|THE TRIALS OF LIFE
Eddie & Alice Smith
I AM REVEALED
Jan 01 2012
An intercessor is one who is in such vital contact with God and with his fellow men that he is like a live wire closing the
gap between the saving power of God and the sinful men who have been cut off from that power.
Inside the spacious ivory courtroom, heaven's bailiff stands to his feet and walks toward the huge imposing doors
leading to the Judge's private chambers.
"All rise," he announces sternly to those assembled.
We immediately stand to our feet. Everyone is breathless, and every eye is fixed on the massive doors.
Suddenly the doors swing open, and everyone gasps. The Judge of the universe, the Honorable Judge Jehovah of the
eternal court of heaven, steps from the portal of His private chamber in the majesty of His splendor. His long, white,
glistening robe twirls as He spins and seats Himself upon a royal throne.
"Be seated," His authoritative voice thunders. We drop to our seats in rapt attention.
Seated to the Judge's right and to our left is the defendant, Cheryl, a young wife and mother of three who is sickly and
frail. Cheryl trembles. Anxiety is etched upon her pale face. Somehow we know that she is afraid of the unknown.
But who is the sinister-looking fellow who is moving toward her? Wait! That's Satan, the prosecutor, the accuser of the
brethren. He's a bad character. He has only three things on his mind: to steal from, to kill, and to destroy Cheryl.
Now, it's clear to us - Satan has leveled a charge against this loving wife and mother. The charge? It's a case of
Judge Jehovah reads the charge quietly to Himself and moans sadly. Looking up, He asks the assembly, "Who is this
There is no immediate answer, only silence.
"Would the counsel for the defense please make your presence known," the Judge urges. The eerie echo of death
permeates the room as no one utters a word.
The Judge emphatically asks, "Is there counsel here today who is ready to plead this woman's case?"
After a moment of awkward silence, the compassionate Judge looks lovingly into Cheryl's troubled eyes and tenderly
asks, "Daughter, who is your defense attorney?"
Warm tears wash Cheryl's face. She bows and slowly turns her head from side to side, shrugging her shoulders
helplessly. Who will defend her?
An advocate must defend her. But what is an advocate? In court, an advocate is an attorney who speaks on behalf of
a client. Advocacy is similar to intercession. An intercessor is one who stands in the gap for others (as their advocate)
in prayer. Beloved, if one of us is not interceding on Cheryl's behalf - and the millions of others like her - they have no
earthly defense attorney. They are without advocacy to protest the actions of the evil one. No one wants to go to trial
without an attorney!
Who will defend them in their hour of trial? Most Americans live in a self-centered, "me, myself, and I" culture. We are
busy looking out for number one! Many of us try every other option before we turn to prayer. And when we do pray, it's
to get our own needs met after we have exhausted every other source and resource and have no place else to turn.
Prayer is often our last resort - not our first response. Prayerlessness has rendered the church powerless and virtually
irrelevant in American society.
We must learn how to become spiritual intercessory advocates. We do so by defending the causes of others.
Defending another is a stretch for some who spend their time judging and accusing others. By their actions, they are
offering themselves as witnesses for the devil's prosecution. Let's help change this.
Eddie and I (Alice) know from personal experience how important it is to have those who will defend us in prayer during
our trials. At one time, we were on staff at a church that was unfamiliar with the ministry of deliverance. One day our
senior pastor called to ask for an appointment with us. He said that it was important but that it would be better if he
waited until after we arrived to explain exactly why he needed to see us.
The day we arrived for our mysterious appointment, we casually walked in and settled into our chairs. Pastor Lane
walked in, shaking his head in disbelief. "You are not going to believe what I'm about to tell you!" he told us.
"What happened? Tell us what is bothering you," I said.
"Eddie and Alice, Mrs. Jenkins is telling our church members that you are a warlock and a witch!"
Eddie laughed aloud. "You're kidding, right?"
"This is no joke," Pastor Lane continued. "Alice, remember when you came back from youth camp and told me that
several of the teens had gotten saved but needed deliverance? For the sake of not embarrassing them, you took them
into another room for a deliverance prayer. Remember?"
"Yes, Pastor, that is exactly what we did. We also felt that taking them to another room provided the least amount of
distraction for the rest of the group," I confirmed.
"Well, Alice, Mrs. Jenkins believes that you were taking the youth to another room to perform incantations in order to
convert them to witchcraft," Pastor Lane replied in a puzzled tone of voice.
We asked for and received his permission to meet with our accuser, Mrs. Jenkins, the next morning.
That night in prayer, Eddie and I asked the Lord what we should do. We felt that the Lord told us not to speak in our
own defense, but instead let our pastor guide the conversation. Slightly anxious but confident of our strategy, we went
When we stepped into Pastor Lane's office the next day, Mrs. Jenkins was waiting for us. We felt like lambs being led to
the slaughter as we listened yet said nothing. Not far into the conversation between her and Pastor Lane, she suddenly
had a change of heart. She began repenting nervously, telling us that she didn't know why she passed this accusation
around the church. She said that all along she knew it wasn't true.
We never spoke one word until after our pastor had resolved the entire issue. Relieved and grateful to the Lord, we
thanked Mrs. Jenkins for the apology, prayed for her, and blessed her.
Every Christian will face Satan's attacks from time to time. Some will be severe, others not so severe. We are all
engaged in a great spiritual battle with the enemy. After all, this is war!
Trials abound, don't they? If you are not in a trial, it is probably because you have just emerged from one, or you are
about to face one. Quite often, we ourselves are the defendants in need of an attorney. (See I Peter 4:12-16.)
But a great prayer revolution is occurring in our nation. In the midst of crumbling American morals, school and
workplace shootings, pervasive sexual perversion, and natural disasters, more and more Christians are engaging in
intercessory prayer. They are beginning to understand and accept their roles as God's spiritual defense attorneys who
(as advocates) plead for mercy on behalf of those the devil brings to trial.
Have you ever considered the similarity between life's trials, which we all must face, and a court trial? This book was
written to reveal this comparison. There is much we can learn about intercessory prayer by looking at the methods
attorneys employ in the courtroom.
For example: Why are we being tried? Peter teaches that the eternal reward we have in Christ is being "kept in
heaven" for us.
living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish,
spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the
salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you
may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold,
which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed. (I Peter 1:3-7)
be surprised or discouraged. He explains that these trials come so that our faith may be refined and purified like
Jewelers work with different purities of gold. There is gold-plated, gold-filled, ten -karat, fourteen-karat, eighteen-karat,
and twenty-four-karat gold. Master designers will tell you that the purer the gold, the softer it is. The same is true in our
lives - the trials of our lives, like a refiner's fire, burn away impurities. As a result, a softening takes place in our lives
that make us pliable and more easily conformed to the image of Christ. (See Romans 8:29). Our lives then result in
praise, glory, and honor for Christ!
In Acts 9 we read of pompous Saul of Tarsus, who was threatening to kill Christians. This angry religious zealot, who
would later become the apostle Paul, had received permission from the high priest to travel to Damascus in search of
Christians. His job was to arrest them and bring them back to stand trial in Jerusalem.
In the 1970s there was a Christian song titled "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Hell - I Got Saved, Saved,
Saved!" Well, a funny thing happened to Saul on his way to Damascus. Allow us to paraphrase Paul's experience as
recorded in Acts 9:3-16:
threw Saul unceremoniously to the ground, where he heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you
[Can't you almost visualize Saul, like Fred Sanford on the old television sitcom Sanford and Son, grabbing his
chest and announcing, "This is the BIG one!"]. No doubt stunned by the question, Saul asked, "Who are You?"
"I am Jesus. Saul, it is Me whom you are really persecuting," Jesus replied. "Now get up off the ground, and go
into the city where I will give you further instructions."
The men traveling with Saul were dumbfounded. They heard the voice, but they saw nothing.
When Saul stood up, he was blind as a bat - totally blind! His friends led him by the hand, like a child, into
Damascus, where he stayed for three days, during which time he did not eat or drink anything.
have sought out, arrested, and taken to Jerusalem to stand trial.
"Ananias, go to the house of Judas on Straight Street, and ask to speak to Saul of Tarsus."
You know that he has been persecuting Christians in Jerusalem? It's been said that he has come here to arrest
me and anyone else who calls on Your name. This might not be a safe thing for me to do."
just showed him in a vision how you will come and place your hands on him to restore his sight. I have chosen
this Saul of Tarsus as an instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people
of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for My name."
Christian life be trouble free? What kind of message is this to share with a new believer? I can hear it now: 'Mr.
Tarsus? Uh, may I call you Saul? My name is Ananias. I am delighted to report that God has chosen to honor
you with the privilege of suffering for Christ. Great news, huh?"
God has ways of arranging circumstances to capture his attention. This was necessary for Saul. And suffer he did!
Just look at what he says:
in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I
received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three
times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have
been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles;
in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored
and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I
have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
(II Corinthians 11:23-28)
Gentiles, the poor, women, children, and the sick. If God had not broken his controlling, domineering soul of its
pharisaic legalism, Saul never could have been used as God's voice to the masses.
He was also allowed to suffer in order to break the hard outer shell of his soul so that the fragrant life of the Spirit could
be released. Out of Paul's weakness, God's strength could finally be displayed.
We Are Not The First
Yes, suffering is part of the plan. It's little comfort, we know. But we are not the first to "stand trial." In II Corinthians 8:1-
2, Paul described the results of the trial suffered by the Macedonian Christians: "And now, brothers, we want you to
know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy
and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity." The key to our victory comes when we understand God's ways
of using our trials for His glory. At that point, we can express joy even in the middle of our difficulties.
Sometimes surprise blessings are hidden in unfortunate life experiences. Such was the case in a story told by
Reverend H.C. Trumbull:
was gone, and as he stood on the site, heart-broken and discouraged, he saw something shining in the bank,
which the waters had washed bare. It was gold. The flood, which had beggared him, made him rich.
God someday for what we thought were losses due to life's calamities. In reality, for most of us, the life experiences that
have done the most to shape us into the image of Christ have not been things we would have placed on our "to do" list
or our list of life goals. They were seldom things we would have naturally desired.
Hebrews 11 has been called "faith's Hall of Fame." About these "hall of famers," Hebrews 11:13-16 says:
them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the
country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country -
a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
birthed in adversity, grown through displacement and rejection, and blossomed in unrealized hopes and dreams. Take
a closer look at these heroes of the faith:
And there were other heroes of the faith. Hebrews 11:32-38 speaks of them:
the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who
shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness
was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back
their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better
resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned;
they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins,
destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and
mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
them received what had been promised" (verse 39). But would they say it was worth it all? Indeed, that's exactly what
the writer of Hebrews asserts in the final verse of that great chapter: "God had planned something better for us so that
only together with us would they be made perfect" (verse 40).
What can we learn from their experiences that will prepare us to stand trial? We learn:
In many parts of the world today, Christian converts expect to suffer trials. Each of us can expect to be brought to trial
from time to time. Life is seasonal. No one is exempt from Satan's attack. No one is always victorious. Each of us will
experience both defeat and victory in the spiritual trials we face.
"You don't realize that God is all you need, until God is all you've got!" It may not be proper grammar, but it's true.
Alice and I (Eddie ) had been married a couple of years when we pulled our new motor home into a Target shopping
center in South Houston, Texas. We were in town to conduct a revival at Braeburn Valley Baptist Church.
Our motor home was not a luxury item. It represented everything we owned. We had no apartment or home. We lived
in the motor home and traveled from church to church, week after week, conducting revival meetings and evangelistic
crusades. You might say that we lived on a piece of "wheel estate."
Alice had some light shopping to do prior to the evening service. I agreed to stay in the motor home, parked near the
As Alice shopped, I remembered that we also needed a can of hair spray. Knowing it would only take a couple of
minutes for me to retrieve the hair spray and return to the motor home, I left the motor running and stepped into the
Sure enough, it was no problem at all. There was hardly anyone in the checkout line. In mere moments, I was finished
and walking toward the front door. As I exited the store I could hardly believe my eyes. It was like one of those
disappearing African-elephant or space-shuttle illusions we have seen television magicians perform. Our motor home
was gone. I actually saw it crossing the overpass and heading down the frontage road on the opposite side of the
I stepped back inside the store and walked over to the checkout stand. As Alice walked up, I said, "Honey, are you
looking for a good reason to praise the Lord?"
She smiled and answered good-naturedly, "Why, I don't need a reason to praise the Lord." Then I explained what had
She could hardly believe her ears! "What are we going to do?" she asked.
"First, we'll call the police," I explained. "Then I'll call a taxi, because we have to get to the church for the evening
"Evening service? I'm dressed in slacks [in the early 1970s, women didn't wear slacks to church], and you're not
dressed for church at all." Alice explained.
"We'll simply have to explain our situation to the people," I replied.
The taxi pulled up, and we left Target for the church. We told The curious driver what had just happened. He was
baffled by our trust in the Lord. The conversation quickly shifted as our driver was confronted with his own relationship
with God. When we arrived at the church, we had the joy of praying with him to receive Christ as his personal Lord and
That night, the service went on as usual, but we were numb. The people were very gracious to us. One family opened
their home for us to sleep. Another bought us each a toothbrush. That night, all we owned were the clothes on our
backs and our new toothbrushes! As we prayed before a much-needed night's rest, we asked the Lord for
The days following were difficult. The police could not report the crime as grand theft because our motor home's value
did not exceed fifty thousand dollars. The motor home was so new (we'd only had it for two weeks) that we hadn't even
received the title in the mail. Since our motor home had only a temporary license plate, it could be easily replaced.
Witnesses testified that two men were involved. The police offered us little encouragement. They said the thieves
would likely take it across the Texas-Mexico border and sell it in Mexico for pennies on the dollar. However, God was
our defender, and we asked Him to fight the battle for us.
When we weren't traveling, we stayed with friends and family, but when we traveled, hotels were our home. We had
enough money to buy only basic items, and for a long time, we ministered in the same two outfits each week. The
generosity of God's people was what we remember the most.
One week turned into two, and two weeks into three. There was still no word from the police. Without any word on our
motor home, our optimism turned to weeks of dying to self. Death to self came in several ways.
Six weeks later, after we had surrendered everything to the Lord, we received a phone call from the police. The
authorities found our empty motor home in a rice field east of Houston, buried up to its axles in mud. The crooks had
stolen everything they considered to be of value. They burned everything else in a bonfire beside the motor home.
The only things left undestroyed were our Bibles, neatly stacked under the kitchen table. The thieves were never found.
At the time, God was working more on our holiness than our happiness. But we weren't the first to suffer. Nor was that
the last suffering we have been called upon to endure. That's why Peter said, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the
painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you" (I Peter 4:12).
Can any good thing come out of our trials? Well, read the following:
wrote Pilgrim's Progress while in Bedford jail; Luther translated the Bible into German while incarcerated in
Wartburg Castle; Madame Guyon's sweetest poems and deepest experiences were the result of her long
imprisonment. Truly, "Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage."
Trouble is not strange. It's part of the natural process of life. God forges His finest tools in the fires of adversity.
Knowing this, however, is sometimes little comfort when we are the ones in the furnace! For that reason, each one who
is suffering adverse circumstances needs representation before the throne of God.
Prior to Simon Peter's infamous triple denial of Jesus, Jesus said to him, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as
wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your
brothers" (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus was assuring Peter that although he was about to be put on trial, he was not without
representation in heaven's court. Jesus was committing to "stand in the gap" on Peter's behalf. It's clear that the
Father did hear and answer Jesus' petition on Peter's behalf, because Peter's faith did not fail. In fact, Peter was so
strengthened by his trial that he became a pillar of the early church. As Jesus had prophesied, Peter later
strengthened his brothers by writing the words, "Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering" (I Peter 4:12).
When you engage in intercessory prayer, as Jesus did for Peter, in effect you become a spiritual defense attorney. You
are pleading the case of another in heaven's court before Father God. What an awesome privilege and profound
responsibility we assume when we do so! In this book, we hope to challenge you with the indispensable nature of
Most earthly lawyers work either as defense attorneys or prosecuting attorneys, not at both. However, when we pray
against the work of Satan and his militia in this world, we shift from serving as defense attorneys and begin operating
from the position of prosecuting attorneys. Satan is no longer focusing on stealing, killing, and destroying others. He
suddenly finds himself a defendant in heaven's court. He is the one who is being tried - by God!
Surely you can see how important it is that we clearly understand our role and faithfully accept our responsibility to pray
- and sometimes to fight when lives hang in the balance. The future depends on it.
In his devotional, "Standing Up for Others," David Bryant, chairman of America's National Prayer Committee, writes:
bracelets." Each person who wore a bracelet was an advocate for those in enemy hands who could not be
advocates for themselves...God intends that by our prayers, and out of our love for others, we reason with Him
about their destiny.
Exodus 28:29 gives us a biblical illustration of advocacy prayer. Every time the high priest came into the
tabernacle, on his vestment he bore across his heart the names of the tribes of Israel, inscribed on twelve
stones. Like the MIA bracelet, these stones were a constant remembrance before the Lord (and to the priest)
that the Israelites had no hope unless God acted on their behalf.
When we gather to pray, we, too, need to come wearing on our hearts, as it were, names of those around us for
whom God has given us personal responsibility in prayer. We love them through prayer as we plead for them the
way we would for any loved one who was trapped in prison. As advocates for others in prayer, we cry out to God
for them: "They need what You have to give them, so I'm praying for those who cannot yet pray for themselves."
Believe it! Once you have journeyed through this book with us, your prayer life will never be the same again! Now, let's
take a look at a defense attorney named Job, perhaps Earth's earliest-known advocate!
SPIRITUAL ADVOCATES, by Eddie & Alice Smith, Copyright 2008, Charisma House.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES