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Footsteps of an Approaching God

Jim Ayer
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Jim Ayer

Vice President for Advancement, Adventist World Radio

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Recorded

  • August 6, 2009
    9:00 AM
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Copyright ©2009 ASi Ministries.

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“Lord, I need Thee every hour.” That should be the prayer of each one of us, shouldn’t it? Can you hear it this morning? Can you hear it? That’s the footsteps of an approaching God. Turn on your radio. Listen to the news. It’s the footsteps of an approaching God. Read the newspaper. Turn on your television set. You can hear the footsteps of an approaching God. Look in the church. Look in the world. Everybody’s running to Rome. All these things going on, you can hear, brothers and sisters, the footsteps of an approaching God.

 

Praise God that ASI is on the cutting edge of things. You look at the Youth for Jesus, what an exciting group. That means that we can hear the footsteps of an approaching God. GYC, I mean, the list could go on and on and on. We can hear the footsteps of an approaching God. But at the same time as God is preparing His people for His soon coming, the devil is as a roaring lion going around seeking whom he may devour. But, you know, I didn’t always believe that.

 

I didn’t believe in a lot of these things. As a matter of fact, I didn’t believe in any of these things. Now, it may be a little difficult to look at me this morning, you know…I was going to say middle-aged, but I can’t say that anymore, Herb, you know. But look at this fellow up here. I didn’t always look like this. You see, I was a drug dealer, an alcoholic, and a thief.

 

One day in my life, I was sitting in my little room, and I was smoking away on a joint, and all of a sudden, all of a sudden, the room just expanded into this mighty auditorium, and there on the bottom floor was God and the devil. I didn’t need any introduction; they were debating over me. Well, I couldn’t really understand a lot of the things they were saying, but I can remember that the arguments the devil was using over me were the same things I’d used to turn people on to drugs.

 

You see, young people, you’ve got to understand that the devil hasn’t changed his arguments in 6,000 years. “Go ahead, Eve, try it. It will raise you up to a superior existence. It will be enlightening. It will be exciting. Go ahead, just try it. Just one bite.” Sin, for the first bite, is exciting. Sin is exhilarating at the first bite, but then you know the rest of the story.

 

And there the devil was debating over me, but, praise God, the things that God would say, the devil would have to be quiet. He was just silenced. And then a moment would pass by, and again the devil would come with another argument, and God would again say something, and the devil would have to be quiet again.

 

And soon, it was all over, and I was back in my room stone-cold straight and sober. And just like I’m speaking with you this morning, the voice said, “Jim, Jim, you have a short time to decide.” And I thought, “This is crazy. You know, I’ve taken all kinds of drugs. I’ve done all kinds of things, and I don’t understand what’s going on here. I’ve never had a bad experience.”

 

And every single day that I would get loaded, which was every day, the voice would say, “Jim, you have a short time to decide.” Well, it got to the point it almost ruined the whole experience for me, and I finally, I finally quit. And I moved back in with my parents, which was an interesting thing to do at that time. I wanted my dog to sit at the dinner table with me. You’ve got to know my mother to understand that one.

 

But they loved me so much, and they wanted me to be a part of the family again so much that they kind of allowed it. Now, my mother was so fastidious, in those days when people would smoke, I swear she cleaned out the ashtray between flicks of the ashes. But she allowed this.

 

But as time went on, it’s like I wanted some drugs so badly I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t do anything. I wanted something so much. And after about eight months, I went to the local bar. I thought, you know, drinking, that’s okay. So, I went to the local bar, and at the bar, I’m sitting there, and a fellow walks through the door. And the old saying, “It takes one to know one,” I thought, “This guy’s packing.” Well, he began talking a little bit and saying he needed a ride to the next town. And it just so happened that’s where my girlfriend was, a young lady I was going out with. That young lady is sitting in the front row day, 39 years of marriage, by the way.

 

You know, it gets better all the time. You know, if it hadn’t been for God, we couldn’t have gotten through a lot of this, but, praise God, stick with it. If you’re younger, it gets better all the time as long as you look to God.

 

But this guy hopped in my car that night. He rolled a joint and said, “Would you like a…?” Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, he didn’t finish the sentence. I didn’t finish the sentence. I just grabbed it out of his hand, and off I went. And no voices, it was great. And I started getting my loved one over here in the front seat, I started getting her loaded. I used all those same arguments to turn her onto drugs. She was so sweet. She was so wonderful. She’d never done anything like that in all her life.

 

But, oh, you know, I had the cunning of the devil on my side, used all those arguments. Well, life went on for a while, and we began having a good time. And then one day I took her down to a river, got loaded, and I said, “Honey, would you marry me?” Kind of an interesting thing. You know, I had to get her stoned before she would say yes, I think. But, you know, she said yes. We got married, and we traveled along that pathway for some time, but no voices, no voices at all.

