Newsletter for April 2008
Just a few weeks ago, on March 3rd at 2:15pm, my step-son Jason and I were in a very bad car accident. The red light turned green and I began to accelerate through the intersection. A couple in a van did not notice that their light was red, ran it, and hit the passenger side of my car. The driver of the van never touched his brakes and we were hit full-speed as the van was traveling at about 35 miles per hour.
The impact was so hard that it turned my car partially sideways and pushed it into the front end of a van waiting to turn left, resulting in us being “sandwiched” between the two vans. The passenger side of my car was completely caved in; even the roof was buckled. The overall damage was incredible. But even more incredible is the fact that Jason and I walked away from the accident with just a little bit of soreness. If you could have seen what was left of the car, you would have wondered how there were no serious injuries.
Some people might say we were lucky. The truth is it was a supernatural intervention by God which protected us. Later that evening I received an email from someone who is a friend to this ministry,
Last night, up to 3-4 in the
morning (for some reason I couldn't sleep), so I decided to download
a whole bunch of messages from your website (I appreciate that you help
make these messages available). So I had to go use the bathroom, and
while I was washing up, God stopped me and said, "Pray for Jim Martin,
and his son. He is his son, but not his son, but he is." I was confused
because I didn't know you have a son, and also it sounded like He was
contradicting himself back and forth. So I told Him, "I'll pray
for Jim, but I don't know about praying for his son, because I personally
don't know if he has one. Then He said, "Then do it blindly." So
I went ahead and prayed, and His presence filled the bathroom, I almost
fell under the weight of compassion and He said, "Pray that they'll,
especially his son have a hedge of angelic protection." So
I did and I said, "Lord, you better confirm to me that
he has a son." That was it. I went back to doing my thing,
…downloading the messages.
Nearly 12 hours before the accident, God awakened someone who could hear His voice and told him to begin interceding for Jason and me. I personally believe that those prayers of intercession are what prevented our being injured. The devil had His plan, but God had one that was much better. I guess you could say Jason and I are victims - victims” of answered prayer…Hallelujah!!
The first thing I want to point out in all of this is how God does not move as sovereignly as some people think. Was it God’s will that Jason and I survive the wreck? Obviously it was. Did He have the power to protect us? There is no question. Then why didn’t He just protect us? Why did He have to wake someone in the middle of the night and tell him to pray?
The answer, simply put, is this: God has the power; but on earth, He has given to us the authority and dominion. He works through our authority to demonstrate His power as we pray. Consider this verse,
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. (Ezekiel 22:30)
In this verse, God was hoping someone would intercede so His power could prevent destruction, but nobody would pray. I realize some people are firmly convinced that whatever happens is God’s will, and that He moves sovereignly in all situations. Well, if this is true, then why do we see so much in scripture about Him wanting us to pray? If He’s just going to do what He wants, then why pray; couldn’t we just sit back and let “whatever will be, will be”?
If prayer doesn’t work to bring about God’s will, then we are just wasting our time and breath in praying. I’ll try to clarify this very briefly: If God doesn’t need us to pray, He wouldn’t have instructed us to pray. That said, how many people have experienced sickness, injury, or death because those of us with the dominion and authority didn’t pray and enable God to heal and deliver?
“Now Brother Martin,” someone might say, “you know we can’t control God.” This isn’t a matter of controlling God, but of applying the principles of prayer His word reveals so He can move through those prayers to bring about His will. If prayer weren’t important, why do we see so many occurrences in the New Testament of Jesus praying? Think about it: if Jesus Christ needed to pray, we most definitely need to pray!
The second thing I want to point out is how important it is to be able to hear God’s voice. Many people teach that God’s doesn’t speak anymore. When I was younger, I used to believe such a thing. But I have heard Him too many times to know that isn’t true. I have since come to the conclusion that the reason those folks don’t think He speaks anymore is because they have never heard Him or don’t know how to hear Him.
As I mentioned, I used to believe that God doesn’t speak to us anymore; that once the Bible was given, He stopped speaking and only speaks to us through His word. But years later I began to hear certain preachers talk about God speaking not just to them but with them. This was stunning: to think that a person could actually carry on a conversation with God!
Let me tell you, that was an incredible revelation which totally captured my attention. If God would speak with them, was it possible that He would speak with me too? Evidently so, because these preachers went on to teach that we as Christians are supposed to listen to God as He gives us instructions for carrying out His will.
My next question was: How do I hear God’s voice? By listening to more sermons I was told to listen for His voice “on the inside.” These ministers explained that it is extremely and exceptionally rare for God to speak “out loud” like He did when He thundered from Mt. Sinai. Instead, He speaks to our spirit because now that we’re born again, we have His spiritual life and are able to receive communication from Him on a spiritual level.
