Dying To Self – by Roberts Liardon

When God came into my room, we began to walk and talk as friends. I became the student, and He became my teacher. The old Roberts Liardon began to die. God began to take away the desires of my flesh and the goals I had set for my life. I was destined for college, sports, and other things I had in mind. However, as I began to yield myself as a vessel to God, He slowly reached in and pulled Roberts out. Many nights, it seemed as if He cut me wide open, and He never used any painkillers. He just reached in and grabbed something I dearly loved in the flesh or something I wanted to do in the natural.

As my flesh began to die, I felt as if I was dying a thousand deaths. I was being nailed to my own cross. I had submitted myself to my own cross, but now God was operat­ing on me. He was taking things out of me that were hinder­ing me from fulfilling His call for my life. It took awhile for all those things to be pulled out of me.

One day, God took me to what I call a “spiritual grave­yard.” Every person who means business with God must visit this place—a graveyard where the flesh is buried. I saw a coffin with several angels standing around it. As I walked closer, I looked inside and there lay Roberts Liardon. As I saw myself in that coffin, I began to cry. There lay my wife, my children, my college, my basketball career—everything I had ever wanted or planned for my life. And I was the only one who had the power to shut the coffin. Until that day, I had not known what it really meant to “see self die.” I had not understood the reality of seeing self fight for survival. I had never realized how powerful self was.

I did not realize then that the most exciting and beautiful life possible cannot begin until self dies. After I shut the lid of my coffin that day, I was buried. Then I wrote on my tombstone: “Here lie the remains of Kenneth Roberts Liardon.”

When I left the “graveyard,” I was sad. It is quite a task to bury your own self, your own desires. I believe it is the hardest thing Christians must do in the earth, surpassing all other spiritual experiences.

When I walked away from the graveyard that day, I had died. Later, I returned to mourn my death, and a huge angel stood in front of the graveyard and said, “Those who mourn the death of self in this place will never be able to be used for the glory of God.”

Once self dies and is buried, leave it there! Do not mourn the death of your flesh. Mourning your death will cause self to revive, and it will be harder for you to die to self the second time. The complete death of one’s natural self—the carnal desires, thoughts, and behavior—will lead to the resurrection by the Holy Spirit of a Spirit-controlled soul. Begin living unto God and you can begin living in the spirit world. Never go back to the flesh or the realm of self.

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Making God’s Vision Your Own – by Roberts Liardon

Sometimes the Lord may tell you to do something that seems totally contradictory to everything else He has asked you to do. If this is the case, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is that the Lord is the only One who knows how things are going to come together in your life. He is the only One who sees the twists and turns that will be necessary to get you to where you need to be—to where He wants you to be. The second thing is that God may be wanting to purify your motives. In other words, He wants to ensure that you are holding to His word because you believe and trust Him no matter what and not because you are only looking for the things He can give you.

To explain what I’m talking about, let’s take a look at Abraham and Isaac. We’ve already talked about how Abraham believed God’s promise that he would become the father of many nations, even though he and his wife were both old and had no children. And so, true to the word of the Lord, Sarah conceived and gave birth to Isaac.

I hope that when Isaac was born, Abraham and Sarah threw a huge party to celebrate, and I hope they invited all of the people who earlier had said, “Abraham, you’re crazy to go around saying God told you that you would be the father of many nations. You must be delirious. God hasn’t spoken to you.”

I’m sure it would have given Abraham a great deal of satisfaction to show off his baby boy and say things like, “Would you like to hold my delusion for a while? Hey, you who ridiculed me the most, how would you like to change his diapers?” How good it must have been for Abraham to be able to say, “See what God can do! He is always true to His word!”

And then what happened? God said, “Abraham, I want you to go out into the wilderness to offer me a sacrifice—your son, Isaac.”

Imagine how Abraham must have felt when he heard those words. He had waited so long for this little boy to be born. He had held on to God’s promise that he would become the father of many nations, even when his friends and neigh­bors laughed at him. And now, as a very old man, he was experiencing for the very first time the joy of a developing father-son relationship. He was discovering what a wonderful feeling parental love can be.

