A YEAR OF HELL NOW TURNING TO GOLD

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ… “. (1 Peter 1:6-7)”

Carolyn and I have had a year of hell. Most of our close friends know that by now. But God!

HERE COMES MORE VULNERABILITY

Let me be very vulnerable for a moment and share things that most preachers will not share with you. You see, many ministers hesitate to share their deepest struggles and challenges, because they think it will be a stumbling block to their people, infuse doubt, and won’t help them. I beg to differ. I think the opposite is true. They need to know that we are not Supermen, but in our humanity are subject to the same weaknesses and infirmities they are. This actually encourages people.

The genuineness of our faith is tested in our trials. And nothing else. You can hear the Word, quote the Word, boast in your faith, act like you are a mighty man or woman of God etc., but when the fat meets the fire, you will learn that only in great trials can great faith be birthed and great victories obtained.

It touches God’s heart very deeply when we rejoice in times of grievous trials, especially when you don’t fully understand. Get that. If you can overcome the devil’s accusations of God to us during such hardship you are the big winner and your faith will soar.

PRAISE

Sometimes you have to be like a chicken on a june bug with your praise. Like Paul and Silas in the prison (Acts 16). They prayed but the great miracle didn’t come until they began to praise. Oh! I sense His Spirit on that word, because so many are in this place right now. Praising God in your hardship, trials, and disappointments is not easy but takes great faith. Most of our trials are primarily in two areas: attacks on our physical bodies and finances. And faith for both is a little different.

I’ve shared bits and pieces of our physical health challenges with FB friends, but very little concerning our financial challenges. In short, we have lived from miracle to miracle through the sustaining power of God’s great provision. We’ve been quiet about that part because we had a witness in our spirits not to share it, but to throw ourselves over on the Father’s love and care when the devil was accusing God to us day and night. But we will save that part of our testimony for another time, because it is so awesome and will encourage many to trust the Lord more for His great provision and favor in financial matters.

Some days all I could say to combat what the enemy of our souls was tempting me with in his constant non-stop accusations against God was to lift my hands and say, “Thank you, Father for your goodness and your mercy.” The devil’s greatest temptation during a year of pure hell for my wife and I was to have us blame God, to let our disappointment lead to bitterness, and to doubt His love and faithfulness to us.

LET ME BE BRUTALLY HONEST

I must admit there were times when my insomnia was so bad from the stroke, that it drove me to think that it was better to die than live. The same was true with Carolyn.

She’s had not one or two or three, but 6 surgeries, and may need one more skin graft to cover her large open wound. But it was her radiation treatments that did the big damage and fried her lower leg so severely, that it not only killed the cancer cells but also muscles, tendons, tissue and blood vessels. Her pain levels were so unbearable at times that she would tell me she didn’t want to live any more. Even recently I’ve been up several nights with her and once had to rush her to the emergency room in the wee hours of the morning. She still can’t walk but the pain is beginning to ease through better pain management and the hyperbaric oxygen therapy she is now receiving daily. As soon as I’m able to leave her side, I’ll be doing that, too in order to reclaim what was lost through the stroke.

To be honest with you, at times my emotions would fluctuate between utter helplessness and brokenness and then anger and yelling at God. “God, don’t you care?! Where are you?! I can’t take this any more?! This is so cruel?!” It was so hard to see my bride in excruciating pain. And the Father would comfort us and reassure us that the glory was coming. I’ve shared the scripture that I kept close to my heart all this time but it bears sharing it again, because some may need it right now. Here it is:

“You have been carried by Me from your birth and been carried in My arms from the womb, even to your advanced age I will carry you! I have made you, and I will carry you; be assured I will carry you and I will save you.” (Is. 46:3-4)

Oh how I’ve grown to love this word! I still weep when I read it and ponder the depths of it. Oh, how He loves us and cares for us even when we don’t understand what we’re going through. We trust Him because we know Him as Father. I get choked up every time I call Him Father now, and that age old Christian hymn comes rising up in my spirit, “Great is Thy faithfulness”… and I weep some more and then laugh with joy unspeakable and full of glory. This has been my sustaining power all through this trial.

NOW HERE’S THE GOLD
I know this is another lengthy post, and it still amazes that people are reading these, liking and loving them, and commenting. I’m truly humbled and honored that you would. My motive is to simply bless you with His great love that continues to touch and melt my heart. Now bear me with me just a little longer while I conclude with this incomprehensible love.

“That He would give you, according to the riches of His glory, power to be strengthened by His Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in LOVE may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the LOVE of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the FULNESS of God” (Eph. 3:16-19).

Notice the connection between knowing the love of Christ and being filled with all the fulness of God.

Knowing the width, length, depth, and height of His love that passes your intellectual knowledge is how you will come to be filled with all the fullness of God. This is the greatest transformation anyone can receive in this life.

HIS LOVE IS HIS FULNESS IN YOU

To be filled with the revelation of God’s love is to be filled with all His fullness. There is nothing greater. As disciples of Jesus, we’ve got to move past identifying ourselves with anyone or anything outside of Christ — whether it be our failures, weaknesses, infirmities, our greatest achievements/accomplishments, man’s acceptance and approval, performance and what we do or don’t do, our jobs/careers and status in life, our churches, ministries, finances and so on — and move into a full-fledged identity with His love.

The heart that knows he is loved by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ ceases to look elsewhere for love, peace, satisfaction, and fulfillment. His delight is in the Lord. He has found his dwelling place and his rest in Him. When you receive a revelation of His deep love for you, it will put a pure delight and contentment in your soul. It is then that you will truly live free and full.

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ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT THE GLORY?

An excerpt from my new book, Cleansing The Temple. Kindle discounted pre-orders coming very soon. 

Ananias and Sapphira’s sin was lying about the amount of money they contributed to the thriving church in Jerusalem. But the greater sin was the root of why they did it. There was a great move of God going on during the inception of the early Church, which compelled many believers to sell their possessions and lay the proceeds at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:34-35). Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be a part of this great move but for the wrong reasons, so they conspired together to lie about the total amount they were giving.

Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last” (Acts 5:9-10).

The Church is referred to as the pillar and ground of truth. No lie could stand within it in its glorious beginnings.

“I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

Have you ever thought of how the very first act of judgment in the early Church was concerning a lie? That is very significant. The lie represents a mask of religion and hypocrisy that fills many churches today and is diluting the glory of God. The early Church was cleansed and purged immediately from what Ananias and Sapphira were attempting to introduce into the local body in Jerusalem.

More than the love of money, hypocrisy was the main issue. Jesus called hypocrisy “…the leaven of the Pharisees.”

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Lk. 12:1).

Leaven is yeast, and it has a fermenting effect on dough, which is what causes the bread to rise. And since it takes only a small amount of yeast to transform an entire lump of dough, Jesus is warning His disciples that it takes only a little bit of what the Pharisees have to ruin a person. Paul said that a little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:8). In Christ’s estimation, the conduct of these Pharisees had a leavening and corrupting effect upon those who followed their example. Just a tiny amount of the leaven of the Pharisees would be sufficient to turn a man into a bad and useless person.

In other words, what Ananias and Sapphira were introducing into the young body in Jerusalem had the potential to ruin what God was doing. Was there malicious intent on their part to ruin anything or hurt anyone? I don’t believe so, but the glory was so pure and white hot in the early beginnings of the Church age that even a lie without presumed malicious intent could not stand. If it was allowed to stand and not be judged, it would have spread.

A lack of accountability and righteous judgment today is a huge problem in the Church, enabling the leaven of sin to spread like a cancer. Biblical discipline is sorely lacking. First and second admonitions to correct the unrepentant are uncommon and dis-fellowshipping from such is nearly unheard of.

“A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject” (Titus 3:10 — KJV).

I don’t want to excuse Ananias and Sapphira by telling you that there seemed to be no malicious intent to harm anyone. They did conspire together and agree together to tell this lie, and it was Satan that filled their heart to do this (Acts 5:3). That alone makes it evil and wicked.

Masks of religion and veils of hypocrisy are a great stumbling block to the manifestation of His glory and power. God doesn’t expect perfection, but He expects honesty and transparency. The lie, veiled in hypocrisy, that was told by Ananias and Sapphira was against the Holy Spirit, and it is representative of the leaven that fills much of the Church today.

The Greek word for hypocrite or hypocrisy is hupokrisis, which literally means “reply.” The word came to denote a theatrical performance by one who spoke in dialogue. Then it was used of play-acting, role-playing, pretending, and, hence, acting insincerely — hypocrisy. A hypocrite conceals his true motives under a cloak of make-believe.

Today we have a generation of Ananiases and Sapphiras who would lie for the honor and glory of men rather than tell the truth for the honor and glory of God (Acts 5). Layers of lies and false projections and motives have produced veils of deception and masks of religion that have caused the glory to diminish and depart. If we learn to live in the sight of God instead of the sight of man, hypocrisy will be flushed out of our lives, and the glory of God would increase personally and collectively in the Church.

The early Church had just been birthed and was localized in Jerusalem only at this time. It was yet in an embryonic stage of development. Just as doctors can often detect something wrong in the early stages of a pregnancy, so did the apostle Peter by the revelation of the Holy Spirit detect a lie in the Church.

“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?” (Acts 5:1-3)

When people sell everything and come and lay the money at the feet of genuine apostles in order to distribute it among the needy, that is a major move of God. The love of money had no hold on these early believers. It was not a requirement for anyone to sell their possessions. They did it willingly. The problem was that Ananias and Sapphira lied about the amount they gave for the insidious reason of wanting to be esteemed in the eyes of man. The root of their sin was not in what they did, but in why they did it.

Ananias and Sapphira avoided financial disclosure and tried to make the records appear as if they had given a larger percentage than what they actually gave. But the real motive connected to their lie had to do with pride and wanting to be highly esteemed in the church. It is one of the first teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men” (Matt. 6:1-2).

Ananias and Sapphira touched the glory of God with the desire for the glory of men. That was the root issue. In my humble opinion, this is also the root issue in the modern Church, and in every generation, it is the one thing that dilutes and diminishes the glory of God quicker than anything else. Jesus can only build His Church on purity and truth. When there are strong moral convictions about honesty and purity in all areas of our lives, and a true humility among ministers and saints, there will be a greater glory in the Church.

Much of the glory we’ve had in the modern-day Church has been the glory of man. The reason there’s been so little judgment today like that which fell on Ananias and Sapphira is because of the absence of the true glory of God, for this level of severe judgment that produces death is always in proportion to the present level of glory.

Consecration to God in holiness and purity is vital to increasing the glory of God in the Church.

NOTE: Our books and articles are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. If you feel like this article is valuable, please use the social media buttons below to share it. Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.