The Harmony Project

Interview with Earl Haynes

  • God has blessed everybody with a gift, and it's to their advantage to seek the Lord.
  • We are the light of the world. So if we are light, we are the ones supposed to allow the ultimate God to share forth abroad to all the others, so that in their hearts and minds they will change how they see themselves as part of this world.
  • I know people of other beliefs and we're not enemies. But every time we talk, we always come to a plateau, and that is where we always part ways.
  • I can say, Hey, I'll show you my faith by my works. What have you accomplished that is the will of God?
  • …every time we pray, we are actually in the presence of God, so it's like the awesomeness of God is always in us.
  • …if people's hearts are humbled towards God it's just those little teeny things, the little stumbling blocks, that hinder them from seeing as God wants them to see. It might be the things that they examine themselves that causes them to ask the question that allows somebody to come and share a word that will bring true light to them.

Ann: Today I want to talk with you about your Christian path. Is that the right way to phrase that?

Earl: I guess you could call it that. Some call it a path, some call it a journey. I call it my ministry, because I am of the opinion that everybody is a preacher. Everybody's ministry is different, but everybody is a preacher as far as proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. I'm a latecomer, so to speak, because I've just been called into the ministry at nearly sixty years old. I've been a part of a Christian fellowship for the last twenty-eight or twenty-nine years, but I've actually just been called out, myself, in the past three or four years.

Ann: How old are you now?

Earl: I'm fifty-nine.

Ann: I see. So, for the last three years you have been a minister of the Gospel?

Earl: Yes.

Ann: Okay, but you don't have a church?

Earl: Well, we have a church. A couple years ago we started with a Bible study, and then we went on and started having Sunday Services. That was on Mothers' Day, three years ago.

Ann: Do you have a church building, or do you hold services in people's homes?

Earl: We used to have Bible study in rented facilities, and then the building was sold and I was not able to purchase it. God said, "Go home." So then we started having home Bible studies as well as home church every Sunday, and this is where we are until He tells us to go somewhere else.

We're called Vision Tabernacle of Deliverance. Everybody has been given a vision by God, everybody is the tabernacle where God dwells, and everybody is supposed to be going forth and ministering and preaching, as well as delivering people and setting them free of any encumbrances that keep them entangled and in bondage in the world.

Ann: So when you say "tabernacle," you mean that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?

Earl: The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God.

Ann: I just wanted to make that clear for any non-Christians.

Earl: Learning, studying, and knowing the Bible is something that everybody is supposed to do for themselves. God has blessed everybody with a gift, and it's to their advantage to seek the Lord. The word of God is a seed. So, therefore, once a person has become aware of their gift, they're supposed to go forth around the world spreading that seed, because every seed, with the sun, brings forth light. So, this is where we're all inter-related, as well as intra-related, with one another. Whatever someone else has, I have to find the food from it so that I might continue to get nourished and grow. So this is the whole thrust of all that we do, not just talking and teaching. We have to inspire everybody else to seek that which is within them and bring it forth.

Ann: Were you born into the Christian faith?

Earl: I've been in the Church ever since I can remember, but I never came to develop any relationship with the Lord until about thirty-one years ago. That was when I received Christ myself, but it was like I had known there was something bigger and greater. As a matter of fact, when I was a little kid, I remember I was inside the church by myself and somebody or something touched me on the shoulder! I got all on the floor and had a look to see what it was. Years later, I just came to see that I had been touched by the Lord. I hadn't seen it before, because I wasn't paying attention. I was asleep!

Everything that I read and teach and share with others tells me that this is our second trip around, because we were spirit before we became flesh. Everything that we read in our Bibles, and even some of the rules and so forth that talk about being unclean, and all the other stuff-you couldn't be unclean if you weren't first clean. You couldn't be regenerated, unless you had already been generated. You couldn't even be redeemed-we couldn't do it again if we hadn't already been the perfection that we were at the beginning.

Ann: We came from spirit, and this is almost like a school, right?

Earl: It's not a school. It is a school to the extent that we have to learn. The Holy Spirit is our Master, you see, and we are not supposed to limit how He functions. In other words, He doesn't just have to minister through me. He can minister through anything that is on the earth. So, that's why I say we shouldn't limit with the titles and all other stuff. Sometimes people become mesmerized by a title that somebody holds, but it's always a little simple thing that God uses to speak to us. Like, you can really learn more from children than from adults, because children are simple and they tell the truth about how they perceive things. And even in the Scriptures I think Jesus said this, "Unless we become as little children," meaning having a mindset of purity and perfection as well as the truthfulness of a child. A child has no fear unless they are taught it, and they have no hurt unless they are taught it.

Like I said, our congregation has been off this month. We take the month of August off, and we try to get ourselves regrouped to go forth. I find that people today are concerned about creating great harmony or destruction among all the other souls on the earth and from everywhere else. You see, the whole essence of terrorism inciting terror. Fear.

As far as I am concerned, in the Vision Tabernacle of Deliverance we are going to minister to and teach and share with everybody that comes with us. We are the light of the world. So if we are light, we are the ones supposed to allow the ultimate God to share forth abroad to all the others, so that in their hearts and minds they will change how they see themselves as part of this world. So, the priority for our ministry is to teach, share, raise up, and help any and all people who come forth. That's how we are going to break down the wall or the barrier of terrorism to allow the Holy Spirit to pierce the hearts of all unbelievers. So, you see, this is the work that we are doing. There are those that God has anointed to use other methods. You know, that's their way, but this is the way that we're going to do it. I've learned to respect being a little teeny fish in a great big pond, instead of trying to be the great big fish in the little teeny pond.

Ann: Your life is important, and this work is something that you have to do. I mean, that makes life good, right? It makes life rich. Did you ever lose faith with your tradition?

Earl: When you say lose faith-this is where the whole ministry differs from that stuff. If you that we've been here before, and all we're doing is re-enacting what has already been, then everything that happens not only happens for a reason, but it happens that we might learn from it. I think we're persuaded of this when we read the Book of Hebrews (a book in the Bible), because said it says, "This is the sabbath day," and you can't reap the real blessings of God and the comfort that He has given you until you're resigned to the spirit of the truth that you're going to rest in the Lord. You see? Scripture says you have to cease from all works, and ceasing from all works means that our friend Jesus says, "You're not really the middle man; the middle man is Me." So there is nobody there but the Lord and the Holy Spirit, and I am just totally submitted and surrendered, you see. Then in that total submission and surrendering, all I have to do is constantly do the same simple things that brought me into a little relationship with the Word from the beginning. I call it the Christian way and the light of the world. You see, there are some things you never stop doing, so that's how I see the direction I am taking in my ministry.

Ann: When I come to the post office, you are always so filled with light and positive thought. And if I say something and you have a different view, you give me your view in a very loving way, and it just opens my mind.

Earl: Because Jesus said He came not to condemn. You see, the spirit of condemnation comes from unresolved things, and you can't have the spirit of condemnation if you're in total surrender and submission to the will of God-if you accept that you have asked, and you've received it and are walking in it The opportunities for you to not function in it are always present, but you have to make the choice. There are always two cups out of which to drink: the cup of righteousness or the cup of unrighteousness. The cup of life or the cup of death. We always have to choose the cup.

Ann: Now, you're firm in your beliefs as a mature man, but as a younger man, were you so firm?

Earl: I've been married going on forty-one years. In those forty-one years, we've had constant opportunities to break up, but that was never an option, it was never a choice we made. I've seen the Minister of Reconciliation. I've seen my mother and father separated for ten or twelve years, and God reconciled them. And I've seen aunts and uncles who were separated and divorced, and they never reconciled. Separating was never an option for us when I saw what God had done for those before us. It was just a matter of us seeking and humbling ourselves and refusing to allow what was trying to trouble us to do so. I've married some couples, and there were some things that we got on the sheet first, in the pre-marital counseling. Things that had to be present if God and Christ were going to maintain His rightful place in their relationship. There is something that they should always expect and that "the best." If you don't expect it, then you will never receive it. As far as challenges, it's just like we were talking about in Hebrews. If you don't read Hebrews, then you can't understand what James said. If you don't rest in the Lord, then you can't count it all as joy if you're in the direst of temptation. You see, when you count it all as joy, then when you're entering direst temptation, you know that means that God is perfecting something in you. All that God is doing is perfecting our faith and everything else, but prior to this, He makes known the place that He is going to move us to. So, all of this teaches us hope and expectation to share with somebody else. It teaches us to let the other person know that, "Hey, God loves you, He is with you." There are a whole lot of things that I have seen and can see, and my problem is trying to find ways to convey that to other people so they can glean that richness of love, instead of the natural resistance of thinking somebody is trying to do you harm.

Ann: Have you raised children?

Earl: We had five kids. Five kids, nine grandkids and one great grandkid.

Ann: Oh wow! That's wonderful. Are they all close by? Do you get to enjoy them, or are they all over the place?

