Archive for September, 2012
Now you’ve heard of caveats? Not caviar, but caveats. A caveat is an explanation in advance to get you off the hook for something that’s about to happen. I want to apologize to you in advance because if you want what came into my life, it will no doubt begin to manifest in many of you in this room in a moment. So I’m going to apologize to you in advance.
I’m also going to tell you that I’m not going to do anything to make it happen, because it’s not me. I don’t believe in manipulation. The Spirit of God is the one who’s in charge.
But I promise you if I do what I’m about to do, something will spontaneously begin to happen. It usually starts—and I do this every year in this class—the class usually becomes a disaster zone. It’s not unusual when it spreads over into the cafeteria and in classes in the afternoon. But I apologize to you in advance. I want you to know that it is not me. So don’t blame me. Okay? You understand? We got a deal? Don’t blame me for what’s going to begin to happen.
Now usually it starts small. It will start in one section of the class, and it will begin to spread. And I just walk around and look and observe. Now some of you have come from staunch backgrounds, and you may look askance at what’s about to happen. Don’t be critical. Don’t be critical of something you don’t understand.
If you say, “I don’t understand that,” if you say, “I don’t want to be a part of that,” I respect that. But don’t be critical. Don’t ever be critical of a move of God. Don’t ever be critical. That opens you up. It opens the hedge of protection around you. If you don’t understand it, that’s fine. I understand that. I’ve got no qualms with you. But don’t cheat someone else out of a move of God in their life.
Is there anyone here who has a need, a special need for the joy of the Lord in your life? All right, put your hands on your belly and repeat after me. Ha, ha, ha. Now just start one more time. Put your hand right here. Now say, ha, ha, ha. Now, see, I didn’t do anything, did I? I told you, I didn’t do a thing. I very seldom know where it’s going to start. It will start.
He’s already out of his chair. Why are you laughing? What? What’s happening? Why are you laughing? Isn’t that a wonderful testimony? Why are you laughing? Did he say something? And then what happened?
Lay your hands on him right here. Now I know that it’s unusual. Do you want a drink of that? Do you? Take hold of that finger right there. I know it seems unusual. I know it sounds strange. But this is what happened to me.
And I’ll never forget the fact that my wife said, “Yes, you’re going. God’s going to change your life while you’re in Lakeland.”
And it is the joy of the Lord that sustained me. Yes, there’s some times that I’m happy, and there’s some times that I’m sad. But that doesn’t interfere with the joy of the Lord, which is my strength. Some days I feel better than other days. I’m sure you do too. But that doesn’t interfere with my joy.
And there are times when even after all these years, I’ll be in a service, or I’ll be in a situation where all of a sudden, for no reason, I just break into spontaneous laughter. And I can feel the refreshing. I can feel the revival coming up in me. And it gives me strength.
Doctors say—well, of course the Bible says, “Laughter doeth good like a medicine.” And the doctors have proven that. I don’t have a copy of the document that St. John’s Hospital produced, but they talk about the endorphins in your body and they talk about the good things about health. Dr. Brainard, I don’t know if you have a copy of that. I didn’t bring it with me. Well, if you do, fine. If you don’t, it’s all right.
I’ll just kind of paraphrase it. It talks about what it does to you. It talks about how it releases painkillers. It talks about blood pressure rises during laughter, but lowers below where it was when the laughter stops. It talks about why you get a pain in your side when you laugh. It talks about how you can go into almost uncontrollable spasms when you laugh. It talks about how you can lose control and fall out of your chair when you laugh. There are lots of medical documentation.
And they’re using laughter therapy in clinics and hospitals now. The doctors and the scientists are understanding the principles of the Bible, that laughter doeth good like a medicine.
And there’s a study—I forgot to bring it this morning—there’s a study from St. John’s Hospital, a little Catholic hospital here in town, of the effects of laughter. And one doctor says, “It’s like taking the internal organs on a jog.” It does such tremendous things. I left it at the house. I forgot it this morning. I’ll bring it back one of these weeks.
But, anyway, this is how God has been a tremendous blessing in my life and how it’s changed me. Now we’ve got about 20 minutes left. Is there anybody here this morning who is a candidate for the joy of the Lord? Anyone here who’d like to have a touch of the joy of the Lord in your life? If you would, would you just stand up.
And the fear that was in me left, and I really have not had another moment of fear over finances since that day. God has delivered me. And whenever I face a financial situation—and, by the way, I face them all the time. The question is, is how I handle it. And I handle it with the joy of the Lord. I handle it with praying in the Spirit.
I had a session just the other day on that because we’re facing a particular need in an area that I don’t have any finances for it. And something’s coming due, and I don’t have the finances for it. But I didn’t freak out. I didn’t panic. I began to laugh. I began to have the joy of the Lord in my life. I began to pray in the Spirit. And I know that God’s going to provide the answer.
Since that day down in Florida, I’ve not had a sleepless night. I have not had a nightmare over it. I have not seen any of that. God took all of that away. And I have been a person of joy.
Now, students, there’s a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is not joy. Happiness stops about here. Joy penetrates from here. And that’s the major difference.
Now the reason I’m giving you this testimony this morning is because I have always made this a part of the curriculum in this course since I started teaching it nine years ago, to let you understand how God brought a deliverance in my life and how the university and the ministry has prospered since then.
And you can see the results. If you had known me then—that was 44, here I am now 58 years old—if you could have known me then, you would have known a different man than you know today.
The Bible says, “When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul to become the first king in Israel, he became like another man.” Well, that’s the story of me. My life was transformed in Lakeland, Florida. Anybody here from that Central Florida area? That’s a very tender place in my heart because I felt like I was born again again in Lakeland, Florida. And I’ll never forget the Strader family, who had such a tremendous impact upon my life and that church, which has gone through much tumult, as I’m sure if you’re from that area you’re aware of, lots of problems in that area. But they have survived. And they sowed into my life.
And He told me that I was to go to battle against it before I get there. And so I started doing that yesterday when I got this prophetic word.
But then He showed me that there’s another demonic spirit that is a personal thing coming against me, and it is a spirit of containment. And He showed me a picture of me standing at a threshold about to have a major breakthrough, but that there was a spirit of containment trying to keep me from going across that threshold into that open door.
And He showed me a picture of me standing in a—He gave me the word vestibule. You ever heard the word vestibule? That I was standing in the vestibule. I was in the outer office.
You know how you go into offices, and there is an outer area, a waiting area? Well, in Old English terms, they used to call that the vestibule. They don’t call it the vestibule anymore, sounds like something you’d get in the vegetable section of Wal-Mart, you know.
But the outer area, the outer office, the waiting room, whatever you call it, in Old English was called the vestibule. And God showed me a picture of me in the vestibule, standing at the threshold.
Well, now you need to understand, I’m a student of trivia. Any of you like trivia? There’s a website called useless information.com. And you don’t want to take me on in Trivial Pursuit, okay? Just don’t do that, because I’m a master in Trivial Pursuit because I love trivia.
And the word threshold is an Old English word. In the old days, back in the 14th or 15th century in England, the people built dirt or stone floors in their homes. The poor had dirt floors, the wealthy had stone floors.