Selfishness Gives Off a Stench – by Roberts Liardon

I never realized the importance of what happened to me when my flesh was crucified until I began traveling across the earth.

In the spirit realm, I sometimes notice a stench about some believers and Christian leaders. It is a stench that comes from people who have not died to themselves. They are the ones who are not concerned about lifting up Jesus. Instead, they are thinking, What about me? Where do I fit in? What is in this for me? If I cannot be in the limelight, I do not want to be a part of it.

That is a stench to God! The odor comes from a disease called selfishness. If you are fighting symptoms of this disease, repent quickly. Humble yourself before God. Refuse to let the spotlight be on anyone except Jesus Christ. You may say, “Yes, but I have such and such talent and ability that I need to use for His kingdom.” You’re right. Every talent and ability you have, God has placed within you and they should be used for His kingdom—but only to bring glory and honor to Jesus, not yourself. Do an attitude check on yourself regularly. Make sure that in everything you do and say, you do as unto the Lord and not as unto yourself or unto men. (See Colossians 3:17,23.) This is how you will see the Holy Spirit s power manifested in your life.

The Bible gives us clear guidelines about what our focus and motivation should be:

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

James 4:10

And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Matthew 23:12

God will not move with His power and with a manifesta­tion of His presence until you have given up all of the things that have held you in bondage. The price each person must pay will be different, but there will be some similarities.

Where are the Kathryn Kuhlmans, the Aimee McPhersons, the Smith Wiggleworths, the John G. Lakes, the E. W. Kenyons, the George Jeffreyses, the Martin Luthers, the John Wesleys, the George Whitefields, and the John Alexander Dowies of today? God wants people who are “sold out” to Him to work for the kingdom. God goes to and fro throughout the whole earth looking for them, and He desires to show Himself strong in their behalf.

Many Bible school students have heard me preach this sermon, only to let it go in one ear and out the other. Some leave school, go into the ministry, and come back demolished a few months later, because they have not crucified the flesh.

I want you to understand the importance of nailing yourself to your cross—the importance of dying to self—the importance of crying out to God with your whole heart, “Thy will be done; not mine, but Thine be done.” That is the cross­roads at which the Church stands today.

Let the weights of this world fall away, including those friends who do not desire the things of the kingdom of God. Do not seek the spectacular. Too many Christians today want a fast-flying healing evangelist who can get them healed in five minutes. They want the pastor to carry the entire church into the glory of God. They want to ride with God, but they do not want to pay the fare.

I believe that since we live in the last days, we will begin to see more and more of God’s power manifested in this earth. Nothing will be able to stop this great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The gates of hell cannot prevail against what is happening in our midst. No man, no organization, no government, and no natural disaster can stop this which God has begun.

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Developing a Spiritual Hunger – by Roberts Liardon

A mental desire to see the spectacular is not spiritual hunger but rather a soulish desire. A mental desire will not get you to the place where you will be led by the Holy Spirit, nor will it help you flow with the Holy Spirit. Operating from a mental desire is not being led by the Holy Spirit. You must make yourself “eat” righteousness until your appetite desires more righteousness. Grandma made me “eat” righteousness. She made me “eat” John 3:16. She made me read my Bible from cover to cover every year that she had charge of me. If I was not reading the Word, I was hearing the Word. She contin­ually played cassette tapes of spiritual teaching and preaching. Television was monitored. Music was monitored. The Word of God prevailed in our home to the point where there was nothing else to see or hear but the things of righteousness.

We fellowshipped with people who possessed spiritual hunger, and we were not allowed to associate with people who did not desire the things of God. I did not realize the forces of evil that Grandma kept off me until she finally turned me loose. Once she released me from her protective authority, those forces hit me hard. I thought, Grandma, let me get back under your control. It’s easier there.

She said, “No. Now you must grow up and be a man.”

Grandma had wisdom regarding spiritual training. Now that I am older, I have not departed from the way of right­eousness. Because Grandma loved me, she trained me to hunger and thirst after righteousness, not after the things of the world. The desire for righteousness got into my blood and now I desire the things of the Spirit.

