In conjunction with overcoming the devil through prayerful reading of the Scriptures, is discovering what God wants you to do.
To further illustrate the tremendous power ready to be unleashed in our behalf as we prayerfully read the Word of God, I would like to share with you a personal experience of mine. Come with me, we shall travel backward in time and southward geographically.
For 12 years I had served as a missionary under a very evangelistic mission board in Uruguay, South America. During that time the mission had grown from two to twenty-two full-time missionaries. A large number of new churches had been established all over the country. I had been born again and had been growing in Christ under the excellent teaching ministry of the mission’s director, Dr. Fred Dabold. My own father and mother had passed away, so I loved the director and his wife like my own dad and mom. I used to call them Pa and Ma.
As I prayed, the Lord caused me to perceive that it was His will for me to resign my position and leave the mission. Why? I did not know. What was I to do next? I had no idea. But I loved Pa and Ma and it hurt to think of having to leave them and the mission. I realized I needed to be very sure of God’s will, lest I offend the Lord by disobeying Him. So I began to pray earnestly about the matter, during many, many days. Months went by and still God kept praying.
Finally, God’s insistence was so intense that one night I kept on praying for some definite, unmistakable word from God. As I prayed on in the night, it got to be 1:30 a.m. and I was still on my knees. Then God spoke to me. Did I audibly hear His still, small voice? Or did He simply cause me to know what to do? To this day I don’t know. I have never heard God speak to me in a thunderously loud voice. But I know He has spoken to me yesterday, speaks to me today, and will speak to me tomorrow.
That day as I prayed, God said, “Read Matthew 4.” So I began reading chapter 4 of the Gospel of Matthew. My heart was heavy. I read a verse or two and prayed regarding what I read. Eventually, when I read verse 4 and began praying regarding it, I realized that my heart was heavy because of opposition from the tempter. God triggered a reaction in me against the devil, so I prayed,
“I shall not live by food alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. I will not listen to Satan, or the world, or my own natural preferences. Heavenly Father, I will live by Your speaking to me!”
Great joy came to me. My heart was not heavy any more.
Then I read verses 5 through 7, stopped, and prayed about this also. It dawned upon me that Satan hated the Lord Jesus Christ who indwells me, so the heaviness I had been feeling was the opposition of Satan against the Lord Jesus Christ who resides in me. I realized then that when Jesus was tempted, He spoke directly to the devil and rebuked him. With a sudden inspiration, I addressed the tempter and firmly said,
“Satan, it is written, you shall not tempt the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord your God, who lives in me!”
I realized that this greatly frustrated the tempter. I was full of joy.
Now I read verses 8 through 11, paused, and was stirred to stand up and tell the devil, “Get thee hence, Satan, get out of here! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, who is my Heavenly Father and who lives inside of me, and Him only you shall serve! I know you don’t want to, but even against your will, you will have to, because it is written, Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!”
The best way that I can describe what happened was that God’s commandment and promise “Submit to God, resist the devil and he shall flee from you,” actually happened to me that night. By that time I was beside myself with joy, I was jumping around, lifting my arms to heaven, loving God, praising Him and thanking Him. I had never ever seen any Christian jumping around, lifting his arms to heaven and praising Him! Such behavior was considered fleshly. Oh, I suppose it is all right to get enthusiastic when your favorite team scores, but for some reason it is supposed to be unspiritual to be enthusiastic when God brings you to victory in your daily battles against our common enemy, the devil.
But I could not help myself, I was absolutely in love with the Lord Jesus!
Yes, the sense of heaviness in my heart had been totally wiped out and was replaced by a wonderful sense of the Presence of God Himself! Inside my innermost being, in my human spirit, I felt I was hugging Him, kissing Him, worshipping Him, adoring Him, loving Him, holding Him and not letting Him go. And He was loving me, holding me and not letting me go! God and I were living in each other. The words of Jesus, “Abide in me and I in you” had become a wonderful reality. This dramatically changed my entire life! Oh, sure, I have had trials and tribulations since, but the fact of His Presence has never left me, albeit very often I simply have to take it by faith, not by feelings. You cannot trust the roller-coaster of your feelings. You may feel in the penthouse of heavenly joy one moment, in the sub-basement of hellish grief in the next, but you can always take sure refuge in the unchangeable quality of God’s promises! “The just shall live by faith” and not by changeable emotions.
That night in my room, I don’t know how much time I spent loving the Lord, worshipping Him and praising Him. I had forgotten about time. I was delighted with God’s Presence. Then, out of nowhere, this thought popped into my mind, “But I still do not know if I should leave Pa and Ma and the Mission or not!”
