FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
2 August, 1998
Well nobody ever said it was going to be easy, but this walk to the promised land (FMH Childrenís Club Ranch) is going to be one unforgettable learning experience. And itís because of what Iíve learned over the past two weeks that I just had to put it in reverse and revisit the children of God as they journeyed from Egypt to the promised land of Israel (Canaan).
But before we get too deep into the message of the week, let me first follow my Heavenly Fathers orders by sending out a request for advice. You see this letter goes out each week to a few folks who God has given the talent of handling money... and lots of it (millions even). And of course handling big money is no different than anything else in life, the more on the job training you have (experience) the better you should be at doing it. And seeing how I donít have the experience of dealing with millions of dollars, but like all of the sudden have the need to do it, then the most logical thing to do is to turn to the people who do. So for those of you who God has blessed with the talent please be obedient to God and give us a hand. We have a very limited time left to put together a financial plan for the ranch and we need your help!
So exactly what have I learned over the past couple of weeks? Well Iíve learned that a whole lotta people have turned off their hearing aids to God. They flat out donít want to hear what God the Father wants them to hear because if they hear it they will be hearing Godís request for them to do something that they donít want to do. And of course if you havenít figured it out yet, the title of this weeks little sermonet is Obedience part VIII.
But before we sling it into reverse and head on back into the Old Testament, letís first revisit the Scriptures found in Mark 16:9-20. "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen."
So once again, what we have here is better known as a classic case of total unbelief. You see there are those who believe in Jesus, but at the same time they believe He is dead. Because if they believed He is still alive they would also have to believe that everything He did still lives on today. Because He is still The Living God Who gives each and every person (who is willing to listen) directions for His perfect plan in their life. Jesus still talks to people through His Spirit. But He doesnít stop there. Because for all those who are willing to hear Him and obey Him, He will even give them His miracle working power to make it all happen... such as building the FMH Childrenís Club Ranch.
But getting back to the story, Jesus has just completed His work on earth by going through the most horrifyingly painful experience that anyone could never possibly imagine. Jesus had followed the orders of His Heavenly Father, He had died the death for a world full of sin, and now He had come back to claim His victory. And that was what He intended to do... if He could only get someone to listen to Him, believe in Him, and obey Him.
And he finally did, and her name was Mary Magdalene. Now this lady was something else, because before she met Jesus she was possessed by seven big and nasty stinking death infested disciples of Satan. They had actually crawled up inside of her and sorta like taken up residence in her mind and body. They had made her life one never ending continuous nightmare on elm street (Hell), until that glorious day when Jesus walked into her life. Because thatís when her life changed, and thatís when the demons left, and thatís when she found her never ending continuous sweet dream on church street (Heaven). You see this lady knew how bad "bad" could get. She had been there and done that and she didnít even want it any more. And thatís why she didnít want to let go of the only peace that she had ever known (Jesus). She was what you might call hungry to believe that Jesus was not dead but alive... and thatís exactly why Jesus showed Himself to her... because she was willing to believe!
But what about the rest of His followers (believers?). Well because of their willingness to believe that He was dead and would never again be a part of their day to day lives, He gave them a very strong warning when He did decide to show Himself to them, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them , he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand side of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."
Now I fully realize there are a lot of you folks who just kinda sorta want to sweep this Scripture right on under the rug... but you had better grab a hold to it and hang on tight. Because if you want to be a believer who is not damned, then you had just better listen to what the Scripture says; do it Godís way and believe it all. Because you see a part-way believer is not really a believer at all. Because a believer is only a believer when he or she becomes born again by accepting Jesusí death, burial, and resurrection, by allowing the Spirit of God to live inside of them (being baptized in the Holy Spirit), and then by being obedient to God by performing the great and mighty miracles that He has called us to do!
And this is as good a time as ever to take it on back to chapter 13 of the book of Numbers. And reading, "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them. And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel. And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur. Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori. Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph. Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun. Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu. Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi. Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi. Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gwemalli. Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael. Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi. Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua."
Now Iím sure you are all familiar by now with these twelve sons of Jacob (Israel) who became the twelve tribes of Israel. And the story we are reading today happened a year or so after they obtained their freedom from slavery in Egypt. They were getting pretty close to their dream come true (the promised land) when they hit this big bump in the road. And for the rest of this story weíll just go ahead and give this bump a name... and what better name than UNBELIEF!!!
You see God had already made them the promise that they would possess a ranch (I mean land) like no other land they had ever seen before. The beautiful land of Canaan, with lots and lots of good things to eat, was waiting for them over the very next hill. God said it would happen, He was in control, and the only thing remaining for them to do was just follow along with the plan (obey) and keep right on a trucking. And thatís what they were doing until they hit that big old bump UNBELIEF and ran skidding uncontrollably right on off the side of the road.
Because it was just shortly before they hit bump UNBELIEF that they started worrying about the unknown problems that might be over the next hill. You see when they started this worrying thing they immediately started losing their belief in God Almighty. And because their belief got weaker so did their ability to make good healthy decisions. And thatís when they came up with the bright idea of sending out scouts to check out what was up ahead: "And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: And see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes."
So that was the plan. Twelve select men (one from each tribe) would take a tour of the area in order to check it all out before moving on in for the kill. And this is the way it went: "So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob... And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence. And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it."