God said, “I want you to show Me how much you love Me by giving Me the life of your only son.”

What would you have done if you were Abraham? Most of us would probably have thrown what my mother used to call a “conniption” fit.

“What are You talking about, Lord? How can You ask me to do something like this? All of my friends thought I was a nut for believing You when You said I was going to be a father, and now they’re really going to think I’m a nut if I offer my only son as a sacrifice. I just can’t do it! I won’t do it!”

You see, Abraham had attained his goal. He had become a father. But then came the next challenge—a test to see whether he was willing to sacrifice everything in order to obey God.

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. —Hebrews 11:17-19

Abraham walked out of his home that morning on his way to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. His servants were with him, Isaac was with him, but there wasn’t anything else for a sacrifice—no ram, goat, or bull. Picture little Isaac running on ahead of everyone, doing the things little boys do—throwing rocks, kicking at sticks and leaves, and asking a hundred questions, such as, “Dad, what are we going to sacrifice?”

Abraham answers softly, “It’s okay, son. We’ll find something to sacrifice. God will provide.” Yet, he knows all the while that his precious little boy is going to be placed upon that altar.

He would not be dissuaded from holding fast to the word of the Lord, nor from his faith that God always knows what was right and best. If God said, “I want you to give me your son,” then Abraham was going to give God his son. It was that simple.

And so this little procession arrives at the spot where the sacrifice is to take place. Abraham piles the wood on top of the altar and makes other preparations for the sacrifice, and little Isaac is looking around, more perplexed than ever: “I don’t understand, Dad. We don’t have any animals with us.”

And Abraham is forced to say, “My son, you are the sacrifice.” Having said that, Abraham ties the little boy up, places him on the altar, and prepares to strike him dead. But it is precisely at that moment, and not a moment sooner, that an angel stops Abraham and tells him that God does not want him to offer the boy as a sacrifice but was only testing his faithfulness.

Now Abraham didn’t know that was going to happen. When he raised his knife to strike his son, he didn’t under­stand why this was what God commanded, but he was willing to do it anyway. And he was still believing God’s promise that he would be the father of many nations. In the natural, there was no way for Abraham to fit all the pieces together. They just did not make sense. Abraham was willing to say, “Lord, I don’t understand it, but You do. And I can’t do anything other than trust You.”

You see, similar things will happen in your life as you face challenges and oppositions. It will look like if you do the things God is telling you to do that everything will be destroyed instead of built up. Persecutions and accusations will come along designed to make you withdraw from the word the Lord has given you and to keep you from being strong in the faith. You will be hit in your spirit, tempting you to let go of the word and hold on to natural things. But if you let go of God’s word to you, you will die!

I have held on to what God has said to me and have not let go of it. I’ve been hit and I’ve had victories. I have learned that whatever seems to be happening, whether it is good or bad, the most important thing I can do is to hold on to God s Word. It is my foundation and it is my security!

“Roberts, do you know what you’re doing?” “Yes, I’m doing what God has told me to do.”

“But do you understand what the outcome of this will be?”

“No, I don’t need to understand that. All I need to know is that God told me to do it, and He expects me to obey.”

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Dont Ever Let Go – Even In Victory – by Roberts Liardon

When the apostle Peter began walking on the water, he soon became distracted by the wind and the waves, momen-tarily lost his faith, and began to sink like a rock. That moment was undoubtedly etched in Peter’s mind forever as one of his biggest failures. But actually, it began one of his greatest successes. Peter was doing what no other man has ever done, with the exception of Jesus. He was walking along on the sea of Galilee like someone out for a Sunday afternoon stroll. Imagine how the apostles felt when they saw Peter get out of that boat and start walking on the water.

“Look at him, he’s actually walking on the water! Can you believe it?”

I’m sure their brother’s demonstration of faith thrilled and amazed them, but that’s not where the story ended. In his moment of victory, Peter let go of God’s word, and his moment of failure swallowed up his triumph. I have seen that sort of thing happen so many times. Sometimes people let go of God’s word because the success that has come their way surprises them. They think, like Peter did, leant really be doing this! Somethings bound to go wrong. I just know it’s all going to fall apart. And when their fears become stronger than their faith, it does fall apart.

Other people have let go of God’s word because they have become overly confident. They’ve built up some kind of personal empire that seems to be running well, and they get to the point where they no longer think they need to listen to God. God may even be telling them that it’s time to move on in an entirely new direction, but they’re not listening. Instead, they’re doing the same old thing, only now they’re trying to do it in their own power instead of in God’s power, and that always means disaster.

Some people tend to look at God in the same way a child would look at a parent who was teaching him how to ride a bicycle. Dad’s running along behind his little boy who’s trying his best to keep the handlebars steady and pedal at the same time. Finally, Dad gives a big push and the youngster is riding on his own. “Thanks, Dad, but I don’t need your help anymore!” the boy yells as he pedals down the street.

We can never say, “Thanks, God, but we don’t need Your help anymore.” We always need His help! As long as you and I are living on this planet, we are going to face challenges and hurdles. Satan will never stop trying to cause us to stumble, so there’s never a time when it’s okay to let go of God’s Word or His hand.

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Anointed from the Womb by Roberts Liardon

It is remarkable how many of America’s most powerful leaders, political and spiritual alike, were born to humble beginnings, and that was the case with Granville Oral Roberts. He was born on January 24, 1918, in a rustic, log farmhouse in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, the fourth and last child of Ellis and Claudius Roberts. His parents were Spirit filled Christians who preached the Word of God to anyone who would listen. Ellis Roberts was a dedicated Pentecostal Holiness preacher who knew the Word and was steadfast in his pursuit of God.

Claudius Roberts, or Mama Roberts, as I was privileged to call her, was a little firebrand of faith. She was an old-time Pentecostal woman, full of the Holy Spirit and the anointing of God—with faith to believe God for the impossible. She was descended from a proud, Native American tribe; her mother had been a full-blooded Cherokee, and she touched everyone she met with her determination to believe God for answered prayer. It was from Mama Roberts that Oral inherited his dramatic personality, his perseverance in the face of hardship, and his ability to capture and hold a congregation’s attention. Mama Roberts instilled in her family the firm belief in the healing power of God.

The Roberts family was painfully poor. Perhaps Oral’s drive to succeed in every endeavor of his life and ministry came from the sting of having been destitute as a child. Oral’s clothes were hand-me-downs from the poor church deacons’ children. Meals were simple and, at times, forgone for “fasting.” Often, Oral and his brother, Vaden, would play outside until late in the afternoon and then come home to find that neighbors had left food behind the door for the family’s dinner. Despite his humble beginning, Oral was popular with his classmates. He vividly recalls when he was elected the “King of the School” before his elementary graduation. As “King,” he was expected to wear new clothes for the school assembly. His parents, however, could not afford anything new, least of all a new “King” wardrobe. Undaunted, a determined Oral earned the money himself to buy a new pair of denim overalls.

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The Cry of God’s Heart by Roberts Liardon

To Lester’s great joy, not long after he returned to South Bend, the Lord called to him as before, saying, “Lester, will you go to Manila for Me?” Remembering his long-ago vision of the lost on the roadway to hell, Les­ter responded enthusiastically with a yes.

Calvary Temple was a thriving congregation. With Lester’s success, another pastor might have felt a certain sense of pride in remaining there. But Lester Sumrall knew that the call of God was ever fresh in his life. It was time to move back into the mission field. He confidently parted with his Indiana congregation, trusting that God would equip and appoint a new leader for the church. Calvary Temple belonged to the Lord and not to Lester Sumrall.

