One of the messages from the Lord that has recently come to us and was reinforced through a dream from Bob Jones has once again involved our relationships with one another. It seems the Lord is preparing a body of people who genuinely live together in unity and fraternal affection. The times that are eminently ahead of us will require it. As we have stated in previous prophetic articles, there will be a special anointing placed upon those who dwell together in harmony and unity. This is based upon the biblical promise of Psalms 133.
The Fraternity House Vision
by Paul Keith Davis
Throughout the last several years there has been a reoccurring dream that I have had perhaps 100 times. The dream always involves the people with whom we are in relationship and ministry association. The essence of the dream always takes place in the fraternity house that I lived in during my college days. Uniquely, this fraternity at Mississippi State University had as a large portion of its membership, openly radical Christians. In fact, other fraternities often made the statement that our fraternity house should have a steeple on it.
It was not uncommon for us to have campus-wide Bible studies and private prayer meetings two or three times a week. We would regularly have awesome worship leaders come with 100-200 students participating. There existed among us true brotherhood that preferred one another and reinforced each other during times of hardship and difficulty. It was a truly significant time in my life in which many of the seeds were sown for the things we are presently doing. For that reason, I believe the Lord uses it to emphasize His desire for a body of people who live together in “fraternal” affection who genuinely have all things in common.
Fraternal affection and brotherly love is emphasized in the ascending pyramid of graces and Godly attributes discovered in 2 Pet 1:5-8 that are essential in our quest to become one with the Lord.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Greek word for “brotherly kindness” in this passage is “philadelphia” and is defined as “fraternal affection; brotherly love (kindness) or love of the brethren.” From a position of fraternal love we move forward into the “agape” of God. If it is our hearts’ desire to participate in the harvest of the ages and the healing of the nations, then it must be from a position of authentic compassion birthed in love. These can only be imparted to us through the Holy Spirit.
As summarized through the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, we are to abide in faith, hope and love. We dwell in faith through the conviction and belief of man in his relationship with heaven as well as hope, which is our confident expectation of redemption. But the greatest of these is the true affection for God and man expressed through saints and generated by a deposit of Heavenly virtue resident in us— LOVE.
The truth to be greatly emphasized in this generation is the transference of our lost nature for His divine nature. We have the precious and magnificent promises by which we become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption of this world and its lusts. By virtue of being joined with Him as His body in the mystery of incarnation, we likewise share in His heart of love and desire for the brethren as well as lost humanity.
As the Lord declared in John 17:23,
“I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
We are being sent in this generation in like fashion as the Lord Himself was commissioned of the Father. We are to be carriers of His heart.
Strengthen Our Tent Cords
The phrase that Bob heard in his dream was, “now is not the time to lengthen our tent cords but to strengthen existing ones.” We are in present need of having our relationships strengthened in order to endure the winds of adversity that are coming.
The Bible declares that there are appropriate times and seasons for all things. It becomes a great responsibility of God’s people to suitably recognize the spiritual climate and when to emphasize certain characteristics.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven– A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak; A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. Eccl 3:1-8
According to the prophetic indications that we are presently receiving, we are currently in a season to reinforce our tent cords which represent relationships that we currently enjoy. There will be a time for the extending of our tent cords with the expansion of power and authority that will soon be delegated. However, the present need is for existing relationships to be fortified and cultivated in a deeper fashion. Our adversary is often called the accuser of the brethren. This divisive role is frequently subtle in its erosive effects on relationships ordained by heaven.
Therefore, the Lord is asking for those who are joined in common purpose and ministry to take the time and effort to strengthen those existing relationships before we move into a season of expansion.
The Insignia of Love
The following is a portion of one of our previous prophetic articles emphasizing this truth that developed from a series of dreams and revelations the Lord gave me:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34) As the Lord was about to leave the disciples he gave them a new and unique command…that they love one another as He loved them. Surely after three years of life and ministry together, they experienced such love emanating from the Lord toward them that it was beyond the expression of words. Yet, they were given this new commandment, not only as an admonition but a banner or badge of their discipleship. This great fraternal affection was to be a signature by which they might be known as His friends and followers, and by which they were to be distinguished from all others.
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) Never before had there been a precedent for such a command as this for a people group to be distinguished and recognized. Now, in the case of born again believers in Jesus Christ, we are not to be known by distinctions of wealth, or education, or fame, although some may possess these; we are not required to aspire to earthly honors or acclaim; we are not even mandated to adopt any special style of dress or insignia. This new royal Priesthood is to be identified by tender and constant affection and allegiance for one another.
This great command to walk in brotherly love will transcend all distinctions of national origin, color, social status, or denomination. The Disciples of Christ are to uniformly perceive we are all in the same spiritual family with common goals having all been redeemed by the same sacred blood… each having the same eternal destination. We are to befriend each other in trials and ardently guard each other’s feelings and reputation… even denying ourselves to promote one another’s welfare. Amen.
Mankind is looking for something as a standard by which to measure. Brotherly love and living by the “golden rule” will be the “rule” by which the church will receive its authority. Those willing to adopt these principles will find great blessings, favor and anointing.
Fireside Chat With Bob Jones
by Paul Keith Davis
As we often like to do, the following series of revelations are extracted from various dreams and visions given to Bob Jones. Over the last 30 years he has cultivated his prophetic gifting and is in the custom of receiving dreams or visions on a daily basis ranging from simple words of encouragement to profound insight with significant implications. The ones that follow were taken from various conversations we have had with Him over the last few weeks and then articulated and expanded upon for greater clarity. We chose to present them in this format as prophetic “bullets” in lieu of a prophetic article in order to include more in number and allow our readers to explore the comprehension and application of them.
In a dream Bob was told, “Those who strictly observe past glory will have little expression of present glory because they are solely focused on something that is fading.”
For if that which was but passing and fading away came with splendor, how much more must that which remains and is permanent abide in glory and splendor! Since we have such [glorious] hope (such joyful and confident expectation), we speak very freely and openly and fearlessly. Nor [do we act] like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze upon the finish of the vanishing [splendor which had been upon it]. 14In fact, their minds were grown hard and calloused [they had become dull and had lost the power of understanding]; for until this present day, when the Old Testament (the old covenant) is being read, that same veil still lies [on their hearts], not being lifted [to reveal] that in Christ it is made void and done away. 2 Cor. 3:11-14 (Amplified)
Those who observe the fading glory of days gone by do so strictly from a misguided perspective and will have no understanding of the things that are yet to take place. Though we build upon the foundation of things that have taken place in the past, we cannot remain exclusively driven by prior expressions of outpouring and revival. There is something new and fresh on the horizon that will be a continual unfolding of the divine attributes and glory of Heaven.
Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty. We cannot allow ourselves to be content to have a retrospective point of view when the greatest glory is yet to come. The Spirit produces liberty and emancipation from the bondage of the past providing the hope of a glorious future in His rest. The Holy Spirit is currently at work equipping and supplying a body of people to live in freedom.
Focus on Light– Not Darkness
There is an admonition coming from the Lord highlighting our need to be more concentrated on the things that He is preparing to do rather than our adversary. Although there is merit in knowing the plans of the enemy in order to mobilize ourselves through prayer and intercession to overcome his plans, it remains imperative for us to set before us the promise of Heaven for this generation.
Our secular media has become a conduit to sow fear and intimidation into the hearts of people. Likewise, there are some misguided doomsday ministries who unfortunately overemphasize the darkness of this generation without giving adequate attention to the light that will also be delegated to a prepared and set apart people. Where darkness abounds, grace will much more abound.
The revelatory anointing resting upon God’s people will allow foresight into the coming darkness. However, it also permits insight into the deposit of virtue and glory to be unleashed in unprecedented measure. We cannot allow ourselves to become overly concentrated on the darkness but exuberant with anticipation of the greatness of God to be demonstrated. Light will always overcome darkness. We are living in a time of great darkness but our directive is to be concentrated on the Light. We are to arise and shine, for our Light has come.
