Chapter 4 A PROMISE DRAWS NEAR When I first became a Christian I knew nothing about God, not that I profess to know much now. The more you learn the more you realize that a created thing, us, can only comprehend only a little about the God that spoke everything into existence with the words of this mouth. I thought that everybody believed the same thing but just met in different little buildings with different names on them. Wrong! Someone once wrote, “religion is man’s idea of God but Jesus is God’s idea of himself”. I hesitate here to speak of some things since there is so much unbelief among believers! What a peculiar thing to have to write! But I am not an explainer, merely a witness and a reporter that observed all of these happenings. Having never been associated with God before in a positive way, I had nothing to go by except the written word of the bible. “What saith the word” someone said, and that’s a good saying indeed. If it disagrees with scripture, chuck it out. If the preacher says it and it goes against the Bible – throw it out. If you have a check in your spirit, your inner man, then you better proceed with caution, whatever it is. We believe that God still can and will do anything, and that he wants to move on our behalf more than we want him to. We believe that all of his gifts and callings and annointings are for the dirty here and now and not the sweet by and by. We won’t need miracles in Heaven, I need mine now! How about you? Lord, heal me! I began to have serious chest pains about this time. I have always worked hard and once had a little sawmill I liked to work at. It was not our livelihood, but I really liked to fell trees and saw lumber. After I came to know the Lord I would be working around the mill and would sit down on a log while my heart just ached and hurt. Pretty scary to me, those battles with fear. The adversary would awaken me with pains during the night and whisper “you won’t live to see your children, for you are about to die”. I would be filled with fear and my hands would be wet with perspiration. One day at work during lunch I was outside talking to Andy, a friend, when a chest pain hit me that felt like someone hit me with a four pound hammer. I actually staggered backward. “Well Frank!” was all Andy could say. It was getting really scary now. One night at church a minister got a word of knowledge from the Holy Spirit and said that there were two men in the congregation that had been having chest pains, and that if they would come forward God would heal them. I went forward of course and was anointed with oil and prayed for by the church elders. Naturally the symptoms continued but that is where faith comes in. At work one day I walked next door to Safeway at noon time to get something for lunch. Our office was on the second floor of the Tanglewood office building at Mississippi and Cantrell in Little Rock. Coming back, I was going up the stairs and a terrible chest pain hit me. I was determined that I had heard from God, so I just took off running down the hall saying “devil, you’re a liar. I’m healed by the stripes that Jesus bore and his shed blood. If you have any power at all against the blood and name of Jesus than I give you permission to kill me”. He backed off and declined my offer. More than once I’ve been in the woods hunting and began to have severe chest pains. I would lean my gun against a tree, get down on my knees there in the forest cathedral, and cry out to my maker, savior and healer with tears and supplications for his mercy. Over the years I have had lots of incidences but still believe that God has touched me, after all I’m still here! I’ve never been to the doctor about this by the grace of our healing Lord. It was 1977 when I was called out in that service and it is 2007 now. Thirty years more by God’s grace. I still have those chest pains from time to time by the way but have never been to a physician for them. No bragging, except on the Lord. A word from the Maker In the spring of 1978 Martha had gone to a women’s ministries meeting where the guest speaker was to be a lady by the name of Aquilla Wilkins. I had been doing something else that Saturday, but came by the meeting after it had started as men were welcome too. After I had been there for awhile this lady singled out Martha for personal ministry and began to prophesy to her. Somewhere we still have this on a cassette, but I remember the main part. God said to Martha through this handmaiden that “I have seen your tears in the midnight hours, and because you have dared to believe me, I will do for you, even for you, that thing that men say is impossible for you, it is time now and you will receive.” Martha just broke of course and I was amazed, because only God knew what Martha had been crying out for. A child had never been mentioned by this stranger, but we and many of our brothers and sisters there knew. Even though the Lord says it was time, his “right now” may be years or it might be today. He is in charge and does whatsoever he pleases. God speaks directly to us (and he will to you) We prayed while we waited, with tears and strong crying as the bible says. It was on Tuesday, October 9th, 1979 ,when a message about our waiting came. I’d stayed home from work that day with a splitting migraine headache, not to mention the fact I didn’t have enough money to buy gasoline that day. Once I drove the forty five miles to work on a completely empty gas tank but that’s another story. After awhile that day I began to fell a little improved and so sat up in my chair with a bible, a James Strong concordance and pad of paper to do a little bible study. As I sat there I was praying in the spirit – speaking in tongues, and I realized that the Lord was giving me the interpretation. I had paper and pen in hand and so began to write; this is what I heard in my spirit and put down on paper: “Thus saith the Lord; I have done as I have said and fulfilled my counsels. Now will my name be glorified in the thing of which I have spoken. Now will ears tingle at the testimony of this work. You have waited but I have waited too. I have heard you from the first time you ever cried out to me for a child. Because you looked to me and not to men have I done this. The mouths of the scoffers will be shut at the telling. Fear not, the word of the Lord is good news. We will rejoice together in this”! (it came out in King James English to my ear, for that’s what I studied in. I asked God once “you didn’t speak King James English and how could I be hearing from you that way? He informed me that he could speak in whatever manner he chose without input from me. Yes sir was the correct response) Jesus said “My sheep know my voice”. Will God speak to you? Yes. Can you hear him when he does? Practice listening in a quiet time of prayer and Bible reading, your hearing will improve. Could we dare believe that it had really happened? After all of this time and after all of the tears and prayers could we actually have received such a miracle from the great Creator? After 14 childless years were we really going to be parents? It had been 27 months since Martha & I had heard the prophecy through Aquilla Wilkins. After everything that had happened could it really be time now? So much had happened that I cannot write all of it, including taking my sister Judy to church one Sunday night and seeing her yield her life to Jesus. Martha and I were stunned to say the very least. Later that week we drove to Little Rock and Martha had a pregnancy test. We’ll never forget the words of the technician that day in October, 1979, “It’s a nice positive result”. I took off work that day and we went to everyone we could think of and told them the glad tidings. As the Lord had said “the mouths of the scoffers were shut at the telling”. I remember seeing some jaws that actually fell wide open as if their muscles had disappeared. We especially enjoyed telling those we knew had no belief at all in what we had prophesied to them. All Martha’s father had to say with his usual lack of grace was “are you sure”? Cold as a fish and uncaring as usual with heavy sarcasm. No gladness for us, no joy for us at all. I never did like the man, but would have loved to have him as a friend. After our children were born he never even came to see them. It was the next day or so after the positive test that Martha went out and bought a baby book. In it she wrote the name of the son God had promised us, Nathan Matthew Jennings. It was the end of the Joshua story and the beginning of a brand new one. A story with children of our own to be a family with us for surely “God sets the solitary in families”. Martha’s pregnancy went well and was a total joy and we witnessed our miracle to any poor victim we could corner. There were some raging storms though that came against me. One of them I thought might well be my finish, and I wondered if I would be here to see the birth of my son. With every promise of God to you there will be a great battle. You might as well write it down and prepare yourself. God gave the promised land to the Israelites, but they had to walk it with their feet. God was with them in the battles but they had to march into the battle believing he was with them. It’s the same now for believers that are waiting on a promise of God. You must walk into the battle knowing that he has gone before you. The world says seeing is believing, but to a believer assurance is strong without seeing. "Blessed are they which have not seen yet believe." Chapter 5 “A promised son is born to the Jennings’,” will be posted in January.