Summary: God’s Amazing Love
Abundant Life Worship Center
3001 Roosevelt Highway
Manchester, GA 31816
16 Hours Under the Attack of Death
Intro: In hindsight I suppose I have never really known the magnitude or the involvement of God in our personal lives as well as I do after April 13, 2003. Throughout my ministry I have antagonized the enemy and challenged him many times in order to clearly present a true picture of his inability to affect our lives. Peter stated, “He is a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour,” but always unable to bag his prey.
In Matthew 12:29, Jesus gave us a valuable lesson about our security system which He Himself paid for and, by the way, installed. “How can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?” Only then will he be able to spoil his goods.
In my challenges I have many times demanded the devil to show his authority. “Come right in,” I would say during many of my messages, “and take me out. If you are so powerful,” I would continue, “walk into this church, come up to this podium, and destroy me.” Thus, you have the background which took me on a trip April 13, 2003, that few have ever taken. I’ll get back to this background in a moment, and explain what I mean.
It was the beginning of an incredible journey that began as any other ordinary day, without any advance warning, or any sign that April 12, 2003, would be a day wedged in my memory forever. It was just a normal Saturday morning, and I would leave for work like millions of others, like I had done so many times in the past. The mail that day was heavy, and the unusual pain in my left arm made the day stressful and exacting.
After getting home, I cut grass for myself and my dad, but above the roaring of the lawnmower motor, something began to happen. The house of clay began to feel the intrusion of something different. At first, the pain was just a come and go pain, similar to a guerilla warfare attack that continued to worsen throughout the day. I had invited my two sons, Joseph and Vance, over for supper, and managed to grill porkchops for them as I had planned. No one at this time was aware of the intrusion I was feeling.
Later that evening, I mentioned to Mildred the pain that now seemed to be more difficult and frequent. It was not unbearable, but mentally I realized that it was having an effect upon me. “I’ll be better in the morning,” I thought, and would continue my plans to preach in the 11 o’clock morning worship service.
As I preached, I noticed the pain had intensified, but I completed my sermon and left for home. Again, I convinced Mildred that I was ok, and was just stressed out over the work schedule that I had encountered over the last few months.
I rested all afternoon, until it was time for Mildred to go to choir practice. I would go to church later, as I normally do, for the 6 o’clock evening service, and be prepared to preach.
Shortly after Mildred left, I took a bath, which was my normal Sunday afternoon procedure. As I was bathing, I noticed that suddenly my left arm was hurting continuously and no longer intermittently. I finished my bath and went to the living room to rest for a few moments. As I sat on the sofa, my hands dangling in front of me, I noticed I had great drops of sweat dripping from my fingertips. It was then I realized that I was in big trouble. It seemed as if a full physical attack was being waged. The commander of hell was clear about his mission: Take Sanford out.
But in the house of clay that was alone in the house, I knew a Stronger than he was present, and according to Revelations 1:18, it is He who has the keys to death. The house of clay was under an incredible attack and no longer had control, like a boat rushing down a mighty river with no power of its own.
As I tried to focus and control my emotions, I knew I must get to the phone, which was in a nearby room. I managed to get off the sofa, but fell in the floor. I got up again, fell again, and this time I started crawling to the phone. I crawled a few feet, and was so sick, vomiting, nauseous, and sick at my stomach, that I crawled instead to the bathroom next to the phone room. My chest was tight, my left arm was aching almost unbearably, and I knew I must get help immediately.