Monday, March 1, 2010

I am a big believer in miracles. I love miracles – I want to see them every day. The first church certainly saw them. Acts is full of them. Mark says that miracles followed them that believed. They could heal the sick, take up serpents and drink poison without harm. I think we need that today.

I’ve read that line in Mark probably five or six hundred times, and yet I never wondered why that was the case.

This is probably because I always thought, I always assumed, they were exhibiting the power of God. Don’t we all do that? Read the Bible and just assume? We need to be really careful assuming anything about the Word of God though. This was Eve’s mistake and it is ours. She was deceived into thinking that God was withholding something good from her. Something she should have and deserved. In the beginning, it was not like that. It became like that - WE became like that.

Truthfully does Jeremiah 7:9 say that the heart is deceitful above all things and exceedingly perverse, corrupt and sick.

In the Garden of Eden, Eve rejected God. She rejected Him because she thought God should not deny her this obvious benefit of knowing good and evil. After all, she and her husband were perfect; why should God refuse them this? Why should He refuse them anything? Why would He not want them to be like Him?

When men have this attitude, though, that is when their hearts become sick, corrupt and perverse. Eve knew she was doing something God said not to do. Now because she was the creature and not the creator, she could not think as God thought. But God had given them freedom. So Eve was able to think, and act on her idea, that she deserved this thing God would keep from her. As free people we often cannot accept that there are limits on freedom. We then move to a belief that any limit on freedom cannot be from God. Eve followed this false thinking by essentially making God the evil one, for restraining her freedom. Don’t we do that all the time?

Especially when the issue is knowledge, it just seems patently obvious that this would be something God would want us to have; and therefore, just as obvious that God would not interdict this.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Bread of Denomination and the Bread of Life

Sorry, a further interruption to my series on the secret place of prayer - but also a very good mediation! Please comment and/or email me!

In all four of the gospels, Jesus speaks about the breaking and multiplication of bread – Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6. After that miracle, there was a discussion between Jesus and the disciples. In Mark 6:52, after Jesus walked on the water, and the disciples were surprised and astonished, Mark says they did not understand the miracle of the bread, because their hearts were hard. I had no idea why Mark says this here, but I found out!

In Mark 8, there is another multiplication. After that, Jesus talked to the Pharisees, who asked Him for a sign. Jesus said to them there would be no sign for their generation. He then goes in the boat again, and the disciples have forgotten to take bread. Jesus tells them to beware the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. He is referring to the leaven of religion and to the leaven of politics. But the disciples thought he was merely talking about leaven because they’d forgotten to take bread. Jesus says to this, why are their hearts so hard? Had they no intelligence to understand, no eyes to see? Had they no memory that He could multiply bread whenever He chose? “How many baskets did you take up”, He asked them. They told him, “Twelve and seven.” And He marveled that they did not understand!

It is the same today in the church, where there are even sometimes miracles: these miracles change the situation of the people, but do not change their hearts. We see that miracles were done by Jesus in His day to reveal that the people’s hearts were hard. The manna God gave Israel in the desert was for sustenance, but only under the rules - they could take only enough for one day, except before the Sabbath. If they took more than was allowed, it rotted and was ruined. Today it is like this again, the church is making more than it needs to – and forgetting the essential things. It’s manufacturing doctrine and providing dances and parties and programs – even yoga and tai chi classes! but not the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In the temple service, Moses directed the priests to put twelve fresh loaves on the altar daily, representing the twelve tribes. This was the bread of the Presence of God, and only the priests could eat it. They were to break this bread at the proper time, eat it, and then preach to the people. It was just the broken bread from God’s Presence, but not the actual Bread of Heaven. Today many preachers do this – they study and arrange, and put their preaching in order, and preach to the people, but this is just the bread of the presence, not the bread of Life. I did this too, and was surprised when there was so little change in people.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The "Secret Place" of Prayer


This phrase is found in Revelation 3:10, from the message to the church at Philadelphia, which says, “Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

What does the angel mean by this? I found the answer in Hebrews 6:13 –15:

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 [Abraham] had patiently endured, he obtained the promise”

Notice in verse 15 it says AFTER HE HAD PATIENTLY ENDURED, he obtained the promise. This does not refer to Abraham’s patience. Human patience produces mostly frustration. “The word of my patience” is not this at all. We confuse this with our patience. In II Peter 1:6, we see we must add to our faith, patience. Again, it is not our patience he is referring to! He is referring to the patience of God, that we need to add to our faith. The angel in Revelation is also speaking of the Word of GOD’s patience.

When God speaks and gives a promise, He is creating something. This creation comes to us by the Word of His promise. Into the promise He puts the Word of His Patience, also This is to teach us the invisible promise already IS. This is not the patience of Abraham, but the Word of God teaching Abraham that it was fulfilled, though he could not yet see it. God was making Abraham see that what was created in the invisible already existed, and to do this God knew Abraham needed the Word of His Patience.

In Hebrews 11:17, we see that after Abraham received the first part of promise, Isaac, he was tested. Now he needed the Word of God’s patience even more! The second part of the promise, a lot of descendants, also contained a test. This verse talks of Abraham offering Isaac by faith, after the first part of the promise had been fulfilled that he, Isaac, existed. Now, Abraham is asked to sacrifice Isaac, despite the rest of the promise, that of his having descendants, through Isaac, greater than the sand of the sea. Abraham had received and kept the Word of God’s patience, and Isaac was there. Now, though, he was asked, having received the promise, to give it back. How could this be, given the rest of the promise? But Abraham, having kept the word of God’s patience, understood through it, that God would be able and WOULD fulfill His promise no matter what. As always, God was revealing something about Himself to Abraham, and to us. He was revealing what He would do in Jesus long after. Jesus is the real son of the promise, which Paul makes clear. God was showing Abraham the patience He was exhibiting to us, in that He was willing to withhold His Hand for all those long years, and endure our sin and stubbornness and disobedience, because He knew He would supply the answer to all our needs – Jesus and the resurrection. In Isaac would Abraham’s seed be called – therefore, Isaac would have to exist. Abraham was being shown the resurrection plan of God before the prophets had even drawn breath.

Because every promise of God is accomplished, but we cannot see it, we must have and keep the Word of God’s patience. Once we have a promise, we need it even more. In Psalms 105:19 it says of Joseph that until his word came, the Word of the Lord tried him. This means that until the time was fulfilled for Joseph’s prophecy to come true, Joseph was tried. So will we be.

Christians must be like Abraham. Abraham received the promise, and believed until Isaac was born; after that he had to believe even more, when Isaac was asked of him. Once we receive Jesus, we must believe even more. Once you receive salvation, you must give your life.