That sounded simple enough. So I began listening on the inside for God’s still, small voice. The longer I listened, the more I was overwhelmed by the sounds of silence. Frustration would set in and I would think, “This isn’t right. Those guys told me God would speak and that I would hear Him in my spirit. But the more I listen, the more He keeps quiet. What’s going on?”
I resigned myself to accept that if God wanted to talk to me, then He would talk. In the mean time, I would go about life and just wait for that momentous occasion when I would hear His booming voice tell me to take my shoes off because I was on holy ground. Until then, I figured, He just didn’t have anything to say to me.
Years went by. I continued to seek God and began to notice something both in the Bible and in what a few other preachers were teaching. When we are born again, our spirit is made new with God’s life. This new, spiritual life is foreign to us and it is why new Christians are referred to as “spiritual babes.” Since this life is new, we must learn how to live by it. Likewise, since our born again spirit is the part of us with which God communicates, we must learn how to “listen” with our spirit to hear His voice.
What a simple, yet utterly profound truth! Thus, if I don’t do anything to develop myself spiritually I could be a Christian for 30 years, yet still be a spiritual babe! Further, if I have not done much to develop my “spiritual ears,” then why should I expect to hear God when He speaks?
I’m sure you can guess my next question: How do I develop my “spiritual ears” so I can hear God? Let’s walk through this answer. All of the excellent sermons I heard about hearing God’s voice provided me with wonderful information, but they did not enable me to hear Him. Continually reading my Bible fed my spirit and helped faith to come (Romans 10:17), but reading alone did not cause me to start hearing God (after all, how many Christians spend volumes of time reading their Bible, yet still teach that God doesn’t speak anymore?). If multiplied hours of sermons and Bible reading weren’t fine-tuning my spiritual ears, what was left? The answer is in God’s word.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. (John 14:26; 16:13)
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries
He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church
For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. (1 Corinthians 2:7, 10, 13; 14:2, 4, 14)
Here’s what we see: The Holy Spirit has been sent to teach us, to guide us into all truth, to speak to us what He hears, to reveal both the mysteries and the deep things of God, to compare the spiritual things of God with my spirit, and to do this in words that do not originate with man. Also, when I pray in tongues I am speaking in the spirit and talking directly with God, my spirit is being edified, and my spirit is praying.
When I pray in tongues, I am engaging in direct communication with God on a spiritual level out of my spirit. Since my born again spirit is the place wherein God speaks to me, then hallelujah..this is the key to training my “spiritual ears” to hear the voice of God!
I know some people struggle with the idea of speaking in tongues, but this principle is essentially the same one we use with natural babies; we teach them to speak in a language they are born not knowing. We sit them on our laps and try to get them to repeat after us “mommy,” “daddy’, “doggie”, etc. This is all communication on a natural level in the realm of mental comprehension.
But God declares that the Holy Spirit will give us a spiritual language, and when we use it, our spirit is praying, not our mind, and our (mental) understanding is unfruitful (not comprehending or understanding of the spiritual language being spoken.) In my relationships with people, I speak to them in our natural language; in my relationship with God, I can speak to Him in my naturally language and in the supernatural language of tongues supplied by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible declares that God is a spirit (John 4:24). Since we are saved in a supernatural manner, why should it seem so strange to think that He would want to give His children a supernatural spiritual language so they can speak to directly on a spiritual level? Why would anyone question and criticize this divine process? The answer is that in spite of how much many Christians love Jesus, they have a very difficult time accepting by faith many things of God that are a challenge to reason or religious tradition.
I’ll summarize this in a concise manner. I was raised to accept Jesus as my Savior, but was taught by some that speaking in tongues is not for today or not necessary. Years later, I experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking tongues. A few years later, I heard teaching explaining the value of praying in tongues. I began to pray in tongues and eventually started to hear God speak and experience His power in tremendous ways, including miraculous healings in people for whom I prayed.
Yes, there may be some people reading this who are having a hard time grasping the truth I’m sharing. All I can tell you is, I applied a biblical principle and it works. I could have lived the rest of my Christian life never having heard God speak with me. I could have gone to Heaven never having seen one person I prayed for get healed. But because I chose to accept what God was offering, He honored His word and my life has been changed forever.
Another thing to keep in mind: my son and I walked away from a terrible car accident because someone else applied this biblical principle and heard God speak.
Be encouraged: God wants you to hear His voice and the Holy Spirit is here to help. By praying in tongues you will edify yourself spiritually to the place of hearing Him and knowing more clearly His divine will for your life!
May you know the fullness of His joy!