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 sakes.

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 Banks

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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

Death is obliged to bow

Not long ago I learned that a close family member nearly died and had to undergo emergency brain surgery.  It was a tremendous shock to me.  I walked around on the verge of tears all that day.  I was plagued with the thought, ‘Death is so permanent.’  The following day I was talking to a dear lady on the phone and learned that she lost a child six years ago.  Her child was thirteen months old and had drowned in a swimming pool.  After our conversation, God began dealing with me.  He reminded me of something the Holy Spirit told me years ago, ‘Things aren’t always as they appear.’  He then told me to look up the child’s name in a book I have on children’s names and their meanings.  The child’s name is Sarah Beth.  Sarah Beth is derived from Hebrew and means ‘Princess in the house of God’.  Things truly aren’t always as they appear.  This little child’s life on earth was cut short in order that she might forever be a ‘princess in the house of God’ — God turned what appeared to be an unjust stroke of fate into an eternal crown of glory and placed it upon the head of this innocent little child.  And this little child will proclaim throughout eternity the blessings of a most kind and gracious heavenly Father who causes all things to work together for good to His beloved children.   He watches over all — cares for all — prayers are answered.

Death loses its permanency in God’s supreme gift to man — His only begotten Son — for whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but through Him the perishable will put on the imperishable, the mortal will put on the immortal.  Death is swallowed up in the victory of the Son of God.  The Lion from the tribe of Judah became an unblemished Lamb and triumphantly overcame death, rendering it powerless.  And through Him we who believe will also overcome and will one day join Sarah Beth, the little Princess in the house of God, and in victorious celebration we will sing the praises of the Lord our God.  With grateful hearts we will acknowledge His wisdom in His dealings with man and marvel at His understanding.  At that time we will know as we have been known, fully and completely; and I am certain that we will bow in appreciation to His infinite lovingkindness.

Dear friends, the leaves of autumn fall only to reenter the earth from which they came, and, in turn, rise again in a form of nutrients, providing sustenance for the grass and the trees and the flowers they left behind.  In so doing, they testify both to the resurrection from the dead, and to the ever present help of the Bread of Life which was broken for us.  And not just the leaves of autumn, but all creation is continually reminding us that we may take heart and find comfort in the hope of our calling:  The flowers open their petals to the sun; the birds can be heard in song;  winter relinquishes its grip in deference to the birth of spring…  all testifying that death is obliged to bow in submission to our Lord’s immutable promise of eternal life.  This is the heritage of the children of God; — weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Now to Him who loves us, and is able to make us all kings and priests and princes and princesses in His eternal house in the heavens, be glory and majesty and dominion and authority, before time and now and forever.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Pervading the earth

Love is a rose whose fragrance overshadows its thorns. It’s a seed which when sown lies hidden, patiently awaiting the flower of its beloved.  Love is the tear in Compassion’s eye, the smile on Mercy’s lips, and the warmth of Understanding’s embrace. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends. 

My heart’s desire is for our Father’s love to be perfected in me. I want to be clothed with compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience. I want these virtues to literally emanate from me as God sheds His love abroad in my heart. If I never see another miracle, at least let me love my wife as though she were my own body;  let me love my neighbor as though I were loving myself; let me love my brothers and sisters and all my enemies as I have been loved, — kindly, patiently, unselfishly, and unconditionally.

I believe that as we walk in love and work from love we are planting seeds that might one day grow to become sturdy oaks. I believe we are pervading the earth with the fragrant aroma of the Spirit of Jesus. (The Holy Spirit tells me now the creation appreciates the children of God.) I believe love is of God and we are of God if we love one another as He has loved us. And God loved us not in word, but in deed, by sending His only begotten Son to redeem us and reconcile us to Himself, that He might bestow upon us His exceeding great and precious promises. I long for His love to be perfected in me!

Our works of love, whether they be toward our spouse, our neighbor, or our enemy are never in vain. They speak volumes throughout eternity even as I write. Our God is not confined by time. At this very moment He exists before time, He exists today, and He exists forever. Since love is of Him, the works we do in love ring through the ages.

The spirit of love is the Spirit of the Lamb, giving oneself for the sake of others. May we live, breathe, and walk in the Spirit of the Lamb. May we take His yoke upon us and learn of Him. May we assimilate His ways in our dealings with our spouses, our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, and even our enemies. May we always be true children of God.

So many people want to evangelize the world — so few are willing to love their neighbors as themselves. So many want to exercise power and authority in the name of Jesus — so few are willing to humble themselves and learn obedience through the things which they suffer. So many want to speak on behalf of the King of kings and Lord of lords — so few are willing to stand in silence with the meek and lowly Lamb, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things. So many are called — so few are chosen.