Emphasis on Psalm 27
In 1998 Bob and I brought a word involving promises resident in Psalm 27. The Lord has again emphasized this passage and the promises that were made during that season that are about to become reality. Very often these prophetic indications are made in advance so that prayer and preparation can be offered. When the timing is appropriate, the grace is then released for the promises to become reality. The Holy Spirit seems to be expressing His desire to begin to make real the spiritual truths contained in this awesome Psalm.
Here is a portion of the original word in 1998… Once we were back on the highway it brought us to the intersection of highway 27. This represented Psalms 27. The message of this Psalm is stating that people will live in either separated fear or trusting relationship, based upon our choices. In the vision, Bob and I were directed to go east; for there would be a powerful move of the Spirit somewhere to the East.
For the entirety of the prophetic article, click here
Cleansing of Flesh and Spirit
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1
There has presently been an emphasis on the cleansing of our spirit in preparation for the Light that is coming. The Lord is sprinkling clean water upon us that we may be made clean from our association with the spirit of this world. We then receive a new heart and a new spirit will be placed within us so that our heart of stone is extracted and a heart of compatibility with heaven imparted. (Ezekiel 36:24-27)
When this is complete we are then capable of receiving more fully the Holy Spirit within us, Who causes us to walk according to His statutes and ordinances. This is the process that makes us “bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.” From this position our desolate heritages are restored and the favor of Heaven becomes evident.
The Lord is preparing to make “known” the unknown. When our soulish ambitions and agendas are revealed and extracted, it makes way for the revelation of the Lord’s redemptive attributes that we had heretofore been incapable of experientially apprehending. There is a purifying that is taking place in the spirit of God’s people to eradicate mixture and extract the “alloy” of our souls. The Holy Spirit in us will reveal the nature of God that is foreign and unknown to this world.
The Bible declares, “deep calls unto the deep.” The Holy Spirit resident in us is calling out for the deep and lofty things of God contained in His mysteries and divine strategy. There is a divine stirring within the spirit of man to link heaven with earth.
I Have a Dream
In one of his prophetic encounters, Bob was told that the enemy is vigorously working to steal the “dreams” of God’s people. Primarily, the dreams consist of hopes and aspirations birthed in the spirit of Christians that motivate them in prayer and set them on their prophetic journey.
In the experience, the Lord expressed that it was acceptable for His people to contemplate great and lofty things that He is capable of doing through them. That is the admonition to us in Ephesians 3:20-21—
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
If our dreams become exaggerated beyond the parameters of His promise, then He will make adjustments in us that keep it from becoming vain imaginations. With the vision that is being imparted to saints, there is a corresponding faith that is birthed to see it become reality. Our adversary is attempting to bring opposition to those dreams and visions with the anticipated result of birthing hopelessness and depression in its place.
Psalms 126 was given as an outline for this admonition. Those who dream in the greatness and hopeful expectation of God’s restoration are filled with joy. Correspondingly, without vision, people perish in discouragement and confusion and are led into captivity.
We cannot give up the dream and aspiration of being used mightily by the Holy Spirit in the blueprint of Heaven presently being unfolded. We must also continue to dream for our children to be handed a rich spiritual inheritance.
A Prophesied Hour Upon a Holy Generation
by Shawn Bolz
God is doing something amazing in this generation. There is an expansion in the heart of this very generation involving a unique destiny. It is not just that a few people are called in a special way, but the whole generation is burning with purpose. I want to share a portion of my personal testimony that I walked out in a prophetic journey.
When I was fifteen years old a prophetic friend by the name of Theresa Lea moved to our church. She prophesied over me that I would meet a prophet named Bob Jones, who would come into my life and when he did my whole commission for ministry would start with the higher purposes of my calling and destiny. I knew of Bob and he had even prayed for me at a conference once before, but I had not been around him for many years. I wanted to seek him out but I knew I needed to wait on the sovereignty of God or else it would be human effort and God would not get the maximum glory He desired.
After a few years went by I asked my friend, “Theresa, it has been five years, are you sure about your prophetic word involving Bob Jones?” I seemed so far from meeting him. We were not even in ministry circles that related to each other much but I loved him in my heart.
She responded “You will meet him before the year 2003.” That seemed like an eternity away in 1998 when she said it, so I just let it go although it was always in my heart; historically Theresa has been such an accurate voice and a lover of God, I knew it had the earmark of reality in it.
Well into the midnight hour of the word, November of 2002, I had my way paid to go to a conference in Albany Oregon by Paul Keith and Wanda. We had met the previous month at a conference and they felt like I was supposed to come to Albany because it was going to be significant. They are like family with Bob Jones and the Lord had told them that I was supposed to meet him and the rest of their team (they didn’t know my word and they invited me, which I thought was exciting). I knew this was God and was amazed because it was one month from 2003! What an awesome fulfillment!
The Spirit of Herod Killing a Generation
The first night that I arrived in Albany we all went to dinner and Bob prophesied over me for a long while. He started: “I prophesied four years before abortion was legalized that the spirit of Herod was attacking a generation and was going to try and take out a whole generation of anointed leaders by legalizing abortion. I prophesied it again in 1973 that God was going to raise up the generation in 30 years that the enemy was targeting for destruction. Just like the same enemy tried to take out Moses and then Jesus.”
He asked me, “when were you born?” I told him April 26, 1974. He smiled and said ‘That means you were conceived in 1973 the very year that abortion was legalized and you are one of those that the enemy wanted to take out. Now that it is almost thirty years later, you are going to come into the very purpose of what you were created for. Your thirtieth birthday will be a key time.” I had a profound sense of destiny for our entire generation because of what the enemy had tried to rob us of by taking out so many.
Bob continued, “I also prophesied back then that there would be a partial reversing of the abortion law in January of 2003. It will happen.” In January of 2003, just as Bob had seen, President Bush revoked partial birth abortions in our nation. It was the 30th anniversary of legalized abortion in our country. God has brought numerous profound signs in our generation for who we are called to be and the seriousness of the day in which we are living.
The next day, November 21, 2002, after meeting Bob Jones, I had a spiritual experience while in the hotel room in Albany.
Spiritual Vision and Experience of Isaiah 22:22
In the experience I was in a heavenly vision and an angel who was sent to bring me to a higher place in heaven came to me. He said to me “Come let us go to the prophet’s house.” I was in awe because I was in heaven going to a prophet’s house! I wondered who it would be! He led me to an estate and we were on the outside of two enormous gates. They were golden gates that had words inscribed all through the bars. Beyond the gates there was a huge cloud of swirling light, color, and sound. I could barely see the actual house because of this, and I had no idea what I was really seeing because it was so awesome to me.
“This is the prophet’s house and it has been locked up for a very long time.” He looked at me and I felt great respect for him. He continued, “But I have the key to open the gates,” then he showed me a large golden key; “And I am going to open them on November 22, 2002.”
I said “But that’s tomorrow!” He smiled at me and I knew it was a parable because he didn’t explain it. I was going to have to find the hidden meaning later. “Whose house is this?” I asked, “Which prophet?” “Isaiah has been locked in his chambers for a long time,” was his response. I pictured him in there reading ancient books. I was given spiritual understanding that some of the promises of Isaiah were about to be released upon the earth and when I came out of the experience I began to ponder its meaning.
As I talked to a friend of mine about this, we began asking God “What passage in Isaiah are you highlighting?” and immediately I saw a calendar in front of me in an open vision. It pointed to a day, then that day came in front of me: November 22, 2002. Then I saw November and the two zeros go away and it read: 22, 22. I knew the Lord was speaking to me so we looked it up in the Bible. This is what we found:
In Isaiah 22, there was a man by the name of Shebna who was in charge of the palace of the King. He was an elder in Israel and he was wrongly using the riches of the palace by stealing for his own gain. This was a serious offense to the Lord because it was such a key position over the treasuries of God. The Lord rebuked him and took him out of his position because of this and appointed a young man, named Eliakim, which means “God of raising.” God is “raising” up a generation of Eliakims where many in the church have been like Shebna.
