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Choosing Rather To Suffer

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For some time now I've been in a place of being heartbroken and crying out before God for His direction, for His words and for a new and more powerful unction and anointing to bring those words of faith.

I am personally convinced that the last thing the body of Christ needs is one more message from one more preacher; for, God help us, we've already had too many messages from too many preachers. What the Body of Christ needs is the absolute and only unction from God Himself. A word that would bring the spirit of conviction and repentance upon the people of God, and this I am convinced is going to come only through those with a very deep, prayer filled life. For I yet believe that even in these last moments of time Jesus is coming for a vibrant, on-fire, faith filled, Holy Ghost filled people who are crying out to know and to experience the brokenness and suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many years ago in the early 80's, I pastored a small church in northern Minnesota. One day the Lord spoke to me so clearly and He said, "My son, I want you to take your family and move to Texas." I had only been to Texas once, driving through on my way to somewhere else and I really did not know anyone there, or know much about Texas itself. I had very little money and a rusty, half-broken down Chevy Vega, but because of the urgency in God's voice, a few days later I put my wife and kids in the Vega and left for Texas, having no idea where I was going to end up.

Some dear friends agreed to have an auction for us and sell off what we had. Upon arriving in Texas the Lord directed me to drive to a small town by the name of Lindale. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had never ever heard of this place much less been there, but we parked on a corner by a bank and we prayed. I asked the Lord "I'm here Jesus, now what?" He very clearly told me to go down a certain street, then further directed me to take a left turn, then a right, until we finally ended up on a dead-end road. On the end of this street was a small two-bedroom house with a 'For Rent' sign in the window and a phone number listed.

The Lord said, "This will be your home." At the time I think I had less than $100.00 to my name. I knew it would not be nearly enough to rent this place, much less pay for electric and phone deposits.

Not knowing what else to do we went to a phone booth and called the number on the sign. It turned out the owner of the house lived in a community approximately 70 miles away from Lindale. We asked the man if we could rent the house and told him quite honestly we had no money. He asked us why we had moved to Texas and we told him the truth, because in obedience to God, you will never be left wanting. The man then said the following- (this is absolutely a true story) "I will be happy to rent the house to you but the last renters moved and took all the keys with them, so go back to the house, go around to the back, break the window and go in the house. Then go to the hardware store in town there, ask them for some new locks and also tell them to bring you a new refrigerator. Give them my name and tell them to bill me, they know me there." He also said "It will be at least a couple of months before I can get there, at that time we can talk about the rent. Don't worry about it until then." By the time he got out to see us, the Lord had supplied the necessary finances to pay him what I owed him. Shortly thereafter we started a small church which quickly grew to a medium sized church and we were very blessed and happy there. But the really important thing was yet to happen. The local newspaper had a section called, I believe, The Pastors Corner where they had a different pastor write something each week, as most small town newspapers do, and one day they called and asked me to write something for the upcoming edition. The article I wrote was entitled "Don't blame Jesus" (which you can find on the website here.) I was very surprised they even printed it.

Out of this came one of the greatest experiences of my life, for in this town there lived a great man of God whom I had only read about. I had read just about everything he had written up to that time. It never entered my mind that the Lord would actually allow me to hear this man speak in person, much less meet him. His name was Brother Leonard Ravenhill and about two weeks after the article came out I was over at the church doing some yard work when my wife told me I had a phone call. I asked her to take a message and tell whomever it was I would call them back as I was busy at the moment. She answered me by saying, "I think not- it's Mr. Leonard Ravenhill." I walked into the church wondering why this great man of God would be calling me, of all people. As I went to the phone and answered it, he said "I would like to see you and your wife in my office in half an hour." Needless to say half an hour later we were extremely nervous, maybe even a little afraid, but we were at his office. He talked to us about the article and he told me how much he had enjoyed it. He introduced us to his most lovely wife; Martha and we had tea with them, spending a couple of hours with them just sharing Jesus. It was a wonderful experience and the first of many times we were blessed to have tea with them, and pray with them. During this time Brother Ravenhill had given me many words from the Lord, and in the years following sent me many letters and books which I cherish to this day. Then one day he told me, "Ron you are not needed here in Lindale.  We have too many pastors here as it is. You need to go to other countries, spread the Gospel, boldly speak the words God gives you, stir up the churches and be afraid of no man." Shortly thereafter, the Lord opened the doors, provided the means and we did leave Texas, traveling through much of the world. And every word Brother Ravenhill had spoken to me regarding the suffering I would go through, the heartbreak, the hardships I would endure, the sin I would find in the church, particularly within the headship, and the personal heartaches, were all fulfilled.

When we finally returned to the United States, one of the first pieces of news we heard was that this dear man of God and his beautiful wife, Martha, had both gone home to be with the Lord for all eternity.

Many would say that he was a man who spoke his mind, and to that I would answer- NO, NO, a thousand times NO, for he was a man who spoke the mind and the heart of God. This was a man who prayed like no man I had ever met, with a heart for God the likes of which I have never again encountered. I now have the privilege of bringing to you one of his last messages and I pray to God that it touches you, stirs you, wakes you up, and makes you aware not only of the sad condition the church is in but of your own condition before the Lord as well.

Pastor Ron

Windows MediaListen Choosing Rather to Suffer, by Leonard Ravenhill
 
Everyone must die sometime.
"...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment..." Hebrews 9:27

 
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