Dear friends, faith moves mountains — love moves men:  May we be true fishers of men.  Let us pervade the earth with the fragrant aroma of the Spirit of Jesus, loving one another from the heart, in deed and in truth.  May the world come to know we are true disciples of the Son of God.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Today is the day

Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts:  Once I was having trouble with spiteful thoughts against someone who had been causing me much anguish. I asked the Lord how on earth could it be possible for me to love this person as myself.  The Lord said, “By My love being shed abroad in your heart.”  I then asked that He pour out His love in my heart and laid the subject aside, thinking He would accomplish this without any further effort on my part. Days went by and the spiteful thoughts persisted, so I approached Him again about the matter. This time He said, “Today is the day of salvation. Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you.”  I stood condemned and without excuse, a hypocrite, having walked contrary to His will. I vowed to seek Him and His strength, to seek His face continually. I saw this as an absolute necessity; for apart from Him I could do nothing but sin.

Procrastination and hardening the heart are one and the same:  I have heard it said that we need only be willing and that God will work obedience in us when He feels we   are ready. This is absolutely not true. It is just a form of procrastination, a subtle way of shunning our responsibility. The Word says, ‘Today if you hear His voice,’ and ‘Today is the day of salvation.’ To tell ourselves we are waiting for God to work obedience in us is to use the very Person whose command we refuse to obey as an excuse for our not obeying. Perhaps we could wait for the Lord to pull the right strings if we were puppets; however, being servants, we are required to accept responsibility for our thoughts and actions, and to govern ourselves accordingly. We are required to prove ourselves doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. To him who knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin.

The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar:  Many people procrastinate obedience out of fear of being vulnerable. Assuming it is safer to be in control, they postpone obedience and wait for circumstances to meet with their approval. Hardening their hearts, they delude themselves, and adopt the attitude that God doesn’t hold them accountable for their stubbornness. Ignoring that He disciplines them for their good, they try His patience by letting their fear of vulnerability override their fear of Him, and, like the children of Israel, they never enter His rest.

Now is the acceptable time: For whatever reason one is disobedient, it still remains that for every temptation, there is a way of escape;  for every fear, there is sufficient love in  the heart of God to cast it away; for every commandment, there is sufficient grace to help in time of need. It still remains that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  It still remains that those who hunger may partake of the true manna, and those who thirst may drink from the fountain of living water. It still remains that if we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.

Now abide faith, hope, love, these three:  Will He who gives delivery close the womb?  If we ask for a fish, will He give us a stone? The children of Israel feared He might.  Feeling vulnerable to the hazards of the wilderness, they tried to entice Him to prove Himself, prove that He would be true to His Word. Faithless and unbelieving, they grumbled each time a problem arose, each time circumstances didn’t meet with their approval. And although this is still the habit of some today, we who believe rejoice in the very thing Israel questioned, —the integrity of God. Accepting that His character is above reproach, and thereby making it impossible for Him to lie, we who believe simply obey His commands, trusting that He would not require of us more than we are able to bear, and that His love would not allow Him to lead us in ways other than for our good.

Rather than succumb to the temptations to grumble and complain, we who believe strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for our feet, anticipating that the rigors of discipline will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. We are neither disheartened, nor are we intimidated by circumstances. On the contrary, — armed with the conviction that He who promises a land flowing with milk and honey would never leave us to the unpredictability of the wilderness, we press  on toward the mark for the prize of His high calling in Christ Jesus, as if in defiance of circumstances.

Shining as lights in the world, our lives inherently proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son, as through Him He demonstrates the integrity of His character by fulfilling in us His exceeding great and precious promises; to the extent that we have the very substance of all that we hope for and the evidence of the things unseen. Inheriting these — these promises made by One who cannot lie — works spring forth from faith; endurance emerges, fashioned from hope; and the law of Christ blossoms to fulfillment in love.

Embracing this wonderful gift, this great salvation from the Father of lights, we who believe count as loss anything and everything, that we may know Him who loves us and be found pleasing in His sight. Bowing to the name of His Son, our gratitude becomes visible in obedience; obedience  is forged into discipline; discipline ripens into maturity; and maturity rests in the bosom of God. This we believe — this we proclaim — His lovingkindness is better than life.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Facing reality

Years ago when the Lord revealed He was going to heal my son of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, I told several of my friends. Almost without exception they all told me I needed to ‘face reality’. They meant well. My son’s condition was continually growing worse. They reasoned that even if the illness went away he would still be crippled to the extent he was at the time it went away. They didn’t want me to get my hopes up only to be let down. Bless their hearts, they couldn’t see beyond what they perceived as ‘reality’.

One afternoon during this time I was in prayer and the Holy Spirit said, “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that word ‘truth’ means ‘reality’.” I knew someone who had a book on New Testament words and gave him a call to verify this. Sure enough, I had unknowingly been doing what my friends said I should do after all — I had been facing reality. I wasn’t doing it the way they thought I should; I was doing it the way God ordained it to be done — I had been facing reality in the face of Jesus.

