VISION: AN ANGELIC VISITATION TEACHES ME THE HIGH COST OF DISCIPLESHIP

The process of being conformed to the image of God’s son, Jesus Christ, and being transformed into His nature is certainly not for everyone.

Following Jesus Christ does not come without many sacrifices made and high costs being paid. Only those who are truly desperate for a deeper, more powerful relationship with God are willing to go through all that is required to weather them, mature them and purify them.

Only those who are willing to allow God to stretch them will encounter what transcends our wildest imagination. Only those will experience the most amazing and rewarding relationship made available to mankind.

Many are not willing to pay the price required to achieve God’s definition of righteousness. The fear of man labeling them a self-righteous, overly religious fanatic is too much for most to bear. Many also fear the supernatural and feel that submerging themselves into the depths of the unknown is far too intimidating.

Mature Christians have discovered that their level of spiritual gain is based on their degree of fleshly loss. We must be willing to die to self and we must be willing to lose all that we believe gives us life here on this Earth to truly live for Jesus Christ. Anything that does not draw you closer to the Lord, draws you further away from Him and keeps you from experiencing the most intimate relationship with God made possible on this side of Heaven.

Child of God, you must know that for you to go deeper with God, you must be willing to reach further beyond the basic Christian requirement of reconciliation with the Father. Allowing God to have His way with you so that He can purge your flesh, your soul and your spirit, will hasten your sanctification. And why do you need to go through this?

In order to progress in your walk with the Lord, God needs to purge your flesh of sin and carnality. He needs to purge your soul so that He can cleanse your mind of unrighteous thoughts and emotions. This includes your stubborn nature and all of your false self-assurances. He needs to purge your spirit of your self-righteousness and your self-sufficiency. All this is necessary for you to be move to a level of spiritual maturity where you can receive the fullness of all God has for you.

The Lord was in the process of purging me of a stronghold that was hindering my spiritual growth, as well as my ministry, at the time that I received the following vision. I would not have believed this about myself if the Lord had not allowed me to have this experience.

In the early part of 2016, I lay in bed one night wide awake for I was restless and could not sleep. My husband, who slept through this entire experience, was laying next to me sound asleep.

in the distance I heard the sound of what I can only describe as a whirlwind. I did not see the whirlwind itself but, I could hear it. As it came closer to me, it’s sound became louder and stronger and intensity. At the same time, I saw a small, bright light appear and grow, widening and spreading, until it consumed my bedroom. I could see nothing around me but a brilliant light. It was brighter than anything I had ever seen. I was not frightened for knew that it had come from the Lord. In fact, I lifted my head up off my pillow and struggled to hear what I hoped would be God’s Voice through the sound of the whirlwind which was getting louder and stronger.

You see, in the summer of 2001, I heard the Lord audibly call out my first name. The night that it happened also found me in bed. When I heard the Lord’s voice, I was frightened. All I could do was cover my head with my bed sheet, and I did not respond. As I lay there, I listened intently waiting to hear something else but, the Lord did not say another word. The next morning after recovering from the shock of the experience  and explaining everything to my husband, I prayed and ask God why He didn’t say more to me. I did not get a response at that time. I came to the conclusion that God did not speak further because I did not respond to Him. So I made a promise to God that if He ever saw fit to speak to me again, I would most definitely respond. 

So as the light in my room  grew brighter and the whirlwind grew stronger, I struggled to listen for the sound of the Lord’s voice hoping that He would speak to me again – however He did not.

The brilliant light in my bedroom consumed everything, and although I could see nothing around me I could still move around as I lay on my back in my bed. Then out of the corner of my right eye I saw a figure. The bodily figure stood to my right and was even brighter than the brilliant light that had consumed my room. As my eyes focused on the form, I saw it lean over and place its arms under my body. Then I felt my body begin to lift up off the bed.

Within a split second, many thoughts began to flood my mind. I was reminded of a prophecy that was spoken over me, also in 2001, by a woman of God who told me that the Lord had spoken to her about me. She said that He had instructed her to anoint my feet for I would walk on Holy Ground. I also had thoughts of my four-year-old grandson growing up without me. I remembered my son whom I have not seen in over 10 years, my two daughters whom I love dearly as well as the lives of my four sisters. Finally, I remembered the plans my husband and I had made for our future.

Then suddenly, a different thought occurred to me. “What if the Lord is taking me away and I am not able to return.” I then thought to myself, “I am not ready.” So I reached out my left hand to feel for my husband, who was laying next to me, and I grabbed his pajamas. Within an instant after grabbing ahold of my husbands pajamas, everything disappeared. The sound of the whirlwind stopped, the brilliant light vanished and the Angelic vision was gone. I immediately woke up my husband and told him everything that had happened.

