CHOOSE TO TRUST: TRIALS AND TRUTH
The Lord just spoke to me. His words pierced my heart. What He wants me to say to you, you know in your head, but He wants you to hear it again anyway. Jesus is love, and Jesus is love to you. Since you came to the Lord, you may have experienced some great difficulties that caused you to pull back from Jesus a little bit. You thought that maybe He was displeased with you, or maybe even that He had forsaken you. Perhaps you even doubted His love for you. At the time of your fiery trial you may have allowed yourself to believe that Jesus did not care, and it changed your thoughts about Him.
I know that it is a very light thing for me to say, “Oh, but He cared. Oh, but He loved.” After all, I did not go through your trial. Nor did I experience your broken heart. I did not experience the feelings of abandonment and even the sense of betrayal. It is a very light thing for me to say it, but God is going to open the wellspring of understanding to you. He is going to help you come to a place of understanding His thoughts and His purposes concerning your trial, and it is going to bring much healing, if you will move ahead with Him so He can.
Even those things that seem to be by accident are really planned of the Lord. What He allows, He allows in His love. When He allows something of a seemingly grave nature to come into the life of His people, He often does it because He is seeking to prevent something worse from happening. As impossible as it is to believe that Christ would allow such a thing, He does it out of love. That thing that seemed so unreal, so dark, maybe even depraved, which caused such brokenness and anguish of heart, was really a gift. Through it, He prevented something else which would have carried a greater evil and would have done much damage. That is not always the case, but for those of you who have gone through this fiery trial that He is speaking of, this is His reasoning. He spoke this word to me earlier tonight, and this is the word of the Lord for your life. It really was out of His love, His abundant mercy, and His great compassion that He allowed it. His infinite wisdom is impeccable and far beyond our understanding. We just do not always understand His ways.
I am thinking right now about Joni Eareckson Tada, who became a quadriplegic following a diving accident. I am thinking about how her accident happened, provoking her to the Lord. Not wanting to be left in her condition the rest of her life, she really sought Him for physical healing. But at this time in her life, she is willing to say that had this accident not happened to her, she would not have gotten saved, probably, because that is not where she was headed. She sees what befell her as God’s severe mercy. The fact that she has stayed in a chair has opened her up to a worldwide ministry to a very special class of people. So for her, she really believes that she would not be saved today except by divine mercy through her accident. That may or may not be true. Maybe God told her that; I do not know. All I know is that there are those of you reading this that need to know that God knows what He is doing in your life. He wants you to pull on Him, draw close to Him, and praise Him for this terrible trial He called you to walk through for the purpose of something good. Are you willing?
2 Cor. 2:14-15 Amp. But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere, for we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
I think it is an amazing thing to be told that we have been called to cycle in Christ’s own victories. He is telling us that He is leading us to triumph, not in our victories, but in Christ’s victories, which are of a totally different nature. If you ever thought about running a marathon, and if you thought about running it to win it, then if you train, prepare yourself, run the marathon, and win, then that is your victory. It was your battle, your struggle and challenge. It was predicated upon how much you were willing to prepare for it, and at the end of the line, it was your victory.
I have a friend whose name is Odeh, and he is Nigerian. Are you familiar with Mr. Clean, the strong man on the front of the cleaning bottle? Odeh looks remarkably like him. One time, I asked Odeh, “Do you work out with weights? How is it you came to look like you do?” He said, “It’s genetic. My whole family looks like this.” I said, “All your brothers, huh?” He said, “Yep. All my brothers.” He looks like he has been working out with really heavy weights, but it is in his DNA. Perhaps, for someone who has that kind of God-given natural strength and capacity, running a marathon would not seem to be a big deal. But for most, they really have to prepare themselves for the task. If you have a winning finish, then the victory is yours. Bruce Jenner said that he spent, on average, eight hours every day for four years in an intense training regimen to prepare for the triathlon. When he won, it was his victory.
