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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.

 

13 September, 1998

 

Dear Children,

 

First of all Hi! And secondly, Iím sure that you all just canít wait to find out where in the world the letters have been for three whole weeks. Well I hope thatís the case, because even if you havenít been wondering Iím going to tell you all about it anyway... because thatís the message for this week.

 

You see it all started on Sunday August 23rd. I had been fortunate enough to have all day Saturday and Sunday to write the message of the week... and thatís what I did until somewhere around 6:00 Sunday afternoon... because thatís about the time that I threw in the towel, called it quites, and just flat out gave up. It was late, I wasnít even close to being finished, and what I had written didnít make sense anyway. For some unknown reason I had struggled all weekend over a message that wasnít even going to get in the Monday morning mail. Talk about frustrated!

 

So what in the world had gone wrong? Well I certainly didnít know but I definitely wanted to find out. So I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed for the answer... and it was sometime Monday that I finally got it. You see my Heavenly Father told me that I didnít finish the sermonet because He wanted me to understand, without a shadow of a doubt, that what I did each week was only possible because of Him. In other words if My Heavenly Father isnít leading me in this writing, then these letters wonít get written. Itís as simple as that. So three weeks ago He held back, I gave up, and just as predicted the letters didnít go anywhere.

 

And that was what happened on week #1. Now for week #2 things were just a little bit different. You see it was the next Sunday that the Lord told me not to even try to write a message because He had something else for me to do. And that something else just so happened to be another trip out to Del City (the ranch) to meet with a lady who didnít even know that I was coming. In fact the Lord told me where to find her, and I believe He even threw in an unplanned problem just to make sure it all happened. So not only did I get to meet with this lady but I also had the time to take a very short leasure tour of the near by Guadalupe Mountains.

 

OK! So that takes care of two weeks but what about the third? Well would you believe Labor Day Camp Meeting? And boy what a Camp Meeting it was. Talk about the power of God working! You see it was several weeks ago that the Lord told me that He was going to do some great and mighty things for our family, and He was going to start them off at the Labor Day Camp Meeting. Thatís what He said and thatís exactly what He did. God the Father performed some awesome miracles especially for our family and for a very special reason. But of course even though God was working to do the good, Satan was doing everything in his power to stop it with his bad.

 

Arthur, Dad, Jasmine, and Hadassah - Sept. 1998

 

In fact Iím convinced that it was because of Old Splitfoot (Satan) that I ended up driving all night in order to get to Camp Meeting on time. Because you see it was after work on Tuesday afternoon (the 1st of September) that I still didnít have my plane ticket for the trip. I should have had it but I didnít have it so what in the world had gone wrong? Well I didnít have a clue but I did know that God wanted me in Baton Rouge, Louisana, on Wednesday September the 2nd for the start up of Jimmy Swaggart Camp Meeting. That was what He wanted and I only had twenty-four hours left to make it happen. So seeing how I had already calculated the drive time to be about eighteen hours, there was only one thing left for me to do. And it was right about then that I jumped in the truck and drove on off into the sunset.

 

But that was only the beginning of the story because Satan has continued right on up to the time of this letter to stop this plan that God has put in place. And of course this plan of God is none other than the Hallman family and our ministry of the FMH Childrenís Club International. You see we have a very special purpose in life (just like everybody else) and Iím here to tell you that Satan is doing everything in his power to stop us from doing it. But regardless of how hard Mr. Devil might try, we are going to win this war and we are going to do what we have been called to do. And of course I can only say what I have said because we have God on our side.

 

But just so you might understand this particular story of our lives a little bit better, let me give you a few more details about this Camp Meeting experience. You see the beginning of this story started way back in time (several thousand years ago to be exact). And just to refresh our memories letís read it for ourselves from Genesis chapters 2 and 3: "And the LORD God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

 

Remember the story? Well this one is undoubtably a classic when it comes to "why we should obey God the Father at all cost". Because as you should know it was only a very few verses later that we read on to find: "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

 

Now how many of us do you think have ever fallen for that one? Well the fact of the matter is that even though the tempting fruit that "Slick Willy" (Satan) uses might change from person to person, I can guarantee that the perfection of his deception stays the same. And even though we might know without a doubt whatís right in the eyes of God, the act of listening to Satanís sweet talking sales pitch will only mean certain disaster for most of the world. Because more often than not this talent that Satan has will somehow manage to twist our thinking around until somehow what we know is wrong miraculously becomes something that we feel is right. And itís because of this one point that I think I can say without a doubt that each and every one of us can be labeled "a sucker for Satan" at least a few times in our lifetime.