Television was monitored. Music was monitored. Our home was like a military academy in some ways; however, divine love flowed freely, causing everything to function properly. Problems arise when you do not have love in the home. Love has the same effect as oil in an engine.

Many people try to do what Grandma did, but they use the power of the rod without the oil of love. You will experience problems with teenagers, whether there is discipline or a lack of discipline, if there is no real love and caring involved. Some teenagers rebel at the things of God when they must read the Bible or attend church, because there is plenty of discipline but not enough love in their home. Those parents need to ask God for a greater dimension of His love and express it to their children.

Done in love, the rod means correction. Otherwise, spank­ing is punishment. All of the Bible verses dealing with bringing up children mean correction or instruction—not punishment.

The natural man has a built-in desire for truth and reality. We are created that way. Most of the time, however, we are “programmed” by the world’s thinking and the world’s system into accepting a counterfeit so that the world’s “truth and reality” are really falsehood and unreality.

Because of Grandma’s correction and instruction, I enjoyed the Bible by the time she placed me on my own. I enjoyed hearing about the deep things of God. I hungered for the things of the Spirit. She had fed my natural desire for truth and kept me from the world s counterfeit.

Many parents say, “What is wrong with our children? We’ve trained them, but somewhere something went wrong.” You cannot say you have trained your children if you have been setting a wrong example in front of them. You cannot simply /*//children what to do. You must show them by example. Much of Grandmas instruction found a home in me because she showed me in her life the truths she taught.

It is time for the body of Christ to wake up and walk in God’s truth. Too many Christians are playing games with God, not hungering or thirsting for His righteousness. Then they wonder why their children throw off their training.

I saw people in Africa die because they were physically hungry. But even those Africans who were not starving had a hunger for sweets because they have little of that sort of food. We took candy into Mozambique to give to the children. Some of them had never seen a piece of candy, but once they heard about it or tasted it, they developed a hunger for it. They wanted it!

The man who took us into the little village in Mozambique warned us, “Be careful with that candy because the children will jump you for it.”

Not heeding his words of wisdom, I pulled the bag of candy out of my pocket and asked the children, “Do you want a piece?”

There were only three pieces of candy in my hand, but they knew I had more. The children could not understand a word I said, but one of the people with me yelled, “Roberts, be careful!”

I thought, What can these little kids do to me?

Holding my hand down to the children, I looked at the candy to see how fast it would go—but I did not know my fingers would go with it! They began hitting my hand and pulling on my fingers for more. Those children hungered after that candy! They wanted it! I began to pray, “Lord, help me get loose from these children.” Finally, I managed to get back in the truck, get the door closed, and get someone to join me on the other side of the seat. I said, “Here is the bag of candy. Count to three, grab as much as you can, and throw it out the door. That way, we’ll be safe.”

Your hunger for God should be no different. If you do not hunger after the things of God as those children hungered for candy, when the things of God come to you, you will not recognize them.

Why are people missing the moves of God that are happening in their midst right now? Not hungering or thirst­ing for the things of God makes it easy to miss what God is doing. The African children hungered after that candy. That is how we need to be with the things of God—enjoying what we now have but constantly hungering for more. We need to want more of God, His presence, His glory, and His power. We need to want to talk with Him as a friend. We need to want more of Him in every part of our lives!

There came a day when Grandma said, “Now, it’s up to you.” She was firm and determined with me, so the only thing I knew to do was what she did—press on in for more of the things of God.

I would walk the floor, saying, “I want more of You, God. Holy Spirit, flow through me. Holy Spirit, lead me, teach me, and guide me. I want more of You. I want all I can get, and then I want some more.”

How long do you have to walk the floor and say that until you start desiring the things of God? Sometimes it takes months. Set your mind on the things of God. Make your mouth declare your hunger for God. I made myself do this. I did not want to at first, but I did it anyway. Now, I have more of God. I have Him all over me, in me, out of me, and around me.