 

One day, I was down in Sacramento, and we were partying with some friends, and I was so loaded that night that Janene had to drive. I couldn’t drive. We’d get home. She was changing the baby on the kitchen table, small house, changing the baby on the kitchen table, and by now she’s loaded, too, and I’m loaded. And all of a sudden, I walked back into the other room, and there’s the voice. It said, “Jim! Tonight is your last night to decide.”

 

And it was at that moment, there were the crossroads of eternity. I mean, this way led to eternal life and this way to damnation, and I needed no one to tell me anything else. It’s like I knew it was there. It was laid out right in front of me. And I went to the drawer, and I picked up all my stuff, and I walked into the kitchen, and I said, “Honey,” I said, “I’ve got to get rid of all this. I’ve got to flush it down the toilet.”

 

And she just kind of smiled and went on changing the baby. I walked into the bathroom, and I poured everything into the toilet. Now, this was not the only time I had poured things into the toilet, you understand, because I’ve had a knock before at the door of the police, and everything went into the toilet as fast as possible, but this was different. This was different. When I poured everything in there and flushed that toilet, all of a sudden it was like every care in the world, the weight of the world, was lifted off my shoulders, a weight I didn’t realize I even had until that moment.

 

You see, the devil weighs us down just an ounce at a time so we don’t realize it. We begin carrying this huge load, and pretty soon it feels normal. And all of a sudden it was gone, and I was holding onto that white porcelain bowl, and the tears were coming down out of my eyes. And I turn around, and there’s my sweetheart in the door, and she’s crying, too.

 

And at that moment, I turned to her, and I said, “Honey, would you join me in a prayer.” We got up, we walked out into the other room, and we put our arms around each other and said, “God, I’m sorry it took so long. I’m sorry it took so long.”

 

And then we, you know, we began thinking, well, now we’re Christians, what do we do? Well, I guess we should go to a church. And so, we began going to the place of a fellow that married us, but every week it kind of seemed like the same thing. Every week he repeated the same things. I wanted more. I wanted more.

 

And I began trying to study the Bible and learn a little more, and soon, one day, I’m sitting back, Sunday afternoon relaxing, and all of a sudden on television comes this, the most glorious story ever told in living color, and this beautiful set of studies…I forgot exactly how it went, but I didn’t want to tell you the punchline, so I’m kind of skipping around what they were called. But I ordered them, and they finally came, this beautiful 10-volume set, and they sat there on the shelf. One day, I thought, “Hmm, maybe I ought to see what’s in these.” You know, I didn’t want my son to go through all the things I had gone through, and so I bought these for him.

 

But I thought maybe I ought to check them out, so I opened volume one, and I began reading. “Hey, I could understand this. This was written for me.” I just began loving it, and I had volume two and three and four.

 

And every day I’d go to work. We had a store at that time, a business in town, and every day I’d go to work, and I didn’t care to sell anything. I just wanted to tell everybody about Jesus Christ. I began studying my Bible continually. I began praying all the time. I began doing so much, one day I can remember…Is it okay to tell this, honey, on you? My wife said, “Wow, I wish I could get between the pages of that book.”

 

I wasn’t paying any attention to her at all. Husbands, you’ve got to pay attention to your wife, believe me. I would study and study and pray, and it would be two, three, four five o’clock in the morning, and I would go to sleep for a couple of hours and get up energized, ready to go tell the world about Jesus Christ.

 

You see, that’s the way it is when Jesus comes into your life. You can’t control it. You want to know if someone loves the Lord? Watch what they do. Watch who they tell about Jesus. That’s how you can tell. You can be fruit inspectors that way.

 

Well, I continue along, and one day I got to this volume, and it was just about Easter time. And I was reading where they sacrificed a lamb, confessed their sins over the lamb. And I thought, “I’ve got to go find a lamb.” But where can I find the lamb? It’s not in the classified section usually, “Lambs for sale for slaughter.” And I thought, I can’t tell my wife. She’s going to think I’ve absolutely gone crazy. She already was beginning to think it a little.

 

But I continued to pray, and I thought, “If this is what God wants, I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to follow my Lord wherever He guides and wherever He leads.” But, praise the Lord, I got to that volume just before Easter that said, “Jesus Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” I thought, Hallelujah! I found Jesus. Isn’t it great how God leads us step by step by step to an experience, to a relationship, to a fellowship with Jesus Christ?

 

“This is life eternal that they might know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” And, wow, I began studying even more, even with more earnestness. And I prayed continually. And I could hear God saying, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” You know, if you can’t hear God speaking to you, I would submit to you, you’ve got a problem at the very core of your Christianity because God’s the same yesterday, today and forever. He spoke to people in the Old Testament. He spoke to people in the New Testament, and He wants to speak to you.

