“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know; fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.”
After staying up most the night writing a letter to my girl, I sat down to rest in my lounge chair, and I sensed the nearness of the Lord. It felt like he was right there in the room with me. I couldn’t see his face or eyes, but caught a glimpse of his hair, which is dark and not quite shoulder length. He wore a plain white tunic with a sash or girdle around his waist. The collar had a small, shallow ‘v’ in the middle of it. His tunic didn’t shine brightly, but had a soft glow to it. He dims his brilliancy for us in order to accommodate our weak frames, otherwise we would be blinded by his brightness.
I felt so elated, I just wanted to jump out of my skin and fly away with him! My heart swelled with love for my Prince, and I softly sang songs to him, telling him of my love for him, as the words came. It didn’t matter to me that I had been up all night. When you’re with him, time doesn’t matter. After about half an hour of soaking up his sweet presence, I couldn’t really hold anymore so stopped and got some rest. It was a beautiful visitation from the Lord, one I had been waiting for, one I really needed at this time in my life. For the past five years I have been going through a fiery furnace trial of my faith.
Before I rested, he brought back to my mind a few lines from a song. First one was, “After every cross he brings a crown.” I knew immediately what he meant; I had borne my cross, and now he was bringing me the ‘crown of life,’ which I could actually feel. I haven’t always noticed the crown immediately upon giving or surrendering something to the Lord, but this time the crown came almost right away. You see, just as we may abide in Christ NOW and don’t have to wait til heaven; we may likewise wear a ‘crown of life’ now, for the crown comes after we have taken up our cross (surrendered our wills and laid down our rights, demands, desires, preferences, and flesh) to follow him wherever he goes.
He then gave me John 15:1-10 “If any man abides not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered…” And, “every branch that beareth fruit, HE PURGES it that it may bring forth more fruit.” (“purgeth”= kathairo; to cleanse of impurities, prune. Metaphorically: expiate from guilt.) As a husbandman purges trees and vines from useless shoots, so does the Heavenly Husbandman cleanse his branches of impurities and things hindering their fruitfulness.
God purifies all true Christians so that they may be more useful. He takes away that which hindered their usefulness; teaches them; quickens them; revives them; makes them more pure in motive and in life. This he does by the regular influences of his Spirit in sanctifying them, purifying their motives, teaching them the beauty of holiness, and inducing them to devote themselves more to him. He does it by taking away what opposes their usefulness, however much they may be attached to it, or however painful to part with it; as a vine-dresser will often feel himself compelled to lop off a branch that is large, apparently thrifty, and handsome, but which bears no fruit, and which shades or injures those which do. So God often takes away the property of his people, their children, or other idols. He removes the objects which bind their affections, and which render them inactive. He takes away the things around man, as he did the valued gourds of Jonah Jon_4:5-11, so that he may feel his dependence, and live more to the honor of God, and bring forth more proof of humble and active piety. – Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
The message was clear – God was PRUNING ME, taking away from me that which was unhealthy and was hindering my walk. While deeply painful, there’s a sweetness to his pruning because I know he’s doing it for my good, because he loves me – Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Heb 12:7 It is for chastening that ye endure; God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father chasteneth not? Heb 12:8 But if ye are without chastening, whereof all have been made partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. It’s also sweet because he’s telling me that I have been ‘fruitful’ in my walk with him. Hallelujah! Well, sometimes I don’t feel like I’m bearing fruit, some days I feel I’m failing the course! Thank you dear Lord for telling me that I’m not as bad off as I thought. Our enemy the Devil works overtime to try and convince us we’ve veered so far off course, we’ll never find our way back again. Devil, you are a LIAR!
On top of that Rhema (living word), he brought back to my mind a line from a song – “There’s a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecc 3:1) And, “As we leave behind the ashes of old sorrows, he leads us on to where his love makes all things new.”
Again, his message was clear. He’s saying to me that it’s time now to leave behind the ashes of my old sorrows, and seek to fulfill his purposes for me. It’s time to stop mourning my losses and get on with my life, for he has something good for me, I just need to be open to it. He will bring it to me as I abide him.
You see dear saint, the Spirit of the Lord can use whatever he wishes to speak into our lives. He can use a song, a verse of Scripture, a poem, etc. Don’t put God in a religious box of man’s making. You must think and see outside the proverbial box, in order to shama (hear) his voice. Don’t say God can only speak this way or that, he speaks to men in many different ways; in dreams, visions, signs, prophesying, inspired writings and works of art, etc. Be open and always ready to HEAR what he’s saying, for he is ALWAYS speaking to us. Problem is, we all TALK TOO MUCH, and are too busy most of the time to hear his Voice. “Be still, and know that I am God” – Ps 46:10.
Wishing every branch abiding in the Vine, a very fruitful life!
Debra R. Stout, June 3, 2015