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 August, 1998
Wow! What a weekend this has been! The Spirit (Holy Spirit) of my Father (God) moved very strongly on me and it all started late Friday afternoon. And seeing how it was only a week ago Friday that He told me to take a break from my fasting and head on down to the local steak house for supper, Iím pretty sure that there are just a few of you food lovers out there just waiting to hear what fine restaurant He had me eating at this weekend.
Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news but He didnít treat me to a "night out" this time... I had a "night in" instead. Because you see it was this Friday night that He wanted me to write a very important letter to a very important friend. And thatís exactly what I did. In fact not only did I write Friday night, but I also wrote way on into Saturday morning. Because it was about 3:00 A.M. before I was finally able to bed down for a good nights rest.
And of course seeing how I need at least six hours of sleep every night in order to do my best the next day, God the Father let me sleep late the next morning. Right? Wrong! It was 7:00 A.M. Saturday morning that He woke me up very abruptly by telling me to get the letter that I had written the night before in the mail... and send it Priority Mail... and do it now! You see my Heavenly Father knew how very important it was that my friend get this letter. So I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes, and made it down to the Post Office in time to get this very special letter out on the 7:30 mail run.
But that was only the start of my exciting weekend. Because seeing how Father Godís wake up call had already gotten my heart beating at a pretty good rate, He went right on in to telling me about His plans for the rest of the day. You see He told me to get it all together and head on out to the ranch... because there were a few folks He wanted me to meet. And thatís exactly what I did.
Now this trip to the ranch was what you might call one of them "on again off again" sort of deals. You see it was earlier on in the week that I had made plans with one of my friends to show him this potential ranch of my dreams (The FMH Childrenís Club Ranch). We were going to leave out early Saturday morning on this 100 mile journey and spend the better part of the day just looking around. Thatís what we were going to do until I found out Friday night that my friend had been called out of town on business. So it was at that point in time that I made up my mind to just go ahead and stay home... that is until God the Father changed my mind once again.
But anyway, after God put me back on the right track, and after grabbing one of them McDonaldsí pick-it-up-at-the-window type breakfast meals, I was on my way. And the closer I got to this little town in the middle of nowhere (Del City, Texas) the more I started seriously considering just which one of those "surrounding neighbors" was I suppose to see. So seeing how He hadnít told me specifically which one of those neighbors to have a chat with, I just went right on ahead and asked Him... and He immediately gave me the answer... and He not only told me who to visit but He told me to do it pretty quickly.
Now just so you will understand how things are out there in the range lands, when you get out on one of them ranches, the term "neighbor" might just mean someone who lives quite a few miles down the road. And it just so happens that the neighbor who God the Father wanted me to visit was one of them "a few miles on down the road" type. And the only way that I even knew this neighbor existed was by my having seen the house (way off in the distance) during my tour of the ranch some few weeks ago.
So as I drove down the road to the house, past the big unlocked and opened iron gate, I prayed that God would have someone there waiting for me. Now if you really think about it that was a pretty dumb prayer... because if there was no neighbor there to meet me then why in the world did God the Father have me to drive for almost two hours to not only get there but to meet with him. And of course just as I drove into the very picturesque front yard, behind the nicely built rock wall, beside the little pond complete with ducks, inside the pecan orchid and under the trees, there sat two gentlemen.
Now these two fellows didnít even own the place, but they were just taking care of it until the owner returned. And as God would have it, they had come over to do a few chores for their neighbor before getting back to their own ranch. And seeing how it was the middle of the day, and the temperature was heating up pretty good already, they had decided to just go ahead and make the best of the situation. So there they sat; cooling their heels and telling who knows what sort of stories about the wild wild west (small talk). But even though they were apparently ready to wrap it all up and get on back to work, my arrival didnít seem to bother them any too much. Because it was one of the fellows who just drug on up another chair and invited me to sit down and tell the story of why I was there.
Donít you just love it? Donít you just love the way God works? Well as far as the ranch goes, Iíll give you more details as they develop. But until then, the very important fact that Iím still trying my best to get you all to see is that this supernatural relationship that I have with God the Father can be had by each and every one of you. This relationship is nothing more than the Father (God) wanting His child (me) to have what He has to offer (His plan for my life). And likewise, God the Father has a very special plan for each and every person walking the face of this earth. Heís got it, He wants to develop it, and all we have to do to get it is believe in Him (trust in Him) and obey Him. And seeing how you should all be able to pick up on that key word "obey" by now, I guess I donít even have to tell you that the title of this weekís message is Obedience part X.
