Pity And The Flame
Casual Christianity is about to radically disappear from humanity. Hot or cold love has always been on the Lords agenda, and He has a plan to get us there.
God is creating hardness in His people. Not the kind of hardness that we are warned about in the scriptures, which is the hardening of the heart. This is the hardening of the will in the midst of feirce opposition, so that we will follow the Lamb wherever He goes. The creating of a steady strength that cannot be moved by circumstances. This is the “toughening-up” of the saints. It is strength-training and conditioning for the future. Those who are called to travel through the future will be strong, as it is said in scripture:
“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.…” Dan. 11:32
In one of the “Rocky” movies, the champion got hardened up for the fight by using his natural surroundings, rather than the mechanical means used by his supposed superior opponent. God uses the every day events of our life to strengthen us, harden us, and prepare us. Most of the time, we don’t even know that’s its happening. All He asks is that we submit to the process. Not to run, but to surrender. To commit to the flame everything that He puts His finger upon.
There is usually both a minus and a plus involved. Things that need to be added, and things that need to be taken away. The fire reveals them both. This is the “valley and mountain” principle that Jesus spoke about:
“…prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth…” Lk. 3:4
That is, the things that there are too much of in our life (the mountains), He wants to diminish. The things that there are too little of (the valleys), He wants to increase. Plus and minus. He seeks to eliminate the excesses and build up the deficiencies. This is the way of preparation for the Lord. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his path smooth”, is the command. In other words…He is coming, remove all resistance to His coming to you. He has sent His Spirit to help us.
The Burning Barrel
I had a vision while in church Sunday Morning. I saw a small burning barrel with a flame coming out of it. I did not know what it meant and so asked the Lord to tell me. He said: “submit to the flame”. I knew that the barrel was for the things that God is asking us to throw in the trash for consuming. The lying. The sexual immorality. The anger. The unforgiveness. The accusing finger. The trash talking and any other thing that Jesus would not be doing through us.
No one likes to admit that they have these things but I am convinced that we all do to one degree or another. He’s not OK with us allowing them to hang around forever. There is a big difference between being preently at war with our sins, and us learning to tolerate them. Jesus corrected His church, not for having sin and shortcomings, but because they had learned how to tolerate it (Rev. 2:20).
Later, I remembered that we had actually just had this happen to us. One night we went outside and the garbage dumpster had caught on fire. What a picture!
Becoming What We Behold.
There is a principle taught in the scripture that “we become what we behold”. Whatever captures your attention, and you consistently gaze upon, will become the thing you look like. You will be transformed into the image of that thing. There is a transformation that takes place in the human heart when we give our attention to something over and over again.
If a person dwells upon negative things long enough, they will become negative. If a person looks on the joys in life on a consistent basis, they become full of joy. You become what you behold. If you are one who always is out to find what the enemy is doing, you actually will become very dark in your appraisal of the world around you. If you however, look over and over into the glory of the Lord, you will be changed into His image by that very glory you behold.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is…” 1 John 3:2
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18
What we spend our time focusing on matters a great deal. We are not called to spend most of our time reflecting on our needs. We are however called to spend some of our time in godly reflection. We are not called to spend our life “navel-gazing”. We are called primarily to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord Jesus and thereby be changed into His image. We are given the opportunity to judge ourselves that we be not judged.
“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world”. 1 Cor. 11:31-32
This is not a negative, but a positive. We have been given the opportunity, along side of Jesus the Wonderful Counselor, to approach the judgment seat that bears His name, and with Him take a good hard look at where we are, and what we need to do to align ourselves with His will.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…” 2 Cor. 5:10
“Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” 1 Tim. 5:24
Agreement with God, is the desired effect, of submission to the judgments of a good God.
We have been given the opportunity to do now…what others will be doing later. Appearing before the judgment seat of Christ with Jesus as our advocate. We have been given a place of security and comfort in the righteous position of the cross. In the judgment that we attend, we do not get what we deserve, but what He deserves.
The Whining Dream
I had a dream recently, where I was shown some events in the coming days. In this dream, Some believers were being held captive in what looked to be a concentration camp. Some were making plans to escape so they could do the wondrous works of the Lord. Others had fallen into the snare of nearly perpetual whining and complaining. I don’t know that this captivity was meant to be taken literally, but it does make for a poignant picture of how we process our environment.
We are held captive by our gazings, how we perceive our situation, and our response to them. Some in the dream saw their difficult condition as an opportunity to thrive and to conquer. Others saw it as hopeless and unfair. How they perceived their situation, created the way they responded to it. Some were planning to move ahead, others were lying on the ground moaning and groaning.
