WATCH HOW YOU PRAY!
It has been many years now, 18, going on 19. It all happened
in 1990 in Florida.
I now relate this for the lesson it gives to you all.
I had known for years that God was with me, even from a young
lad growing up in a "church school" and the local corner church
of the town (being a regular attender from age 6).
If you walk with the Lord, if you are called to do His work,
then you need to be careful how you pray at times.
My wife at the time and I decided we would spend the winter
in Florida (my wife's mother lived there during the winter
The very first CGI (Church of God International)
congregation we attended there was in Clearwater where my wife's
mother lived. I will never forget that Sabbath service, especially
the meeting after service. They should have had it behind closed door,
for it was only appropriate for regular CGI members. But, I guess,
it was the Lord's will that it was an open meeting, say like a "town hall
Within seconds of that meeting being started it was obvious
to me that we had here a local battle of the "deacons" over the
minister who had just a week earlier moved to Texas, his work
company had moved him.
The one local deacon and his wife were on a blistering
attack of this minister. They had their supporters. The other
local deacons had most of the supporters of the congregation. But
the personality of the adverse deacon and his wife were those
hard, loud, forceful personalities. It was soon a free for all as
they say. Back and forth went the arguments, in no polite way. I
finally stood up and told them I was an ordained minister and
this was no way to try and solve a dispute, especially of this
king of nature.
It was finally over, the meeting that is. I was immediately
slandered by this deacon and his wife. They told people I was
there to break-up the congregation and whatever else I was
supposed to be there for in their imagination. It was a hard next
few months for me. My wife and I were basically outcasts with
only a few that did not believe the lies.
The situation within a week got so bad within that
congregation that Ron Dart at CGI, Tyler, Texas, told the one
time minister of that congregation he better get back there and I try
to solve the problem. It was only a week or two and he was there.
He brought the sermon. Then we had the open house meeting again.
Back and forth it went. The deacon and his wife against him, did
not mince words, they fired the two barrels of the shot gun at
By the time the minister left for home, he had not succeeded
in bring any peace or closure to the problem.
I continued to be as friendly to all as I could and
certainly not cause any more friction than was already there. You
could cut the air with a knife as they say.
Very slowly we won a few more friends, some were not as cold
to us but they were still watching us out of the corner of their
eye. The deacon and his wife were loud and hard nuts in their
personality, it was their way, or no way. I did as Matthew 18
tells us to do. I went to them personally and privately, to try
and smooth things out with them, and give them every assurance I
was not there to cause trouble or cause division. I was
technically not a member of the CGI, but had for years worked
with them from time to time.
The personal talk with them did NO good at all. They
disliked me and wanted all others to dislike me also.
I tried a few more times to talk with them, and assure them
they did not need to fear me in any way. Nothing was resolved.
The congregation was without a minster. So CGI in Tyler
called the minster over on the other side of Florida (Manuel
Rohorst - probably have not spelt his last name correctly). He
was to come over a few times a month and conduct services, which
I was in touch with Ron Dart by letter, telling him the
situation in the congregation. He did not know I was there until
he got the first letter from me. I was soon a good friend of
Manuel Rohorst. Slowly he won more of the congregation over to
me, by showing he trusted me. But that deacon and his wife,
disliked him and were still trying to turn the congregation away
from Manuel and myself.
It was in the Spring time, Passover time, and Ron Dart came
to conduct the Passover/Feast of UB. I had always had a good
relationship with Ron. It was no different during that Spring
feast. After the first holy day service, I had some who came to
us and said they were sorry, had been misled, and wanted to be
our friends; of course we were happy to have them as our friends
as well as Church of God members without boarders.
BUT it all made no difference to that deacon and his wife.
They were out to run that congregation their way I guess.
I finally sat down and wrote a letter to them, once more
trying to do a Matthew 18. I sent a copy to Ron Dart in Tyler.
As I finished the letter I said to the Lord in prayer,
"Father I now have to ask you to take care of this matter, to
look in your judgment concerning this deacon and his wife that
you know are causing all this trouble in this congregation. I
have to now leave it in your hands."
My wife and I returned to Canada that Spring. It was not
until December that we returned for a short holiday to Clearwater
to visit my wife's mother.
We got out of our car in the parking lot to attend Sabbath
services with the same congregation. We were met by some on the
way into the building with WARMTH, FRIENDLINESS, LOVE. I was
somewhat taken back by surprise by how we were greeted! We walked
into the building. I was immediately met by one of the other
deacons. He shook my hand warmly and said, "Did you hear about
(I've forgotten his name now - the deacon that was causing all
the trouble)...." I replied, "No, not at all."
His continuing words shook me to the ground, left me
"Shortly after you left for Canada, he came down with cancer
from HEAD to FOOT, he was DEAD within a few weeks!"
As I type these words, I'm still again in awesome shock and
the right kind of fear; you do not mess with the Eternal God, or
those who serve Him!"
I have never ever prayed such a prayer again for God to take
care of such people in His judgment!
The now dead deacon's wife was UTTERLY CHANGED into a
HUMBLE, SOFT SPOKEN PERSON. You would not have known it was the
There was LOVE and HARMONY in that congregation now.
As I said I still kinda shake when I think about it all. I
known for years that God was with me, on my side, or I should
say, I was on His side, but that demonstration of His judgment
when I left it with Him, is a lesson I will NEVER forget. And you
should not either.
The Father wants us to be on HIS SIDE!! If we are not, when
we have been guided to be on His side ..... well ..... we may not
like the way He can take care of it.
BE ON THE FATHER'S SIDE ALL THE TIME! ASK TO BE CORRECTED BUT IN
LOVE AND MERCY AS JEREMIAH DID .... JEREMIAH 10:23,24!
"O LORD, I KNOW THAT THE WAY OF MAN IN NOT IN HIMSELF; IT IS NOT
IN MAN THAT WALKETH TO DIRECT HIS STEPS. O LORD, CORRECT ME, BUT
WITH JUDGMENT; ***NOT IN THY ANGER*** LEST THOU BRING ME TO NOTHING!"
Entered on this Website October 2008