 

And of course it was because of Satanís superior salesmanship ability that the rest of the story came into being: "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat... And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."

 

So there you have it; the very first recorded big time screw up (sin) of mankind. That was only the first one but you had better believe that it wasnít the last. In fact, being perfectly honest with you, I for one can sorrowfully say that my name has contributed to Satanís ever increasing total on his score board of "suckers". And even though all that might be very bad news there is some very good news that goes along with it. You see even though Adam and Eve lost their relationship with God the Father through sin (they got kicked out of His kingdom where they could have lived forever), there was still the opportunity for them (correction: Eve only) to get it all back.

 

But before we go too far in that direction letís do a little reading from the book of Luke. Turning to and reading from chapter 15, verses 11-24, "And he (Jesus) said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would faine have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him."

 

Now this parable of the prodigal son (lost son) goes right along with the story of Adam and Eve. You see it was this prodigal son (who so much like Adam and Eve) had it made in the shade living at home with his Father (Garden of Eden). But for some unknown reason (whoís name just happened to be Slick Willy) the prodigal sonís life style wasnít what he thought he wanted. He had been shown the alternate lifestyle (forbidden fruit) and it certainly looked much more rewarding than what his Father had to offer. So he made his move, and took a great big bite, only to find out the forbidden fruit tasted like pig slop.

 

And that was about the time when he came to his senses. Because as we read on we find, "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my fatherís have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."

 

So what, you might ask, does all of this have to do with the Hallman family and Camp Meeting? Well it was on this particular Labor Day Camp Meeting that one of our very own prodigal sons (daughters) was being given the opportunity by God to come back home. You see it was just like the prodigal son in the story we have just read, she too realized, only after having departed to the far country, just how bad "bad" could be. And it was right about then that she also came to her senses, accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, and asked both her Heavenly Father and her earthly father to forgive her. Thatís what she did and likewise thatís what we did (God the Father and I).

 

Because it was not too long after she gave up and gave in that the Lord told me to bring her on back home. In fact He told me that all I had to do was get the plane tickets and He would take care of the rest. He told me that He would even perform great and mighty miracles just to get her back with the family... and once again thatís exactly what He did. Because it was on Thursday the 3rd of September (one day later than planned) that my prodigal daughter stepped off the plane in Baton Rouge, Louisana. God had worked several miracles along the way and because of it my daughter was back in the family where God had wanted her all along.

 

Now it was only because of these things that happened in her life (while she was in the far country) that she realized not only how wrong she had been but also how dead and lifeless she was without God in her life. And thatís when she finally accepted Jesus Christ and became a born again child of God. So for most people this would seem like the perfect place to shout "Halellujah Praise the Lord!!!" and end the story with "and they lived happily ever after". And of course if that were the case I could go ahead and shut this computer down and have some extra time on my hands tonight to do a few of the other things I need to do. But thatís not the case because Slick Willy doesnít roll over and play dead just because youíve given your life to Jesus. In fact thatís about the time he just turnís up the heat.

 

Because going back and reading that very familiar Scripture found in John 1:11-14, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." And that takes us right on into John 3:5-6, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

 

Now please forgive me for being so repitious on this one point but the truth of the matter is that this is something that all too many Christians miss in their understanding of salvation. When a person accepts Jesus Christís death on the cross in payment for their sins (His death, burial, and resurrection) and then asks the Spirit of God to come into their life (the born again experience), they are at that point in time equipped with everything they need to make it into Heaven... but it still ainít over until itís over.

 

And just to clarify my point letís turn to and read from Mark 1:9-13: "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beast; and the angels ministered unto him."

 

Now in this Scripture we see the details of Jesus becoming impowered by the Spirit of God, just as all born again children of God should be. And of course even though it was not necessary for Jesus to first ask forgiveness for His sins and then be born again (He was born perfect and without sin the first time), it was however necessary that He receive the Holy Spirit. Because when it came to Jesus being able to accomplish the things that He had been called to do, He was no different than anyone else. Jesus had to do what He had been called to do the same way He explained it to His disciples in Mark 16:15-18. And reading it once again, "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."

