Today, we’re going to be going into Part 2. Thank you, guys, so much for watching Part 1, and thank you so much for the comments and a few of the questions. I told you this was my first time offering to do the “Questions” thing, and I realize the flaw in this is that inevitably, some of you are going to ask questions that are going to be answered shortly in the story (pointing to the upcoming video on his computer monitor). So, how about we do this: Definitely ask your questions, as they come to you. If you have questions about this story, or something that maybe I didn’t cover that you would like to know, that you feel other people could benefit from, as well, maybe put them in the comments, but allow me the permission to answer them at the end. Okay?
We’ll do that. That will make more sense and be a little more fair for everybody. Maybe I’ll just do a “Question and Answer” session at the end? That would be kind of neat.
So, today we’re going to be looking at Part 2. Let’s dive right into it . . . and by the way, for those of you who maybe have just found this video, and you kinda don’t know what’s going on and where we’re at, I really encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to watch my story of what God did with me . . . it’s called “Trusting God In The Storm” on YouTube . . . watch that story first, if you haven’t had a chance to see it. And then, also, for those of you who have additional time, I really want to encourage you to start from the beginning in my autobiography called “Astonishing Grace To The Chief Of All Fools,” which will help you to really understand the Biblical principles behind this chaotic life that I have lived on my way to finding Jesus Christ and life to the full. May God bless you today, as you listen, and I’ll see you at the first commentary here shortly. Okay, let’s take a look.
(Continuing in the video from his parent’s house speaking from the couch.) A couple of days later, I’m doing a seminar at Belhaven University in Orlando on story-telling, and I have a room full of entrepreneurs. At the back of the room, there is a man, his name is Antonio Phillips, a dear brother. That guy waited for me at the end, until everybody else was done asking me questions, and he walks up to me, and he says, “Mike, I need to speak to you!” And I was kind of taken aback by his brevity. I said, “I tell you what, I’ll meet with you,” and I was reluctant, because everybody wants to meet with me after I talk, and I didn’t have a lot of time, I’m going through a divorce, I’m trying to build a new business, so I ended up blowing him off for about two weeks through my partner, who was keeping my schedule.
Finally, one day, I said, “You know what? I told that guy I would meet with him. I need to meet with him.” I go and meet with this guy, and this guy, long story short, has been through a seven-year battle, divorce and custody. He understands the Court System, both the legal secular side, and the spiritual side, better than any person I had ever heard of. This guy was able to articulate things about the Court System, and things about divorce, from God’s perspective, that I had never heard. And he tried to wake me up.
He said, “Mike, you believe that you have to fight this, with all of your might and soul, because that’s how you’re going to show your kids that you love them, isn’t that right?” And I said, “Yeah, (nodding).” He says, “In fact, you don’t wanna not fight, because if you don’t fight, that may make your kids believe you don’t love them. Isn’t that right?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Michael, that doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids. Michael, they’re not your kids to begin with. First, they belong to the Lord.” And he said, “Can I share something with you? Even if you win, you still lose.”
And he began to explain to me how the Court System is set up, such that there is a “win-lose.” No “win-win.” And that is a downward death spiral, no matter what. He began to tell me tales of other people, including himself, who had actually won small victories in Court, but would pay a dear price spiritually, later, just from all of the drama that came from being tied to this individual, and all of the back and forth, the pull and the nagging, the getting the kids in the middle over time-sharing, and just the constant drama that can suck the life out of every person’s soul involved.
He said, “Michael, I want to challenge you to pull out of the battle, and let God fight this fight for you,” and he began to share with me the Scripture where King Saul is in pursuit of King David. King Saul has told everybody around that David is after King Saul – 1 Samuel 24 – that David is trying to murder Saul. So, he’s out lying to everybody, slandering David. And the story is told that King Saul walks into a cave and doesn’t realize that David and 400 of his men are hiding in the back of this cave. All of David’s men say, “Look at this. The Lord has delivered your enemy right into your hands,” because Saul now has come into this cave to relieve himself. David sneaks up and cuts a corner of his robe off, and the men are all saying, “Kill him! He’s been delivered into your hands.” David, as soon as he cuts the cloth, begins to feel remorse, and says, “Far be it from me to touch the Lord’s anointed one.”
