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Chapter XIII  The Omnipresent God of the Road

 

Now I am not a theological Bible scholar by any imagination.  The study of angels or the doctrine of angelology – which I can barely spell – leaves much for me to comprehend.  I suspect that Balaam’s donkey in Numbers 22 knows more about angels than I do.  His donkey got to see the angel.

 

But being a realist I know when I feel something that questions the imagination.  I can tell if it is real or not.  My arm was not only touched, it was shaken.  No one can take away what happened to me.

 

I have seen God act in miraculous ways in my life before.  When I was 30 years of age I was in business for myself.  I had a wooden pallet company in Houston.  As is the case with many businesses you wine and dine your clients.

 

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR6qMUfcehRQCrpMUFkQNLZWo2z5aywgOxL06jaWrQHXRo0qk6xI was developed a habit of overdoing the wining and dining. It was becoming obvious that the alcohol was gaining control over me.  There were several times that I had to have people drive me home as I was not capable of driving.

 

Understand that I was saved when I was 15 in a small country church in East Texas.  Throughout my teen years, I would bounce back and forth with my commitment, but God never let up on me.  He continually pointed out His love for me.  Even as I was moving without His guidance, He was with me all the time.

 

Looking back, one evening in 1973, I was watching TV.  I was watching as I usually do – drinking beer.  There was a Billy Graham Crusade on.  From time to time during commercials, I would venture over to Crusade channel and listen for a moment.

 

You have heard of osmosis.  It is getting something when you are not aware that it is sticking.  God’s still small voice was speaking through Billy Graham and my soul was listening.

 

About 3 AM in the morning as I was watching TV, God spoke to me.  Not in an intelligible voice, but one where there wasn’t any way to miss it – it was supernatural.  He told me that He did not want me drinking any more.

 

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRYH2zKU83WdJQ_bSEkUtdXnzWh7Wz8CC1T1f7NlClr7a5IscNDI am familiar today with free will and I could have chosen to ignore Him.  I felt I had a choice, but I equally felt that based on where I am today, had I made the wrong choice or ignored His command, I would not be here.

 

Somewhere along the line, I would have taken myself out.  But, I believe that I could have chosen to go on with my life and accepted the consequences.

 

But God was so real in His objective for me not to drink anymore.  I felt that my only answer could be, “Yes, Lord.”  I got up from my recliner and gathered all the alcohol in the house and poured it down the drain.

 

I went to bed crying because I felt God was picking on me.  Others could drink.  I enjoyed my drinking time and looked forward to lunch with margaritas.  I enjoyed having beer with the shop crew.  Sporting events just seemed to go with alcohol like bread with butter.

 

The next morning as Carol and I prepared to go to Schulenburg, TX for the 4th of July with her Engelhardt family, I was reminded of the commitment the night before.  I knew I was in trouble.  I could not turn down a drink on my own.

 

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRlKdwBQ8B3tA188GhB2Zw8d8N7_9oD8YeyB6ZYMdE_5v6aVJR3ygI went out in the front yard by myself and threw my fist in the air and told God “Alright, God, you want this – you are going to have to do it.  If someone offers me a beer or a drink, I will not be able to say no!”

 

You have to understand that Carol’s family is German.  Many were first removed from Germany while others had been here for a few years.  They considered beer as water.  I had been with them several times and each time, alcohol was par for the course.

 

I knew they knew I loved beer.  I knew that they would have beer and I knew that they would offer me a beer before they shook my hand on arriving.

 

WELL … we got there … we spoke and hugged some … shook hands with others … kidded with the kids and settled in for an enjoyable time of food and family fellowship.  BUT can you believe this – not one person offered me a beer nor was it discussed.  It was as if the past was totally forgotten and the present was as if it was that day.

 

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTndP3j3POQoTzNfGUByD3eTzpgQqMoL8m_QXlbvXepagpXDNrLI went the whole day not having to answer if I wanted a drink.  Strangely it really did not cross my mind that I was not drinking.  That was 43 years ago today and to this day, I have never had another drink.  Twice I was tricked into a taste but that was nothing.

 

One month later, God removed cigarettes from my life.  One Friday afternoon, I noticed that the pack of cigarettes I had in my shirt pocket was the same pack I had started out the Monday before.  Most of my smoking had been accompanied by my drinking.  Take a drink and then draw on the cigarette in that order.

 

I could have easily replaced the drinking with the cigarettes.  I probably would have increased my dependence on cigarettes even more now that I was not drinking. 

 

On the way home, I knew that God had removed the need for alcohol and if He could do that – He could handle cigarettes as well.  I threw away the balance of the pack I had and have not had one since.

 

ministry.gifAnd within a year, God called me into the ministry.  Had I thought this is where He was going that first night – stop drinking; stop cigarettes; and start preaching – my answer might have been different?

 

In God’s infinite wisdom, He knew that I would need the process.  I have never felt more confident of being where God wants me to be.

 

I graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1975 and pastored churches for 5 years, served with a national evangelist for a year and now involved with the transportation ministry for over 40 years.

 

So to know when God means business; I know that He can do whatever He wants to do.  And to awaken me when I was asleep, He could do it.  If He wanted to use an angel or a two-by-four across my head – He could do it!  As a realist, I knew He directed it.

 

An angel was dispatched to do it.

 

The omnipresent God of the road was with me that night.  He is truly what kept the coach on the road that night.  And He protected everyone on the coach including my hyperactive 10 year old.

 

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