Category: Personal Experiences

Trials, Tribulations and Victories

The Small Cloud

I first saw Jesus when I was sixteen. My grandfather had passed away about a week before. This was my biological dad’s father. He was a pastor. I was sitting in a recliner looking out a large window and watching the clouds go by. They were moving fairly fast from my left to my right. As I watched I saw a small cloud in the distance headed my way. It looked out of place because the other clouds were much larger. My eyes became fixed on the little cloud as it moved in unison with the other clouds. Soon it was in front of the house and it stopped. The larger clouds kept going by, but the small cloud sat dead still in the sky.

I don’t remember getting out of the recliner, but I found myself on my knees in the street next to the curb. Someone appeared on the cloud and began talking to me. It was my grandfather who had passed away. We had only met about two weeks before he passed away. He began telling me a few things, the last of which was my purpose in life which was to help people. I asked him how I was to help people and he said, “You will find the way.” As soon as He spoke those words I saw someone from whom the glory of God emanated walking through the sky behind and above the small cloud. I had a hard time keeping my eyes on Him because the glory of God was so brilliant. He walked straight to the cloud my grandfather was on, and when He arrived my grandfather said, “This is Jesus. I have to go now.” The two of them disappeared into the cloud and it began moving again, in unison with the larger clouds.

A lady from up the street hurried to me and said, “You had a vision, didn’t you?” I told her I didn’t know what a vision was. She explained it to me and I realized I had experienced a vision. Six years later I saw Jesus for the second time and I became a Christian.

The first apostles saw Jesus ascending from the earth and a cloud received Him out of their sight. I saw Him descending from heaven and a cloud received Him out of my sight.

Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

Satan Disguises Himself

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” 2 Corinthians 11:13-14. 

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and preys upon people with low self esteem. He preys upon their states of mind by artificially building up confidence in them and turning this newfound confidence into overzealousness. From there he convinces them they are called for this, or that, and sends them on their way, doing things God didn’t call them, or equip them, to do. Consequently, they stumble along from one failure to another, thinking all the while they are doing God’s will.

I have seen many things such as this. One lady thought herself to be a prophetess, only to find that she was being led by a demon (I saw the demon). I have seen and known many preachers who were driven by their own perceptions of themselves, perceptions that run the gamut from inflated egos to perceptions of unworthiness. These people have been fooled into following Satan, all the while thinking he was God.

People like this many times end up thinking they are apostles, prophets or, at the very least, super-spiritual, or special. Most of them claim to see visions that are really just products of their own imaginations. They inevitably believe they are above the average Christian. 

What I am saying may be hard to accept, but these are not opinions I’ve formed. All of these people, as well as their problems, were revealed to me. I have been seeing things such as these since Jesus laid His hands on me. I am not judging, I am just seeing. 

I mean no harm to anyone. I am here to help, not to hinder. I know that many things I say are hard to understand, and hard to accept, but if you could get a glimpse of my heart, I believe you would at least see that I am harmless. 

However, when I see things such as these, I would be remiss if I watched them go by without pointing them out. Don’t you think that’s better than encouraging  mis-led souls to stay in Satan’s snare?

Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

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© 2020 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

My Worst Enemies

This is not meant to be an “Oh, poor me” cry for sympathy, or a “Look what I’ve gone through” statement. I am simply sharing some hurtful experiences I’ve had with brothers and sisters in Christ who have sat in judgment of me. I share these things because I am overwhelmed by the hypocrisy and the lack of love in the church. I am saddened that people profess one thing and live another.

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My wife used to go to a certain dentist she really liked. I made an appointment with him for a problem I was having. I got to his office and the waiting room was filled with things representing Christianity. It pleased me that the dentist himself was apparently a Christian. After fixing my tooth problem he asked for my permission to try something. Trusting him, I gave my permission. Before I got out of the chair I asked if I could get a mouth guard for grinding teeth. My lower teeth were chipped from grinding my teeth. He told me it was too early for a mouth guard. I instinctively knew that was wrong. When I got in my car I looked at the mirror and saw that he had ground one of my front teeth down to the extent that it was shorter than my other teeth. It looked hideous. I never let him touch my teeth again, but every time I took my wife to see him he couldn’t look me in the eye.

This was typical of the treatment I have received through the years from all sorts of people, mostly Christians. For instance, at one time I attended a monthly Saturday men’s breakfast at a local church. About the third or fourth Saturday that I attended, one of the men began talking about speaking to our problems. A few others began admonishing all of us in attendance that we should learn to speak to our problems. I raised my hand and the leader called on me to speak. I said as humbly as I could that when I have a problem, I submit myself to God, and that He leads me in, and through, my problems, teaching me lessons as I go. You could have heard a pin drop. Nothing more was said on the subject. I attended two more of the Saturday breakfast meetings and no one so much as spoke to me. I quit going to them. This was three years ago. To this day, the gentlemen who were regulars at the meetings go out of their way to avoid me.  

Years before this, in another state, I was invited to a Bible study at a friend’s home. When I got there, and before the study even started, a man who didn’t even know me, looked at me and said, “I don’t care who you are or what you know, I don’t want to hear a word out of you tonight.” It turned out that he was the leader of the Bible study. My friend told me later that this man had always seemed very humble and helpful. She was dumbfounded by what he said to me. 

Some pastors have warned their people about me, calling me a false servant. One such pastor twisted my words and accused me of saying something I never said. He, or his church, posted a movie of his sermon on FB and I saw and heard him lie from the pulpit. The wife of a man who was raised from the dead when I prayed for him later accused me of several horrible things I didn’t do. She just made them up in an effort to hurt me. She also was a recipient of God’s grace and mercy when she had a bad cold. At a service she asked me to pray for her, and the Lord took her cold from her when I laid hands on her. I could go on and on about people who have done things for no reason, other than to hurt me, but I will close with one more experience that hurt me deeply.

One of the most hurtful experiences I’ve had was in the late ’70’s or early ’80’s after my spirit was caught up with Jesus, Peter, James, John and Paul, when Jesus told me of my call and several other things. A few days later my pastor, who was also my friend, and I were driving somewhere in my pickup. I started telling him about the experience, and he immediately interrupted me, calling me a liar. He then rolled down the passenger window of my truck and hung his head out to keep from hearing what I was saying. He was the first person I tried to tell about this experience. After his reaction, I didn’t speak of it again until 2017. I told only two people then, and they both thought I should share it with others. After much prayer, I wrote the letter, ‘A Little about Me,’ and put it on http://www.lettersforchristians.com. 

These, and many more things like these, have been an ongoing part of my Christian life. It has been hard at times to accept this, but it has been necessary to accept it. For as Paul told Timothy, “And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2Timothy 3:12. It’s just sad that Christians seem to be my worst enemies. 

Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

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The Trials of Faith

When our faith is being tested we sometimes hear subtle voices, each one telling us we need to do more. It is not enough just to trust God, we should do this and that, we can’t just wait on Him. If we listen to these voices, doubt will soon creep in, and we will find ourselves in a spiritual conundrum. Being faced with this conundrum, many start looking for loopholes, such as, claiming and standing on the Word, decreeing things and speaking what they want to come to pass, etc., all in a futile attempt to get what they want without having to endure the trial or, the test of their faith. 

What is the remedy for this? How do we keep from falling into the trap of looking for loopholes? First, we must know why we entertain these falsities. The reason is this, the flesh is resistant to emptying itself and taking the form of a bond-servant, and humbling itself to become obedient, so, when we find ourselves in a trial of our faith, the flesh looks for ways around it. Thus, the loopholes of claiming, decreeing, and all other things the flesh can find to escape the will of God.

So what do we do instead? We face reality, which is the Truth, that is, Jesus. We look to Him and to the Father to help us through the trials of faith. We shun the tendencies to lean on our own understanding, and, instead, acknowledge Him throughout the trials, looking not at our circumstances, but to the hills from which comes our help. 

We press forward one day at  time, ignoring the voices and the doubts, and trust our Father and our Savior even though all seems dark and unreachable and unattainable. We accept by faith that God’s integrity is beyond reproach, and that He will not leave us helpless. We continue, day by day, being honest with the Lord about whatever feelings we feel, laying ourselves bare to Him who loves us, allowing Him to judge the thoughts and intentions of our heart.

And dear, dear, children of God, regardless of how dark and excruciating the trial is, regardless of the severity of the voices and doubts that might have plagued us, as we near the end we will find the Holy Spirit witnessing to our heart and revealing to our spirit that the Lord has been working in us during the whole ordeal, steadily and lovingly refining our faith by pruning away the encumbrances of the flesh, and melting away the dross, until our faith itself stands pure, a glorious and sacred testament to the integrity of our God.

Dear friends, the sin that so easily entangles us is unbelief, and unbelief begets double-mindedness. So anytime we find ourselves doubting, it is because we are double-minded; and we are double-minded because we are allowing our flesh to influence us. We need only look away from our doubts, refuse to look for loopholes, and trust the Lord completely, casting our cares upon Him, because He cares for us. As we continually obey Him, He leads us from victory to victory.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.

Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

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The knowledge I have received

In the early 1970’s Jesus appeared at a prayer meeting and placed His hands on my shoulders and said, “I ordain you to preach My gospel.” He started up the staircase where I was sitting, and I leaned back and touched the hem of His garment. He stopped, looked back, and smiled at me, then ascended to the top of the staircase and disappeared. A man at that meeting did not know what was happening, but he was aware that something wonderful had happened.

Several years later I was in another prayer meeting in a different state and my spirit was caught up to a place far above the earth where I found myself standing between Jesus and Peter, James, and John. Paul was also there; he walked from our right to our left a few feet in front of us and disappeared from sight. Jesus told me that I had been born before my time and the knowledge I had received would be usable, but I must wait until God had completed a work in His people. He told me several other things and I returned to my body, which ached tremendously for weeks after this experience.

The knowledge I had received was the revelation of Himself. Looking back I can honestly say that I cannot remember one thing concerning the kingdom of God and the mystery of God that I have learned from man. Everything I know has come directly from heaven. This may sound pompous, but it is the absolute truth. I still remember that as a young Christian listening to my pastor, I often felt he and I were reading different Bibles. This has been my experience with preacher after preacher. For most of my younger years I gave others the benefit of the doubt and doubted myself. I believe this was due to my having PTSD, which I have struggled with for years.

Then one day the Lord gave me a vision in which I saw His mystery unfolding and unfolding and unfolding. It soon surpassed my understanding and I could no longer comprehend what I was seeing. Still, it continued unfolding. From that day on the Lord began instilling confidence within me, confidence that He had been leading me the whole time. It took several years for me to overcome the tendency to doubt myself and to accept that He was leading me. Now I have no doubt the knowledge I received was just that, knowledge I had received, not learned, knowledge received by way of revelation; it was the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

Some people get frustrated with me when I won’t give their opinions any thought. I try to explain to them that I know what I know, and therefore their opinions on this subject and that subject are nothing more than their opinions, and have nothing to do with the truth. They think I’m just a stubborn old goat. The truth is the Holy Spirit won’t allow me to entertain the opinions of man. Some think I’m someone who thinks he knows everything, or that I think my opinions are more truthful than the opinions of others, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m acutely aware that I know very little, and therefore I strive to form no opinions.

The knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ is a part of me, and to even pretend that I might be considering something other than this knowledge is out of the question; I would be betraying the One who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I will not do that. 

The Lord set me apart from my mother’s womb (He was seen by the nurse on duty in both the delivery room, and the room assigned to my mother and me after my birth). And, when the time came, Jesus took me by the arm, led me to an altar, and knelt in front of me (He held my arm and walked me down the aisle and knelt in front of me; I was born again without uttering a word). There He became unto me a life-giving Spirit, breathing the Holy Spirit into me. He then began training me up in the way I should go and revealing Himself to me.

I read no books other than the Bible. I study no man, no denomination, no theories, no opinions (not even my own). I listen only to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The knowledge I have received (not learned) —- the knowledge Jesus spoke of —- is knowledge that has come not from man, nor through man, but directly from a revelation of Jesus Christ.

These experiences are very sacred to me and I share them with the Lord’s permission,

Rev. Jon David Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

lettersforchristians.com

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© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

Some life changing experiences

When I was sixteen years old, before I became a Christian, I was sitting in a chair looking out a clear storm door, watching clouds go by. They caught my eye because they were moving pretty fast. As I sat watching them go by, a small cloud stopped as soon as I saw it. All the other clouds kept moving by fast and this small cloud sat motionless in the sky. Without realizing that I had stood up, walked outside, and down the driveway, I found myself kneeling in the street at the edge of the curb listening to a departed saint who was standing on the small cloud speaking to me. He told me my purpose in life was to help people. I asked how I was to do it and he said I would find the way. As soon as he spoke these words I saw a figure walking through the sky heading to the small cloud. I immediately looked to the ground because this figure was so brilliant I couldn’t keep my eyes on it. I glanced back at the cloud and the brilliant figure had reached the cloud and the departed saint said, “This is Jesus. I have to go now.” The little cloud began moving with the other clouds and I watched as it drifted away. This was the first I had ever seen Jesus.

A lady from up the street came to see me when I went back in the house and said, “You just had a vision, didn’t you?” I honestly had never heard of a vision (I wasn’t raised in church). I told her what had happened and learned that it was a vision. Years later I was born again and soon afterwards married a girl the Lord chose for me. Her name is Sandra. Sandra means ‘helper or defender of people’. I was to help people and she was to assist me. And we have found the way. 