Later that morning, after praying to God about my experience, the Lord spoke to my spirit. He explained to me that He allowed me to experience the vision so that I could learn a few things about myself. He wanted me to know that He has called me for a work but, until I am willing to break the ties that are binding me, He would not be able to use me to the extent that He desires.

Jesus said, ” If any man come to Me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yae, and his own life also he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26

Reading and understanding the scripture above in its context, we know that this statement is a metaphor. Jesus, in essence, was saying that we must count the cost of discipleship and be willing to pay it to follow Him. He is also saying that we must also understand that if we desire to be His disciple we must be willing to give up everything for Him. Jesus sacrificed everything He had to give for our salvation. The question He asks His Church is just how much are we willing to give up for Him?

This message is for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

LIVING WITH DEATH

LIVING WITH DEATH

Death pathwayI would like to share what has been on my heart for quite some time now. It concerns a subject that has not ventured too far away from my mind. Granted, although this is a somber topic, I believe it to be a necessary one. Let’s reflect upon the reality of DEATH.

Over the past three years, between the two of us, my husband and I have been stunned by the death of a surprising number of family members. Included among them to date were my mother, my father, my husband’s father, my husband’s sister, my husband’s two grandfathers,  four aunts, five uncles, three cousins and a great nephew. If I have missed anyone, please excuse the oversight as it was not intentional.

The truth of the matter is that our bodies are ALL going to die one day. Let’s face it, death is an inevitable part of life and yet we are always caught off guard by it when it happens because no one – but God – knows how, when, and who will be next to go. Whether by way of natural causes, old age, accident, illness or just plain evil intent, we will all experience the sting of death. And we will all have to experience it ALONE. When your time comes, there will be no strings attached, no favors to be bought, no family and no friends to help you. Death is a price that only YOU alone will be required to pay for the sin you have committed – unless, Jesus has paid the debt for you.

As each day passes by, we are all getting a little bit closer to the end of our days here on this earth. For each and every one of us, it is simply just a matter of time. We have all heard the familiar phrase: “Tomorrow is not promised.” Well, I would like to add to that phrase: “Tomorrow and age are not promised.” Youth does not guarantee life and death does not just happen to the old. Being young does not necessarily mean you are guaranteed a long life here on this earth. The family members I listed above died at different ages ranging from prenatal on up and I would venture out to say that none of them knew beforehand the precise moment and circumstances through which it was to come.

God has set a predetermined time for each of us to die, and we will not remain on this earth one second beyond it. Likewise, when that time comes, there will be no one and nothing that will be able to prevent us from realizing our soul’s destiny with eternity. At that moment, it will be too late to change from the path that decisions we have made have placed us on. As it is with life, even death has to submit to the will of God. For He, alone, has control over it ALL.

These days, I tend to filter everything through my pragmatic, no-nonsense lenses. I view life, death and everything in between with a more godly, rather than worldly, perspective. My rationale has caused many to consider me callous, cold and even a bit insensitive. I don’t mean to be and I pray that this not be the case here. However, if my insight offends anyone, I ask for your forgiveness. My intentions are not to be an offense but instead to give you a defense.

The principles that govern my life are pretty simple: “Live for Christ, die in Christ.” My focus is very narrow for I am concerned about the destination of one’s living soul – that will continue – rather than the destination of one’s dying body. I say this out of love and I mean no disrespect to anyone.

I consider myself a very inquisitive person. I have lots of questions about lots of things and, usually, I get lots of answers. However, I have found that God does not always comply with my voracious curiosity and I have had to learn to be okay with that. Honestly, concerning the subject of life after death, God has not given me all the answers to my questions. However, He has given me all that I need to know at this time. That is that those who have made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior, before they die, can look forward to receiving the gift of salvation, eternal life, the joys of Heaven and the coming of the Kingdom of God. “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6 (NLT).

God also makes it known that those who did not trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, before they died, will be eternally separated from Him and will enter into an evil, dark and torturous place that is completely void of His presence, His grace and His blessings. The Bible speaks often of this painful reality that awaits those who do not live for Christ and have not repented from their sins. God, the Father loves His Son (Jesus Christ) and He has put everything into the care of His hands. You simply cannot come to the Father except through His son. Anyone who does not obey the Son will never experience eternal life but will remain under God’s wrath throughout eternity. (John 3:35-36).

