Part 1 - Trusting God in Crisis

Video Version

 

Audio Version

 

Written Version

Okay. So you can see, God is reaching through to me right there in that moment of desperation, where I’m angry at Him, I’m at the end of myself, where He still, even though I’m telling Him how angry I am, He’s actually reaching through, by His grace, trying to comfort me. You are going to understand how powerful that moment is, that I caught on audio recording, at the end of this story. We are getting close, hang in there.

Hey, guys, it’s Michael. That’s a clip that I filmed telling the story about the divorce, and all that God did, miraculously and supernaturally behind the scenes, back in late 2012. I saw that a lot of you enjoyed and were moved by the journal entry that I had shared, where I set the video camera up at my friend Larry’s house, the very night before the divorce trial. And I am so thankful that Father moved on my heart to capture that, and to look back on it, it was so touching to me. I hope you, also, along the way, are making journal recordings, either video, written or audio, of all that God is doing in your life. It’s so incredibly important.

I think it’s more important now than it ever has been, for us to all gather evidence of God’s amazing faithfulness, His loving kindness, that we can share, not only with ourselves when we’re going through the darkness, but for other people. So, one of the things I want to do is, I’m going to take this series of videos that I found that I had made . . . again, this is something that has never been seen before, publicly, outside of just a few clips . . . and I’m going to tell you, I want to apologize. I know some of you get a little fatigued hearing about my ex-wife or hearing about the divorce. I plead with you to understand that this is not about a divorce, and it’s not about my ex-wife. This is about God throwing a man into a pit. It’s like a Joseph story, where Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit. Then, he is later falsely accused and thrown into a dungeon. It’s really about a time of crisis. And so maybe your crisis, which is guaranteed to come, if you are going to follow God, and you’re ever going to be used, your crisis may look totally different.

So, please don’t just check out, because you’ve heard some of these divorce stories before, or that you’re like, “Mike, I’m sick and tired of hearing about this!” Trust me, so am I. But, one thing I am not sick of hearing about is all of the unbelievable and amazing ways that God has dealt with myself and with other people who have gone through these types of crises. Here’s what I want you to understand, right as we get going here, and why I am doing this, and why I know the Father is helping me to do this for you. When we look at Psalm 95:10 through 11, the Lord says, “For forty years, I was angry with that generation.”

Who is He speaking about? He is speaking about the Israelites, wandering in the desert.

“I said they are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known My ways, so I declared on oath in My anger, they shall never enter My rest.” I noticed . . . when I began to do a deep study on the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt, into the wilderness, through the Red Sea, through the Jordan, and then into the promised land, I noticed how, several times, Father mentions . . . and He wasn’t a “Father” at this point. He was not God, the Father. He was just God . . . but He mentions “these people do not know My ways.”

What we can learn from that is that the mysterious God, whose ways are so much higher than our ways, higher than the heavens are above the earth, He still desires for us to seek after Him, to know Him, and His ways. He says here, of the Israelites, that they will never enter His rest, because they do not know His ways.

The Holy Spirit used to move me to say to people, when they would reach out to me for help . . . one of the first things I felt the Holy Spirit moving me to tell people was that, “In order for you to get God’s help, you have to seek God in accordance to His ways. You have to see things the way Father sees them. You have to respond to things the way Father responds to them. If you do so, you are going to begin to achieve the results that you see that a lot of us find we are missing, from the New Covenant, that declares we are to have fullness in Christ, we are to know God this way, we are to experience Him this way. We are to have that peace, the joy, the rest, the abundant life, rivers of living water flowing from within us.

These things all come about, for anybody who has finally aligned their thoughts, their actions, their obedience, and their wills to the ways of God. Now, this is something that takes years to do, and you don’t have to do it perfect, right away, to begin to experience God. I’ve tried to encourage you guys throughout many of the videos that God did not wait until I was perfect before He began blessing me. In fact, I can point out several things in the videos that we’re going to be watching here, that I was wrong on, ignorant on, not Christ-like on, and yet, God is still blessing me immensely.

There are going to be some things in this story that I have never told. In fact, I’m going to tell you something, this is pretty amazing: there are some details in this story that you are going to hear that only one other person outside of me knows, in the whole world; one gentleman named Bobby Junkin, who has been one of my dearest, longest friends, brothers in Christ. This guy has been so loyal to me. You are going to hear more about him, in my story coming forward, where God brings him into my life. He is such a beloved dear brother. I love this man. This man was with me when I was at the very bottom. He did not look down on me, but God used him to help me. And he is one of the only people on the whole earth who knows a part of my story that I have never, ever told. I don’t think even Persis knows about this, because it was just not something that was ever necessary for me to tell her. It probably wasn’t something she would have been interested in hearing about.

But, nonetheless, if you will wait and go through this, you’re going to hear some amazing details that have never before been shown.

