Look Up! It's Almost Over
The mail has stacked up and I wanted to let all of you know how things are going on "Baca Mtn." I named this place after I found a Scripture verse telling of the children of Israel who stopped on their pilgrimage and their weeping made a pool of tears and they named it "Baca."
I know that my tears on my pilgrimage could make a pool. But the Bible also says that God keeps our tears in a bottle in heaven so they must be very important to Him, IF they are shed for others and not for ourselves.
Once, many years ago, in the beginning of my new life in Christ, I was so discouraged. I was living in a "hole in the ground" (literally) which was one basement room in Illinois.
I'd had a beautiful home of my own and one full acre of grounds with apple trees, but my husband abandoned me and our little boy who was two years old, and married another woman before I even knew he was intending to leave. Anyhow, what could I do? I decided to learn to be a secretary but I would have to move to Chicago and live in a flat there, with my parents. I refused to trust my little boy to a baby sitter or nursery and thank God I DIDN'T trust anyone else to keep him.
I took a secretarial course in a business college in downtown Chicago; it was so cold, and I was so tired after working all day as a general office worker, then taking the course. I remember standing on the corner waiting for a bus, and I thought to myself, "They did not name Chicago the windy city for nothing." But I persevered and took the course and became an executive secretary.
All was well till I was born again; then God called me to HIMSELF. Not to a work, not to an idea, not to a "goal," but to HIMSELF. I had remarried by then, and we began to hold Bible studies in various homes. I was so thankful to be able to do this. I have never thought myself worthy to minister, I know what I was before He cleansed and made me whole, and I know also that the flesh is still very much alive within us since our soul and bodies are not yet redeemed completely. But I never gave in to what would have been the desire to be successful and wealthy as so many weak Christians do.
Anyhow, my parents found a home out in the suburbs called Northlake, and it was only a block from the grade school. I knew it would be best for my son to live out there, so I agreed to move into their basement room and Richard had his bedroom upstairs. I was able to be with him every night, help him in his studies, and only had Bible studies during school hours and on weekend nights.
And I never once felt happy in leaving him, even though his grandparents adored him.
once, I remember, he was playing a "big" game of Little League. His grandpa was part of the staff, and they were looking forward to that game. I so longed to be there, but we had a Bible study scheduled for Rockford, Illinois, 90 miles away, which we held every Saturday night. Since my old car could barely go, we always rode with one of our friends who had been saved from perversion when he heard us speak at a church. He was truly dedicated and he always took us to Rockford, and was thankful to be a part of this.
But on that night, I felt so sad. I had missed that important game my son played in, and I felt he would never even miss me or realize how much it had meant to me to be there.
But God has a way of touching even little boys' hearts....we didn't get home till past midnight, and I looked in on him in his bedroom; I knew if I hugged him he would wake up, so I went on down to my basement room. When I turned on the light, my heart literally jumped with joy.
Richard had picked wild roses which grew everywhere, and he had strung them together and draped them across my mirror. He also had written a note. I put all of this down in a tiny journal which I kept, and I even pressed one of the rose petals and have it today. The note read: "Dear Mom: 'Our' team won. After that we got milk shakes. I chose strawberry. I love you. Ritchie."
That note reminded me that Love cannot be lost by separation. And that game, which was so important to my son, was not to be placed above the service to my Father in heaven. And as I look back across those years, I see that the very people to whom I ministered that night, are with me now: Shirley and Ed, Brian and Gail, and Margaret. Love is always tempered by sqacrifice and on that night when my heart was sad my son remembered me with roses.
That basement room was a vestibule of hope for me. Hope that somehow, through the very emptiness of my purse, through the cold, cold floors when the temperature hovered below zero, when I had no money for food when "on the road," ministering----those were the trials that God put before me and offered me the experience of learning HOW to "die daily." And as I was saying, tears must be shed for Him and others, never for ourselves. I was sitting in that cold, dark basement room and crying. I had not enough to buy gas, and no hope of supply. I had the radio on, and Moody Church in Chicago kept a 24 hour program going of good sermons and songs.
Suddenly the music stopped and a man's voice said, "Always be sure the tears you shed are for Jesus' sake, and not out of self pity."
I often wonder if an angel spoke to me? Who knows? But I can assure you that I quickly dried my tears and got out my Bible and stopped feeling sorry for myself. God is awesome and does not put up with self love, not for a moment. But we must work at it. We can't sit back and do as we please and keep back the best for ourselves and expect to have any part of the image of Christ living within us. We obliterate Him with our selfishness and our pride.
This is what God has taught me throughout the years that He has called me His own.
Now--years later--I still have nothing of my own. And that is as it should be. I am amazed by the revelation that we--as lovers of the Lord Jesus--are not EXPECTED to accumulate. We are not to invest, not to "keep back a part of the price" as the early Christians named Sapphira and Ananias did. They joined the other Christians in their "having all things common" and when they sold their property to give to the Apostles, they "kept back part of the price." But they didn't get away with it. God struck them dead for lying to the Holy Spirit. I don't know if they went down into the pit, or they represented those Christians today who won't be caught up in the rapture and will have to wait it out and suffer the tribulation. God knows. But I wouldn't want to risk being left behind, if it happens in my lifetime, and it just might.
