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.
19 April, 1998
Did you miss me last week? Well I know at least one of you did because she called to remind me not to forget her again this week. Now thatís what I like to hear; someone complaining because they didnít get the sermonet. You see this lady (Darlene) is one of the readers who isnít one of our children, but she evidently gets into studying the Word of God, and of course thatís the way we should all be. So thank you Darlene for the phone call; you really made my week.
But why, might you ask, was there no letter? Well there was no letter, because I wasnít here to write the letter, because we went to Jimmy Swaggartís Camp Meeting. Yup, once again we made the trip all the way to Baton Rouge (Louisiana) for four whole days of non stop praise and worship to the Lord. Thatís what we did and boy was it great! In fact now that I think back on it, you will just have to excuse me for a minute while I shout the praises: Glory!!! Hallelujah!!! Praise the Lord!!! Thank you Jesus!!!
What we experienced was one more awesome moving encounter with the Lord, but it didnít just happen without a fight. You see there ainít no doubt about it that itís the desire of God Almighty to bless us through the moving of His Holy Spirit. Thatís what God the Father wants but itís also the desire of the devil to give us the exact opposite. God wants to bless us, Satan wants to curse us, and thatís where the battles of all battles (spiritual warfare) comes into play. And of course since everybody likes reading a good war story what better time than now to write one. So the sermonet of the week is entitled The Battle of Camp Meeting.
Now I guess you could say that this battle to get to camp meeting all started when the Thanksgiving camp meeting ended, because thatís when we started planning for the Easter one. And it was right about that time that the youngest son Arthur started having all kind of health problems... one problem right after another. The head aches, stomach aches, and upset stomachs (diarrhea, vomiting) all seemed to become a part of his everyday life. He was hurting bad and the doctors were trying their best to take control of the situation but the situation was taking control of them. They just couldnít nail down the cause of all his problems.
And of course as the time drew nearer for the April 8 flight to Baton Rouge, Arthur just got sicker and sicker. Now there wasnít any doubt in my mind that we needed to be in Easter camp meeting together as a family, but there seemed to be a great big road block in our way... and it was getting bigger and bigger day by day. So what were we going to do? Pray harder!!! Well thatís what we did... but the problem still didnít go away.
You see over my short lifetime (49 years) I have come to know Satan all too well. Iíve seen him work his mischief so many times that Iím starting to get a sixth sense about his presence; I can almost "smell" him. And likewise it was in this problem with Arthur that I could "smell" Satanís involvement (he had his dirty little fingers in it). I knew without a doubt (with little doubt anyway) that what was happening in our family was because of Satan... and the bottom line reason behind it was to stop us from going where God had intended for us to go (camp meeting)... and I wasnít about to let that happen... and thatís when the battle really heated up.
Because it was Saturday night, the 4th of April, just four days before the long awaited departure, that I talked with the family only to discover that Arthur was not improving but getting much worse. That was all I needed to hear. It was time to get serious. Thatís when I picked up the phone and called my good friend and prayer warrior Sister Ira. You see Sister Ira works at Jimmy Swaggart Ministries and without a doubt she knows much better than me how to fight the battle that we were right in the middle of fighting (sheís been there and done that with the ministry). So we prayed together, believing for a victory, and then we hung up.
And that was when I prayed my own prayer asking God the Father to tell me what I must do... and that was when I felt Him leading me to a particular story in the Bible. Now itís no coincidence that this story God gave me tells of a father whoís son was also being battered and bruised by Satanís demonic hit men (that is until Jesus walked in on the scene), because after reading this story (what the Lord wanted me to read) my brain finally shifted into gear. You see it was only after I read the story that all of Arthurís problems started to make sense. Ainít Godís Word great?
Now this particular real life story that the Lord gave me is found in two books of the Holy Bible; both Matthew and Mark. But it was the story as found in the gospel of Mark that I was able to see what I needed to see in order to be able to understand the message I believe God had intended. So not wasting any time letís read it for ourselves.
Turning to Mark 9, and starting with verse 14, "And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not."
OK. So hereís this man who wanted his son to be able to live to a ripe old age. But as the story goes it appeared that because of the grave condition of the boy he probably wasnít even going to make it to his next birthday (the demons were trying to kill him). Now I canít be absolutely positive but I think it was the father who after having heard about the great and mighty miracles being performed by Jesus and His disciples had faith that his son could be healed. I think he had faith until the disciples couldnít do what they had been called to do. You see they tried their best to cast out the demon but it appeared as though their demon chasing power had all of the sudden vanished. And that was just about the time Jesus walked in on the scene.