At one point, I actually stepped over one of these believers who was lying on the ground and whining about how hard things were. I straddled them and bent over and said with a loud voice in to their face “STOP WHINING!” This startled them out of their complacent moanings and arrested their senses so they could rise up and embrace the challenges set before them. Sometimes we just need a good wake up call, that’s all.
Whining and complaining is a manifestation of self pity. It is a testimony that we are not trusting the Lord in our current circumstances. Sometimes we feel that we have the right to complain if things are bad enough. We take a strange kind of comfort from it, and the sympathy we get from others from it. When we complain, we are saying to God that He does not have a good firm grasp on us. Not to mention that much of the time the problems that we are facing, are ones we have created for ourselves. When complaining we are, in fact, blaming God for them.
Pity is dangerous. It opens a gateway to the enemy to access our lives and increase the very thing we are verbalizing. Self –pity that leads to whining and complaining, then creates more despondence, bitterness, and the casting off of restraint. This arises from a lack of seeing our situation from Gods perspective or “vision”, and seeing it from our own. As the scripture states:
“Where there is no revelation (vision), the people cast off restraint (perish)…” Pr. 29:18
The children of Israel were kept from their destiny largely because of there opening an access point to the enemy through complaining. This came from unbelief. They could see the land, but were separated from it because of their current circumstances. It was just too hard. So they stated that over and over, first among themselves and then to everyone else.
Their unbelief and complaints led to the disannulling of not only their destiny, but the destiny of millions of other hopeful wanderers. However, God was not just upset at their lack of thankfulness. He was angry that the ones he loved were going to be kept from the destiny He had designed for them.
The desert is a hard place and people are challenged in what they believe. We need to be the voice of hope to them and not the voice of discouragement. The children of Israel probably did not expect that their complaining would have such a dramatic affect, but it did. What we think, say, and do affects others. Pity disrupts the working of God in our lives as we go through difficult circumstances.
Thankfulness kills pity.
Whining opens a door or gateway to the enemy. It creates something that we don’t want. It is a luxury we cannot afford. If we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will correct us. Rebukes, correction, and Divine woundings are all a gift from the Lord and evidence that He is in love with you:
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Rev. 3:19
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Pr. 27:6
The Lord is our great Friend. He is a loving Father. Like a child who had not cleaned their room. He is coming to bring the needed correction in our lives so that we will be better prepared for the days ahead.
Had a vision in church.
No one likes to see their stuff burn. When we have a house fire our first reaction is to run in and save all we can. It is normal to want to protect the things that are apart of us. God however is not interested in keeping us the same, but changing us into the image of His Son. He will burn up everything that hinders love for Him. When we ask God to “consume us with the fire of Your Love”, we really don’t know what we are asking.
That’s probably a good thing because if we did we would probably stop asking. He is determined to consume us. Everything that not built on the Christ, will not remain forever. God is going to see to it that everything that can be shaken (removed destroyed) will be shake.
Ultimately, everything that is not of Him will perish. We have, weather we realize it or not, submitted to that process now, on this side of heaven.
The process of the fire has already begun in your life;
“…but each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work…” 1 Cor. 3:10-13
Trouble reveals what is really inside of us. The way we respond in difficulty, which is the fires of testing, is the true measure of what needs to go into the fire. This is a form of the judgments of the Lord which are actually to be desired, not just put up with;
“…the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether…more to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold…” Psalm 19:9-10
No one likes to think that they have stuff that needs to be burned. We all like to think that when we stand before the King, that everything…or at least most of what is in my life…will last. After all, I have built my life upon Christ! All of us however, have things that need to go in the burning barrel of God. We just don’t usually see them too clearly. He will help us with that too.
This is a trying of fire right now, and will culminate at the day of the final judgment of God. We have the opportunity to submit to this fire of testing and burning away right now. He loves us enough that He will allow the fire to come weather we ask for it or not, but it is always better to ask and work in cooperation with what the Lord is doing. He is burning off the things that keep you from being near to Him. That is what you say you want, and He has taken you at you word. Submit to the process. Submit your stuff to the flame. Let God burn off the parts that are not Him and keep the parts that are Him. Only the eternal will abide eternally. Only what God does will last.
So let the Lord harden you. Don’t pity the flame. Put pity to the flame. Let God consume everything. Submit to the Divine process. Let love that cannot be overwhelmed by the floods of trouble, begin to come forth.
“…many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it…” Song of Songs 8:6
Salem House of Prayer