Shebna prostituted his position, using for personal gain the very leadership role that the Lord had appointed him to that was holy. Eliakim was believed to be a young man, maybe not even of the age of an elder yet but he was given the position by the Lord over the treasury of the kingdom. It was demanded of Shebna to give all of his authority over to Eliakim which was a great dishonor to Shebna because of Eliakims age and the fact that he was from a lesser family. Then the Lord told Eliakim an amazing thing in Isaiah 22:22:
“I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”
This is the generation that God is raising up right now… a generation with a double portion. It will be a generation that carries a 22 pound heart; a heart that Isaiah 22:22 is written upon, that they can open a door that no man has ever opened to usher in the kingdom age of God! Also a generation that can shut a door to the old forms of religious expression that no longer are relevant; old wineskins, that no man will ever be able to resurrect with any anointing!
After getting understanding into this experience, I had two more visions:
Vision of the star falling
Immediately following this experience I saw a star falling, it seemed like the brightest star in the universe. I heard the voice of the Lord internally audibly proclaim out of Isaiah 14:12, “How you have fallen oh morning star, son of the dawn!”
This speaks about Satan falling from his high position in the heavens. The Lord spoke to me and said “the spirit of Herod has fallen from this generation! No longer will the persecution from the enemy be greater than the release of my Spirit in churches, cities, and countries.” I remembered Bob Jones’ word to our generation: Just like Herod tried to abort the promised child of Israel, there is a spirit like Herod that has been warring against this generation trying to take out anointed deliverers and his power is no more!
I heard the voice of the Lord; “How you have fallen oh Spirit of Herod.” Then I saw a generation looking at this spirit saying “Is this the one who killed so many of us, who tried to abort our purpose? The one who had us trapped in the desert, who overthrew the justice of God in our nations and who brought us into captivity?”
He had no more power compared to the power that God was offering this generation!
Open Vision of Angel and the Peg
Right after that vision I was hit on the head by something in the natural. I opened my eyes and an angel was flying by in my hotel room holding a peg… like a railroad spike or large wooden stake.
I immediately went into intercession for my grandfather. His name is Ozzy Osborne (he is not the rock singer). He and my step grandmother have been leaders in the occult for many years and are recognized as leading spiritualists. They are a part of an organization that trains people how to hear spirits and heal the sick through these false spiritual powers. As I was praying for him I realized that his life was being sustained by demonic powers. He was old and has had several heart attacks but has still miraculously lived. The Lord gave me a promise when I was in my teen’s that He would visit Ozzy before He died, giving Him mercy if Ozzy would accept Him.
As I was interceding, I heard the voice of the Lord say “I am removing your grandfather who has been a curse to you and your family.” I realized it was out of the passage of Isaiah 22:25 and symbolically the angel that had just flown by had taken out the peg that was driven into the firm place (Shebna’s support) so that the new peg could be driven in (Eliakim).
I heard the Lord again: “I am removing your grandfather from your family as a sign that every obstacle that has been in the way of your generation from entering into its fullness would be removed. Just as the spirit of Herod’s power has been removed, your grandfather represents influence of that power and is being removed so that there can be a calling forth of spiritual heritage.”
I told my friends, Paul Keith and Wanda Davis this after the experience. The very next day on November 22, 2002, my Grandfather died in his sleep.
God is serious about what he is willing to do for this generation to be given an expansion from heaven to carry His heart to the ends of the earth. He will let nothing stop us from His goal.
Hiedi Baker is a woman of God from Mozambique, Africa. Our team recently was able to minister with her at a conference in Red Deer, Canada. She shared an experience she had. It was a powerful heavenly experience in which she saw a line of chariots coming down from heaven from the throne of God where Jesus was. There were two transparent riders per chariot, and they had a humongous heart inside their chest that went from shoulder to shoulder…an enlarged heart!
She was also able to see inside the breast of Jesus as well and His heart was a shoulder to shoulder heart. It was beating intensely and as she looked at those riding on the chariots she saw that their hearts were beating in perfect cadence with the heart of Jesus! It was a holy rhythm of heart beating; representing that these riding upon the chariots were moving in the clouds of Heaven to represent the moves of God that will be in perfect sync with the very heart of Jesus.