OK, so even though these real life stories about my life might sound pretty far out to most, they are the truth. And furthermore, Iím here to tell you that this ability that I have to hear God the Father, which in turn allows me to write about the results of my hearing from Him, has not been something that has happened overnight. In fact it has been a very gradual sort of thing that has only developed through much suffering and pain. And it just so happens that this was what I had intended to talk to my friend about on the long drive to the ranch... that is until he made a change in plans and didnít go. And seeing how this is something very important that he needs to hear, I guess Iíll just have to go ahead and tell it to the whole world by making it the message of the week.
Now as we go further on into this sermonet for my friend, the important thing to remember is that God wants us to all be His children and receive all the nice things that He has planned for us. Thatís what He wants but we must first be willing to become His children. And in order to become His children we must first be born again. Because it was Jesus Who said in John 3:5-6, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
And itís this born again process that allows Godís Spirit to live within us. But before His Spirit can live within us we must first get ourselves cleaned up from the dirt of sin. And the only way to get cleaned up is by accepting what Jesus as God the Son did on the cross. And of course what He did was to give His lifeís blood as payment for our sins. So by accepting the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus we can clean ourselves up of sin and allow the Spirit of God to live within us.
But thatís only the beginning of the process. Because as John so nicely puts it in John 1:12-13, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." And itís this one word "power" that I want to concentrate on today.
And of course what better place to start the search for the meaning of a word than in Websterís Dictionary. So reading it from the source, the word "power" means: ability to do; capacity to act; capability of performing or producing. And itís these three words (ability, capacity, and capability) that also pretty well tie it all together when it comes to understanding spiritual power. Because for us children of God (followers of Christ) the word power is basically the same as it would be for one of them big old muscle bound weight lifters. You see all them bulging muscles came about because the person who owns them picked up a set of weights and started pumping iron. And as the muscles got bigger the weights had to get heavier. So in the beginning the little muscles had the ability, capacity, and capability to become enormous muscles, but they could only do so if the weightlifter wanted them to... and it didnít happen overnight... and it didnít happen without pain.
And a very good example of the ability, capacity, and capability of the children of God, and likewise the pain that goes along with spiritual muscle building process, can be found in Matthew chapter 10. Because this is the story of Jesus and His very special twelve disciples, and the plan that God had for their lives. So starting with verse 1 and reading, "And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
So Jesus communicated to the twelve disciples the plan that God the Father had laid out for their lives. And it was in this plan that they were told not only to preach about Jesus but also heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils just like Jesus. Sounds like they had a pretty nice job; right? Well there ainít no doubting the fact that chasing those mean and nasty demons out of people would have been quite a thrill, but there were also just a few little negative kind of things that went along with the job. And thatís the issue at hand that Jesus covered in the next few verses.
Because He went on to say, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."
Now just in case you donít know it, wolves do eat sheep for lunch. So if Jesus was describing the disciples as the sheep, and those who they were going to be preaching to as the wolves, I donít think it takes a genius to figure it out that things could have gotten kinda messy. In fact the thing about being scourged in the synagogues meant nothing more than to be beat up pretty bad, and have it done in church. So being one of them devil chasing disciples might not have been all that most would have thought it to be. Because even though it was a known fact that the people were going to be mean and nasty to the disciples, Jesus made sure to tell the disciples that they couldnít be mean and nasty with them (be harmless as a dove).
But that was only just a sample of the "negatives" that went along with the job. Because Jesus goes on to tell them a few more: "And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my nameís sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."
Now this was not a note of encouragement. From the sounds of things all Hell was about to break loose and the disciples were going to be slap dab right in the middle of it. But for some reason that just doesnít make sense. I mean wouldnít you think that someone dedicating their life for the purpose of doing the plan of God would be treated with honor and respect? After all, these men were the followers of Jesus Christ so shouldnít that count for anything?
Well Jesus goes on to answer that question in the next few verses when He says," The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 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. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Now is this the kind of life you would have thought a dedicated child of God should get? Well first of all Jesus says that the dedicated follower of Christ can expect to be called some pretty bad names, and this Beelzebub is just one of them. And once again just in case you donít know who that character was (Beelzebub) he was the Philistine god of flies who the Jews so lovingly called either "the dung god" or "the lord of the dunghill". But the name calling was nothing in comparison to the everyday threat of losing oneís life. And even though the chances of death were pretty good, Jesus reminded His disciples of the alternative: follow Jesus right on into Heaven or follow the world right on into Hell.
