August 26, 2016
We have a lot of ground to cover today, and I need to share with you my own personal deliverance from one of these spirits of fear, so let’s get right to it.
We left off in our previous discussion on “He restoreth my soul” talking about deliverance from the Fear of Death — a spirit of fear that invaded the human frame with Adam’s disobedience to the Lord in eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As we have already noted, we were never designed to die when God first created us.
We see the evidence of this in the extremely long lives that men and women lived prior to the Flood — and even for a time thereafter. The very fact that death now existed opened the door for the Fear of Death to rule in the lives of men and women prior to Jesus taking the Curse upon Himself on the Cross and canceling the death sentence for all who believed on Him and entered into a love relationship with and in Him.
The Fear of Death was not the only invader to contaminate and take up residence in men and women, however. There was another family of fear — and I relate these spirits of fear to families because of all the other spirits that cohabitate with the master spirit of fear, be that the Fear of Death, the Fear of Man and/or the Fear of Evil.
That said, let me take you on a personal journey.
In 1978, living in Barrow, Alaska, I was able to strike an arrangement with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation to purchase a communications company from them, then known as ASA Communications. The regional corporation had already hired me a year earlier to develop a consumer-based entertainment retail business as an adjunct to ASA Communications.
After a year of developing the business, the regional corporation underwent a change of management. The new management decided that retail operations were too far removed from their primary thrust and began to talk about divesting itself, hence my offer to purchase the communications company as a complete business.
My first order of business was to create two separate business entities. Retaining the “ASA” moniker, Arctic Slope Audio became the retail entity and North Slope Communications became the communications business dealing with the need for two-way radio communications between the far-flung communities in a borough nearly the size of the state of California.
1979 and 1980 were banner years for Arctic Slope Audio, bringing more than $2,000,000 in the sales of Sony Audio Lab products and television sets. Sony Audio Lab was a division of Sony that specialized in very high-end consumer audio products. You can understand what I mean when I say that we sold custom sound systems costing up to $60,000-plus.
Arctic Slope Audio became a name in Alaska, with a customer base that reached into Alaska’s major cities such as Anchorage and Fairbanks. Our primary customers, however, were the men and women who were building and maintaining the Alaska Oil Pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.
That’s a lot of preface to where I’m headed with this story.
In January of 1980, I went to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Chicago where I was met by the president of Sony Corporation. He wined and dined me and honored Arctic Slope Audio as being the largest Sony Audio Lab dealer in the world. With that honor came interviews with trade magazines and — most notably — Time Magazine.
Are you beginning to see where this is going?
You know what? I loved the honors. I loved the praise of men. The personal and national — no, make that global — recognition went to my head. I was reveling in the fact that my name was being bandied about in consumer electronics circles as someone deserving of high praise and esteem for my accomplishments.
THAT’s where things went wrong! You see, the enormous success of the business was NOT so that I could get rich or have a lot of money. What was getting lost in the translation was that God was doing this! My initial purpose in acquiring ASA Communications was so that we would have the necessary financial ability to expand the ministry of CBN and the 700 Club throughout the state — and especially the bush communities.
The success wasn’t so much that I was selling a fistful of electronic equipment and gadgets; it was that a whole lot of funds were available to purchase the necessary equipment to build tiny little TV stations in the villages so that they would have access to Christian television. And we were doing just that.
God is very glad to allow His people to receive recognition and honors, so long as they remain humble and honor Him as the source of their success.
I was being faithful to the objective of building these little TV stations and using the funds properly to accomplish that. What went wrong was that the public acclaim and recognition went to my head. I discovered that I loved the praise of men. I loved the honors and the awards, and I loved it to the point of becoming insensitive to the voice of the Lord when He began to direct me differently.
The door to the Fear of Man had been opened in my life, and that spirit had jumped in with both feet! Now I was going out of my way to get the honors and the public recognition.
In the fall of 1980 (we had already exceeded in sales what we had done in 1979 for the same time period) I began to look forward to a record-setting holiday selling season. I began contacting my vendors to see what new products were in store for the 1981 year and making decisions on what I would bring in for the Christmas season.
Standing in the store one day and looking over the product that lined the shelves, the Lord spoke to me as clearly as He had ever spoken, “Close the doors!” With that word came the very clear sense that I was to have a “Going Out of Business” sale and shut the whole thing down.