Again, why am I telling this, why are we still talking about this? Because we want to know God’s ways in order that we might enter into God’s rest. Now. A couple of Scriptures I want to show you about the need for this. Many times, God calls us . . . sometimes years later after He’s done something wonderful, He calls us to tell, in intimate detail, all of His workings. One of the things that I just absolutely am fascinated with is the workings of Father in my life. There have been so many amazing things that God has done, that I regularly lament. Even now there are, behind the scenes, incredible things happening, God moving, and about to happen. Incredible.

And I say, “Father, how am I ever going to tell?” God knows I’m trying. I’m trying to keep up with Father and all the things that He is doing in my life, as best as I can, to constantly hand back to other people something to stand on. I kind of see that the way Father has been pleased to use my life is kind of like turning it inside-out, laying it down, such that it becomes like stepping stones for other people to follow after Christ, right behind me, that maybe don’t yet know “Where do I put my foot next?” or “What does it look like when there’s not a stone for me to put my foot on next?”

So, this is part of the calling, and part of God’s grace to other people, through my life, and perhaps through your life, the same way. He’ll take and give people meaning out of the very things that He brought you through, perhaps in darkness. If we are comforted, if we are struck down, if we suffer, it is for your good, Paul says, and so this is something that is for your good.

There are many Scriptures that show, for example, Exodus 18:18, where God calls somebody to tell, in great detail, all that He’s done. “Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and about all the hardships that they met along the way, and how the Lord had saved them.” Why does God do this? Because He wants another group of people, or another person like yourself, to understand His ways.

God does not, for some reason, reveal every single thing to every person. There are so many things I am ignorant on, that I get to learn from how God dealt with other people. That’s all I’m trying to do, is to help you to experience and know some of those things that God has been pleased to do in my life.

Acts 11:4 – “Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it happened.” Now, Acts 12:16 through 17, when Peter shows up, having been let out of jail by the angel, and he shows up knocking at the door where the disciples are kind of hiding out, and they cannot believe that it’s Peter, and it says when he came in . . . he kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Then Peter motioned with his hand for them to all be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. Then he tells them to tell James and the brothers about that, as well.

Acts 21:19 – “Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.” Sometimes, people confuse telling a testimony with either self-righteousness, or putting self in it; you’re talking too much about yourself. I get this a lot, because you know, God has primarily called me to tell the story of all that He has done in my life, and so sometimes people, not yet understanding these principles, will say, “Mike, all you’re doing is talking about yourself.” Really? No, I’m not. All I’m doing is talking about how God has had His way with me, if you see it differently.

So, to give some comfort, go read 2 Corinthians, Chapter 11, where you will see the greatest Christian that I believe has ever lived, in 33 verses, saying, “I,” “me,” “my” or “mine” 56 times in 33 verses. He did this for a reason. Not because Paul is gloating over self. He is boasting, he is doing it for a reason. God ordained it. Not because he is trying to say that this religion or all of his teachings are about him. No. But Paul is, to you and me, one of the greatest realities of the truth of Jesus Christ that we have. When you think about the impact that those 13 or so letters that he wrote have had on you and me, think about how God has used, and given so much strength to your faith, through one man named Paul. If there had been no “I,” “me” or “mine” told in that, you and I would lack all that strength that God had for us through him. Thanks be to the Lord, Jesus Christ.

In the end, no matter whether I use the word “I,” “me” or “mine” a thousand times, you will know, and you will hear, the real Spirit of who I am speaking of - my Father in heaven - through the Lord, Jesus Christ, His Son, aided by the help of the Holy Spirit. The Triune God that lives in me, that helps me and you to know Him, that grants us salvation, that takes and gives us redemption for all of the snot in our lives, the loving God, the Great, I Am, that is Who this is all about. The One who said, “Apart from Me, you are nothing.” John 15:5 and 6. The Lord, Jesus Christ, that’s who it’s about. And remember, the Lord uses you to make Himself known to other people, or He will use me, or He will use other things, to help other people to know that He is real.

So. Here’s what I want to do. I’m going to take you through this video interview that I did, again, back in late 2012, where I did a pretty decently concise job, in about an hour and 15 minutes or so, telling this amazing story of how God took me through the most difficult, darkest crisis of my life. Again, don’t let this be about a divorce. Let this be about trusting God in crisis. Whatever yours is, fill in the blank.

Now, along the way, what I’d like to do is, I’m going to stop to go in great detail . . . I’m going to stop and pause this video and provide a little bit of insight from older brother, Michael. You see, the Michael seven years ago, he has faith, he has a passion for God, he’s so excited, he’s willing to take risks to trust God, but he’s still ignorant about a lot of things. He’s just coming out of the carnal stages of his Christianity. He’s really just now paying the price, and really is just now, for about 18 months or so, been showing God real faith, having fully surrendered a few years earlier, October 30th, 2009. It’s been about 18 months of having this faith really tested out, God moving me to act, according to His will rather than mine. There is a lot for this guy to learn in this video that you’ll see (pointing to the computer monitor). Just like there’s a lot, still, for this guy you’re seeing in this video, right now (pointing to himself), to still learn.

But I’ve learned a great deal of walking with our Father, and He has been pleased to help me to have insight, and to understand some of His ways. You know, many of the Father’s ways are truly beyond tracing out, and I love that, because I’m a guy who’s always trying to figure out what is “X.” I love deconstructing God’s ways and understanding “. . .Wow! . . .,” and when I do this, it just gives me elation. It gives me such a magnificent view of God’s majesty, it humbles me.

Oh, there is a great place for faith, walking not by sight, not by understanding, not by feeling it in my life. But what I have found is, the Lord, thank You, Jesus Christ, has been so pleased, as I have moved through each stage of my life, to give me meaning and understanding after the fact, looking back. I began to see, clearly, that which I could not see when I was in the middle of the storm.

For example, 2018, what an unbelievable test of my faith, one of the greatest tests I’ve ever gone through. I don’t want to get into this now. God has not even permitted me to do so, yet. I actually made a wonderful recording with the Lord’s help, just right at the beginning of the year . . . and Father has asked me to not share that yet. Soon I will . . . describing what I went through in 2018, when God effectively removed His presence, His favor, and His grace from my life. It came back, to the praise of God, Almighty, on December 29th, 2018, ladies and gentlemen, one year to the day, without me realizing it in the moment of when God asked me to set down and take a rest . . . one year, to the day. That’s how precise our sovereign God of the universe is.

This is the God that you get to call “Daddy.” This is the God that you get to call “my Father in heaven, who loves me.” This is that good Father, who says of you, “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children when they ask, how much more will the heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask?” He’s a good, good Father. His ways are very mysterious, and as I’ve said, many times they are beyond tracing out. Many times, God does things, like reversals of things . . . I’m going to talk about this coming up, where I’ve seen God do things in my life, bless me with certain things, and then reverse either the circumstances, the direction, or whatever. And it’s very mysterious.

But God has a sovereign plan in all of it.

Two points I want to add, from the late, great Austin T. Sparks. Austin Sparks, I had read recently in a wonderful article about The Divine Guidance of God, made the point that when you look to the Israelites traveling through their wilderness journey, out of Egypt and into the promised land, they are only seeing event by event. Right? Just like when you and I watch my divorce story, we are getting caught up in that moment, that phone call, that time, that very instance, that Hearing in the Court, what have you. But God is seeing this from an eternal perspective and an end-perspective. He has an end-goal in mind that is not that particular event that I am going through, or that you are going through, right now.

What he pointed out that I thought was so brilliant, he said that God has two main things that He wants to accomplish with the Israelites. Number 1, He wants to get them in the promised land, in accordance with His promise. That is His main goal, not all the little details that happened in the wilderness. Those things are sometimes a byproduct of their disobedience, God’s blessings, and all kinds of things. What God is really wanting to do, the number one purpose of God, is to get them into the promised land.

My friend, that is God’s number one plan for you and me right now, is to get you and me in the New-Covenant-equivalent of the promised land, which is fullness in Jesus Christ. You’ve heard me . . . if you’ve listened to very many of my videos, you’ve heard me talk about this, the seven things that Jesus Christ promised to all who follow Him: the peace, the rest, the contentment, the abundance of answered prayers, the fruitfulness, the no thirsting for things in the world whatsoever, the joy of Jesus Christ made complete, the rivers of living waters that flow from within you. These are the things that are promised to you and me as followers of Jesus Christ.

Now, we have to go through wilderness, we have to go through many years of testing, and a lot of difficult afflictions, in order to get to this place, and even when we do, God still has plenty of testing for us along the way. This is God’s main purpose.

The second thing that Austin Sparks mentioned, that is God’s main purpose for the Israelites, and that what He is trying to work into them, is a sense of them understanding what it is they are missing along the way. He wants them to begin to realize, “Do you know why I made those waters at Marah bitter? Do you know why I made it so that Moses had to strike the rock? Do you know why I let it be so that you had to cross over the Red Sea and the Jordan? Do you understand why I allowed you to have the doves or the pigeons, or whatever kinds of birds it would have been, so much to the point where you started to throw up? Do you know why I wouldn’t allow you to have any more manna than what was required for that day?”

Austin makes this amazing point that it was not God’s choice to have the Israelites go all over the wilderness like this. It was not God’s choice to have them do this for 40 years. It was their choice. God’s purpose was to get them into the promised land. They were the ones, with their human responsibility, needing to respond back to the sovereignty of God, willing to be disciplined. They were the ones who were going to determine how long that was going to take. As it is with you and I, the faster we can learn Father’s ways, the faster we can recognize and humble ourselves before His discipline, the faster we can come into agreement that His will must be done in this meekness where we prefer His will over ours, the faster God will bring us in to His promised land of fullness in Christ. Okay?