I have seen that people today are not like this. They have received their first promise: salvation, but then they don’t continue in it. Peter talks about this – II Peter 3:3-4 says that in the last days people will say, essentially, “Where is He? Why isn’t He coming?”

Take the example of the gifts of the Spirit and its fruit. Once I believe and receive salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I may receive one or many gifts: tongues, healing, prophecy, etc. However, I am to bear the fruit of the Spirit also, the first of which is Love. Paul makes clear that I can speak with tongues as of angels, but if I have no Love, it is nothing. Once I have the gifts of the Spirit, I must move on to the fruit of the Spirit. I can only do this by keeping the Word of God’s patience that says He will complete the work He has begun in me – growing me into the image of Jesus. If I don’t do this – if I try to use MY patience, I will surely give up and never receive the fulfillment of the promise.

In Exodus 19, the Israelites in the desert made this mistake over and over and none of them but Joshua and Caleb ever went to the promised land. They saw the power and glory of God daily, they were saved by the blood in the Passover, they went through a baptism of water and the spirit, walking through the Red Sea and dancing in the Spirit after they were freed. They were lead by the Pillar of Fire – the presence of God Himself. They received manna from Heaven and complained they had no meat! They received prophecy and healing – and what did they do? Miriam and others fell from pride, claiming they needn’t listen to Moses as they had all received the Spirit, and making a idol out of the snake after they received healing! Is this not a picture of the church today? They cannot keep the Word of God’s patience, and when they appear not to receive their request, they decide God has told them “no”. When they don’t experience the power of God, they console themselves with ritual. When they have no fruit of the Spirit, they create an idol! They take an interpretation and change it into a dogma. Take for example the trinity – the Bible only ever says of God that He is ONE. Never does it say that He is Three in One or One in Three.

Back in Revelation, the angel mentions keeping the Philadelphia church from the hour of temptation that will come on the world. What temptation is this? Where can we find it? In the Garden. Eve is a figure of the church; she was tried, and not having the Word of God’s patience, she fell. Peter says of course that when we add to our faith, patience, we will never fall. Eve surely did. Adam was not tempted by Satan, but by Eve’s doctrine. She brought to him the wrong message and he accepted it, though he knew what God had said! What temptation do we see today? The same one- human reasoning. “Where is He? He said He was coming.” Just like Eve: if I eat this, I’ll be wise! I’ll be like God! In Romans 2:4, Paul says this kind of thinking leads people to be foolish enough to despise God’s patience, which Peter says is for our benefit and not to be despised as slackness. God showed me that the church, like Eve, is giving people the wrong message and drawing them away from the Word of God. Each one seems to outstrip the others in offering programs – to give people a reason to come to “their” church! This is a coming temptation that if it were possible, would fool even the elect. We need to resist this temptation – this taking an interpretation for doctrine. We must repent, keep to the doctrine of the prophets and Apostles -- to the Word of God, and to the Word of His patience, and we will not fall.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Chapter 6

I waited a bit to go on to this chapter because it was so important that I get across to you just what I wanted to say in order for you not to be deceived by what prayer is not. Also, many people today come to Christianity with different backgrounds, and sometimes mix what they believed before with Christianity, which causes confusion; and there are many who begin as Christians, go searching for some reason, and then come back, but bring with them some of the confusion that caused their falling away. So, the world we have today is often a mess!

Samuel 15:22 says that people who rebel against God commit the sin of witchcraft. This sounds odd until you consider that rebels leave God to find a way around His law and His way. They want to be their own God, but have power too; to idolize themselves, but have power like God. I don’t want to condemn these people, I was like them. Many of them have been hurt by the people of the church, by life, by circumstances they can’t understand. I don’t want to judge them; I was disobedient too. I do want them to see why and how to turn back, and how very much God loves them. I have seen the entirely sincere, but torn by questions; the faithful, confused by hypocracy. I have been there.

I remember once back in Algeria as a boy, I got bad marks in school on my report card. I knew if I showed it to my maman, I would be punished. So, I decided to avoid the situation. When she asked me where my report card was, I lied and said they don’t give them out anymore – they’re doing things a new way. I smile when I think of this because it is SO much like those involved in the New Age. Huh! “New”. Nothing new about it. Anyway, back to my story. After I lied about not getting report cards any more, as I was coming in to school one morning, I saw my maman talking to the teacher. I knew the jig was up and I ran very fast to the grocer, bought some food – on my father’s credit of course – and made off to the beach. This is what people want – easy life on someone else’s work! I spent three days there, found new friends and thought I was fine. Then, my food ran out and I decided to go back home. Just as many people come back to the Word of God from the fantasy of the “alternatives”. I remember the dark, cold night when I came home. I saw the light in my kitchen from the street. I was at the top of the street, and I saw someone walking around at the bottom – it was my maman! Later, she told me she walked to and fro every night, praying for me, that I would come back. How could she do that for me? I think of those wanderers away from the Lord when I consider what my maman did for me! And I do this every night in prayer for them, as for my brothers and sisters. When I saw my mother, I was overjoyed, and terrified! I saw the light in my home and wanted to go there SO badly! But I couldn’t; I felt so guilty. How could they accept me now? They’d want to kill me! There was a garage for horses across from my home, and this was a long time ago so there was a yellow flickering gaslight. My heart pounding, my mother began to go by the entrance of this shed. Instead of going, though a part of me was praying that she go by, she stopped, turned, and said “Michel, I know you are here – come out and come home with me!” I said, “Maman, forgive me!” and she said, “I forgive you, my son!”

Well when we got inside, she gave me the forgiveness I was expecting, and a heavy dose of her hand on my behind. But that pain was as nothing against the sheer relief and joy I had to be back home! She told me God told her I was there; I didn’t understand that at the time, but have come to understand that when Love is great, the Lord will tell you many things. Satan, with the help of our guilt, always tells us we cannot go back; we won’t be accepted – the very ones we love will reject us. This is not what the Word of God says – HE says whoever comes to Him He will not cast out.

