It’s a Matter of Life and Death… the Love of God

Solitude and LightThis year has been a blessing as Father continues to draw us closer to Him even though the trials have often been severe. As His love has grown in me, so has the scope of suffering and joy grown as my heart has been opened to feel what is going on in the lives of those He has placed me with in His kingdom. They have been a great encouragement to me as we have prayed for one another and seen Him move in our lives. I would like to thank my wife, Dorothy, for her steadfast encouragement and proof reading and editing skills in these articles I write. I would also like to give a special thanks to Susanne Schuberth and her blog* and the many times God has used her to inspire the things that I have shared as we both have grown in Christ and have encouraged one another.

 The events of this year so remind me of this stanza from “Amazing Grace,”

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I [we] have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me [us] safe thus far,
And grace will lead me [us] home.

I was recently reading something by T. Austin Sparks that really spoke to me about the nature of our Father’s working in our lives and the pattern of terrible lows, followed by His wonderful heavenly highs.

We can have many times of glory in our Christian lives. It is progressive, progressive in this sense: that it is an increasing matter. The Christian finds that from time to time he or she is taken into a deeper, deeper experience of trial, affliction, sorrow… something deeper and more difficult than anything before, and it’s a time when there does not seem to be very much glory; the glory seems to be veiled. There is nothing necessarily wrong about that, dear friends… That is the common experience and that is recognised as being true to Christian experience. But, you see, God is the God of glory and we are called unto His eternal glory and what the Lord means by this is more glory. The deeper the trial, the greater the suffering, the greater the glory, presently. It is only to bring about the glory in fuller measure. It is progressive, like that. And so there seems to be no end to these going-down experiences, but equally there is no end to the coming-up experiences. If there seems to be no end to the dark experiences, be assured that there is no end to the light [enlightening] ones. (http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/004310.html)

As I read this, something that Paul wrote took on greater meaning.

For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:11 RSVA)

For we are like a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost. For those who are being lost, it is a deadly stench that kills; but for those who are being saved, it is a fragrance that brings life. Who, then, is capable for such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 GNB)

Who can survive a life such as this, and who is sufficient to understand God’s ways with us? We can only endure such dying in Christ by faith, because it is designed to kill that old Adam in us with whom we have so closely identified, so that only the life of Christ remains in us and is manifest to all who know us. To those who perish we smell like death and they despise us for it, but to those who are being saved, we are the smell of His Life that brings life. Mary broke that alabaster box of perfume and poured it all out on Jesus and totally blessed Him with her act of love, and the smell of that perfume filled the whole house and blessed everyone in it. This is the nature of our own sacrifice in the plan of God… our being broken and poured out on and for Him.

Death and glory go hand in hand, but for those who belong to Jesus, death never has the final word, but rather the glory of God manifest in us through Christ. Just before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you” (John 17:1 KJ2000). Jesus glorified the Father by the sweet smelling sacrifice of His own life in obedience. What love for the Father that He would not only lay down His own life, but that He might redeem all of God’s precious creation from sin and death. I love the fragrance of Christ in His saints!

Jesus went on to pray:

The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:22-23 ESV)

So we not only see that death is a prerequisite to glory in the economy of God, but is also needed to fully live in the love of the Father and the Son. Oh, what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called the children of God and made one with the Father, the Son and one another in perfect agape love!

Thank you all for your kind and loving comments on our blog this year. May He continue to conform us into the image of Christ as we go from death to death and life to life and may He also draw us ever closer together in His great love.

* https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/

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24 comments on “It’s a Matter of Life and Death… the Love of God

  1. KENNETH DAWSON says:

    Yes I do agree and our love I hope to see in you and me for sixteenethee

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Kenneth, the poet! 🙂 Good to hear from you, my brother. “And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.”(1 John 4:21 RSVA).
      May we all be made perfect in His love. Amen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for the post.Your writings continue to edify me in a challenging and wonderful way. I praise God for You and Dorothy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Pat, thank you so much for all your encouragement, dear sister. I hope you two are not being effected by all that bad weather down there and the flooding from all that rain. You are in my prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, then when we first begun.. Beautiful blog. And it sure was an honor to have met you and Susanne. Your blogs are like sweet aroma, that smells of a bit of roses and myrrh. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Oh, Stacey! You are so kind. Since the Lord first showed me the significance of the broken alabaster box of perfume, I have prayed that Father would break my old nature in me so that I could be poured out upon Christ and be a blessing to them. So much has happened since I prayed that and it has not been an easy road over the last 35 years as He has been answering that prayer. So many ups and downs, but the promise is that it all ends on a most magnificent UP with no more downs.

      See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
      (1 John 3:1-3 RSVA)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I love that scripture. I read it years ago long before my ordeal. I never knew that I would have to endure so much agony. People saying just get over it. When the 6th time in less than a year I was hospitalized of my own free will because I just couldn’t stand the pain…Two patients who knew me not and said nothing to me before or after. One said to me, “you’re just a worn out old soldier.” I said. ” I have never been in the service?’ He said “you don’t have to be.” The other one was retarded and he walked across the room and stood in front of me and said, ” you’re a very special lady’. And he turned and walked away as if he didn’t say anything at all. I clung unto that for dear life until I just didn’t believe it anymore. But you know? I will always remember them. Amen! They were instrumental on me staying alive. It was God speaking through them. And you know something else? I don’t care who reads this. It is all on my Savior who loved me so much that I did not believe He did. Until finally you and Susanne. No psychiatrist or cleaning client, or counselor could have understood the depth of my weakness while they watch the clock and said well time’s up. LOL

        Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Dear Stacey, I am so happy that God was able to touch you through Susanne and I. Those two people who spoke to you were used by God to encourage you when you needed it and I am glad that He sent you to us to do the same. God bless and keep you in His arms in this new year! Love you IN the Son,
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you very much for the link to my blog, Michael. 🙂

    You have been a continued encouragement to me, my brother, especially through those many (read countless) severe trials. It was so good to see that and how God answered our common prayers, though not always immediately, but in an often very surprising way. It appears to me that God wants to hear our prayers – ALL of them – if we have finally fully grown into the image of Christ because He loves His children so much (you might remember our exchange about this lately).

    As for the TAS quote which is very good since it describes our very experiences, I was reminded of John of the Cross and Teresa of Ávila who both had been enabled by God to finally leave those dark experiences behind and to enter into God’s permanent peace and light IN Christ. I am sure only a few saints ever got to that point where they had been fully transformed into the image of Christ and were able to behold him as he really is (in the spirit). Of course, all of these things happen by His grace alone. I also recall that John of the Cross in one of his books (most probably “The Dark Night of the Soul”) mentioned that these experiences of darkness and pain are different for everyone. Most of the mystical Christians experience a moderated form of sanctification and never enter the second night of the spirit which is truly cruel. One of the possible reasons for God to do so, in John’s view, was that the greater the glory and authority God wants to give, the deeper and longer the night has to be. I agree with him since it is truly a dangerous thing to receive divine authority from God while one has still to struggle with one’s old self regarding pride and selfish desires. So it is truly better to suffer more in order to be finally set free completely and to exclusively see Christ living in us as Paul said here,

    “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20 ESV)

    Michael, for more than two years now you have been a great inspiration for me as well since I always sense His Spirit in what you write and that makes my heart rejoice. 🙂

    Enjoy a Happy and Blessed New Year with Dorothy,

    Susanne 🐱

    Liked by 3 people

    • Susanne Schuberth wrote, “Most of the mystical Christians experience a moderated form of sanctification and never enter the second night of the spirit which is truly cruel.” Sincerely I wanted to cry at that statement. I’m not sure about the second night but I sure do not want to experience that awful over 3 yrs of nothingness. I could not have even known what it was that I experienced but knew that I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Yes Cruel is a good word. Only You and Michael have ever explained it to me in such a clear way that now I feel I must grieve for that poor Stacey who had to go through so much turmoil. But now I am alive! I do have the love and beauty and even more compassion as the Lord threw me out into the wilderness of the unknown. Even Anger and injustice. Thank you, Dear sweet Yeshua for bringing these two in my life!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Susanne, It has always been a pleasure to link to your blog because those who have found it have been so blessed by your writings. Even your comments to my posts are a blessing to those who have the Spirit in them and I am so grateful that our Father has done so much in our lives so that when we did finally meet, we could fully understand the same truths that are ours in Christ.

      I am continually amazed at how the two of us have so many life experiences in common. Both of us started out Catholics, both only children of our parents (me for my first 11 years), both abused physically and spiritually. Both of us started going to Protestant churches at about the same age, both of us abused in Christian cults that started out as “churches”, both of us on worship teams and used by people for their own gain and glory, both of us have been through the dark night of the soul and spirit, both have families that do not understand us, both have read so many of the same Christian authors and been touched by the things that God has shown them, both finding ourselves pilgrims and sojourners in an adverse world, both touched deeply by the love of God… The list could go on much longer, but what I am saying is that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.” It surely seems that our Father wanted us to be on the “same page” spiritually for a deep fellowship that few Christians have.

      You wrote, “I was reminded of John of the Cross and Teresa of Ávila who both had been enabled by God to finally leave those dark experiences behind and to enter into God’s permanent peace and light IN Christ. I am sure only a few saints ever got to that point where they had been fully transformed into the image of Christ and were able to behold him as he really is (in the spirit).”

      At first when I read this I was skeptical that these dark experiences ever end. But then I was reminded of that passage in Romans I quoted to Stacey, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” and this one from John, “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… If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.(1 John 1:7&9 RSVA). And Paul went on to write in Romans ch. 8, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, IN ALL THESE THINGS WE ARE MORE THAT CONQUERORS [OVERCOMERS] THROUGH HIM THAT LOVES US. 8:35-37 KJ2000). There is a final victory in these verses, even in THIS life! When all this suffering has done its purifying work and God has rooted out of our heart all that is not of His Son, the battle is over for the cross has done its work.

      “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28-31 KJ2000)

      Oh, the glory, dear sister! WE WILL YET SEE HIS PURE GLORY IN US!!! The funny thing about the way God lets us see this, though… we never will see it in our own selves, but only in the other person. Our glory is not for ourselves, but rather it is given us to be a reflection of Christ to others. It is much safer that way.

      “I love you in the love of the Lord,
      I love you in the love of the Lord.
      I can see in your the glory of my King,
      I love you in the love of the Lord.”

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you so much for this encouraging response, Michael.

        I have never thought about those many common experiences we have had as you listed them above… wow! 🙄 Amazing!!

        I think there are more Scriptures that hint to the possibility of the end of suffering in our trials as we both have known it for so long, but those you mentioned certainly fit, too. God willing, will search for them when I am more inspired and not so tired (it is already January 1, 2016 – 1:50 am here). 😉

        Love you in Christ,
        Susanne

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Happy New Year to you, Susanne. I am looking forward to seeing the scriptures about our overcoming all things in Christ in THIS life that you find.
        God bless you and get a good night’s rest IN Christ. Amen!
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Amen! Well said. Happy New Year.

    This morning I was reading Luke 4, when Jesus teaches in his hometown of Nazareth and they decide to try to throw Him off a cliff.;) It wasn’t that that caught my eye however, it was His words , “…to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

    To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor! Now that’s the perfect New years message for me and so timely too. Perhaps God hid it there in scripture just for me and called my attention to it today, but regardless, I’m running with it. This is the year to proclaim the Lord’s favor 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Gabrielle, I have been told that this “acceptable year of the Lord” meant the 50th year, the year of Jubilee in which all slaves were set free and all debts were pardoned. The Jews never did observe this part of the law. So God sent His own son to break every yoke and let the oppressed go free from the hands of THEIR OWN PEOPLE, the religious Jews!

      May Jesus set all who are His, free of the bondage of religious institutions this year that they might know what it means to be truly free to follow the Spirit wind. Amen!

      “It is for freedom Christ has set you free. Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amen, Christ sets the captives free!

        As you probably already know, I cannot abide the false teachings, the ones that are deliberately cruel, false, and serve to separate people from the love of Christ. I have seen too many people who have walked away from faith because of it. These things are perversions, distortions of His word and His truth.

        I have been much blessed by your words and by Susan’s, especially in the past year when it seemed as if everyone in my life was either a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a militant atheist. So thank you for all those good words and for continuing to be a breath of fresh air in an often stinky world. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Gabrielle, thanks for your encouragement. Yes, there are a lot of voices out there on the net who are not our Lord’s. Few Christians are willing to embrace the cleansing fire of the Lord in their lives, so they puke out words from their flesh that sing the tune of Satan and his kosmos, the world.

      Jesus said, “The Prince of this world is come and he has found nothing in me.” God showed me in this verse that first this world is under the control of Satan and that if we are to survive all the deceptions of our enemy in it, we need to pray that God does such a purifying work in us that we can finally in truth say the same thing. This purging is not an easy walk. Like Jesus said the way is obscured by obstacles and filled with suffering and the door into eternal life is narrow and restrictive and few be they who find it. This explains to me why the majority of what calls itself “Christian” on the net, isn’t. The prince of the air does all he can to make sure that the media (air-waves) is under his influence as well. Sometimes we just have to unplug and get away from it all like Susanne has been doing more and more and return to listening to our Shepherds tender voice.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. You are so beautiful to me…. Can’t you see… Well pretty much you know my story being raised Catholic and yet even as a little girl I was so devout. And abused as well in the home. My real mother had died and I knew my 2nd mother was not to be trusted even being as young as 3 yrs. old. Ohhhh never the less.. Home, school, church, did not matter.. Heavy consciousness of God. The last 4 lines of your commentary reminds me of a song by Roger Daltry. When he climbed the mountain, For Him and he got the story…. No, I must admit, I still have not arrived. I have much that still needs purging. But I comprehend the words. I too have read that book, The Road Less Traveled. Protestant I do not understand but I have read a great many books and listened very hard to what was being said in these churches after learning the truth about catholics. And I’m about or more than 95% deaf!!!!!!! I am of the belief that many singers either rock and roll or any music that you prefer there is a glimmer of truth in it. Or at least what my ears needed to pick up on. In the word somewhere it talks of how they will kill inspired writers too. Who is say that even singers were too inspired. I just love beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Stacey, I love beauty, too, and there is nothing more beautiful than a child of God who has Jesus shining forth from their face. But, oh the purifying fires that they have had to go through to get there. Few are willing to go through what it takes. Thank God that He does in our lives what we need instead of what we think we want. He knows our end (His goal for us) from the beginning of the world and has vowed to do what has to be done to get us there. His desire for us is to have many sons and daughters unto HIS glory and I praise His name for that! So, death where is your sting and grave where is your victory? We are MORE than overcomers where Father has placed us IN Christ.

      Thanks for you comment, dear sister,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Fred Thoren says:

    I have not been reading your blog long but I have enjoyed it so far. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ken Burgess says:

    Michael, Dorothy and Suzanne, as I read this latest post I am reminded of a beautiful song recorded and sung by Steve Green a few years ago. It is provably one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Darnella and I tried singing it a couple of times when we were involved in church prior to beginning our current journey. But it just didn’t speak to others as it did to us so we laid it down and only recently has the Lord brought it back to my recollection. I pray it speaks to all of you who read it’s marvelous verses.

    “One day a plain village woman
    Driven by love for her Lord
    Recklessly poured out a valuable essence
    Disregarding the scorn

    And once it was broken and spilled out
    A fragrance filled all the room
    Like a prisoner released from his shackles
    Like a spirit set free from the tomb

    Broken and spilled out
    Just for love of You, Jesus
    My most precious treasure
    Lavished on thee

    Broken and spilled out
    And poured at Your feet
    In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out
    And used up for Thee

    Lord, You were God’s precious treasure
    His loved and His own perfect Son
    Sent here to show me the love of the Father
    Just for love it was done

    And though You were perfect and holy
    You gave up Yourself willingly
    You spared no expense for my pardon
    You were used up and wasted for me

    Broken and spilled out
    Just for love of me, Jesus
    God’s most precious treasure
    Lavished on me

    Broken and spilled out
    And poured at my feet, in sweet abandon
    Lord, You were spilled out
    And used up for me”

    In HiM, CHRkenIST

    Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/steve-green/broken-and-spilled-out-lyrics/#r7GH45DYZ36pk82C.99

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Ken, it is good to see a comment from you on here again. It was also good to hear you both are doing fine. I would have loved to hear the two of you singing that song together. Those are great lyrics.

      One of the best things I have ever read about or Christian walk and the story of the woman with the alabaster box is the last chapter of “The Norman Christian Life” by Watchman Nee. After reading that all I could pray was, “Lord break me and pour me out upon you!” That was almost 40 years ago and brother, a life of breaking is what I have known, but oh, the glory of walking in the Son more and more each day.

      BTW, if anyone wants to dare read that chapter it is on our website here: http://www.awildernessvoice.com/GospelGoal.html

      God bless you and the saints down there in Lafayette as you seek the fullness of His Son in your lives.

      Liked by 2 people

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