from the story that I heard, it seemed as though there were all kind of negative circumstances going on in this manís life (problems) and his cash flow had just come to an abrupt stop (he ran out of money). You see He needed $300, he needed it fast, and he was hoping that I would be the one to let him have it. He said that if I could do him the favor he would return the money in full within the next two weeks.
So seeing how I try to help people in need, but not knowing what my money situation would be like during the following two weeks, I prayed to God the Father for His decision on this matter. Now at this point in the story things are looking pretty good for me. I was following procedures. I mean I asked God the Father what to do and He told me. And the answer that I believe He gave me was that if I did want to loan my friend any money just make sure not to loan him more than $50. Well thatís what I believe He said but thatís not what I did. Because instead of being obedient to God I did what I thought was best. You see in the end, when it was all said and done, I loaned my friend $200.
Now you tell me, was that smart? I mean to take the time to ask God the Father for His Divine Answer (the One Who knows all the past, the present, and the future) but yet turn right around and totally ignore what He has told me. Those kind of actions just canít be considered any too bright. Because as far as Iím concerned that is what I would call the ultimate in stupidity... but yet I was that ultimately stupid one who did it. And of course the reason that I did what I did was because I let myself get in the way of God. You see in my superior wisdom I figured that my friendís needs were a good enough reason to go against what God had already decided on. My friend needed help and evidently I was the only one left who could help him. So I did what I did and I loaned him the money.
Now the Word of God has an adequate supply of Scriptures describing what to do about loaning money. And since the Scriptures are the Word of God they should agree with what He told me to do. So letís do a little digging and see exactly why He told me to do what He told me to do concerning loaning my friend the money.
So starting off with our reading in Exodus 22:25-27, we find, "If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. If thou at all take thy neighborís raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that sun goeth down: for that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious."
All right, so to understand what this Scripture is saying we must first understand two not so straight-forward words. The first is "usurer" which simply means a person who loans money in order to make more money. In other words the usurer is not loaning money out of a desire to help the person who is borrowing but out of a desire to make more cash for himself. And the second important word is "pledge". Because it was the pledged item (something given as a promise of payment; a type of warm clothing in this situation) that should be returned before nightfall so that the borrower wouldnít freeze to death at night.
So Exodus 22:25 deals with loaning money to poor people who virtually have nothing more than the clothes on their back. God says to loan them money but do for the love of them and not the love of money. But even though it was to be done in love, whatever few possessions they had that were used as a security deposit must be returned to them when needed.
And then we go on into Deuteronomy 24:10-13: "When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee. And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge: In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God."
Once again the message given is that the lending of money should be done out of the goodness of the lenders heart and not for the purpose of making more money. The money should be loaned to help the person in need and should in no way end up hurting them. And following right along with that same train of thought, Proverbs 19:17 reads: "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and he that which he hath given will he pay him again."
So the message of this one very short verse in Proverbs seems to be that loaning to the poor should be considered as a loan unto the Lord. We should actually give the money to the poor but consider it as being given to the Lord and expecting Him (not the poor) to take care of repaying it. All right, but all the Scriptures we have read so far have come from the Old Testament, how about a few from the New?
Well turning on over into the book of Luke, chapter 6 verses 20-36, and reading the words of Jesus: "And he lifted up his eyes on the disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of manís sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."
Now the message that Jesus was trying to get across to His followers was that living for Jesus wasnít going to be easy. You see for the followers of Christ times were getting ready to get pretty tough, and Jesus was just letting them know a little in advance what they should be prepared for it. You see Satan will do everything within his power to convince the Christian that he or she is serving the wrong God. And itís only a matter of time after Satan tightens his torture screws (hunger, sadness, rejected) that all to many Christians give in and give it all up for Satan. But Jesus warns of the results of what "giving in to get" can get you; Hell!
