A Death that Brings Glory to God

john-21-18

When I was a young Christian I often heard other new Christians say, “I would gladly die for Jesus!” Well, it seems that there is a deeper kind of dying than just taking our last breath as a martyr. Susanne Schuberth recently wrote on her blog, “Suffering continues when we grow up and see that this world is not what we hoped for or expected it to be. Neither are we perfect, nor is our environment including the people we know. We may have had many wishes and desires in our lifetime of which only a few were fulfilled. Or worst case, even none of them! Furthermore, we suffer from diseases we would not have chosen if we had been asked before. We suffer from being rejected and misunderstood, from being hurt and offended, and so on and so on…” (1)

Peter wrote, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (1Pet 4:1, ESV2011). Suffering is the most powerful weapon in God’s arsenal to put an end to our old selves and bring forth His Son in us.

Now that I have had time to read her blog once again (being interrupted by pain and medical issues of my own) I see how much of what Susanne wrote reveals my own walk since I came to Christ. I appreciate her openness. Her transparency has been an inspiration to me after being immersed in a Christian world where leaders strive to put their best face forward and appear “larger than life” to the masses instead of walking in the light of Christ with the saints of God.

Yes, our suffering starts at birth and it continues throughout our lifetime. I was born with a collapsed lung and isolated from human touch for the first two weeks of my life in an oxygen tent at the hospital. Then I did not see or hear my father for most of the following year while he was shipped off to fight the war that was still raging in Europe. Maybe this set in motion this deep longing in my heart to have a truly close and open relationship with another human who can reciprocate on the same level in heart to heart fellowship with me. Because of this, life has been rather disappointing for the most part because most (not all) people freak out and run when they sense that being close to me demands that they open up and reveal what is in their heart of hearts and communicate with me in total transparency.

A casual reading of the Bible reveals that God didn’t show only the best parts of His people whose lives are spread across its pages. Even in the blood line of Christ He reveals murderers, thieves, idolaters, liars, and even harlots. It is obvious that God is more interested in honest transparency than He is in making a good impression because He wants truth in our inward parts. John wrote,

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 practice 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. (1John 1:5-7, ESV2011)

The spiritual reality of this longing in me to live in transparent heart to heart relationships is exactly what God has always wanted as well. Man started out this way in his walk with God, but soon interrupted this journey by hiding and covering himself up from God and his fellow man because of sin. Religion, I have found, has a giant wardrobe of fig leaf garments that we use to cover our spiritual nakedness even though God created us naked and unashamed while we walked with Him in that primeval, perfect garden where there was no toil for food or clothing and no death, pain or fear. In short, there were no distractions in their totally loving relationship that was always in perfect peace, transparency and light. Trusting God was so easy for Adam in the beginning until he fell for the lies of Satan and hid from Him. In Isaiah we read,

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isa 26:3, ESV2011)

Susanne wrote about another result of the fall of man, “…we suffer from diseases we would not have chosen if we had been asked before.” Now we are getting down to where I find myself lately. I have had good health, for the most part, all of my life. At least I had nothing that altered my plans for any length of time. I, like many, have always identified with the exuberant and self-willed disciple named Peter. He was a robust outdoors-man and commercial fisherman by trade. The following words of Jesus to Peter have spoken to me in a much deeper way recently.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, When you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall dress you, and carry you where you would not.” This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said unto him, “Follow me.” (John 21:18-19, KJ2000)

There is so much for me to take to heart here! I have always been the “go to guy” who could just about do anything if I put my mind to it. That served me well in the kingdoms of this world. I often was called on by my employers to do what the other employees could not. The problem with this is that in the kingdom of God, “the flesh profits nothing!” My greatest strength in the world is my greatest weakness in God’s kingdom.

I will soon turn 72 and, for the most part, it has been 72 years of dressing myself (spiritually and physically) and walking where I wanted to go–until recently. It seems that my back is the weakest point in my body in my old age. When your back is in pain and aggravated by any activity, it is soon “ALL STOP!” I have a collapsed vertebra in the middle of my back that radiates pain through my whole torso and causes muscle spasms that lock me up from doing much of anything. Lately I’m to the point where I “stretch forth my hands” and my wife helps me get dressed and undressed. Since the doctors have put me on notice to not lift anything heavier than five pounds, she has to do things that I was able to do easily all my life. She even is doing the driving, taking me to places I do not want to go, to doctors’ offices and the hospital so they can figure out what went wrong with my old body.

Yesterday I got x-rayed and then spent 40 minutes on my back being perfectly still in a noisy tube called an MRI. After all that, they decided that I have a compression fracture of my T8 vertebra, confirming the diagnosis of a chiropractor I finally saw in desperation after many prescriptions of men dealing with the symptoms. There was evidence that the same thing already happened to my T5 vertebra earlier this summer. That had the same disabling effect, but eventually healed with me bent over a bit more than before. Now with a second collapsed vertebra I have a “second witness” that God wants me to yield my “can do” self-will to Him. He has a lot more vertebra to call on until I get the message! 🙂

The above passage of Jesus speaking to Peter has a curious ending, “This spoke He (Jesus), signifying by what death he (Peter) should glorify God… Follow me!” Death, oh that dreaded fact of life called death! It seems if we are to truly follow Jesus it has to happen. Jesus said, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25, NIV). As natural men we love our lives and are very short sighted when it comes to living in God’s eternity with Christ. We like our own here and now better. We love to stretch out our hands and go forth and live our lives as we wish. We even try to make a bargain with God to maintain our control and promise to live “for Him” if we can just be a somebody in Christendom. What a con game! No, the only way we can glorify God is through a complete death to all our wants, hopes and desires and lie on that heavenly altar as a trussed-up living sacrifice unto Him. Someone said, “When we work, God stops working. When we stop working, God starts.” What a hard lesson to learn and live.

I would like to close this with a more positive observation from Oswald Chambers,

 The New Testament teaching about regeneration is that when a person is hit by his own sense of need, God will put the Holy Spirit into his spirit, and his personal spirit will be energized by the Spirit of the Son of God— “…until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19)  (2)

So, dear Father, once again I lay it all down before you. I give up my “best laid plans of mice and men” and surrender my all to you, knowing that apart from your Son I can do nothing. Do what it takes that I might glorify you with the death of my old Adam within so that Christ’s life might abound in me. Amen.