So continuing on with the reading, "He answered him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked the father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us."
Now it was right about this point in time that a little light went on in my head. Bingo! Thank you Jesus! You see this father had a son who had a problem, and it was this problem (demon) that was trying itís dead level best to destroy the boy. But this problem was nothing new because the boy had lived with it since he was a child. And thatís where it all started to come together for me, because Arthurís problem had also been with him (off and on) since his childhood. Since birth Arthur has ended up in the hospital about five different times (over a ten year period) with a problem of uncontrolled diarrhea and vomiting. So this problem was really nothing new but that fact didnít really make any difference because Arthur could die if this problem wasnít brought under control.
So it was through this Scripture that the Lord definitely got my attention. But I didnít stop there... I continued to read on. And, "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
You see as this story goes it was only a few chapters earlier that Jesus had given His disciples the power to do great and mighty miracles. In fact turning to and reading from Mark 3:13-15 we can see it for ourselves: "And he [Jesus] goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils..."
Now there shouldnít be any question as to whether the disciples had the power to cast out the demon; they did! But even though they had the required accessories they still couldnít get this demon out. So what went wrong? Well the way I see it is like this: I believe that in the beginning the father believed that his son could be healed... but that was in the beginning. Because the evidence is clear that since this was such a very nasty dirty big stubborn demon, he just wasnít gonna come out that easy... and he didnít. And as the disciples kept trying the unbelieving scribes continued shouting their negative remarks of unbelief (they didnít believe Jesus was the Son of God)... and both the disciples and the father started believing what they were hearing. You see it doesnít take much unbelief to make believing unbelieving... and thatís exactly what I think took place. This was a stubborn demon that didnít come out the first time he was spoken too (in the name of Jesus) and because of the scribes unbelief the believers started not to believe. Understand?
In fact this story as told in the book of Matthew gives us just a little more detail on the situation. Reading from chapter 17 verses 18-21, "And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could we not cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
So this thing called faith and believing is some pretty powerful stuff (mountain moving even). But the fact remained that I thought I had the faith to get rid of the demon that was hurting my son but the demon didnít think so because he still wasnít moving. So just what was my problem? I was praying, and I was believing, but I sure wasnít fasting. Now for those of you who donít know what the word fasting means, it simply means to deprive oneís self of food (not eat). And it was right then and there that I decided that if that was what it was going to take to move the demonic mountain in our (Arthurís) life then that was just what I would have to do. So it was Saturday night that I told the family what "thus saith the Lord" and likewise it was Saturday night that Annie (my wife) and myself started on our very first fast (we didnít get no supper).
And it was the very next day, first thing Sunday morning, that I called Sister Ira to tell her the news. And upon hearing what the Lord had shown me, and being the dedicated Christian that she is, she immediately volunteered to fast and pray along with us. What a friend! So at this point in time we have three fasting and believing for a miracle (Annie, Sister Ira, and myself).
So did the demon give up the fight and let go? Nope! Because it was only Monday morning, after yet another night of Arthur being violently sick and Annie crying out to the Lord for healing, that the doctor put him in the hospital. Well it was at this stage in the battle that it would have been very easy to throw in the towel and call off the trip, but I knew within in my heart that quitting would not accomplish anything. We had to overcome all the opposition to Arthurís healing which would eventually even included the doctor and hospital staff (scribes).
Now it was at this stage of the battle that we knew the chances of Arthur being out of the hospital and on the plane Wednesday morning was just a little short of being totally impossible. It seemed as though Satan had won a victory but I wasnít ready to give up or give in yet. It looked as though I was going to have to get serious and do what I really didnít want to do: I was going to have to change flight reservations on Easter weekend and at a very late date at that.
So before making the call, knowing full well the very slim chances of getting another flight, I petitioned the Lord in prayer to show me how to make it all happen. And what he told me was to simply tell whoever answered the phone the entire story of why we needed to change the flight... And I did... And in turn God worked a miracle through the airline lady. We were actually able to get seats on the Friday morning flight with a cost increase of only $75 per ticket instead of what should have been $500. Now donít think that I was ungrateful for what God had done but just the thought of the $225 extra really worked on my emotions. But I knew I couldnít let Satan win this battle so I gave God all the glory and shouted thank you Jesus!