This is what the generation of the twenty two pound heart will look like…those who ride upon the wings of the wind, in sync with the very desire of Jesus. Chariots represent vehicles of ministry from heaven being released upon the earth that will carry a supernatural stewardship of love that will birth signs and wonders, healings, and a prophetic anointing.
Much has been invested in this multi-generational plan of Heaven to demonstrate the power and glory of Jesus in this day. Our adversary has fought diligently to eradicate a generation in hopes of frustrating the plan of God. However, the Lord will have His day and a body of radical warriors who possess the heart of champions that beats in perfect unison with His.
Sam Jones (Part 2)
by Ray Hughes
[NOTE FROM PAUL KEITH—In recent years we have gotten to know Ray and Denise Hughes on a much more personal and intimate level. We have come to greatly value their friendship. I have also discovered that there are many things we share in common including a love of history and the impartation of grace and power carried through notable champions of the past. While in Nashville recently, Ray shared with us some of the history of the Ryman Auditorium and the impact of Sam Jones on this region. We are pleased to include this the second of three in a series of articles from Ray, highlighting this fascinating preacher of the prior generation.]
The Call to Preach
After peace and pardon came to Sam’s heart, he went to his grandfather’s church for an evening service. Before the service, he told his grandfather that he felt God had called him to preach. His grandfather proudly stood before the congregation and announced that Sam had received “the call.” Sam was shocked when the old man then turned to him and said, “Sam, if you are called to preach, come up here and do it!”
Sam walked to the platform and nervously read a passage of Scripture. “I don’t know much about what I have just read,” Sam admitted, “but I will tell you what I do know. I know that God is good, and I am happy in His love.” By the end of the clumsy message people were melted to tears and when the invitation was given, many thronged to the altar to receive Jesus as Savior.
Although God used Sam to bless many people that night, nearly everyone was in secret agreement that his newfound “call” wouldn’t stick. One of the biggest skeptics was Laura, because by now she had heard too many empty “I’ll do better” promises. Nevertheless, after the service Sam’s grandfather laid his hand on Sam’s shoulder and said, “Go ahead, my boy; God has called you to do the work.”
Sam was called to preach and he knew it to the core of his being. But neither he nor God had convinced Laura yet. She had not married a preacher; she had married a lawyer. In a heated argument over the matter Sam declared, “God has called me to preach, and He will remove every obstacle in my path.” “In that case,” Laura answered, “He’ll just have to remove me.” Sam replied, “Well, I’m going to Atlanta in the morning to petition for an appointment in the Methodist Church.”
“If you are going to Atlanta,” Laura warned him, “I’m going home to Kentucky.” But in the middle of the night she became extremely ill. Fearing that the Lord was indeed about to clear Sam’s path, Laura promised God that if He allowed her to live; she would be a faithful pastor’s wife. The next morning Laura was better and Sam left for Atlanta with her blessing. However, she maintained that she would not do any public speaking, nor would she ever play the piano.
The Unlikely Minister
The Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church had lost many of its pastors to the Civil War. So even though Sam was not educated for the ministry and his personality was a little too crude and aggressive, they accepted him into the ministry because they were desperate. Then they shuffled him off to the most destitute and obscure place they could send him: the Van Wert Circuit of north Georgia. Although it was mostly widows and orphans of war, Sam was excited just to have a place to preach the gospel.
Sam rejoiced all the way back home. In order to pay off their debts, many of which were the result of Sam’s previous alcoholism, he and Laura sold everything they owned. Sam arrived in Van Wert with his wife, one child, a bobtail pony, eight dollars in his pocket and several hundred dollars in remaining debts. He found out from the head deacon that the last preacher was paid $65 for a year’s work, and the deacon was charging Sam $120 a year for rent.
Sam’s faith and bravery enabled him to overcome these obstacles. He took on the task with a heart aflame for God and a bulldog determination to see God’s faithfulness. His preaching style was a challenge to the religious expectations of the day. And when injustice would try to rise up in the church government, Sam’s sheer boldness would prevail.
On more than one occasion, Sam was challenged to back up his convictions with his fists. On one occasion a prominent church member took advantage of an elderly widow in the church. The next Sunday while Sam was preaching—with the man sitting piously on the front row—Sam pointed at him and said, “You old hypocrite! You hired a poor widow to pick blackberries for you and then paid her with spoiled flour.”