(1) https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/knowing-the-lord-through-the-fellowship-of-his-sufferings/

(2) http://utmost.org/  “My Utmost for His Highest” for October 6th

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48 comments on “A Death that Brings Glory to God

  1. Michael, a good word indeed. Especially after my reading yesterday. I’m presently deep in seeking and finding Christ in the book of Hebrews with the help of Andrew Murray’s book, The Holiest of All. Something I have been drawn into by our Father, and through painful circumstances that really go back decades in my life. Yesterday’s verse was Hebrews 2:10. The Living Bible translates it this way: And it was right and proper that God, who made everything for his own glory, should allow Jesus to suffer, for in doing this he was bringing vast multitudes of God’s people to heaven; for his suffering made Jesus a perfect leader, one fit to bring them into their salvation.

    Whew.

    Murray writes: “For whom are all things, and through whom are all things.” It was in this character (living for and from God) that God perfected Christ through sufferings. It was in this character that Christ revealed and honored God in His sufferings. It is to win and bring us to know and love and serve God in this character that Jesus is Savior.

    What struck me was the realization that through His sufferings, Christ revealed and honored God. And we are called to the same life as He, and God Himself will work it in us. Hallelujah.

    Will be in prayer with you regarding your back.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Great read by Murray, Becky. Many want to follow Jesus, but it takes a while for us to realize that we must take up our own crosses to complete that journey. Thanks for your enlightening comment, my friend. ⭐

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is good. Thanks! I’ll read and re read! Becky

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 2 people

  3. dimple says:

    Well, Michael, I thank God that he sent you to a good chiropractor, that you got a good, if unwanted, diagnosis, and that he has provided the help you need–five pounds is not very much! And I pray that he will continue to bring you to perfection in Christ Jesus. He is faithful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you Louise. It was funny how God sent me to this woman Chiropractor who properly diagnosed my broken vertebra. I was talking to the shop foreman at a CdA Tractor about my backhoe parts that they were fixing and told him about my back problems that the doctors and physical therapists seemed to have no answers. He highly recommended this lady from his own experiences with her. After two or three sessions she nailed it right down to the very vertebra suspecting a compression fracture which the x-rays and the following MRI then verified. It looks like the procedure to repair it (called Kyphoplasty) will be this coming Tuesday (and in and out same day thing). Thanks for all your prayers. Yes, faithful is He who has called us and HE WILL DO IT. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loretta says:

    Hi Michael, This realllllly resonates with me and helps me ponder important things, thanks.

    Amen to this: “Religion, I have found, has a giant wardrobe of fig leaf garments that we use to cover our spiritual nakedness even though God created us naked and unashamed while we walked with Him in that primeval, perfect garden.”

    Sorry to hear about your health issues with your back… it felt painful to read about it. : (

    We have a close friend, he is like a brother to us. Never married, no kids, family is far away in another country. This man (he’s around 60) is an inspiration to us, of the kind of Christian life you describe in your blog here. Really, he has lived this as long as we’ve known him (20 years) through all his losses, tragedies and grief in this life.

    He’s been in the hospital/ nursing homes since March due to what was originally excruciating back pain of unexplainable origin (he woke up one day and could not walk, extreme pain etc). Turns out he had a bacterial infection (staph probably??) in his lower spine that was hidden — it took so long to diagnose. So he’s been on powerful antibiotics to get rid of the infection. But as you know the bacteria metabolize (multiply) with the waste product being a poison that breaks down the vertebrae bone tissue. We are just thankful that he is getting better from the infection that they have that under control now (medically speaking) and his pain is no where what it was. We don’t know when he will be able to care for himself again or live independently like before. Watching his complete acceptance of his situation, has been humbling to my husband and i in a way i can’t articulate. He is an example of just what you described in your article. It has been wrenching for us emotionally, what has happened to our dear friend.

    I found myself wanting to much to “hang on” to what “I have” in my life, this year. But realizing I can’t do that— it has to be released. Loss can be grieved, but fighting to keep and control what “we have” is not what we are called to do…

    My year started on Jan. 1 with my best friend losing her mind in my presence, and doing unspeakable things, …. long story short she ended up in hospital for a month and had to move very far away (she lost her house). She was dx [diagnosed] with Bipolar 1; i had no idea it involved major psychotic episodes. I “lost” my best friend. She is under a doctor’s care and we are still friends, we talk on the phone now. I miss her.

    My husband went to the emergency room twice in Jan/ Feb…. during his work day…. long story short he was dx with metabolic syndrome with like 5 or 6 different diseases/ conditions included in that catch-all term. I did my research and confirmed my suspicion; the chemo he took when he was 29, has scientifically directly CAUSED his metabolic syndrome (they did lots of studies on the causality of his chemo from his cancer, and metabolic syndrome years later).

    Currently he is 48 years old. (We are trying to help all his symptoms with a radical change in diet macros). What we are hoping to prevent here, is diabetes and heart disease. As a wife who is madly in love with her husband, i know it is ok for me to “fight” to help my husband by helping him lose the weight that he gained .. to try to help him “make it” through his 50s (my personal hope). Yes he survived stage 3 cancer in his 20s and now i’d love to see him live through his 50s. But the “losses” we have already experienced are so many, it’s another subject altogether. We’ve “let go” all those things.

    Hope you don’t mind my laundry list of suffering… i agree with what you say about suffering…. it is to be expected and it is not wasted; it is a gift because of the way God uses it to develop spiritual growth. Thanks for sharing. Very helpful. I’m going to read it again.

    love, Loretta SF bay area

    Liked by 3 people

    • Great article, Michael! ⭐ I was not yet sure how to write a comment on this blog post, dear brother, but as I just read Loretta’s story I prayed for her family (esp. hubby) and her friend that seems to be ‘lost’. I will keep praying for your health issue, too, Michael, and I don’t believe God will need more of your vertebrae to call on.

      Thank you very much for including a quote from my blog and for the link to EPL, Michael. Indeed, as I wrote my blog I had your life story in mind, too, and so it is no coincidence that you thought I had written about your own walk as well. I could write some more, but now I want to add a paragraph that is addressed to Loretta.

      @Loretta
      Dear Loretta, I was very sorry to hear about your difficult situation with your husband’s ill health.😦 He can be so happy that he has such a faithful and loving wife like you! I do not know that much about his disease(s), but I wanted to let you know that I suffered from bipolar disorder myself (about five times between 2000 and 2008) and thus I do know this disease from the inside, so to speak. Paranoia, in fact, is really cruel. In this mental condition the subconscious mind of which we normally only get aware when we sleep (in dreams and especially nightmares) takes the lead so that common sense and reason seem to be suppressed. This form of depression is very tricky and I am sure you will get your friend back some time, however, only God knows how long it needs until she gets healed.