In order to do this, we need to understand God’s ways. Many times, the emails that I receive from people, or the comments, people are locked up. They are paralyzed, because they don’t understand. Now, there’s a big need here. Carnal Christians cannot understand spiritual things. It’s one of the great challenges of having a YouTube ministry. I have to sometimes share very deep truths as simple as I can, and yet, people still just cannot see it. They can’t get it.

This is 1st Corinthians, Chapter 3, where Paul says, “I could not address you as spiritual, but as carnal.” We all start out carnal, and it means you may not understand the things that I am saying, yet. You’re still more carnal. You’ve been regenerated . . . rather, you’ve converted to Christ, but you haven’t been fully regenerated. The Spirit of God is not the primary force at work in your life. You are still primarily being driven by your flesh. It’s going to be very difficult for you to understand some of these deep truths.

Cry out to God for the deep, spiritual light. Cry out to God to participate in the death of Jesus Christ. Pay attention, and obey, whatever it is that you do have light on. That’s how you’ll get better understanding. Okay?

A lot of these things that I’m going to share, some will make sense, some won’t. Some won’t make sense now, but in the future, they will. Ask God to give you understanding of anything you don’t understand, and ask God to help you see how these principles apply to your life.

Okay, without any further Adieu, let’s spend a few hours . . . okay, remember. If Moses and Jethro sat down, it wouldn’t have been a 10-minute conversation. They would have spent hours, Moses talking. So, if you’ll spend hours watching some worthless movie, why not spend a few hours with me learning some of these amazing details of how God, the living God of the universe, dealt with me along the way. I know you’re going to be blessed. And again, you’re going to hear some things that are truly astonishing that I’ve never told before, about this divorce. It’s amazing. I’m just like, “Wow,” when I watch it.

So, let’s go through this. Be patient with me. I hope you get a lot out of this. And may the Lord, God . . . In the name of Jesus Christ, Father, I’m asking You, please bless this person. Lord, this is not me talking about me. This is me talking about You, and how You’ve dealt with me. Now, Father, I know You’ve called me to do this. Lord, You know there have been many prayers, much prayer, that has been given before this. I say this prayer now for the benefit of the person watching. But Father, I do ask You, Lord, as I have asked You many times, give light to Your people. Help them to find Your ways in this story, and how You are dealing with them. Abba, God, give them eyes to see and ears to hear, that they might be blessed to know You more, and to walk with You. God, there is nothing more important than learning how to walk with You, our God. I thank You, my Father, in the name of Jesus, for answering this prayer. A-men.

My friend, this is about learning how to walk with God. Let’s get to it. God bless you.

(Previous video recording of Michael speaking to us from his parent’s house sitting on the couch.) Okay. This is where it gets to a very, very exciting part of the story. This is the part of the story where you’re going to find yourself falling into one of two categories: You’re either going to hear this, and you’re going to be totally gripped, you’re going to have a new, reverent fear for God, and a new respect for the devil. You’re going to desire so much to want what God’s very best for your life is, you’re going to have a level of faith inspired to go out and seek God like you’ve never sought before, to believe Him for things in your life that you’ve never thought possible, to believe Him for deliverance, to believe Him for having a relationship with Him like you’ve never had before. I’m hoping that’s the category that you’re going to find yourself in, and I believe that’s why God has asked me to tell this story.

But the story is so dramatic, it is so outside of normal, it is so supernatural, that there is a second category you might fall into, and that’s the category of “Mike, you’re an absolute idiot. You are a nut. You are off your rocker. This is not of God. You are messed up, brother. I’m sorry you’ve had a bad divorce. I’m sorry you’ve lost your family, your wife and kids, all this stuff, but buddy, you need to get some help.” And I want you to understand that I am very well aware of both sides of this coin. I get it!

My responsibility is not to worry about which side of that coin you’re going to fall on. My responsibility is to tell the testimony of what God has done in my life, and it is amazing. I beg you, I implore you, to willingly suspend your disbelief, remembering three interesting facts: Every person on the planet used to be convinced that, in fact, the sun spun around the earth. Everybody thought that. They lived their life with that as a fact. Everybody also thought, at one time, that the earth was flat. They thought if you sailed far enough, you could fall off the end. Another interesting fact, previous to 1940-something, everybody thought that if a human tried to run a mile in under four minutes, their heart would explode. Doctors said this. These are three major “facts” people believed that turned out to not be true, once an experience contradicted that belief.

What I’m going to tell you is going to contradict, possibly, a lot of your beliefs. But I want you to consider the story of Moses . . . who I now happen to have a lot of respect for . . . having been in the desert, and having to come back and say, “Uh, guys, you’re not going to believe this, but while I was in the desert, God spoke to me, and like . . . He did it through a burning bush.” And they probably looked back at Moses, and were like, “Uh-huh (nodding), and what were you burning while you were out in the desert, Moses?” I get it! So here, come along for the ride with me. I dare you to willingly suspend your disbelief. This is going to blow your mind. I experienced it, I witnessed it. I have witnesses. You’ll hear some witness testimonies along the way, as I share this. I still have days where I’m just, like, “Really, God? Really? REALLY!! You did this?”