The focus of this world, and the people in it, is primarily on the body and the pleasures the body finds through the pursuing of things that please the flesh. This is by the design of Satan. He has deceived the people into believing that to make yourself happy in this life is the most important goal in life. He does not want you to know that living a meaningful life does not come through “the pursuit of happiness.” It comes by pursuing Jesus and doing what is right, according to His word. Because not only do your pursuits affect your natural body, most importantly, it affects your supernatural soul.

The Bible clearly tells us that death is not the end of our existence. It is merely the separation of our bodies from our souls. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT).

Therefore, when we die, it is our souls – not our bodies – that continues to exist. So, where do our souls go? There are only two destinations prepared to receive our souls. They will either go to be with Christ, in a place of unspeakable joy and glory or they will be separated from Christ and go to be with Satan and his demons in a place of shame and unspeakable torment. It is for this reason that I speak to you about the right way to live your life today on earth so that you will be able to live life tomorrow with God. Many do not understand this pursuit. In fact, many consider this a “Holier than thou” complex. I’m okay with that. You see, Jesus was accused of the same thing. If you ask me if I am trying to be Holy? My answer will always be “Yes” and “Amen.” For my Father in Heaven requires it of me. “So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be Holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is Holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be Holy because I am Holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16.

This is my life long goal. Am I there yet? Absolutely not. I am still a work in progress.

When our loved ones die, we mourn because we miss their presence on this earth. However, in the midst of our mourning, we can find peace in knowing that we will see them again. Nothing is more painful than the thought of suffering and eternal separation from those we love and care about. It is far better to know that we will, in fact, one day see them again where we can be together experiencing unspeakable joy living with Jesus Christ and the Father in His Heavenly Kingdom. Wouldn’t you agree? When that day comes for one of our loved ones to go, it will be far better to say, “I’ll see you soon” than it will be to say, “Goodbye.”

If you are reading this post, you have been given a gift. It is the gift of time. This gift has been given to you for a very specific reason and it is not to pursue selfish happiness and pleasure. God has given you a most precious opportunity to ensure not just your own salvation and eternity spent with Him, but also to share Jesus Christ so that your loved ones will have that very same opportunity. I encourage you to speak out and not keep silent – even at the risk of ridicule and persecution. It is worth it. For you must always remember that our time on earth is short and “Tomorrow and age are not promised.”

THE HIGH COST OF OBEYING GOD

THE HIGH COST OF OBEYING GOD

paying-the-price-pig-with-stack-of-coinsWe are all so interconnected and intertwined together within the fabric of God’s universal purpose that the minute one obeys Him, others immediately become affected. As a Christian, you can expect to endure all manner of persecution on account of your faith. Because of this, you may find yourself being tempted to keep quiet about the word God has given you to share. Or you may want to guard the word in an effort to protect it from those who do not appreciate it. Satan will use everything, and everyone, to test your allegiance to God. And God will allow some of these tests as an opportunity for your growth and to strengthen your resolve. Some of these tests will come in the most challenging of circumstances causing many to persecute you simply because they have had their feathers ruffled by your beliefs. When this happens, and it will, what will you do? Will you rise to the challenge? Are you willing to risk it all to obey God and allow the consequential chips to fall where they may? Your response to each challenge that is placed before you will reveal much about your true relationship with the Lord.

There will be many situations in life that will sneak up on you and catch you off guard. You may even be surprised by the way you respond to these circumstances when they happen. However your response will never be a surprise to God. He knows how you will handle every challenge that comes your way. Whether you choose to do the right thing or whether you choose to falter, God will use it all for His greater purpose. Yet, it is important for you to know that every decision you make will equal either a penalty or a reward for someone, as we ALL have to pay, in one way or the other, the high cost of obedience…

Living With Self & Death Of Self

There are two periods in the life of every Christian. These time frames combined make up the person you are as a whole. Each period plays an important part in your life. There is your life as it was once lived pursuing Self, before Christ (BC) and there is your life as it is currently being lived pursing Jesus Christ, after the death of Self (AD). Your BC life was necessary as it has enabled you to have a testimony. One is not separate from the other for without the prior, there would be no appreciation for the latter. One gives fuller meaning to the other.