A few months after that day I was privileged to witness with my physical senses what my spiritual senses already knew. My son’s kidneys had been damaged by the medicine he had been taking and they were excreting protein. We had to check his urine every morning and evening, and keep a record of the protein levels for the doctors. My wife always did this. One evening she was gone and I decided to do it. I went into the bathroom and took the lid off the bottle of urine and put it back on faster than I’ve ever put a lid on in my life. I didn’t know it, but apparently the damage to his kidneys caused his urine to have an extremely foul odor. It was absolutely horrible. So I decided to leave it for my wife.

I went back to the living room and started to read the Word. While I was reading I was all of a sudden filled with faith, and blurted out, “In the name of Jesus be healed, be whole, be well.” (These words literally came out of me without any thinking on my part.) Fearful that I had spoken out of turn, I fell to my knees and began apologizing to the Lord. The Lord listened to my apology and then spoke very tenderly, “Go check your son’s urine.”

I returned to the bathroom to check the urine. Because of the foul odor I didn’t want to leave the lid off the bottle any longer than absolutely necessary, so I positioned everything I needed (we had to dip sticks of some sort in the urine — the protein levels showed up on them). I then held the bottle as far away from my face as my arms would allow, removed the lid, and put the stick into the bottle. Before I could remove the stick I noticed that I didn’t smell anything, and I slowly, very slowly, pulled the bottle up to my face. I pulled it so close that I actually got urine on my nose. To my surprise, the stench was gone. There was no odor whatsoever. I looked at the stick and for the first time in months it registered negative for protein. (We continued to check it twice a day until the doctors released our son, and the protein never showed back up.)

So there I stood, a man with a notoriously weak stomach, with tears now mingling with the urine on my face. And, dear ones, as God is my witness, that mixture was as sweet as honey; the Lord had touched my son’s kidneys, and his eyes, and his knees, and his back. And I didn’t realize it at the time, but He had also touched me; He had touched me where I had never been touched before — in the very depths of my being. Seven years later I came to realize this.

One day I was thinking about that night seven years earlier and it suddenly struck me that there was no apparent reason for God to have taken the stench and the protein out of that urine. It had absolutely nothing to do with the healing of my son’s body. That urine had come from his diseased body. It was the urine that came after his healing that counted. While these thoughts were going through my head, I heard words that I’ll never forget, “I did it for you.” When I heard this, I became thoroughly immersed in the truth — He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all — how will He not also, with Him, freely give us all things? For as a lover sends flowers to his beloved on no particular occasion, or as a husband gives his wife a hug for no apparent reason, our heavenly Father changed the urine in that bottle for no particular purpose, other than to say, “I love you.”

Dear friends, beyond the realm of our physical senses, beyond the limits of physical existence, there stands One who was born of a virgin, walked on earth, was crucified and buried, and raised from the dead. To this day that resurrected One stands in the corridors of eternity, His arms of the cross outstretched, proclaiming to all that God is love. He stands — the way, the truth, the life. He stands — the image of I AM THAT I AM. He stands — the revelation of reality. May we always be so fortunate to face reality in the loving face of Jesus.

Rev. Jon Banks

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From Eden to Calvary

I have always been amazed to see Christians turn away from people in need, yet I have seen it many times.  Most times they seem to turn away because they feel the person is in need because of choices he or she has made, and therefore (because the need could have been avoided) it was between them and God.  They adopt the attitude that the needy person is just reaping what they have sown.  When I see this, I want to stand up and shout, ‘Do the mercies found in Jesus extend only to you?  How is it you call upon God to come to your aid when you need an escape from choices you’ve made, only to turn your back when your brother is reaping the consequences of his?  Is it that you deserve the gifts He so graciously bestows upon you, or is it that you’re just unappreciative?  What, I beg you, do you base your double standard on?’

Dear friends, may I suggest that we all were once bound by sin because of choices we made, and that while we were yet bound, Christ loved us and offered Himself up on our behalf.  Granted, this is not the same, but the love that reached out to us while we were yet reaping the fruit of our choices should be the same love that reaches out from us to others.  Are we not born again?  Are we not partakers of His divine nature?  Has the love of God not been shed abroad in our hearts?  According to Scripture, if we help those in need, it has; if we don’t, it hasn’t (Matt. 25:31-45; I John 3:17).