Roberts Liardon tells us that twenty-two days after sailing from San Francisco, Lester and Louise arrived in Manila with Frank, a toddler, and Stephen, a baby. Starting at an early age, the Sumrall boys would always be a part of Lester’s ministry, learning about and witnessing with their own eyes the power of God to save and heal. God had promised Lester and Louise great miracles on the Philippine Islands, and Lester couldn’t wait to experience them firsthand!

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The Land of Perpetual Summer by Roberts Liardon

Roberts Liardon tells us that Lester and Howard were eager to bring the good news of Jesus to the scores of human beings lost in spiritual darkness at their next destination:

Java, Indonesia, the most densely populated island in the world. Lester was overwhelmed by the beauty of this hot, humid tropical paradise, where luscious flowers were in bloom all around him. But he was not so overcome that he didn’t immediately sense the spiritual barrenness of this garden paradise. Java was an island where numerous false religionsand superstitions had kept the people in spiritual bondage for generations.

For weeks, Lester and Howard preached about the power of God to save and heal. Lester preached the salvation message to the lost, and Howard taught the established believers on the island, leading them to develop deeper walks with Christ. He prayed for many to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and God’s power.

One lasting spiritual lesson came on a pleasure trip to Dieng, a volcanic mountain on the island. Lester and Howard had accepted a friend’s invitation to visit a live volcanic crater. As they reached the summit of the mountain, they looked south to the Indian Ocean and then north to the Java Sea. It was a breathtakingly beautiful sight.

As they descended into the crater pit, the beauty was replaced by large sulfur springs “vomiting a nauseous cloud of smoke, and about a dozen small springs bubbling up a muddy substance.”120 The ground beneath their feet was hot to the touch because the volcanic activity was simmering just below the surface. Wanting to show them more of this powerful, dangerous mountain, their friend asked if the men would like to visit Death Valley, which was a short distance away. They rounded a curve on the mountain path and discovered a sign engraved with sinister skull and crossbones above large, black letters that read, “DEATH VALLEY.” Beside it was the tombstone of a German scientist who had scoffed at the warning and descended into the valley by rope to prove it was just a native superstition. He was pulled back up from his descent a dead man.

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The Ministerial Conference by Roberts Liardon

Jeffreys’ efforts to make major reforms in the Elim church govern­ment were met with the stiffest resistance, first from Phillips and the Executive Council and later from the Ministerial Conference. For most of the ministers, the use of laity as elders to help govern the local as­sembly meant a loss of control over their churches. The ministers were appointed and paid by the Elim headquarters, which meant their alle­giance lay with the denomination and not necessarily with the needs or the spiritual inclinations of their congregations. Jeffreys felt that this policy left out many people who might hear from the Lord but not have a voice in the congregation. Other Pentecostal denominations, such as the Assemblies of God, granted local churches a much greater degree of autonomy.

Roberts Liardon tells us that the majority of the Elim Executive Council was committed to keep­ing a centralized church government. As a result, Elim Trust Company owned over two hundred buildings in the denomination and carried an enormous amount of financial muscle. It was all controlled by a small group of men, of which Phillips was the head.

Jeffreys’ desire to see the development of local church government for the Elim churches was further solidified in 1939, when he was in­vited by Lewi Pethrus to speak at the European Pentecostal Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. With more than five thousand members, Peth­rus’ Filadelphia Church was the largest Pentecostal church in the world at that time. In addition, the church supported a network of smaller churches, and Pethrus had granted each individual assembly the free­dom to govern itself at the local level so that the individual gifts of the saints could be used. He believed that the autonomy of the local church was established by the pattern in the New Testament. “It was affirmed by Brother Pethrus that the Scriptures reveal no organization beyond the local assembly.”

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Healed to Preach His Word by Roberts Liardon

Roberts Liardon tells us that the baptism in the Holy Spirit filled George with a passionate desire to preach the gospel. But there was a serious impediment barring his way: his weakness and facial paralysis were becoming more pronounced and would make preaching nearly impossible.