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The night I was born again Jesus took my arm and walked me down the aisle of a huge open air pavilion at an Oklahoma Church of God campground. When I knelt at the altar He knelt in front of me. Two pastors were kneeling with us, one by Jesus, the other by me. The two pastors began talking to me, but I couldn’t hear a word they said. It was as if they were light years away. I was completely engrossed in the presence of Jesus. I don’t know how long we knelt there, but it seemed to be quite a while. When I finally went back to my seat, it dawned on me that I didn’t even pray at the altar; I had just knelt motionless in front of Jesus. Without uttering a prayer, I was in a brand new place, a place I had never before experienced in my lifetime. There was a Spirit in me who had changed everything; I was literally in a new life, a new realm, that I learned later was the kingdom of God.

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When I was a brand new Christian my grandmother and I had an argument. I ran outside and knelt by a bed of flowers and angrily slapped at a plant with several flowers on it. I immediately felt horrible for striking the plant and said, “I’m sorry.” The plant spoke and said, “I understand, and where there is understanding there is forgiveness.” This was the first time I had ever heard a flower or plant speak.

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When I was twenty-two years old I glanced at a sixteen year old girl whom I didn’t know, and the Lord spoke and said, “This is the girl you are to marry.” We met about a year later, and we married a year after we met. We just celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary this past December 22, 2018.  

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One Sunday a lady invited several people to her house after church for some soft drinks and snacks. While there, she invited my wife and me to step into her kitchen with her. Another couple heard her invite us and followed us to the kitchen. The lady began by saying she wanted to tell me about something she had never told anyone before. She said she was the nurse on duty when I was born and that when she entered the delivery room Jesus was standing in the corner of the room. She also said He stood in the corner of the room my mom and I were placed in after my birth. He stayed there until we were released from the hospital. She told us His presence was so brilliant it was hard for her to walk into the room to check on us, which she had to do several times a day. 

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When I was still a young Christian an evangelist held a revival at my church. He was a very humble man. He and his wife were staying at my pastor’s house and I asked my pastor what he was like. My pastor said, “I don’t know. He never comes out of his room. He stays in his room praying.” This gentleman preached his last sermon of the revival on Sunday morning. During that sermon I saw Jesus standing to his left and about a step behind him.

When the service was over my pastor told the congregation this brother and his wife had a service that same evening in another town many miles away and they had to leave immediately. He asked the congregation to remain seated until they had left.

I was very disappointed because I wanted to at least shake this man’s hand. I was sitting on the second row up front. I watched them walk out the doorway into the foyer and then hung my head disappointed that I didn’t get to meet him. As I sat there waiting for the congregation to be released I looked to my right and this humble man of God had walked back to shake my hand and tell me something. He said, “Jesus is going to lead you down a path you wouldn’t choose for yourself. Stay true to Him.” Right then I knew Jesus has some servants who are special, and this brother was one of them. His name was Rev. Robert Morgan.

Rev. Morgan finished his course years ago but his words still comfort me to this day. I don’t have many friends. Most people sit in judgment of me. But Jesus loves me. And I will continue walking the path that I didn’t choose for myself for the simple reason that Jesus is leading me down that path, and He does so in accordance to the will of God.  

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I was in a prayer meeting in Houston, TX with twenty or so people several months before I started Bible College. I was sitting near the bottom of a staircase. Jesus appeared and laid His hands on my shoulders and said, “I ordain you to preach My gospel.” After He ordained me (I felt the weight of His hands) He started up the staircase and I turned back, reached out, and touched the hem of His garment. He stopped, looked back, and smiled, then proceeded up the staircase. He disappeared when He reached the top of the stairs. 

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While in my second semester of Bible College the Lord told me to quit school and move back to Oklahoma because my natural father needed me. I did and we headed to Oklahoma. I hadn’t been with him 15-20 minutes and he had a heart attack and died. I prayed for approximately 30-35 minutes asking God to give him another chance (he wasn’t a Christian when he died). The Lord heard my prayers and mercifully raised my father from the dead. When he came back to life he was a born again Christian. 

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When I was in my thirties I attended a prayer meeting held in the loft of a barn. As we were all praying silently I was filled with faith and stood up and began to speak. Before I could complete a sentence my body fell to the floor and I found myself standing next to Jesus in a place far above the earth. He stood beside me to my left; on my right Peter, James, and John stood with us. Jesus began speaking to me, and, as He spoke, Paul walked from our right to our left several feet in front of us. Paul was looking directly at me. I felt like he knew me. It was that intense. Jesus told me I had been born before my time and the knowledge I had received would be usable, but I must wait until God had completed a work in His people. He then stretched His hand toward me and said, “You are the Apostle of the Restoration. There are two other apostles in the United States.” He gave me the name of one of them. After He said this, my spirit returned to my body. My entire body ached for weeks after this experience. 

When I was seventy-two years old, as I was walking through a doorway from one room to another, the Lord spoke, and said, “It is time.” 

Thus, lettersforchristians.com.

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These experiences have each had an extraordinary impact on my Christian life, and still do to this day. Our Lord is good. He is kind. He cares for each one of us. To Him be all glory forever.

 

A little about me

When I was in my early twenty’s I had a friend who was the daughter of a Church of God pastor in my hometown. The Church of God (Anderson, IN) had a statewide Camp Meeting outside my hometown every year. They would have something going on every day for a week. Every evening a preacher chosen for that specific year would preach. That year my friend persuaded me to go.

It was the last sermon on the last night of the week. I was sitting about three rows from the very back. When the invocation was given I wanted to go forward to the altar, but I just stood frozen. In my mind I said, ‘Jesus, I can’t walk up there. If you want me, you’ll have to come and get me.’ Immediately a hand was on my left arm, leading me to the altar. As I started to kneel, I looked to my left to see who had led me down that long isle. It was Jesus, the Son of the living God. As soon as He let go of my arm He walked around the end of the altar and knelt right in front of me. The pastor, my friend’s father, knelt to my right and the gentleman who had preached the sermon knelt in front of him. They both began talking to me, but it seemed like their words were coming from light years away; I was so overwhelmed by the Presence of Jesus that I couldn’t understand a thing they were saying. And that night, kneeling in front of the Son of God, I became a Christian at a camp meeting in the country.

From that night on I felt the Presence of Jesus every day for one to two months. His Presence was especially prevalent in the mornings when I would awake. I would fall to my knees as soon as my feet hit the floor in total awe of what I was experiencing. I didn’t see Him during these times, but I knew exactly where He was standing each morning, and the entire room was filled with His glory. (The Holy Spirit witnesses to my heart right now as to how precious and how real these experiences were and how, to this day, the Lord uses them to help me from time to time.)

A few years later an elderly lady invited several people to her house after church one Sunday morning for some snacks and cold drinks. My wife and I attended. At one point this lady asked us to come into her kitchen. Another couple heard her invite us and they came, also. The lady then addressed me and said that she was the nurse on duty when I was born. She said that when she entered the delivery room Jesus was standing in a corner. She explained His Presence as being almost overwhelming. She went on to say that Jesus was also in the room my mom and I were placed in after my birth. She would pause each time she came in to check on us because His Presence was so glorious it was hard for her to bear. He stayed in our room until we were released from the hospital. It was so humbling to know that Jesus was present at both my natural birth and my spiritual birth.

About six months after my wife and I were married, we moved to Houston, TX where I would attend Gulf Coast Bible College (which later became Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City, OK). We both worked for a year before I started school. A man I worked with that year happened to be a student at the college. He invited me to a prayer meeting at a house in the Houston Heights that several young men from the college had rented. The house was built like a mansion. Just inside the front door there was a huge foyer and two stairwells, one to the right of the door and one to the left of the door, both leading to an open hallway upstairs that formed a half circle overlooking the downstairs foyer.

There were approximately twenty people present. Most of them were standing in the upstairs hallway. A few were on the stairs. I took a seat about four or five steps up the stairwell to the right, hugging the wall, in case someone might want to get by me. There were two or three men sitting several steps behind me, but none below me. This was in the evening and there were a couple of lamps left on in the foyer and also rays of light from a street light shining through some windows with sheer curtains on the front wall parallel to the stairs.

At a point in the prayer meeting, I think near the end, there came a period of complete silence. During that silence, someone put his hands on my shoulders. I sat frozen, not knowing what was happening. I then heard a voice say, “I ordain you to preach my gospel”. When the person removed His hands I opened my eyes and saw that it was Jesus who had ordained me. He then started up the stairs. I leaned back and, with my right hand, I reached out and touched the hem of His garment. I saw His garment move when I touched it. He stopped, looked back, and smiled at me. He then walked to the top of the stairs and disappeared. A man who was standing in the upstairs hallway was made aware that the Lord had dealt with me that night. The Lord actually let him see the same thing I saw after my ordination, an unclean spirit that was pursuing one of the students present in the prayer meeting. Twenty-four years later a church presented me with an ordination certificate. There was no ceremony. Jesus is the only Person that has laid hands on me.

My ordination is not from man, nor through the agency of man, but through the laying on of the hands of Jesus. I did not choose Him; He chose me. I now belong to Jesus and my allegiance is to Him and the Father alone.

Several months after that night, I started Bible College. A few weeks into my second semester my wife got a phone call from my biological father’s wife. (I had met them when I was sixteen and my dad had a bad heart condition. My wife and I went to see him the day we left for Houston. He was still working and doing okay.) His wife said that he had recently been forced to take a medical retirement from his work. The doctors weren’t giving him much time to live. He wanted us to move back to Oklahoma before he died. When my wife told me about this, I thought, ‘I can’t just drop out of college. It’s a four year college.’ However, after a week or two, I began to feel that God might really want me to leave school and move back to Oklahoma.

I prayed about it for several days and the feeling wouldn’t leave. I asked the Lord to please let me know for certain if He wanted me to do this. I then put a cotton work glove on the grass outside our apartment and, with my finger, I drew a twelve to fifteen inch circle around the glove. I prayed and asked the Lord to let there be dew on the ground but not on the glove, nor within the circle, if He wanted me to leave school and move back. I checked the following morning and the dew was on the ground, but not on the glove, nor was it in the circle.  I then asked that He do the opposite the next day, let there be dew on the glove and within the circle, but not on the ground. That next morning I overslept and was almost late for school. I rushed outside and quickly checked the ground, and it was dry. I crawled to the glove and it was wet with dew, as was the circle around it. We began packing our belongings and within days we were on our way back to Oklahoma.

After driving over eight hours we stopped and spent the night with my wife’s family. My dad lived approximately thirty-five miles north of them. The following day we visited with her mother most of the morning, then drove to my dad’s house. We arrived around noon. He and his wife were so surprised to see us. They had no idea we were coming. We never thought about letting them know. I had just asked the Lord what He wanted me to do, and then did it. They weren’t prepared for company so my wife and his wife immediately left for town to get some food to prepare for lunch.

My dad and I were standing outside talking when they left. They hadn’t been gone one minute and my dad had a heart attack. I helped him inside the house and laid him down on a cot by the wall just inside the door. In approximately one and a half minutes more, he passed away. I just stood there beside him, looking into his open eyes that were so still and so quiet, not knowing what to do. We had no cell phones back then so I couldn’t contact my wife. He lived a few miles from the nearest town so I didn’t bother calling an ambulance. I soon went outside.

My dad wasn’t a Christian when he died. I began asking the Lord to give him another chance. I sat on a porch step and prayed and prayed and prayed. Every once in a while I would stand up and pace back and forth on the patio and then sit back down. Twice I went back in the house and checked to see if my dad had come back to life. After what seemed like an eternity of sitting and pacing, sitting and pacing (it was actually about twenty-five to thirty minutes), I sat down for the last time and heard the words, ‘I have heard and I have answered; I have given you the desires of your heart’. I rushed inside and he was still dead. I went back outside for a few more minutes, and then went back in, and again, he was still dead.  I thought, ‘Maybe I have to tell him to wake up,’ but, before I could speak, the last Adam, Jesus — the life-giving Spirit — breathed into him and he awoke from sleep. His first words were, “I was dead!” He said it three times and then began to praise Jesus.

As he was praising the Lord our wives returned. His wife went into a panic and started screaming, “What happened. He’s never looked this bad before.” I assured her he was okay and that he only needed a bath (he had passed his bowels and urine). After this day my dad still had a bad heart but he had renewed energy and vigor. He and his two brothers began going from one Church of God to another in Oklahoma, each giving their testimonies. My dad always worked into his testimony a statement saying, “People say that when you’ve been dead as long as I was, your brain will be affected, and I can attest to its truth – my brain was affected drastically — I was a sinner, now I’m a saint; I was dead, now I’m alive.”

Several years after this experience, I was at a prayer meeting in North Carolina that was being held in the loft of a barn. There were about twelve to fifteen people present. I was sitting in a chair beside a middle aisle that ran down the middle of the loft. As we were praying in silence, I was suddenly filled with faith that what was beginning there would spread to the north, south, east, and west. I stood and began to speak but was cut short before I could complete a sentence. In the blink of an eye, I was standing beside Jesus in a place far above the earth.

Jesus was standing to my left, facing me; Peter and John were to my right. I saw someone coming up from behind us and turned to look, and it was James. When I saw him, I glanced down and saw my body lying on the floor in the loft. Jesus began telling me I had been born before my time, and that the knowledge I had received would be usable, but I must wait until God completed a work in His people. He didn’t tell me what that work was. While Jesus was talking to me, Paul appeared, walking from our right to our left, several feet in front of us.  He was looking straight at me. I had the feeling that he knew me. Jesus then told me about my call and I returned to my body. My physical body ached for almost three weeks after this experience.

These have been just a few experiences that I’ve I held in my heart for nearly fifty years. Recently I shared them with two different people in two different places at two different times and both of them felt that I should share them with others. So I now believe the Lord wants me to share them. I have written them for the sole purpose of exalting Jesus and the Father, who love us beyond our ability to comprehend.

If you would pass me on the street you wouldn’t even notice me. I’m just another nobody from nowhere. There’s nothing good in me except that which Jesus has worked in me. I realize this may sound like a cliché, but it’s the absolute truth.

Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

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We must be careful when we counsel:

The night I was born again I found that I was in a brand new place, a place I had never before experienced. Everything had changed; I was literally in a new life, a new realm, that I learned later was the kingdom of God. After the night of my new birth, I walked in the sweetest fellowship with Jesus day by day. I felt so comfortable with Him in those days, and I knew He loved me. I knew it because He showed me by leading me daily in where I was to go, what I was to do, what I was to say, etc. I was happy, content, and felt at home in His kingdom. 

However, it wasn’t long before I started asking my pastor and others questions concerning things in the church that didn’t correspond with the Bible. Unable to answer my questions, my pastor began telling me I had to die to self. I was very naive and believed it was impossible for a man of God to lead anyone in a wrong direction. So when he said I was so bad that I had to die to my self, I believed him. I tried and tried, and before long found that I had lost my fellowship with Jesus, and had become miserable because I couldn’t die to my self; I didn’t know how and I could find nothing in the Bible to help me. 

I started talking to other ministers and almost without exception they told me I either needed to die to self, or be sanctified. I felt as if I was dealing with my step-father again. He had made me feel that I should apologize to people for breathing the same air they breathed, and the church made me feel I was not worth God’s mercy and grace. They made me feel that I had to go farther and get rid of my self because I was so bad.

What they didn’t understand was that I had already reached the place they felt I should go, a place of complete submission to Jesus, free of sin, and doing the will of God. I walked this way in the first two or three years of my Christian life. But apparently it wasn’t supposed to happen the way it did; I was supposed to be born again first, and later down the line I was supposed to die to self and be sanctified, and then walk in humble obedience to Jesus. That was the Church of God way, and I had done it backwards.

As I’ve said, I believed men of God were men of God, and that God wouldn’t let one of His men lead anyone down a wrong road, so I continued trying to die to self and praying to be sanctified, all the while racked with guilt for not being able to accomplish it. Thank God that after walking in a state of constant guilt for years, always longing for the walk with Jesus I previously had, Jesus began separating me to Himself. During this time He taught me the truths of His Gospel and I learned that I had been crucified with Him and raised into newness of life when I was born again. 

When He showed me this, I thought, ‘Of course, that explains why I was able to walk with Him in the heavenly places He had taken me to back then.’ The old me had already been crucified with Him, and the new me had been sanctified through faith in Him, and set apart to God by the Holy Spirit. I had been saved by grace through faith and was walking in the will of God in my early Christian years. I felt so stupid to learn I had given that up to follow doctrines of men. After this experience, I was never led astray again, for I had the privilege of learning from Jesus, and not from man. 

It may be worth adding that during all these years I was battling PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder. During my first few years of being a Christian and walking with Jesus, these ailments didn’t bother me at all. When I began trying to die to self and become sanctified, the symptoms came roaring back, growing worse year after year. This was debilitating, to say the least. In addition to that, I had been taught since I was three years old that I was worthless, and should apologize for being here. Hence, I had no self-confidence and always deferred to others. 

Dear friends, I cannot stress enough the importance of being careful when we counsel people about God and His kingdom. Words alone can destroy a life, especially when repeating false doctrines. It is equally important to remember that it matters not where, nor by whom, we have been taught, for we are not to follow men; we are to follow Jesus, and the Scriptures testify of Him. Therefore, all must be verified by the Scriptures. 

In Him,

Jon Banks

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Five working angels

One evening my wife and I visited another couple in North Carolina who lived 30 to 40 miles from us. Just before we headed home it started to rain. About half way home the rain had become very heavy and the winds were howling. The road we took was very narrow and surrounded by very tall trees and we couldn’t see very far in front of us (it was also pitch black). It seemed like the road curved every 10 or 15 feet. (It may not have been that often, but it was close).

As we were coming out of one curve I saw two angels, one on each side of the road, standing a few feet ahead of us. The angel on the right let me know I had to slow to just a few miles per hour very quickly. I did and as we rolled to the point where the angels were standing the road took an abrupt curve to the left. About 3 to 6 feet into that curve there was a fallen tree stretched across the road. It covered the entire road. We were able to get around the tree by driving on the side of the road. My wife and I were so grateful that the Lord had sent two angels to protect us.

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Another time in Florida we managed an apartment complex we lived in. Every Christmas I would decorate a tree in the front yard. One year just as I finished stringing the lights the Lord told me three angels would be standing around the tree I had just decorated. I expected to see the angels, but I didn’t.

However, a couple weeks later I was out front one evening checking the lights for burned out bulbs when a car drove by very slowly. It went by and turned at the end of the block and came back, and stopped in front of our building. There were two people in the car and one of them, a lady, got out of the car and walked up to me. In a very shy tone she spoke and said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but there are three angels standing around your tree.”

I thanked her and spent the rest of the evening telling my wife about it and thanking God for having done such a wonderful thing for the lady and her companion. I could tell by her voice that they were both truly blessed. (I didn’t tell her the Lord had told me about the angels; those angels were for her, not for me).

Rev. Jon Banks

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The Bastard

God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him…

As a child, the boy spent many hours hiding in his closet crying out to Jesus, asking for His help. Outside the closet, the boy endured such things as being struck and/or shoved around when he would walk past his step-dad. He would also get slapped and/or backhanded when his step-dad would see him using the wrong utensil to eat, or for holding it in the wrong way, both at home and in public restaurants. At times the step-dad would hold the child by his hair and force food down his throat, food he knew the boy didn’t like. The boy wet the bed frequently and his step-dad would tell his friends that he wet the bed, and at home he would rub the boy’s face in his urine soaked bed sheets, while at the same time telling him he was no better than a dog, and that was how you house-break a dog. The step-dad frequently told the boy that he should apologize to everyone he passed on the street for breathing the same air they breathed. Throughout his childhood his step-dad consistently called the boy a bastard.

Once when the boy was about thirteen or fourteen years old, the step-dad saw the boy vomit in the toilet, and told him to remain kneeling there, and then ordered him to eat his own vomit from the toilet. The boy refused. The step-dad began repeatedly forcing the boy’s head into the vomit filled toilet water, each time holding it there longer than the last time. Finally, for fear of drowning, the boy ate his own vomit, handful by handful, until there was none left in the toilet.

The boy tried to run away many times but was always found and forced to return home. Just seconds after midnight on the morning of his sixteenth birthday, the boy left home for good. As he was leaving his step-dad told him that he didn’t care if he lived, or died. This boy’s step-dad had been the only father he had ever known.

When this child became a man, he became a Christian, and for many years he had a hard time accepting the love of his new Father. He knew the Father loved him, but in the depths of his being he had set up a barrier to keep from exposing his feelings, and from trusting anyone. You see, as a child, when his step-dad found out the boy liked, or wanted, something, he would scold the boy and tell him why he wasn’t worth having it. This barrier was set up subconsciously by the boy, little by little, throughout his childhood.

This man’s Christian life has been somewhat similar to his childhood, in that many of his Christian brothers and sisters refuse to accept him, and his relationship with the Lord. Many would despise him even before they got to know him (much like his step-dad). For instance, a friend invited him to a Bible study at her house. When he arrived he found that the study was being led by a man he had never met before. The leader opened his Bible to begin the study and, before he even looked at his Bible, he looked at this man and pointing his finger at him said, “I don’t care who you are, or what you know. I don’t want to hear a word out of you tonight.” The following day the friend who had invited him to her house told him that she had never seen this man behave in such a manner. She said he had always been kind and considerate to everyone. She was dumbfounded by what he had done. He told her not to concern herself with it, because similar things had been happening to him for some time.

Sometimes he would share experiences he had with the Lord with his Christian friends, and many, many times he was laughed at, or called a liar, and many times just dismissed. These and other such incidents happened quite often, and, actually, still do. (After many years of this, the Lord revealed that the treatment he received from many Christians, as well as the treatment he had received from his step-dad, was due to the heavenly call that had been placed on his life.)

The man struggled with these things for years until one afternoon, while in prayer, the Lord spoke to him saying, “You were a bastard, now you are a son.” From that moment on the Lord began slowly penetrating the barrier the man had set up as a child, and soon darkness gave way to light, grace showed itself as free and unconditional, fear bowed to hope; and, in all this, God showered him with His love. This process took several years.

Today the man still has problems with the barrier, but has learned to dwell not on the past, but on what lies ahead, taking comfort in the fact that he has been counted worthy to share in the sufferings of Christ, who, like himself, was despised and rejected among men. And now each pain, each scar, and every other wound of his childhood, and his Christian life, is consistently soothed by the compassion found in Jesus. Each day he lays aside his old self, and puts on the new self created in righteousness and holiness in the truth.

Now, rather than withdraw into himself when he is maligned, he prays for those who mistreat him. He has forgiven his step-dad and all who have hurt him, and he loves everyone, whether they accept him, or reject him. By God’s grace, the terrors of the past have become the triumphs of today, for just as Paul said, “God causes all things (the good and the bad) to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

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The other side of the coin

Years ago I was walking down a country road with three Christian friends. We were talking and joking with one another, having a good time. Just as we neared a clump of trees, I became unaware of our conversation and found myself engrossed with sounds unlike any I had ever heard before; the trees were praising God. One friend noticed that my mind had gone to another place, and asked me what was going on. I told him about the trees singing and praising God, but he couldn’t hear a word. 

Throughout my Christian life I have had experiences similar to this. Plants and flowers have spoken to me and birds have sung for me. And these things happen all of a sudden, out of the clear blue. Once I had been feeling bad for a few weeks and a bird told me I had diverticulosis. I asked my wife what diverticulosis was and she said the word didn’t exist, but there was a word diverticulitis. That same evening we found out that the bird was right and my wife was wrong, diverticulosis was a word. —- Just for the record, I’m not saying birds are smarter than wives. 🙂

Yes, God has been gracious to me and given me these experiences, but recently He has revealed that things like these go on all the time; trees praise Him; birds sing for Him; the entire creation, having been subjected to futility, anxiously waits for the revealing of the children of God, in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from its slavery to corruption. And just as we groan to be set free from our mortal bodies, so also, the creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth, that it also might enter the freedom of the glory of the children of God. And, until the day arrives when a new heaven and a new earth appear, the creation will continue to offer praise and adoration to the Father of glory, just as we do. 

So, why do I see these things when others don’t? I’m not sure, but I believe it may possibly be because I have PTSD. It is a known fact that people with PTSD have heightened perception. They tend to see and sense things that average people miss. They are more in tune with their inner being than the average person. This heightened perception shows itself in many ways, such as when one senses a threat. A person with PTSD will sense a threat long before an average person, and will sense it far more deeply than the average person. It also shows itself when one is hurt, or falsely accused by another. A person with PTSD will become overwhelmed with pain and doubt for days, weeks, months, or years, while an average person will just walk away from the situation.

A person with PTSD lives in a world of doubt, worry, helplessness, hopelessness, fear, aloneness, horrific nightmares and extreme mental anguish. But there’s a bright side to all this:  With the right treatment these symptoms can become somewhat controllable, relieving the stress. This is wonderful.

But there is one thing more wonderful than this: When a PTSD victim offers himself, or herself, to the Son of God, and walks with Him in humble obedience, things unimaginable can begin to happen. Because of the heightened perception resulting from the PTSD there’s a very good chance that person may see things that most people only dream about. The Lord might very well lead him, or her, down a path strewn with divine delicacies that are meant only for the broken; delicacies that can raise one to a place where trees praise God, and birds sing to Him, and flowers and plants know you by name; delicacies that, when tasted, reveal the deep things of God. 

Oh, dear ones who have been abused and cast aside, take heart, the sun of righteousness has risen with healing in its wings, its rays dancing upon a river of life from which you may drink. The good Shepherd stands on the banks of this river, His arms of the cross outstretched to welcome you, and lead you home. O, how blessed are you who are poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven; how blessed are you who mourn, for you shall surely be comforted. 

May the Lord give you ears to hear when I say, “Your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom; you may dare look away from yourself and unto to Him; you may dare lay your cares at His feet, and follow Him; and as He leads you into His rest — you may dare refuse defeat — I tell you from experience — He weeps for you.”

In Jesus,

Jon Banks

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Think and Speak of Good Things

Something most Christians don’t understand:

There are people who have emotional and psychological problems, and they are nothing like you. They are vastly different. For instance, I read an article several years ago that said people with PTSD are more in tune with reality than the average person. And the reason for this is they are more in tune with their inner being than the average person. They see and feel more deeply than the average person, thus are more in tune with actual reality. When something mean or unkind is said to an average person, he can usually shrug it off. But a person with PTSD will be ripped apart by it, because he senses and feels things deeper than the average person. 

Did you know the brain of a PTSD victim will change its shape? Also, a child who is raised in an abusive environment grows up with a brain shaped drastically different from a normal brain. PTSD is not just an emotional response to troubling events; it’s the expression of a persistent deregulation of body and brain chemistry. The brain is assaulted by neurotransmitters — brain chemistry can be altered for decades. Trauma creates chaos in the brain. This is why we, as Christians, must always think and speak of good things around all people, for we really do never know what another has gone through. 

Because of things I endured in childhood, and things I endured in the Army, I have PTSD. And I say unequivocally, and without reservation, that I have been hurt more deeply, and more devastatingly, by Christians, than by my childhood and the Army combined.

Am I whining? No, I am not; nor am I hinting for special treatment. The things I’ve gone through have all worked together for good, even to the point of giving me a deeper understanding of the things of God. I just don’t want others to suffer through years of torment because of people sitting in judgment of them, making them feel like outcasts. I don’t want another person to bang his, or her, head on the wall, or on the floor, because he, or she, can’t measure up to some unachievable standard others have set.

Dear friends, there are many more like me out there, and you will never know which one is, or is not, like me. And you do those like me a grave disservice when you sit in judgment of them. You can harm fragile souls when you jump to judgment. It goes beyond hurt feelings; it could easily end up stealing their relationship with God.

We are supposed to work together with God, not against Him. Let us do so; let us work together with Him; let us think and speak of good things at all times. I believe this would please our heavenly Father; I believe it would please Him very much.

In Jesus,

Jon Banks

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Birds, Frogs and Butterflies

March 2018

Yesterday, my wife was going through some boxes and found the following letter I was writing to a friend in the 1990’s, but never finished, or sent:

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The creation knows Jesus. They also know why He came to earth. Not only does it know Him, it knows us as well. The creation knows we are deeply loved by our God and our Savior. It waits eagerly to witness our redemption.

The past three years have been very lonely. I have a chair outside that I sit in to pray and wait before the Lord. One day I was feeling extremely lonely and asked the Lord to please send me a friend. Immediately three blue jays flew into the yard and started walking around in front of me, and the Lord said, “I have sent you three friends.” I got up and walked to within three feet of these wild birds and they didn’t budge. It was as if I was one of the guys.

A few days later I saw two doves sitting on a power line. I asked the Lord to please forgive my unbelief and to please let me know He had really sent the blue jays by sending these two doves also. They didn’t come then, but two or three days later I saw them in the same place again. The second I laid eyes on them the Holt Spirit lovingly witnessed to my heart and these two beautiful creatures flew over and walked around with the blue jays and me. The three blue jays and the two doves, along with many of their friends, have been visiting me for more than two years now. Butterflies have since joined the group and a tree in our yard is almost covered with them when they are here. When white ones come the Lord lets me know and points them out to me.

Late one evening after all this started the Lord sent me another friend. I was sitting on the ground when a frog hopped along in front of me. I got all excited when I saw him and scared the poor little thing. He came to a dead stop and sat motionless about three feet from me. I started talking to him, trying to comfort him. But he was so frightened he wouldn’t move. Finally I asked, “Do you know my God?” That precious little creature immediately recognized me and hopped over and sat down about eight inches from my left leg. He stayed there a few minutes while I tried to tell God how grateful I was that He had comforted this little fellow that I had unintentionally frightened. This little frog has visited me many, many times. By the grace of God, we are truly friends. All these friends come almost every day. The creation truly does know us.

March 28, 2018

My wife and I have been talking about the birds and frogs and butterflies who used to visit me and a couple memories came to us:

1. The doves and blue jays would sit on the fence together and browse on the ground together. There was never a power struggle at any time.
2. I never fed them a thing. I seem to recall that I put a water tray out for them after they had been coming for a while.
3. My wife would sometimes come outside when they were with me and every time she did, they would fly away. When she went back inside they would return. I felt bad about that because I wanted her to get to know them, but they would have no part in that.
4. It started out with three blue jays and two mourning doves and grew to be an average of maybe fifteen birds would come to see me each day. They stayed with me for approximately one to two hours each day.
5. After dark the frog would come to sit with me. I loved that little guy so much. We had some good times talking about the Lord and the things of God.

I know some of this may sound like I’m a lunatic, but it’s the absolute truth. I have not made up a thing or exaggerated a thing. This is something God did for me when I was at my lowest, eaten alive with PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, and my best friends had forsaken me. God knows those who are His and He most certainly watches over them.

I share these things and everything else I write to acknowledge the love of God and to encourage His people to trust in Him with their whole hearts. He is faithful.

Rev. Jon Banks

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We will be blown away

Many years ago the Lord pulled me out of church and told me to stop reading books. I had quite a few books at the time. I sold my set of The Pulpit Commentary and gave away the rest of my books. The Lord also told me to start using the New American Standard Bible, so I bought one. He let me know beyond a doubt that I was to do my best to unlearn what I had learned up to then. He wanted me to start fresh and learn directly from Him.

(A couple of years prior to this a brother had a remarkable experience in which he was given several different words for several different people. I think he received this in a vision. His word for me was that God had placed a Golden Thread of Healing in me to mend the hurts of all mankind, and that I was to seek not the counsel of men, but to listen only to God, because He was the Golden Needle that pulled the Golden Thread. So, when the Lord let me know I was to empty my mind of all I thought I knew, I remembered this word and knew it was the Lord who was dealing with me.)

After a few months of reading nothing but the Bible the Lord started dealing with me through visions and revelations. The first vision came one afternoon when I was on my knees in the middle of our living room floor. In the blink of an eye I saw Joseph standing and looking out over a sea of Israelites; there were more than the eye could see. Joseph appeared to be weeping. Someone (I don’t know if it was the Lord or an angel of the Lord) told me all these people were cut off from the Kingdom of their God in order that all other races could partake of God’s grace and mercy. My heart was broken immediately and I began to weep, and, as soon as I did, I realized that someone was weeping with me; I thought it was Joseph but it was the Lord our God. He was weeping for His loved ones who were left out of the Kingdom for our sake.

I’m weeping now. Just the thought of this makes me weep. The experience was so real, so deep, and so very sad. God was actually weeping over His beloved Israel. He loves them so much. I didn’t feel His tears but I felt His heart. His heart was grieving beyond words, beyond thoughts, beyond relief. We wept together for several minutes and then I was told about Joseph.

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; its branches run over a wall.” (Gen 49:22). “For He Himself (Jesus) is our peace, who made both groups into one (Jews and Gentiles), and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14-16). The branches of Joseph have run over a wall.

As I was seeing and hearing these things, different aspects of His Mystery kept unfolding and unfolding and unfolding. I heard about Joseph, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Dan. I heard about apostles receiving by giving and of Paul doing his share in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. After a while, my ability to comprehend began to fade. I was still seeing things and hearing things but I reached a point where I could no longer comprehend them. I stayed there for a long time, kneeling before the Lord of Glory, watching His Mystery go on and on and on. Soon these things surpassed my ability to see (even with my spiritual eyes), and disappeared into the heavens.

Oh, my friends, we are so fortunate to be a part of His plan, to work together with Him, and to be called His children. Oh, what a God we serve. It’s no wonder the Jews wouldn’t speak His name. When we get to heaven we’re going to be so amazed at the awesomeness of our Father!!!!!!! so amazed!!!!!!! Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now we know in part, but then we shall know fully just as we have been fully known. And, beloved, we will be blown away. You can take that to the bank!!!

I’m so sorry, I have to stop now. I’m weeping again. And I have more to say about this one vision, however, I’m not sure I should. I don’t want to confuse anybody or bring up questions that don’t need to be asked. I will leave you with this:

In Revelations 7 it speaks of the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel. Take notice that Dan is left out and Manasseh is a part of the twelve. If you will look up the meanings of the names of Joseph, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Dan, perhaps the Lord will give you a glimpse of this Mystery. (From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. I’ve seen this with my own eyes.)

I feel free to say this – Dan is actually there for it says in Genesis 49:16, “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.”

Another thing I learned in this vision:  Paul was born before his time, for being from the tribe of Benjamin he was not supposed to come in until the fullness of the Gentiles had come in. This is why his conversion was so traumatic. “And Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing…” (Acts 9:8). His eyes were open but he couldn’t see. He didn’t have the eyes that were needed to see because his heart had been hardened.

This is so wonderful — our Father, in His infinite wisdom, chose a Jew whose heart had been hardened (hardened so that we might receive mercy and become partakers of the promises) to carry the promises to us. Behold what manner of love our Father has bestowed upon us!!! Oh, my beloved friends, the Lord’s thoughts and ways are so far above us, so very far.

I testify to you that the Father wept for Paul until the day he could see, and to this day He weeps for those Jews who still have scales over their eyes for the sake of the Gentiles. May the latter rain come quickly and bring in the remaining Gentiles, so that all Israel may be saved, and that times of refreshing may come from the Presence of the Lord, and the restoration of all things may come to pass. Oh, my goodness, it’s going to be so wonderful!!!

“For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways. For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:30-36)

There are many other things I saw and heard in this vision but can’t speak of now. May God bless the chosen ones, of which we are a part.

Rev. Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

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©2017 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

Trust and Obey

In the mid 1990’s we were having a hard time making ends meet. We were taking care of some apartments for a real estate company, and from time to time we would grab a job on the side.  At the time the Lord was taking me through some extremely dark areas in the process of separating me to Himself. I had been praying and asking Him to help me trust Him to supply our needs. I prayed about this for weeks (maybe months). One day while in prayer the Lord spoke and said, “If you would trust me to supply your needs, you must be willing to give away even that which you need.” He then told me to give away all our money. I think we had a little less than $200.00 at the time.

Within two or three weeks after obeying the Lord my wife came to me and said, “We’re out of food and our son is hungry, and so am I. What do we do about it?”  I told her to give me a little time and I went in our bedroom, closed the door, and cried out to our Father. Within seconds He very tenderly said, “Go to Pizza Hut.” When He spoke those words I somehow knew which Pizza Hut he wanted us to go to. We hadn’t been to a Pizza Hut in well over twenty years, so I wasn’t familiar with it.

I told my wife we were going to Pizza Hut and she wanted to know what we were going to do when we got there. I told her I had no idea, but maybe the Lord would reveal something when we got there or maybe not; I just knew that we had to go there. Reluctantly she and our son got in the car with me and we went to the Pizza Hut. When we got there the place was empty. We were the only customers there. We sat down in a booth and my wife started digging in her purse hoping she would find some money. She looked in her change purse and found that she had inadvertently forgotten to empty it when we gave our money away. She had enough for three drinks. So we ordered drinks.

When the waitress brought our drinks she asked if we wanted something to eat. I quickly said, “No ma’am. We’re fine.” Without hesitation the waitress said, “If you change your mind, we just finished our lunch buffet and there are several pizzas left over. We’re just going to throw them away. Eat all you want. You can take whatever’s left home with you if you’d like.” I thanked her and we ate a mid-afternoon lunch that our Heavenly Father had prepared for us. We didn’t take any home because He had just sent us there to quench my family’s hunger that particular day. The following day we received $100.00 anonymously in the mail.

When I went into our bedroom that day to seek the Lord concerning my wife and son’s hunger, I didn’t even mention His promise to supply our needs according to His riches in glory. I just asked for help. He already knew the problem and He was aware of His promise. I simply knelt before Him and asked for help. You see, when I was a young Christian everybody around me was claiming things in prayer and I tried it one time. It was awful. At the very second I tried it, I instinctively knew it was foreign to the Holy Spirit, and I felt horrible. I felt horrible for days, possibly weeks, after that experience. I haven’t done it since.

Several years after the time I tried claiming something in prayer the Holy Spirit revealed to me that claiming, standing on the Word, and the so-called binding the devil stem from the root of unbelief. Dear ones ask the Lord for something and, when they don’t get their request when they feel they should and, having no assurance in their hearts that they will receive what they ask, they start claiming, binding, and/or standing on the Word in an effort to make what they want come to pass.

Many do this because they subconsciously feel they have to prove they believe the promise for which they pray. Some use the excuse that they’re not claiming something from God; they’re claiming it from the devil. Others take an opposite course and justify their claiming and standing on the promises by saying they have been given authority from God. In each instance – there is double-mindedness – their faith is wavering and, they’ve fallen into the devil’s trap.

When Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil, He refused to command the stone to become bread when He was hungry because He hadn’t heard a word from God. He refused to cast Himself down from the temple because He didn’t regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped, and dared not put God to the test by claiming the promise Satan quoted to Him. Instead, He humbled Himself and became obedient, and waited on God. (Throughout His ministry Jesus worked as the Father worked, and did nothing on His own initiative (John 5:19, 30).

We must be cautious with the terminology we use because sensitive souls can be misled easily. A young tender Christian may hear an older Christian claiming a promise and assume that’s the proper way to pray. However, claiming a promise and standing on a promise are, to my knowledge, not in the Bible. I can’t recall ever seeing either one of them. I believe their origin can be traced to something deceitful and desperately wicked, the heart of man.

Even Abraham, when he was promised that he would be the father of many nations, didn’t claim the promise. Nor is there any record of him rebuking Sarah’s aged womb and claiming a younger one.  Abraham knew he was going to be the father of many nations because God said he would. The promise of God was the substance of what he hoped for, and the evidence of what he couldn’t see. He didn’t need to claim or demand that the promise take place — he simply believed the One who made the promise.

Dear friends, like Abraham, we must simply believe our Father and submit ourselves to Him, entrusting our entire being to His authority. We must walk humbly before Him, acknowledging Him in all our ways. We must trust and obey Him in all things. And as we continue to trust and obey we will find that a seed of faith begins to sprout and slowly grow within us, leading us to places we’ve never been, places that defy the intellect and the wisdom of man;  dark places rarely trod. And somewhere in that process, the process of trusting God blindly, without question, without doubt, we find that this One who cannot lie is, in fact, the substance of what we hope for; He is the evidence of what we can’t see. His immutable Word speaks volumes.

There are times when we feel like God has forsaken us; we can’t sense His presence; He seems so far away; it appears that He’s left us on our own, and that He’s refusing to help us. This is no time to panic and start looking for answers. Dear friends, hear thishear thishear this – the Lord is only training us up in the way we should go. He wants our obedience, and we learn obedience through the things in which we suffer; and we cannot suffer without trials and tribulations. He is disciplining us for our own good and, for that reason, He won’t immediately bail us out of every situation we don’t like.

In these situations, we must be still, and ignore every tendency to work things out our way. We must resist these tendencies and submit to our loving Father.  Submit – Trust – Obey – letting patience have its perfect work; we must learn to endure; we must attain steadfastness and perseverance.

Dear friends, the Lord is always closer than our own thoughts, regardless of what we’re going through. We don’t need to claim His promises — we just need to take Him at His Word – dare to trust the One who cannot lie and submit to Him. Abraham believed and the promise of God came to pass. For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us, (II Corinthians 1:20 NASB). If we believe, we’ll receive. Amen.

Rev. Jon Banks

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©2017 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved