May 21, 2015
Let's begin again today with the amplified version of Jesus' declaration of blessing for those who are persecuted:
Matthew 5:10-12: “Blessed and highly favored by the King [of Kings] are those who are harassed, molested, mistreated, or pursued after with hostile intent simply because they have been justified [by faith (in Jesus Christ and His anointing)]; royalty, and Kingdom rule shall be theirs.
Blessed and highly favored by the King [of Kings] whenever men or women will seek to defame you, to rail at you or taunt you, harassing and pursuing you with malice, saying in public or writing false and hurtful accusations about you to others, seeking to ruin your reputation because of your relationship with me [on account of Who I AM — and who you are in me.
Rejoice — exult, sing, dance, enjoy yourself — because each time you are mistreated for my sake, your reward and place at the Seat of Order in things eternal is enhanced and magnified.
Consider yourself in the same company of the prophets before you who likewise were harassed, molested, mistreated, defamed, and falsely accused because of My Word in and through them.” (RAC Translation and Amplification)
“Divide and conquer” has always been a strategy in the arsenal of the Enemy, and it is no more evident than his use of it in families where he makes every effort to turn parents against children, children against parents, and — whenever possible — spouse against spouse.
The picture of internecine warfare that Jesus draws becomes even more evident when we see it within the family of God. It is how denominations have been created. It is one of the most-used tools of Satan to bring persecution against people who seek to respond to the continual draw of Holy Spirit towards greater and greater intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ.
During the Charismatic Renewal, I saw this demonstrated again and again. As I recall, it was Bob Mumford who made the statement, “The reformers of the new generation will always be persecuted by the former generation. Those who become a part of the new move of God will always be persecuted by those of the former move of God.”
Once again, as we continue to draw the picture, I remind you that Men and women in a covenant relationship with Me will find [even] their non-covenanting [spiritual] family members to be their hostile adversaries (who will fight and oppose them).
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Chapel, he wasn't trying to make a break with the Roman Catholic church, of which he was a part. He simply was seeking to share with those who would hear and respond a message of freedom in Christ Jesus — namely, that “the Just shall live by faith.” Because of the traditions and the politics which ruled the Catholic church, he was ostracized, criticized, eventually ex-communicated, and numerous attempts were made on his life in order to silence him.
When John Wycliffe sought to make the Word of God available to the common people by first translating it from Greek and Hebrew (or Latin) into the language of the day, every effort was made to shut down the effort and stop the presses; and repeated attempts were made on his life.
That same pattern has followed, even to this modern day. But consider the blessing!
Every effort to silence the Word, every effort to silence those who moved beyond their religious traditions and religious doctrines because of Holy Spirit’s leading and ongoing revelation, has only resulted in a greater spread of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
In the majority of instances where people have moved on in God, even in the midst of persecution, they have experienced the Blessing of the King of Kings on their own lives, many who sought to persecute them have, themselves, come under the conviction of the Spirit and have repented of their opposition and persecution and, in a twist of irony, have been persecuted themselves because of their response to the Lord.
My great-great grandfather, John Capener, left England in 1836 and the Anglican church where he had been a vicar to emigrate to the United States. His brother, William, joined him in the move. Sometime after arriving in this country, he began ministering in a Presbyterian church in Columbus, Ohio. I have no details of the specific breach or religious argument that William had with John over his departure from the Church of England, but whatever prompted John to become a Presbyterian pastor so angered William that he cut off all relationship and connection.
Some time thereafter, William joined Brigham Young and assisted in the organization and westward move of the Mormons from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City. The family breach lasted for a full century until the early 1950’s when my uncle, Everett Capener (who was with the Strategic Air Command at the time) stopped over in Salt Lake City and discovered literal pages in the phone book of Capeners.
That led to a major family reunion that year between the two branches of the Capener family, and another the following year in 1954. A little over a decade later when I resigned at Bethel Union Church in Duarte, California rather than compromise teaching and sharing on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a Mormon cousin, Dr. Jex Capener, invited me to move to Salt Lake City — a move which ultimately led to the Eskdale Miracle and the salvation and deliverance of an entire community.
Although my grandparents had not been exposed to the Azusa Street Revival during the first decade of the 20th century, as they began to seek after greater revelation and pursue the presence of the Lord, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, along with a number of people who were gathered together in their home. It all took place in the midst of the sound of a rushing mighty wind (a tornado) and a flame of fire which broke apart and settled on the heads of all the people gathered for prayer.
My grandfather was a Methodist preacher who was shortly thereafter removed from his pulpit because the denominational leaders did not believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a legitimate experience for this modern time, and considered that Grandpa had wandered off into error and heresy.
His removal from the pulpit did not stop his preaching. He simply followed the New Testament pattern in ministering from his home, and it resulted in a new generation of people who, themselves, became the leaders and ministers of the Kingdom in the years following.
As noted in our previous session on being peacemakers, when my father announced to his denominational leaders that the time had come for our family to move to Alaska, they argued against it because of the expense involved and tried to convince him that he would do better by going to Africa or China. When he made it clear that God had called him to Alaska, and not Africa or China, they forbid him to go and told him that if he tried, they would cut off his financial backing.
You’ve already heard the story of how God provided the finances for the ministry in Alaska through the stupendous fishing miracle, and what a blessing it produced — not only for the tens of thousands of natives scattered across the arctic in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and even Siberia — but for our family as well. It was some five years or more before the denominational leaders realized that they had really missed it and chose to back our family’s ministry in Alaska.
When Dad went home to be with the Lord, people came from all over the world to his funeral and memorial service. Despite the fact that his denominational leaders rejected the concept of the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, I was able to share with the assembled folks the apostolic impact that my father had made in the roughly 50 years of his labors throughout Washington and Alaska. When I finished sharing, one of his fellow-ministers stood and recited an incredible poem he wrote about Dad which he titled, My Friend, the Apostle.
None of Dad’s detractors in those early years, who sought to block him from going to Alaska, could possibly have foreseen the fact that God would use the isolation of native villages to bring in visitors from all over the globe as tourists whom he would lead to the Lord, including the Muslim bodyguards of Jordan’s (then) King Hussein.
I’ve yet to attend another memorial service for anyone who has been so honored by people from all over the globe, and honored by God on account of their faithfulness in the midst of opposition and persecution.
Following this same the me to show you both the persecution that often follows generationally, along with the Blessing of God, let me wrap up today's discussion with a final story.
Judson Cornwall was one of the Charismatic Renewal’s more prominent leaders, and a pastor whom I had met and gotten to know in the early 1960’s. In 1976, while trying to reconcile the counsel of brethren to remain in southern California and go to work to pay off some serious indebtedness BEFORE responding to the quickening of the Lord to return to Alaska, I sent out a resume to perhaps 30 or more major organizations seeking employment either as an engineer or an instructor at a University. That resulted in three very prompt job offers — one of which would take me back to NASA to run one of their satellite tracking stations.
Judson happened to be in Costa Mesa for a World Map Conference that summer of 1976, so I went to him for counsel. My quandary was that the pull of Holy Spirit to Alaska was immediate — NOT after the bills were paid. Judson’s counsel was that “God has a way of making provision for everything He requires of us, and I suspect that He will more than provide for you if you will respond to His specific Word.”
Several of my friends and brethren at the time did their best to convince me to stay and take one of the offers presented, but I began making preparations for the move to Alaska right away. In the meantime, my father suggested that I join him on Saint Paul Island to do some fox trapping. That would turn out to be an effort that would result in generating some start-up capital for the Christian Broadcasting Network in Alaska — and that was one of my purposes in returning.
Arriving in Anchorage, I ran into a pastor I had known for many years whom we will simply refer to as “Paul.” He saw me in a church on my first Sunday in Anchorage (I had to wait for the weather to clear in order to fly to Saint Paul Island) and caught my attention.
Paul came up to greet me and tears began running down his face as he said, “I need to ask you to forgive me.” That took me totally by surprise and I responded, “Brother! What in the world do I need to forgive you for?” His response astonished me.
“You remember some ten years ago or more when you made application for the mission station at Nenana?” I nodded my head and said, “I never could figure out why I got the negative response I did from the Home Missions Department.”
“That was my doing,” he answered. “I wrote letters to them accusing you of leaving Nome with a lot of debt hanging over your head and a bad testimony in the city.” Since I had taken pains to ensure that my debts were paid before leaving, his answer made no sense. The puzzlement on my face spoke volumes.
“I knew that if they accepted you and appointed you to that station, it would be one more vote for your father to become the District Superintendent, and I wanted that position. I knew that if you were blocked from taking it, I would have a much better chance when the voting came.”
“Brother Paul,” I responded. “Dad wouldn’t have taken the position even if he had been voted in. He detested the organizational politics and wanted none of it. He felt that it would prevent him from fulfilling God’s specific call to the villages, and that call was far more important to him than the recognition and titles of the denomination.”
Paul answered and said, “I realize that now, and God has made it very clear to me that I am to put my house in order. Because I have touched God’s anointed, judgment has fallen on me and I have less than two years to live. I now have ALS.”
It shook me. I wept as I put my arms around him and said, “My brother, whatever you meant for my evil, God intended and used for my good! The Lord has delivered me from the need to be associated with denominations and organizations, and that deliverance has permitted me to work across denominational and organizational lines to minister wherever and whenever He so orders.”
Paul B. died some 19 or 20 months later. It was sobering to me to realize just how seriously God treats the persecution and opposition of those who stand against His anointed.
Over the next six months, Dad and I trapped 208 arctic blue foxes. It generated some startup capital for the CBN ministry in Alaska. More than that, people who’d never met me and didn’t know me began sending checks and money orders saying that God instructed them to do so because I “had a need that had to be met.” My $17,000 indebtedness vanished in less than a year!
The opposition and persecution only increased when I went to Barrow, but the blessing that followed that opposition was the gift of my counterpart, Della Denise!
Next week let's wrap this up and talk about some personal experiences, and the ultimate long-term blessing that came from that persecution.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Once again, the number to call for healing is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (559) 726-1300, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long.
Blessings on you!
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