(Reaching for two, 2-inch, three-hole binders full of paperwork and placing them in front of him on his lap.) To the depth of my despair, God has brought redemption and blessing. (Reaching for an even larger accordion file folder packed full of more paperwork, with a stuffed manila envelope of top of it – now his lap is piled with these items.) I want you to look at this. You remember hearing, in the story, my mom mentions that there were nine-and-a-half hours of Court. This is a sixty-thousand-dollar lawsuit that was perpetuated against me, by the wife of my youth. I didn’t do anything to deserve this, I promise you, and this story will vindicate that. It will validate what I am saying to you.

What I want you to understand is, I was desperate. I was being destroyed. This is called “affliction.” This is the kind of stuff you read in the Psalms, where you see that the psalmist is being surrounded on all sides, he’s being delivered into the hands of his enemy, his life is falling apart. I mean, look at this. This book alone (Opening a white, 2-inch, three-hole binder full of paperwork onto his lap), this was gone through in nine-and-a-half hours in Court. These are (Flipping through the pages in the notebook on his lap) all of the exhibits of evidence against Michael Chriswell; why I shouldn’t be able to see my children any more, why I’m “hiding money,” why I never need to be able to take my kids out of a 25-mile radius, why I should do this, why I can’t do this. All day long, this is all the evidence, nearly $60,000 my ex-wife spent to annihilate me. (Putting all those notebooks and papers back on the table beside him.)

So, this leaves me in a position where I am . . . I’m desperate, and I cried out to God. You’ve got to understand, I cried out to God, and I . . . like Jacob, I wrestled with Him. I grabbed ahold of Him, and I would not let Him go until He gave me meaning to this. “Okay, God, are you the God of second chances? Am I going to get my marriage back? Is this. . .” I wanted my marriage back. I wanted my ex-wife to wake up. I wanted her to have the spiritual eyes opened, to see what she was doing. And I believed God for a miracle.

All of my friends and family, and those who really know God, close to me, said, “Mike, you’ve got to give this up. We’ve been seeing this coming for years; this is not going to happen.” And God confirmed for me, along the way . . . I don’t have time to tell you now . . . but He did, in fact, confirm for me, eventually, that I was living on false hope, that this was going to be the death . . . that this marriage would die, but it wouldn’t be the death of me. And I would not be useless. Because I was so afraid . . . “God, I’m a Christian man. I have desires to be in ministry and to make a difference for other people, for Your name, Jesus Christ. I’m ruined. I’m washed up. What are You ever going to do with a divorced guy . . .”

(Michael stops the video we are watching here to comment, present day.) So, how neat is it for me to look back at this guy, who’s having this experience, and he has no idea what lays before him in the future. He has no idea the weight, even, of the words that he’s just said, about realizing that this is not the end of him, through this divorce, that God does still have some plans and some usefulness for him. I believed this, in faith, and God had given me enough evidence . . . a few words from other people, and then just primarily, God speaking to me, directing me, and speaking to my heart about this.

But what I didn’t understand is the path that I had to take, in order to get to this place of spiritual abundance and usefulness to God. Indeed, God was going to bless me with a bountiful ministry. Here we are, seven years later, and as I look over to YouTube, right now, (As he refers to his computer monitor) it is amazing to see that there are currently 109.4 million minutes of YouTube time that has been watched on my channel. My video views are 9.4 million, and I have over 80,000 subscribers. My story “Trusting God In The Storm” has been watched 20.7 million minutes by itself, and I think it’s over a million-and-a-half views by now.

What’s incredible is, this is all what the Lord has done. He has done all of this. And as we get farther through the story, I’ll begin to share more about how it was that God brought me into ministry, and then all of the testing that came with it. That’s like a whole other section of the book, where God is going to test me, repeatedly. Father has done all of this. In spite of many men wanting to promote this, and many temptations to promote myself, this has all been done by God. It’s incredible to look back and see.

I think it was Zac Poonen, who I first heard and learned this lesson, when he says, “My brothers and sisters, do you really want to know the path to spiritual abundance? Do you want to know what it looks like?” And he turns, and he begins to teach out of Psalms 66, Verses 10 through 12, where it says, “For you, O, God, tested us. You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads. We went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.” And see, this is the same process. Even though this is the Israelites, and even though this is 3,000, 4,000 years ago we’re talking about, now God still works the same primary way.

