When personal gain becomes personal loss
The divine harmony distilled into the ether, leaving behind a dead silence as only the will of God could create. Nothing seemed to breath or move, yet everything seemed to be waiting along with me for the next momentous event.
One had the feeling of being suspended in space and time. Then again, with no preliminary indication, it came to pass. This time it was a voice, quiet, clear and controlled, from within my own soul. Even so, I felt sure that the whole of this little bit of heaven could hear and understand. To sinners like Paul on the road to Damascus, the voice would have to come from without. But God speaks to the saints from within, where Jesus dwells. Most of what He said and at least all of the theme was engraved deeply upon my heart, never to be forgotten.
"Ever since I caused you to desire and receive my love, I have carefully watched over you, taking great pains to entice you on to the ultimate, the glory of God. It is my grace that has worked within you without ceasing, leading you into and making you willing for my will. The vows you vowed were given birth by the Spirit of God. Thus, I have kept you faithful by the same Spirit. You of yourself have nothing of any value other than a yielded heart, which I saw and accepted. Had you willed anything of yourself it could not have stood the stress and strain of the trial of your faith. It has not been you but God working in you to will and to do of His good pleasure."
"No one can know the cross through natural reasoning, or the glory that is to follow. It has to be by revelation and experience. My grace enabled you to appreciate itís value and decide to carry it with no concern for any rewards, but just for my sake. Grace also enabled you to forsake all and follow me, yes made willing to die if needs be. This I have seen and been delighted with. It is Godís handiwork, His new creation, yet still far from complete. I have much more that I wait to do once I have made you willing. However, He that has begun this good work in you is faithful and will finish it. Fear not! It is for you to be trustful and patient that you may not frustrate His glorious purpose. God is watching over you every moment. He brought you here by miracles and keeps you here by the same means. He has surrounded you with His love and preserves you from the evil intentions of Satan. Fear not! Be strong and of a good courage!"
"For my sake you live in this extreme loneliness and peril and discomfort. True, you are called to suffer great physical hardships; but God has paid His debt to you in many wonderful ways, which you can never forget. Take heed to my words. Satan has desired to have you that he might sift you as wheat. But ever remember that I am always near to help you in times of need and to defeat his every evil purpose. Nothing shall by any means harm you and none shall pluck you out of my hands. You are being deceived by the siren tones of Satan the arch deceiver. You tend to believe that you are wasting your life among these poor and needy people. But nothing is wasted when it is in my will. Whatever lips Satan uses, he still speaks lies. Donít let him deceive you and rob you of your reward."
"You well know that you did not come here of yourself but I sent you and made a way by signs and wonders before you started out, and all along the way. You well know that by means of revival, revelation and miracles I led you here to live among murderers and robbers and primitive, oppressed people among whom were many of my sheep. And you well know that it is I, hovering over you to protect you, who has withheld the murderers hands because of my lost lambs looking for a shepherd. Satan is angry but fear not, for I am with you to keep you in all your ways."
"This is Satanís territory. He infests the atmosphere with his spirit. Even so, your God is Master over all and you are my beloved child. Be not ignorant of Satanís devices. By lies, circumstances and the elements he seeks to seduce you, to undermine your spirit. He shall know that you are kept by the power of God, through faith, and I have prayed that your faith will fail not. I will create faith in your heart unto salvation, never fear! Lift up the drooping hands and strengthen the feeble knees. Praise God for the power He gives you over all the power of the enemy. You shall be more than a conqueror as you walk pleasing to God in his perfect will. Be strong and of a good courage for God is with you, to bless."
"You can do nothing of yourself. This is my warfare and I cannot lose. You have been in terrible situations at times but did I ever allow you to sink? No never, not even when your faith failed, for then you found me faithful to my friend and my Word. Donít falter! Yield to my perfect will for your life. It may seem to be thrown away, but whatsoever is thrown into my arms is always added to your eternal account with tremendous interest."