      I will keep you and yours in my prayers, dear Loretta. May God keep you in His loving arms.

      Much love ❤
      Susanne

      Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, thanks so much for praying for my health issues and for Loretta’s husband. Yes, her story really touched my heart and I had the feeling that the woman with Bipolar sickness would touch you as well. I guess I did not realize that you had my life story in mind when you wrote that blog. 🙂 It is interesting how often we are hearing the Spirit say the same things when we write our blogs and how many of the same things we have gone through, learning the same lessons to one degree or another. I love being in the flow of the Spirit wind with His saints when it happens, don’t you? ⭐

        Liked by 2 people

      • You are very welcome as to the prayers, Michael. When I write a blog post, I usually describe my own life and experiences. But sometimes God brings others and their stories to my attention, too. I like being in the Spirit’s flow as well. IN Christ it should be the normal way to live, think. To be of one heart and one mind, I mean. However, who but God can create and provide such a oneness?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, I admire your openness to bring your own story into what you write. It has been an inspiration to me, for sure. You are right, only God can create the unity of the Father and the Son in us, but this has been my prayer for the last four years since the Spirit brought Jesus’ prayer in John 17 to my attention. He has had to make a lot of changes in me through the cross to get me to where I am at this time. I know that you have also endured much pain in both emotional and physical suffering as well. Yet, through all this we have grown closer in spirit to the Lord and one another and I thank Him for that.⭐⭐

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael, you wrote,

        “Yet, through all this we have grown closer in spirit to the Lord and one another and I thank Him for that. ⭐ ⭐ “

        Yes and amen, my dear brother.

        Love in Him ❤
        Susanne 🐱

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Dear Loretta,

      I was really touched in my heart as I read your comment. There is something about suffering in the life of one who belongs to our Father that brings out such a wonderful fragrance of Christ in them. The dear brother you wrote about with the spine infection, what a privilege to know such a one as you two have.

      As for your best friend who became bi-polar, yes, they can flip back and forth without warning and it is very trying when they turn on you. I have had some encounters with people who are bi-polar through this blog and thanks to Susanne Schuberth who knows all about this problem first hand in her past (Jesus healed her in a very personal way as only He can), I now better understand it and have compassion for those who are victims of it that I did not have before.

      I am sorry to hear about your husband’s affliction. Sometimes I wonder about modern medical practices and all the side effects that modern medicines carry with them. I am so glad that you love him the way you do and are doing all you can to help him. You are a blessing for sure, dear sister. Yes, weight loss is so important to our overall health when we have all those extra pounds. I have also been losing weight around my middle so that my back does not have the added strain on it and it feels good to have others remark that they can see the difference already. 🙂

      As for your other losses, I can only imagine what they might be. As hard as all these things are in our lives, I know that our Father uses all of them to draw us closer to Him so that the things of this world no longer detract from our heavenly relationship with the Father and the Son as the sons and daughters of God.

      Love to you both,
      Michael in northern Idaho

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Don Merideth says:

    First, I want to thank you and Susanne for the honesty and transparency. I am now 67 years old. I began my walk in Christ on Sept. 13th, 1982 with what I call a Damascus experience. For several years I believed my Father could do anything. I saw miracle after miracle. I’m sure you can relate. Then in 2002 I was diagnosed with Guillan Barre Syndrome, then after much testing additional auto immune diseases were found, Mythenia Gravios, and MS. I feel very fortunate that today I’m still functioning. Today, I’m simply observing, listening and only trying to be obedient to what I hear by the Spirit from my Lord.
    One of the losses I have went through is the loneliness, rejection and lack of fellowship of those you can communicate with in honesty and transparency. I live in a rural area and do have 2 brothers in Christ the we communicate by email, text, phone etc.
    The things I’m hearing now, although I don’t have the answers is the gross darkness, blindness, deceived activity that appears to be increasing in the earth. I seem powerless to pray with effectiveness. If the Spirit does not move on an individual I realize I can do nothing. Is there a separation happening before our eyes between those that are His and those who are not?
    I am experiencing many other circumstances that seems to be out of any control except believing that He is definitely in control as to the outcome.

    From a very weak one, but still believe in Him! Again, thank you!
    Love in Christ, Don

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Don, Thanks for writing and sharing your life with us. Yes, I can relate. I started out my walk in 1970 in the midst of a wonderful Spirit led revival that became known as the “Jesus Movement.” We had many wonderful experiences with Jesus including bodily healings, deliverance from drug addictions, miraculous provision for our needs and thousands of young people giving their lives to Christ. I had a honeymoon experience with Jesus that lasted for nine months feeling Him right next to me as the best Friend I could have ever asked for as the Spirit opened up the scriptures to me in deeper ways than I had ever known in the churches that I used to go to. It was a wonderful time, but then came the day that Jesus introduced me to the chastisement of my loving Father who loved me the way I was but too much to let me stay that way. So much flesh would have to be stripped away in the following years and I went through so many trials while part of two Christian cults and some cultish churches later on.

      He finally put me through a 14 year spiritual wilderness where I no longer could feel His presence, the scriptures quit speaking to me and my prayers felt like they fell off my lower lip and hit the floor never to be heard by Him. We were also stripped down financially and my pride in my ability to take care of my family of six was taken away in the process. That was my drying out period to wean me and strip me of all the bad Christian teachings I had accumulated as well as a time of killing my pride in who I was as a provider and “His gifted man.”

      At the end of that time i was tired of trying to find a way out of where He had me and told Him that if He wanted me to live the rest of my life in this nothingness, so be it. I finally buried the hatchet and confessed to Him that HE was God and I was NOT. “I wish that this cup would pass from me, but nevertheless, Father, not my will but thine be done.” When I finally prayed this and really meant it in absolute surrender things slowly began to change. Asland was on the move and it was no longer “perpetual winter with no Christmas” as the people of Narnia observed.

      The years since 1994 when the change started have not been easy (many more attacks and trials from the enemy and many more wounds from “Christian friends,” but it has been great to hear His voice again and finally find some meaningful fellowship with some of His saints. Yes, we who have grown in Christ through the fellowship of His sufferings are few and far between, but it is a sweet fellowship when we find one another. God has to crucify our pride if we are to ever walk in His light and love together for He resists the proud but gives great grace to the humble. There is so much pride among Christians that masquerades itself as “righteousness” and “adhering to right doctrine.” Like Jesus said, “You search the scriptures and in them you think you will find life, but it is they which speak of me and you will not come to ME that you might have life.” Like the Prodigal son, we have to finally “come to ourselves” and humbly return to our Father expecting nothing in return but to be His lowly servant. It so blesses me to read that while we are still a long way off during our return He comes out to meet us. This is so true.