The man and his family got up and stormed out, and Sam later found them outside holding a caucus. When the man threatened to whip him, Sam said, “Shucks, I don’t care about being whipped. I can whip any old fellow that would cheat a poor widow, and I can whip all of his kinfolk too.” The man paid the widow what was due.
“I can’t really preach,” Sam admitted, “but I can talk a little.” His conversational style was such a radical departure from the typical 19th century preachers that it created a peculiar sensation every time he spoke. Yet friends and enemies alike believed his abrasiveness would eventually destroy him. Sam hated hypocrisy and shams with a vengeance, and his abrupt and intense manner often divided the congregations where he spoke. The more the “Old Heads” tried to harness him and tone down his preaching, the more daring he became.
The parishioners finally understood the toughness of their preacher when a dying church member called Sam to his bedside and asked him to pray for his recovery. Sam looked at him and said, “I don’t see any good reason for asking the Lord to heal you.”
Despite his prosperity, the man had not given a penny to the church. Sam told him that his membership was expendable: “I can ask him to save you and take you to heaven, but there is no reason why I should ask Him to preserve your life; for you are absolutely worthless to the cause of the kingdom.” Once the amazed man promised to become a faithful contributor, Sam asked God to heal him. The man was healed and proved true to his word.
The Paradoxical Preacher
Sam was a walking paradox. He violently preached against drinking, profanity, gambling and every imaginable sin that was plaguing the church and community. He used the Word as a sword and cut to the heart of hypocrisy and injustice. The hypocrites soon realized they couldn’t force him into submission or drive him out, so they tried to starve him by withholding his pay. When Laura informed Sam that their cupboard was bare, he simply loaded up his family and went to stay with one of the leading members. Upon arriving, he told his hosts that his family was incapable of “getting our grub raw, so we’ll take it cooked.”
Sam dealt ruthlessly with the ruthless, yet a kinder, more compassionate man couldn’t be found. He would weep for hours, and even days, over his sheep—and then walk into the pulpit and call them to repent. He was convinced that the devil had no better servant than “a preacher who is laying feather beds for falling Christians to light on.”
Whatever it took to further the kingdom, Sam was willing to give. On many occasions he gave the last money he had to someone in need. He also had an uncanny ability to discern the hidden motives of people’s actions. Preaching light and truth in the dialect of a common man, Sam deftly broke the yokes of bondage in people’s lives.
Sam’s preaching resulted in approximately 5,000 converts in his first years of ministry. His fruitfulness in sharing the gospel led him to discontinue pastoring and take up the task of a traveling preacher. With his mixture of plain talk and fiery preaching, Sam was quickly becoming a master in the pulpit. God had tempered him with a fire that burned deep—a fire that brought forth the courage, the directness, the sympathy, the faith, the fervor and the humility of a true evangelist. He was igniting flames of revival everywhere he went.
To Be Continued…
Born in Zion (Part 2)
What is the Cost of Living in Zion?
by Ramey Hughes
A New Job
Building a home, a resting place for God, is a costly venture. You may find that what you did (your spiritual job) in Jerusalem will no longer provide what you need to exist on this new level of relationship and obedience in Zion. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself being “uncalled” and repositioned in the body of Christ. Higher places in Him will mean a promotion but not necessarily more visibility or approval with man. To have the honor of walking in hiddenness, rejection, persecution, suffering, being misunderstood, and falsely accused will cost a lot. It will cost you your pride, fear of man, unforgiveness, your past, present, and future. It will cost you your unsanctified dreams and ambitions, as well as your desire for position and control.
Passion and Discipline
Another cost that will need to be budgeted in is a new level of passion and discipline for the things of God. Both must be imparted and developed. We cannot attain or maintain either without God’s grace and mercy, but He does not give or help sustain them without our consent and willingness to pay the price. It has been said that discipline is a poor excuse for lack of passion. Though that is true, it is also true that passion is a poor excuse for lack of discipline. God wants to inhabit and control every part of us: spirit, soul, and body.
