Of Growth
And Strength

God Rewards Those Who Hunger and Thirst After Him
(Partial Testimony)

In the early 1970’s I was a young and impressionable believer like everyone else, I went to meetings, I got saved. Sometime later I got filled with the Spirit, at which point I was turned inside out and sought God with my whole heart. (Or at least at the time what I was made to believe my whole heart.)

I became discipled to various teachers (Not as in “Discipleship.” or “Shepherdship.” (I am not sure that these phrases existed in 1972-73) But I was taken by Kenneth Hagan, Smith Wigglesworth, Dr. John Graham Lake, Charles Finney, DL Moody, and many others.

I did not read ordinary books about ordinary believers and their tepid theories and opinions I was reading the books of men and women that were moved upon mightily by God that were transformed within and without and lived in demonstration of the Gospel.  I decided at an early age in the Lord that if anyone knew the way to the heart of God these people did rather than the theologians -- and so for me the hunt was on.

So, I read their books, if they had tapes I listened to them over and over and over. I quoted them, I tried to live by their precepts, and I taught their words to others – that is the definition of a disciple. (This was done in counter distinction to Christ’s Commandment that we be His disciples alone. [No man can serve two masters])

Looking back, now I can see the hand of God on me in ways I could neither see nor have imagined in those days – and if someone would have came up to me and told me that one by one I would discover that none of these dead people could speak to me or guide me to God I would have told them that they were crazy.

The more I read the more hungry I became, but because I was a man with many masters with very diverse opinions of what was right and wrong and true and false, it led me ultimately into confusion. Taking these men and women’s words to their full meaning and logical conclusions this caused a derailment of epic proportions in my life. So I regrouped and made a more careful selection of my masters and again ended up spinning off the highway of holiness and ending up in the ditch with no one to dig me out. So I set to work once more making an even more careful selection of whom I would follow . . . All the time unknowingly I was tossing aside one after another of these "Great" men and women of Faith as my lords and masters.

There was a day that I had a vocabulary of hundreds of testimonies that I could call up at will. There was a day that I could quote hundreds of bible verses and find almost any verse in scripture in one or two minutes. Today I am a mere shadow of my former self. (3/2004-5/2004) Gone burned out of my mind and consciousness are those seemingly endless list of stories and testimonies. Today when I speak extemporaneously, it is weak and empty. It is greatly humbling. I do not speak on any given subject off the cuff very well at all. I need these days to use very concise notes, with scripture text fully written out.   

About a year ago God brought me out from what can only be described as a deep long term separation unto Him. For 19 years I could not fellowship. I could not read any books, I could not listen to any tapes, I could not even read the bible. I could however pray and I did pray to Jesus and the Father. I could worship and I did worship Jesus and God, and I could meditate on all that I had seen and heard and spoke over the time of my experiences with God. So I meditated and replayed many things that I had read, that I had heard preachers and peers speak, all those things that I had learned in bible school, and even what I myself had taught in meetings where I pastored.

I had thought I had strived to do things righteously, and that I had been in pretty good standing with God, but under God’s divine searchlight  I began to see things in a very differently. Things that I and others had rejoiced over and had once held up as glorious – I now saw these things had been contemptible before God, and had been spoken or done in an arrogant spirit,  I saw lies,  half truths in other’s words and in my own words. I saw myself lying as I preached and I taught. I saw myself giving people impressions of things that I did not have, and or that I did not know.

During this time I found these words continually on my heart:
Psalm 51:1-3
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

I spent years in deep repentance, in tears crying out to the Lord. Basically it was just one thing after another. I wept silently and in private. God had set it up so that there was no one to console me, or convince me I was ok, and all this was of the devil. Never once during this period did I say: “God this is enough I can repent no more.” Never once did I say: “I am tired of this repentance thing and I can’t take it any more.”  All the while this went on and on for me. Deeper and wider, deeper and wider until I became so contemptible in my own eyes, that I could not stand myself in my sin and corruption.

You might say I saw that in and of myself there is nothing righteous. I saw that there were no redeeming features, nothing that I could offer Christ to bargain for my salvation or to curry even the smallest favor from Him.

My deep-seated dreams and hidden-aspirations of coming into any kind of earthshaking ministry for the rest of my life evaporated forever.  My soul was on fire. My heart was broken, but I still had this deep abiding love for Christ and the Father and I knew that if they sent me to hell they would have been completely righteous and I could and would not say anything against them. 

I was in agony for weeks if not for months.  It had been so long and become incredibly dark that I prayed to God to die, for I was a complete failure, not even worthy to be called His servant.

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

And of a truth I can say that the devil did speak to me repeated in those last few days of this trial and he said. “Curse God and die.” And I wept and cried aloud to God and confessed that I could not curse Him for He was Righteous and Holy and Jesus was Righteous and Holy that all that had befallen me in my life was Righteous. And I prayed again to die. This went on for two nights and at the end of this God spoke to me and said. “You are released.” And a warm tropical presence of God came upon me in my truck that dark Alaskan November night that was 30 below zero. (11/2003)

This Visitation of the Lord with Him speaking and manifesting Himself to me was epic as He began to pull me out of the pit I was in and set me on my feet once again. The word’s Jesus Spoke: “You are released.” Were so powerful, and so full of life, and the meaning of what Christ said was momentous in my life as I discovered I was released to attend church, I was released to read the word of God, I was released from the deep hurt and anger of Wade demanding I leave Pinecrest in 1985 after I and my then young family returned to Pinecrest at his repeated personal request, and on this point the Lord commanded me that I was to contact Wade Taylor and tell him all that “I” had done for you. I found that the Lord had released me at one count at the time of 14 different things. Including one that I had no idea was transpiring at the moment God spoke to me “You are released.” And that would prove to be the hardest, most painful experience of my entire life – when my wife of 23 years who had utterly backslidden, deserted my two children that were living with us at the time, on January 8th 2004 my oldest son’s birthday, while I was away on a business trip – she had the plane tickets secreted since some time in November 2003 – The agony of the separation and divorce nearly killed me, as I felt strongly that this thing did not need to be. Nevertheless During this whole time the Lord continued to visit me manifest Himself and speak to me on a daily basis both in the morning and the evening for months during this time as evidenced by all the articles that were written from all the notes that the Lord had me write.

The one thing that the Lord required of me was that I was to throw away all my books, and tapes, articles I had stored up in Pinecrest – The Lord said if I would dispose of all of those things that He would teach me.  I pondered these words, and was sad for I had great spiritual riches stored up. But I asked the Lord for a confirmation of His words to me, and within a matter of days I walked into a church and the Pastor preached on dead men’s bones – of the books and writings and tapes of those who had passed on were a defilement and needed to be thrown out – I was stunned by what I heard and said yes Lord and proceeded to throw out all my tapes, all of my books except books on Greek and Hebrew, and all of the notebooks filled with articles. When I told Wade Taylor what I had done he was appalled – that I would have done such a thing and could not conceive that the Lord could have ever spoken such a thing. I told others and was rebuked for having done so.  But no sooner had I done that then the Lord began to do exactly what He promised He would do as evidenced by all the articles that have been written and posted on Ekklesia in the Wilderness. I have never been so happy and content in my walk with the Lord, nor have I felt so close to the Lord then from that time on, when the Lord came to visit me on that cold night in November 2003 when the Lord came and said unto me “You are released.”

Jeremiah 33:1-3 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.