To truly follow Jesus Christ is to live for Him with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind. However, this is impossible to do unless you have first crucified Self. You will know when you have successfully denied Self for it is only then that you will be able to successfully live for Jesus Christ. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ (who) lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

Self vs Jesus

Living for Self is living to glorify and serve YOU through the pursuing of fleshly desires. These are pursuits that are contrary to the word of God. This is completely the opposite of living to glorify and serve Jesus Christ through the pursuit of God’s word. Are you willing to honor Jesus Christ by obeying God’s word? Are you pursuing God or are you pursuing YOU? Obedience to God is choice-less. This means you do not have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to doing what He says. You cannot say that you are living for Christ based on your own definition of Christianity. I hear people often say, “You honor God your way and I’ll honor Him my way.” However, there is only one way to honor God. That is according to His word, which is not negotiable or optional.

No Regrets

Obeying God is not always easy. However, if you truly love Him, obeying Him should be a pleasure. I have been a Christian for over twenty-nine years. When I made Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, there was much in my life that needed to change. As I began to live my life pursuing Him, there was much that did change. In fact, thanks to Jesus, I am still changing. He is taking me through a complete transformation. The changes He makes never stops and they don’t all happen overnight. As God miraculously changed my heart, I saw a gradual change in me, and as I gradually changed, so did the choices I made for my life.

Though the changes in my life have not all been easy, none of them do I regret for they have all drawn me closer to the Lord and enabled me to have a witness that testifies to the wonderful love, grace and mercy of God. I consider it a privilege to have been called by God to serve Him and sacrifice Self for Him. Nothing, or no one, is too important to me that I would not be willing to give it, or give them, up if He asked me to do so. Everything that God has given me, or has removed from me, has worked, or is working, towards my ultimate good and towards His ultimate will for my life – as He promised me it would. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NLT).

You Have An Obligation To God

In my relationships with my family and friends, there are times when I feel it necessary to keep my own personal opinions to myself, that is unless my opinion is solicited. However, when it comes to sharing the opinions of Jesus Christ, I see things quite differently. As a Christian, you have an obligation to God to share your faith with others. God gives you the opportunity to honor Him by demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ to the world. When you do this, you are engaging your relationship with God through your obedience and giving others the opportunity to be blessed in the process. It is important to know that your obedience may cause you to become a target for conflict, disagreements and ridicule. Yet, be encouraged for God’s word says: “I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when He comes to set up His Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

Love Requires Action

Jesus was asked by one of His disciples: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT).

Many people confuse love with emotions and feelings. Love is not a feeling. Love is a decision you make. It is a decision that requires action for it to manifest. There is no better way to demonstrate love for someone than to obey God by sharing His Son. However, as it is when you give any gift, not everyone can or will appreciate the value of your sentiments. You never know how someone will receive a gift you give. Those who see and receive the beauty and extravagance in the gift of Jesus Christ will be eternally blessed. Those who don’t won’t. This is why it is so very important and worth any amount of inconvenience or ridicule you may have to experience to give it.

You Can’t Save Anyone

Allow me to make something perfectly clear. You sharing Jesus with people does not save people. As a Christian, you are only a vessel that God uses to plant a seed through. It is up to God to water that seed and bring forth fruit. It is not your responsibility to save anyone. You couldn’t do it if you wanted to. That is God’s job. In fact, no one can come to the Lord unless He draws them to Him. The Bible tells us that those few who find God will enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to Hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT). Because of this fact, it makes sense that everyone will not be able to accept Jesus when you share Him. So, don’t be surprised when they turn you away.

Leave The Consequences To God

So, what do you do IF obeying God causes others to be uncomfortable or even suffer? The truth is that your obedience to God WILL cause others to be uncomfortable as well as suffer. There is no avoiding that. However, know that you are ONLY responsible for your obedience. You must leave all the consequences that will follow to God. He does NOT hold you responsible for what happens as the result of your obedience. However, He does hold you responsible for what happens as the result of your disobedience. Remember, God is sovereign. EVERYTHING is under His control.

God’s Word Is Alive!

God’s word is alive… “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12. (NLT).

God’s word is a living demonstration of His power. It speaks of His law over everything in and outside of this world. God’s word also rules over each and every person, regardless of their belief in Him. “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 (NLT).

Because God’s word does not come back void, His living word carries with it costs, or consequences. Those who obey God are positively affected through these consequences which are called blessings. Likewise, those who disobey God are negatively affected through these consequences which are called curses. And yes, God does curse people. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on Heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NLT)

Are You Willing To Pay The Price?

Your obedience to God will require your willingness to give up plans, give up people and possibly even give up your life. Though many profess to love God, many are not willing to make that sacrifice. “Jesus was aware that His disciples were complaining, so He said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you do not believe Me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and He knew who would betray Him.) Then He said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to Me unless the Father gives them to Me.” At this point many of His disciples turned away and deserted Him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” John 6:61-67.

Are you willing to pay the high cost of obedience to God?