This message is a message that was written by my twenty-six year old son John. John is presently attending Heartland School of Ministry - a Bible School headed up by Steve Hill, the renowned Evangelist and Pastor who was the leading Preacher in the Pensacola, Florida Revival that lasted for five years. Just recently, John received the great report that someone in our church was told by God to sponsor him and pay for his last year at Bible School. We cannot tell you what a blessing this is because John has to travel quite a distance every day to school and with the gas prices rising - almost on a weekly basis - things were becoming very hard for him financially.
Just to give you a little background of John - he was saved when he was two and a half years old. He preached his first sermon (which lasted for forty-five minutes)on the streets of Dallas when he was three, and five people got saved after hearing him. He was baptized with the Holy Spirit when he was four. He heard the audible voice of God calling him when he was six months old. I was there to witness that encounter with God. He has preached the Gospel with us on the streets of Dallas since he was three. The entire city literally watched him grow up to be the man of God that he is today.
Since he is off from school for the summer, I have asked him to help me with this ministry. So you will be hearing from him occasionally. I believe that after reading this message, you will easily detect the hand of God on his life to preach and teach God's Holy Word.
I am asking all of you to please pray for him. There was not a day while he was in Bible School that he did not go through some kind of heavy-duty warfare. It was constant - with no letup whatsoever.
I am also asking that you would pray about supporting John financially. Here is a young man with great promise for the future. He represents the next generation. The hand of God is definitely upon his life. His ministry would most definitely be fertile soil in which to plant your financial seed.
You can send any financial gifts to this ministry - Walking In Truth Ministry - and then designate them for - John - and they will be given specifically to him for his needs.
For those of you who are middle-aged like Carl (my husband) and myself, we need to feel the urgency to invest our resources into the next generation. They are the ones who are going to carry on the work when we are gone. They need all the encouragement that we can give them. And there is no better way to say - "We are behind you in this work" - except through our prayers and financial support.
A special thanks to all of you for being such a great blessing to our family through your heartfelt prayers and financial support. Literally, we could not carry on this work without you!
Here is John's Bible teaching. May the Lord speak to you through it and confirm His Word with signs and wonders following. Believe for it to happen.
How To Be Used By God
As Christians, I believe that all of us would agree that our chief aim in life should be to be used as an instrument or tool for God's work. Our purpose for being in the earth is to glorify God to the world around us. Yet, how do we go about doing this? Can we prepare ourselves to be used of God? Does God use any old vessel or are there certain kinds that He chooses to work through - while laying aside others who are unfit for His work? To find the answers to these questions, it would behoove us to look at the story of Gideon in order to discover three things that we must rid ourselves of (by God's powerful grace) before being used by Him.
In Judges 6, we read of how God had chosen Gideon, a man from the tribe of Manasseh, to lead His people against their enemies - the Midianites. Yet before Gideon could lead, God had to rid him of something - idolatry.
In verses 25-26, we read - "And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that they father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down."
After obeying the Word of the Lord, Gideon had all hell break loose - so to speak. The enemy came up against his people with their armies (verse 33). Yet, because of his obedience to God, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (verse 34).
The Spirit of the Lord only comes upon and empowers those who are willing to dispense with their idols. God is a jealous God. He wants total worship. If anything is coming between you and your God, you will not be used of Him in His complete will for your life. You will not adequately lead His people until you remove the idol.
The second point I see in the story of Gideon and his three hundred men is that God cannot use fearful people. In Judges 7:3, He told Gideon - "...proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart..." This was not out of character for God. In Deuteronomy 20:8, He told His people to tell all the fainthearted and fearful that had enlisted for battle to go home - "And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart."
Please understand that all of us get nervous or sometimes downright scared of doing what we know God wants us to do. This is not sin. What is sin is when we allow that fear to mold itself into our character. Then we become like the children of Ephraim who - "...being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in His law; and forgot His works and His wonders..." (Psalm 78:9-11). These men had all they needed - they were armed, carried bows, and had God as their ally. Yet they turned back in the day of battle because they became afraid and forgot what God had done for them in the past. Their fear ran their lives.
Remember, it is the fearful, as well as the unbelieving, murderers, and whoremongers who will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). If one is to be used of God, he or she must get rid of fear. The only way to do this is to replace fear with faith. This is the only way to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Of course, the Holy Spirit is the only One Who can help the believer replace fear with faith. He will take the Word of God and teach it to the Christian so that he can be a valuable tool in the hands of God (John 14:26; Romans 10:17).
The last point that I see in this story is that to be used of God we must have discernment. In Judges 7:4, God told Gideon to bring his now widdled-down army of ten-thousand men to the water - "...and I will try them for thee there." In verses 5-6, we find that everyone that drank water with his hand while staying on guard against the enemy was accepted into Gideon's army. However, those who got down on their knees and stuck their faces into the water were rejected. Thus, only three hundred were fit for Gideon's army.
Friend, may I submit to you that this is symbolic of discernment? The Bible teaches that the Christian must always be alert and on guard against the attacks of the devil. In order to be used of God, the believer must watch and pray. He must not go with the flow - so to speak - and put his head down to the water like a defenseless deer (spiritually speaking) - not caring about the chance of impending danger. He must instead be on guard - always discerning and cautiously observing the situation (1 Peter 5:8).
Some Christians have taken discernment to extremes, however. They are very "super spiritual" and think that they can discern everyone's "spirit." As a result, they are always "feeling" a spirit of this or that. This is not godly discernment. Godly discernment looks at what God's Word says and lines the words of others up with that standard. If the two do not agree, the Bible is accepted, and the man or woman is rejected - no matter how spiritual they look or sound.
We must always remind ourselves that God will not use a person "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14). He is looking for those who will cautiously drink from the water (as Gideon's three hundred did). He is looking for those who will say with the Prophet Isaiah - "...if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20).
To be used of God, we all must get rid of spiritual laziness and become discerning warriors.
As you read the rest of the story in Judges 7, you will notice that God used Gideon and his three hundred to deliver a nation.
Do you want to be used of God?
Then do what Gideon and these three hundred did - get rid of all idols...get rid of all fears...get rid of spiritual laziness and practice discernment - and God will use you powerfully.