You see it was just as God had promised, because what they found was a land that would produce food like nothing they had ever seen. I mean just think about a cluster of grapes weighing 45-50 pounds. Thatís big! But were they happy? Noooo! By now they had already hit UNBELIEF and they were about ready to go crashing down the side of a mountain. Because as we read on we find the rest of what they saw, "Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan."
You see the bad things they saw became their unbelief... which pretty soon became bigger than their belief in God. And as they continued to ramble on about why they couldnít do what God had called them to do, one of the twelve who still had belief in God, immediately did what he could to get the unbelievers to just zip it up. Because, "And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight."
Sounds as though Caleb was just a little too late to reverse their unbelief and a little too outnumbered to do anything about it. Because reading on into chapter 14, "And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should be a pray? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return to Egypt."
You might say things were looking pretty grim. What a predicament this little trip to the mountains had turned out to be. Once again, this is what could be called a classic case of unbelief which was very quickly turning into disobedience. And thatís about the time that the believers swing into action, "Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not."
Now for anyone who has built up their spiritual muscles by believing in God, what Joshua and Caleb said about "the LORD is with us: fear them not" should have been easy enough to accept and likewise should have put everything back in control. I mean it was only a year or so before that God Almighty had done a few great and mighty miracles in Egypt that had never before been seen on the face of this earth... and it was their God Who did them. But all of the sudden those things were forgotten and bump UNBELIEF had done its damage. Because as we read on we find, "But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have showed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they."
Sounds just a little bit like God the Father is just about ready to take His very rebellious sons and daughters outside the gate for a stoning... their very own stoning. You see because of their unbelief which turned into their disobedience they had managed to push Father Godís patience right on out to the breaking point. He had made up His mind to go ahead and get it over with when Moses asked for just one more chance. Because as we read on we find, "And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people. that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness."
Now didnít Moses have a wonderful way with words? I mean He actually had it in his heart to talk God the Father out of destroying most of His very own children. God was ready to wipe them out and start all over again. Thatís what He was going to do until Moses stepped in and pleaded their case: "And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my LORD be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."
You know Moses sure would have made a good defense lawyer. But the truth of the matter is that these people were very special to him and he wanted to do everything possible to save their lives from the certain death that God was promising. Moses wanted to give them just one more chance and it looks as though he got his point across. Because reading on, "And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it..."
You see God the Father didnít give the children of Israel a full pardon but instead He gave them a stay of execution. In other words He gave them just a little bit longer to think about why they should ask forgiveness for the mess they had made. Because the truth of the matter was that He was still plenty angry at their unbelieving attitudes. And He then went on to say, "And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me. Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun."
Now just in case there might have been some of those children of God who thought God the Father wasnít talking about them, He kinda like got rid of any and all possible exemptions when He said "twenty years or older". Because what that meant was if you had already had your twentieth birthday, and you name was not Caleb the son of Jephunneh, or Joshua the son of Nun, then your name was mud. The older folks had blown their opportunity but the younguns still had a chance at Godís promise. Because reading on, God went on to say, "But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and they shall die."
God gave all the unbelieving disobedient children of Israel forty more years to live... and then they would die. That was the rule for all except the very rebellious unbelieving disobedient ten spies who started this great big mess in the first place. You see they werenít so lucky as to get a stay of execution, because as the Scripture goes on to say, "And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still. And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly."
Now considering everything that has just taken place, and what we are about to read in the rest of this Scripture, it should be pretty easy to understand why God the Father had wanted to go ahead with the program and not even give the children of God a forty year stay of execution. Because what happened next was, "And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, LO, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned. And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you. But they presumed to go up unto the hill top; nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah."
Unbelievable!!! I mean did you catch the full meaning of what just happened. Well first of all the children of God blew it by not believing that Godís power could see them through into the promised land, and then they blew it by not obeying His orders to go on in and take the land. That was their big sin and it should have brought them immediate death. But God being the merciful God that He is gave in to Mosesí pleas and gave them forty more years to get their act together before death. But He made it unmistakably clear that in no way would any of the older folks make it into the promised land. No way!!!
So what did the children of Israel decide to do next? Well they decided they would give Father God a surprise and show Him they were now ready to do what they had been told to do in the first place. Now that they had been told "no way will you see the promised land" it became irresistibly tempting to see. And so they tried it on their own, without the help of God, and many of them died.
Ainít it amazing just how bright us chillun (children) can be sometimes? But getting back to the reality of this message, this thing about being led by the Spirit of God and being in total submission to God is pretty serious business. And what Iíve witnessed these past few weeks, through the leading of Godís Holy Spirit, has shown me some who just flat out ainít willing to hear what "thus saith the Lord". Whether itís because of their being too wrapped up in their own little world (too dedicated to doing what they feel is best for them), or any of the many other varied possible reasons, the truth of the matter is that far too many donít even want to hear what God has planned for them in their lifetime.
So letís try and tie it all together in one nice little package. In order to get into Heaven we must first become a born again child of God. And when we become this baby of God we must be willing to treat God the Father as our Spiritual Father, always wanting to please Him through our total obedience to Him. And likewise it is impossible to hear from Him and please Him unless we accept His Spirit (The Holy Spirit), complete with His miracle working power.
Because reading it just one more time in closing, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
Thatís the facts, and if we are smart we will apply them to our very own everyday lives. Jesus said it, I believe it, and thatís the truth.
Donít fool around with God! Believe in the Word of God, obey the Word of God, and Keep The Faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
The Lord let me know it the other day that He didnít appreciate my calling The Ten Commandment "flash cards". So my apologies and please consider the correction made.
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