Earl: Let's see, we have three close by. One is in Maryland and the other is in San Antonio, Texas.

Ann: Have you ever studied any other spiritual paths besides Christianity?

Earl: No. Those of other persuasions could never ask the questions that would actually stimulate me enough to seek what they were seeking.

Ann: Okay.

Earl: I know people of other beliefs and we're not enemies. But every time we talk, we always come to a plateau, and that is where we always part ways. I often tell people in Bible study, I don't care who you talk with, there should come a time when you should do just like Elijah. You can say, "We'll see whose God is God." I do not believe, or get persuaded by other people's persuasions, but if they become over zealous, then I can say, "Well, we will see." This is where I allow the spirit of Elijah to just rise up, and we have a little test, you see. Then, we go our separate ways, and I just pray that more hunger for the holiness of God will come upon them. This is our method, and this is the method that I'm trying to share with those who come to our gatherings. You can't win everybody, unless maybe they have an aching within their own spirit. You must try to satisfy them and have their attention and, after you get their attention, then maybe you can talk to them.

Ann: That's right, there has to be a hunger for knowledge, or wisdom, and then, if you have an answer, then they'll certainly be open to what you have to say.

Earl: Oftentimes, I find that knowledge is just not the answer. I think even James said, "Faith without works is dead." It's not just knowledge, you have to have the constant combination, you see. I know some people who feel proud that they do nothing wrong. So, I say, "Well, what do you do?" Because if you don't do anything, you can't do any wrong, but not in the sense that they are speaking of. You see, I can say, "Hey, I'll show you my faith by my works. What have you accomplished that is the will of God?"

Ann: Who are your spiritual heroes? Is there anybody who has been a good teacher for you, or any books that have really moved you?

Earl: The first people were Oral Roberts and Rex Hamburg. The way I look upon ministries today is that you follow a ministry until you find out the gift that God has blessed you with. Then once you find that out, you may as well move on, because life in Christ is like drawing from the water to quench the thirst. So, whenever you have the thirst, it means you have something that you like.

Now, whatever you thirst for, you should know where to go to get it. So when it comes to miracles and all the other things, nobody can engender that type of faith in me other than Oral Roberts. And when it comes to preaching and teaching salvation, nobody can preach the message of salvation to bring somebody to Christ greater than Rex Hamburg.

There are others-evangelists and ministers that I've seen. When I journeyed up with my church in November. There was something that I needed that drew me there. I asked the Lord, "Can I do anything there?" and He said yes.

So I went and I stayed because He said, "If you want time to go, I will leave you time to go." When you're going for the Lord's ascension you're confronted with a whole lot of stuff. But it's how you handle the situation you're confronted with that makes it wholesome or desirable for you to move up to the next level or not. I stayed stagnant for a long time, because I couldn't hear.

I kept saying, "Lord, you've got to let me hear before I go somewhere." It wasn't until after I couldn't see, and I got glasses that I got delivered of hearing. Meaning, I didn't get a miraculous healing. I was coming home from church one night, and it was a clear night, but it looked like it was raining. All the taillights were glittering. It was just that my eyes were getting weak, so I got glasses. That corrected that.

But I kept saying, "Lord, what about my ears?"

He said, "What did you do when you couldn't see?"

And I said, "I got glasses."

He said, "Well, what did you do when you couldn't chew?"

I said, "I got teeth."

So He said, "Well, what are you supposed to do now that you can't hear?"

I said, "Oh, get hearing aids!" So, now I have hearing aids.

Ann: So, the answer was right there, but you had to get it.

Earl: I said, "Oh, okay," but it wasn't what I wanted to do. It was like it had already been prepared or planned for. So, from there on in, everything has been moving up in life. Even when you go back to a lot of places in the Scripture where Jesus did as He was directed. That's why He stayed in constant fellowship and prayer, because He knew what He was doing and how He was supposed to go about doing it. Because He had seen it and He had seen it demonstrated, too.

Ann: Have you had any profound spiritual experiences, or mystical experiences around birth or sickness or death? A time when you could really feel the Holy Spirit or angels or some sense of Presence?

Earl: We are believers of praying in the Spirit. We feel the Holy Spirit. Praying in tongues is praying God's perfect prayer, and you can't pray God's perfect prayer unless you are in His presence. So every time we pray, we are actually in the presence of God, so it's like the awesomeness of God is always in us. This is in Hebrews where it says, "I have entered into His rest." In Bible study, there are those who come who are fascinated by how God moves with them. But what I say is, "Don't you realize we are supposed to learn to live supernaturally naturally? How will we ever learn to live supernaturally naturally, if every time God does something you get all excited?" I say this because, when I was in a Pentecostal Church, everybody was spiritually excited and showing their excitement. But since I wasn't able to hear well, I valued listening to what was said, instead of showing some kind of jubilance for what was said. My whole perception and my whole relationship to God was completely foreign to those in the Pentecostal Church. I might have appeared to be a foreigner amongst them, but I was learning and believing something for me-instead of believing everybody else when they said, "This is the way it's supposed to be." I see now, and I'm not persuaded by peoples' actions. I used to feel that I could hear, because my uncle is blind. As a kid, I used to lead him around and describe things to him. He'd say, "Well, now, what is this?" He could hear stuff before I could actually have time to look around to see it. So, I didn't know if I was deaf or what! It's like whatever you lack.

Ann: There is a whole other gift that comes with every handicap if you really look for it.

Earl: I look at it this way: It's like everybody has their own due season. Like the Scriptures say, "Don't become weary in your well doings for, in due season, you shall reap." Everybody's due season is different. The Bible says, "Everybody is a king and a priest." But not everybody is a king and priest at the same time. So we're supposed to conduct ourselves well and prepare ourselves. You know, always be ready, but while we're waiting, be alert. This is why it says to, "Glory in the grace of the knowledge of the Lord" while we're going through these times. There is going to come a time when you won't have that opportunity to go back and say, "Well, let me find out for sure." You know, you'll have to act instantly. When we go to Church, I say, this is not a place for entertainment. This is a place for us not to experiment, but to examine. If you're going to make a mistake, make it here, because once you get out of these doors, everybody's watching for you to do that which is righteous and holy. That's the way that I feel the Lord is leading us. There are other churches that do things in a different manner than I do, but the whole aim and purpose is to prepare and equip the saints to go forth and not do battle, but occupy, because the battle has already been won. We don't have to fight something that has already been won. We just have to occupy the church, or what we have been given.

Ann: How many people are in your Church?

Earl: Well, we have about seventy-eight right now. But it's not church growth that I'm looking for.

Ann: That's real intimacy. Those people really know each other, right?

Earl: Well, this is something else I'm trying to allow to happen, because it's the prayer, "Pray ye one for the other." We're being called to become intercessors, so when we are in accord, all things can happen. So, along with teaching them their independence, and their gifts of God, I want them to understand the blessed benefits of intercession. And if we have a larger crowd too fast, we miss that opportunity. I'm trying to share and teach them the benefits of knowing how and when to intercede, that comes from their relationships with one another. Because we are all sewn of the same cloth through Christ, and He has empowered each and every last one of us, but He has not revealed Himself in one as He has the other. He hasn't revealed himself in us to the extent that we're supposed to assert some kind of authority over others, but He has revealed Himself enough to allow us to be patient with each other while we are growing. I often tell my congregation, I don't care how large we get, I don't care if we have a thousand people-I expect at least nine hundred of those thousand to be able to minister to the hundred who are not yet fully entitled or enriched with the movement of God. They shouldn't be dependent on me being the one to do it, you see.

Ann: It shouldn't come only from the minister-it should come from each person.

Earl: That's a new idea for a lot of people I deal with. Everybody has been beating themselves up thinking they are nothing-that they can't qualify, that they aren't this, and they haven't been this, and they didn't go here, they didn't do that. They don't realize, they are it!

Ann: Absolutely. That's what I teach, too. The words are a little different but, you are sacred, and there is a path that you need to live, so just follow that path at the very highest level that you can.

Earl: I look upon our path as being like the Scripture says, just like Jesus.

Ann: Your path is the same as Jesus.

Earl: Just like His, because we are adopted into Sonship, as He is. So He is our example, or model. If our hopes and desires are the same as those He exemplified, and made known, then that means God rests on earth. He came to say He was The Way. So if our way is not in line with Him, then we have taken the wrong turn. That is the simplest way I can put it.

Ann: The question I've asked everybody is, At any time in your life, have you been in despair? You don't have despair as a part of your vocabulary! But say when somebody in your family dies, or you've lost a job, or your child acts out and you worry for them?

Earl: I've learned that my people are destroyed by lack of knowledge. Circumstances don't destroy you-not having the knowledge about how to handle the circumstances is what destroys you. Now, if somebody doesn't share with you or show you that there is a way. I had a friend, a lawyer, years ago, when I was building a house. I wasn't a builder and so my friend built a house and told me what it cost. I said it wasn't worth it. I said I'd build my own first. I wasn't a builder; I was a barber. So I started to build a house, but various things were happening in my life. I developed a relationship with the Lord, and He told me, "Finish the house, and I'll get you a mortgage." That's what I was doing, but the problem that I was confronted with was that the house was half constructed, and I was thinking of all the people that I owed. But then He said, "Earl, let me share something with you. If you know what your problem is, you don't have one. All you need to do is find a solution. But if you don't know what your problem is, then you've got one."

I learned from that. Like you said, "What is the Spirit?"

I said, "Well, what is the Spirit?" I'm not going by what other people say it is. I don't even try to find out what the Spirit is. Because of the blood that was shed on the cross, we're not supposed to allow those things to come against us if Satan is under our feet. Because all the things are passed away. Now, even if they've passed away I'm going to go and dig them back up, you see? You either live by your convictions, or you die by your condemnations.

As far as [willingness of trying,] this is like when my mother went to be with the Lord. That was trying for me. They said she had Lupus, but as far as I was concerned, it was the medications she was on. They were treating her for one thing and whatever they treat you for causes another thing. During the last part of that illness, my mother was on dialysis. I remember one night I was taking her to dialysis, and it had never dawned on me till I saw a young kid-must have been about ten or eleven-coming out of dialysis. Then, I looked at my mother and I said, "Is this any kind of life?"

Now, I'm a believer in Divine healing and I'm also a believer in Divine hell, so I don't want to get hell. But I can't infuse my wants, desires, and hopes on somebody else. I have to teach them, you see. So this is where I'm letting the Lord show me how to minister this to people, because we have a lot of people who have not cast out the idea that, "Well, a doctor can fix me from anything." And they can't. It's just like God says, learn to seek Him in all areas of our life so that we can maintain the balance. You see, He said, "The balance of prosperity and health even as I so prosper." We've got to maintain the balance. He said, "His Spirit should not always strive with man." He said man's days are one hundred and twenty years. I believe that, but we cannot accomplish and achieve those goals unless we follow His way, and we can't follow His way by the rigidity of traditional beliefs, by believing somebody who says that, "This is it." No, no-God is always revealing His truth. He's always revealing His truth. I don't get hooked up in what is right and what is wrong, because what might be acceptable today may not be acceptable tomorrow, unless I come into a knowledge of it, you see? "All things must pass away," and every time we become enriched with something, that becomes old. We're looking for a new fresh way, and it's nothing more than what He says in the Word. His mercies are new every morning, creating in us faithfulness, and this is what we're embracing.

Ann: That's very beautiful. What kind of spiritual practices do you do? Do you have a certain time to read the Bible, or do certain prayers? Do you practice in an organized way, or is each day a little different?

Earl: No. Like I say, that's tradition. You see, we can get ourselves caught in a rut of traditional things, and the minute they're not done, we allow some kind of guilt or condemnation to come upon us. You see, if we say the Lord directs our steps and our path, that means there might be something that He wants us to think about or meditate on instead of spending time on traditional practices. When it comes to prayer, prayer is about fellowship and developing your relationship with God. Sometimes during Bible Study I say, "What y'all praying for?" Very rarely do you hear people say, "Oh, I prayed for a neighbor." It's always, "I want." So, I am always referring to Matthew (a book in the Bible), where it says seek first God's way of doing things. People don't keep that first. I even tell people when they buy love stamps, I say, "Love has two entities-giving and receiving. If you don't have the giving and receiving, then you don't have love.

When it comes to fellowship, I ask the Lord. Before we left in August, I reminded the congregation again, I said, "When we come back in September, I want everybody to be able to know that God is telling you to rest." And then I gave them some finalizing instructions, "If He doesn't tell you yes when you've asked a question, then that means no. And after you hear a 'yes,' then you're going to have to get delivered of wanting to manipulate it." It's a natural, instinctive thing, once we have some knowledge, to try to subvert it to our own advantage. Again, this is about learning to surrender, submit, and rest. Once you do that, you've gotten rid of all those natures, or those spirits that are in man. All rebellion is about control; love's stubbornness is about lack of control. All the inequities are about breaking down and bringing about ways to seek advantages for something that you felt was harmful. He says, "No, you just be in control of you and when you surrender, you are not in control of you, I am".

Ann: How do you know the difference between God saying yes and your own ego saying yes?

Earl: Well, this is one of things that you have to learn: what the total sacrifice meant and means. When you embrace the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, you get your knowledge and your insights from that. Because without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. Now, when it comes to remission of sin that means that we have to know that's not like Jesus. Nowhere in the world did he say that or do that or act like that. So, then you know it's not Him-it's you.

Most of the time, we don't want to take the time to be introspective, to know God for ourselves. That desire for now is ever-present. The only thing that is now is faith, but we want everything else to be now instead of faith, because, for faith, I have to trust and believe that what I was doing, and didn't have the knowledge or inkling or even desire to do, is what God wants me to do. It's not easy, but it's like I told myself, "I want you to forget everything that you've been praying for, everybody that you've been praying for, and let this be your central focus. Now, let everything that you've been praying for and let everybody that you've been praying for be the way in which He directs you, if He says to do it." There are times when things appear to be easy, and this is when you are most frightened, because the Bible says, "Better the ending of a thing, than the beginning." I heard a pastor say one time that he heard a child say, "ABC-XYZ" and somebody asked him why, and he said, "Well, let God fill in between." In between is where we have our problems.

Ann: That's right.

Earl: Because we know what we've asked for, we know what He said He is going to do. Now waiting patiently for the in between is where we get strung out. That's what happens. You see, the thing I like most about it is that I haven't asked them to take on a challenge that can't be met, but it's not a challenge that they can consult somebody else and say, "I got it!"

Ann: Your congregation has a certain amount of work they have to do, right? Through study and reflection and prayer. And you can't do that for them. People have to do it for themselves.

Earl: And then, the beauty of it all is that the scripture says, "My spirit will bear witness with your spirit." We can know when we're all in accord.

Ann: And we can know when we're not!

Earl: Yes. Even in that respect, if people's hearts are humbled towards God it's just those little teeny things, the little stumbling blocks, that hinder them from seeing as God wants them to see. It might be the things that they examine themselves that causes them to ask the question that allows somebody to come and share a word that will bring true light to them, you see.

Ann: So that is community, then?

Earl: Of course.

Ann: And that's what is so important. They're trying to do it on their own, but the community is really helpful.

Earl: Interrelationships.

Ann: That's right. So, you've got the wisdom of the community. And, as you say, you're together a lot.

Earl: Say, twice a week. You're saying "community" and I think I know what you're referring to. I have a saying-I don't like spiritual hitchhikers. A spiritual hitchhiker is a person who will wait until they can consult someone instead of acting on their own.

Ann: But, if somebody is twenty and you're in your fifties, and they admire your wisdom, you can at least show.

Earl: To a certain extent.

Ann: But, at least you could say, "Here's the scripture," or, "You need to spend some more time praying."

Earl: I don't like that. You see, I've learned: tell the person what to pray.

Ann: What to pray specifically?

Earl: What to pray. I remember when I first received Christ, all the old deep things that everybody was saying. "Brother, you've got to pray." I knew I was praying. But then I said, "Lord, what good is what everybody is telling me? I don't know what to pray." So, someone said to me one day that I needed to pray, and I wasn't angry. I just said, "You know something? I can pray. Tell me what to pray." And everybody disappeared.

Ann: Because they didn't know! All right, if I come to you as a member of your community and I say, "I'm sick," what would you tell me to pray?

Earl: I'll say, "What's troubling you?" Then, you begin to describe what is troubling you. I'm depending on the Holy Spirit of God to discern the cause of whatever is manifesting itself. God doesn't treat symptoms. He treats causes.

Ann: My heart is broken, so I say to you, "My heart is broken."

Earl: Okay, your heart is broken. From what?

Ann: My husband left me.

Earl: All right, your husband left you. First, I'm going to say, "Are you a believer?"

Ann: Yes.

Earl: Now, do you believe in God? All right then, let's pray that God will strengthen you. Because, you see, you only deal with the person that you have at hand, never the third person.

Ann: I see.

Earl: Because, oftentimes, in domestic differences, people only tell you a good side. They only tell you a good side. And the good side is never what has caused somebody to fall out of fellowship or out of a relationship.

Ann: I see, so I tell you my part, but I don't tell how I fell into this situation.

Earl: You tell your part. So, therefore, I will pray to God for you to have strength and courage and to give you peace and patience until you're able to deal with the situation in a spiritual way, where you can either desire to be reconciled or not. First and foremost, I will tell you pray for your ex. Now, how you respond to that question will tell me a whole lot about you! It's about how you respond, because we're trying the spirit by the spirit. I'm listening to you as much as I'm watching you. I'm listening to what you're saying and how you're saying it. Most of the time I find the Lord ministers through, me. It's like I act-or everything is just about over.

Ann: Can you say more about that, because I don't know what that means-you "act"?

Earl: After everybody has told you everything, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then you get to the part, "so help me God." When they've got to that part, that's when everybody is relaxed, that's when the real you comes out. Then, boom-justice. See, what is of the world? Lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and pride of life. Those are the only things that are of the world. Everybody that is in pain or in bondage, the root cause is one of those three. They're in bondage to it. And, you see, we say people are destroyed by what? By lack of knowledge. You can never please a feeling.

Ann: You can't please a feeling?

Earl: You can never please a feeling, because feelings are of the earth. You have all these earthly manifestations when you try to please a feeling. That's why you have addictions and all the other stuff coming forth. I have some young ladies who have divorced, and the bottom line of their whole life today is getting to seek vengeance on the ex. "He was this, so therefore my next one has to be a President, instead of a Vice-president." You know, "God has proved that"

And so I say, "You're fighting a lost cause. The problem is you."

Ann: They're probably surprised to hear that, but you've got to say it, because it's the truth.

Earl: See, the truth only hurts once.

Ann: If the person will take it in.

Earl: See, this is the thing that I've learned. It's not a matter of worrying about whether they take it in. I have to make sure that I share it in love, because the Bible says that love never fails. A lot of the time, this is where we all of a sudden shut up, you know. Because I'm not saying or thinking of what I want to say in the spirit of love, which can redeem something or somebody. So, therefore, God tells me to shut up.

Ann: God tells you to just keep your mouth closed until you can speak to someone in love.

Earl: God says, "Just shut up, Earl!" until I am ready to allow the Holy Spirit to humble me. He doesn't do anything in steps.

Ann: He goes right to the heart of it.

Earl: Yes. So, unless at that moment I allow myself to have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, I can't do it.

Ann: So, it's better just to be quiet. Because otherwise it's just your ego and your flesh.

Earl: That's it! And it never heals, it sets nothing free.

Ann: But if it's really love, somehow it goes in, and the person hears it. They may not act on it right away.

Earl: But God said , "The Holy Spirit will bring all things to your remembrance." So, every time they think they're going to get away from it, they remember it. They remember it, because He brings it into your remembrance Himself. He is the revealer of truth. So, that's how it happens. Half the time I forget, because once I forget, then it's outside my hands. As long as I am holding on to it, God can't do anything.

Ann: Now, what do you say, when someone asks, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Earl: I've heard that talked about, but my question is, do they ever ask the person who they think had something bad happen to them?

Ann: Oh, so, you're saying it might not have been bad? I mean, the death of a child?

Earl: I say this because I know people who were involved in what appeared to be bad occurrences, but when they confided to me what happened, it was a blessing to them. But to everybody else, it was a tragedy. See, this is where I say everybody is standing on the outside, looking in. No, no, no-let them ask the person, whether this was a bad thing that happened to somebody they perceived to be a good person. See, we don't know what is in the heart and mind of the person who is praying in God-honest faith. You've got a whole lot of mothers going before their time, because they said, "Oh Lord, save my child, take me." But that's not one of the promises God says. God says, "I'll save your child because you just believe that what I've done is done." But they open their mouth, and whatever we speak comes alive. So, this is why a lot of women are gone before their time, because of-I call them foolish prayers, but it says, "My people are still destroyed by lack of knowledge".

Ann: Lack of knowledge?

Earl: You see? So, that's it. That is a good question that sounds spiritual and religious, and you find a whole lot of people using that to bash God. But the bottom line for me is to say, "Did you ever ask the good person that a bad thing happened to whether he or she perceives it to be bad?"

Ann: I've been amazed at how people who have a spiritual path can just move through really major struggles. Certainly, there is pain and there is anguish, but they move through it. And they can even be more radiant afterwards, because they moved through the fire.

What is the place of human beings on the earth? Are human beings special in any way?

Earl: Sure, they were made for God's plan and purpose.

Ann: So, there's something that we're supposed to be doing?

Earl: God created man for His plan and purpose. That brings us back to the idea of seeking the Lord for your individual gift. Once you've found out your gift, then you know His plan and purpose and you go forth to carry it out. He made us for His plan and purpose, not for our plan and purpose. You see? This is a part of the new dispensation, or new covenant that God instituted at our request, you see?

Ann: And what happens to us after we die?

Earl: We go back to where we were from the beginning-spirit, you see.

Ann: We go back to spirit, okay. Do you believe in heaven and hell?

Earl: Yes, I have to believe in heaven in hell.

Ann: So what if I did really bad things, but I didn't have knowledge? I didn't have education.

Earl: See, it's through the mercy of God that none of us are cut off. This is why we're supposed to extend loving kindness toward one another, because as God has shown His mercy toward us, we're supposed to do the same toward our brother and sister. You see?

Ann: What would you say to somebody who is on a quest-someone who wants to know more, who wants to have a spiritual path? They may already have one, but they want more information. What would you tell them?

Earl: See, I would say the spiritual path that you should be seeking is the one that has already been laid out before you.

Ann: So, it's already there. You just have to find it.

Earl: Yes. You don't have to discover anything. Nothing is new. Everything that was made has already been made. When we use the term "new," we expect it to be something that's never been revealed before, never been in existence before, but it's not. It's just like when God says, "All things that were made, were made, but everything that was made has not been revealed yet." When we seek Him in prayer and all the other methods by which we seek the Lord that we might develop that relationship with Him, that's when He reveals what He has already made for us.

Ann: Right, so you meet God in your seeking, because it is right there for you.

Earl: Of course. You see, I think it's like what Jesus said, "All power in heaven and earth have I given unto you. Go ye." Now, you can't go-you shouldn't go-unless you know you have the power. That's why it says, "All power in heaven and earth have I given unto you. Go!"

So now all we have to do is wait for Him to say, "Okay, now it's time for you to go, because it's your due season." Because the message that He has enriched and enlightened and instilled in you is needful at this time. You see, this is your season, and this is the thing that we don't want to do, to wait for our season.

Ann: Right. Now, sometimes the process isn't quite ready yet.

Earl: Ah, who was that? I think someone said something like that. He said, "You don't go out marketing something when you should be spending time researching it."

Ann: Yeah. Well, it won't sell, so you know you have to go back to research. If it sells, if people are moved and their hearts and minds are open, then you've got it, right?

Earl: I've been confronted with people of other persuasions and, like I said, I always say, "You're allowed your experience."

Ann: Tell me exactly what that means, "You're allowed your experience."

Earl: Elijah (prophet in bible) stopped the rain for three and a half years, and then when the three and half years was about up, he went and told the king, "I want you to get all your prophets here, and we're going to see whose god is God." So, they were going to build alters and let the god who was God rain down fire from heaven and consume the altar, consume the sacrifice.

So Elijah said, "You let all the other prophets go first. You put up the altar with the sacrifice and everything on it.". So, they cried up to their god. All day, they cut themselves, they chanted, they did everything.

So, then, in the evening, Elijah said, "Dress up the altar, build a trench, and put water in it. Put water on the altar. Put water on the sacrifice. Fill the trench with water." Then he prayed a prayer and God answered by fire and consumed the water, the sacrifice, the stones, everything.

And, after that, that's when he told the others who were with him, "Go and arrest the false prophets and kill them."

Then, the story goes that Jezebel (wicked woman in bible) heard what had happened, and she said that if she didn't do the same to Elijah by the next evening, the gods should do even more to her. Then the scripture said, "And when he saw what he saw, he ran for his life."

Now, there are those who say, "When Jezebel said what she said, he ran because he was scared of the woman," but the Bible never said that. The Bible said, "When he saw what he saw." And, you see, if you go back further, it tells you what happens to people, according to the Law, when they transgress against the Law of God, the various types of punishment. And one of the punishments was, "The dogs shall lick your bones." Now, I believe that when the scriptures said, "He saw what he saw," it means he saw her death. A lot of us see bad things that God shows us and, not knowing how to minister to those things where God's mercy can prevail, we learn. They can be wailing, not saying something is going to change the prophecies of God, you see. We can, today, by prayer and intercession.

Ann: Because we have the New Testament, which is more about love.

Earl: Yes! So, Elijah ran, and everybody says he ran because of what she said. But he ran because he saw her doomed. And, in the end, she was thrown off a balcony, and horses trampled her and dogs ended up licking her bones. So, this is what I believe he saw, you see, all because he said, "Hey, let's decide whose god is God, and we can do it right now."

This is what I'm referring to as we develop our relationship with the Lord. In the whole Old Testament, God was just trying to tell the people, "I'm your God. Trust Me." And they were trusting everything and anything but Him, you see. The ten plagues in Egypt were not just to get rid of the Egyptians, but to tell the Children of Israel, "I'm God. Trust Me." And they came out of Egypt, still murmuring and complaining. They went into the wilderness, still murmuring and complaining. And it's the same thing today.

Ann: The New Testament is much more about love and compassion, right? And forgiveness?

Earl: Yes! Yes, because that's our weapon today. Because true love covers a multitude of sins. So, that's how it's working, you see. That's our weapon.

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