Remember, the disciples were confused when Jesus died – they saw the soldier pierce His heart, they saw Him laid to rest; nothing more to be done – it was the end. Some said He’d been seen; some said it was not He. I know how they feel. But look what happened: in Luke 24: 36 – 43, after visiting the two on the road to Emmaus, Jesus appeared to His followers. They were afraid, supposing they had seen a spirit, but He asked why they were troubled and doubting, when they could see His scarred hands and feet, and asked them to touch Him, for a spirit did not have flesh and bones as he did, and while they marveled, He even ate before them. That same spirit of confusion causes suffering in the world today. Now, you have many who claim to be prophets, but are false. I am writing for those who are captured by these false prophets, by the Gnostic works and other “new” works they claim are gospels. These people question the four gospels, but insist the apocryphal and Gnostic works are true. This position is truly not sensible; however, it exists to try to draw the believer away in these other alleged gospels. There are people who claim to be learned, and say that the books accepted as being part of the Bible were chosen my man, so they have the right to choose among the other “gospels”; however, this is just another form of avoidance – because these other books do not follow or go along with the Old Testament prophecy as the Bible books do. Some of the same people claim that there was no virgin birth! These are people who claim to believe! Many today are deceived that other religions are equally true, and that the eastern religions also point the way to God; these are always the folks looking for a particular result and not very studious as to the actual beliefs they’ve espoused. Meanwhile the children of those in the east are sent west to be educated! There are the ones who take a little of this religion and a little of that – even a little Christianity – and add in “steroid” of humanism, science, psychology and the like and say “Aha! I’ve found the truth!” They are like the body builders who depend on steroids for their result – it looks good for a while, but they end up infected and deflated with the disease their shortcut brought on.

Maybe when we go into these areas about which I want to deal, we’ll get into some very strange things, some that some folks may say are not real, and don’t even exist. I am going into these things because there is such deep confusion today about what is fantasy, and what is important. I don’t want to base my belief on my experience of life, or what I’ve done, but in Jesus’ death and resurrection. I just want you to know some of what I will be dealing with now may seem like fiction, but is very real and very dangerous.

I remember when I started my ministry, I build a small tent in Essertine, for baptisms, etc., and when we started church one morning, a visitor, a 30–year-old man, stood up and said “I know who you are Jean Michel, and I tell you that I am here to destroy you. I have four strong spirits, who told me that I am more strong than you are!” And with that, he actually came forward and grabbed me to strangle me! I tell you, at that time, I had not ever faced that before! I was so shocked! This was in the seventies, when everything was “Peace, Peace, Peace”; I had never seen anyone possessed and of course had been taught that kind of thing did not happen in the modern day! I pushed this man back in the name of Jesus! He got up again and came after me again. I wasn’t just concerned for myself; there were others there, including children and old folks, and babies starting to cry. The other brothers tried to grab the man, and some of them fell back on the little ones. He came back to me, and I fought with him for a half hour, because I did not know what to do. Finally, I stopped fighting him physically, and began battling with the Word of God, giving him opposition for each thing he said. He said my God was not true and his spirit was bigger than mine and that he would destroy any Christian he could find! Finally, I rebuked him in Jesus’ Name, and he was free. He looked around, confused and asked what was going on. We told him what he had done; he face changed completely; he dropped to his knees and asked Jesus into his heart. We baptized him right there; he received the Holy Spirit, and became a new man! He had been into Hinduism before that. Now, I don’t believe every Hindu is possessed; but this man certainly was!

During my rebellious period, I went sometimes to a Unity Church, and met many broken, hurting people. They were divorced, or otherwise alone, or dealing with a difficulty of some kind. And when they found a modicum of hope, because they were looking for help, they believed in what they had found. I am sure all these people, as we will see, really wanted a solution, and believed they are right; they are very sincere. But at bottom, when they decide that what Jesus says is not true, He did not come in the flesh and sacrifice Himself to save us, because many of them KNOW what He said, and read the Bible, now they become true rebels. Before they did not look like rebels, just confused people. But this decision reveals they were actually rebels all along. If they are, then the Lord will send them a lying spirit to cause them to follow the lie they have chosen to believe, and they will try to find others to believe with them. These are the same people who will say there is no resurrection, but believe in reincarnation! If, of course, they come to understand that Jesus did die, did return from the dead, and still lives today, they can be redeemed. To these people, I want to show that the Bible is the Word of God. What Jesus taught is not that there is something you need to know – it is a Person, dead and returned to life – it is not just a teaching, it is a relationship. It is not just spirit, but flesh and bones – a real experience with a real person, not just a mental exercise.

It is so funny to me that in “spiritual” stores there are statues of animals, and fairies and the like, and people who believe in them, but deny there can be a virgin birth, or resurrection after three days. Paul says in Romans 1:27, that people with darkened minds will follow after images of animals and worship things made with hands, rather than the Image of the Living God. I had one lady in one of these stores show me a book that compares the words of Buddha to the words of Krishna to the words of Jesus, and show that some of the things they said are similar. It dawned on me what her confusion was and I said, “Ah, I understand where your confusion lies! You believe religion is just a comparison of one wisdom to another!” But it isn’t. We are not Christian so much because of what Jesus said, though that is certainly important. We are Christian because of what He did for us. We accept that He became our final sacrifice for sin and that He saved us for Himself, to come to know Him and be like Him. Jesus did not just come to teach us – He came to bring us out of death and into Life. The other words are to give us some help and hope while we are still in the world. Jesus was an accomplishment of prophecy, not just a teacher; He is GOD, not just a wise and good man. It is likely that there are wise sayings in the teachings of Buddha, and Krishna and Mohammed; but did Buddha die for you? Did Lao Tsu cause you to pass from death to Life? And not just this life, but a perfect, eternal Life? Well Jesus did.

I told the lady about the parable of the good seed and the bad seed. The same God gave both seeds the same process to grow and gave them both rain! The Bible doesn’t explain exactly what is meant by “good” seed and “bad”. It says Satan planted the bad seeds, and God does not want the good seeds rooted up, and to let them grow. But in this story we only find out which is which at the end, when the harvest comes – the bad seeds are destroyed and the good put away in the barn. So are some people today who say, “My religion is as good as yours!” but the proof will be seen in the end. The real issue is, what is the result of your belief? The result of belief in Jesus is to pass from Death to Life and begin a relationship with Him. It is not something you must know or some ritual you must perform, it is something you must accept.

Jesus also gave a parable about men who built homes. The homes were likely built the same, but one house fell and the other stood. The difference was the foundation. The foundation in Jesus is “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The foundation in the others is the shifting sand of uncertainty.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Chapter 5 - Man Flees God

I am taking the time to explain all this about other beliefs because everything is so confused today, and so many things are compared with Christian prayer that are not. At that time, when I was not living my walk with Jesus, when I would try to testify or talk about the Lord, many times I was rejected precisely because I was not living what I preached. I did not fit with these people anyway. I was not with them, but I was not with Jesus either – neither fish nor fowl. I consider this my time in the belly of the whale – like Jonah, who also fled from God.