However, when we walk with God, are victories that and depend only upon Him, and which must be worked in and through Jesus. You co-labor together with Him. He is not going to do it for you. You will have to do it, but He will give you the grace. Where there is genuine weakness and you absolutely cannot overcome, Jesus will do something for you, perhaps in you, to help you overcome; if you are serious, that is. Most are not serious enough to provoke the Lord in that way. But if you are, He is not going to leave you ashamed. He is not going to leave you with your back against the wall and no way to get out. When it comes to spiritual growth, such as overcoming the soul and flesh, you must set your heart and mind to do it.
Someone can decide they are going to become a world class athlete, and they can work and work to win that title. Bruce Jenner trained with an unheard of determination to win. Perhaps the greatest things that they have to overcome are the sore muscles from working so hard, as well as the sacrifices of the discipline required. Athletes of this caliber cannot go and do what others do because they have a goal that compels them.
But when you are a Christian, and you are trying to overcome yourself, it is an entirely different beast. Am I telling the truth? It is amazing to me. Maybe before you got saved, you were a person of great discipline. Then you decide that you are going to go deeper in God. The enemy is going to come against you in every way he can to break that disciplined nature of yours so that going on in God becomes so difficult and so full of challenges that you have to give your undivided attention to doing it or lose the battle. You have to resist yourself more than you have to resist the devil. You have to refuse to settle for second best, or even third or fourth best. You have to refuse to be lazy and apathetic. You must fight against your will and against hurt feelings. The enemy loves to fill you with hurt feelings against the Lord, or against someone else in the Church, so that you will give up this conquest of self. He never lets it be easy.
You might say, “Well, why does God allow that?” You are cycling in Christ’s victory. He overcame the flesh, the devil, and the world. He has already overcome. You have to come to a place where you recognize that this battle is the Lord’s, and you must only learn how to cycle in His victories. This is the key. Satan will make those victories so hard to achieve that you will want to give up. Only Jesus knows how to overcome your flesh and soulish nature. Only He knows how to overcome the devil and the world in you.
I used to ask Jesus, Lord, why is this quest so difficult? Why can’t I do it? Why can’t I decide what is going to get healed emotionally or physically and what isn’t? When You show me something that needs to be healed—why can’t I decide how that’s going to happen?” I sincerely wanted the answers to these questions because I was feeling very frustrated. He said, “Your soul is very fragile as is the case with all men. Only I know how to work through the hidden corridors of your soul and heal you without hurting you. So I will lead you by a way you know not so that you will not interfere with My work.”
I cannot tell you how many times He has taken me through the path of victory. Sometimes it has been very, very difficult, and other times it has been quite easy. I can tell you that every time He has taken me through the path of victory, and He finally got taken care of what He was really after in my soul, I look back and realize that I did not even know that we were dealing with that particular issue. I thought we were dealing with thus and so, but we were not. He also took care of many other issues along the way so that He could take care of this big issue. Then I always praise Him as I think, “Lord, You’re so smart, so wise!”
He knows how to overcome the flesh and the sinful nature in you. He knows how to overcome the devil, and He knows how to overcome the world. But you have to do it. You have to set your will to stay in the cycle of victory. That is your job. You have to look for the wisdom of the victory in His Word. He will speak to you. He will guide, lead, and help you. He will show you what you need to know because no one wants you to gain the victory more than Jesus. You do not want it more than He does. He wants you to have the victory over your self-life more than you could ever want it. Remember that.
2 Cor. 3:6 Amp. [It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive.
You were created as a spiritual being. You did not just become a spiritual being when you accepted Christ. The fact that you are a spiritual being is why, deep inside, you have been searching for a long time for this spiritual connection. Because you are a spiritual being, you must have a connection to a spiritual kingdom. Either you are connected to the satanic kingdom, or you are connected to God’s Kingdom. I really do not know many people who are really true atheists, but even if you have been able to convince yourself that you are one, deep inside, you want to experience a connection with the realm of spirit. In fact, you are actually connected with the kingdom of this world. When God begins to lead you out, and He connects you to Himself, you have the higher connection that your soul needs. Then you have found what your soul has been looking for from the day that you were a little child. You have an innate need to be connected because you are a person of the spirit.