Please consider this:  Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden because of choices they had made.  However, before removing them, and while they were yet unrepentant (Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent), our kind Father replaced their fig leaves with other garments, and, in so doing, demonstrated His propensity to both serve and forgive.  For with His own hand, and of His own will, He took skin from creatures in which there was blood, for every creature that has skin has blood, and, with this skin, fashioned garments for them, and lovingly covered the shame of their nakedness in this first act of atonement (Gen 3:21).  Should we who are so fortunate to have been clothed with the garments of a much more precious sacrifice now presume to turn away from the shame of the nakedness of others?  Should we not instead follow our Father’s example, and temper judgment with mercy?

From Eden to Calvary, our Father’s love reached beyond reasons and choices, showing itself to be merciful and full of compassion, covering a multitude of sins.  And now, in these last days, we who have been so undeservedly born of His seed, and so freely immersed in His Spirit, have been given the wonderful commission to be vessels of His great love; we are to reach beyond reasons and choices; we are to be merciful and full of compassion; we are to temper judgment with mercy; we are, one might say, to be His hands, His feet, His body, His very heart.  Beloved of God, our gratitude alone should be enough to compel us to follow His example.

I believe these things with all my being.  So much so, that several times I’ve sold some of my own possessions in order to help people others turned their backs on.  My family and I have been so constrained at times by the love of God that we’ve gone without food in order to feed those more hungry than ourselves.  Most people can’t understand this sort of behavior.  My last employers used to try to make me promise that I wouldn’t give any money away before they would hand me my paycheck.  I never made the promise.  They kept asking why I gave so much to others.  My answer was always the same, “I’m a Christian, and that’s what Christians do.”  So-called “concerned brothers” have even called me on the carpet several times in the past several years, cautioning me against giving so freely.  (One of these brothers recently complimented me, saying, “I don’t know how someone with so little can give so much.”)

Dear friends, there’s a reasonable and valid explanation as to not only how, but also why, someone with so little can give so much.  It’s very simple — while he was yet a drunkard, mercy triumphed over judgment; while he was wasting away with cirrhosis of the liver, mercy triumphed over judgment; while his marriage was crumbling, mercy triumphed over judgment; while his son was going crippled, mercy triumphed over judgment.  So let those so inclined embrace a double standard if they will; let them turn aside unto themselves, and invest themselves in themselves; — as for me and my house, we will offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the love that reaches beyond reasons and choices, beyond thoughts and opinions, beyond judges and judgments; as for me and my house, we will invest in the Lord. Grace and peace to the vessels of God.

Rev. Jon Banks

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The path

Last night I sat in my front yard feeling the pangs of loneliness and I recalled something a minister (Rev. Robert Morgan) once told me. He said, “If you stay true to Jesus He will lead you down a path you wouldn’t choose for yourself.” I thought, ‘How right he was!’

I thought about the time I had wanted a friend and Jesus sent me birds and frogs and butterflies; and the time I had wanted to be accepted, and people turned on me and started vandalizing my property. I thought of when I had wanted credit for things I had done, and how people began to accuse me of things I hadn’t done; and of the time I had sought assurance that my needs would be supplied, and how the Lord had told me that if I would trust Him to supply my needs, I must be willing to give away even that which I needed. Truly He has led me down a path I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.

This path, although strewn with tremendous difficulties, has been well worth the traveling. And it has been well worth the traveling because although the Lord’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are always true and just, and His thoughts are always pure and good.  He is God and we are but dirt. His path is the only path worth traveling.

Christians everywhere claim to follow this path. But how many of us really do? How many of us are really laying aside our desire to be physically and emotionally comfortable on this earth?  (If we have food and covering, we should be content. I Tim 6:8) How many of us are truly willing to give away even that which we need in order to help someone else, believing God to be our sustenance? How many are willing to stand silently, trusting God for our vindication, while people are accusing us falsely? How many of us are willing to give of ourselves even to the arrogant and the ungrateful, because God makes His sun to rise for them, as well as for us? How many are willing to tread the depths of aloneness, allowing Jesus to be our all in all, because no one understands the path we’re on?  How many of us are truly following Jesus?

There are different requirements for each of us. Maybe only three or four of the above are required of you. God knows. The point is — are you losing your life that you might find it, or are you being blinded by everyday pressures to the point that you’ve lost sight of where your life is? Do your prayers ring of praise and adoration for Him who has prepared a new heaven and a new earth for those who endure to the end, or are they weighed down with requests for temporal gratifications that will make life on this present earth easier for you? Are you looking away from your self-serving ego and serving God, or are you self-absorbed, expecting God to serve you? Are you really walking by faith, content with whatever state you’re in, or are you walking by sight, and never quite satisfied with what you see?

Please don’t think this letter comes from a judgmental attitude. I must confess that as I sat feeling the pangs of loneliness last night, I was also feeling sorry for myself. I confess that I haven’t yet arrived. But by God’s grace I keep endeavoring to look away from myself and unto Jesus. I keep endeavoring to love Jesus more than I love myself.  Do you?

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  Should we not lay down our lives for our Friend?  Should we not abandon our petty complaints and our selfish desires and lose sight of ourselves for Him who gave so freely of Himself for us?  So many want to reign in glory with the King of kings and Lord of lords;  so few are willing to walk outside the camp, bearing the reproach and sharing the grief of the Man of Sorrows.  So many are quick to lay claim to the power and authority of Jesus, and so slow to follow the Person of Jesus, for He leads down a path they wouldn’t choose for themselves.

‘The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, IF INDEED WE SUFFER WITH HIM in order that we may also be glorified with Him.’  Romans 8:16,17.  May God help us lose our lives that we might find them.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Images of God

“If you’re a child of God you don’t have to put up with anything.  You can stand on the Word, claim the promises, and change your circumstances.  You don’t have to wait any longer.  You have the authority — use it!”  Then Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” and, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Yesterday’s idols of images of golden calves have been replaced with today’s idols of images of God as people want to see Him. Jesus is being peddled daily as a problem solver who lends His name and the authority contained therein for people to wave around like a magic wand. Do you have a problem making ends meet financially? Turn on so-called Christian TV and you’ll hear someone proclaiming that God wants you to be prosperous financially. Are you tired of waiting on God and acquiring patience through tribulation?  Wait just one more minute and you’re sure to hear someone explaining how to speak to this mountain and that, eliminating any further delays. Do you not care for the process of learning obedience through suffering?  Don’t despair. The next program is sure to have someone giving instructions on how to exercise authority in Jesus’ name, thereby changing your circumstances and avoiding suffering. Whatever your problem, you can turn on so-called Christian TV and find someone holding up an idol of an image of God as you would like Him to be.

Intent on attracting the masses, these self-proclaimed prophets thunder their views without stopping to realize that their message is an exact duplicate of one delivered nearly 2000 years ago in a wilderness to a man famished by hunger:  The man — Jesus;  the speaker — Satan;  the message — ‘You don’t have to wait on God.  If you’re a child of God you can use your authority and change your circumstances.’  But praise be to God Jesus showed us the way to overcome these temptations, that of humbling ourselves and becoming nothing, not counting equality with God as a thing to be grasped, thereby refusing to exalt ourselves against His sovereignty, and entrusting ourselves to a faithful Creator, and waiting on Him.  Praise and glory and honor to Jesus.

When my son was stricken with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis I watched him grow more and more crippled over a fifteen month period. The Lord only told me to take him off onions, which I did.  After this he continued to grow crippled. The arthritis began in his knees, spread to his back, then to his eyes (JRA can cause blindness and, yes, the doctors feared he was going blind). Soon the medicine he was taking damaged his kidneys and they began excreting alarming amounts of protein in his urine. In the midst of all this, the Lord kept telling me, “Trust in Me. I love you.” That’s all I had, dear friends, “Take him off onions,” and “Trust in Me. I love you.” The disease had my son’s body, and I had, “Take him off onions. Trust in Me. I love you.” (Glory to God. The One who spoke these words to my heart was greater than the disease. Glory!)

During all of this, as the Lord was telling me to trust, another voice was telling me, “Your son is suffering.  God has given you authority over diseases. Use it.” By God’s grace I never once yielded to this temptation to exalt myself against the sovereignty of God (the power belongs to Him) and He helped me day in and day out to humble myself and become obedient.

After many months of tribulation, sufferings, and excruciating trials by fire, the Holy Spirit witnessed to my heart and I spoke, “In the name of Jesus be healed, be whole, be well.” My son was instantaneously healthy. His kidneys immediately stopped excreting protein.  (An ultrasound was done the following week. The doctor’s exact words were, “His kidneys look brand new!”) The problem in his eyes disappeared and he began regaining mobility in his knees and back. God was glorified.  Jesus was exalted. And a broken and contrite heart learned obedience through the things which it suffered. An unworthy sinner was allowed by the grace of God to follow the example of Jesus and humble himself under God’s mighty hand. What an honor; behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called His children.

Dear friends, we are free to choose:  We can follow the example of Jesus, or we can worship the idols of images of God that best suit our human inclinations. We can take up our cross and follow Jesus, or we can find teachers who will hold up an idol of an image of God that doesn’t require patience and obedience. We can serve God, or we can serve mammon.  We cannot serve both. We must love one and hate the other. We are free to choose. Jesus is coming soon.  Come, Lord Jesus.

Rev. Jon Banks

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The new creation

In the beginning Adam and Eve were both naked and were not ashamed.  After attaining the knowledge of good and evil, they became aware that they were naked, and being aware, they covered themselves with fig leaves.  This tells us the awareness of being naked produced shame, which in turn produced the need to cover their nakedness.  When they heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden, they hid themselves from His presence, and when He called, Adam said, “I was afraid because I was naked.”  This tells us the wearing of fig leaves was of no avail in the presence of God, which in turn tells us their true nakedness was a matter of the heart, and not the body.  So their disobedience brought awareness (by attaining the knowledge of good and evil), and awareness brought shame.  Now shame follows the loss of virtue, goodness, or excellence.  Thus they became afraid and hid from God, not because of their disobedience alone, but because that disobedience had stained the image in which they had been created.  They feared standing in the presence of God’s excellence in their now imperfect state.

Now Adam was created a mature man, in the image of God, and placed on an earth blessed by God.  Being a mature man, he was not trained up in the way he should go; and being on an earth that had no curse, he had no occasion to learn obedience, for obedience is learned through suffering.  He was simply given a command and subsequently sinned, and from his sin, inherited a curse; it was appointed unto him and his descendants once to die.

In order to reconcile man back to Himself, God cursed the earth, thereby introducing suffering to His creation, and sent His only begotten Son in the form of Adam;  that is, flesh and blood.  He then trained Him up in the way He should go, teaching Him obedience through the things which He suffered.  And having been obedient unto death, and without sin, God raised Him up, the first-born from among the dead, giving Him preeminence in everything, and gave Him a name above every other name.

Now Jesus the Son of God was the last Adam; that is, the first creation (Adam) with its sin and the shame of its nakedness finds its end in Him.  For being in the form of Adam, He bore the shame of Adam’s nakedness;  and bearing the shame of Adam without the disobedience of Adam, the sins of Adam were buried with Him, thereby bringing an end to the old creation;  that is, Adam, whose image had been stained by the disobedience of sin.

Old things passed away, all things became new.  And all things became new in that the last Adam, after being raised from the dead, became a life-giving Spirit.  As God breathed into the nostrils of the first Adam, quickening him to life, He has done so once again, having now breathed new life into us who were dead in the trespasses and sins of Adam, raising us up together with Jesus, making for Himself a new creation, which is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of God, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.  For as through the disobedience of Adam the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of Jesus the many will be made righteous.

Having been born again by the seed of the life-giving Spirit, we of this new creation no longer have a need to hide from the Lord’s presence, the shame of the old having been buried with Jesus. For we have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but a spirit of adoption by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  And this we cry as we come boldly to the throne of grace and behold as in a mirror His glory, in order that the light which once shone on the face of Moses may now shine upon our hearts, revealing our thoughts and intentions, so that we might be certain our deeds are wrought in God.

Beholding His glory in the face of Jesus, we are careful to bring every thought into subjection to the obedience of Christ; for as we behold the glory of His image, we are being transformed into that same image from glory to glory by His power which works mightily within us, renewing our minds and redeeming the time.  This is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God; this is the good fight of faith;  this is Christianity;  –that the way to the Father is through Jesus, and that all who believe in Him may draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having their hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and their bodies washed with pure water.

We have this glorious treasure, this good deposit from the Father of lights, in earthen vessels that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.  Abiding in Jesus, we find that even His obedience is at work within us (apart from Him we can do nothing).  And should we take our eyes off the light of His glory and find ourselves stumbling in darkness, even then He is the Savior and we are the saved, for He is our advocate with the Father (the natural man wants to do penance, the spiritual man believes in Jesus).

We abide in Jesus the same way we entered His kingdom — through faith in the working of God.  And herein is the working of God — the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God; and we also were made to die to sin and live to God; and this by the working of God in the death and resurrection of Jesus. For as Eve was in Adam when he was both formed from dust and made a living soul, so also were we in Christ when He was both crucified a man and raised a life-giving Spirit.  And as Eve was fashioned from the rib of Adam, so also is the bride of Christ being fashioned from the inmost being of Christ, the life-giving Spirit.  Again, this is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God; this is the good fight of faith; this is Christianity; this is Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

Now to Jesus in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and all things pertaining to life and godliness, and who has become to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, in order that he who boasts, boasts in the Lord, be glory and honor and preeminence in all things.

Rev. Jon Banks

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The testimony of Jesus

A word about our obedience to God:  I believe that each act of obedience reverberates throughout eternity.  I believe it does so for the simple reason that it is God who is at work within us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. By His power He moves us from obedience to obedience; and because He is eternal, each act of obedience has an eternal effect, its very essence being a part of His mystery, which is Christ in us.

I believe that no act of obedience should be thought of as insignificant.  Every time we speak a kind word, or put a shopping cart back in its proper place, the Light of the world shines in darkness and the powers thereof are forced to acknowledge defeat.  In each obedient act, from opening a door for our wife, to praying a critical prayer for a brother or sister at death’s door, the kingdom of God finds expression in the earth.

Jesus said the one who is faithful in the small things will be put in charge of large things.  I believe He said this because love and respect are best exemplified in the small things in life.  Obedience in a small area resounds with responsibility, commitment, and sincerity;  it resounds with respect for God and with working together with Him.  And every act of obedience (large and small) inherently proclaims that Jesus is the Christ and that by the power of His love He transferred us into His glorious kingdom, where His name is not only spoken, it is honored.

Dear friends, because of His great love for us Jesus offered Himself up, a pure sacrifice for sins, and, in so doing, He disarmed the rulers and authorities;  that is, through the shedding of His blood He rendered powerless and ineffectual the weapons that had been used against the children of Adam since the Garden of Eden.  In His obedience unto death the scripture was fulfilled, ‘No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper;  and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.’  And now we who believe in Him may proclaim, “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Him.”

Whosoever will may now forsake the futile ways of our forefathers and partake of the inheritance of the saints, and walk obediently with God through faith in Jesus.  The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death, and we are no longer bound to the selfish idiosyncrasies of the old nature, but are free to put on the godly virtues of the new.  And as we consider ourselves dead to the world and alive to God, we find that He, in turn, works within us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure;  His kingdom comes, His will is done, on earth as it is in heaven.

We who have been so fortunate to taste the mercies found in Jesus, and have received this great salvation, should be living proof of these eternal truths.  Through the blood of His cross we should follow our Lord’s example and continually offer ourselves to His Father and our Father, becoming living sacrifices in all things;  to the end that the kingdom of God might find expression in us, and bear fruit in the earth.  We should be as branches grafted onto a vine, who, having no sustenance in and of ourselves, now receive our lifeblood from the obedient One who loved us to the uttermost.

As disciples of Jesus we are to testify of Jesus; that is, we are to bear witness that God raised Him from the dead and gave us life in His Spirit.  We bear witness to these truths in our obedience; for each act of obedience speaks of His blood of the covenant, giving evidence before the principalities and powers, and before all creation, that it is both powerful and perpetual;  it is both effectual and eternal.  From everlasting to everlasting the blood of Jesus flows from triumph to triumph in the actions and reactions of those who hold the testimony of Jesus.  May we be found in that flow, bearing witness to its efficacy in all things, both the large and the small.

Rev. Jon Banks

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A word about faith

A word about faith:  Faith is primarily a matter of the heart and secondarily of the mind; for with the heart man believes, and with the mouth he confesses his belief.  The natural man has trouble with faith for he needs to understand something before his heart can accept it; the spiritual man accepts something in his heart and leaves the understanding to God.  The natural man exercises his mental facilities (claiming promises, standing on the Word, etc.); the spiritual man rests in the faithfulness of God.  Both ask of God, one believes he’ll receive because of his efforts, the other believes he’ll receive because of God’s faithfulness.  One leans on his understanding, the other leans on Jesus.

Faith is a highly active force.  By it men have quenched fires, conquered kingdoms, and turned weakness into strength.  The power of faith is astounding.  However, the power of faith is not inherent in faith itself, but in the One in whom the faith is placed. Faith is powerful because God is powerful. (Our confidence is not in our faith, nor in our ability to exercise faith; our confidence is in God who gives us faith.)

Faith, like gold, is tried by fire.  One endures the fire, not by claiming or rebuking, but by weeding out everything that tends to choke the word of faith, such as unbelief, the cares of life, the desires for riches, and the tendencies to worry.  Man cannot make faith grow or become strong (faith is a gift of God and He alone causes the increase.)  Man can only cultivate the soil in which the seed of faith grows.  As we weed out the things which are contrary to faith and water the soil of our hearts with the Word of God, we walk in the sunlight of His love and the seed sprouts and bears fruit to eternal life.  Its fruit are works of love.  Our faith can be seen by our works of love.  While it is possible to give without loving, it is impossible to love without giving; for love is of God and God is love, and every seed bears fruit after its kind.  So our faith can be seen by our giving for the sake of others.  Peace to all who have faith in Jesus.

Rev. Jon Banks

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In the shadow of His wings

Our kind Father has invited each of us to take shelter from life’s storms in the shadow of His wings.  What a wonderful place to ride out a storm!  When our only child was stricken with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis we were devastated.  JRA not only cripples, it also can cause blindness and/or death (it attacks organs as well as joints).  There is no cure.  Watching our son gradually losing mobility in his knees was heartbreaking.  Then he developed a problem in his kidneys — then his eyes — then his back…  it was an ongoing nightmare!  While whirling through the chaotic throes of this nightmare, one evening I caught a glimmer of hope and beneath the roar of the storm I heard a still, small voice say simply, “He’s allergic to onions.  Take him off onions.  It will get worse before it gets better.  Trust in Me.  I love you.”  The nightmare was over!!!  It was still dark.  It was pitch black!  But it was no longer a nightmare.  My heavenly Father had heard the cries of my heart.

From that moment on as I watched the disease progress (it did get worse before it got better) I was faced each day with a choice:  I could either let the circumstances overwhelm me, or I could seek shelter in the shadow of Father’s wings.  I sought shelter.  Each and every day I was tempted to doubt, to fear, to run away; but with each temptation the One who loves me made a way of escape.  As I continually chose to take refuge in Him, He led me beside still waters.  While my son’s body was being unmercifully ravaged by an unrelenting force, the One who loves me was restoring my soul and renewing my strength.   And today — my son is a healthy testimony that God comes to the aid of a broken and contrite heart whose hope is in Him!!!

                   The sun of righteousness has risen with healing in its wings.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep. He leads us beside waters of rest.  If a storm arises and we find ourselves tossed about, we’re not following where He leads.  The choice is ours — we can either sink, or we can walk on water.  Wait patiently. The One who loves you is closer than your own thoughts.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S.  I always let my wife read these letters before I publish them.  After she read this one I noticed that she was troubled and asked her about it.  She said, “Words can’t describe the pain we endured.  No one will have a clue of how painful it was.”

You see, we watched JRA attack our son for over a year.  We endured the first five months without a word from God.  After He revealed his allergy to onions, we literally hoped against hope for another nine to eleven months in God’s faithfulness to confirm His word to His most unworthy servant.  At the time of the revelation our son could straighten his legs all the way, but couldn’t bend them all the way.  By the seventh or eighth month he could bend them even less and was beginning to lose the ability to straighten them.  By the tenth month his ability to straighten his right leg had decreased quite a lot and his ability to bend both legs had drastically reduced.  He was slowly but surely becoming crippled right before our eyes.

But we walk by faith and not by sight — and the Lord had said to trust in Him — and we did.  Each day we endeavored to look past what our eyes saw and unto the hills from whence our help came.  And by the grace of God, the darker the night became — the brighter His light shone; the more deeply our pain stung — the more compassion His presence exuded.  To our most kind and gracious and loving and wonderful Father be glory and honor and praise forever.  Amen.  He is so good, so wonderfully good.  We are forever indebted to Him for this kind work He did for us and in us — so indebted and so thankful.

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Things too wonderful

In November of 1994 the Lord spoke and said, “Every year you share your Christmas with others.  This year I want you to give it all away.”  I told my wife and son about this and they graciously consented to the Lord’s will.  A few days later I received a letter from a Christian couple and while I was reading it the Lord spoke again, saying, “These are the ones you’re to give your Christmas to.”  On December 5th we had all their gifts purchased and I was packing them when the Lord said, “Put a hundred dollar bill with the gifts and mail them today.”  I thought it was a little early to mail Christmas gifts, but did as I was told.

On December 9th I received a phone call from the brother we had sent the gifts to.  They had arrived that day.  (Neither he nor his wife knew we were sending anything.)  He expressed his surprise and told me he had met a lady just that day that had a heart condition.  He went on to say that she lived with her son and that he was supporting her.  The son was in his mid-twenties and had a menial job that paid minimum wage.  In an effort to make ends meet, the son had also been selling his blood twice a week.  This brother said he was deeply touched by this and had purposed in his spirit to give them $100.00.  However, at the time he didn’t have the money to spare, so he determined to trust God for it.  When he arrived home that afternoon he found our package waiting for him.  He then asked if I would be offended if he gave the $100.00 to the mother and son.  I gave my blessings and he and his wife took the money to them that same evening.

When they arrived they learned that the mother and son were both Christians and that they had been crying out to Jesus for help.  The brother told them how the Lord had put it on his heart to give them $100.00 and how He had supplied it with such precise timing.  And when he handed them the hundred dollar bill the son broke down and wept uncontrollably.  Needless to say, these people were very appreciative and gave the glory to God.

After tasting of the Lord’s intimate concern just sixteen days before Christmas, this mother and son spent the holidays filled with peace and joy.  And thirteen days after celebrating the birth of their Savior, the mother unexpectedly said goodbye, both to her loving son, and to the trials and tribulations of earth.  On January 7th she joined Jesus, the Keeper of her soul, forever to dwell in His holy presence.  And the couple who had given the money were left standing in awe, in debt to Jesus for His having allowed them to be a vehicle of the Father’s blessings upon this mother and son during their last days together on earth.

As for my family and me, we sat around the tree that Christmas morning anticipating that even though we had no gifts of our own to open, it was going to be a beautiful and rewarding Christmas.  And as it so often is with God, our anticipations were realized abundantly beyond what we were expecting.  And for this we are eternally grateful to our most kind and considerate heavenly Father. To Him who leads us in things too wonderful to be imagined be reverent worship forever.

Rev. Jon Banks

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