This morning I went to the local bakery, and saw a guy I’d seen before and talked to about the Lord. He began to tell me he believed in positive thinking and visualization. I explained to him the base of positive thinking is the religion I mentioned before, Houma. He thought that what he was doing was Christian! I explained to him what he was really doing. He told me that it worked; I said, “I know!”, but it was not what he thought. I talked to him of the three psychological levels, ego, superego and id, and how you can use the three with creative prayer, and it will have effect. However, it is not what people think; it is not scientific, it is religion over a thousand years old just in Hawaii, and far longer in Egypt where it began, and it is most certainly NOT Christianity. Houma was a secret knowledge one needed to learn – only the initiates were allowed to “practice” it. This technique went from Egypt to North Africa, to India and then even to the Pacific.
Vincent Peale and the like took this and mixed it with the Gospel and introduced it that way, just as yoga is taught today as an exercise and relaxation technique. It is not; it is religious practice.
Houma has two “ways”, a red and a white, which are similar to positive and negative – like the yin and yang of Taoism. The three personality aspects, what psychology calls the id, ego and superego, represent one’s life force, which like electricity, has a positive and negative side. The priest would “charge” an object and use it like a magnet. If he were to touch someone with such an object, the person would receive energy and that energy would appear to heal him. It was similar to magnetism, but was something unknown – I believe an evil spirit; certainly science has no explanation for how a non-metallic object can be magnetized. The name of this magician is “kahuna”. He taught that if you use your mind and develop your breathing technique you can use the two together as a power called “mara”. It would work like this: you take an image of what you desire in your mind, you breathe ten breaths, and pause, keeping the image in your mind. You do this four times, and you accumulate the energy, mara, then you confess your faith in the energy to do what you ask, and you’ll have it.

The point I was trying to make to the guy is that none of this is new – it’s been being promoted and used for thousands of years. He was most surprised. The “Law of Attraction” book is the latest version of this old saw. But the Law of Attraction is from the Science of Mind people! I hope I didn’t hurt his feelings, but I did have to smile! He was also surprised that I was a real believing Christian, but I knew these things. Nothing in this is Christian, though.

The town we live in is allegedly one of the most “haunted” in the country; not something we like to consider! Many people are fascinated by this today as well – one might almost say obsessed. We see a lot of this on TV now and in movies, such as The Sixth Sense. People are thirsty for the supernatural. If I lose someone, and I don’t know Jesus, and someone tells me it is possible to communicate with my lost loved ones, I will most likely want to do that, if I believe it is possible. For many of these, their problem is the pain of grief – they want to know their lost one is “okay”. There are also real mediums, who actually can speak to spirits whom they believe are the dead. In reality, these people do not know to whom it is they speak, but this is what they believe, and they do receive messages. Then there are others who are fakirs, who simply make hay from the misfortune of their more naïve brethren. Then for some the idea of a ghost is a hobby they like to look into, a joke or purely intellectual interest in an unusual occurrence. In North Africa the village I lived in, in Boulangerie, my Mamma told me I was a special child because I was born in a caul. This is simply a superstition that people have believed for centuries. I liked the idea because it made me feel special, but it is actually meaningless! I became special when I came to know Jesus! In my village, there were people who spoke to their ancestors, and people who talked to spirits. These were two different things. Many tribes and peoples have spoken to or worshipped their ancestors; this is the spirits of men who have lived. People who desire to speak to spirits, not of their own family, are usually looking for power over others or to know the future. Ghosts are a different thing; often believed to be the spirits of persons who died under circumstances of heinous crime or mystery and are “stuck” as it were in the physical world, and not where they ought to be.

None of this is new of course, these things are mentioned in the Bible as well, and I want to talk about them. In order to understand what prayer really is, we must also understand what it is not. Later, we will also need to examine the ways in which people try to contact God, and the ways in which they believe they’ve contacted Him, just because of the result they get. But for now, I want to give you an anecdote from my life during which God showed me something important – I call it, “The Candy Dilemma”.

When I was seven or eight, I went with my mother to see various mediums, for my mother to have comfort about our future. We went to women who read palms, who read the Tarot, Muslim witches that claimed to remove the evil eye, even a lady who had a crystal ball. My mother would see only women, for she said they had the best intuition. Saturday afternoons, we went to the Catholic Church. MY mother was very religious and made me go to catechism classes so I could take my first communion. She had plans for me to go to the Jesuit seminary and become a priest. At church, she always had me dip my little hand in the holy water and make the sign of the cross, and then we’d go to wait for the priest, who had the power to forgive sin. Going to the mediums actually was not a contradiction for us – it was a part of the Catholic tradition. After confession, we’d go to do our penances – 10 for Mary and 1 for Jesus! Then we’d go through the stations of cross, and then we’d have to do more Hail Marys and recite one prayer to Jesus. All this was to be a blessing and a protection for us.

I remember going to see statues of Peter, St. Francis of Assisi, and other saints, and lighting candles and being told to pray to St. Vincent DePaul for help in school. Now I loved the saints, for they showed us movies of their lives, and we prayed to them. Not so different from what the medium was doing, no? At that time, I understood nothing I was doing, because I was too young, but everyone else was doing it and so it was the thing to do! At this time I lived in Algeria, in the city of Ouran, in the Street of the Jews. Of course, we also lived amid all the Jewish traditions, and the synagogue was no problem. Then, from school, many of my schoolmates were Muslim, so the mosque was not odd either. To us kids, knowing nothing, it appeared all were the faith of Abraham! So to us, sorcerers, mediums, priests, they were all the same – all had some special power that we needed to get through life. When I turned 12, though, I had a very special experience before Christmas. In the village where I lived, we all celebrated each other’s holidays, and Christmas was a favorite. Of course, putting up decorations and giving gifts are quite different from celebrating Christmas, but to me at that time, this distinction was in the future.

One afternoon, I went early to church for confession, and I went in front of the nativity scene to make my penance in prayer. I looked at the baby in the manger, and at the animals and the kings, and noticed the donkey with a slot in its head for donations. The church was calm and empty. That day, my maman gave me 5 cents to buy candy; I tell you the truth, candy was my favorite thing back then – still is! On my knees in front of the baby Jesus, I said this prayer: “You are my only friend, my best friend and I love you very much – you are my best friend!” There was nothing but silence between us, very companionable. I put my hand in my pocket and felt the warm coin that was my fortune! I wanted to go very fast after the prayer to buy my bon bons! I asked Jesus if He liked candy too, for I was sure He did! After all, He was my friend. I said to Him I would give Him one of my cents when I returned from buying the candy; however, I felt at that moment something wrong in me, though I did not understand what. At the same time, I looked at the donkey standing there, somehow reproaching me, and argued with it – “No, I won’t give you all my money! I want my candy!” I said to Jesus that I loved Him; I had planned to give Him one of my precious cents! There was a big silence. This was a big discussion of love! I didn’t feel guilty exactly, but the discussion was over how much I loved Him; after all, He was to get one cent after I bought my candy. I thought about the last station of the cross, where Jesus died for me – gave me ALL His Life. I was always SO impressed by this! Yet, it made me think of my deal – one part for love of Him and FOUR parts for love of my candy! That was to be the deal; but He did not give a part – He gave everything. A sweet voice came to my heart, “Give to Him everything, just as He did for you!”

Oh! This must’ve been Satan – God would not ask me to give up something I loved so much! “Jesus, you know how much I love my candy! I want to give you one part – but all? Have no candy? That’s not good for me!” I remember the feeling – fingering the piece of money in my hand – and the incredible fight between the love for Jesus and the love of my candy. I felt the pressure more about Jesus’ sacrifice and began to cry. I said, “Jesus, you can’t ask me this! It is too hard for me!” I looked again at the nativity, Mary and Joseph walking in the cold night, with no one, no place for them, they were alone in the dark. This day, I discovered more than my friend. I discovered my life. A big tear rolled down my cheek, my hand shook a bit, but I took the piece and said to Jesus, “I give you all - all my bon bon!” When I put the piece inside, the donkey’s head nodded up and down and it said “Thank you; thank you!” I received the most beautiful miracle that day – not the sweetness of candy, but the sweetness of love between God and a child. I said to Him, “You know Jesus, I know when I go with you to paradise, you’ll open a candy manufacture just for me!” That would be my recompense.

The day after was Christmas; I woke up with my sister and ran to the tree. My mother bought so much chocolate! It took us a week to eat it all! I truly got it all – the love of God and all my chocolate. Even today when I eat chocolate it reminds me of the sweet love between me and God. Many times in this life, I have tried to make the same deal – one part for someone else and four for me. The fight continued, but I knew that to renounce sin and refuse pleasure, I would receive the sweetness of forgiven sins and the love of my Lord! It is true that the heart of man is an altar of sacrifice. The battle of love – love for Him, or love of the world. So many people today taste only the sweet sadness of sin; the Bible says this turns to gravel after. The Bible says to taste and see that the Lord is Good!
The miracle of miracles is that God heals us of this sickness of love; He healed me of the lovesickness the world brings – love of things, love of self, love of money, even love of candy! At one time in my life I had the candy of wealth, the candy of beautiful clothes, even the candy of beauty through plastic surgery – a big packet of bon bons! Wrapped with Gucci paper and Cartier ribbon! And all those around me waited eagerly to grab some of this candy. But after everyone ate the candy, the package was empty and all of it, the wrapping, the ribbon, all were thrown in the trash, and the bitterness of dissatisfaction sounded in the solitude that was my life. And I was very sad! In my sadness, I recalled that day in the church, when after giving everything to my Friend, I opened the door to go out and ran down the street in joy! A joy in which there was no sadness or bitterness of any kind – only a blissful satisfaction. Remember, prayer is not one part for Him and four for me – it is “Take everything you want God, I am your servant!”

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Chapter Four

Temptation by Relation

Matthew 4: 1: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Before you have a relationship with God, you have other relationships, other distractions – your tendency to interpret the Word of God – to decide what it says by your own mind.

Jesus’ temptation exemplifies this test in us. He faced the same temptations we do: the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. Every one of us, before we receive the answer we seek, must meet that same challenge – go to that same desert, be so tempted, just as Jesus was. It is the battle of the spirits - the Spirit of God took Jesus to the desert, and Satan showed up. Every time you receive something from God, you will be tested. Look what happened: Jesus was just baptized by John in the Jordan – but did he get to rest and relax? No, he was sent to be tested! So are we all.

Jesus did not fall of course, but each of us does. Each temptation I will fail. This is because I must know that I cannot master temptation on my own – Jesus must do it for me, must do it in me. Each temptation is a challenge to your mind – just as when I prayed for my friends who had died. It appeared to be no big deal at first, but became a bigger and bigger deal. Satan said to me: “It’s not fair these people died. They worked for God, dedicated their lives, and He did not protect them. What’s more – He says you’ll have whatever you ask in prayer and then He didn’t answer you. Isn’t that strange?” He used this tactic to try to turn me somewhere else – he suggested to me there might be other ways – other solutions beside prayer. The temptation is not weakness of the flesh, but often is pride disguised – a desire for instance to have a result or find an answer that no one else has found. The night after Joshua and Miriam’s funeral; I asked God to give me an answer and felt He counseled me to be patient. Patience, though, was not my thing! I came to the point that the simple Good News of salvation through the blood of Jesus was no longer enough – I wanted to go “deeper” and find more. Satan used this occasion to suggest that maybe my conversion was just psychological; that my happening to go to that church that had prayed for me for a year without knowing me was just a coincidence. It caused a shift in me to the idea that the control of the mind was all – positive thinking instead of faith. If I had controlled my mind and let no unbelief creep in – I would have had my answer! I had a vision of my professor when I was a child prophesying in school that in the year 2000 science would have cured all ills and there would be no need for religion – there would be no more sickness, we’d discover other planets, other creatures so advanced that they would solve all Man’s problems – even time-travel! I was told that education would have created a new world with no crime, no problems, no suffering and eternal youth!

Well it’s 2008, and recently my wife and I spoke at length with an agnostic of my acquaintance who’s never happy, but believes that education will solve all one’s problems! Education never changed anyone! It may help, it may ameliorate a condition or give one the opportunity to change a circumstance or adapt to a problem, but it cannot and does not change our natures and that is why there is no new world, though generations have preached and expected it!

One or two weeks after that conversation, it brought back to me this time I am speaking of now, when I faced this challenge to my mind, when it appeared I had no answer. In prayer, the Lord showed me about Micaiah the prophet’s vision of the throne of God during the time of Ahab and Jezebel. God talked with Ahab, who was king of Israel; but he followed the evil ways of his wife, who desired to rule all around her including her husband, and to cause them to worship her idols. This all came about because Solomon had first allowed his heart to be swayed from the true God by his wives, and allowed idol worship. A prophet of Solomon’s time prophesied that Solomon’s kingdom would be split and a part go to Jeroboam. Solomon actually wanted to kill Jeroboam, who went to Egypt until Solomon died. Jeroboam, afraid that he would lose his tribes, made two cattle of gold, using the same words that Aaron had used in the wilderness. He used the Word of God for idol worship! Later, Jeroboam saw the error of his ways, but initially, he caused his people to fall to idolatry. I mention Jeroboam because Jezebel did the same thing as Jeroboam had – she made two idols and caused the people to worship them. When Jehoshaphat came to visit Ahab, to fight the Syrians, Micaiah was asked by Jehoshaphat, who was a godly king, to prophesy about the battle. At first Micaiah said they would prevail, but then, prodded by Ahab, he told the truth, and explained his vision also: he’d seen the throne of God, with the Hosts of Heaven standing at His Right and Left Hand. The Lord asked who would go to persuade Ahab to to up to battle, that he might fall. This spirit spoke and that; but one came before God and said he would go and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all of Ahab’s prophets. To this the Lord agreed, saying, “You shall persuade him. Go and do so.” This Micaiah said to Ahab; he told him the truth! And still Ahab did not believe. Rather, he believed the 450 lying prophets of Baal! We so easily create our own beliefs – our own gods. We don’t see the invisible working, and are fooled by our own mental constructions. Paul gives an example of this problem and its result in 3Romans 1: 19-33:

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

The problem of these people is that they have a pain of some kind and want to ease it, but are not willing to accept the solution – follow God. They keep looking, and find something that temporarily eases that pain – and thereby think, “Ah – here’s my answer!” But it is not an answer; just as eating too much may temporarily ease the pain and cause one to feel better, but the result is morbid obesity, illness and death. Another person is different and not well-accepted by others, and persons of an alternate lifestyle appear to accept him or her (as long as the person then joins their lifestyle!) and this person, now feeling the relief of acceptance, thinks “Ah, this must be what I was looking for.” Yet in the end, he or she has no fewer problems and may have paid a very high price for simple acceptance. I have been asked if I love gay people – the answer is “yes”. What they are doing is wrong, but I love them. Same if you ask me if I love adulterers or liars! Of course! As my wife is fond of saying, there is only one kind of people! And God loves them too, but He is not here to make us feel better; He is here to save us and change our nature to HIS. If one cannot imagine this change, or is unwilling to accept it, He will not force them.

This reminded me of the time I was living in sin; there was a New Age place near the gym I went to, where one could go to learn the power of the mind. I was astonished that to these people this seemed to be new! I first heard this when I was 14; only it was under the guise of “education”! The god of the mind never goes away! I was surprised they were so easily fooled; at least I was just a kid when I heard the same crap. There were almost one hundred persons in this class! I said to a guy on my right that there was a guy who was a thinker in France – Voltaire – who said all this hundreds of years ago! His conclusion was that everything religious was bad and one could not expect salvation – only “enlightenment”. Sound familiar?

The French revolution was all based on “reason” too. They murdered the king and queen, and mouthed “Liberty, equality and fraternity”, but to actually believe in those things they pronounced “stupidity”! Near the time of the Revolution, your Thomas Jefferson was corrupted by this to the point that he wanted to remove the miracles from the Gospel! New Age is a little different – it mixes everything together: reason, religion, miracles, mind-control, and uses it to get riches, healing and happiness! But none of this is new!

I remember when I was in Mexico City in 1988, I saw a Norman Vincent Peele seminar advertised, so I went to hear him. He could not appear as he was ill, but I bought one of his books and read it. After that I went to a school of positive thinking, and bought a book on a Hawaiian religion called Houma, which was essentially the same thing, and on which these “new” positive-thinking gurus were basing their own versions. Today we have gurus everywhere mixing eastern philosophy with western religion: God is in everything and everyone, so everyone is God!

During this time, in speaking to my fellow students, I noticed that we were still full of anguish, still with problems, still essentially without a real answer. We might have begun by thinking we had found the answer, but very soon it would become obvious that we had not. We continued to play the game though, not admitting to ourselves or each other that the emperor had no clothes!

In my “playboy” period, I came into contact with many different kinds of people, as I said, and the majority of these people had been hurt in some way, had been disappointed by God in an answer or a help they expected. They had turned from Him and to Hinduism or Buddhism or positive thinking – to the spiritualism “du jour”. Most were divorced, most had some kind of statues or crystals, or meditated or studied some “master” or some special knowledge. These people who were partying with me at night, during the day were attempting to be “spiritual” and find “enlightenment”! They all had books too, books on Buddha and the Maharishi, or Gandhi or Mohammed or the Tao, and when I asked about the carpet they’d have in the corner – it was for yoga. Strangely no one seemed to have the Bible. I explained to them often my desert experiences: how I’d fasted, spent time with the monks, etc., but, as I explained to them, these people we were studying were all born like us. They had the same life we had. Reiki, tai chi, all these practices purport to manage and employ energy to change a person’s condition, but it is not our condition that needs to be changed! It is ourselves! Jesus on the other hand was born differently than we. Surely He would have what the others did not. I came to see what I should have seen long before – that we believe it is our circumstances that are the problem and it is not. It is our natures.

Many people are offended by the idea that one needs to be cleansed by blood – they want there to be a clean cross – a “green” cross, if you will! Example: my friend Alain. He ate Gomasio (a sesame product), with salt, and blue cheese and Roquefort cheese and all manner of pungent foods. I asked him if it was good and he gave me a taste – it was HORRIBLE, and I said so! No, he said, it is “yang”. He believed in macrobiotics. I had a lot of admiration for him, as I figured it must’ve required a lot of discipline to eat in this way. He was trying to balance his energy; his fiancée was against Christianity because she believed the apostles were anti-feminist! This was funny to me, because as I pointed out to her, the philosophy of yin and yang is that the yin is the soft, dark feminine and the yang is the bright, hard masculine! I asked her what was the difference? Peter said the woman was the weaker vessel, but this meant she was the more delicate and prone to attack by evil, not that she was less in some way.

I had a good friend at this time who was a older lady, a medium and a spiritual searcher; she used hypnotism, past life regression, and taught classes in those across the country. She “treated” people in this way. I asked her to explain what she really thought of these experiences. She said she did put people into a trance, she did not really know how, but she did not believe what they told her! She said they told her what they thought she wanted to hear – based on the conversation they had before the “session”! She called me once when she was ill – and I prayed for her and held her hand for many hours. She thought she would lose her mind! I actually got her to pray in the Name of Jesus, and the day after, she called me and told me how great it was to pray that way. In my time of rebellion, that was really something to hear!

One day I went to a Starbucks and saw a guy reading a big book on Taoist health and fitness. I thought to myself, “What is this crap again!” I asked him if he went to the gym; he said “NO!, this is different”. He believed in shaman herbalists and acupuncture too, and said he’d stopped smoking by a needle in the ear. I told him I had a friend who’d lost an ear in an accident, but continued to smoke! He looked at me very strangely, I can tell you, but I thought it was very funny. I think of that now when I see people doing tai chi for their “health”. I know it is taught at the beginning just as an exercise system. The objective is to stimulate the central nervous system and take off stress, but this is not to make your arthritis feel better! Medicine nowadays is getting bad press because it has side-effects, and people turn to such things as an alternative; however, they have side-effects too. If you read about Taoism, it is a religion, and tai chi is a practice of this religion. You have diseases because your energy, your “chi” is blocked somewhere. Tai chi is to restore your balance and energy flow, an inner massage for your organs! Feng shui is the current fad that brings the whole Taoist philosophy into home decoration! But Taoism’s goal is immortality. Initially, they searched for a certain dirt to use to cause physical immortality. Many were poisoned by the potions they made! So they transitioned to a search for the “immortal embryo”, which could be discovered in controlling the breathing and body movements so as to control the Qi or chi. This was certainly more healthy than the poisonous potions! The idea is immortality, living forever; this presupposes mortality, but the Taoists did not know the cause of it. It was certainly an admirable goal, and they were doing the best they could to answer the age-old problem; however, none has ever achieved what was sought. China today is certainly not a land of the immortals! They have the same problems as we in America, despite daily practice of tai chi. And all they want is an answer! Again, though they may obtain temporary improvement in one aspect of life or another; they do not change their natures!

The Chinese had an excuse, because they did not know about Jesus. Many eastern peoples did not. Most here in America do. To turn from Him to New Age practices makes no sense. Now these practices are accepted by many as “health care”! How can they be health care? Are the Chinese without arthritis or smoking? Hardly; yet acupuncture AND tai chi are widely practiced there. The thing that gets me the most is when someone who is not a Christian uses something Jesus said, but then denies what He said about Himself! I met a man once who told me he was a Buddhist; when I asked him if he believed in the virgin birth he said no. But he believed that Buddha’s mother had a dream of a white elephant while pregnant and that this meant Buddha was special. In fact, he had simply chosen to believe what he did and simply chosen not to believe the rest. It had nothing to do with truth - only with choice.

The newest thing is to “save” the planet: “mother” earth – Gaea. Gaea was the ancient Greeks’ name for the earth as a goddess. Not an ignoble goal, saving the earth; but it does not change people’s natures to stop using paper and save gas. I read a new book recently: The Corporate Mystique. I can tell you, it will not change your office! But if you go to bookstores you are bombarded by the promises – we’ll show you how to change your life by what you eat or don’t eat, by how you exercise, by how you think or speak, by magic or spiritism, by following your dreams – even by politics! They tout pantheism, magic or “magick”, voodoo, reincarnation, superintelligence, Hinduism, Philosophy.

It is not change the soul needs – it is rebirth! Jesus says I am the Life. My dear friend, with occultism, or spiritism or special knowledge, or christicism or humanism or personal or impersonal god, or communing with the “one” or the universal mind or the universal soul, I cannot fail to find the God in me – that I am God! Oh, that sounds familiar – “You won’t die; you’ll be like God…” But you will never find the answer that way.

Before we come to the end of this passage about prayer, I wanted to let you know I have been down this road before you in these directions and I can tell you – they can’t change your nature! If you don’t believe me, ask me about it – I can give you answers. If you have practiced any of this – anything I mentioned here – including astrology or speaking to the dead or tarot or divination, you need to go now to your room, confess all the things you tried and may have believed could be true and ask for forgiveness. If you don’t you may be hindered in accepting the next part of the message. Remember, this was my desert – this was my temptation in the wilderness. I fell; my confidence in Jesus at that time was not perfect. But I also learned that there is nowhere else to go – no one else has the words of eternal Life!

In the next Chapter, I will tell you what the Lord has revealed to me about prayer, and why I believe Jesus is the only way – the only One who came with LIFE, died, rose, and gives not a forever version of this poor life, but Eternal Life.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Chapter Three – Where is your Treasure?

In Matthew 6: 19, Jesus says not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal; but to lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven. For, He says, where your treasure is, there is your heart.

He goes on that the eye is the light of the body, and if the eye is good the body will be full of light; however, if the eye is bad, the body will be full of darkness. If the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

What does this have to do with what prayer is? You will see. Let me continue my story.

My experience is the same as many new Christians. We’re “new” Christians for a long time, you know. It takes much time for a baby to become an adult. What I did not know then, in the fervor I had for the Lord because He had saved me, is that the plan is not for me to go off and do something for God, not to rush out and show people, including myself, that the rest of the Gospel is true, but to testify of what He did for me.

What I did was go and lay up a treasure for myself on earth – my community. It was what I wanted to do for God. Now, you’re saying, ‘but He told you to go and find others that were like you – you did that!’ And that is true, I did. But He did not tell me to start a community. Because He did not tell me more than to find then and testify to them; once I found them, I did not know what to do with them after they were converted. I did not want to start a “church”, for though I love my denominational brothers and sisters, that variety of church was to me like a law school and not a law practice. In my experience denominations give lessons on the Word of God, but don’t teach practicing the Word of God. The Word of God is only learned by doing. I wanted to create a group of one heart and mind. So, I had converts, did not want to make a denomination, what to do? The community was my thought about what the church should be, based on the book of Acts. And we certainly had an experience like that, and so we assumed God was with us. I assumed God was with me. Don’t misunderstand, I don’t say what we did was wrong or worthless – there is a treasure in Heaven from it – all those who Jesus added to His body because we preached. But the community was us building our dream – our paradise. And rust and moths began to work on that. We were doing something for God to show that He is True. God, though, does not need us to show that. He wants us to let HIM do for US. We are to do what HE says to do, not go after our own dreams, even if they are based on His Word. Obedience is key.

This is the same mistake made by many people – the same mistake I was making. We preach faith, and faith is absolutely necessary, but what Jesus wants is faith in HIM, not faith in our faith in Him. Before we mature, we’re like Peter in the boat. Jesus did NOT tell the disciples to get out the boat – He was coming to them. He told them, “Don’t worry; be happy, it’s ME.” He did NOT say, “Come.” Peter said, “Lord IF it’s you…” This is what we do when we are immature in the faith. We, despite knowing the Word of God, hear it and then say “IF, it’s you…” Just like we in the community wanted to show God was with us by our activity for Him, not by HIS activity in US. I have never heard any preacher understand this properly. Every time I hear a preacher preach that we need to be like Peter and get out of the boat, I smile sadly, because I understand that problem. What happened when Peter got out of the boat? The Lord did tell him to come; but he saw the rough sea and his faith failed him; he cried out and then Jesus lifted him up. You see, Jesus does not call us to depend on our own faith. He calls us to receive HIS faith to follow HIS Word, which never fails. God’s Spirit is necessary in us because our own spirit will fail us, but His never will.

There is another example of this in the Scripture. After the resurrection. After the receipt of the Holy Spirit. Look at the difference. In Acts, 27, 13-26, Paul is a prisoner of the Romans, being taken somewhere by boat. There is a wild storm and the soldiers want to leave the boat, which was a entirely reasonable feeling if one is near enough to shore and expects a shipwreck. But Paul tells them the angel of the Lord has told him no one is to leave the boat until they run aground in a certain place, for if anyone does, all will be killed. The centurion believes him and though as he prophesied, they lost the ship, not one of them was hurt. Many today are preaching ‘get out of the boat - take the skiff’; but Paul says, no, stay in the boat.