When you become connected to the realm of the Kingdom of heaven, it begins to breathe life into your soul. It is a life that is beyond anything you have ever experienced before because it is not of this world; it is of the Kingdom of God. You are connected with the life-giving Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, to bring you into perpetual life. Now, those words may mean much or little to you depending on how long you have been saved. But you cannot imagine what it means to have the life of God breathed into your soul from the Spirit’s perspective. The reason you cannot imagine it is because if the light of that reality were breathed into you upon your salvation, your soul could not contain it. It would explode.
It is similar to a newborn infant’s experience of light. Have you ever seen a newborn baby opening its eyes for the first time? The first time it opens its eyes and it sees light, it closes them right away because the light is too bright. They say that a baby can see images, but it cannot see clearly when it is first born. The eyes have to develop the capacity to discern the images that are before it. This is like the life of the Spirit. Our spiritual eyes have to be developed. Our spirit being has to be developed, not only in knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and such as that, but it has to be developed to be able to stand before the Presence of God, let alone to contain the Presence of God within. When you are freshly born again, you are like the little baby that God has to develop and nurture. Then you grow to be one year old in the Spirit, two years old, ten years old, and so on until maturity, if you so desire. Most people never get beyond two or three years of age in the Spirit before they get to heaven because they never put the effort in to really come to know God. For that to occur, He must dispense the grace for this work to be done.
2 Cor 3:7-8 Amp. Now if the dispensation of death engraved in letters on stone [the ministration of the Law], was inaugurated with such glory and splendor that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its brilliance, [a glory] that was to fade and pass away, Why should not the dispensation of the Spirit [this spiritual ministry whose task it is to cause men to obtain and be governed by the Holy Spirit] be attended with much greater and more splendid glory?
Consider what happened at the time the law was given. Moses was so filled with the glory of God that the Jewish people around the bottom of the mountain could not bear to look at his face. The glory flashed like lightning from his face. The top of the mountain was surrounded by angels that looked like a wall of fire. A trumpet blew that seemingly called the entire creation to attention. The Word of God spoke from the top of the mountain down to the people at the bottom of the mountain. They were not just bland words. Every word was living, released with power. His words were full of revelation, which means that they were full of light and illumination. As God spoke, an entire race of people was being transformed in their inner man to see and understand God and His Kingdom. We still have not seen it, but these people saw it. Have you been taken to heaven and shown the Kingdom of God throughout? Not only did these people see it, but they were taken into it. Every word God spoke built up their inner man to be able to contain the revelation they were being given.
Now I want to tell you something that happens with revelation. Revelation will do something very good for you, or it could do something very bad for you. If you are given a magnanimous revelation from God, where your entire being is taken into the experience, it causes your spirit to come to a new level of life. It also causes your soul to be stimulated very deeply by this new level of life. If you abide by, meditate on, pray over, and chase God in respect to this stimulation, then you will find a certain level of transformation taking place in your soul as a result. If you do not, and you treat it like something that is unimportant, the very next thing your soul will do is desire more of the world. This happens because your soul has been excessively stimulated, and you have to do something with it; you cannot just sit on it. Your soul will become so active that you have to respond to it, either by moving deeper into the Spirit and running after God, or by moving into the lust of your flesh. The latter is what happened to Israel. They did not know to run after God, the Author of this stimulation.
What is the very next thing that Israel did? They got busy making themselves an idol. People will make all kinds of idols behind revelations, including letting the revelation become the idol rather than the Author of the revelation. What Israel did in that season is very normal; so we can quit condemning them. It is exactly what you will do if God visits you, and you do not do the right thing with the revelation.
What is His goal? He has inaugurated a dispensation of grace through which His intent is to let the world see the Kingdom of God. He desires to grant to the world a revelation of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Author of salvation. That is why so often when people get saved, they want to go out and get everyone saved. Not many will retire to their room and say, “I think I’m going to become a mystic.” They want to go out and get people saved. I was terrible in that way. I wanted to get my whole real estate office saved. It got so bad that when I came in, they would leave. It seemed like the safest thing they could do.
Something was stimulated, and for me, the stimulation drove me to the Word. I was so hungry for the Word; I could not get enough of it. I spent hours a day in the Word. Then the Word began to create in me a stimulation of the desire to worship the Lord. I wanted more of Him, and I cried out continually, “I want more of You, Lord! I want to know You more! It just seems that there’s something I don’t have that I’m supposed to have.” The thing I did not have was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Lord made sure I received that, and then I was really crazy for Him—just ballistic. I had to have even more of God. I had to be in Church all the time and I had to get everyone saved. I was seeing dreams and visions. I had no idea what that was. I was born again in the Charismatic era, and they did not know about prophets back then. So here I was experiencing the maturing of a prophet, and I did not understand what was happening to me, but that did not stop me a bit. I just kept running harder and faster, wanting to know more. I would get the Bible out, and I would read it and cry, “Please help me understand Your Word! Open Your Word to me.” Something had been stimulated. My spirit man was now in connection with Jesus and His Kingdom.
What is the purpose? When we were born again, there was in you and me an inauguration of glory. It was a glory that God wanted to use to lead you into the depths of understanding the ways and the nature of God. The goal is to bring you into a glory that is greater than what Moses experienced. What exactly did Moses experience? When your heart and your soul have been properly conditioned by the Lord, by chiseling away or burning away the chaff that is in your soul, He fills you with glory. Jesus talked about the baptism of fire, and the reason that this is desirable is because when that baptism happens, that fire comes in and begins to expose the dross that needs to be removed. The light of the fire and the heat of the burning expose the impurities, for the purpose of removing them. You may see things about yourself you never knew before. You did not know you did that or were like that. It is because the light is revealing the darkness in you. The fire is revealing what needs to be burned in the dross, and the purpose of the baptism of fire is to create an inner climate where the glory and light of God can reside. When the soul is completely refined, God will so fill your soul with light that if you could open your flesh and see what was in your soul, all you would see is a cavern of light. That is God’s goal.
He wants to give to you a greater glory than what was in the face of Moses. The Bible clearly says that the glory that was in the face of Moses was so brilliant that the Hebrew people could not look upon it. He had to cover his face because they could not bear to gaze upon it. I am inquisitive, and I asked the Lord for years, “Please let me see the glory in the face of Moses. What happened to him? What did he look like when he came down the mountain with the glory flashing from his face?”
He answered that prayer unexpectedly. Our team had gone to Africa to minister, and we stopped over in England for the night before moving on the next day. I was in prayer, when suddenly, I found myself before Moses. The glory that flashed from his face looked just like the light dancing on the head of a sparkler. Those of us who are older will remember when we were kids, and our parents bought us sparklers for the 4th of July. That is exactly how the glory flashed from his face. The flashes of glory were so great that the flashes themselves covered his body. Can you imagine what he looked like on the inside if that is what he looked like on the outside?
The heart and the soul must be greatly purified to contain the glory, and with Moses it was. He walked in union with God. His soul was so purified that it was pure light. God wants to divest the soul of the darkness, once developed by the lack of the knowledge of the light, and the lower nature. He wants to remove the part of us that craves sin. One of the things that Christians do is to misbehave, and then they blame someone else for doing it. They say, “You made me so mad!” What happened to our personal choices? We do all kinds of things in our Christian life, and then we want to point the finger at someone else about why we have done it. The only bad thing about this business of pointing the finger reveals that we have been touched by the light. This business of pointing the finger at others shuts down the light that would have healed our soul.
When God sends truth into you, you receive light as truth is light. If there is a color to truth, it is the color of light. Truth is also living. It is not like having a flashlight shining on your heart. It is the embodiment of God who is living light and truth. When truth pierces your heart, and you do not want to deal with what the truth is revealing, you respond by blaming it on someone else. What happens with the light and truth? You shut it down, and you lose the growth that you could have had. You can do that just so many times, and God will quit flashing that particular truth into your heart. Then there is no remedy because you have rejected truth. What is going to happen next? The Bible tells us: deception.
You do not ever want to tell God, “No,” when He tries to give you truth. You can say to Him, “This is too painful; I can’t deal with it. Give me grace to deal with it so that I don’t throw it away.” You can say things like that, but you cannot say no. You cannot blame someone else, blame circumstances, or shove the truth away. You can only do that so many times, and it will not be given again.
But you want to go on with God, right? So that means when He shines the light of truth into your heart, mind, and soul, and it pierces, it hurts, it brings conviction, and you feel overwhelmed—cry out for grace, but do not stop it. The enemy will try His living best to bring offense so that you will shut down the stream of truth. You must protect your heart from offense. Truth will bring with it offense. I promise you; it will. Truth offends the flesh. If it does not offend the flesh in you, then it will offend the flesh in someone else who will be happy to try to offend you. Do not allow yourself to nurture the offense that truth brings.
I am going to be very vulnerable with you. There was a level that I was challenging God for in my walk with Him, and when I set my heart to that challenge, things around me began to happen. Some of the things that happened were so painful that I felt like I was being shattered into a million pieces. The storm got so thick and so long that I forgot that for which I was vying. I became so weary in the battle that I lost the vision of what I was even fighting for. It did not mean I turned away from God. I still fought for God, and I still wanted Him more than I wanted to breathe. Nevertheless, what began to build in my heart was a resentment over all the wars, and I did not even know it.
Several weeks ago, the Lord began to show me where resentment had come into my heart here and there through all the various battles. When we were in New Orleans, the battles were so incredibly intense. On top of everything else that I had to walk through, I was constantly, every single day, fighting for my virtual life until I became so physically weary that I did not know how I was going to be able to keep going. Battles happened around the circumference of my life. My daughter was severely injured three years ago; she just had surgery to hopefully fix that injury. There was intense suffering on her part and on mine. Just because you are a minister does not mean you quit being a Mom. I will not even go into all the things that were touched before God began to put His hand across the troubled waters. It felt like everything in my world was being shaken and shaken until I felt like I was blind. I could not even see through the fog.
I wondered, “Why didn’t You protect my daughter, Ricci? Look what she has gone through. Look what her children have gone through because of this. Why?” I did not know there was just this little seed of resentment that had been sown into my heart. I honestly did not know. There was also a little seed over the struggle for life for the years that I lived in New Orleans. You just cannot know what it is like not to be able to breathe for four years unless you have lived there. It was horrible. I am still recuperating from what I went through in New Orleans.
The Lord finally brought me out of New Orleans, and He brought me to a place where my physical being could begin to heal. When He got me to a certain place, He started dealing with the baggage that I picked up along the way. Every time He shed the light on another issue that caused contention in my heart, I cried and cried. The one thing I want to do is to do it right. I had wanted to do it right so badly that I ended up shoving things down left and right instead of dealing with them. That was, until I felt such a distance from the Lord that it was unbearable. I fasted, prayed, and pleaded with Him, “Please show me where all this began!”
Circumstances are going to come deliberately to cause offense in your heart before God. You cannot let the offense take root. You cannot just shove things down; you have to deal with them. When you feel offended, or if you are offended with God, deal with it. He knows it before you ever say, “Lord, I’m offended with You.” Deal with it, and let Him help you through it. Because where there is offense toward a person or toward God, it is going to slow down your ascent.
Now as He dealt with this stuff that built up over those terrible years, He showered me with His love. He helped to strengthen what had become weak. But it can only happen as the light of truth touches that area. If you are not willing to let truth in to do what it needs to do, you will never be healed. You have to understand that during that period of time, I never quit chasing after God. It was not that kind of thing. I did not go back out into the world. However, there were these tiny barriers that built up in my heart, and it came out of fear. There was the fear that He may lead me into another storm such as I had just come through, and I would not make it. Now that is an unreasonable fear, isn’t it? But that is the kind of thing that comes up out of offense.
That is why I am being vulnerable with you. If you want to go deeper in God, learn to deal with your offenses properly. If you will do that, God will help you to not make the mistakes. Take truth very seriously. I cannot tell you enough: take truth seriously. Whether the Holy Spirit tries to correct you with truth, or He sends someone to you to correct you with truth—love it. Love correction. Plead with God for His correction. I tell Him all the time, “You correct me where I’m wrong because I know that where there is contention, You are always right, and I am always wrong.” That is true of you as well. Cry out for the correction, and then humble yourself deeply so that the correction can heal you. That is how you get to the next step, and the next step.
When God has done His work, your walk with Him will seem refreshed. That is what is happening with me. Now we are getting back to where we were where I spend the hours, and I love every minute of it. Do not let your walk get old. Keep it fresh and alive. Do not lift yourself up in pride, stubbornness, self-righteousness, or the things that hinder you from seeing His glorious face. Always go down low so that He can be lifted up. Keep your walk like a fresh morning spring that you want to go to every day.
Father, I pray that You will lead those reading this away from temptation and deliver them from evil. I pray that in Your shepherding of their souls, You will show them the light. Let them taste the fruit of truth, and may they find it a sweet thing that they desire very much. Father, strengthen them with grace to gain it, appropriate it, and to eat of this wonderful, delightful fruit.
I would save anyone from having to go through the fiery trials, Lord, except that I know these trials cause us to grow. As You begin to bring us out of the trials, if we keep our heart right, we will find years of growth that was kept hidden under the covering of the trial.
Lord, may they love Jesus above all else. Let Your Spirit come upon them even this very moment, and let Your Spirit renew its effort to teach them how to love Jesus more. We are so human, Lord, and we are so given to the ways of the flesh, but there is something from Your Spirit that is living and alive. It will carry those who yearn for Christ into the higher places, into the deeper places, and help them to dwell in what is real. I hunger and thirst for You, Lord. It is You that I want and long for, and I pray that you will put that fire in the heart of every person reading this. Those who have gone through the sifting of the trials and the burning cauldron and have felt almost a death come to their spiritual life—send Your own fire into their hearts. Revive us, Lord. I want a faith that is real.
I remember one time, in the midst of a fiery trial, Lord, You appeared to me. You asked me, “Nita, what is it you want from this?” I said, “I want to hand You, Lord, a beautiful vase that is ornately decorated with the emblems of this trial. I want the vase to be gold so that it will shine in Your face and glorify You. So that You will know that I chose to trust when it was so hard.” I will never forget the way You reacted. You began to smile. Your smile grew larger and larger until You became iridescent and translucent. I am so thankful that I said the right thing.
Birth in the hearts of those reading this, Lord, the grace to let You deal with their heart, even if it means going through a fiery trial, Lord. Deal with the hardness of the heart that keeps them separated from You. Give them faith to believe, hope to stand, and trust to walk. Pour heaven’s substance into their hearts. Help us to understand, Lord, that the path into the Holy of Holies is the path of the cross. We must walk through it. We must learn to submit to it, or we will never learn submission to the great King of glory. You told us to pick up our cross and come follow You! Pick it up! You want us to learn to submit to it, and come follow You!
Thank You for my trials, Lord. Thank You for what I have gained from them. Thank You for what I learned about You in them. I would not trade any one of them for what You have taught me. Thank You for the trials. They are always given to make us strong and that we may be sharers in Your holiness. Put that same thankfulness in the hearts of those reading this, Lord. Teach us Your way, O God. Guide and direct us. Unite our hearts that we may fear and honor Your name. In Your precious Name, Amen.
In His Love,