If we love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, strength and mind, AND OUR NEIGHBOR AS OURSELVES, we do not keep our money, our homes, our cars, our possessions. We keep them in trust, as God commands us to do, and we own nothing in this life---but our rewards in the next are eternal and probably so glorious that we could never with our finite minds realize just what God has for His faithful ones.
I heard a minister last night on TBN saying he'd had an encounter with God and he was broken. He said that the Church had learned how to entertain men, but not how to attract them to Christ. He is right. But he is taking up the path that is so commonly taken up by every minister I have known. I have seen them all----from Jim Bakker to the ones today---and they have the same method. They believe, if they can only get on TV, they can "reach the masses."
If Jesus came today, in our time, I do not believe He would "get on TV." If He did, He would not be asked back. He would do what He did when He walked this earth 2000 years ago; He would drive the money changers out, and speak plainly to those who so obviously compromise His Word. He would observe the padded pews, the ornate buildings, the women dressed in their sequins and jewelry, the men in their "designer suits" and all the pomp and ceremony that belongs to the heathen gods. And He would say to them: "Woe unto you, scribes and Phariesees (religious leaders),
for ye pay tithe of mint and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." (Matthew 23:23-28)
I hope that you read these words and realize that they mean the same thing today that Jesus meant when He spoke them to the religious leaders who thought they had it all. He was not impressed by their long prayers, their ornate temples, their expensive robes, or even their so called works. He knew what sort they were, and He told them plainly that they were hypocrites.
I doubt that very few of those Pharisees believed Him. If they had, the Kingdom would have been set up right then; they would recognized Him as Messiah, and He could have established His Kingdom on earth.
But nobody listened and if they did, they turned their backs on Him and went their way. And this is what is happening today; nobody wants to live like Jesus asks us to live, and instead Christians flock to the new billion dollar buildings where there are gymns, swimming pools, and I believe I read the other day where one church is even going to have a golf course. Where--in God's Word--is such a thing established?
But, as God said throughout the Word, "My people love to have it so."
What is the point, then, in ministering in the Name of Christ?
It certainly is not for money. That is abhorent to our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not for "success." Jesus Christ hung on a cross at the end of His earthly ministry and was considered a usurper and a blasphemer. It is not for friends. Jesus tells us that if the world loves us, we are none of His. He promises instead, "The world will hate you. If it hated Me, it will hate you."
And who wants to be hated? Well, if that is what it takes to be like Jesus, then that's fine with me. I embrace the hatred which I have received these decades of my service to God, and I thank Him. I thank Him that He chose me, called me, and sustained me during all these years when--in the end--I have nothing. I thank Him because in spite of it all, I realize that more and more the image of Himself is being formed in me because more and more of my pitiful, sinful SELF is being denied and left behind.
I have done everything that I possibly could to obey what I feel and know that He has asked of me. I have lost so many people who turned and went away to all kinds of things which flatter the flesh and feed their selfish desires. I have lost family, and the possibility of ever being successful. But I don't care. I have won. Always, in the end, we win if we are found faithful.
One day we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ which every single thing we did is passed through the fire, to see what sort it was, as the Bible says.
If we give, it must be sacrifically or it is not even recognized by God as a gift. If we love, it must be a divine love, with no thought of self, or it burns. If we "save for the future" it will be a blight in our spiritual record (for the Bible says that God keeps the books on us), and that good feeling we have when we look at our bank account is burned. If we take care of our parents in their old age and secretly resent them, it is burned.
If we give to the ministry and feel proud about it, it is burned. If we want to tell somebody about Jesus for any other reason than we love them for His sake, then it is burned. If we contribute to buildings and lands that have nothing to do with the things God asked of us in His Word, it is burned. If we do anything at all which has the taint of "self" upon it, it is burned.
I believe we might see the rapture of the Church in our lifetime. There is so little left of what Christ really taught. And of what the Apostle Paul taught. He would not be accepted today, either. He would be thrown out of every church as a "heresy hunter." I am amazed that Paul Crouch cannot acept the fact that people DO have spiritual discernment and when they comment on some of the things that go on which are in direct opposition to the Word of God, he always calls them heresy hunters. I thank God for discernment and it should be called by its right name.
We are on the verge of the end of time, and it is my hope and my prayer that this message will wake you up, remind you of your lack of divine love, of your selfishness, of your indifference to God's desires, and make you start over.
Jesus said, "When you see all these things come to pass, look up, for your redemption draweth nigh." And "these things" are all coming to pass at once.
There isn't much time left. Look up! And get ready, so you will not be ashamed at the judgment seat of Christ when everything you have done could be burned and you are left with nothing but your salvation.
And God bless.
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