If you want to go to this path of abundance in Jesus Christ, you’re going to have to participate in sufferings. You’re going to have to be tested and refined, as God refines silver. You’re going to have to be thrown into dungeons. You’re going to have to let men be riding over your heads, you know, legal situations. Men will sue you. You will have people falsely accuse you. You will have family members turn against you. You will have in-laws lording it over you, controlling you. You will have terribly tiring bosses abusing you. You will have friends controlling you. You will have spouses lording it over you. This is part of the process of learning to walk in that humility, the dependence of God that is required, in order to eventually get to this place of abundance.

There’s so much more. Let’s take a further look.

(The video we were watching where Michael was in his parent’s house, speaking from the couch previously, continues.) All of a sudden, I became aware that I am seeing the number “666” showing up a lot in my life. It’s starting to show up everywhere: (showing examples and illustrations) gas pumps, checking account balances, the number of video views I would see on a particular video, software license codes, telephone numbers, pulling into the driveway, my odometer would be this (“61755 MI TRIP 1: 666.6 MI”), and I’m thinking, “Wait a second here. This is real. God is trying to show me that there is something real to this spiritual warfare thing.” I didn’t have any idea. I was clueless about all of this. So, I’m thinking that the devil is harassing me.

Fast forward, I have to go to my attorney’s office one time, and I show up 30 minutes early, so I go across the street to Barnes and Noble. I am there, and . . . recently, I had moved all of my email from Outlook to a new thing called “Google Apps.” While I’m at Barnes and Noble, all of the emails had transferred, so when I check my email on my iPhone, guess how many emails I had? (Showing an example of his phone screen showing “666” over “Mail”) Six-hundred-and-sixty-six (666) emails.

So, here I am seeing this . . . now, this is probably the . . . somewhere . . . 25th, 30th time I had seen this number. Each time, I’m just like, “Really? God, what is this? WHAT IS THIS? How do I even tell anybody about this, God? This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. What is going on?”

Fifteen minutes later, I’m at my attorney’s office. They put me in the waiting room. They come back 15 minutes later to find me weeping, tears just streaming down my face. I’ve just spent the last 15 minutes reading over (Showing an example of “VERIFIED MOTION FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION” documentation) a Motion to have me psychologically evaluated. So now, she’s stepping the war up to a whole new level. I’m like, “God, what is going on?”

All of a sudden, the tape started to spin in my head, “Wait a second. I had just seen “666” thirty minutes before I’m at my attorney’s office.” And I began to realize, “Now, wait a second. Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen this number “666,” and then I get some bad news, either a terrible text, a bad email, or a legal letter.” I’m like, “Wait a second.” All of a sudden, it all makes sense, and it turns out this invisible God, who I have been seeking with all of my heart, all of my mind, all of my soul, all of my strength, who I had trusted for everything when I hit bottom, is reaching back out to me. Having already begun to show me, in a dream, He wants to teach me about spiritual warfare, now He’s giving me physical evidence of this spiritual warfare, and He is warning me in advance.

(Michael’s mother speaking.) After Michael moved in with us, we had talked about him seeing numbers, and that was a way that God was communicating with him. Bob and I kind of rolled our eyes when we heard him say that. But after he’d been here for a while, we’d be out, and he’d say, “Look, mom, there’s “222,” and a few minutes later, “there’s another 222,” and that would go on for days, until he then would tell us what the “222” meant. It would lead him to Scriptures that would tell him either what to do, what not to do, comfort him. It was exactly what he needed, every single time. But we still weren’t convinced. We thought, “That could be a co-incidence.”

But when “666” would show up, more than one time, like two or three times in one day, Michael would come through the door, and he would say, “Guys, be prepared. Something is going to happen. I saw “666” three times today.” And it wouldn’t be a half a day would go by when we would either get something in the mail from the attorney, from the Court (On the screen – “This is just one example of about 150 – See this at 11:47 am – picture of a police car with the number “1666” on the back – Get this at 2:30 pm – an envelope from a law office – “Praise Jesus for the warnings – Matthew 5:39-41”). But it was always negative, and he said, “See, God warned me, so that I wouldn’t be knocked off my feet.”

Then came other numbers. They were numbers of encouragement, they were numbers when he was trying to make a decision, and he didn’t know which way to go, God would be specific. And we started seeing this, over and over and over again until it got to the point, Bob and I could no longer deny that God was talking to Michael in a special language that we had never heard of, and it was through these series of numbers. Michael knew it. Michael believed it. And he listened, and he did whatever he was told, through Scripture.

But it took us a while to believe that that truly is what was happening.

(Back to the video in his parent’s house on the couch we were previously watching.) I started to take pictures of all of this.

(On the screen: “Two important points to remember before you see this… 1. I never LOOK for the numbers…they just show up! 2. There is ALWAYS an “event” of some kind that happens after I see the #...not 80%, not 95%, but 100% of the time. Here is an example I caught on camera of how they just show up…”)

(He is speaking, in another video driving in the car) . . . the day I married her, I’m convinced something happened to her when she was a child, and look there, right there - “666” right when I’m filming this, on this super-duty Ford pickup truck (Showing more examples of pictures captured showing “666” in various forms and locations – signs, book covers, book titles, odometer readings, phone numbers, Scriptures – John 6:66, film editing information, calculations, identification numbers on the backs of semi-truck trailers, online identification bank codes, license plates, receipts, gas purchases, particular video likes, number of emails, number of items selected on a particular MPEG4 process, MB sizes, police car numbers on the back, computer file sizes, bank account balances).