But of course since Satan is the master magician (heís got a bunch of tricks up his sleeve) heís already got one more trick in mind if he canít get you to give in and join the crowd. You see even though he might not be able to get you to join them, thereís still a pretty good chance that at least he can get you to hate them. And thatís exactly why Jesus goes on to say, "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away the cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again."
And just how far do you think we should go with this "love warfare" counter attack on Satan? Well Jesus goes on to say, "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again: and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful."
Now you have to be careful with this one or it just could kinda maybe get out of hand. You see what we must keep in mind is that Jesus is instructing His disciples on how to win the spiritual battle with Satan, how to bring in lost souls into His Kingdom, and it all goes back to the very simple principle of LOVE! As Christians we must show the love of Jesus in order to win the lost to Christ. And if loaning money to the poor is a part of it then thatís what we should do. Understand?
But letís not stop just yet. Because as always itís very important to consider all of the Scriptures as one before coming up with any conclusion. And since we must take everything that the Word of God has to say and then put it all together for a proper understanding of what our Heavenly Father intended, then just maybe we had ought to dig a little deeper.
So turning to II Thessalonians 3:1-15, and reading the words of Paul, "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ , that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
So Paul is giving out the warning to the brothers in Christ to be on the look out for unreasonable and wicked men who just so happen to be unreasonable and wicked brothers in Christ. And he not only tells them to withdraw themselves from their presence but he also goes on to instruct them on hand outs (lending). Because as we read on, "For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any manís bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."
You see this is why fighting Satan is soooo very hard to do. Trying to get your sights on Satan is like trying to aim at a very high speed rapidly moving target. I mean Satan flat out can change his tricks faster than the blink of an eye. And just in case Iíve lost you through all of his maneuvers let me try and step back through it again. It is without a doubt Godís intention for Christians to help out the poor and needy. And not only are we suppose to lend (without expecting to get in return) to the "friendly" poor and needy, but we are also expected to do it to those who might be poor and needy "enemies". You see itís because of the Love of Jesus that everyone on the face of this earth has the opportunity to be saved from the burning fires of Hell. But itís right about there in this thing on lending that Christians should draw the line.
You see thatís where Paulís letter in II Thessalonians comes into play. For all those who might be professing Christ but yet not following His teachings (hard work, conservative spending, tithing for the spreading of the gospel, and dedication to His service), and they end up getting into financial trouble, then this thing about lending to the poor takes on a completely different meaning. Because for anyone who really knows God and who considers themselves a child of God, but yet who is not willing to follow the pattern set by God the Father, they can only expect to receive punishment from God the Father for any wrong doings.
You see God doesnít have any spoiled brats for children... He flat out doesnít allow it. Without a doubt He demands that His children be law abiding, obedient, hard working, gospel spreading children, or Iím afraid they arenít considered His children at all. And just in case one of His children does get out of hand He will do whatever necessary in order to straighten them out... that is until He gets to the point that there isnít anything left to straighten. And to the best of my understanding this is right about the place where I blew it.
You see even though it took six weeks instead of two to get back what I had only loaned and not given, In the eyes of God I really wouldnít have had a leg to stand if the money wouldnít have been returned. Because as far as Iím concerned Matthew 6:9-15 applies: "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
You see what I had intended for a loan could have turned out to be a gift, and all because of the fact that I didnít trust in and obey God. But even with the potential loss of $200 being pretty tragic, that was by no means the worst part of the story. Because Iím afraid that due to my disobedience to God I have caused someoneís intended punishment to not go as planned. So for those who Iíve offended and for those who Iíve wronged (God the Father and the man with the loan) please forgive me.
And as I hope you can see it is without a doubt very tough walking the walk that God the Father demands of us. And that is why next week we will continue on with this very important subject of Obedience. But until then, keep on praying, keep on listening, keep on obeying, and keep the faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
Home | Maggots And Fire? | Saved? Don't Lose It!
Statement Of Purpose | Early Beginnings | Sermonet Of The Week
Classic Sermonets | Internet Tools | E-mail Us