It was a warm spring afternoon in June 2005. I was just finishing up with my weekly duties at a local insurance company where I worked for seven years. Once a week my friends and I would meet at a local bar, have a few drinks (some weeks more than others) and then call it a night. We would use any football, basketball or baseball game as an excuse to drink and celebrate. This was my life for many years.
I was married at a young age, and I felt somewhat successful climbing a corporate ladder. Everything on the outside seemed great, like I had surpassed all the opinions of man, but something was missing deep inside. My marriage was in disarray. My job had plateaued. My relationship with God was in shambles. In fact, I had spent the last five years mad at Him, mad at church people and mad at myself. I had felt a passion to help people and to serve others since I was a little boy, but I felt extremely inadequate due to many failures and broken dreams.
As evening approached, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at me as I drove past Abba's House, where our people were building the church my father had dreamed of and the foundation was being poured. The Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit and said, "There lies your destiny. You are needed there now."
This was very strange to me as I hadn't been praying, studying or attending church consistently, which I thought was the only way God would speak to man. I had long given up on the dream of pastoring, and I was far too bitter at the church to represent or serve the church. And yet that night an inner voice or impression grew louder and more real as the night went on. I drank more than usual to try to drown out what the Holy Spirit was impressing on me. Sitting at the bar that night I fell under conviction, carrying a deep sense of guilt.
When I got home around midnight, my wife and I began to fight, which was typical on the nights I would go out with the guys. But this was no ordinary night. Moments later, I was on my knees, unleashing angry words toward God about things I had done, things that had been done to me and things for which I blamed Him. At one point I was yelling at God about my own father, Ron Phillips. Dad has always been my hero and my best friend, but I had grown very bitter at him as well. I felt as if both of my parents were ashamed of me and that they had helped so many other people in ministry but refused to embrace me.
After two hours of this, my wife was extremely scared. She had never seen me behave like this before. Kelly threatened to call my dad during this ordeal. I yelled back, "Call him—he won't come!" Sure enough, she called, he answered, and he came.
When he came in I immediately attacked him with my words about the ministry and how he was gone too much and how he didn't stand up for me during key times in my life. It wasn't pretty.
But I didn't stay there long. I began to apologize over and over. "I am not worthy to be your son," I said. I confessed and repented about certain things I had done to shame our family.
This became a life-changing night. We prayed, cried and forgave one another. My wife and I repented to one another. My dad and I rekindled our strong bond. Most importantly, I repented to God and gave my life to Him once and for all.
Divide and Conquer
Satan has always deceived believers and nonbelievers into a self-centered narcissism that has brought destruction and waste. When you follow the enemy's tracks, his goal is always to divide and conquer.
In Eden, Satan brought death, dealing division to Adam and Eve and plunging the human race into the fall. At Babel, Satan sought to use the miracle principle of unity to lead another rebellion against God. The ancient ruler Nimrod sought to usurp God's throne, as had Satan, by building a tower. Consequently, division came and the nations began to war against each other.
Abraham divided his family by siring a boy named Ishmael, the father of the Arab nation. This division now spans more than 3,000 years throughout the Middle East and will culminate with the end-time war of Armageddon.
The division of Jacob's sons and the selling of Joseph into slavery led to famine and shortage for Israel. This would only be remedied by the restoration of these brothers.
The captivities of both Israel and Judah took place after their division into two separate kingdoms under Jeroboam and Rehoboam. Israel could mark its decline from that breach in family relationship.
When Jesus arrived on the scene, the faith of Abraham was divided into Pharisees and Sadducees. They had wrecked the faith, and now the nation lived in slavery under Herod and Rome.
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