(He is back in the video at his parent’s house on the couch we were previously watching.) So now, I’m seeing this “666.” Well, I started seeing another number, “555.” (Showing examples of pictures captured showing “555” in various forms and locations – semi-tractor-trailers identification numbers on the back, odometer readings, times on the clock, license plates, phone numbers, views of particular videos, street addresses, gas purchases, times on posted videos) And all of a sudden, I’m like, “God, what is this?” You saw this referenced in the video, where I saw it on the mailbox the day of Court, “555.”

One day, I’m praying, and God says, “Look at page 555 in your Bible. So, I quickly turned to page 555 in the Bible, and I read the story of (2 Kings 19 – Jerusalem’s Deliverance Foretold) Jerusalem’s Deliverance Foretold. And as I read that story, God said, “I am telling you in advance, I am going to deliver you. If you will trust Me, I will deliver you.” I just felt this in my spirit one day while I was praying.

(We are back to Michael, present day, to comment.) As you might imagine, I have so many thoughts that come into my mind and heart, as I look back at this guy, telling this story, seven years ago. You know, I wanted to tell this story right away. God began to tell me to tell the story of all that He had done in my life, so I started journaling all of this, keeping track of it, and obviously, I sat down and told this story that you are now watching. When I first began to share it with some guys that I had been mentoring, in discipleship through a Bible study, friends and family, I started to get a different reaction than I expected. I actually started to have people kind of turn against it, and actually become very discouraged, even.

I would have people say things like, “God doesn’t speak to me that way. God doesn’t use numbers with me.” And they would become discouraged. Or, “I never heard of such a thing.” They would be negative, antagonistic, about it. So, I went into this kind of naïve, thinking that people would be so amazed and “Wow, that’s incredible. I hope God will do something like that for me,” when in fact, it spawned a jealousy amongst mostly carnal Christians. I really didn’t fully, totally understand the difference between carnal Christians and spiritual Christians at the time, because at this time, I’m coming out of carnal Christianity and becoming a spirit-led person who walks with God. And so to everybody else who had been “churched-up” real well, and “Bible-studied-up” real well, this kind of supernatural providence of God looked incredibly strange, as you can see.

You know, my parents struggled with it, immensely, but because they lived with me, and they saw it, they were forced to acknowledge that this was really happening. This was not a co-incidence; this was not a delusion. And they saw that I was actually able to tell them the future, based on seeing these “666’s” and these numbers. So, I imagine how difficult that was for them to grapple with it.

But perhaps, you have understood this as well, that we have two parts of us: one part of us is the part of us that is “you,” our sinful nature, the flesh, the natural man – Adam. The other part of us is spirit, born-again by the Holy Spirit, able to commune with the Holy Spirit and to receive, discern and understand the things of God. The Bible says to the natural man, without the Spirit, the things of God seems as foolishness to him. Right? He doesn’t understand them.

So, in this way, we still have two people when you become born again, and I have never lost . . . even after all of these years of following God . . . I have never lost the capacity to be an atheist. I have an atheist living inside of me who doesn’t want to believe God, who wants to rebel against God, who doesn’t trust God, and who thinks that all of this stuff is better placed in the category of “Delusion” rather than “True Faith In God.” But I can see how Father had wonderful reasons for causing me to delay. You’ll see there are some incredible things I’m going to tell you, coming forward, in this story. But it’s neat that by telling this story seven years later, you know, an atheist or even a carnal Christian, or a legalist, a very religious person, can no longer look at this and go, “Aw, man, this guy is just a delusion. This guy is just wacked.” Really?

Well, if I truly was, then I should be reaping what I sow, and we should say, as Jesus said, “You will know a tree by its fruit.” So, seven years later, if I’m living under the deception of the devil . . . if this was all of the devil, and this was not of God, or this was my own delusion of my mind, if this was my own mental illness, as many atheists say, “Oh, I pray you get some help” . . . it’s funny how they say “I pray he gets some help” (chuckling), an atheist saying that . . . but if any of these were the case, then we could look at my life now and see the fruit. Right?

I mean, if you go down to your local overpass, and you find some drug addicts or some homeless guys, you’ll see their life looks very different from mine, right, and you can look at them, and when they tell you the stories of their friend who comes and visits them, their imaginary friend at night, or they tell you about the spirits that they speak to when they take this certain drug, or what have you, you can know “These guys are delusional, they’re lost, they’re dark.” And what would be your evidence that you are right? You’d see the fruit in their life. Their life doesn’t work. They are homeless, they are sitting under an over-pass with a needle in their arm. Their life and heart are a complete train wreck. Right?