I spoke these things until I developed a hunger for God. He will answer you when He sees that you have a true hunger for Him. As I walked the floor in prayer, I was developing my inner man—my spirit man.

By the Holy Spirit in my spirit, I began calling those things which were not as though they were. I received more of God. The gifts of the Holy Spirit began to flow through me. I began to see visions. My spiritual hunger increased continu­ally, and I still want more of God.

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Healing Power for a Generation by Roberts Liardon

Roberts Liardon tells us that our God is not a God of coincidence! Oral had finally reached the place where he’d stopped running from God, and so God began to “run” toward him with one personal miracle after another. During the same time that Oral was saved, a healing evangelist named Brother George W. Moncey came to Ada, Oklahoma, and set up a tent revival meeting. Brother Moncey is an enigmatic figure in history, as not much is known about him. A business card in the Oral Roberts University (ORU) archives is one of the only records about him, and it reads: “Geo. W. Moncey— evangelist, divine healer.”195 He seems to have been one of the scores of roving evangelists who thrived in the post-depression era. According to in­terviews with those who remember him, few Pentecostals had never heard of Moncey before the meeting, nor did he return to the city again; rumors even persisted that he left town under a cloud.196 Nevertheless, hundreds of people filled the tent each night, including Oral’s oldest brother, Elmer.

At each meeting, as the word of faith came forth, the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon the people, and many were healed. Elmer Roberts didn’t own a car, and Oral now lived eighteen miles away with his par­ents, but Elmer knew that he had to get Oral into those healing meetings. Elmer borrowed a friend’s car and used his last thirty-five cents to buy enough gas so that he could get his younger brother to the meeting.

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South Bend and Beyond by Roberts Liardon

For the next ten years, Lester Sumrall split his ministry time between his renewed pastorate in South Bend, Indiana, and his unquenchable call to minister to the lost overseas. In 1956, Lester felt a call to Israel and moved his family to Jerusalem. In that same year, the Sinai War was waged between Israel and Arab nations. Lester believed his family was in the middle of God’s will, and they remained in Jerusalem. Lester’s love for the Holy Land led to another ministry, and, over the next three decades, he led thousands of Christians on visits to Israel through his annual trip there.

Roberts Liardon tells us that in 1957, Lester followed the call of God to Hong Kong. While he was away from the South Bend church, Morris Cerullo became the interim pastor to lead the flock in Indiana. Lester was excited to return to Hong Kong. It had been over twenty years since he had ministered with Howard Carter in that thriving city. He knew in his heart that it was another city God had chosen to be an evangelistic center. Thus, Lester began New Life Temple on the fourth floor of a downtown office building.

The Chinese came to him in scores to hear the good news of salvation and healing through the blood of Jesus Christ. There was so much to tell the thousands of people who had been blessed by Lester Sumrall’s ministry. So, Louise and Lester began World Harvest Magazine to share the gospel through the written word. Lester had started writing books in the 1930s, beginning with Adventuring in Christ, about his trip around the world with Howard Carter. The Sumralls continued to produce books, knowing that doing so was another way to reach the lost with God’s message.

The next evangelistic center to be built was in Brasilia, Brazil. The heartbeat of the people could be reached from these large evangelistic centers. Evangelism brought people in to hear the Word, and biblical teaching and the power of the Holy Spirit kept them growing in Christ. Ministering in these centers, Lester laid hands on the sick and saw them healed in the mighty name of Jesus.

 

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The Blessings of God by Roberts Liardon

The healings and miracles continued as Lester and Howard entered the country of Manchuria. On the day after their arrival, Lester noticed the terrible diseases that seemed to abound throughout this poor country. The next day, he and Howard announced a special healing service, and many people came forward to be healed of all sorts of diseases. One woman approached the altar walking with a crutch because of a badly deformed leg. After prayer, she was able to jump up and leave her crutch at the altar. She walked about the church with a faster and faster gait and went home praising God and His healing power.

Roberts Liardon tells us that in Manchuria, Lester and Howard stayed with Brother Kvamme, the missionary in charge of the region. Brother Kvamme had been quite ill before they arrived and could eat only a limited amount of foods, due to his strict diet. As brother Kvamme interpreted the message during their first service, he felt the Lord’s healing power touch him, and all of his intestinal pains vanished completely.

While the blessings of God were marvelous to behold, the wretchedness of Manchuria was often hard for Lester to fathom. In the city of Harbin, people died throughout the winter from the piercingly cold temperatures. Their naked bodies were left strewn about the city, having been stripped of their clothes by other beggars. The bodies would be removed when the spring thaw hit the nation. Each time Lester saw human depravity and suffering, he pushed himself harder to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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The Roadway to Hell by Roberts Liardon

After Lester had conducted six weeks of revival services, the newly saved began asking for water baptism. More than sixty people walked to the local creek and were baptized by the skinny “Little Preacher,” as they called him.97 Recalling what he had seen other ministers do in the past, Lester baptized these people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and they began to walk in the newness of life. Still, for this now eighteen-year-old preacher, it was as though he performed on a stage, somehow separated from the reality of the hearts and lives changing around him. He just watched as God took care of the people who were drawn to the gospel.

Roberts Liardon tells us that traveling throughout Florida, Louisiana, and Tennessee, Lester con­tinued to preach with ferocious zeal in every church that invited him but felt no compassion for those who came to hear. He was angry and disgusted with them more often than he was friendly and warm.

Then, one night, all of that changed.

A full-scale revival was going on in a small schoolhouse in rural Tennessee, where Lester was preaching. The service began, and joyful praises were rising to the Lord in swinging harmony. Suddenly, the scene in front of Lester dramatically changed. He was no longer sitting in the schoolroom or aware of anyone or anything around him.

Lester was receiving his second vision from God, and it was even more dramatic than the first. It was a vision that he would share with millions of people around the globe for the rest of his life.

With his eyes wide open, Lester saw a great highway filled with the peoples of the world. Every nation was represented. He saw them dressed in the colorful, native costumes of their individual countries, walking in one stream of humanity. Japanese, Chinese, Africans, Euro­peans, Americans, and others all were walking quickly along the road together. Lester realized that he was seeing the highway of life.

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The Conflict Escalates by Roberts Liardon

One writer noted, “Phillips believed that his task was to protect the churches from the force of Jeffreys’ personality.” The Holy Spirit had moved powerfully through Jeffreys for decades. Was Jeffreys’ appeal now just the power of human personality, as Phillips suggested? It is hard to believe that that was so. The healings that took place under Jef­freys’ ministry could never have been performed by simple human per­sonality or will. In fact, it would have been difficult for Jeffreys’ person­ ality to command any special attention on its own, as he was known to be “painfully shy” when not preaching from the platform.

Roberts Liardon tells us that the power of the Holy Spirit had moved freely in Jeffreys in the 1920s. Had his power turned into a force of his personality just because of his newfound desire to reform the Elim church? Or, had Phillips sim­ply ceased to recognize the power of an anointed leader because of the mounting administrative responsibilities of such a large organization? We may never know the full answer to those puzzling questions. How­ever, it certainly seems of Jeffreys, and if Jeffreys had released his com­mitment to the supplementary doctrine of British Israelism and submit­ted himself to the counsel of some of his peers in other countries, such as Barratt and Pethrus, then this tragic fracture in the body of Christ might never have occurred.

After Jeffreys’ resignation, the Executive Council put a small para­graph in the Elim Evangel stating that Jeffreys had resigned from the Ex­ecutive Council and was released from the “business side of the work” to be free to conduct his spiritual ministry.70 However, Jeffreys wanted the members of the Elim Alliance to know that the separation had been due to quarrels. He wrote and circulated a pamphlet entitled Why I Resigned from the Elim Movement. In response, the Executive Council published A Reply, which announced some of the opposing views of the Executive Council. Letters of this nature from both sides were sent to the churches for the next six years, demoralizing many of its members.

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Corporate Prayer by Roberts Liardon

James later recalled, “When he laid his hands upon me I felt as if a dozen hands were placed all over my body, and I felt every bone going back into place. I was instantly released and I was completely healed.”

Over the next two weeks, James gained strength and put on thirty-three pounds! Soon, he was able to return to work as an ironmaster. On Easter Monday, just a couple of weeks after his healing, he gave a testimony in Royal Albert Hall before thousands. The next morning, London’s Morning Post printed a story about the meeting with a headline that read, “London Audience Mesmerized.” Years later, James Gregson testified that he had never missed another day’s work after his healing.

Roberts Liardon tells us that Miss Edith Scarth was also gloriously healed during the Leeds cam­paign. She suffered from tuberculosis of the spine and had to lie flat on her back and be wheeled around in a spinal carriage. For years, she had worn a spinal jacket and splint that came up behind her head and was fastened to her forehead by a strap. On first hearing about Jeffreys’ meet­ings at Leeds, she was skeptical, but then, despairing, she determined to go and see for herself if God was really moving.

At the second meeting she attended, Edith embraced the message of salvation and was saved. Jeffreys called for prayer for those in need of healing, but there were too many for him to lay hands on individually. So, he asked them to stand for corporate prayer. By holding on to the seat in front of her, Edith managed to stand. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit moved in her body.

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Retirement Not in His Plans by Roberts Liardon

During this time, Bosworth adopted a controversial view called Brit­ish Israelism, a concept that gained popularity in the early twentieth cen­tury and continues to be accepted by some people today. British Israelism maintains that Western Europeans, particularly those from Great Brit­ain, are direct descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel who were taken into captivity by the Assyrians. (See 2 Kings 17:18.) The belief was most widely upheld in England and the United States. How strongly Bosworth embraced this idea is unknown, but he did resign from the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination for several years because of it. By the mid-1940s, Bosworth had renounced his belief in British Israelism and was reinstated in the church.

Roberts Liardon tells us that by 1947, at seventy-one years of age, Fred Bosworth was ready for the next step in his life. He and Florence decided it was time to retire to Miami, Florida. But what would this dedicated man of God do with the remainder of his years?

But retirement was clearly was not in the Lord’s plan for him. Wil­liam Branham, an American evangelist from the Midwest, was begin­ning to move out in his healing ministry and had been invited to Miami, Florida, to conduct a revival campaign. Curious, Fred and Florence at­tended the revival and were moved by the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit and the number of healings that had been recorded as a result of Branham’s ministry. Bosworth introduced himself to the younger man and, after they’d spent some time fellowshipping together, offered to travel with him and minister as part of his team.

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Seek the Baptism by Roberts Liardon

As suddenly as the beating had begun, it stopped. The mob, tired of its sport, picked up Bosworth and demanded that he leave town imme­diately rather than wait for the next train. Bleeding, and with his wrist pounding with pain, Bosworth picked up his suitcase with his other hand and began walking toward Dallas. An attempt to flag down a train on the way proved futile, so he continued on foot. Two days later, he reached home and collapsed in front of his frightened wife. It took a month of bed rest to recover, but Bosworth was thrilled that he had been able to walk all those miles in a glorious state of deep intercession. He was thankful to be alive and able to preach the Word of God. Not long after this, a report came to Fred and Estella that the two leaders of those mobs had met with separate and untimely deaths.

What follows is a letter that Bosworth wrote to his mother shortly after the beating:

Roberts Liardon tells us that we were so glad to get yours, Bert’s and Bertha’s letters this morn­ing and will answer at once to save you the unnecessary worry about me. When I wrote you from Calvert on my way home from Hearne, Tex., I started a letter telling you all about the mobbing and then thinking how it, might worry you, I tore up the first, letter and wrote you the other one, not, mentioning the pounding I got.

I did this only to save you from worrying. I have never seen any paper with the account, of this mobbing so I don’t know what the paper said, wish you would send me the paper. I heard day before yesterday. It was in one of the papers here and went and looked over the files but failed to find it.

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