      Yes, walking in His light is key. It takes a long time for us to discover that a lot of our “light” is self generated and is still darkness in his eyes. This has to go as well. This passage from Isaiah has taken on so much meaning for me over the years.

      “Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and rely upon his God. Behold, all you that kindle a fire, that encircle yourselves with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled. This shall you have of my hand; you shall lie down in sorrow.” (Isa 50:10-11, KJ2000)

      And this one is still growing,

      “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you.” (Isa 60:1-2, KJ2000)

      Don, I agree that God even now is separating His sheep from the goats, but it is not ours to speculate which is which. Unto our own Master we shall stand or fall and yes, He is able to make us stand. Keep praying as He leads you dear brother. Remember that God uses our sickness and weakness to make Christ perfect within us.

      Love in Christ,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Don Merideth says:

        Dear Michael, thank you from my heart for the reply. I find it very hard for me to express in words what is going on in my heart. For about the last year it seems like the Lord has really stepped up in revealing my “self” to me. The hardest thing that He put His finger on was my ambition. His words that crushed me was when He said, “My glory I will not give to another”. I was telling myself that I was doing “the ministry for Him”, but secretly I was glorying in: I’m God’s man, if you need healing, if you need a word, if you need a prophetic word, etc. I was God’s special man. Pride is a killer. I thank Him and praise Him that He loved me so much that through failures He stopped me in that foolishness. At least now when that thing raises its ugly head, I search my heart for the motive and can say, I’m not falling in that trap again. There will be no ambition in the kingdom. Now, I’m praying, listening for the word or words that help me return to my first love. My prayer is that you and others that read this post would hear my heart an pray for this divine nobody. Again, thank you!
        Love in Christ, Don

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Oh, Don! How I relate to the “God’s man of the hour” thing! I was a “prophet (or was it profit?) on the make” and thought quite highly of who I was “for Him.” The bubble popped when an old saint came up to me after the service one Sunday and said, “Have you ever asked God to show you how HE sees you instead of how you THINK He sees you?” I said “No, but I will pray that very thing. I have nothing to fear.” Well, I did pray that prayer and He revealed myself to me in a dream. I was standing in a three piece white suit on a pedestal looking like Benny Hinn with all the people in my home fellowship surrounding me on their knees with hands raised giving praises to God. As I watched each praise ascending to heaven I would reach out and grab some of them that I thought should be mine and tuck them in next to my heart. I then said in the dream, “God is that what I am doing to you? Am I stealing your glory for myself as I minister for you? If this is true, just kill it! Show this ugly thing in me no mercy.”

        Well, this started a long killing process that lasted for most of those 14 wilderness years I wrote you about. It was but a couple of months until I was no longer “doing any ministry.” Everything I had was being taken away. The church I was part of blew apart in a nasty church split, my wonderful home fellowship ended, my job opportunities in the states soon dried up and I had to leave my family behind and work on a volcanic wind swept island in the Bering Sea surrounded by drug abusers and alcoholic fisherman with no fellowship with other Christians. The real blow was when I could not do my trade any longer due to a union dispute and had to work in areas that I knew nothing about and was a failure at while up there in that hell hole. I was so heart broken and alone by the time I hit my bottom. At one point I was going catatonic and cried out to Jesus to please keep my mind and body together at least until I could get back to the lower 48 with my family. He did answer that one prayer at least. That was my bottom and it took another 12 years to come up out of that hole, going through much depression and many self-doubts. When all you got is flesh and He sets out to killing that, you don’t have much left to boast about. I know you relate, Don.

        God has you for sure or He would not have taken you down and broke that delusion in you. It really is His love for us, you know!
        Yes, I will be praying for you my brother.

        Love you, Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Carina says:

    Dearest brother,
    I cannot tell you know much I loved your post. And it has been a beautiful confirmation of the things the Lord has been speaking to my heart. Just a few weeks ago, I got the same image of Adam and Eve covering themselves with fig leaves, that is, losing transparency before God. I could hear very clearly that the Lord was calling me back to radical transparency before Him.
    The passage on John, I’ve received that too, many times (with recent reminders) in the same sense of embracing the Cross and letting GOD decide what kind of life He wants for us. Shattering our own dreams, hopes, plans, surrendering all of our Isaacs whom we love and allowing Him to revive them if and only if it is His will for us.
    And just today during prayer-Bible study time the Lord impressed on me several passages that speak about light. One of them is that passage in 1 John you mentioned.
    Indeed He wants us to confess our sins, all of them as we see them, and His light can examine our lives better than any doctor’s tools! Better than x-rays, MRIs, His Holy Spirit can wonderfully shed light on all of our imperfections. Because He doesn’t want us to continue stumbling over the same old, same old. He wants us VICTORIOUS over sin. So His light allows us to identify and forsake.
    I’d like to share a word with you which my husband and I also received during prayer time. It’s in Psalms 19:
    7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
    the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
    8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
    the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
    9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
    the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
    10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
    sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
    11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
    12 Who can discern his errors?
    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
    13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
    let them not have dominion over me!
    Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.
    14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
    Jesus is the perfect keeper of “the law of the Lord”, our best example, and His Holy Spirit is in us to remind us of everything He has taught us. Let us allow Jesus the perfect Word of God, and all the instructions that were expressed in the inspired written Word as best explained by the Holy Spirit’s Anointing, provide the light we need for discerning our errors, identifying hidden faults and especially keep us from presumptuous sins, because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.
    I welcome your transparency and share your desire for heart-to-heart relationships. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Carina, thank you so much for your encouraging comments. I am glad that we both are hearing the Lord speak the same things especially about transparency. We can not always do this with just anyone, though. Jesus did warn us to not spill our pearls before swine who will stomp them in the ground and turn and rip us up. Both people must be walking in His light if there is to be a safe and edifying fellowship together in His Spirit and love.

      It is interesting how in that Psalm the writer equates presumptuous sin with great transgression in God’s economy. We cannot presume on His grace. As Paul put it, “Shall we then sin that grace may much more abound? God forbid!”