 

But He can only do that as we have a relationship with Him, as we have a fellowship with Him, as we get to know Him intimately and personally. Oh, and we had that relationship, and it was so exciting. God led us through pathway after pathway.

 

You know, one day I actually became a colporteur? I was sitting in that meeting, and they were complaining about…They had put out this beautiful ad across the airwaves. It had a toll free number, and there was only one person that responded to that ad. Janene and I, we’d been the one that responded. Tell me that God doesn’t know your address. God knows your address! God knows your life, and He’s looking for you. He’s looking to spend time with you to have that friendship with you personally, individually.

 

And it just became so exciting as life went on, but, you know, we had a call to the ministry. We went to school, and out of school, a pastor from the Nevada-Utah Conference called and said, “Jim, we’ve got a brand new church we’d like you to pastor.” Well, something had happened in the interim. You see, I began studying less and praying less, and when he called, I looked at my young family, looked at my wife, looked at our business that we’d had. And, long story there, we had to reclaim it from someone. And I said no, and at that moment, I could hear the Holy Spirit trying to get through to me, but I didn’t want it. I kept backing up, and I went into real estate, and I began becoming very successful. I ended up in the four percent of all of Coldwell Banker agents in all of North America. And I had a radio talk show, and I was on television, and I lobbied for congress and various things on Capitol Hill. I was a player on Capitol Hill.

 

Doing all these things, I looked really good. I was extremely successful as the world counts success. And I was sitting in church. I was still preaching, but I was preaching without the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s a terrible thing to do. Sitting in that church pew looking fine, paying tithe, keeping the Sabbath, doing all these things, but I was lost. I was absolutely lost.

 

And then one day God said, “Jim!”

 

“Yes,” I hadn’t heard that voice for a long time, at least that I wanted to pay attention to.

 

“Jim, the Holy Spirit may be poured out all around you, and you will never recognize it.”  Wow, I don’t want that to happen. I began talking with a friend of mine, an orthopedic surgeon, and he was having the same troubles, the same trials, the same problems.

 

We said, let’s get together on a Friday night. Let’s at least try and do something. Let’s do something. We didn’t know exactly what. Well, he had heard about a particular study, and that Friday night we get together, and there’s about eight people there. And he opens the back of the book, and in the back of the book, well, some very interesting words. “I covenant to spend time with God every single day in prayer and study.” Well, I’m too important for that. I can’t do that. I’ve got too many people that depend on me. I’m making too much money. I’m doing this, I’m going here, I’m doing that, I just don’t have that kind of time. I can’t sign this! Everybody else in the group signed it. Everybody else was happy to sign it. And I couldn’t do it. I closed the book.

 

The meeting went on. Everybody continued on the whole evening. And at the end of that evening, they plugged in, at that time it was a video, plugged in a video, and that preacher was talking directly to me. A good thing the lights were off, because he was talking about, “You’ve piled up so much garbage in front of the door of your life that even if God calls you to service, even if you hear it, you can’t get to the door to answer.” And that’s who I was. I had piled up all these things between God and me.

 

Lights were turned back on. Got the back cover inside open. Everybody’s walking out the door. The Holy Spirit’s saying, “Jim, sign it, sign it, sign it.” I’m still looking, and finally, just before I walk out the door, I signed it. And praise God I signed it because God changed our lives. Janene said that she signed it. He spoke to the two of us at the same time, and our lives were altered completely at that very moment.

 

And guess what? We got home, and I found time to study. You know how that happened? The first thing the Holy Spirit said, “Jim, cut out all the premium channels out of television,” and I had the time. And it got so exciting. I began to study more and more and more. I began to pray more. I began to journal.

 

If you’ve never tried journaling, it’s kind of neat. You know, you can focus step by step on praising God and giving glory to Him. And over the years I’ve thought about those in the new heavens and new Earth will just be out there in the fields, and all of a sudden they’ll praise God. And I hadn’t had that in my life. How could you just spontaneously out there in the middle of a field lift your hands up and praise God? But soon I began feeling that way. It was so exciting. I began knowing Jesus Christ. This is life eternal, that we might know Him, that we might know Him.

 

Wow, sitting in church one day, I’m thinking about selling everything and going down to Costa Rica. That had been my plan for some time. My wife, it wasn’t her plan, but it was my plan. You know, we could sell everything, move down there, and retire like kings. We could have a maid and a servant and a gardener and a chef and this and that and kick back and have the good life. But I’m still kind of thinking about that in church. You know, the Lord hadn’t led me all the way yet.

 

And that day, the Lord said, “Jim, you need to do something for Me.”