 

Now the question comes up, could Jesus have sinned? And of course the answer is without a doubt yes! You see the battle that Jesus had to fight in the wilderness was very similar to the battles that we as born again believers will have to fight in life. The main difference between the two is that Satan fought Jesus a whole lot harder because his everlasting life depended on it. So itís a known fact that every true born again believer is going to be drug out into the wilderness after becoming born again, and thatís why the power of the Holy Spirit is so important.

 

You see nothing has really changed since day #1. God has allowed the tempter (Satan) to tempt us to sin, but He has also given us the power of the Holy Spirit to get us through it all. But even with the power of the Holy Spirit the battle ainít going to be easy, in fact I can guarantee that it will get pretty intense. And just to show you how similar this temptation of Jesus was to the original temptation of Adam and Eve, letís turn to and read this same story from Luke 4:1-13: "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil."

 

OK, so thatís where we left off in Mark chapter 1. But continuing on, "And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."

 

Now itís in this Scripture that we see where the rubber meets the road. You see in that first original temptation of Adam and Eve they were tempted to eat when they werenít even hungry. They were living in the lap of luxury, eating anything and everything they wanted with the exception of that one particular forbidden fruit. They werenít even hungry but yet they chose to disobey God by eating what they had been told not to eat. And on the other hand Jesus had gone forty days without food, almost to the point of starvation, and He was very hungry. And of course the difference between Him and Adam and Eve was that He chose to feed on the Word of God (obey God) through the Spirit of God instead of food (bread).

 

And then for test #2: "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

 

So once again the promise of power was given to Adam and Eve when in reality they already had it all. Because reading from Genesis 1:26, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." They had it but they lost it because they got suckered by Satan. Now with Jesus this offer was just a little bit more appealing. You see if Satan would have voluntarily turned the earth back over to Jesus then it wouldnít have been necessary for Jesus to give His life on the cross. But once again, even though the temptation was great Jesus overcame it through the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

 

And now for the third and final temptation: "And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season."

 

Now in comparison, this third and final temptation of Jesus was very similar to Adam and Eveís temptation to become as gods, knowing both good and evil. So once again Slick Willy pulled a fast one by convincing them that they needed to experience evil. Who needs evil? But now with Jesus he had to twist this one around just a little bit. You see since Jesus was God who laid down His Divine Nature to become man, Satan dared Him to show off His power as God. But once again through the Word of God and the Spirit of God Jesus maintained His control over the very strong temptation of Satan.

 

And itís because of this absolutely necessary Holy Spirit power that my brand new born again daughter was given very special attention by God at Camp Meeting. You see it was during the Friday morning service that one particular lady who has the gift of prophecy laid hands on my daughter and called out for the blessings of God to help her get through her soon to be temptations from Satan. And as she was giving this prophecy the power of the Holy Spirit flowed all through my daughter and even through me. It was the most powerful moving of the Holy Spirit that I have ever felt in my entire life. So I can only imagine what my daughter felt, and likewise I can only imagine why the moving of the Spirit was so strong. You see God has a plan and Satan will try and stop it. So all the miracles that took place were in preperation for my daughterís upcoming wilderness confrontation with the powers of darkness.

 

But of course God will not allow us to be tempted any more than we are able to resist. So therefore she has been given everything she needs to get through the upcoming test. But to show how serious this testing process can be the Lord gave me one bit of final Scripture for her (and the rest of us for that matter) in closing. And reading from Luke 9:57-62, "And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

 

Now I hope this very strong message from the Lord has touched the hearts of a few of you including my very own daughter. You see Iím praying that my daughter will have the faith in God to continue on in her walk with God... but the rest is up to her.

 

The testing will never be easy but the everlasting rewards will be great. Have you given your life to the Lord. Have you asked the Holy Spirit to take control of your life? Do you totally and completely trust in Him? Are you ready for the test?

 

Well itís good to be back. And of course as always I hope you have seen from the Word of God how absolutely necessary it is that we KEEP THE FAITH!!!

 

Love,

 

Dad (Bruce Hallman)

 

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