Loving the Truth
We must choose to allow Him to shine His light of truth in our hearts, exposing the pain and the shame that hides there. The Lord will bring out only the sins that still truly need to be dealt with. He never brings up blood-covered issues – only living sins. We sometimes pray for God to reveal our hearts but when He does, we deny our sins or try to cover them back up again. We are to be naked and unashamed before Him, trusting that as His truth exposes our sins; His love will simultaneously cover all.
Choosing to Trust
It is imperative to keep a “hands off” policy. This is God’s project—God’s house. He asks in Isaiah 66:1, “Where then is the place you could build for Me? And where is the place that I may rest?” There is nothing we can do to make Him or ourselves look better. We must be willing to be hidden or revealed. If we try to justify to others the things that the Lord is doing in us, or try to make it look more noble than it is, we are simply not trusting that the Lord has our best in mind and that He alone can position us where we belong.
It is also important to stop doing for the sake of doing and start letting Him simply be who He is through us. When that happens, it removes the pressures to perform and releases the power to believe. It is Christ in us who alone is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). To worry about anything is an insult to Him. It is saying that we do not trust Him to accomplish His will or word.
“Those who trust in the LORD are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” (Psalms 125:1 NAS)
Drawing away is a daily investment for Him to find rest in us. Leonard Ravenhill stated that we are not omnipresent. We must choose our company for every moment. God wants us to know the extreme pleasure of His presence when we choose Him over everything and everyone. Jesus departed to a lonely place to pray early in the morning while it was still dark. He would go to a mountain after days of ministry to meet with His Father. Jesus knew that quiet place held the key to life and ministry on earth: the Father’s presence.
Being Quiet—“Practicing the Presence of God.”
When we draw away, we must learn to turn off all the thoughts and voices demanding our attention so that we can focus on Jesus. We have to put aside the future and past to step into right now, right here, with God. Madame Guyon was a dynamic writer on practicing His presence. She understood the power of quieting everything within and communing with God. This is probably the most vital aspect of our being born in Zion. It is while our souls are silent and our minds and hearts are focused on God that He does His most effective work in us.
This may not necessarily sound like very much of a sacrifice. For some though, to stop thinking, planning, dreaming, or analyzing for five minutes is more difficult than going five days without eating. Having a relationship with the Lord is more than just communicating—it is communing. There is as much power in true silence as there is in true prayer. Isaiah 30:15 says, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
Being Built Together — “Practicing the Presence of People.”
One of the hardest aspects of becoming God’s sanctuary is undoubtedly the necessity of being built together with other believers. God is always good, just, faithful, and loving. Even when we can’t understand what He is doing, there is something reassuring in knowing that He is God and has our best in mind. People, on the other hand, are not so easy to like, love or trust. They will successfully fail on a regular basis.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).
To be His holy temple we must be “built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” He prayed that we all would be one just as He and the Father are one (John 17:21). We must learn to depend on each other. Jesus sent His ministers out two by two. It is vital that we not only forgive and love, but also begin to trust our brothers and sisters again. Love, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! …It is as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore (Psalms 133:1,3 KJV)
Being fitly joined to the body of Christ brings blessing, accountability, authority (a man not under authority will not be found carrying any), vision for God’s greater purposes, and life more abundantly. We are told that anyone not rightly judging His body is not worthy to even take communion (1 Corinthians 11:29). It is time we lay aside our personal agendas and learn to prefer others. It is time we incorporate our singular visions and reconnect them to the church as a whole. There is a chipping away that usually takes place for two stones to be rightly fitted together. There is friction, there are extra burdens, and there is multiplied strength. What good is a single stone in the middle of a field?
1 Corinthians 2:15 says: “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” Therefore “we” must be willing to sacrifice ourselves individually to the greater purposes of God, that the church may have the mind of Christ and truly become His dwelling place on the earth.
These are such small prices to pay considering the benefits of having our names registered in His book for Zion. There are many costs as well as rewards that are not mentioned here. Choosing to not deny the blessings can sometimes be as difficult as it is to pay the price for them.
To Be Continued…