We are tested by the Word of God. Jesus told Peter and the rest, “don’t worry, be happy; it’s me.” THAT was the message. But Peter did not believe; he wanted proof. “Lord, IF, it’s you…” do this for me. Our job is to believe the message and let Jesus will take care of the rest. The angel told Paul he must go before Caesar – so why all the drama on the way? How was Paul to get to Rome from a shipwreck on a small island? But he did, and on the way, many were touched by the message of Truth that may never have heard by any other method. God is not our “sugar daddy” to pay our bills and give us freedom to do our own thing. He is our father, and is in the business of correcting us. We are corrected when we hear His Message and do it.

Much preaching today is escape – God is your safety chute out of a burning plane. He is the solution to all your problems! He will pay your debt, heal your sickness, give you wealth; and you know He is with you if you pray and believe and you get a new car! Certainly the Bible gives these promises and we need to believe them all. But the Bible also says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers them from them all”. He does not teach us to pray for a way around a problem, but for power to overcome the problem. We’re not to escape – we are to vanquish. Sometimes the problem is the point. How are you to show faith, or even have any faith, if there is no need for faith? If following Jesus demands nothing from us, what is the point? We are to give ourselves to Him completely, to live for and by what He says and not for ourselves at all – as He said, He did not come to be served, but to serve! We are to be like Him; therefore, we are not here for Him to serve us, but we are to serve HIM and each other.

Another common mistake by baby Christians is to prepare and decorate the newly clean home – yourself - for occupancy. You accept that Jesus died for you, and so you no longer swear, or drink, or fornicate, or smoke. And you think because your house is clean and empty of sin that it is filled with Jesus; but without the Holy Spirit, it is only full of your pride in your “change”. As it says in Revelation of the Church of Laodicea, they had knowledge of God, but denied the full Message because they put their faith in their cleanliness – their activity, not HIS; their self-value and not His Salvation. They developed their own message – be clean, be good, be saved! They said, “We are rich and need nothing”, but He said, “You are poor and naked, and have nothing – buy my real Gold – accept MY Message”. But His Message brings trouble – He says, ‘if I was persecuted, so will you be!’ Real “good news”, huh? Yet that is exactly the point. Jesus said that the last days will be like the time of Noah – things were not bad in that time; people did what they wanted, they married and went about their business and had everything, they thought. Noah came with a message – “It’s going to rain, you must get in the Ark.” There had never been rain at that time, and they laughed at Noah, and when the rain came, the door was closed. They did not accept the Message. Jesus actually said of the church in Laodicea that He is OUTSIDE, and knocks at the door. We must let HIM in, or our “clean home” will become a cesspool, and as Jesus says, our last state will be worse than our first. His Message, His Spirit, must reside in us. This is the treasure we must give everything for – this is the pearl of great price, that a man will give all he has to own. This is treasure in Heaven, which nothing can destroy.

During the time I was living in the community, during my “success”, I went once to preach with T.L. Osborn in Africa. We had huge crowds, many healings and miracles and the power of God was truly seen in that place. There was a couple in the community, Joshua and Miriam. I met them at the Lake of Geneva and didn’t see them for a year after because they lived in Greece. Again at Lake Geneva I was preaching and that same couple were there. They gave their lives to Jesus and joined the community. At this time I went to the area of France where the Hugenots hid and where they made silk. We found a very old home there with a silk factory and decided to form a branch of the community there. It needed a lot of work, and Joshua was a wonderful carpenter; so some of the brothers decided to rebuild the place. This was the time when someone had given me a Rolls Royce because her child had been delivered by Jesus from drugs – so I came to this small village in my Rolls – which was a mistake. I meant well, but it was taken all wrong. Europe is not like America, where you are taught that abundance is from God and hard work. There, abundance means someone is being oppressed. Anyway, before I left on the Africa trip, I heard this couple was planning to go to France to the new project over Christmas. I told them, “No, don’t go. Wait until after the New Year! God says we should not go.” I had no idea why God said this, but I was clear that they should not go through with their plan. I went on to Africa, and during a call home, I spoke to the brother responsible for the community in Switzerland, Paul, and when we discussed it, I let go of the Message and accepted their “good idea” to go and finish for Christmas. Sometimes we second-guess God for what appears to be a good idea – an idea that seems to fit the Word of God. But we must listen to the Lord and not our own hearts or minds. The plan is His, no matter what seems good to us. I returned from Africa to Switzerland during the preparation for Christmas, and we needed to rent another chateau because we were overflowing with people! The Lord tests us by the Word of God and we need to be victorious by His Word, by His Message. This is the most beautiful thing God gives us. Peter says this is “pure gold” to be tested in the fire. I was in the oven and did not know!

No one ever told me exactly what happened, but what I was told is this: Joshua and the pregnant Miriam went with Paul and another sister to a town close to the new project. Before going back, they must’ve stopped for refreshments and Paul had more wine than he should have but did not show it. On the trip back, it rained, and the way was winding. He met another car on a curve, lost control and hit a tree. Joshua and Miriam suffered fatal head injuries. Paul had internal injuries and the other sister had broken bones. I got an emergency call and went directly to France. You cannot imagine our shock; at this time, NOTHING bad had happened to anyone in the community, we had no sickness, no death, and miracles every day. I drove all night. Later, I heard the villagers had said God was punishing us. It wasn’t punishment, it was a test. I got to the chapel, which was so beautiful it broke my heart. Their bodies were on the floor. In Europe then, the dead were brought back to their home until the undertakers could come. I was with dead people for the first time. I had seen people killed, but had never been with them. I was terrified, because I knew one day this would come to me, and was puzzled that this had happened to us. Yet I was full of faith too, having just come from all the miracles in Africa. I said to myself that it was impossible that this couple should die, of course God would want to resurrect them. We would fight this – I would pray for them to be raised and I did. But I got no answer – no voice, no movement, nothing. The next day, the undertaker came and took the bodies. We had to take the bodies back to Switzerland and oh, the scene! We were already thought to be a cult – but in Europe, being a Methodist or in the Church of God is to be in a cult – and their parents blamed me and fought us to take Joshua and Miriam’s living child, though we were her family and wanted to keep her. I had done everything that I had heard or read to do to properly pray to obtain the resurrection: fasted, believed, confessed the Word. Nothing. I was so afraid: accused by the parents; afraid that people would not believe anymore that Jesus was with me; afraid that we would be further persecuted. I did not know then that there is always a besetting sin we cannot remove; always an obstacle we cannot surmount. If there were not, we would never learn what prayer is supposed to be.