He holds us back to set us free

He holds us back to set us free

Have you ever heard the Lord speak so clearly that it changed the course of your life or ministry? Here author Larry Gordon shares one such moment. While his experience was personal, there is much general wisdom to be gleaned from what he heard:

I knew I had just received a message from the Lord. The question was “What exactly was that message?

So, I said, “Lord, I saw the vision, and I know what I said. What exactly are You saying to me?” 

 As I sat there meditating and listening, I received an understanding of the vision and the message God was giving. First of all, He took me to the burning bush where Moses encountered God and was initiated into his supernatural ministry, which has shaken the whole world. Moses was born a slave in Egypt. His life was threatened by Pharaoh from the moment he was born. His life was threatened again when his own people, who should have been thankful for his help, turned on him when he killed the Egyptian who was abusing one of his Jewish brothers. Moses was a type of Christ to the world as he became a savior to the children of Israel, freeing them from the captivity of Satan’s man, Pharaoh.

All these were things I knew of Moses’s story; but on this morning the Lord showed me something new as I remembered Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush. Suddenly I realized that the first words God said to Moses in that holy place were regarding restrictions: 

Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (Exodus 3:5) 

Then, in the way one might teach a child, God asked me, “What did I do upon first meeting the meekest man in all the earth?” 

Being rather excited and amazed, I replied, “You restricted him, didn’t You?” 

Moses’ very first inclination was to come near and check out the bush, which would have been the natural response to this amazing sight. But God said, “No—stay back!” 

Moses certainly would not have chosen to remove the shoes that protected his feet from the burning sand. But God said, “Remove your shoes. The ground is holy!”

Why these restrictions on Moses? I believe God used them to test Moses’ desire to trust and obey the God he didn’t fully understand.

A short time later as I pondered these things, the Lord asked, “What is the first thing I said to you when calling you to your end-time ministry?” 

Back my mind went to a night many years ago—another night when I received a night vision from the Lord. I had viewed Sioux City, Iowa, as a rather desert-like place, one I would not have chosen in my own list of places to serve the Lord. Thank God for the joy that comes from choosing His will instead of our own! Sioux City is now the place I love most dearly and would not choose to serve anywhere else. In fact, I served there, after starting the church in 1982, as head pastor for thirty-three years before turning the ministry over to my sons.

In that earlier night vision I was standing behind a plexiglass pulpit, which was all the rage in the 1980s. Jesus was standing behind me, with His great hands rested upon my shoulders as we looked out upon the congregation of Cornerstone. As He stood there towering above me, He said to me, “Larry, I will always be with you if you walk in love and season your words with grace.” That, too, was a very short but powerful vision. It was both a promise and a restriction! Remember that God’s restrictions are for the purpose of bringing His very best to us.

It was the promise of great liberty and great productivity that would follow if I obeyed the restriction. Obeying that restriction would set me free to do exactly what God was calling me to do.

At times following His leading carried me into hurtful battles. We have been criticized in the newspapers and on television many times through the years. Our lives have been threatened on multiple occasions. People have reviled us on Facebook and Twitter. When you have a supernatural church, you will be attacked by a supernatural enemy with human pawns. But the Lord has brought us to victory in every restrictive situation by His grace and power. We have repeatedly seen His miracles of help and deliverance! 

Through it all, the Lord has constantly reminded me to walk in love and season my words with grace. Sometimes I have fallen short; but He has been faithful to forgive my repentant heart and keep His hands on me through every trial. There is great reward for facing the restrictions that come, all the while walking in love and speaking truth. That is exactly what God was teaching Moses. If he would obey the first simple restrictions—staying back and removing his shoes—he would see amazing things begin to happen in his life with God that were beyond anything he could imagine. 

My new book, They Always Set Me Free, is full of examples of men and women facing their darkest days, yet trusting that their obedience to God would produce kingdom results.

There is a general approach God takes to each of His servants. It is the way of restriction in order to make us free—restriction in order to make us greatly fruitful in the kingdom of God. He restricts us with the purpose of bringing His very best for us!


They Always Set Me Free will tell you how many great men and women have lived through multiple nightmares to become the heroes known all over the earth. Their stories can become your story of fruitfulness!

224 pages | $12.99


Dr. Larry Gordon is the founding father of Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, Iowa. Operating in the area of the apostolic, Dr. Gordon is considered a spiritual father to other ministers, an author, singer, songwriter, and teacher. His fifty plus years of ministry experience make him a great asset to the Body of Christ.

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  • Carrie Schuessler
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