Given for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO, on 4/ 21/02
"Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:20, RSV).
God is our Father, and Jesus said that when we ask Him for bread He will not give us a stone, nor a snake when we ask for a fish (Lk. 11:11), and yet, have you noticed how many people are in need? We know healthy people who need money and wealthy people who need healing, emotionally or physically. One of the "phases" I walked through on my journey to the Light was to go the way of the "Word of Faith" teachers. I "named it and claimed it," repeatedly quoted scripture to God as though somehow He may have had forgotten what He said to us during a "senior moment." I bound the devil, cast out demons, pled the blood, and used most of the other techniques used to give me control over my life. Tell the truth here, Jan; all those things are designed to control God. He grew me up past that by showing me that He alone is sovereign! Interestingly, the term "sovereign Lord" is used 287 times in the Old Testament and once in the New, making the point that this is a powerful truth that the Holy Spirit does not want us to miss. After a few encounters with "the divine combine," which smacked me around, separating wheat from chaff, the "chaff" of my imagined control was shaken off and the truth was left: GOD ALONE has control! Knowing that it was God with whom we had to do made losing everything in California easier to bear.
As it turned out, the purpose behind the financial upheaval in California, was to uproot us from that life style and transport us here to Neosho, where Lenny was sent to the adult men's Sunday School class in a Baptist Church and I was sent to you dear Saints at Medicalodge. Our mission is to testify at a deeper level of the Father's love and power and unconditional grace in the lives of all men, beginning at the house of the God. During this time, He has provided for us by various and sundry means, so that all our needs have been met. That does not always include our "wants," but it always includes what we need to complete our mission in Him. We have learned to listen to His voice for direction, rather than to the advice of men and women. This brings me to my story, which I needed to record for myself, and for anyone else who may possibly gain from my experience.
We were offered the use of an old motorhome to go to California. I was nervous about it because of its age and condition, but the Lord spoke to me while I was food shopping at Walmart and said, "Don't be afraid to take the motorhome. I'll take care of you." I rejoiced and rushed home to tell Lenny that I had peace about going. God had provided the money for the trip with a commission and a referral fee from two real estate sales. We set off on our adventure, brimming with excitement about seeing our daughter and her family as well as all our dear friends there whom we had sorely missed. We hoped that the hot mineral spas in Sky Valley Park (near Desert Hot Springs, CA) would ease Lenny's arthritic joint pain.
Some of you have heard this part of the story, so I'll move on from Genesis to Revelation in a hurry and say that the motorhome broke down twice getting out there and twice coming home, costing us $1,000 to keep it on the road. The Lord did provide money from unexpected sources, to more than cover the cost, and in fact, enough for us to stay longer than we had first planned. Still, during the whole trip, I wondered what He meant when He said, "Don't be afraid to take the motorhome. I'll take care of you." I know His voice as well as I know my own mother's. It is the same voice which said, "You will write, write, write and your words will flow out over the ocean, the rivers, the earth." The Internet Ministry came from that promise from the Lord. It is the same voice which said, "I am your flu shot." I have not been sick a day since He said that to me in December, 2000, nor have my childhood allergies plagued me since we have been here on the farm. I know His voice, but no matter how I tried to "spin the facts," they troubled me, and became like a burr under my saddle, as they say in these parts.
I am the kind of person who daily wrestles with God. I grope after Him constantly until He satisfies my longings. For those who tell me that we can't question God, I say, "Oh really? Then to whom should we go for answers? Who else knows the end from the beginning? (Is. 46:10). Who else works all things after the counsel of his own will? (Eph. 1:11). Who else made all men in all nations, and put them in the very places they would live on the whole earth?" (Acts 17:26). About the latter statement, Paul said to the learned men of Athens, "God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' (Acts 17:27). This verse describes my relationship with God. I am like a blind man, seeking light. I grope about, seeking Him, asking Him, expecting answers from Him, and usually getting them.
In spite of my seeking and groping, whining and nagging, questioning and demanding, He didn't give me the answer which satisfied my heart until this past week, almost four months after the events in question. The cell phone rang at 11:15 on Monday night and I got up to answer it, thinking it was another of those pesky calls where no one is there. There was a phone number on the display, but the Lord began to talk to me immediately, and I knew that the call was from Him, not anyone else. Before it rang, I had lain awake for over an hour, talking to Him about the money situation, the motorhome episode, and finally, about what I should share with you today. I heard the word "Provision," and then He said, "I want you to tell them more about the difference between law and grace." All of this was on my heart when I got up to answer the phone.
I opened my bible to Phil. 4:19, long a treasured verse to me: "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." During the six long years when I was a single parent, keeping the wolf away from the door by selling real estate, I relied on God's promise in this verse to meet my needs, all of them, and He did, richly. The episode with the costly repairs to the motorhome on my mind, I began to run the references, one of my favorite "treasure hunts." The first one is Psalm 23:1: "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want." The second one is "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (II Cor. 9:8, NIV). When I read this last verse the next morning, I realized that God had touched these words and made them life to my spirit. The rest of the passage reads like this:
"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you" (II Cor. 9:10-14).
This verse plainly says that God will supply what we need to do the job He has called us to do, and He will do it in such a way that it will enlarge the harvest of righteousness He always brings forth. We will be rich in EVERY way, not so we can hoard it for ourselves, but so that we may share our blessings with others.
One of my problems with the Word of Faith teachers is that they suggest that God's provision depends on our using the bible as a "legally binding document." They tell us to remind God of what He promised. This would be hilarious if it didn't border on blasphemy. It's like the little toddler who stamps her feet and says to her mother, "Get that for me right away. I want it NOW!" We may find this behavior amusing from a two year old, but by the time the child gets older, we find it annoying, to say the least. And yet, this is what these men have taught. Still, let's not throw out the baby with the bath. The truth is that God DOES supply ALL our needs, or, as the rhema I heard indicates, God is our Provision. Before we go any further, the dictionary definition of Provision is "1. the act of providing or supplying. 2. something provided or supplied. 3. an arrangement or preparation made beforehand, as to meet needs. 4. a clause in a law, legal instrument, etc., providing for something; stipulation; proviso."
There are two things the Lord has shown me about this subject. First, as we have said for years now, God's Word, His rhema, is NOT the bible. The bible INCLUDES His word, as heard by the anointed prophets, but when we go by the letter of it, rather than the Spirit of it, we always fall into the ditch. When people carry a leather bound book and call it, "The WORD of God," you can mark it down that they have settled for what their natural minds can dig out of the printed page. When the scripture says, "And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah," it does NOT mean that a scroll dropped down from heaven and he opened it to find out what God had to say to him. A reader sent us an Exegesis Bible, which is a transliterated version, from Hebrew to English. It translates some passages like that as "The rhema came to Jeremiah." It is the rhema which said to me, "Don't be afraid to take the motorhome. I will take care of you." This is how most of my writings and almost all of my poems come. God writes them on my heart and uses my fingers flying over the keyboard to put them into words. Many Christians now know that hearing the voice of God is the normal Christian experience. Secondly, you cannot get into the kingdom by way of law. As Paul said about Abraham, "If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about, but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness" (Rom. 4:2-5, NIV).
The Word of Faith teachers saw a truth, that in Christ, are all things which God has gifted us, but because they were still operating within the church system, from the doctrines of men, they approached Mount Zion by way of Mount Sinai, by way of law. What I realized in those few precious moments when the Holy Spirit opened my understanding and restored my faith and hope in the great promises, was that for 2,000 years, the church has taken the divine gift and tried to bring it to pass with fleshly efforts. If we cannot expect God to honor His word (rhema), and His promise to Abraham, upon which the New Covenant is entirely based (Gal. 3:8), UNLESS we do something to earn it, then God is like some earthly parents who withhold love until the child obeys, or who give in to a petulant child's whining. Some kids have raised whining to an art form. They will keep it up until the frustrated and exasperated parent finally says, "Oh, all right, but this is the last time." God loves us unconditionally. He chose our works before the foundation of the world (II Tim. 1:9-10), and He will not be swayed, diverted, manipulated, or irritated into giving us what we ask until His perfect time comes for manifesting them.
The reason I bring this to you today is because I want you to see that because we are IN CHRIST, and He is God's only begotten Son, whatever His inheritance is, is ours also. If you do not see this, you will live a niggardly, miserable, fearful life, forever conscious of your sin, forever groveling, repenting, trying and failing to gain favor with God. I told Lenny recently that I am a SON, not a mushroom, which is why I say, "Don't leave me in the dark, Father."
The episode with the "free motorhome" reminds me of the Fundamentalist concept of grace. They allege that salvation is a free gift of God, but then they spend the rest of their lives working off the cost of it. From this emotionally wrenching experience, I finally received light on the matter. God will supply all our needs by His riches in Glory, not because He is contractually bound, though actually He is bound by His oath (Heb. 6:13), but because HE IS our PROVISION! Regarding this contract, which according to the Hebrew writer is a will: "...Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood" (Heb. 9:15-18, NIV). We are the beneficiaries of that will. We have inherited ALL that Christ IS. In Him, we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah! Does this mean that we will never be in debt, never be sick, never be emotionally stressed, or if we are it signifies that we have no faith? None of the above. It did mean those things under law because we had to work to earn God's blessings, but under the New Covenant, under grace, His provision, does NOT depend on our works, but upon the finished work of Christ as He transforms us into His image and likeness (Rom. 8:29). Paul wrote that what we are all waiting for is "the redemption of our bodies" (Rom. 8:23). Until that glorious day, we know that because we are sons, we are chastened by tribulation and suffering (Heb. 12:5-11), which God uses to our good: ".....we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Rom. 5:3-4). These recent sufferings have regenerated my hope that God is totally my supply and yours, and that nothing we can do, or fail to do will interfere with His glorious plan for the ages, written before the foundation of the world! Hallelujah! Jan Antonsson
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
The Glory Road
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web on 4/21/02
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister,
and last edited on 10/28/08.