Trained to live section, the foundation by which to live

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A Foundation to live on

The life changing experience that took place in my soul during my year at Agape Ministries in Winter Park, Florida, where the chains that bound me were cut, was a pivotal happening to my spiritual well-being. However, it took place in the background. I was not conscious that the Lord was working me over to bring a deep change in my heart.

In fact I was oblivious to the need of the heart change that others could see taking place. It is probably a good thing we are sometimes oblivious to what the Lord is doing, because if we know, we are apt to interfere with His process. His way. His time.

My spiritual teacher.

Dad Taylor (at Agape) read a lot. Because of my insatiable desire to know Jesus and serve Him, when Dad Taylor had his nose in a book I put my nosey nose into his business. One day I saw him reading a little lime-like green book with much interest, marking it all up with his ink pen. I asked if I could see the book. He was really possessive about it, which made me want it even more. He finally let it pass through my hands for a short period of time with instructions not to mark in it.

As I began to read the book I flipped out over it. One of the girls, who I think introduced Dad Taylor to the book, brought me my own copy. Out came my pen and I too marked as I read. The book? The Latent Power of the Soul by Watchman Nee. (The cover is no longer lime-like green, so don’t go looking for the book by it’s color.) From then on, if I saw Dad Taylor with a new Nee book, I bought a copy. If I had a new Nee book, I’d flaunt it in front of him and he bought his own copy. We did not share Nee’s books. And I still don’t share them with folks, unless they come to my home and read in front of me.

I cut my spiritual teeth on the ministry of Watchman Nee. Time after time over the years the Lord has answered questions I have asked or addressed situations in my life through this man’s ministry of the Word. Many a time I have randomly picked up a Nee book from my library, my eyes landing on the scriptural answer for the issue at hand.

Watchman Nee’s writings and sermons feed the spirit and it is by the spirit that they are understood in my experience, not simply the mind. Over the years I have encountered much foolishness in churches, and watched as the body of Christ at large embrace movements that have wrecked entire congregations. There are times in my arena of life when I have been the only one standing in disagreement to what is sweeping through. And it has gotten me into trouble when I put voice to it. To stay in peace before my Father God, I cannot but stay true to the foundational teachings entrenched within my spirit.

The bible study.

There were a lot of Chick Publications tracts passed around at Agape Ministries published by . The one that changed my life is actually a Chick book entitled The Next Step For Growing Christians by Jack T. Chick. Chapter two is Don’t Read That Book. At the end of that chapter is a bible study plan which I adopted.

Over time when I lived in Bisbee, Arizona (where I went when I left Agape), I altered the Bible study a little bit so that every six months I read the entire Old Testament through once, some parts of it were repeated—like Proverbs—because I read a chapter every day. The New Testament was read through and started over again until the Old Testament was finished.

I did this for several years, starting off fresh each time with a new translation, preferably a bible with NO cross references because I liked making my own. This bible study hooked me the day I started it, sitting on my bed in Bisbee with my bible and the study plan in front of me. I had just read a chapter each in Matthew, Genesis, Romans, I Thessalonians, Job, Psalms, Proverbs and Joshua and was about to read Isaiah chapter one when I asked the Lord, a little attitude showing as I was getting a little tired of this, “What could possibly be in the first chapter of Isaiah that would mean anything to me?”

Isaiah chapter one came alive, and to my mind came scripture I had just been reading in the other first chapters, that all tied together to give me something I needed to know. Out came my pen to cross reference where the publishers had, in my mind, neglected to cross reference. And so began a love for and adventure in the Word.

One way this study plan proved wonderful for me is that it caused me to draw aside and come into the presence of the Lord so I could not just read words, but rather hear the life which the Holy Spirit intended for me each time I came. I kept pen and notebook on hand to write the things that came into my mind as I read and prayed. In fact, before I read I prayed Luke 24:45 like this, “Lord, please open my understanding, that I might understand your Word”. And guess what? He did as requested over and over and over again as I sat there before Him in His written Word.

The rest of the foundation.

The core foundation to build my life upon was set. I was 23 years old. Here are the main “building blocks” in a nut shell.

  1. Not only a plowing of my soul to release the chains that bound me, but a new way to see people
  2. The knowledge that there is such a thing as preventive medicine
  3. The understanding that physical limitations do not have to rule
  4. An instruction base I could trust and from whom I could receive found in the ministry of Watchman Nee
  5. A tool found in a Chick Publications mini-book that gave me a way to study scripture which worked for me

And so this was the preparation of my youth for that which was to come and for that which is to come.

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