But who may endure the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appears? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
(Malachi 3:2-3 KJ2000)
We know that God has said that in the last days, He would be doing a deeper work in the hearts of His saints AND that He would use our fellow saints to work in and prepare us for the second coming of our Lord Jesus.
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (Revelation 19:6-8 RSVA- emphasis added)
Yes, WE as members of the Bride of Christ are what HE uses to make us ready for His coming. It seems that in the last month and a half He has gone after one issue after another that was still lurking deep in my heart, some of them lingering there even from my childhood. I have gone for years before this, without Him really touching any new issues in my heart. He seems to do these things in seasons and I have been in one of those painful, yet wonderful periods of my life.
God in His wisdom has used a wonderful sister in Christ to reach into my heart and bring to light a lot of places that my attitudes toward different classes of people had not been healed. It was about 24 years ago that a lady counselor told me she could go no further with me after about three sessions. Then she told me a curious thing… that when God got at the rest of what was holding me back He would use a woman, not a man as He had previously years earlier (in 1979)… Well, this has all come to pass as He used a very unsuspecting vessel over the internet to touch my heart. This dear sister slipped right in “under my radar” if you will and God started using her to do what no other person could do before.
Once the first area of darkness was brought to light, my hatred for pastors and disdain for ecclesiastical authority, then the others came tumbling down as well. And get this! She didn’t even know that God was using her this way. Jesus just showed up in her words! Yes, He still uses the weak things to confound the mighty and the foolish things to confound the wise. I don’t know how many more issues are going to show up, for at one point the Lord showed me my heart with the top removed and it looked like a cone-shaped coffee filter with grounds in the bottom. When I saw that, I gave Him full permission to empty me out once again.
As a precursor to all this He had me meditating on this passage (and I am still marveling over it in its simplicity)…
And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
(1 John 1:4-7 RSVA)
Light! God’s pure light! This is the power that exposes darkness and makes it flee away. But it also heals that scar that is left behind when our darkness is banished. A study about light is a very interesting thing. Light not only illuminates, but it bleaches things out like a fuller’s soap (see Malachi 3:2) and it also kills bacteria and purifies. But here we see John revealing to us that LIGHT is integral to REAL fellowship in the Spirit of God. IF we are walking in the Light as HE is in the Light…. God is Light and in Him there is no darkness… true fellowship is found where hearts are open to HIM and to one another.
Later in John’s letter we read that God is Love as well. So, can we have real healing fellowship with one another without HIS healing Love there, too? I don’t think so. Love is what it takes for us to open up to His light… We love Him because HE first loved us… and His love in His saints is what holds us together and enables us to trust one another and to open up to one another so HIS Light can shine in!!! This is when the blood of Jesus does its cleansing work! It was being loved unconditionally by a bunch of hippie Jesus People in 1970 that got me to open my heart up to God and be healed from a spirit of hate that was left over from my part in the Vietnam War.
“We have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” You see it all fits together… I was having fellowship in openness with this sister and God came into it to open me up and heal me. Some of you might read this and think, “Poor sap! What is HIS problem? I got perfectly healed when Jesus came into my life!” Well, good for you! But with me the next verse in 1 John has great meaning as well… “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
So, dear saints let us boldly enter into His throne of grace and let His light do its work with one another… no more silly church games of parading around in our righteous robes like so many Pharisees of old! Let us open up our hearts to those whom God has given us in a special relationship (the spiritual ones we can trust [see Galatians 6:1]) and get REAL with one another…
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
(James 5:16 KJ2000)
Do you see the context of effectual and fervent prayer? It is for one another’s healing as members of Christ’s body. I hope we will all find that special person, as I have, who God uses to heal us and get to the bottom of our heart issues that hold us back.
“You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.”
(Proverbs 27:17 MSG)
God bless you all!
Thank you, Michael.
May the Lord’s healing power be revealed to everyone in the Body of Christ. Amen.
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Amen, Susanne. God bless you!
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ARGH! as Charlie Brown would say – this message is so . . . . distasteful…..but right on!
I think I told you about the time (1998) I asked God to shake everything in my life that could be shaken, Michael. What ensued was akin to everything in my life being put on a tray . . . . and tossed into the air. I know, I know: you’re reminded of winnowing, right?! So was I, so was I.
At any rate, I knew this needed to be done, I knew it was a necessary process, but, oh, did I complain and moan throughout the process. I admit it. I don’t know how God put up with me! Then, in the middle of the worst of the changes that year, God says to me, ‘Sue, I don’t know why you’re yearning to go back to that place you used to be; you didn’t even LIKE it there!’ This was a not-so-subtle reminder of why I prayed the shake-me-up prayer to begin with. I got the message and moved forward instead of back.
I am grateful for these times of shaking, but perhaps don’t appreciate them to their fullest until after the shaking stops, In fact, I was so impressed with the results of the shaking that I asked God to shake everything in the world in the same way.
Where is that verse that says we are not to be like a dumb animal that needs a bit and bridle in order for the Lord to move us where we need to be? I pray now, for all of us, that this latest shaking (for I have been going through this same thing, too) would be the one that allows God to remove our bits and bridles, Michael.
For I believe that is what the purpose of the latest trials and tests are all about – this moving into a bridle-free life in Jesus.
It’s all worth it. Keep on keepin’ on, brother. And, oh, keep sharing what you’re learning, too; I really appreciate your honesty and integrity, Mike.
Hugs! Huge hugs!
Sue Moore, thanks for writing. You and I go back quite a few years knowing one another and it is good to hear from you, dear sister!
Your picture of Christ winnowing your life is a great one. When John the Baptist was of Jesus, “His fan is in His hand and He will thoroughly purge His threshing floor” This is exactly what he was referring to. It is up to us to toss all that we are up into the air and let Him blow on it. What comes back down belongs to Him and the rest is blown away. I am glad in all your complaining that you stayed the coarse and let Him purge you of old Susie.
You spoke of the whole world being shaken just as He had shaken you. I say AMEN to that! “This time there will be a shaking, not only the earth but the heavens, also.” Everything we relate to as the Kingdom of Heaven will be shaken before it is over. Look up the quake damage in Christchurch, New Zealand… all the towns big churches suffer major structural damage there. Christchurch… church buildings crumbling… it is coming. Everything that man has built to “honor God” He is not impressed with. Thanks for you edifying comments, sister!
Hugs back to you as well,
Oh, oh! I feel a story coming on….
When mom expressed a desire to have new carpet in our living room, when I was young, my sister Christa suggested that Sue could make her a carpet! Such was Christa’s belief that her older sister could do anything.
I think of that because that’s the way I am in re to God: I know He can do anything……..
No problem – right believing trumps all, right?
Well….my most recent ‘crisis of the heart’ has to do with the lies the devil has been whispering to me, lo these many years: ‘Sue, yes, God can do anything, but what makes you think He will undertake for YOU?’ And companion to that, ‘Yes, God can do anything, Sue, but I’m sure you will always find a way to thwart His efforts in your behalf.’
I share this because I believe that God, when He shakes his people – when He shakes the world and the heavens – deals with all of his kids similarly. So I’m thinking someone else might be in the middle of this sort of crisis.
What is our part in God’s plans? I sought God about this for many years. Eventually, He led me to this verse, from Proverbs: A man without self control is like a city without walls.
Our ONLY responsibility is to control the self part of ourselves…..and God does the rest.
And as to the rest of it: God is able to take us where we need to be, no matter what, no matter how…..obstreperous His kids can be. He is able to finish that He has started in us.
Hope this helps at least one person. If what I have gone through of-late helps one person in the re-telling, well, then the whole ‘crisis’ will have been worth it.
I’m a little confuse, I’m happy for your deliverance, I’ve been going through similar stuff myself. My question is “your hatred of Pastors”? I really don’t believe those guys who hold the paid position of Pastor actually are the Scriptural pastors, but are usurpers, the false Heads of the body. I have never met a shepard (other than the Great Shepard) in my 25 years with him. Recognizing false brethren is paramount to our journey and “loving” these supplanters is dangerous. I know my comment won’t be popular.
Thank you and amen. Such an important message for this time. A reminder that in these days of “the love of many growing cold,” we will see and allow the Light of Christ to cleanse and heal us. God bless you.
Thanks, Hoshiana. God bless you as well.
Thank-you brother. Your post reminded me of a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss “Brokenness – Surrender – Holiness”…..pg 94.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace.
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
For many of us it is easier to live with the roof off than it is to let the walls down-to be transparent and honest with others. We work so hard at leaving a good impression; we want others to think well of us. But once we have really been contrite and humble before God, it will not be threatening to be humble and honest with others–we have nothing to lose, no reputation to protect–because we have died. The broken person is willing to say, “Will you pray for me? I have a need in my life–God is dealing with me in this specific area.” Brokenness towards God produces openness towards others. Living with the walls down can become a wonderful means of God’s grace in our lives.
Deborah, this was very insightful. Thanks for sharing it. I guess I never saw that “brokenness towards God produces openness toward others” but it is true. Oh the walls we build as we do the “dance of seven veils” with one another… teasing, but never fully revealing to others who we REALLY are. The first result of sin was man going out and making himself fig leaf garments to hide behind. Before sin came Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed in the garden. May God so move in our hearts that we shed all our religious fig leaves and stand naked and transparent before Him and one another in Christ’s body.
oh yes–the one anothering principle is very important in this day of rugged individualism–we desperately need each other.
Kenneth, That rugged individualism is what I grew up in, in logging town in northern Idaho. It is very pronounced in logging and mining communities. It has taken me years to discover that this is not who Christ IS and surely not what He wants us to be as His servants. May we all have our eyes opened to the fact that we are members one of another IN Christ. Thanks, Kenneth!
Man – your story and mine parallel. Something ‘big’ is up on this earth, as our wonderful Father is working in us individually in preparation for what He will release ‘through’ us collectively. Enjoyed your writing, also similar styles as transparency is at the forefront of everything He gives me to write.
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Clay, I have known about you for many years and always heard good things about you and your writings. So good to connect like this in a heart to heart way, my brother. Yes, something BIG is happening as God prepares our hearts for His work. Satan might have come in like a flood, but GOD is raising up HIS standard in those who are His. I will check out your latest writings on your web site.
Sue Moore, I thank God that He only asks us to yield up ourselves to Him and He does the rest. He takes out of us our hearts of stone and puts in us hearts that are supple and responsive to Him, He washes us in the blood of the Lamb from all our sins, He puts HIS Spirit withing us so we can hear His voice and finally my dear sister, He puts His “want to” in us. He gives us the fruit of the Spirit and that includes self-control. Amen? ALL things are ours IN Christ Jesus! We just yield ourselves without conditions to Him… It is all about surrender.
Holy hugs to you back!
We also received some great comments on my FaceBook wall about this article.
From Nita Roper:
This is very encouraging to watch the body come into the brightness of His coming! There is no darkness in light. There are so many areas in my own heart that God is bringing me through too.( painful as it may be sometimes, sometimes it’s a relief! ) I believe humility is draws God like a magnet. This is a wonderful testimony! Thank you for sharing. Praise God for His never failing mercy and grace ~ Nita
From Wayne Roper on FaceBook…
Michael-glad to see the Lord continuing to work out the dark areas of your life and bringing healing. the Lord has been holding that scripture ( 1jn.1:4-7 )before my wife and i for some time now. thank God we have some people we walk with that we can have a transparent relationship with and the Lord uses them ( and others ) to exposes the dark areas in our lives. my friend in alabama calls it getting in each others underwear drawers . i agree with Ken ( and the scripture ) that we are to honor all men ( Jesus honored and loved the Pharisees as men yet dealt with their error ) As we let the Lord work out the areas of judgement and unforgiveness and pain in our heart.
The scripture comes to mind – Matt 7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and THEN you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
I believe there is a place as we allow the Lord to clean our hearts we can see more clearly to deal with the revelation we have ( the speck ) been given of the apostate church system and to better separate the people from the system and to deal with the error we see out of love ( light and life ) rather than pain and hate. ( if we minister out of pain and hate we are ministering death and darkness not life and light ) we will still be dealing with the same issues only with a different heart and becoming more like the Bride without spot or wrinkle. i know i am preaching to the choir but this was on my heart ~ wayne
From K.D. Jackson on FaceBook…”Brother, that is wonderful.”
From Ken Burgess on FaceBook…
KPOW! Right in my heart. Michael, the Lord sent a precious brother and sister to us just a couple of days ago to minister to several areas of our life that have been cloaked in darkness. Ironically but not surprisingly is my own sorry attitude toward church leaders and ecclesiastical authority too. As I read what you wrote, the Lord showed me how much he loves all of us and we are to “honor all men.” I have dishonored my brethren with my tongue mostly but my attitude was malicious and crude. I began to weep and bowed my knees in sorry and repentance. It was as though I could see Father grinding clods of dry ole dung into powder in HiS big hands and blowing them away. Thank you my precious brother.
From Michael C. back to Nita and Wayne Roper…
Nita Roper, Thanks for your wonderful replay! You said one phrase in particular that resonated with me when I read it, “I believe humility is draws God like a magnet.” I never thought of humility in this light… Humility is one of those qualities that the one who has it is not aware of it. May we all have that quality, dear sister.
Wayne Roper, Thanks, Wayne…Yes, in my case the Lord has been after me to be His clear conduit so His living waters could flow to ALL who are hurting and lost or bound by a lie, without any prejudice on my part.
I used to work in a factory in the maintenance department and we would get these safety bulletins to read aimed at we who were “operating engineers.” I remember this one that was addressing a problem that was caused by using the wrong pipe in a hotel water system. It seems that the maintenance guys in that large hotel grabbed an old galvanized pipe out of the rack and installed it in a fresh water line… the trouble was that it had been used as drain line to the sewer previously. The water flowing through the pipe was good water. But by the time it passed through this length of pipe it was defiled by the effluent still on its inner walls.
That is what our “pipes” are like when we come to Christ. So, God has to do a lot of cleansing in us to get His Living Water to flow through us without our wounded hearts and flesh defiling it (thinking of how long Peter kept blowing it after he was an apostle. Jesus had told him, “Satan has sought to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you. After you have been converted, strengthen your brethren”). The un-crucified flesh not only profits nothing, it defiles what is of the Spirit as it passes through us as His instruments. One time I was in a church counseling room at a meeting and the florescent fixture on the ceiling was buzzing rather loud and the Lord said, “Lights are for shedding light, not making irritating noise.” It was a message for ME.
I love, love the pipe analogy! By the way: What were the symptoms that drew attention to the use of that ucky pipe? Was there, for example, a complaint about the taste of the water?
Sue, I think that they figured out that it was the cause after hundreds of people got sick after drinking the water in that large hotel.
From Michael C. back to Ken Burgess…
Ken, that was a wonderful example of what has been going on in me as well. Glad we are still on this journey together… The Bride is making herself ready, my brother. What a wonderful time we live in!!!
From Wayne Roper…
Michael – after i wrote that comment above to you. during the night the Lord kept reminding me of that scripture in matt.7 and convicted me of how I have a tendency to make the issues about the church greater than the issues of the heart and His people and how i needed to be put back in the right perspective of which is the plank (dealing with heart issues ) and which is the speck (the church issues ) i think the reason that scripture was on my heart is that the scripture and comment were for ME. to add to what my wife said about humility i believe the reason it draws God like a magnet is because it is the nature and heart of the Lamb. ~wayne
Reading through this blog is such an encouragement. I would think that a letter from one of the apostles to a first century church – that later became a part of our Bible – would have had the same kind of encouragement.
Thanks for your own encouragement to me, as well. The more God digs deep into my heart and the more I release those things in there that have been holding me back, the more seems to use me more to touch hearts in others.
It was good to hear from you again, dear sister!
What a beautiful testimony of God’s incredible and redemptive care for us. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for your encouragement, my sister.
Brother Michael, this is such a sobering and humbling read because God has certainly been working with me in the area of how poor my attitude has been toward clergy as well. Isn’t it funny how we can have truth but have the wrong attitude? I know about the clergy and institutional systems but what good am I to be a light to others if I am hating on them within my heart. It has been a humbling time for me but obviously God has brought us to this place for a greater purpose I am excited about seeing unfold.
My hatred had become so great that I refused to even acknowledge the good that God has been doing among these people and wrongly dismissed many brothers and sisters as if they weren’t even believers. So I have repented and am setting myself on a better course.
Thanks brother for your timely article.
My brother Landus,
Thanks for writing such a thoughtful letter and sharing your journey with me. It is good to hear from another saint that has had the same struggles. I am sure we have also experienced many of the same wounds at the hands of those who tend to lord-over the people of God, but it is OUR reaction and our sin that Father appeals to us to deal with as His sons. He is God and they have to deal with Him in their issues where they have sinned and only He can convict them of that, not us.
The whole issue, as far as He/we are concerned, is our freedom in Christ. Are we going to forgive so we can be forgiven (the Lord’s prayer) and shake it off and move on in our ever increasing higher callings in Christ or are we going to be trapped by our own unforgiveness and become spiritually stagnate (You see, those things we bind on earth get bound in heaven)? And if we choose to repent and follow His voice, He will be able to use us to reach out to whoever HE wills through us and THAT is walking in the LIGHT as HE is in the Light, my brother! So, keep short accounts from here on out, “Be angry, but sin not… don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.” Offenses will still come to us for that is part of living on this earth, but we don’t have to live under them any longer. “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
I love you, my brother,
“Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” Interesting it is, these words were spoken by the Master while he was lifted up. And could it be that these words are from the foundation of the world and flow even unto the gates of the New Jerusalem? And these words must have bore a hole in the heart of Saul of Tarsus who for a time did what he did in ignorance and unbelief. 1Tim.1:13
So in the love of God, which is PATIENT, we must consider that those in the ecclesiastical clergy system are acting in ignorance and unbelief. And we must never forget that Jesus loves the disciples to the uttermost while they are bickering who will be greatest.
Thanks, Bill! Good insight, my brother. Paul wrote,
“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:13-16 KJVCNT)
This would indicate that Christ is not only in touch with us in our infirmities and weaknesses, but in touch with our very feelings for “ALL things are naked and open to His eyes.” Christ, as the Son of God, looks right through our religious fronts and into our hearts and looks at the motives in which we operate. I have known a few pastors that really had THE Shepherd’s heart for Jesus’ sheep, but I have also know many that have gotten sucked into building their own kingdoms and under their hands, the people languish as their task masters demand more and more of them. How many of these men who have become deluded will be brought back to Christ, I do not know, but God does. I just know that as He wants to use me in their lives, I want to remain open without pre-judging them, taking them one case at time as God allows in His grace. I want that love of Christ flowing in me that can truly cry out, “Father, for give them… they know not what they do.”
Bill, good comment! Give me a call again one of these days. I love you, my brother!