So things were starting to look up just a little bit. You see based on past experiences I figured that Arthurís visit in the hospital would only last a day. His body would then stabilize and get back to normal so that Friday morning my family would be on a plane destined to meet me in Baton Rouge. Well Arthur did get out of the hospital on Tuesday and I did catch my flight on Wednesday but things did not go smoothly from that point on. Arthurís head aches, stomach aches, and vomiting did not stay gone for long. They came right back in full force. So what were we going to do? Keep on praying, keep on fasting, and keep on trusting in the Lord.
Now my Wednesday arrival in Baton Rouge was late because of plane problems but I was able to get to church (still in my blue jeans) just in time for the 7:00 night service. But to my amazement what should have been a joyous time of prayer and worship was clouded over very strongly with a strange heavy air of doom, gloom, and depression. And quite naturally, I figured that this awful feeling was only happening to me because of the stress our family had been through over the past few days. But what I found out later proved my assumption to be wrong. The very strong feeling of evil in the air was not just on me but on the entire church. Satan was working overtime to stop not only my family but the whole church from giving God the glory and receiving His blessings.
And it was late Thursday afternoon as I called Annie and the kids that I found Arthurís condition had not improved. Now although Arthur was sick he hadnít given up on camp meeting. He along with the rest of us were determined that Satan wasnít a gonna stop this trip. So as I ended the conversation it was agreed on through prayer that we would see each other the next day in Baton Rouge at the airport... and Satan wasnít going to stop us.
So at 12:30 on Friday I slipped out of the mid day church service just in time to make it to the airport by 12:45. When I got there the plane had already arrived but there was no family in sight. Where were they? I refused to listen to the voices in my mind telling me they werenít going to make it and I asked the ticket agent to give me the status on their arrival. She checked her records and flat out told me that they had already arrived. So I anxiously made a few more trips around the airport, checking very carefully all restrooms and restaurants, but with no luck in finding them. So in a final attempt to get to the bottom of this I went to different ticket agent and asked the same question. And it was this time that I got a very different answer. What he told me was that they had been delayed and would not arrive until 4:15.
Now are you starting to see why itís sometime so very easy to just give up fighting the battle against Satan. I mean I felt very strongly about the fact that God wanted my family in camp meeting together as one worshipping God Almighty, but it seemed that making it happen was not getting any easier. It was the one thing Jesus said to His disciples in the Scripture that kept echoing in my mind: "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth". And that was the only thing that allowed me not to doubt that "everything was going to be all right".
And it was just as predicted that the 4:15 flight brought my family on in to Baton Rouge airport... but what a family it was. Talk about near death experience! You see the reason they were late was because Arthur was throwing up all the way. In fact he even threw up when Annie was trying to get the tickets changed. You see this demon was determined that my family wasnít going to leave Myrtle Beach but God had other plans. And because of our continued belief in God (prayer and fasting) that attack on Arthur at the ticket counter backfired on Satan. You see he meant it for bad but God turned it into good, because the ticket agent felt so sorry for Arthur that she (he) exchanged the tickets at no extra charge. Glory!
But Satan didnít give up there. As they made their way to the plane the demon made another attack. Just as they were about to board the plane Arthur lost his lunch and the airline steward refused to allow him to fly until his condition improved. And that was the reason they missed the original planned flight... but God settled his stomach long enough for him to board on the rescheduled one. And that was the way their entire trip went. So it was only through strong faith that they finally got to where they were going.
And it was in the Friday night worship service that God finally made happen what Satan had been trying so hard to stop. The Glory fell! God opened up the windows of Heaven and Brother Swaggart didnít even get a lick of preaching in. The entire service was nothing but singing the praises of God and worshipping Him in His Glory and Might... and what a service it was! God performed miracles that nobody could dispute. There were four and five year old children who received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, and there is absolutely no way that anything like that can happen except through the power of Almighty God. It was awesome! It was marvelous! It was great!
Now when we went into the service that night Arthur was still having some pretty severe head aches and stomach aches. He had not thrown up since getting off the plane but he was definitely still not with the program. So it was that night during the service that we all went forward to the altar asking God for Arthurís healing. And it was only a short time later, after the glory fell and everybody was praising and worshipping God with their singing, that Sister Ira (along with a minister and fellow choir member) came over to our pew, laid hands on us, and prayed for Arthurís complete healing. It was extraordinary to see such loving people reach out in prayer.
That was what happened at the Friday night service. And to top it all off we even went out and celebrated with greasy hamburgers and french fries... and Arthur kept it all down. But even though he was no longer throwing up he continued to have the head aches and stomach aches... that is until the next day. Because at the Saturday morning 10:00 service it was once again my very dear friend Sister Ira who saw to it that our entire family was taken before the church. And what happened next was the death nail on Satanís efforts to destroy Arthurís future. Brother Swaggart laid hands on Arthur and the entire church believed along with him that this healing was going to be complete. Arthur was going to be healed of this problem that he had lived with for so long, and it wasnít going to bother him any longer.
And it was only shortly thereafter that the entire family headed out to eat a celebration feast in honor of Arthurís healing. So I prayed before we left and asked God to take us where He wanted us to eat, and the rest of that story would be another entire message. God not only took us to a place where Arthur could get the seafood that he had wanted for so long, but He also saw to it that we ended up meeting friends at this restaurant who are going to be a part of the FMH Childrenís Club Ministry. It was all totally unplanned and totally impossible of even happening, but through Godís divine intervention it did. And it was during this meal that Arthurís head ache and stomach ache completely disappeared. His healing was complete. Glory hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!
Now itís impossible for me to tell you everything that went on during this trip, but believe you me it was jam packed with Holy Ghost excitement. Satan gave it all he had but it just wasnít enough. He tried his best to stop us from worshipping the Lord... but God the Father was working right on along with us to overcome any and all of Satanís opposition. You see when I said this sermonet was going to be entitled The Battle of Camp Meeting I said it for a very good reason. We were in a spiritual war with Satan and he was determined to win. So you see even though Satan gave us a very uncomfortable hard time for a while, we ended up the winners and God ended up getting the glory.
So for the faithful believing long-suffering Christian, the things that Satan uses to stop us will only be used as a testimony to Godís great power after we overcome them. And likewise itís all these problems that happened to us on trip that can now use as stepping stones for the future of our ministry... and I give God all the glory for it. But we arenít to the end of the story yet. You see it was even during the Saturday night service that Satan tried his best to land one more good punch... and he threw it at me. It was at the very end of the service that my heart started to do something that it hadnít done since I started living for the Lord; it started beating at a very rapid and uncontrolled rate. Now I didnít let it stop me although it was getting pretty bad. I continued on with my plans by heading right on back to the choir room to tell Sister Ira "good by till next time".
And it was as we were walking to the front door that I bumped into a friend who I had just met the day before from Canada . And it was during this conversation, as my heart continued to race uncontrollably, that Brother Hubert gave me a Word from God (I donít know whether he knew he was or not). You see what he told me was how the child like faith of one of his children had healed him of a high fever. Because, as his story went, it was one day after coming home sick from work that his daughter laid hands on him and prayed for his healing... with the results of the healing being complete within an hour.
That was the story he gave me and I believe he gave it for a very good reason. Because by the time I got to the car my heart condition had not improved but I felt a very strong leading of the Lord to act on what Brother Hubert had told me. So I asked the kids to lay hands on me... and we prayed together for my healing... and immediately my heart went back to itís normal rhythm. Donít you just love it?
God is a mighty God and He is still in the miracle working business!!! Donít let anybody tell you otherwise.
Now I realize there wasnít much Scripture covered this week, but I just had to tell the story of The Battle of Camp Meeting. It was only one week ago that God worked some very powerful miracles in our lives and I just had to tell the world about it. Satanís plans to kill, steal, and destroy were all canceled out through the blessings of God. We won the war through faith in the Word of God (prayer and fasting).
In closing please allow me to once again say "thank you" to Sister Ira, the choir members, and the entire Jimmy Swaggart Ministries who supported us through many prayers, much fasting, and great faith in God.
And just one last note for my Catholic friends: we arenít through with Vampires In The Church yet, Iím just giving you a rest.
So I hope through this message you have all been able to see a small sample of Satanís plan of destruction... and Godís plan of salvation. We all have everything needed to defeat his attacks... but we must absolutely and positively believe it!
Thatís it! So until next week, keep you nose in the Good Book and keep the faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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