Silver Is Golden

                               By Phil Scovell

     Acts 3:6

     Then Peter said, Silver  and gold have I none; but such as I have give
     I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

          Perhaps  the most  major obstacle  a  person faces  who has  been
     assigned to ministry,  unless he already happens to  be a millionaire,
     or is  fortunate enough  to be  called to  service in  a large  enough
     church willing  and able to pay him a  generous wage, is finances.  By
     that I mean,  having enough money.   It seems that money  is literally
     part of training necessary  to fulfill a ministry assignment.  This is
     especially  true  if  your  ministry  assignment  is   a  Lone  Ranger
     commission.  I refrain from  using the words "God called me,"  because
     such isn't true.   I was never called,  at any time, to any  ministry.
     This is especially true related  to the intercessory prayer ministry I
     am  doing now.   Furthermore,  I  never would  have,  picked, for  one
     second, what my assignment is now in the Body of Christ.

          Literally, for many years, I suffered with an monstrous fear that
     God was going to call me  to do something that I knew I  could not do.
     I realize how stupid  that sounds but it was a real fear and anxiety I
     had for years.  I was an assistant pastor once, I was the head pastor,
     if you call 50 church members a head pastor, and in my early twenties,
     I  traveled off and  on for five  years as something  we, as Baptists,
     called an  evangelist.  We  were, of course, no  such thing.   We were
     guest speakers who preached nightly  and held, what we loosely called,
     revival meetings.  These generally lasted a week.  I felt I was called
     to all these various ministry positions.   The result of each ministry
     was an  extreme deficiency   of funds and  generally, it was  feast or
     famine for my family.

          Years ago, I remember hearing  a man preach in the  large Baptist
     church where  I was a  member and a  deacon, or  what some may  call a
     church elder  in other denominations, and  we had a guest  speaker, an
     evangelist, who had  come to preach every evening for a week, that is,
     Sunday  through Sunday.   He was  well known  in our  denomination and
     before  he  had died,  a few  years  later, he  had preached  over 900
     revival meetings.  He was a great man of God, too.

          One night, he told  about when God "called" him to  the ministry.
     I use that term loosely.  He said, "If you are called to the ministry,
     God will open doors so wide, you almost fall right through the opening
     and you will know it is God's will for your life."  He wasn't the only
     one I  heard make  that statement  over a period  of many  years.   It
     always  bothered me, too,  because it had  never happen to  me as they
     suggested.   This alone, after  time, created extremely fertile ground
     in  which  the Enemy  could  plant  corrupt  seeds, and  resulting  in
     considerable  spiritual and emotional  conflicted and instability.   I
     compensated by trying  more diligently to be a good  Christian and one
     hopefully God would some day notice.

          I felt born to  ministry and by  the time I  was thirteen, I  was
     positive I would bee in full time  service one day.  However, it never
     seemed to work  out.  I preached my  first sermon at a  street mission
     when I was 17 years  young.  After traveling as a guest  speaker for 5
     years and starting  out at 23 years of age, being an assistant pastor,
     going through years trying to find a church that would let  me pastor,
     and only to discover they were uninterested  in having a blind man for
     a  pastor,  I  finally  gave  up and  started  a  high  speed cassette
     duplication business.  My customers were mostly churches and traveling
     preachers.  I became half happy.

          Eventually  my business  grew and  also  branched out  into other
     areas  and  somewhat became  international  in  scope.   I  was  still
     unsatisfied and began to pray about whatever it was that simply didn't
     feel right.   Although I was making  more money than I  had ever made,
     something felt wrong.  As I took time out to pray late one evening  in
     my office, the Lord began to minister to me and made it clear His will
     for my life.   It would be  only three months  later before I came  to
     understand what it was He wanted me to do.

          In  mid 2002,  after I  began having  anxiety and  panic attacks,
     nightmares,  and hearing voices, not  to mention suicidal thoughts and
     the  loss  of  my job,  I  realized  the Lord  was  trying  to get  my
     attention.  I know  this because He had told  me earlier that year  to
     quit  my job.  I said, "Are you crazy?"   I wasn't about to give up my
     job.   Besides, we needed  the money.   Then the Lord, in  His patient
     tolerant way, gave me a hint,  in more ways than one, what I  would be
     doing.   I had a  strong feeling  this was something  I was in  no way
     interested.  So much for what I wanted.  In September of that year, my
     job was terminated.

