“We need to fill our vessels with light.” My pastor’s wife was speaking to the ladies. She gestured to a row of clear plastic cups and I spotted one with my name written on it.
She had given each of us a sheet of paper and pen, and went on to say. “We need to have our vessels filled with light, but before that light of Christ can shine through us, we have to clean the filth of the world out.” She went on to describe what she had discovered about herself as she had studied for the lesson. Her eyes became teary and reddened as she spoke some very personal failings in her life in confession to us. As she spoke them, she wrote them down on her sheet of paper. She paused over each item as she listed it and told how it was affecting her, her family and her ministry. She then took her sheet of paper and ripped each failing from it and dropped them into the cup with her name. When she finished, she turned to one of the ladies and asked her to speak to us and to write on her sheet of paper as had been demonstrated. The woman began to tell her story and list her failings. Tears started to fall as one by one she spoke in her gentle voice of fears and anger and frustration. The tears increased until they splashed onto her sheet of paper as she wrote. She spoke of her private anguish and we listened, knowing we should have been there for her in her time of need, but were unaware of her struggle. She opened the door wider until her shame and grief were exposed. She was hesitant and embarrassed but her need overwhelmed her reticency. She finally ripped each item from the paper and dropped them in her cup. With one glance at her full cup, we knew the weight she had been carrying by herself.
One by one, we each went through the process with our Pastor’s wife coaching us. We spoke of our many different sins and failings. We spoke of envy and bitterness and anger and flesh out of control. We spoke of harsh words spoken to children, husbands, loved ones and friends. We spoke of laziness and undisciplined lifestyles. We spoke of lack of prayer and lack of the Word of God. The lists went on and on, until finally the last lady ripped the last item from her sheet of paper and dropped it in her cup. It was then that our Pastor’s wife opened her Bible and started reading to us words of exhortation, forgiveness and cleansing. When she finished, she asked me if I had anything to share. I tried to put in a nutshell my journey of consecration I had been on over the past four years. I told how I had started with a season of repentance. Every day, I took time with God to review my life and bring each and every sin and failing to God and talk to him about it. I confessed each and every sin to Him and I talked to him about how wrong it was and that I knew it did not please him. I went on to repent for each sin and failing. I talked to God about his death on the cross and how it was because of my sin that he suffered so. Then I asked for his forgiveness and cleansing and asked him to change me and to change the way I think and the kind of person I was. I told the ladies I now try to take every sin to God immediately and that I go through this process every time I become aware of a sin or failing. I do not want to be caught with unforgiven sin in my life at his return. I told of my ever deeper time of prayer and time studying and reading my Bible. I told them that I was seeking for God to put me back on the Potter’s Wheel and change me. After this we all found a place to pray. We prayed for forgiveness and cleansing and for a renewal in the Holy Ghost. We prayed that the Spirit of God would flow over and through us and fill our vessels once again. We prayed that the light of Christ would shine through us and that we would keep our vessels clean and filled. We left that place of prayer bonded together and understanding that none of us had made it, spiritually speaking. We all needed to be diligent to stay pure and filled to overflowing with the Spirit of God.
One of the things God spoke as He was instructing me to write this was that, while the denominal world was starting to heed his warning of what was to come and the need of repentance, much of his Apostolic church was asleep in complacency. He said, “Sound the alarm, my daughter, for I have made you a watchman. My people must be stirred, they must be stirred, they must be stirred. Soldiers found asleep on watch are executed. Can I do less to those who I have told to watch and wait, if they are found asleep or merry-making?”
God always warns of impending judgement and he has warned us over and over and over again that His judgement must fall. There is a shaking, turmoil and trouble coming. Now is not the time for apathy. If we are not awake, aware, watching and waiting, when it hits, we will be as surprised as the lost. It is not a time for “business as usual”. We must prepare our hearts and earnestly seek the face of God. We will wail and weep with the unsaved when calamity strikes if we are unwilling to stir ourselves and change our feet from simply walking the familiar old paths. We must be willing to allow God to “break in” to our schedules. We must be willing to give to God our carefully written speeches and allow him to speak a warning through us. We must shake ourselves before God is forced to shake us! Let us stir ourselves and rise up from our apathy! Let us seek the face of God and humble ourselves before him. As the Israelites of old, we must approach God, not with passive faces, but in “sackcloth and ashes” and trembling. Call on His Great and Holy Name, and even yet He will show mercy!
It’s time to repent for ourselves, our families, our churches, our cities and our country. It’s time to be brokenhearted about the sin of our own households that are not living pleasing to God. It’s time to cry out to God and fast and pray and ask for His mercy. Has your heart broken yet for what surely is coming on this world and on our beloved country? We should feel restless about taking part in meaningless activities. Let’s take that time we used to spend at the computer, playing games and watching movies and reading fiction and devote it to consecrating our lives to God. Let’s pray until our hearts are broken before God in repentance.
God’s judgement is scheduled. It is on his calendar. It will happen at the appointed time…unless…perhaps…we turn to him wholeheartedly and cry out to him and repent of every sin.
We gotta have a want to and it can’t be just one or two or a few. WE MUST TURN CORPORATELY. We have to turn as individuals, as families, as churches, as neighborhoods, as cities, as states, as a country. We must turn or die.
Return with All Your Heart.
Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.