One Sunday morning in 1910, before the church service began, George was healed by the power of God. He would recount his experience to his congregation later: We were kneeling in prayer one Sunday morning and were interceding on the subject of the services of that day. It was exactly nine o’clock when the power of God came upon me, and I received such an inflow of Divine life that I can only liken the experience to being charged with electricity. It seemed as if my head were connected to a most powerful electric battery. My whole body from head to foot was quickened by the Spirit of God, and I was healed. From that day I have never had the least symptoms of the old trouble. Many times since then I have relied upon the Spirit’s quickening power for my body.

The opportunity to preach would come soon for George, but for Stephen, it was now. Even though he worked by day in the coal mines,  Stephen began to preach at night. He was an enthusiastic minister who walked up and down the aisles, calling the people to repentance. And they answered that call because of the anointing of the Word of God. Stephen wanted George to minister with him, but George wanted to attend Bible school first in order to become better prepared for what he thought would be a calling to the foreign mission field. Kezia Jeffreys had remarried by that time, and she agreed to send George to Bible school.

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Christ the Healer by Roberts Liardon

John called his friends and his mother on the telephone to tell them the amazing news, but none could believe it was he. When the news reached the local newspaper reporters, they insisted on meeting with him, as did Mayor Babcock. Fred walked into the mayor’s office with his head held high, and he smiled and spoke normally. The next day’s newspaper hit the stands for the whole city to see the headline, “John Sproul Can Talk!”

The Sproul family rejoiced when John’s three-year-old daughter, Mary Jane, who had never heard him speak, clapped her little hands and exclaimed, “Daddy can talk! Daddy can talk! Jesus made Daddy talk!”

Roberts Liardon tells us that the Veterans Bureau ordered John to report for tests, after which they declared him well, indeed. He had to forsake his disability pay­ments, but he had been healed by God and could work now. For years after his healing, he corresponded with F. F. Bosworth, letting him know how much he enjoyed perfect health in his body and his soul!

From his intimacy with Scriptures on divine healing, Fred wrote Christ the Healer in 1924. The book remains a classic work on Christ’s healing power, and it is just as relevant to the body of Christ today as it was upon publication nearly one hundred years ago.

The primary question Bosworth wanted to answer in his book was, “Did Christ redeem us from our diseases when He atoned for our sins?” To him, the Bible answered with a resounding “Yes!” He believed that the healing nature of God was revealed in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

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Changed Forever! By Roberts Liardon

Many of young Fred’s sales trips took him to Omaha. On one trip, he stopped to visit Miss Maude Greene, who was several years older than he. She’d invited him to join her at an old-time revival at the First Meth­odist Church that week. The first two nights, he listened politely to the gospel singing and the preaching, then escorted Miss Maude home and returned to his hotel. On the third night, however, the Holy Spirit began to tug on his heart.

For the first time, Fred really heard the message of salvation and un­derstood the sacrifice Jesus had made for him on the cross nineteen hun­dred years earlier. His heart was stirred within him. Sensing that some­thing was happening, Maude encouraged Fred to take a trip down to the altar when the preacher called.

Reluctantly at first, but then with a firm­er step, Fred Bosworth approached that little Methodist altar. While he knelt there, he knew that he must decide that very night if he was going to make a decision for Christ or walk away from Him.

Roberts Liardon tells us that with the presence of God flowing through him, Fred decided to say yes to God. Immedi­ately, his heart was filled with joy to overflow­ing, and he erupted in holy laughter. “Such a happiness filled his heart he laughed for joy, till he actually felt embarrassed because he could scarcely stop.”5 Now, Fred had another decision to make. Much of his sales success had been based on dishonest methods and half-truths. He needed to quit his salesman’s life and go home. But what would he do with his life in Christ now?

For the next two years, Bosworth held so many different jobs, it was hard to keep count. He worked in a windmill factory, then as a clerk in a grocery store. Following that, he was a department store clerk, a meat market butcher, a railroad maintenance worker, and a house painter. He learned more about his relationship with the Lord during this time, but he also struggled with an anxious soul.

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