DRAW CLOSE TO GOD

In February 1994 my wife, Mauri, and I were sitting on the living room couch talking about 2:30 am. I put my hand over her heart and asked God to exchange our hearts so that we would be more loving towards one another and towards Him. As I started to pray, God gave me a vision. It was a vision of a triangle, with God at the top of the triangle, a husband at the bottom left of the triangle and a wife at the bottom right of the triangle. God showed me that communication flows from God to man and from man to God along one line of the triangle, communication flows from God to wife and from wife to God along the other line of the triangle, and communication flows from husband to wife and from wife to husband across the bottom line of the triangle. God said there was a natural distance from man to God, from wife to God and from husband to wife around the three sides of this triangle. God told me that when a husband and wife focus all their attention upon one another, there is a natural distance between them based on where their points lie on the plane of the triangle. However, God said when a husband and wife turn their focus off of one another, and turn their focus to God, they draw closer to God. The way He showed me this was as a man or wife or both draw closer to God they move up the line of the triangle closer to the top where God is. And what is beautiful is that as a husband and wife focus on pleasing God instead of being focused on pleasing one another, they draw closer to God; and therefore they draw closer together. The triangle is smaller at the top than it is at the base, so the closer you get to the top, the closer you get together. I shared with Mauri what God had just shown me and told her she was the most beautiful to me when she was close to God. I went on to explain that is how we are able to stay together in spite of all of our circumstances. We had just been through the greatest challenge we had ever faced in our marriage.

It seems that every time we make a significant step up the ladder closer to God, we come under a considerable attack from Satan. As we increase in understanding, the devil is quick to come and attack, and he tries to steal that understanding away from us. The devil knows that if he attacks us and takes our focus off of the glory of God that has been shared with us, then we cannot move forward in the anointing. The devil is a liar and a thief and will keep us mired in the quagmire of lukewarm Christianity if it is at all possible. Every time we take a step closer to God, we must know the devil will attack us. Our first step after being blessed with knowledge and understanding from God should be to immediately pray a blood of Jesus covering over our families and ourselves, and surround ourselves with Godís Holy angels to keep all attacks of the enemy away from us. A case in point: Yesterday I wrote a story titled ďPRAISE GOD FOR YOUR HEALINGĒ. Immediately the devil attacked the health of my nine-year old son Jonathan. Now Jonathan is truly an anointed young man of God, but the devil attacked Jonathan with sickness. I wrote that story before Jonathan had awakened, and he was lethargic all day long. I asked him if he was all right and he said yes, but he was not feeling well. When we went to play tennis last evening he threw up four times before we could get back home. I immediately knew that the devil was trying to steal from me the remembrance of the power of the story I had just written. So when we got home, Jonathan and I started praising God for making Jonathan well. As weakened as Jonathan was, he knew that God was his healer and thanked God for healing him. And I know he will be feeling fine when he awakens in the morning. But the devil is quick to attack. If I had been doing my job as Jonathanís dad, the devil would not have gained entrance into my home yesterday. I should have anticipated the attack, and had my family protected in prayer. Iíll know better from now on. Sometimes I am amazed at my own ignorance.

Well back to my story of how my marriage had been attacked. As Mauri and I had grown closer to God our marriage had been salvaged. But it had come very close to being ruined. Mauri and I fell in love with each otherís spirituality before we really started to like one another. She was good for my spirit and helped me grow closer to God. We are very different in many ways. I have always been a little bit of a perfectionist, and have always had a fetish for cleanliness. Mauri is more of a free spirit, as my mother says, and some of the things that bother me do not bother her at all. These have been areas that have hindered our relationship with one another, as well as our relationship with God. However, Iíve mellowed a little, and she has gotten better in some areas, so we tend to be a little more in sync now than we were when we first met. But it has not always been easy. After our marriage we continued to have many growing problems, but I feel much of them were natural adaptations of a recently divorced man who had lost his three children trying to cope with five step- children. So all in all I guess we could have done much worse. But I was fairly slow in forgiving Mauri for intruding into my life after my divorce. It took many years after we were married for me to feel she hadnít caught me in my weakest period of my life. Even though I was in the darkest days of my life after my ex-wife kidnapped my three children and took them to Germany, Mauri and my five stepchildren gave me love. When I was totally unlovable, they loved me. When Jonathan was born, my depression lifted, but Mauri and our kids helped me to reach the stage where I could trust and love again. My family and friends could not understand marrying a woman with five kids to care for, while I look back on it knowing it was the best thing for me personally. But I can honestly say, that even though we underwent some of the roughest times imaginable, God always sustained us because He is the Center of our home. There is no way possible for me to be more proud of how wonderful our children are. Much of the credit goes to me, but much of the credit goes to their mother too.

There were two significant things that happened that preceded the attack on our marriage. The first came from within our own church. We loved this church. We loved the congregation, the music, the children and the anointing of the pastor. But the church had taken a step up the spiritual ladder. God placed a tremendously special anointing on the church, and therefore the church came under a horrific spiritual attack. My wife was in charge of the childrenís church and was a special prayer warrior on the wifeís prayer chain. And this was a powerful prayer chain. When these ladies got together over the phone lines to pray for someone, miracles took place. Our pastor had started a series of sermons about six weeks before entitled, ďWalking in the SpiritĒ. The first Sunday he was to preach on this topic, God came to church! The Pastor got up to preach after we had sang our praise and worship songs, and he just stood there. He said he was going to start on his series of ďWalking in the SpiritĒ, but he felt someone in the church had something to say. First one man got up to say something which resulted in another man getting up to say something which resulted in a third and a fourth and so on for over two hours of testimony from the congregation. It was a glorious movement of God. The congregation was ecstatic, and everyone was truly amazed at what God had done in church that day. Our congregation doubled in one week to standing room only the next Sunday. And the same thing occurred again. For four straight Sundays we experienced a walk in the Spirit. The church was growing by leaps and bounds, the congregation was truly alive in Christ and God was in church with us. The womenís prayer chain was seeing so many miracles occurring that people from other churches were calling our prayer chain for prayers. But then the bottom dropped out from underneath this mighty movement of God. The pastor stood in front of the congregation on the fifth Sunday and said, ďToday I am going to preach on Walking in the Spirit. Unless you have heard an audible word from God and the person sitting beside you has heard Him speak to you too, I donít want anyone to say anything in church today besides me.Ē And the quenching of the Spirit of God was so heavy you could hear a gasp from much of the congregation. The people that came to church the following week were sad and hollow on the inside. We knew we had sat in the presence of God, and because of manís fear of losing control of his congregation, God had been sent packing. Sadly to say, within a few short weeks the church was looking for a smaller place to conduct its services. One of the reasons many left the church was because the pastor had called in the husbands of all of the women who had been participating in the wifeís prayer chain, and their wives. Even though this prayer chain had brought together many mighty women of God who had seen evidence of the power of the prayers, the board of directors of the church had not sanctioned this prayer chain. Therefore the wifeís were being formally reprimanded and the husbands were being told to keep them in line. It was forbidden for the women to pray together over the phone lines. That is when our family left the church. We never have really found a church home again that exuded the love of Jesus to nearly the same degree that this church had. This was the first occurrence that preceded the drastic attack on our marriage. The second was a little more disguised. A young pastor came into my bookstore and told me he was getting a divorce. Both he and his wife shopped in my store frequently, and both were wonderful servants of God. I was a little stern with him as I told him that it was not the will of God for him to go through a divorce. He told me he had fallen out of love with his wife and I rebuked him again. God loves us all even if we have been through a divorce. But God abhors divorce. As Christians we have a responsibility to stand on the Word of God to preserve our marriages. However, much to often we Christians are no better than the non-Christians of the world who jump from marriage to marriage. I was not easy on that young pastor that day as I told him not to get a divorce, but God was not allowing me to tell him what he wanted to hear. I never saw that young pastor again, but I did not know the spiritual challenges I was soon to go through concerning that very area. It was to be a horrible period of time during the next year that could have been prevented if I had been a better spiritual leader of my family, especially my wife.

So we have lost our church, the childrenís church, my wifeís prayer chain and my wife is suffering spiritually. I still had my friends and customers who came into my Christian bookstore every day to share the Lord with, but Mauri was cut off from all of her spiritual contacts. She was hurting and I was too busy to notice. And I had opened a door for our marriage to be attacked when I did not prayerfully protect my marriage after I had counseled the young pastor to not get a divorce. As my wife fell away from God, I was getting closer to God and she and I were growing apart. When she is close to God she is very beautiful to me, however, when she is not close to God, His glory canít shine forth. Our marriage was being attacked by the devil, and I was too stupid to protect it. The year of 1993 was a year of spiritual attacks I wouldnít wish on anyone. I had an obscene phone call one night from a seducing jezebel spirit that openly offered me sex. It was an outright frontal assault by Satan, so therefore I saw it for what it was and refused. But Satan does not always come at you with his horns blazing, his long pointed tail and pitch fork in hand. Many times he comes up beside you disguised as an angel of light. That is when you must be especially prepared to protect yourself, your family and your status as a Saint of God. Jezebel always has the right words and if you are not careful you can be led off the path of righteousness. Jezebel tried to deceive me into thinking divorce was the best thing for me because she would be my best possible spouse. The box of candy looks real nice until the caramel pulls out all of your fillings. The pit of hell will be filled with many who thought they had good intentions. The path is straight and narrow for those who will follow God. Stay on the path to protect your family at all costs. I unfortunately listened to her ramble on and on about how wonderful she would have been for me for much to long a period of time. This hurt my family, my character, my peace of mind and my spirituality. But praise God I have a wife that saw the spiritual attack on our family for what it was, and interceded for our family with God to protect us. I was searching scripture and Mauri was praying. And do you know what? I never found anything in scripture that said it was okay with God for a man to chunk his wife out of his life. I did find that if a man of God wants to be immoral with another woman, God would lift her skirts and expose her to the world. Looking back, it sometimes amazes me that I could have been so nearly deceived. Jezebelís family was in moral decay, while Mauriís family was undergoing spiritual revival. Hmmmm. Looks like this might be a pretty rough choice. Go with Jezebel and forget your walk with God, or stay with your wife and prepare for the Kingdom of God. Guess which choice God blessed me with? Thank you Holy Father God for giving me a wonderful family that loves me. Even though Mauri sometimes thinks I donít love her as much as she wants to be loved, and I donít provide her with the fancy frills she wants to have, I know God has blessed my marriage. All we can do is do our best and grow with God daily, and trust in Him totally. Donít believe the lies of the devil. The devil wants to destroy our marriages, break up our families and destroy our children. Well, the devil canít have my family. My wife, marriage and children are covered with the Blood of Jesus and we are all surrounded by the Holy linking angels of God to keep all attacks of Satan away from us. Praise God. I love You Holy Father, I love You Jesus, I love You Holy Spirit and I love you Mauri.