Now, that’s not to say that people living in the big house are not living some kind of delusion. That’s a different kind of delusion. But we are speaking about the evidence in a person’s life where the supernatural moving of the hand of God has been.

You can look now, seven years later, and go, “Wow, Michael was right to follow this supernatural guidance of God.” And my friend, I’ll tell you what’s amazing, is that all these years later, there are now, I don’t know, maybe 200 of these numbers . . . 150 to 200 of these numbers. I haven’t really counted . . . but if it were not for me following God’s unusual hand of providence, to guide me to specific Scriptures this way, there would be no video I am sitting in front of right now.

There would be no video of mine that you’d ever heard that could’ve ever, in any way, been a blessing to you. Because I have followed God leading me many, many, many times with these numbers pointing me to Scriptures, in order to get me to this place today where I have fullness in Christ, and literally hundreds and hundreds of answered prayers, and a truly exciting life of living every day by faith, I’m telling you these stories.

You can know that I’m not a guy who just picked up a Bible and began to say, “Hey, I want to be a Bible teacher.” Nope. I wasn’t called to do that. That was never my choice. I’m a guy who’s living in faith behind the scenes. Okay? Notice, I tell you everything after it happens, right? I’m actually living what the Bible tells me to live. I’m practicing what I, then, eventually preach. So, behind the scenes of my life, I’m not a guy who’s sitting around studying the Bible all the time and just coming up with Bible messages. I’m a guy who’s actually walking with Father, hand-in-hand with my Lord, Jesus Christ, AND then I turn around, with these experiences, and I share them with you.

That’s a big difference than somebody who makes their emphasis in learning the Bible, teaching the Bible, you know, speaking the Bible, so forth and so on. Yes, I do speak the Bible. Yes, I quote a lot of Scripture in my videos. But I’m trying to make the point that this is a living, breathing Word of God, and a living, breathing faith, and a real walk with God that you’re getting to be able to see. Okay? This is not theory. This is not my ideas. This is not my good teaching.

This is the good providential guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life. And it is amazing. It’s so amazing for me to look back on this, as crazy as it seems, because when this started happening to me, I thought, “Wow, this is just . . . I have never heard of anything like this.” Okay? So . . . I have child-like enthusiasm. I’m willing to take risks. I’m open-minded . . . but when this started happening, it just threw me for a loop.

But I chose to believe. Unbelief . . . I’ll never forget when Tozer explained, he said, “You know, there are two kinds of Christians: Those that hear from God and get all kinds of guidance from Him, and those that don’t.” And he said, “What’s the main difference I’ve seen between these two?” He said, “Spiritual receptivity. The Christians that are being moved by God, they are open to hearing God speak in a way that may look, very much, like a burning bush, or it may sound an awful lot like a talking donkey, or it may appear very much like a man’s hand, writing on the wall. It may sound like a voice coming from a cloud. It may feel or present itself like a dream or a vision. It may be an insight, a silent but penetrating Word spoken to the heart and to the spirit. There are all kinds of ways God speaks.” But Tozer made the point that it’s those who are receptive to the speaking voice of God that are the ones who hear It.

I had to, at some point, decide, “Okay, Father. I don’t understand this, but I’m going to jump in with this, and I’m going to believe it.” Now. I hope you are listening and following along with my autobiography, “Astonishing Grace To The Chief Of All Fools,” where I kind of explain about the numbers more in depth and include some really important warnings. If you’ll notice, none of the numbers, with the exception of the “666,” ever pointed to anything in this story outside of the Bible. It’s very important to remember that. There are all kinds of counterfeit madness, angel numbers, new age numbers. All that stuff, I think, is fit for the trash bin. Leave it alone. Let it go. Only is God using this weird way to drive me to Scripture. So, I hope that point has been made clear, and I hope this will challenge you to really trust God, and to believe Him.

I mean, is there anything that’s too hard for God? Is it too hard for the God of the universe who keeps the whole universe and all the stars and the oceans and the mountains and the seas . . . and the squirrels fed, every single day, and all of the animals and insects and people . . . is the God who keeps all of that, is it too hard for Him to turn my head at just the right time to see the right number? Or to make it to where when I click on my phone, I see this number? Or to cause me to notice it? Is it too hard for God to do something like that? Certainly not.

Okay. So, I’m going to leave this here, for now. I’m going to cut this off as Part 1. It’s long. I hope you enjoy this and get lots out of it. If you have some questions, by all means, perhaps put them in the comments, and I’ll try to answer some of those specifically in the next session. That would be a great idea. I’ve never done this before. So, if you have some questions, put them in the “Comments” section below, and I’ll start to read them. And then maybe, as the intro for the next video, I can answer some of your questions, or perhaps along the way.

God bless you, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I’ll see you on the next video.