Now thatís not exactly what you would call a lot to choose from. I mean it didnít look like the peace, joy, love, and happiness that Jesus was bringing to the world was going over too well. In fact Jesus went on to make a very bold statement by proclaiming, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a manís foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and follow after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
So was that straightforward enough for you? Did Jesus make His point? Well itís sad to say but way too many of the Christians of today donít feel that this kind of dedication to the plan of God is necessary. Most believe that making the family happy, even if it means going against the will of God, is totally and completely acceptable in the eyes of God. But boy have I got news for them, God has not changed His mind! Heís still the same today as He was when He walked the face of this earth as the Son of God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And if anyone puts the desires and wishes of others ahead of the desires and wishes of God they have in the eyes of God earned the title of "not worthy".
In fact going back a few chapters, Jesus made a statement to one of His disciples that would have been considered cruel and completely uncalled for by most of the church world of today. Because reading it for ourselves from Matthew 8:18-22, "Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples saith unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; let the dead bury their dead."
You see the reason Jesus said what He said was because Satan will work through family members to try and stop the plan of God. He will use those who you love the most to convince you not to be the dedicated follower of God that you have been called to be. And of course a real good example of this can be found in chapter 3 of Genesis with the well known real life story of Adam and Eve. Adam obeyed the desires of his wife instead of the desires of God and this whole rotten mess called sin was the result of it.
And of course Jesus not only preached the message of putting God the Father first, but He also had to practice it with His very own family. Because it was during the time of the story that we are about to read that Jesus was doing some of His most powerful miracles. In fact He was doing such unbelievable things that most of the world, including His mother Mary and her children, thought that He had completely gone off the deep end. They were basically calling Him nuts and trying everything they knew to do to put Him away. They figured Jesus had worked at His ministry just a little too hard and it was time to help Him out so that He wouldnít hurt Himself.
Unbelievable, but yet thatís what happened. Because reading from Matthew 12: 46-50, we find, "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
You see Jesus was as wise as a serpent but as gentle as a dove. And He not only understood who was being used but He also understood who they were being used by. Satan was up to his old tricks again and this time he was using Jesusí family members to play them. So He not only recognized the problem but He also took care of it very quickly. He made no bones about it when He proclaimed that if His family wasnít willing to follow the plan of God then He didnít consider them as His family at all. Because the bottom line reality of it all is that only those Who continuously follow through on Godís plan for their lives will become a part of Godís family.
And to just make sure everyone understands the point of the message, letís read one more short story. Reading from Matthew 20:23-29, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or wife, or children, or lands, for my nameís sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."
So how, might you ask, does this apply to my friend who was suppose to take a trip with me to the land but didnít? Well the talk that I had planned to have with him was to make him aware of the fact that his very peaceful happy home life could be used as a tool by Satan to stop him from doing what he knows God has called him to do. You see itís not too awful hard to visualize Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden living the good life. They were having fun and enjoying all the benefits of a happy loving marriage relationship, until this temptation of the evil fruit came into their life. It kinda like snuck up on them. You see it had always been there but it was really never a problem until suddenly that one day when it all happened. Wham! There it was; the tempting forbidden fruit. And that was all it took because suddenly, without a doubt, Eve had been totally blindsided. She had made up her mind that she was going for the gusto... so what was Adam going to do? He knew better, but, what he also knew without a shadow of a doubt was that if He said "no" to Eve, she would most definitely say "no" to him for a very long long time.
And thatís where the struggle always begins. So what do we do? Well thereís only two choices to deal with: either make the family happy and keep peace for a few very short years, or obey God and continue on with the painful walk as a child of God. The answer to the question should be obvious, but having enough spiritual muscles to make it happen is the key.
So whatís it going to be in your life; peace on earth or peace in Heaven? Itís a tough decision to make but the peace on earth that Satan has to offer is definitely not the smart choice to make. Satanís fleshly worldly peace can only last for a very short lifetime. Because itís after those 70 or 80 years of earthly fleshly pleasures that the burning fires of Hell begin.
Donít shortchange yourself out of everlasting peace. Believe in the Word of God, follow it day by day and word for word, and Keep The Faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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