          Based upon the same sort of intercessory prayer ministry I am now
     doing,  the Lord led  me to a  man who knew  how to  pray with others.
     After  several  hours of  one  on  one  prayer sessions,  I  began  to
     experience the renewing of the mind and the healing of brokenness that
     traced clear back to my childhood.

          Following several months of prayer with this man  once or twice a
     week, things were  beginning to change.  The  anxiety was diminishing,
     the  panic attacks were disappearing,  the nightmares were going away,
     and  I was  no longer suicidal.   Ordering  some material, I  began to
     study the same intercessory prayer with which I had become familiar in
     prayer sessions with the man I had met.

          As I studied  the basic material one  day, I heard the  Lord say,
     "Buy the advanced materials."

          I said, "Lord, what for?  I'm just learning this material  for my
     own benefit and for perhaps to help my own family if called upon.  I'm
     not interested in more complex areas of ministry."

          "Buy the advance training material," came that inner voice  again
     and just as clearly as the first.

          Out of frustration, I said, "why?"

          "Because,"  came the answer,  "you will be  working with sexually
     abused women and multiple personality cases."

          I  was stunned.  Me?   I had no interest  whatsoever in either of
     those areas.  Besides, I didn't even know what I was doing with what I
     was learning.   There was  no rebuttal forthcoming  from the Lord.   I
     ordered more materials and began to study.  By the end of that year, I
     released my arguments  with the Holy  Spirit and gave  in to what  the
     Lord had assigned me to do in His name and it was far from easy.

          Once I had yielded to the will of the Lord, the first person with
     whom  I prayed  was a  lady who  had been sexually  abused and  had 23
     alternate personalities.  I was literally feeling my way around in the
     dark, in more  ways than one,  but as hard as  it was at the  times, I
     knew this was my "calling" or literally, my assignment from God.

          As I began  studying the advanced materials I  had purchased, the
     Lord clearly told me  many things.  He said, in  a worship service one
     Sunday morning  in a small church we were  attending at the time, "You
     will  be a father to the  fatherless."  He did  not say, "I am calling
     you to be a father to the fatherless."   I quickly questioned what the
     Holy Spirit had just  said to me, knowing it was the truth, I posed my
     question by  saying, "And whom  do I know  that needs  a father?"   He
     said, "How  about your two daughter  in laws."  I  immediately stopped
     trying to  argue with Him.   Later, I ended up praying  more than once
     with my two daughter in laws.

          Another day, I was seated on my deck swing studying and  since it
     was summer, I became thirsty so put my study material aside and walked
     off  the deck,  through the door,  into our  living room.   That split
     second I  crossed the threshold, I heard the  voice of the Holy Spirit
     say, "this is  who you are  now."  This  was only two  of a series  of
     utterances  I  heard  in  my  spirit  from  the  Lord  concerning  his
     assignment for me.

          After some months  of being in the  ministry full time, I  had no
     job anyhow,  since mine had been discontinued,  so I began, of course,
     to experience financial  difficulties.  Eventually, in recent times as
     I  write  this,  the  bottom  dropped out.    I  wasn't  charging, nor
     suggesting even  a dollar amount, to anyone with  whom I prayed.  Why?
     How  do you  charge people  to pray?   some  donated and those  I sent
     newsletters to,  often donated monthly  as well.  Plus  our small home
     church gave  weekly offerings.   Suddenly,  and without  warning, many
     members of our small  group lost their job for one  reason or another.
     My income became the confession of Peter and John as they spoke to the
     lame man by  the gate as they  entered the temple to  pray; Silver and
     gold have we none.  I became desperate and cried out to God.

          I began to receive what I called, pieces to the financial puzzle,
     when I inquired of the Lord about what was happening.  It became  even
     more frustrating  because the pieces  were not falling into  place and
     completing a spiritual mosaic in my heart.  There  was more, therefore
     I knew, to come.  The problem was, I needed money now.   I didn't have
     time to learn the spiritual and theological intrinsic methodologies of
     financial success and I told the Lord as much.

          One afternoon I was working on  an article.  The Lord had  spoken
     to  me many  months earlier  about  an area  of ministry  He  would be
     leading me into.  I wasn't thrilled with the news because it had to do
     with the demonic realm.  I don't spend much time talking  to demons in
     intercessory  prayer  sessions   because  I  have  learned   it  isn't
     necessary.  When I felt this information  being revealed to me, I just
     figured it meant more of  such demonic manifestations appearing in the
     prayer sessions.  I prayed about it occasionally but never felt  I saw
     an increase of such demonics  in any prayer sessions that  was unusual
     or different.   I didn't  stop to realize  the Lord was  talking about
     demonic tampering of circumstances in my life, my finances, my family,
     my physical body and those in my church.  I should have known better.

          Months  passed,  finances  degraded,  and literally  began  going
     backwards, my son began experiencing a loss  of business, a man in our
     church had a heart attack and  nearly died, and although I knew  these
     things could be happening  do to demonic influence, I felt  nothing in
     my spirit and nothing externally that would indicate this had anything
     to do  with what the Lord  had revealed to  me months earlier.   I'm a
     little slow on the uptake you might say.

          I was seated in my office  and working on an article relating  to
     things the Lord had revealed to me and taught me concerning the nature
     of demonics associated with  those with whom I have prayed.   With out
     warning,  I  felt  surrounded.    It  was  only  an  ambient  feeling,
     nonphysical, but I  was completely surrounded from  all sides as  if I
     might be  encapsulated inside  an invisible  cylinder.  I  immediately
     stop typing because I figured a  direct demon attack was imminent.   I
     had experience just such an attack a few days earlier, not  to mention
     other such experiences over the  years, so I spiritually braced myself
     for  another.    However,  the  feeling of  being  surrounded  had  no
     threatening emotions or presence.  Still I waited for what I  felt was

          Quite suddenly,  there  was a  spiritual  awareness.   It  seemed
     outside of my body  but at the  same time, it felt  inside.  Often  in
     such experiences, I hear few, if any words.  It is generally a feeling
     of instant and complete awareness and as the thought comes, it  is all
     in  one concentrated, high focus, burst.   Later, I have to put my own
     words to the  feeling because the words  are not spoken, they  are not
     audible, and  they do not form in my  thoughts.  Sometimes, however, I
     did get  words  in my  mind but  it  is generally  a  fragment of  the
     complete  thought and only enough to give me an idea.  Why words comes
     occasionally, while other times there  are no words at all except  for
     impressions, I have  no explanation.   This time, there were  no words
     except my own that formed as the impression instantly materialized.

          In my own words,  therefore, I was told that  I had been under  a
     test, in  a manner of speaking, and  that I had endured.   "I have led
     you to  this point to  give you  one of  the important  pieces of  the
     puzzle for which  you seek."  Suddenly, I  realized, without hearing a
     word spoken,  the piece  of the puzzle  concerning finances  was being
     focused upon what the Lord had assigned me to do.

          sitting back in my chair, I  said in my mind, "That is  the key!"
     Then I repeated the thoughts out loud.  "That is the key!"  I had been
     struggling with the  idea of getting  a job, figuring  out how to  get
     more money  flowing, considering  trying to start  a small  home based
     business again,  should I go part time or  full time outside the home,
     praying with people  in the evenings or  on the weekends until  things
     financially stabilized.  I just did not know and I had been struggling
     with such  thoughts for literally  months.  Here's  a tip.   If it  is
     complicated, it isn't God speaking to you.

          One day, as I sat complaining  in prayer, it certainly wasn't any
     form  of communications  I normally  have  with the  Lord, I  actually
     realized that  financially speaking, we  were going backwards.   I had
     this sudden realization, that was God telling me something.  I  am not
     one to  see demons  and to sense  their presence  in a  room.  I  know
     others who have this gift but  I am not one of them.   I recognize the
     evidence of their presence, especially when praying with others, but I
     rarely sense their presence in circumstances but rather I look for the
     signs of their  presence.  As I prayed,  complained, the Lord revealed
     to me  things were  going literally backwards  because of  the demonic
     oppression and tampering of  my finances.  That  was another piece  of
     the puzzle and  there have been many  more; too numerous to  list now.
     That  revelation,  on  the  other hand,  was  a  turning  point  in my
     thinking.  When the presence of the Lord surrounded me, therefore, and
     the Holy Spirit spoke to me, I realize the truth for what it was.

          Now, someone is asking about this time, "So, did a big check come
     in the mail the  next day?  Did  money fall out  of the sky," sort  of
     speak," and solve all your money problems?"  Of course, not but I know
     who Jesus  is now because he revealed  to me that piece  of the puzzle
     many months ago  when this thing started  coming to a head.   You see,
     what  I learned is that Jesus  is all that is  important.  If you know
     Him, and if you know He loves you above all else, then  you know He is
     watching.   He wants to  show us where He  is in our  life.  If  he is
     outside the  circle of  your finances,  that's a  problem.   If He  is
     outside  the circle  of  your physical  well  being, then  you  have a
     problem.   If you  believe that  He hasn't  met  your financial  needs
     before, healed you before, resolved your problems before, then we have
     a very very big problem indeed.  That problem is, we have not made Him
     Lord of  all that  we face.   It works  like salvation.   I  deal with
     people every day who feel  they have lost their salvation,  or perhaps
     they might, if they  don't get everything exactly  right.  I  believed
     this once, too.   Then Jesus showed  me the truth one day  as I prayed
     through a memory that seemed to contain nothing  wrong, sinful, or out
     of place.  Jesus  told me in that prayer, "Phil, you  don't have to be
     perfect  because I am."   On the other  hand, seeing our circumstances
     outside of Christ, makes it  impossible for Christ to be Lord.   If we
     begin to doubt our salvation, then Jesus is not on the inside of  your
     circle of belief.  No wonder  we doubt.  This is true of  every single
     promise the Lord has  made to us.  He is, in  other words, our Healer,
     or He  isn't.  He  is either  our Provider,  or He isn't.   He  either
     blesses  the work  of  our hands,  or  He doesn't.    He either  takes
     pleasure in  the prosperity  of His  servant, or  He doesn't.   He  is
     either  Lord, or He isn't.  Besides,  it finally dawned on me one day,
     if  I wasn't Born  Again, washed in  the blood of the  Lamb, the Enemy
     would  not bother trying to convinced me I was a lost sinner and going
     to hell.  Why would he do that if I was lost?

          In everything, therefore, the key  is Lordship.  Where does Jesus
     stand  in your life.  I know what  some are thinking based upon what I
     used to think.  I knew all these  things I have been talking about, as
     far as God's promises were concerned, for 50 years of walking with the
     Lord as a Christian.  I even tried applying it time and time again.  I
     committed hundreds of  Bible verses to memory.  I was faithful in ever
     category of Christianity one could name.  I felt exposed, fearful, and
     vulnerable  to any circumstances  that I found myself  in at any given
     time.  The truth is this.  Jesus is all we need and  He is as solid as
     a  rock.  Believe anything  else, and your  relationship with the Lord
     will drift aimlessly  anywhere the Enemy chooses  to blow.  So,  do we
     fight the Enemy?  No, Jesus has  already defeated him.  We simply live
     in Jesus and  listen for His voice.   Jesus supercedes the  silver and
     gold which your unbelieve says isn't there.

          finally, let me point out  something you should already know.   I
     am not your  example.  I could  fail, crash and  burn in my  Christian
     life, and  that should have no  effect upon you and  your relationship
     with God.   I have seen many men  of God self destruct in  my life and
     some I considered  great men of God.   If your eyes are  on anyone but
     Jesus, you  will never see/believe  the truth about any  situation you
     face.  Sometimes,  of course, we need  help.  In  fact, accountability
     is, or should  be, the main  goal of any  church Body.   If we do  not
     submit ourselves one to  another in the fear of the Lord,  we will not
     be able to experience complete and total filling of the Holy Spirit.

     Safe Place Fellowship
     Phil Scovell
     Denver, Colorado
     Mountain Time Zone

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