After Saul exits the cave, David walks out and says, “Saul.” He turns around and sees David there, and he knows exactly what’s just happened. He is quickened in his spirit, and the most interesting dialogue of all occurs. David says, “Why are you pursuing me like this? What have I done to you?” And he basically says, “The Lord delivered you into my hands today, but far be it from me to touch the Lord’s anointed one. May the Lord take vengeance, not me.” And he says, “If I’ve done anything to deserve this, may the Lord judge me ever so severely, but if I haven’t, may the Lord deliver me out of your hands, and may the Lord judge between us both.”
So, here you have a situation where David, in faith, totally gets out of this battle, even though it appears God’s delivered him. He gets out of the battle, and he trusts God, because he believes that vengeance belongs to the Lord, because the Bible says so. So, now, he shares that story with me that night, and encourages me to get out of the battle. But I’m going to be really honest with you, just like I have been really honest with Antonio. As we were leaving that night, I thought, “Wow, he seems like a great guy, seems like he loves the Lord, but he seems a bit radical to me. I’m not a hundred percent sure I’m buying this whole deal.” Right?
Well, the next morning, as God would have it, as I turned my page from the page I had been reading to the page I would read for my next morning’s Bible study, what story do you think I would read? The exact story of King David and Saul that he had just told me the night before, and I was stopped, dead in my tracks. I got on my knees, and I began to weep, because I knew that God was asking me to do something that was incredibly difficult and that went extra-ordinarily away from common sense. I knew that God was asking me to lay down the fight and to trust Him.
So, I began to pray, and I said, “Father, I will do this,” and as soon as I said, “Yes,” God said, “Michael, I will deliver you. I want you to fire your attorney. I will do this in a very unusual way that will bring Me much glory, and it will not be because you had a better attorney.” I heard those words in my spirit as if they were written on the inside of my forehead. This is how you know when you are being spoken to by God, among other ways. So, I made the decision, right then and there, having already spent about $15,000 in the lawsuit, to get out, to be done. Now, keep in mind, at this point, the divorce had started in August. This is now March. We’re only seven months into it, I believe around there, and I’m pulling out, I’m ready to get out.
(back to present day video where Michael is in front of the computer monitor) Okay. So, I’ve made quite a few notes on this one, some things I want to share with you, so I’ll be referring to my notes here. But hang in there with me, and I really believe that God is going to bless you through this. One thing I want to be remindful of is to remind you that behind the scenes of this story . . . I’m just kind of telling what happened . . . behind the scenes is a tremendous amount of time and effort being spent in prayer and seeking Father.
You’ve probably heard me mention, in my other videos or in my autobiography, about how during this season of my life, I’m waking up every day around five o’clock in the morning. I’m in that chair in the living room, and usually between five and nine o’clock in the morning, I would be full-on in Bible study mode. I would get anywhere between three to four hours a day, almost every single day, for about three to three-and-a-half years. My mom used to tease that, more likely than the sun coming up that day was guaranteed that she would come out and see her son sitting there, studying the Bible. I was so hungry for God’s help, and I knew that meant I needed to know God’s ways. How does He think? So, I was in that Bible for thousands of hours.
It doesn’t mean that I know more than you about the Bible, because truthfully, I think I have a little bit of a natural learning disability where it’s very difficult for me to retain what I read. I get to reading the Bible . . . or any movie I watch, I can watch it many times, because I don’t really remember a lot of what I watch the first time. I’ve been like this since I was a kid . . . so, it’s kind of a laborious, bitter-sweet thing. But it took me a tremendous amount of time to remember these principles that you now hear coming out of me all the time, in Scripture. So, just keep in mind: Prayer. What you’re hearing are answers to prayer. God is not just doing this without me having a vital role of humble, dependent prayer, at this point. Okay?
