“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” – Philippians 1:6
Years ago, in the late 1960’s, I was going through a great trial. I had been saved in 1964 in a little country Lutheran Church at the response to a Lutheran evangelist from Norway. I immediately began studying the Word of God and getting active in my church. By 1967 I began to realize those disciples in the Bible had something more than I did and began actively seeking to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. At that time God sent another Lutheran pastor to our town preaching about the Holy Spirit. In a short time I was filled to overflowing with the precious Holy Spirit and then my adventure with God kicked into high gear! There were prayer meetings complete with healings, deliverance, speaking in tongues, prophesy’s and genuine excitement in the Lord several times a week – I couldn’t get enough! I was finally getting the victory over Satan – or so I thought. Then his counter attack began! I was asked to give up my position as church elder and Sunday School teacher in my Lutheran church – even called a heretic by some. I reasoned ‘if I couldn’t work in the church, there was no need to stay in it’ – so we left. It was during this time of drifting that I attended a charismatic conference in Eau Claire, WI. where a prophet named Dick Mills was speaking. During the meeting he called me out of the very large crowd and began to prophesy to me by giving me Bible verses. The first word is printed above. It helped to stabilize my life and give me fresh hope. The second word was Psalm 138 verses 7 and 8 –
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” – Psalm 138:7,8
God was assuring me that no matter what the troubles or who the enemies I could trust in His care for me. Further more, I understood that God had a plan for me and the He would watch over it and perform all that concerns me. I learned to not look at or to others, just look at what God has for me to do! And if the job is too big for me in my weakness, He has more than enough mercy to finish the work even if I fall down some times! O what a comfort that is to know. Then came the third word, one that has been the hardest for me to learn –
“The end of a thing is better than its beginning;
The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” – Ecclesiastes 7:8
It is true that most American are part of the ‘now’ generation. We want everything right now! But God usually does not work that way. If some promise we believe God made to us doesn’t happen immediately, we get impatient and lose faith in the promise, not understanding that often God is doing a work in us so we can walk in His promise. And if He does do something great in our lives, like a healing or using us to minister to someone else, we often cannot resist the temptation to get proud and take a little glory to ourselves! Learning to be patient in spirit is exceedingly difficult. I’m still learning that word! If we fail to pass this word and fall into a pity party, God speaks the fourth word –
“And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.” – Exodus 14:15
So often when we succumb to the devil’s warfare or things don’t go the way we thought they should, we get bogged down and just sit there. But usually God has already given us the directions. With Moses, God told him to bring the people to Mount Sinai to worship Him there but then, they met the Red Sea before and Pharaoh’s armies closing in behind them. So what did they do? They sat there crying to the Lord. God’s answer was “go forward.” You have an appointed destiny – don’t give up – move on to claim that which is promised to you! As we are moving in the Lord, He will guide us and give us the fifth word of direction –
“Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.” – Deuteronomy 2:3
In my walk with the Lord, I had grown spiritually, gaining position in the church and teaching His Word but, in God’s plan it was time for me to move on to new things. Within a short time we moved our fellowship to northern Wisconsin at Eden Ministries. Under the care of Pastor William Lemke I grew even more, eventually taking over as Pastor when he retired. There at Eden God had gathered so many precious saints and they faithfully nurtured me and my family. I will forever thank God for His sweet care for us there. It prepared me for the sixth word in my adventure with God and the confidence to take it in faith expecting good results –
“Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.” – Joshua 1:3
Whenever you step out in obedience to God, you can expect a victory to come. “Every place your sole treads upon” requires one thing – you must go! Many believers hear the Holy Spirit calling them to this or that – but they don’t go. Maybe fear or doubt defeats them but, you must be like Peter on the water – he had to take that first step! Finally, the seventh word to me was –
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee wheresoever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
Sometimes the things God asks of us seem impossible if we forget who it is that called us. If He calls you to it, He already knows you can do it through Him. I’ve had to relearn this many times in my 80 years. Like the time God called myself and pastor friend, Al Borreson to start Interfaith Fellowship to share the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to Catholics and Lutherans in the Eau Claire area. It started small – just praying for it to happen. Then a Nun came to share my office at the college I was teaching at and I witnessed to her. Soon, she and several other Nuns visited my home and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Through her the doors to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire opened to us for meetings. For the next two years we met there, seeing over 2000 souls come to Jesus and/or be baptized in the Holy Spirit!
I share these lessons not to brag but to encourage you that God has a calling for each of you and it is bigger than you think – and if you will step out in faith you can do great things in the Lord.