      Thanks for writing once again,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        Absolutely! And I did learn, the hard way, not to “overshare” with the wrong people! It’s hard for me because, in my quest for authenticity, I tend to be spontaneous around people, and in my first “church” experiences I made the same mistake, over and over, of trusting man, of taking for granted that the people I looked up to were “the anointed of the Lord”. I got crushed and oppressed by man more often than I can count, and I’ve learned the lesson in Psalms 118:

        It is better to trust in the Lord
        Than to put confidence in man.
        It is better to trust in the Lord
        Than to put confidence in princes.

        Now I don’t go to men for a word from God, even though, usually God does decide to use brothers and sisters to provide confirmation of the things HE’s been teaching me in the inner chamber, as He’s beautifully doing with you and Susanne. I love you in the Lord, because as we seek Him, He creates that wonderful fellowship that Jesus prayed for in His amazing prayer.

        Thought I’d share with all of you the verse of the day in Biblegateway, Psalms 63:1, because it is relevant:
        [ Joy in the Fellowship of God ] [ A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. ] O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.

        When we’re going through sufferings, when we’re being humbled by our circumstances, when we’re faced with the choice of embracing our Cross or delaying the process with our rebellion, we can remember this thirst we have inside, this longing for God. We don’t long for ministries, gifts, or any of the vain glories this world, including the Christian world, can offer. We long for Him. We long for His glory. Christ in us, our hope of glory. We have nothing if we don’t have Him. Having Him, He is our all in all. And we need to pray that, as He satisfies us with His presence and His loving mercies, we will grow ever more thirsty for more of HIM. Because losing that thirst is dangerous. Being thirsty for other things, and worse, being successful at other pursuits, is dangerous. We are only safe inasmuch as we seek Him, earnestly, steadfastly, when our heart cries out, like David’s:

        One thing I have desired of the Lord,
        That will I seek:
        That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
        All the days of my life,
        To behold the beauty of the Lord,
        And to inquire in His temple.

        When we have such a heart, we can confess like Paul, that “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

        May the Lord continue to feed us ever more abundantly with the Manna from Heaven, Jesus, the Bread of Life, who didn’t leave us orphans but made it possible for us receive the Anointing that teaches all things to us!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Carina you wrote, “Now I don’t go to men for a word from God, even though, usually God does decide to use brothers and sisters to provide confirmation of the things HE’s been teaching me in the inner chamber, as He’s beautifully doing with you and Susanne.”

        It is sad to see how little of the nature of the New Covenant and our wonderful heritage we have IN Christ that Christians understand and many of them live as if they are still under the Old Covenant (keeping laws and seeking men to govern them in the church). For instance how many of them look to a human mediator (priests, pastors, prophets, etc., instead of to Jesus Christ?

        “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Tim 2:5, KJ2000)

        The most revealing verse to the nature of the New Covenant and Christ being all the prophetic voice we need is found in this verse…

        “God, who at many times and in various manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” (Heb 1:1-2, KJ2000)

        And then Paul makes it clear that men of renown in the church are NOTHING and that Christ is our ALL in all.

        “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase.” (1Cor 3:6-7, KJ2000)

        “…Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (1Cor 3:21-23, KJ2000)

        Thank God there are a few out there with whom we can have fellowship with who are searching out the depths of our inheritance in Christ instead of going to human mediators to learn spiritual things. We have been given the abiding Spirit of God to lead us into all truth. I am nothing and Susanne is nothing but fellow seekers.

        “I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 16:12-14, KJ2000)

        “These things have I written unto you concerning them that deceive you. But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.” (1John 2:26-27, KJ2000)

        When a person wants to hang onto me as there Bible answer man or prophet with personal guidance for them, I turn them back to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The sooner they learn that Christ is their sufficiency in all things, the sooner they will be able to stand against the false doctrines of men and the lies of the devil.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Carina says:

        I don’t know why it won’t let me reply to your last reply. I couldn’t agree more! I’m receiving much more revelation and wisdom from God Himself than in all of my past history of dependence on men. I’ve learned that there’s no greener grass than that provided by the Good Shepherd for all the sheep who listen intently for His voice!
        I still appreciate fellowship and the wisdom God has shared with others, of course, but I never take for granted that anything people say to me is from God unless the Holy Spirit confirms it is. That’s another lesson I have learned the hard way!
        Love you in the Lord, brother!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pat Orr says:

    Michael, Thank you for the things that you write. They are ministering to me. I would not wish suffering on anyone, but blessings instead. However, I know that God who sees the end from the beginning knows how to bless, suffering has been a blessing in my life.

    Even in the natural, suffering does its work. I was very young, but old enough to remember, that one time my Mother had instructed me to not do something( what- I don’t even remember) but I kept doing it. I honestly could not remember to obey her. So she spanked me. After that I could remember to obey.

    I pray for your healing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Pat, I loved your story. Yes, my father, mom and grand mother had to “adjust my memory” many times as I was growing up. I think after reading Hebrews chapter twelve that God loves us enough to do the same as He conforms us to the image of His Son. Thanks for staying in touch, dear sister.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much for this post. It speaks to my own situation. In 2005 an elder and his wife prophesied over me: “Embrace suffering otherwise it will cripple you and render you ineffective for the ministry.” I’m learning to do this in a new town, living with my son who did not grow up with me. He’s 48 years old and I am 65 years old. I mothered him for only 3 years. But as he is 48 years old he is now too old for me to mother him and doesn’t want me to. However, he wants to provide me with a home and sustenance. We have no memories, no rituals to look back on, and we’ve argued awfully, because, in reality, we don’t know each other. Yet this move to a village I don’t want to live in is exactly where the Lord would have me be. After 5 months I am now beginning to get the message. Thank you for your post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear sister, I can see that what Jesus told Peter about when he was older would speak to you. We grown sons don’t like to feel we are being manipulated or controlled and often interpret the efforts of our mothers in this way. I think you can show love to your son without mothering him if you ask the Lord to lead you one day at a time.
      Bless you as you rest in Him.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This post struck a chord w/ me, Michael. I have known a good deal of illness in my life. That included a spinal fusion. So I can well empathize w/ back pain. On a deeper level, I have — like you — experienced God’s reconfiguration of my life.

    For years I defined myself (and my “worth”) in terms of my talents and worldly accomplishments. When my health failed, that belief structure collapsed. Yet, to my surprise, I found that God loved me anyway. I never had to earn His love at all. That was a mistaken conclusion I had arrived at as the result of abuse.

    Thank you for once again opening your heart to readers. Your observations are always a gift.

    With love,

    Your friend Anna ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      My dear friend, Anna. It is good to hear from you again, dear sister. Like you, I learned my “worth” to others from my parents. The problem was, I could never do “it” good enough to get a word of praise or approval. I can only remember my father praising me once for something I did and that was dumb luck, not skill on my part.

      After he died at 72 an old friend of mine that knew him as his school teacher told me that he had spoken with him years earlier and my father told him how proud he was of me. My friend knew that my father probably never told me that while he was alive and he was right. Dad was very strict with me, especially after he became a school teacher and my mom and him fought a lot over the way he treated me. One time he wanted me to referee one of their fights when he had come home drunk. Sometimes he would hit her while drunk. That time I ran out of the house crying, filled with hate for him. It took me many years to heal up with God’s help and open up my heart to him again, but we made peace before he died. He even hugged me once toward the end without me making the first move and told me how glad he was to see me. 🙂 He was only acting out how he was raised, it seems. It was so hard for me to change and not make the same mistakes with my children and wife, but with God’s love and help I have had a heart change. My children have become good parents to their kids, so this generational curse was stopped, thanks to God’s intervention.

      It is funny, dear friend, when I think about the abuse you went through as a little girl how it makes me search my own past and open up about it like this.

      “…for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exod 20:5-6, KJ2000)

      Loving God with all our hearts is what turns things around in our lives. I love Him because He first loved me without me having to earn it. What a wonderful Father we have in Christ. Thanks for writing.

      Your friend and brother IN the Son,
      Michael ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        I was also raised by a father who was abusive in many ways, both verbally (with scathing remarks on my mum and his three children, especially me who was the most “rebellious” and “self-willed”) and physically (when he hit me, he didn’t leave scars in my body, but on my soul, these took years to heal).

        Having a violent dad is perhaps the main reason why, to this very day, I’ve always found it easier to believe in God as a judge than God as a loving dad who accepts me and calls me His beloved.
        I understand what you say about patterns of sin that are passed down from generation to generation. My husband was also raised by a very harsh dad, and even though he’s a great Christian, he tends to lose his temper too easily (and so do I on many occasions!). Only the power of the cross, of coming to Christ in repentance and humility each and every moment, can break those sinful strongholds in our minds which become nasty habits. I have found that when I’m “in Christ”, a person led by the Holy Spirit, I’m a totally different person. And this affects all my relationships.

        We who have had very imperfect parents can take courage in David’s experience, shared in Psalms 27: “When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me.” David was despised by his family, not even invited when the prophet came to his house… They apparently forgot about him! And yet, he was the king! Likewise, Jesus was “left behind” in the temple at age 12… Even Mary and Joseph were not perfect parents, it seems…

        But in all of this, there is a higher plan. We who have known God’s love, which is infinitely better than the best human love that is even possible, have received the privilege of sharing His love with others.

        Romans 5 says, And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

        May the Lord always keep us safe and sound in His love!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Carina, yes, the way we see our earthly fathers does tend to effect the way we see our heavenly Father. I think that this is why Jesus said, “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, who is in heaven.” “None are good except my Father who is in heaven.” It has taken me years to even call Him Daddy. Susanne has helped me a lot in this area to see God as a loving Father.

        Thanks for your comment, dear sister.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Don says:

    Michael,

    You may find it interesting to read NO TIME TO DIE by Joanne Fontenot. It is about 36 pages of which the first 10 are a testimony about a back condition like yours. The final pages are an explanation of the chemistry of the RBTI which was the correction of the cause of the back problems Joanne had.

    Go to michael@olszta.comcastbiz.net and find the book there on the front of the home page. It was a free download for me. You can read it in a few minutes, see what you think.

    As you have written about church leadership and organizations you have become to them what dr Reams was to the medical community. I think it is more what our Father had in mind as far as walking with Him and seeking health following His design.

    Don

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Don, it seems that you sent and email address instead of a web address in your link to that book. Frankly, I feel no leading to spend a lot of time on alternate medicine studies, but might read 36 pages as you suggested. I do not believe in “better living through chemistry (Big Pharma)” as the AMA seems to trust in so much. With my current bout of back pains since last June I went to three different doctors, a spine surgeon, and a nurse practitioner and all they could do is prescribe more pills that only masked the problem and had the potential to create even more problems by their usage such things as steroids that can cause osteoporosis! I even went to a physical therapist who for weeks tried to massage away the mussel spasms without finding out why they were reacting the way they were. Out of desperation I went to see a chiropractor that came highly recommended and SHE after three sessions told me that I needed to get a new set of x-rays of the area of my back between my T7 and T9 vertebra and that she believe I had a compression fracture of one of them. I went back to the office that did the earlier x-rays armed with this new information and low and behold they found a compression fracture of my T8 vertebra. BINGO! Thank God that He sent me to a person who listens to His voice instead of the latest and greatest advertisements coming out of the pharmaceutical giants. She said she went home after my second to the last visit and a “bell went off” in her head that this was the problem with my back. The new x-rays and MRI confirmed this and that I had suffered the same kind of fracture back in June in my T5 which has grown back together deformed. Anyway, I will be going through a procedure on Tuesday called kyphoplasty where they insert small balloons to open the fracture up and inject bone cement into the void to place and hold the vertebra back to its original shape. The procedure takes less than a half hour and has been highly praised by those who have had it done as eliminating their back pain and spasms. I should be healed and back to normal in less than five days.

      So I ask all of you who read this to pray for me as you feel led.
      Love to you all,
      Micheal ❤

      Like

  11. David Murry says:

    To “be still”…. mmmmmm how I need to practice this more, Michael.

    Thanks for this 🙂

    How is your back?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      David, yes, “BE STILL…” That is so hard for me, too. My back felt really good after the operation, but there is the rub. I felt like I could carry on as usual and I took out a small stump that was in the way along side my house and carried it about fifty feet and my back has been letting me know that I should not have done that. :-/ The MD said to not lift anything heavier than 10 lbs for three months (Arg!) and the stump was 20 lbs or so. I think it will heal up totally in time. I no longer have the pinched nerves and mussel spasms at least. They are lining me up for a bone density scan to see if that is why two of my vertebra have had compression fractures. Thanks for asking, my brother. Maybe God wants me to spend more time praying and writing and less time working outdoors? Lot’s to pray about.

      Your friend and brother,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        I don’t presume to know God’s will for you, but as I read your question, my heart cried yes and amen. 😉 I for one would love to read more of what the Lord shares with you. 🙂
        I’m pretty sure Paul’s idea of ministry was not spending lots of his time in jail. He must have felt horrible at first, thinking, oh I have to be within these four walls when I could be out there preaching the Gospel! And yet, how many millions of people like us would have missed a lot of the richness of God’s grace if God hadn’t had Paul spend so much time in jail, where all he could do was think, pray and write letters?
        Dear brother, the portion of the richness of God’s wisdom He has decided to share with us, He gives us an opportunity to share with others. You may not be aware of the eternal impact your words may have on others, but God knows what’s best for you and the Ekklesia and if He wants you to sit down and learn at His feet for a season, and then share your experiences and learning with us, it will be a blessing for many.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Thank you, Carina. You are very kind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don Merideth says:

        Michael, just wanted you to know that this afternoon the Lord put you on my heart. I wouldn’t attempt to speak into your life, I’ll leave it to Him. All I know is what He told me about 3 days ago. He said, “Let Me be your witness with what I’m doing in your heart, do not witness about yourself.”
        Praying! Don

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Good advise, Don M.

        Liked by 1 person

      • David Murry says:

        OK thanks for that info, Michael. I will be speaking His Life and healing into those areas. I have never been too good at “sitting” when injured (kinda ties into the “be still” thing I suppose lol) and I think I would have tackled that stump too!
        Selfishly, I thoroughly am blessed by your writings, so you “doing” less suits me, but… how about you do it without the pain? Got you covered in prayer. 😉

        Your as well
        David

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Thanks, David. I need all the prayer I can get as God changes the way I go about things and old habits and what it means to “Be still and know that I am [He is] God.” It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I think HE is up to the task. 🙂

        Bless you, my brother!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Don Merideth says:

        Dear Michael,
        I had intended to write some gleanings from a book I’m now reading and studying. The words are leaping off the pages and to me it addresses where we are in your thread and Susanne’s. I am listening for His voice trying to be obedient and yielding to being in the aspect of the cross, in Identity with Jesus my Lord being made in conformity with His death. With fear and trembling I would like to suggest the reading of the book. It is “God’s Reactions To Man’s Defections” by T. A. Sparks. It is on line at AustinSparks.net. Part 1 and 2. If you feel led to read it, may my Father receive the glory, if not, I guess I missed it. Trying my best to be transparent!
        Love in Christ, Don

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Don M.,
        I started to read this book by Sparks a few years ago when my good friend and brother, George Davis recommended it to me. I guess I was not ready for it back then, though I have been touched deeply by many of T.A. Sparks writings since then. I recently read an excerpt from this same book on the TAS daily devotional I get, so I will take your comment to me as a “second witness” to give it another try and pray that they eyes of my understanding (and heart) might be enlightened. I have bookmarked both volumes of the book in my browser and will probably print it out for it is much easier for my old eyes to read off the printed page than this screen.

        No, my brother, I don’t think you have missed it this time. I hope the Spirit continues to make the words of its pages leap into your heart. Feel free to share the parts you have read that relate to this thread or any other thread on this blog. Sparks is one of the few authors I have read that fully understands the way of the cross and true sonship that is ours in Christ. Right now I am reading another booklet of his, “The Fight of the Faith,” so when I get through with it I will start again on “Defections.”

        Don, help me clear-up something in my mind as to the nature of your past involvement in the church systems of men. Were you a pastor for a time or just involved in church ministries at a “lesser” level? I know that the Lord has taken you out of all that unto Himself in more recent years. God took Sparks out of organized religion unto Himself as well for he had also been a pastor in the typical meaning of the word.

        Thank you for your loving input and transparency,
        Michael

        Thanks for everything

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don Merideth says:

        Bro. I began my walk on Sept. 13, 1982 with what I call a Damascus road experience. I was on my way to the golf course when suddenly the Presence of the Lord manifested and overwhelmed me with His real reality. All I said was, “Lord, take my life”! Bro., little did I know at that time what that meant. I was consumed with Him. As most, I guess the thing to do was go to church. I started in a local Baptist church, after about 6 months I was speaking as a fill in wherever needed, not only Baptist but Assembly of God, Methodist, Word of Faith, etc. At the same time I started cutting my teeth on Watchman Nee, Jesse Penn Lewis, and others that carried one deeper in the Lord. Also I became involved with Full Gospel Businessmen speaking at several meetings in about four states. I saw more miracles, healings, etc. that one can imagine. I have pastored, assoc pastor, interim pastor several times. I think you get the jest. I got to seeing that it was all to the people reaping the benefits versus what is His purpose and vision [was]. It seemed all wanted a Savior but don’t you even talk about the cross and Lordship…
        My only goal now is simply put, I am a broken, leaking jar of clay that hopefully leaks “Jesus”. I don’t mean in anyway to promote myself, because, even though it wants to rear its ugly head, that old man of ambition is dead.
        I pray the Lord grant me the rest of my days giving Him all the glory, being as transparent as I can, that my inward walk match my external walk.
        Love in Christ, Don

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Don, thank you for sharing more of your past with us and your transparency. Like John wrote,

        This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1John 1:5-7, KJ2000)

        The way I see it, another word for walking in the Light is transparency. Not all of us are ready to walk in His Light with one another. Yes, we want a Savior, but forget that cross stuff! We want to look righteous without God purging our desperately wicked hearts with the cross in our lives and filling them with Christ to get us there.

        I started out in 1970 with a most wonderful life-like fellowship with Jesus. He was my best Friend. But as so many of us have done, I brought my worldly goals into my Christian walk and was soon wanting to be a “somebody” in Christendom (I think that there is a bit of Diotrephes in all of us). I also cut my teeth on Watchman Nee, Andrew Murray, Tozer, Penn-Lewis, etc., and of course, they got to the root by writing about the forces at work in us of the flesh, the world, Satan and the Spirit of Christ, but it took a long while for my life experience to catch up with my head knowledge.

        I just opened up a bit more on Susanne’s blog about my own journey into His light. I will post it on here as well:
        Here is the blog: “Counterfeit Spirits”

        Susanne and Carina,

        This thread has been heart searching for me. We understand how God has had to let us suffer from our own bad choices and motives in life, but why, to destroy us? NO! But rather to heal us. Sometimes He has to wound us and cut open a boil and purge it so that we will heal (see Hosea 6:1-2). Susanne quoted Chambers as Christ saying to us,

        “Identify yourself with My interests in other people,” not, “Identify Me with your interests in other people.”

        Wow! Does that hit the nail on the head for me! Please bare with me while I try to be honest and transparent (our hearts are SO deceitful). I was one who tried for years to become part of the “in crowd” in the churches. I saw those powerful men who stand before the people with church titles and wanted to be one of them. I “identified Christ with MY interests in other people” instead of “identifying myself with Christ’s interests in them.” What a near miss! So close, yet so far away from His heart. Thank God that He made sure that the very men I wanted to imitate reject me or I would have been one of them to this very day, beating my fellow servants. I did get close enough to the inner circle in many cases to see how this passage applies…

        But if that servant says in his heart, My lord delays his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunk; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in pieces, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:45-48, KJ2000)

        I should have known better, but I was deluded by “visions of my own greatness.” I had become my own idol as I idolized other men in ministry. So, when they turned on me, I turned on them, too. Like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings I was saying to myself, “Don’t touch my precious you nasty Hobits!” Much of what I have written in the past has been “anti-church” in nature. Why? Could it be that I hated what I saw there in that system because it was in me?

        Susanne, you have been used of the Lord with a few short phrases from God from time to time to get me to look deeper into my own heart regarding these things and I thank Him for what He has done in my life through you as He has bid us to be transparent with one another.

        Carina, thank you for what you have been sharing on here as well from your own experiences. Your transparency has made me look deeper into my own darkness. You too, Don M.

        Your brother in Christ’s school of “many stripes,”

        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael, I also dare to add my reply to you from EPL on here. I wrote,

        “Michael, I am very thankful to God, too, for nudging us to become completely transparent with one another. No hypocrisy, no masks, and no pretending any longer.

        Strangely enough, this morning I read on my daily Catholic 😉 kitchen calendar a part of one verse of the Scriptures you shared here. I read (in German, of course), “For unto whomever much is given, of him shall be much required.” Period.

        What might that mean? It seems to me that John of the Cross in his ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ (esp. the second part that refers to purifying the spiritual part of our souls) expressed it well as he said that the darkness of the night is all the more deeper and the night longer, the higher God wants to draw the soul to Himself. I recall that John also identified going through the second part of the night (which only a few must according to him) with receiving a much greater ‘ministry’ (he called it apostolate). Looking at John’s life, we could see as it was in apostle Paul’s or T. A. Sparks’ spiritual outworking of their calls, their influence has become much greater AFTER their death. This fact really displays the greatness of a call! And think about our Lord Jesus!! All alone as He died, but no man on earth could ever deny His influence on this world, whether they like Him or not.

        Our old nature always wants to live its best life now. If it is the eternal now, the spiritual life in Christ, no problem. But whatever we try to manage apart from His Spirit will always be detrimental for our spiritual life. Therefore some chastening by the Lord is necessary until we finally ‘got it’.

        Here is a quote from today’s TAS devotional. At first it did not speak to me, but as I read your comment, my brother, it began to make sense. TAS said,

        “I have loved THEE, with an everlasting love.” May God Himself bring that home to us with something of its implication, something of its meaning and value, its glory, its wonder. If He should graciously do that, we shall be worshipers for the rest of our lives; there will be something about us that is in the nature of awe and wonder and we shall go softly. The realization of it will smite all our pride to the dust. There is no room for pride here. This will remove all those horrible things – pride, avarice, covetousness, self-interest, worldly ambition – and we shall be very humble, very grateful people, full of a great longing somehow to requite that love, somehow to win for that One His rights.”

        T. Austin Sparks, Daily Open Windows, October 19

        In His great love for you,
        Susanne”

        Liked by 2 people

      • David Murry says:

        I can relate, Michael. I will certainly keep you in prayer in all things. I often am prompted by Holy Spirit to stop and reflect on His awesomeness and His bigness, and that He is bigger than my own shortcomings. Amen!!

        You are in good company.

        Thanks always, brother. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, thanks for posting your wonderful comment over here on this blog as well. I will post my reply to you on EPL here also…

        Oh, my dear sister Susanne! You have touched on so many things of great importance in your reply to me. Where to start?

        Jesus said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” He knew us from the foundation of creation when God said, “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness.” At that moment the Word of God spoke us into existence in His great heart. Then we read that He knows our end from the beginning and “My counsel will stand, I shall do my pleasure” (Isa. 46:9-10)! And what was His great pleasure from the beginning?

        “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him [Jesus]; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isa 53:10-11, KJ2000)

        What a deep spiritual truth this is! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end not only in the universe, but in our very lives. Who can resist His great love that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have His everlasting life in them as well?

        Then there is this matter you wrote about,

        “Looking at John’s life, we could see as it was in apostle Paul’s or T. A. Sparks’ spiritual outworking of their calls, their influence has become much greater AFTER their death.”

        Couple this with what Isaiah prophesied about Jesus, “He shall see his offspring… He shall see the travail [child bearing] of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” Jesus gives us spiritual birth from deep inside of Him. This is how we are “born of the Spirit.”

        Oh how we hate to wait, especially we Americans. We want it right now and we want it “biggy sized.” How much more this is true about wanting to see the fruit of our “ministries.” But for God and His Son, they have waited so long to see the mature fruit of what it means for us to be IN Christ and for that harvest to come into fruition. Yet, they know that that fruit will come because it abides in Him. Yes, dear Susanne, it seams that the fruit that remains becomes ripe AFTER we pass from this earthly existence as it did with Jesus and Paul and John and even John of the Cross and T. A. Sparks! All we can do now is rest in Him and let Him speak and act through us. This give me a deeper meaning to, “For unto whomever much is given, of him shall be much required.” 🙂

        Yes, “He loves and HAS LOVED US with an EVERLASTING LOVE.” Oh, the depths of the power working in us of this kind of love both now and for eternity! Jesus, Let your everlasting love work in me so that this will be true, “there will be something about us that is in the nature of awe and wonder and we shall go softly,” Amen.

        In His great eternal love for who you are and who HE is in YOU, dear Susanne,
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Rex Sheeley says:

    Wow Peter dressed and carried as an old man. At least he was old really old but not sick, sounds like healing is for only the young . IM for ever sticking with the truth that by His Stripes Iam healed written by peter i assume. a few things Im sure of ,abortion is murder and sickness is from the devil. and God doesnt need me to bear what he bore for me. Just last night my back was killing me, spasms I could not stop.Started on friday when my wife left for Saint Louis to vist her sister who has battled cancer for 10 years. My wife had to help me up to dress and toilet. She laid hands on me and prayed and spent a hour messaging my back . Woke up 99.9999% better.just enough to make sure I didnt think it was a bad dream, thats the gift of healing in the body of Christ. Come to Indiana brother and bring your mustard seed

    Like

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