 

“Okay, Lord.” Well, we got to the car, and I said, “Honey,” I said, “the Lord said that we needed to do something for Him this year.”

 

“Yeah!” she said, “Let’s go on a Maranatha trip,” just, I mean, that fast. So, Don Noble, thank you for Maranatha. Just that quick, I said, “Well, okay.” We got home and Monday morning called up Maranatha and said, “Where are you going?”

 

“Well, we’re going to Irian Jaya, and we’re going to this place, we’re going to that place.”

 

I’d never heard of Irian Jaya, and it cost more money anyway, and I said, “Okay, we’ll go to the other one,” it’s cheaper. We got to that location. I never laid block in my life, and standing there with a block in my hand and the mud. And it turns out one of the vice presidents of Review and Herald was standing right across from me, and he said, “Isn’t it wonderful that we’re the answer to the prayers of so many people?”

 

You know, and I guess, I don’t know, I just kind of tear up easily, and I had to turn around because I looked at these people, the people that were there, and we were the answer to their prayer. I hadn’t been the answer to anybody’s prayers for a long time, for a long time, for a long time. We’d get home in the evening in our little tent. We shared the tent, by the way, with someone that I think was about in his 80s, and he would come in the tent like this. And forgive me if you’re watching today or in the audience, but we had to get to sleep right away because he snored so loudly, we could never get to sleep. But, you know, it was an absolute miracle because he’d walk out in the morning like this. He’d get to the job site, and his job was mixing the mud. Can you believe it?! His job was mixing the mud, and he’d take those five-gallon buckets, and he’d hand them up to everybody the whole day all day long!

 

And then at nighttime [shuffling, stooped over]. I tell you, you want to get excited on the jobsite, God will give you an infusion of energy to go serve Him! He is so wonderful. He will give you power. He will give you strength to go out and serve Him. Do it. Try it.

 

Anyway, we’d get to our tent, and we’d be so excited and say, “We’ve got to do more of this! This is wonderful stuff!” As soon as we got home, we went to the Maranatha office and said, “Where are you going? We want to got there. We want to lead a team.”

 

They said, “Well, we don’t really have anything right now.”

 

I said, “Is there anything that hasn’t been completed that we can finish?”

 

“Well, yes, there is one place,” and so they said, “Here it is, and we need it in the next eight weeks.”

 

I said, “Wow, raise a whole team in eight weeks?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“Well, if God wants it done, God will do it.” And, you know, in eight weeks we had a team of 32 people. We went to the island, and we finished the whole gymnasium and the school complex, and I got to preach. Oh, man! And it was so much fun. I hadn’t really preached with the power of the Spirit for a long time.

 

Let me tell you, when you preach with the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s fun! It’s exciting, because it’s God doing it. You just kind of get to stand back and say, “Wow, Lord. Where did you come up with that?” You know, it’s great. And this continued on and on and on.

 

And so did our prayer time and so did our study time. We began praying continually. I began writing in my journal, “Lord, I want to reach the world for You. I want to reach the world for You.” Don’t ever prayer a pray unless you really mean it, you know? If you want God to do great things in your life, pray for them. Pray for them as you serve God. Pray for the great things because God is ready, willing, and more than able to do it.

 

You know, you can do anything God can do if God is living in you. Do you realize that? There is no excuse in this life to have a half-baked Christianity because God in you is all-powerful. Do you believe that this morning? He is all-powerful. There is no excuse not to have a powerful, vibrant life because He wants to rain the Holy Spirit upon you.

 

Well, we just continued on and continued praying that prayer, and it was so phenomenal where God led us. I mean, it was just astounding, step by step by step God led us all the way back from where I had denied God and going into ministry, led us all the way back to ministry.

 

And I’ve got to take a little pause just for a moment. This may sound crazy to you, but I prayed on a regular basis, “Lord, show me a little glimpse of Heaven, would You? Just a little glimpse. I mean, You showed Your Prophet. It wouldn’t be a big deal. Just give me a little glimpse of Heaven.” And I prayed that prayer; I think I probably drove God crazy, prayed it over and over and over and over. One day the Lord said, “Jim! You’ve already seen Heaven.”

 

“How is that, Lord?”

 

“By all the people I’ve given to you already, the people you’ve witnessed to, the people you’ve brought in. That’s what Heaven is all about. You want to see a glimpse of Heaven? Look at all the people that God has touched through you, through your ministry. That’s Heaven.”

 

You want to have a bigger Heaven, a better Heaven, go share Jesus Christ. That’s what ASI is all about, having a bigger, better Heaven populated with those who have been called by you. Oh, praise God! What a God we serve.

 

I ended up at a tremendous ministry here at Adventist World Radio. It’s exciting because we speak in 80 languages around the world, the major languages of the world. We’re on AM, FM, shortwave, podcasting, internet. We’re baptizing people in China through the internet. God can do marvelous things.

 

But I want to share a couple of stories with you because I want you to hear this morning the footsteps of a Holy God because when I woke up when the Lord says, “You may not ever realize that the Holy Spirit’s being poured out around you,” it was being poured out. It was being poured out, and brothers and sisters, I want to tell you today, it is being poured out today, right now. And if you don’t recognize it, I would say you get on your knees right away and say, “God, open my eyes.”

 

The book of Revelation says, “He that has an ear, let him hear.” If you’ve got just one ear, listen. Listen to God saying, “Here, this is the way; walk ye in it. This is what I’m doing.”

 

In one country that has to go unnamed, the bishop of the church in that country wrote to all of his priests and said, “You need to be listening to Adventist World Radio because they’re preaching the truth.” And in a short time, we’ve had a hundred priests call and say, “We’ve been listening to your programs; we want to join.” “We want to join.”

 

In other areas, people are coming in so rapidly that we can’t even hardly deal with the influx of people. I say, can you hear the footsteps of an approaching God? Oh, we serve a marvelous God. In this one location, you say, “How do we reach these people? How do we even get to them?” Well, that’s God’s job.

 

This young man had a dream. He was told to go to a city. It was outside of Dar es-Salaam toward the Afar people (not “a ‘fer’ piece” but the Afar people). He had never gone to this city in his life, but this dream was so strong, and, of course, everybody in that area are strong Muslims. “Go to the city. Go to the city.” Finally, he said, “Okay, I’ll go to the city.”

 

He’s wandering around the city, and he’s wondering, “Why am I here?” He had no idea or reason to be there, just that dream. And there one day he sees this young lady playing a guitar. He had never heard guitar music. He was fascinated by it. He began listening some more, and soon he began talking with the young lady. She said, “Would you like to come to a meeting? We’re going to have a lot more guitar music.”

 

He said, “Well, yes, I would. Yes, I would.” So, he goes to the meeting, and guess what? It’s a Christian meeting. He gives his heart to Jesus Christ. He goes back to his village, and the very first thing the village does is throw him in prison. They hate Christians!

 

Well, while he’s in prison, for some reason he gets to keep his cell phone, and they give him a radio. It’s kind of interesting in prison, but…By the way, the cell phones in the area, they have no electricity in most of his village, so someone comes by once a week, collects all the phones and charges them up and brings them back. Interesting, but God is using technology.

 

Yes, he’s tuning the radio in prison. He comes across AWR’s program. He didn’t want AWR. He was trying to get the BBC News, but we put our frequencies as close as we can to BBC News. And he heard it, and he listened. We had just recently begun broadcasting in that language. Now, normally we want to use producers who are born and raised in a culture so they can contextualize the message.

 

In other words, we use Maasai people who were born and raised in the culture for Tanzania as we broadcast, and we tell them how to take better care of their cattle. And then we do a segment on health and family, and then we do the biblical segment. We do that in all these countries.

 

Well, we couldn’t find someone who was an Afar, but we did find someone who spoke the language, so we decided to use him. We just started broadcasting when this young man was thrown into jail, tuned his radio, and he heard the program.

 

He said, “Wow! We have no written language, and we have nobody that ever has a radio program, but all of a sudden I hear it in my language.” This is good stuff. He began listening. He called our producer. He said, “You know, if you did this and this and this, it would help my people. It would reach them better.” So, we tweaked our program.

 

The next week, he would call again and say, “If you do this and this and this,” and this went on for weeks. He’d continually call up and say, “Do this and this and this.” Soon, they said, “You know, you ought to come. If you ever get out of prison, you should come to our studio.”

 

Sure enough, he got out of prison. He became our producer. He called up about, oh, it’s been about a year and a half ago now, he called up my president, Dr. Ben Schoun. “Ben, my chief of the village wants you to come. He’d like to meet you.”

 

Well, this was a little bit interesting because, you know, these fellows…I was just over there in that area. They carry AK-47’s over their shoulders, and they mete out justice pretty rapidly if they don’t like you. But finally the producer convinced Ben that he should come.

 

He got over there. He sat in the chief’s little hut, and as he’s sitting there, Ben’s a little nervous. The first thing the chief said is, “I’m listening to your program.”

 

“Okay. Do you like it?”

 

“Yes, I like it very much.”

 

“Do your people listen to it?”

 

“No, my people don’t have radios.”

 

Ben said, “If we give you the radios, would you give them to your people.”

 

He said, “Yes, I would.”

 

So, now, get this, we have a Muslim chief, a tribe of a couple thousand people. He’s provided radios to them to listen to Adventist programming! What do you say? We serve a might God!

 

In Afghanistan, we began broadcasting in the Afghan language shortly before George Bush went in there. And, you know, the government, they put out leaflets; they drop leaflets to every village in the country. People looked at the leaflets, but there was only one problem: Most of them can’t read. U.S. government…Ah, I shouldn’t have said that.

 

And then they came up with a good idea. They said, “Let’s do something else.” They got crank radios, solar panels, battery operated and electric, four different kinds of power. The exact radios that we use and hand out. The radios you can see at our booth. And they dropped 250,000 of those into every village in Afghanistan. And now God had a way to speak to those people – What do you say? Ah, I tell you, you can hear the footsteps of an approaching God.

 

In one country we were working, and very secretly we’re trying to bring the leaders out of the country, sneak them under the radar to train them in another country to raise up their churches. They’re going down the jungle pathway, sneaking, sneaking, sneaking, and it opens up into a wide area. And all of a sudden up over the bank comes the police, and the police have long rifles with bayonets attached, and they yelled, “There they are! Get them!” And they come running down toward our people. And our people are like deer in the headlights. What are they going to do?

 

There’s no place to run, and they just freeze. The police come up within about 10 feet of them, and they’re standing there, and they say, “Where did they go? Where did they go?” In plain sight, plain sight. Then all of a sudden, the cops say, “There they go!” and they take off running over this way and leave our fellows to go on their way. Oh, I tell you, you can hear the footsteps of an approaching God.

 

I was just recently, we were filming for our Making Waves television program down in Madagascar. Wow, is God doing mighty things there! Everywhere people will hear the program one time, and they say, “This is the truth!” How is it, we here in the United States, we do all these things, we go back and forth. We say, “Is this the truth?” “Well, could this really be correct?” “Is this right?”

 

They hear it one time, and they alter and change their entire lives for Jesus Christ. I talked with a lady who had communed with the demons in her home just like we’re talking today, communed with the demons openly for years, and they wanted to make her a witch. They took her down to the river. They submerged her underneath the water for a day and a half. Get me – don’t miss this: Underneath the water for a day and a half. She talked with the demons there.

 

They gave her power, she said, over lightning and many other things. She was famous in her area for all the powers that she possessed. But then through a series of events, God led her. Step by step, she heard the radio programs and said, “This is the truth!” She was delivered from the demons by the power of people praying for her. And now, as she’s been sharing herself, she has 100 people that are coming together every Sabbath to worship the Creator God of the universe. Tell me God isn’t powerful.

 

And God has the same kind of power to deliver you whatever your problems are. God has the power to change you. God has the power to mold you and make you and shape you into His image, and He wants to do that very thing! He wants to prepare you for his soon coming.

 

Oh, mighty, mighty miracles. In one country, again I can’t disclose the country, but we tried to sneak someone into this particular area for a long time. One fellow was shot and killed and another one narrowly escaped with his life. But we wanted to see; we had heard that there was a great work going on through AWR. Finally, someone got up into that area. He got to this first village. (I call them villages, but there are thousands and thousands of people.) Everybody was a seventh-day Sabbath keeper. He went to the chief. He said, “How did this happen?”

 

The chief said, “Well, it’s like this. One day a large man, an imposing figure of great stature with an aura of light about him came into our village, wanted to see the chief. I sat down with him. He pulled out a radio. He tuned the dial to where AWR was, showed me how to tune it. He said, ‘Listen to this. It will bless you, and it will bless your people.’ I took the radio out of his hands. I turned to the fellow next to me. We talked for just a moment. We turned back, and he had disappeared. We took this as some kind of sign.” You see, they are all animists there. “We took this as some kind of sign that we should do what he said, and we all fell in love with Jesus Christ!” Oh, praise God.

 

And our fellow got to a second village, many, many miles away. They don’t travel between villages; it’s too far away, but our fellow got to a second village. Guess what he discovered? The same thing. The same story. The chief said, “A large man, an imposing figure of great stature with an aura of light about him came into our village.”

 

Three villages, four villages, five villages, six villages, recently we discovered six more villages. We believe there are hundreds of thousands of people in that area because somebody brought radios that had an aura of light about them.

 

Can you hear, brothers and sisters, the footsteps of an approaching God? Can you hear it this morning? God is out there. He’s coming soon to take us home.

 

One country, we’re distributing DVDs. They all have our name on them. We pack them up nicely. We’ll put them on little mopeds and go putting down the street. But the police don’t want us to do it. They hate the gospel message. Putt down the street a ways, set them on the street corner. Pretty soon another motorcycle comes up, putt-putt-putt-putt-putt, stops, picks them up, loads them on, down the street they go a little further. You know, kind of like a New York drug deal. You get caught, “I don’t know where they came from. I just found them on the street.”

 

Well, one of our fellows, the police appointed a special task force. They hate what we’re doing so much. This police force only pays attention to try and catch our people. They threw out a whole dragnet into this area, and sure enough one of our fellows was there. He’s thinking, “I’m either dead or I’m going to prison forever.” They’re searching every vehicle, every person. They get up to him. They open his boxes up. They look at every DVD and the name on every DVD. They pack them all back up. They send him on his way. They never saw a thing. Oh, I tell you, the footsteps of an approaching God.

 

Again, we do a lot of sneaking, sneaking people out of another place. They watch the patrol boats go by on the river. Everybody piles in the boat. They put rice straw on top of the boat. They start heading out across the river. Halfway out, an unexpected patrol boat comes. They stop; they’ve got bayonets. Cha-coom, cha-coom, cha-coom [stabbing down], down through the boat. Our fellows later on said they could feel the knife blades in between their legs, between, touching their skin, never hurt a single one. The police sent them on their way. Oh, yeah.

 

I talk with a fellow up in Burma, a little-bitty guy about this tall, sweet little fellow. He said, “You know,” he said, “the landlord for years owed me money. I kept trying over time to get the money from the landlord. He would not pay me. He wouldn’t pay me a cent! Finally, one day I was determined; I had to have the money; I was going to get it that day. He went. He ended up killing the landlord. They sent him to prison.

 

While he’s in prison, he kills the head of all the prisoners. This sweet little guy. They send him out to an island to die. That’s where they send the incorrigible, out to die, but for some reason in four-and-a-half years they let him go. They sent him home; they don’t even tell him why. To this day, he doesn’t know exactly why they let him go, other than the Lord.

 

There soon there’s a knock at his door. He opens the door into his old house where he moved back. There’s a couple from next door, and they’ve got a radio in their hands, a sweet Baptist couple. They hand him the radio and said, “You should listen to this program; it will change your life.” AWR. Praise the Lord. He turned it on, and, sure enough, he fell in love with Jesus. And his name is, translated into English, “Shining Brightly,” and, certainly, he shines bright for Jesus Christ.

 

The other day we filmed a story in Kenya. The fellow had been raised a Christian, a young man raised a Christian, but he absolutely didn’t like the gospel message at all. He didn’t want anything to do with it. And so, he just said, finally, to his family, “I’m not going to church anymore. I’m not going to follow any of this,” and he took off, and he became a truck driver. And he said, “You know, I did everything that truck drivers do.” He said, “I drank, I smoked, I did all the other illicit things.” He said, “My life just went down and down and down.” He said, “Our job was to haul freight from one side of Kenya out to the ocean to the other, and we had to drive through Tsavo National Park.

 

Now, Tsavo, T-s-a-v-o, is known for it’s man-eating lions. You can google it and find it. Well, they always wanted to drive through there in the daytime for that specific reason. But this one time, they had to drive through there at night. And so, he and his partner were not very happy about it, but they decided to do it. They’re traveling along, and all of a sudden, guess what? In the middle of that park, they break down.

 

Well, they roll up the windows, the call for help, and they’re so far away, the help says, “We’ll be there in the morning.” So, they hunker down for the night, and he turns on the radio. On the radio, there’s a preacher preaching about Jesus Christ and gives a call, “You should accept Jesus Christ now! Today!” He turns off the radio. He thinks about it, “I don’t know.” His partner isn’t very interested.

 

And in the next second, on this side, remember, drivers are reversed. On this side, a lion, a big 400-pound male comes up and pokes his head against the glass and stares in. Now, they’re a little nervous. And then he watches the lion go out about 20 feet away, and the lion takes a running dash up, breaks through the windshield. They don’t have windshields like we do. They’re like safety glass; they just explode. That lion grabbed his partner, ripped him out of the vehicle and began eating him right in front of him. Now that’s a real come-to-Jesus moment.

 

And he prayed, “Lord, if You save me, I’ll serve You save me, I’ll serve You the rest of my life!” And in just another moment, a car drove up the opposite direction with the lights on. And he figured, oh, this person’s too scared to continue on and drive on. And as he was there, he continued to watch, and I won’t even go into all the details, but he sat there, and he said, “Lord, please help me. Please help me. Please help me.” And that lion was finished, and the lion walked up and put his paws on the dash and looked in at him. And then he backed up again, just like he had previously. And he took a running, flying leap, and his paws hit the dash, and he went up on top of the vehicle where he slept the entire night.

 

The next morning, the person in the car who had the lights on from the other direction got out of the car. It was a little, sweet, old lady. She came up to him. She put her finger up to his chest and said, “Are you a Christian?”

 

He said, “Well, I…Yes, I guess I am.”

 

Listen to this now. She said, “You need to go home and study and pray.” And she turned around, and she got in her car and left. I don’t think…I don’t think that was a person. I think that had to be his angel that held that lion’s mouth that night. Why would you ever say such a thing to a person?

 

I tell you, brothers and sisters, though, the devil is ready to destroy each one of us. The devil is ready to destroy you in a heartbeat. And we can be doing God’s work. We can be doing everything for God. We can be giving all our money to God. We can be giving all of our time to God. And we can be lost because slowly, imperceptibly, we say, “Well, I don’t have quite as much time today to study. I don’t have quite as much time today because the job calls for this, and it calls for that. And so, just a little less time today.”

 

And soon, soon, there will be less and less and less time. And soon you will have no relationship with your Creator. You will no longer know Him because the devil will have stolen that completely from you. Make no mistake about it! We live in perilous times! This is not a time to read good things like the Reader’s Digest. This is not a time to watch good TV programs, whatever they may be. This is a time to be on our knees and praying. This is a time to be on our knees and studying.

 

Felix, remember Felix and Drusilla. Drusilla was his second wife. Felix was a great man; now, he had purchased his freedom. He was a ruthless ruler, and he had Paul in prison. Paul stood before that man one day, and he began talking with him. He laid out judgment. He laid out the coming of Christ. He laid out the gospel message in all of its beauty, but he laid out judgment. And it said, “Felix trembled.” God laid out before him a panoramic view of all the things he had done, and he trembled. And he said, “Paul, I’ll call you at a more convenient time.” “I’ll call you at a more convenient time.”

 

And then we find, in Acts, chapter 26, we find Paul before Agrippa. Oh, the great leader Agrippa, “Wow, Paul, you’ve almost convinced me, almost convinced me.” I’ve wondered sometimes, I’ve thought about this. I had a daymare. You know what a daymare is? It’s like a nightmare only it’s in the middle of the day. I came up in the resurrection, and there this being standing before me with sagging flesh on his jowls, and he said, “I raised you up! We can take that city!” My! What a horrible thought. What a horrible thought. “Paul, you’ve almost convinced me. You’ve almost convinced me.”

 

And then the Philippian jailor, you talk about the jail house rock. Paul prayed, and the whole jail shook. The whole earth shook. Every door, every rock split out of its place, and the jailor said, “What must I do to be saved?” “What must I do to be saved?” Three men, ah, three men, different stories. The only one with a good ending is the jailor.

 

How many of you here have ever played Monopoly? Well, it’s probably on live TV or camera, you won’t want to say, but quite a few of you raised your hands. Monopoly, a young man, he started playing with grandma, and he just loved to do it. He wasn’t very good at it yet, but he loved to count out the money. He loved it so much, you know, fives, tens, twenties, stick them all under the board. Roll around “Go,” and what do you collect when you go around “Go”?

 

[Audience: Two hundred dollars.]

 

Ah, you know. He just loved it. But soon he noticed, you know, grandma, as things are going on, grandma would start buying this property and buying that property, and he had to pay rent, and he didn’t like to pay rent. And soon, all of his money was gone. And he, oh, he just hated it. The final time grandma won, he just stomped his feet, and he said, “Grandma, I just hate it!”

 

“Honey, honey?”

 

“What?!”

 

“One day you’ll understand.”

 

“Oh, grandma!”

 

He went away that summer. He found a friend. He learned to play tremendously well. He was ready now. He was ready to beat grandma. He won every single game all the time. He got back to grandma’s; he said, “Let’s play, grandma.” He starts stacking out the money. Oh, and he’s ready, and they go round and round and round and round. And you know how Monopoly goes. He was having a wonderful time now. He’s beating, oh, he’s getting, and soon he’s got everything, every hotel, every apartment complex, every railroad. He’s got it all. And he grabs the fistful of money, and he said, “I beat you, grandma!”

 

She says, “Honey?”

 

“What?!”

 

“One day you’ll understand.”

 

“What do you mean, grandma, ‘One day I’ll understand’?!”

 

“One day, honey, you’ll understand.”

 

“Oh, grandma! What are you talking about?!”

 

“Honey, honey, when the game is over, it all goes back in the box.”

 

I’m glad to hear you got it because it’s so important, brothers and sisters. Everything you’ve got, everything I’ve got, everything we work for, it’s going to be worthless. God’s paving the city with streets of gold! He doesn’t need our stuff. He needs you! He needs me! He needs a relationship with us. “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee.”

 

And I wonder this morning, how many of you really want to spend time with God? Make a new covenant right now, “God, I want to spend time with You.” Let me see your hands. Praise God. God has an eternal relationship waiting for you and me.

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