So, another principle that’s going on behind the scenes that the Lord kept showing me a lot was Matthew 5:39. This is when God really begins to point me, as a “Christian” for 19 years, to actually obeying one of the more difficult teachings of Jesus Christ: Matthew 5:39 through 41, where He says, “Do not resist an evil person.” He says, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to them the left. If they sue you for your cloak, give them also your tunic. If they ask you to go one mile, go with them two.” At some point, with the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I decided, “I see how this applies to this situation where my ex-wife is coming at me with all guns blazing, and I need to determine, you know, am I going to obey this?” I felt for sure that God was calling me to it.
I can tell you, with 100% certainty, God was doing it. But see, I had lived 19 years thinking I could be inside of a place where a bunch of people called “Christians” gather, listening to some man teach the Bible, and that I was good. I was in a totally deceived state. As a Christian, believing that, you know . . . I prayed a prayer, I intellectually believed in Jesus, I’m really excited about being with other people who intellectually believed in Jesus, and praised God, and God is great and God is good . . . but I did not, as a Christ-follower, actually KNOW, intentionally OBEY, or even UNDERSTAND the actual teachings of Jesus Christ. This (speaking about not resisting an evil person) is one of the first ones that God brought me to, to teach me to do this.
Then, I saw Luke 6:30, which Jesus said, “If anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back,” and I began to go, “If anyone takes what belongs to you,” and I began to see, “Wait a second. Does this apply to just material things, or could it also apply to children?” My children were effectively being taken from me when my ex-wife moved out, and she just didn’t ask, we didn’t talk about it. July 15th, she just moved out, in 2010, and she took those five babies with her . . . they weren’t babies, but they are my babies, you know what I mean . . . and then, two weeks later, I get the divorce papers, on July 30th, 2010.
She took my children. She took a lot of things. So, I started to see, God is telling me, “Let it go.” And this was very difficult, because everything in the carnal nature, everything in the flesh, wants to fight for material possessions, for one thing. But on a whole other level, as a father, you know “you’re going to fight for your kids, man. I mean, what are you doing here?” You can see it. I’ll talk a little bit more about this Antonio Phillips thing in a minute.
1 Corinthians 6:7, also, where Paul says, “Look, you as believers, you call yourselves believers and you have lawsuits among you, can’t you even find somebody to mediate between you? Do you not know that the saints will judge the angels?” And he says, “Those of you who have lawsuits between yourselves, calling yourself a believer, you have been defeated already.” And I started going, “Wow, okay, so the divorce is a lawsuit, and although I didn’t want to participate in it, I’m having to participate, I’m having to attorney-up, and having to kind of try to push back, and he says why not rather be wronged or cheated?” So, I began to see a totally different side of divorce, and handling an evil person, from what the world tells you.
You’re not going to hear this anywhere in the world. You’re certainly not going to hear it from an attorney. Attorneys will lie to you and tell you that they want to help you get the quickest, easiest solution, and honor your values. That’s all hogwash. They are doing it for one reason only, and that is for money. Let me just tell you this . . . and no disrespect to some Godly attorney who may happen to read this . . . there is a reason why we say, “What do you call 10,000 attorneys at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.” There is a reason why. So, don’t ever believe what an attorney tells you, that they want to help you, and all that stuff.
I also want to mention that one thing that I am aware of that maybe other people were not aware of, or don’t have, is that I had pride, as a father . . . in the face of losing my business, my home, my material possessions, my dignity, my finances, friends, reputation, I still had these five amazing children. And let me just tell you, if you have never had five kids, and you’ve never been a single father, then you cannot possibly understand the pride that comes with having five beautiful children follow you like baby ducks.
I called them my little ducks, because whenever we went out anywhere, they would follow me, and people would regularly announce how amazing my kids were, they had never seen kids so well-behaved. People were always asking me, “Are these all yours?” And as a single dad, it was like driving a Lamborghini, to some extent, meaning there were people with eyes on you, everywhere you go. It was very honoring. Okay?
And my kids were attractive, physically. They were attractive in their dispositions and in their behavior, and it gave me this kind of sick sense that, “You know what? I’ve lost everything, God, but you ain’t gonna take this from me. I’m a good father.” I didn’t say that to God, but perhaps I felt that in my heart, like I longed to prove, “You know, look, I’m a good father. It doesn’t matter what she says about me, I am a good father,” because the truth is, I am. I’m not going to deny it. If I said I wasn’t, I’d be lying to you.
I was a very good father, you know. I was involved. I’m the one that when they fell into the swimming pool, found out about it. I’m the one they would come to, because mom was on her computer, ignoring. I’m working in the house, and 50% of the time, it’s me . . . I’m the one that proactively, when I hear the sound, I get up from my work and run and go see what’s going on.
So, I was very involved. I changed every bit of 50% of the 20,000 diapers that we estimated we changed. My ex-wife could come and go whenever she wanted to, particularly when we worked out of the house. So, I was not this guy who went off to an office and left my wife to fend for five kids and try to survive all day. We had nannies, at times, and I was always available, doing stuff with the kids. I was their number-one source of entertainment, their number-one source of love and affection, and really, discipline. I was always very . . . my kids would testify to this, if they tell the truth . . . they’ll testify that dad was very active in this. So, nonetheless, I had pride in this. God was going to strip me of it.
Don’t you know, Jesus Christ said, “Anyone who comes to Me and does not hate his mother and father, his brother and sister, his wife and children, even his own life, cannot be My disciple.” “Anyone who loves mother or father, brother or sister, wife or children more than Me is not worthy of Me.” See, this was a lesson that God was going to have to teach me, for real, through actual experience. God does not ask every mom and dad to give away their kids or to walk away or give up the battle. That’s not how it works. God doesn’t ask everybody to quit their job. That’s not it at all. But you have to recognize something I hope to allude more to down the road, is that God has a special calling and purpose for my life, okay?
Joseph and his eleven brothers, which one got separated from the others? Joseph. Joseph is different. He’s been set apart. He has a calling. David, and all of his brothers, which one of them had to go through the fiery flames of hell? Which one of them was tormented by a demon-possessed Saul? It wasn’t all of them. It was David. God had a special call, so David was going to have special experiences, both good and horrible, just as Joseph, just as Paul, just as Gideon, just as anybody who God ever chose to use for something. So, keep that in mind.
You don’t have to follow my circumstances, but you follow the principles. My life circumstances, my calling, is not yours. My suffering is not yours. My blessings are not yours. But my God is yours, and the Word of God is . . . my Word of God is your Word of God, and the principles that I follow apply to you, as well. You let the results be up to the Father, but you OBEY AND you TRUST HIM. I was going to be one of those ones who God was going to be pleased to strip me of these children . . . for a season or forever. Who knows? It’s up to God . . . and to allow me to be moved into the purpose.
My friend, this ministry that has touched the lives of thousands of people . . . thousands of people, in a rich way, not just in encouragement. I personally have received thousands of emails from people that have told amazing testimonies of how God has used this ministry. I’ve always explained to my kids, “Do you think God loves you more than He loves them? Do you think God loves those people any less, those who don’t have, or never have had, a father to love them or tell them that they’re loved, those who have never had a big brother or big sister, those who’ve never had a Godly family member?”
“What about all of the spiritual orphans around the world who don’t have anybody, who don’t have a big brother, who your father has become one to those people? Are those people any less important to God than you? You have a father who loves you. A lot of people don’t.”
Exodus 14:14. There were many times that my conscience was stricken in this process where, when she starts to come at me with such evil . . . and to say it’s not evil would be for me to lie or to try to sugar-coat it, and I’m not going to do it. The Bible says, “He who does what is righteous, is righteous. As he is righteous, he who does what is evil is of the devil.” And this is how we know who the children of God are, and who the children of the devil are. “You will recognize them by their fruit.”
And so, when she came at me with this evil, knowing that my enemy is the devil, not her, she’s just being used as a pawn in his hands, I felt such pressure to try to defend myself. I became so shocked by the behavior that I was seeing behind closed doors . . . being the one who it was said I’m the one who’s the weirdo, and I’m the one who’s the freak, and all these things . . . but seeing what I saw in this person, I began to say, “Man, if I don’t do something, nobody is ever going to believe me.” I started making recordings, even in front of her. She knew that I was making these recordings.
I would get the phone out and record, and hold it up, and it wouldn’t even matter, she was in such a rage. She just kept going. It didn’t even matter whether she was being recorded or not. But here’s what I want you to know; my conscience was stricken when I did this. Why? Because I’m thinking at this point, God needs help, like God can’t defend me. See, this is where you have to learn about whether or not you really trust God. It’s easy, anybody can try to defend themselves. But how you know you trust God is when you can look at Psalm 9:49 square in the eyes and say, “A-men. Does He who formed the eye not see? Does He who formed the ear not hear?”
I had to learn to give up my defense and allow God to fight this battle, and I had to recognize that God sometimes intentionally puts people up against impossible odds. Think of Judges, Chapter 7, Gideon. You watch this story, he gathers all these men, and then God whittles them down, and says, “No, too much.” Whittles them down, and says, “No, too much.” He ends up going from like 31,700 or something, all the way down to 300 men to fight a battle that has an innumerable number of soldiers in it. What is God doing? He’s making absolutely certain that Gideon and nobody ever confuses God’s power from their power. God does these kinds of circumstances.
He will put you in very difficult circumstances, so that you cannot do anything to help yourself. Exodus 14:14, you need only stand and watch the deliverance of the Lord. The Lord will fight for you. You can be still. See, this was my first time trying to learn these things, and I didn’t have anybody like me to coach me on this. God was having to coach me. And, thank God, for a few devotions here and there, and just intense Bible study, I started seeing, “Man, this is real.” And of course, the grace of God, through showing me numbers. See, none of this could have happened without an extra-ordinary, massive effort from God. I would’ve never got it; I could’ve never understood these things.
So, let me tell you one reward, an amazing reward, that happened for me. There was . . . the biggest temptation to defend myself was against the accusation that I had had an affair. My ex-wife had gone to a local Starbucks where I was always frequenting with my laptop to do my work to get out of the office, and I got to know the ladies there very well over about a two-year period. “Hi, Donna Hotz, I hope you’re still watching. Love you, Sister, and God bless you for finding God and seeking Him with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.”
Donna was one of the ladies that was at this Starbucks there at . . . I won’t say the name of it, because I think she’s actually still there, so I won’t say the name of where this was at, but anyhow . . . so, she (speaking of his ex-wife) had gone to these ladies and basically, after the divorce, she confessed openly at the coffee counter that the reason why she’s divorcing Michael is that I had had an affair while she was pregnant with the twins.
When they came forward and told me this, they said, “You know, Michael, this doesn’t just add up.” They had been watching me for two years, and Donna and one of the other ladies told me something that was such a great compliment, I felt it was such an honor . . . and this shows how much people are watching you. Not just me. They are watching you . . . they told my ex-wife, “Wow, this is really bizarre. This doesn’t sound anything like the Michael we know. This doesn’t sound like he would ever even be capable of something like this. We have men who come in here all the time that look at us inappropriately, they talk to us, they flirt with us. They try to put on all their moves and all that kind of stuff.” And she (speaking of Donna Hotz) said, “Michael is the guy who doesn’t do that.”
That was such a blessing for me to hear, and I would’ve never known that they were watching me like this, or that they saw me differently like that, until I was falsely accused by my ex-wife. I can’t even tell you how encouraging that was for me hear. It was a small little nugget of vindication, okay, at a time when I’m being brutally accused by the devil, and somebody stood up for me that I didn’t even know was watching me. So, people are watching you, they are watching your life. I was a Christian, and so I was careful of how I treated other people. I’ve always been very careful about how I treat other women in my life, and I tell you the truth, I don’t think there’s a woman on this planet . . . I say this publicly in front of, perhaps, thousands of people . . . I don’t think there’s a woman on this planet who can ever say that I’ve ever looked at them inappropriately, flirted, or given off one ounce of a sense that I was available in that way, or interested in that way.
On the contrary, it’s happened to me, but I haven’t done that. Okay? This is something that is important to me. Job says he made a covenant with his eyes not to look at the fair maiden. So, anyhow, what a praise to God that was, but let me get on with my point. This was so painful for me that my ex-wife was running around and telling people, even business colleagues, that I had had an affair . . . she even went to the leadership of our church, not with me, but apart from me. I never got a chance to tell my side of this story. She didn’t do the teaching of Christ Jesus, coming to me first, then taking two or three other witnesses, and then going to the church. No. She never came to me. She never went with two or three witnesses. She went directly to the church and told them I had an affair, and I was abusive, and all these horrible things, right to my church leadership.
I didn’t even find this out . . . my church was so cowardice at the time. Incidentally, the pastor ended up killing himself, took his life, to give you an idea of what may have been going on in the church leadership . . . but I didn’t even find this out from this church until I was out surfing one day with a leader in the church, a counselor . . . we were out surfing one day, and he just brought it up and told me, and I’m like, “What?”
The point I want to make is, this was very, very painful, and everything in me . . . you can imagine when I had evidence to believe it was her who had had the affair, and she’s running around telling everybody I did, the pain of this was excruciating. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Let me encourage you, it is very usual that the devil moves on a person to accuse you of the very thing they have done. This is a very known principle. So, whenever somebody comes at you hot and heavy, accusing you, ask yourself the question, “Is it not true, or is it not possible, they themselves are guilty of the thing they are accusing you of?”
This became one of my biggest temptations, and here’s the point: I had known and believed in my heart . . . I mentioned this early on in the autobiography . . . that my ex-wife had had an affair while we were married with a former employer. I tell this story where it became pretty obvious to me something happened. I called at her hotel room one night, and I knew they were spending way too much time together, going to Europe together, and all this kind of stuff, and I KNEW, but I made her come off the road. I tell the story about finding out that she’s texting him again, and “What the heck are you doing?” . . . and she lies, and all this kind of stuff . . . I had real reason to believe that there had been a relationship that had continued on, but I couldn’t prove it.
So, now that I’m staring down the barrel of this horrible divorce story, and I have to feel the sense to defend myself, I start thinking, “You know what? I can flip her over on her back with this affair. If I can prove that she had the affair, not me, the Court won’t believe anything that comes out of this lady’s mouth, and maybe this is how I can deliver myself.” I have to tell you, I could’ve very easily made a few phone calls. I knew a couple of people . . . actually, the one person who kind of . . . a former employer of mine . . . who kind of let the cat out of the bag, I could’ve called him. I could’ve called several other people that knew of some of these things, and I could’ve secured a witness to this that would’ve absolutely proven that I knew she had an affair. But you know something? God stopped me, every single time.
Every single time, I couldn’t do it. You know how David cut the corner off of Saul’s garment, and then it says his conscience was stricken, and then we see in 1st Samuel 24, what you just heard me talk about, about how he needs to allow God to judge between he and thee. God was teaching me the same thing. He was teaching me a total abandonment of defending self. It is incredibly difficult to do this. Okay? Especially when your whole life, future, finances and life with your children is on the line.
So, the temptation to defend myself, to find some evidence and throw it back at her and get her kind of off her heels a little bit was very, very much, but God stopped me. And I had a choice. I could either go with everything my flesh was telling me, or I could put down my flesh and trust God.
Let me tell you how God rewarded this obedience. This is truly remarkable. I don’t remember exactly when it was. It was sometime year-before-last. It would have been seven years later, I think, after I found out about it. It’s when, in my story, I’m actually writing about being in the Baltimore, Washington, D.C. area, where I find out this man, who I know now my wife has had an affair with, I’ve caught him in an affair while we’re working.
This lady comes to his hotel room, and she sees me, and the next day, he makes an announcement before everybody, “Oh, Michael, this woman came looking for you, and she had the hots . . .,” and I knew that my employer, this guy that I’m . . . I’m 24 years old, and I think he is like the fourth person in the Trinity. Now, I know this guy is a complete fraud, and I’m devastated. I know he’s having an affair on his wife, and I know that everything that comes out of his mouth when his lips are moving is a lie. I’m devastated by it.
Three days . . . I mean, get this. How unbelievable is this . . . three days after I started writing that, I get a phone call . . . unsolicited. I didn’t go looking for it . . . I get a phone call from one of my children, and the phone call was specifically to say, “Dad, what did you say the name of that man was you worked for years ago that you thought, you know, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah?” And I gave him the name. And he goes, “No. No. No, Dad.” And I said, “Yeah, what’s going on?” And it was that day that my son revealed to me that he had seen that his mother was in a love-affair relationship still, at that very moment, with that man.
So, here it was, seven years later . . . it was 2017 . . . seven years later when this happens that it comes out, without me ever having to go find the evidence. The divorce had already gone through. I had already been victorious in the divorce. But I still didn’t feel vindicated . . . and so here it was, seven years later, without me ever even having to ask, God vindicated me. And He’ll do the same thing for anybody who trusts in Him. He’s a God of justice.
I just feel like that was such a wonderful kiss on the cheek, that God validated and brought to the surface the lie, the sin that had been exposed, and I no longer needed to wonder. I no longer was like, “Wow, did this really happen? Was I making this up in my mind?” No. God brought it to the surface that all these years later, she was in a love-affair relationship with this man, and it had been going on for I don’t know how long.
So, naturally, I got curious. I went online, I typed in some names, and here came up a website where both of them are together in a working relationship, in a business, and as I read the description that’s written by him about her, it explains how they’ve had a non-stop working relationship for 20 years, and it’s all in there. I was just amazed. I tell you, it was just such a relief to me to finally feel like . . . you know, it’s like a person who loses their child to death, and they never know what happened to them, and they recover the body, that sense of (there is no way to spell the sound he makes here, so words are inserted) relief and gratitude. It was a praise to God. That’s a reward for me having waited for God to vindicate.
A neat point I found about that, and I’ve never said anything about it, but take that insight, that information, and compare that to all of the people who love to come to my website and tell me what an adulterer I am, that I need to divorce Persis . . . wait until you hear the marriage story to Persis. Let me tell you something. If you are amazed at this story, your mind is going to be triple-blown when you hear my remarriage story. See, I know God has done this to trip up the legalists, because they can’t handle that God would be this involved in my divorce, that He would bless me like this, and they cannot even remotely handle the remarriage story.
If you don’t know that God did my remarriage story when you hear it, then you don’t know God exists at all. I mean, it’s that black and white. Nevertheless, no matter how many miracles Jesus Christ did, the Pharisees were all still standing there doubting Him, so I’m not going to think it’ll be any different for me. But I like to think that all of these people who come in their spiritual ignorance, or blindness in their legalism, and they say, “You need to divorce Persis and get back with your ex,” these people have no idea what they’re talking about.
This woman is evil. This woman has been living a lie. This woman never repented, she never got better. She had chance after chance. She is living in an affair with the same man that she had an affair with 20 years ago. I mean, imagine that, that a person believes that I should get back with that person who, for 20 years, has lived a lie and lived completely unrepentant, and has continued to just get harder and harder in her heart. You see? People just . . . it’s just incredible. But nonetheless, I just hold on to Father’s story.
Let me also make this point, that when I felt it was too radical to follow Antonio’s guidance, I was violating Proverbs 3:5 and 6. Now, that doesn’t mean that you just take advice from anybody at the water cooler or some stranger. But I really discerned the spirit of love and wisdom from Antonio, but I just didn’t feel what he was saying was right for me, and the reason is, I was still coming out of being carnal. The carnal Christian questions all these spiritual things. He doesn’t understand them, and he leans on his own understanding in violation of Proverbs 3:5 and 6: “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, do not lean on your own understanding, and in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” So, that’s what was going on there.
I already mentioned that God creates seemingly impossible odds. And you know something, these are such exciting days for me to look back on, because these were when I was really learning how to jump off into the abyss of trusting God, leaving behind, you know, the cliff and the shelter of the natural life, having always depended upon myself to save the day or save the circumstances. And now, God’s asking me to leap into the unknown, and it was not easy. God gave me the grace to do it. This is important for you to know, that it is God who gives us the grace to do this. God was helping me. He was giving me all the grace I needed to do this.
It’s so important. I want to make that point so clear, that we cannot do the things that . . . many of the things we cannot do without the help of God. There are many things you can do apart from Him, you have self-control, but there are going to be certain things that are just too big for you. There again, the way to overcome that is the humility to know and admit that you cannot, the faith to believe that God can, and the patience to wait until He does. You cling to Scripture.
I, to get through this season of my life, clung to God’s Word. This is what you can’t see in the story. You can’t see me, for hours, when everybody else is going out to the movies or to the Friday night concert in the park, Michael’s going to the Bible, and I am clinging to Psalm 27, and I am clinging to Psalm 31, and I am clinging to Lamentations, Chapter 3, reading it over and over again, claiming the promises of God. And Psalm 32, and Psalm 64, and Psalm 91. I am immersing myself in God’s Word, clinging and believing. I mean, it was just an incredible experience where I am clinging to God’s Word through this.
I was not strong enough. Now, I look strong in this video (pointing to the computer monitor, referring to the previous video clip we watched in his parent’s house, speaking from the couch.), but this is a guy who’s had victory. Okay? Wait until you hear the victory. You’re going to wonder why I wasn’t more boastful than I am, when you hear what happens. But, you know, before this, I had so many times I was so feeble, and I was so weak, and I’m clinging to God’s Word. That’s what you have to do to get through whatever you’re going through.
Speaking of that, I want to share with you my best spiritual friend in this house in the whole world. I want to share with you the most important resource, next to the Bible, I think I have ever had. You know . . . let me just go ahead and show it to you. (He holds up a copy of STREAMS IN THE DESERT, MORNING & EVENING, by L. B. Cowman.) Streams In The Desert. I cannot recommend to you highly enough to get . . . not just the regular Streams In The Desert. I was given the Streams In The Desert Devotional by my mother-in-law, my ex-mother-in-law, back in 2000, actually. She gave it to me. And when I went through the gym crisis, or the business crisis, many times Streams In The Desert was such a blessing to me.
It has never been more of a blessing to me than in the last few years, and there is the new version, this is “Morning & Evening.” This is where we take L. B. Cowman’s Streams In The Desert and combine them with Springs In The Valley. I am telling you, my friend, there is more of God and His truth and His ways and the depths of the Spirit in this book than in any other book I have ever read, anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances. I continue to be absolutely mind-blown . . . now, listen. God has used this book, many times, to speak to me, as well as numbers.
By the way, let me also make the point: God does not just speak to me exclusively through numbers. He speaks to me, primarily, through His Word. But He also gives me insight in my heart. You’re going to hear a story coming up soon where God spoke a Scripture verse at a time I desperately needed it, right to my heart. There are all kinds of ways God has spoken to me. In dreams. God has spoken to me many, many, many, many, many, many times through this book (referring to the Streams In The Desert, Morning & Evening.). Please get this book. You will learn more about what a real authentic walk in life with Christ looks like, better from this book than you’ll get out of any contemporary book written.
I am so embarrassed by all the stuff that’s been written in the name of Christianity that I see on the shelves at a bookstore. Leave it alone, okay? Leave it alone. Get this. Read the classics. Go to the greats. What this is, she has compiled . . . she didn’t write it . . . she has compiled some of the greatest principles and teachings, regarding suffering and growth and spiritual maturity, from some of the greatest God has ever used, all in one book. I mean, it is incredible. Amy Carmichael, Francis Havergall, Charles Spurgin, Amy Simpson, Andrew Murray, Madame Guyon, I mean, all of my favorites are in this book at one point in time, and many that I had never even heard of . . . George McDonald. There is all kinds of unbelievable stuff in this book. Can you tell I’m excited? Please buy a copy of it.
If you start reading in that book, and you read it every year, you can never exhaust the principles in this. You’re not going to be able to read this book one time. It’s like saying you can read the Book of John one time and walk away. You can’t. You’re going to have to read this for life, and you’ll continue to glean . . . you can’t imagine how many times I’m praying about something, and the next day, I open it up, and there is the exact answer I am looking for, and that’s what God is asking me to do. It’s incredible.
I have a few other devotionals, but this is one of my favorites of all time. I hope you’ll get it. I pray this has blessed you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Remember, if you have some questions, be sure to post them in the comments at the bottom. I’m trying to go through and screen capture them, and then we’ll do that “Question and Answer” session at the end. May God bless you, and we’ll see you on the next part.