What followed next, all happened with electronic speed, but will take a couple of sentences to explain.
I instantly became aware that my joy had disappeared. Just as instantly it was revealed to me why. I had left God’s Presence, picked up my old problem again and began to consider it, “Shall I leave Pa and Ma and the Mission or not?” There I was, studying all the angles of my difficult problem, while the Lord was, as it were, in the corner, patiently waiting for me to give up and come back to enjoying His Presence.
As this dawned upon me, I immediately dropped my problem like a hot potato and turned right into God’s waiting albeit invisible arms saying,
“Forgive me Lord, I don’t care about my problem! It isn’t mine any more! When You bought me with Your Precious Blood, You also bought all my problems! They are all Yours! If You want me to stay in the Mission, amen, I will stay in the Mission. If You want me to leave the Mission, amen, I will leave the Mission. If you want me to stay like in a limbo, without knowing what to do, amen, I will stay like in a limbo, without knowing what to do! I now have no preference of my own, I am Yours! But I don’t want to ever lose Your wonderful Presence. I don’t want to ever grieve You.”
Great peace immediately filled me. Instantly I was aware again of God’s wonderful Presence. Immediately, God’s still small voice spoke again. Did He speak audibly? Or by a sense in my innermost being? That I do not know. I find it impossible to describe, but I am absolutely certain that He spoke to me. He said, “But you have not finished reading Matthew four!”
That took me entirely by surprise. It was true, God had told me to read Matthew chapter four, I had began to read, but had not finished. God had led me to victory against our common enemy, the devil. I had been so thrilled that I simply went to a victory celebration, loving the Lord. God did not mind that at all, but He also wanted me to follow His instructions. I was coming to know God’s ways…
When this dawned upon me, I said, “Forgive me, Lord! You told me to read Matthew four. All right, let us, You and I read it together to the Heavenly Father.” I did not want to ever leave His Presence. So He and I began to read to the Father together, with great joy. We would read a verse or two, then we would pray regarding what the verse said, then we would read some more, again we would pray and so on. My problem was completely forgotten. Of course! I was with God! He has no problems!
We had a wonderful time together!
Eventually, God and I came to Matthew 4:18-22. “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He said unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him”
My problem had been, Shall I leave the man that led me to Christ, who had trained me so well in the Word, in whose home I was living like if I was his own son, shall I leave Pa and Ma? Shall I leave the Mission, this organization made to fish men for Christ?
Now, unexpectedly, as I was prayerfully reading the above portion of Scripture, God’s answer came, He spoke to me in His Word. He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” As I continued reading and praying, I realized that immediately they had left their father Zebedee and the ship and followed Him. Through those words, God spoke to me again, that I was to leave my father Zebedee (Pa and Ma) and the ship (the Mission that was made to fish men for Christ) and follow Jesus and that He would make me a fisher of men.
There I was in my room on my knees, astonished. God had revealed His will to me so clearly, I was amazed. I worshipped Him in awe. I loved Him with all my heart. I thanked Him wholeheartedly.
Eventually I went to bed and slept profoundly. Next morning I presented my resignation and left the Mission. Lovingly, kindly, I left for good, never to return to be again a member of that mission board. I was following Jesus.
It was not easy. I shed lots of tears. I love Pa and Ma. I love all the dear brethren I had been team-working with. But God had called me to follow Him. And I followed Jesus. Immediately, doors were opening for me to minister. The year I left Pa and Ma and the Mission, more souls came to Christ through my preaching than all the 12 previous years I had served under the mission board.
When God told me to leave, He did not give me clear blueprints as to what to do. He said nothing. It was like taking a leap into the dark unknown. As I leaped, the invisible but strong arms of the Lord were there! He led me, step by step. It has been a glorious adventure with God! He has taken me to 47 different countries, witnessing and preaching Christ and Him crucified, resurrected, ascended, enthroned and ruling in the hearts of obedient believers.
Yes, as I prayerfully read God’s Word, God continues to speak to me! As I pray what the Holy Spirit quickens to my heart in His Word, I continue speaking to Him. God still wonderfully answers prayer!
From Communing With God – Chapter 11
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Updates from Cuba
Starting in the 1990’s Fred was significantly involved with Cuba. The Lord has continued to move strongly in Cuba through many brothers and sisters in Christ including some key workers who Fred helped to disciple. Since 2009, a project to evangelize the whole country has reached over 2 million Cubans with hundreds of thousands of new believers added to the kingdom of God. The work is ongoing with plans to evangelize the entire island country. See below for recent news from the work in Cuba.
Updates from Cuba