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Awakened and Delivered

by Danny Downing

My name is Danny Downing. Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ. I'm writing this because I believe the Lord put this on my heart quite some time ago and I've been praying the Lord would help me write this. I know I can't do this in myself.

I believe the Lord put His Almighty finger on a great need in my life a few years ago — by the way, one of many needs over many years and surely of many more to come. And I believe that need was that God has shown me that I have a responsibility to be the spiritual head of my home.

I believed in my thinking that if I worked hard, had a roof over our heads, paid the bills, spent a little time with the family, and took them to Sunday Church, I was doing my part as the head of my home. And that's part of it but as the Lord started dealing with my heart, only part of it.

Around 5 years ago the Lord gave a call to our church for a need of prayer. I was a father of two, a one-year-old girl and an eleven-year-old boy at the time with a wonderful wife. One evening we had prayer meeting and me and my wife decided to go. They had been having these prayer meetings at church for awhile and we didn't go to hardly any of them. When we walked in the door a brother named Chip King — who by the way had married us 16 years earlier and that we love dearly — said, "Hey, you all, I'm glad you could make it." Well, that sounded good, and it was, but somehow in my spirit I was offended. Why was I offended?

What happened then was I believe God started working in a need in my life. We didn't go back to the prayer meetings for awhile. Not only that we were practically missing all the Wednesday night services. So basically we were going to Sunday morning services.

Being a brick mason and being married and having children, I found the enemy and my own natural man always faithful to remind me how tired I was and how I needed rest, and how I needed to do other things than to go to church. One thing I began to notice was when I was at home and didn't go to church my family didn't go either. Not only was my self will and the enemy robbing me, but my family also. The Lord has taught me not to go by my feelings and that the enemy is a liar and not to listen to him. And how blessed we are every time we come together. This is a dry world but how faithful He is to fill my cup!

But as time went by God was working and is working in my heart. He started showing me what a great responsibility I had for my family and how I had been failing them. Praise God for Romans 8, verse 1. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. But God does want to teach us and grow us in grace and knowledge.

If you read Eph. 5, verses 23 and 23 it talks about, wife submit to your husband as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. Verse 25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." Eph. 6:1-2 says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother' — which is the first commandment with a promise."

I believe God has a wonderful order for the home and by the scriptures God was showing me my responsibilities in the place He has put me in. The Lord is showing me in His mercy that I need to lead my family by example.

That probably sounds great and it is, but God started tearing down a lot of self will and what I liked to do. Naturally speaking I like going out with my family to eat, movies, ball games, hunting, fishing, and pretty much what everyone else is doing. And nothing is wrong with these things in their place, but God is showing me in my heart what was more important to Him. And that for me was being where God was for me and my family.

The scripture in Matt. 6:33 says, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." See, God is so wonderful! All He wants is to be Number One in our lives, period. I believe what it boils down to for me is, where is my heart at? What do I want? or what does the Lord want for me and my family?

One scripture that comes to mind is Psalm 133:1 — "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." This scripture has shown me when the saints of God are together, whether it be church conventions, services, prayer meetings, church sings, choir practices, get-togethers, etc., that this is where my help and blessing is for me and my family. Do I make all these? No. But God knows my heart and the desire He has placed there to learn His ways and be with His people.

We had a convention meeting in Florida a few years ago and in the Thursday night service the Lord began dealing in a need in my life that affected my whole family. The service was on bondages in our lives and how the Lord wanted to deliver us from them. The Lord specifically spoke to me in this service. I had an addiction to chewing tobacco. I had chewed tobacco for several years. After the service I knew God had spoken to me and that with God's help I was quitting.

I would hide this from my son the best I could but he knew what was going on. I was addicted so bad I would leave him home most of the time so I could do my habit. He would ask me, "Daddy, why can't I go with you?" It saddens me to think of it but thank God for His deliverance.

Well, when we got home that Sunday from the meeting around 3:00 I got Hunter and took him in my truck to the store to get some gas. When we got to the store I had 2 or 3 tobacco cans in my truck, some not even opened. I opened the center console up and pulled them out in front of him. His eyes were big and he said, "Daddy, what are you going to do with those." "I'm going to throw these away." The Lord delivered me and I'm not going to do this anymore. He had a big smile on his face.

When we got home Wendy was sitting on her chair when we got there. Hunter told his Mama, "You're not going to believe it, Daddy threw his tobacco away. He is not going to do it anymore. The Lord answered our prayers." Come to find out, Hunter and Wendy had been praying together for quite some time that I would be delivered from chewing tobacco. I can't express how humbled I was by this. My 11 year old son and his mother were praying for my deliverance and the Lord answered their prayers. Praise God!

That was four years ago. The Lord has totally changed our family since all this started. The Lord has brought us so much closer to Him and to each other. Whether we admit it or not everything we do as the heads of our families affects one another. Our children see what goes on in our family lives. They see Christ in us, or self will. My desire for my family is that they see Christ in me.

Through this God has caused me to have a greater relationship with my family, God, and the body of Christ. I now look forward to my time with Him, whether it be in prayer, scripture, or the people of God. Thank God the Lord is taking a heart that is full of self will and turning it into a heart that has a desire that He has put there to love and serve Him. I'm so thankful that He is the potter and I am the clay. I know the Lord has a lot more to do with me but I am glad He started it and He will finish it.

God bless,
Danny Downing

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