“NO!” I argued. That can’t be God! After all, look what we’ve accomplished so far! Look what we have in front of us as far as communities that still need to hear the Gospel via Christian television. These people need to be built up in their faith!
The Fear of Man can get really religious! That fear knows exactly how to argue and manipulate you so that you disobey the Word of the Lord. It causes you to reason with the same reasoning and logical arguments that come from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In this case, this spirit was arguing the “good” that would happen if I didn’t close the doors. But it was a lie! And that was NOT what God was saying!
Just as the serpent did with Eve, I was being enticed and tempted with what was “good” and made sense. In the same way that the serpent blinded Eve to the consequences to follow, I was being blinded by the Fear of Man to the consequences that would follow if I listened to that logic.
Yup! Listen to the human logic that follows when you start to rationalize what God is saying to you.
I would close the doors alright — after the Christmas selling period. OK, I reasoned, the Lord has some other provision for the villages.
The problem with this logic was that it came out from a piece of news that was sent to me from the president of Sony Corporation. Following the CES show in January of 1981, Sony was planning to fly me to Japan and honor me corporately as well as providing a fistful of other niceties that would go with it. The Fear of Man had absolutely set the stage! I wanted those honors! I wanted that recognition! I wanted the esteem of man.
And “listen” to the Serpent is exactly what I did. My first decision was to fly to Seattle and meet with a Sony distributor to place an order for equipment in anticipation of a banner selling holiday season.
In Proverbs 16:18, we read the following:
Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
But you need to see this picture within the context of sharing on the Fear of Man. Let me amplify this for you.
[The deafness that results from] being lifted up in one’s own self-grandeur brings the crashing down of one’s dreams and accompanying vexation, and a self-exalting (man-pleasing) spirit precedes calamity and ruin. (Proverbs 16:18, RAC Translation & Amplification)
The new product had scarcely arrived and put on display. I set it all up one night in a presentation that would make it desirable to my customers when they entered the store, then locked up and went home.
Arriving at the store the next morning, I was stunned when I realized that the store had been broken into, ransacked, and most of the new equipment gone. I called Dave Dobbs at the Department of Public Safety. Dave was the dispatcher for the local police, but he was also my associate pastor at Inupiat Christian Center. Dave sent a couple of officers over to investigate. Most of the local police officers had been my customers during the past couple of years and they were quite familiar with the kind of things we were selling.
It was only a matter of days before they found the culprit — and the stolen equipment. All that high-end equipment had been stashed under a house in the snow. Though they recovered it, the equipment was unsalable. Video-tape machines and snow are incompatible. So are $4,000 amplifiers and $1,000 cassette decks.
It was a huge blow to my plans for a record-setting season, but I still had a fair amount of product in storage, and I rebuilt my displays. Not to worry! The Enemy was far from through.
Between November and January, the store was broken into and robbed no less than six times. So much for the expected honors from Sony Corporation! Not only was I unable to attend the CES show, I was nearly bankrupt.
In January, I put together what remained of the product for a “Going Out of Business” sale in the hopes that I would bring in enough money to pay off the $50,000 debt owed to the Sony distributor. Instead the owner of the building I had leased for the retail store decided she needed the building back to move her restaurant into and canceled my lease, effective immediately. Now I had no place to operate from which to sell my remaining product.
OK, I reasoned. I will box everything up, put it into a cargo container and ship it to Fairbanks or Anchorage and sell it outright to another dealer. No sooner had it been prepared for shipment when the container and all of the product disappeared, never to be retrieved. Now I WAS bankrupt! There was no way to pay my creditors and convincing them that I would come up with some other way to pay off the debt didn’t even make it to first base. There was no such thing as insurance for anything in the arctic, so the loss was complete.
Had I listened to the Word of the Lord when He spoke to me in October and said, “Close the doors,” things would have been radically different. But I had listened to a lying spirit — a spirit which had enticed me with the desire to be honored and recognized: one which was strictly “man-pleasing.”
The Fear of Man always generates the need to please others. The fear part of it is strictly subconscious but it still manipulates you to do whatever it takes — even going to extravagant lengths — to please others and to be seen in a good light by them. It frequently results in something we all know as “passing the buck” when something happens to put us in a bad light with our peers or those in charge to whom we answer.
Thought I could finish my story today, but it will make this Coffee Break too long, so let me finish it for you next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
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 (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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