Chiselled and chopped to be changed
The voice of God seemed to draw closer and become more intimate. "You need to relearn some things. I mean you to learn them thoroughly and to this end blessed you with this revelation of the Rose Cottage. Bury these lessons deep in your heart. Meditate much. They mean life to your soul and joy to my heart. Iíll not let you go, I love you too well. Satan may tempt you to try an easier path, like a stream flowing down hill. But I wonít permit it because I aspire to the best for you in eternity. You must take the path I trod, in the will of God. If you are willing then you will receive the same reward. You have learned these things for it is I who opened your eyes to them, and mean to open your eyes still further. I have much to reveal to you and to be done by you. Satan seeks to foil my purposes but he will fail for I love you with an everlasting love."
"Never accept the evil insinuations of Satan that you are wasting your life. He but demonstrates the fruits of carnal reasoning. My ways and thoughts are not the ways and thoughts of the world, as you well know. Fog is not fog, in the will of God, merely a veil to conceal future glory. Mildew and rot are not marks of death and poverty but symbols of future life and wealth, by contrast. The sooty black walls that now shut you in to the will of God will one day burst with glory and permit you to expand into infinity. The ugly spider pouches on the walls are but present day types of the glory in embryo that soon shall burst into life. The garden has given you itís message and the Gardener has this message for you. It was obedience that brought them into the blessings they now enjoy. It will do the same for you. In my heart, I have another beautiful picture. It is you, when my hands have finished their work. It was by diligent pruning and cutting away every dead stick and life draining sucker that they entered into glory. I am doing the same work upon you. That is one reason why I brought you into these dark and evil mountain fastnesses. Have faith in God! Never doubt! Never fear! Things are exactly opposite to what they seem to natural eyes."
Like the earth, the natural part of you, the carnal part, needs turning over too, needs to be broken before I can plant divine seed. Much that is bitter and unpleasant to the natural must be poured into your life. God knows no other way to produce the fruit and flowers that He is looking for, to grace and bless the halls of eternity. Buried alive in this God forsaken place you say. But it is all part of the plan to perfect the picture in my heart. You must be buried in order to rise from the dead. Like the grass, you too must be kept with your head low before God for He draws nigh to such. Poor you are in material things but you may be rich in faith for all things are possible to him that believes. It is much safer to be poor than rich. There will be many things that others can do but you cannot. You must be humbled to be blessed. So, just gladly yield to the all wise hands."
"Like the exotic flowers from foreign lands, you too have been torn from your home land and loved ones in order to know me better. Mostly, you have been satisfied. Today, you feel cut off and forsaken, but fear not, you have changed but I havenít. I am near and as willing as I ever was. Let faith dissipate the shadows and enter into joy. Donít be deceived by the subtle insinuations of Satan. I have not and never will forsake you. As you have often sat in heavenly places, raptured in spirit, so I would lead you into even far better experiences. I want to reveal more and more of my glory unto you but it means more and more separation. Donít faint! Go forward in faith! God has a wonderful purpose and plan for you."
"A life that rambles undirected will finish up in darkness and despair. Sinners may be allowed to fulfil the lusts of the flesh and mind, but saints, for them there is only one way to truly become a saint and it is Ė the perfect will of God. It is a straight and narrow way but the way of truest blessing. It means a cutting away of all that is worthless and of the world. It means being nailed to a cross; a life of sacrifice and seeming restrictions which actually means greater liberty, scope and blessing. To be admired in eternity you needs must be constrained to go Godís way during this short period of preparation. This alone will bring to pass the revelation I placed within your heart."
"Like the lilies you will have to grow, up from the cold, wet, dark slime in to the lovely new day. Persecution, misunderstandings, criticism, slander and cruelty or cruelly wrong accusations will be your portion still, even as they have been. However, the servant is no greater than his Master is. I suffered all that and more unjustly. There are no second causes. Recognise the evil one at the back of it all and bind him. Let your warfare ever remain in heavenly places. Never fight back! You will only hurt yourself. Commit your cause to me. I have promised to defend you. Satan will work in your affairs, in your heart, feelings, emotions, in his efforts to send you into my presence in rags and tatters. He even used false friends or loved ones. Look ever unto me, the author and finisher of your faith. It is I, your example that you should follow and walk in my steps. People will cast you out as an unclean thing and cause you much sorrow and shame. But your eyes shall look straight into mine and be able to say, "Nothing between Lord there is nothing between.í Fear not! Be strong!"
"You have had and will have shattering experiences like the rocks. Satan will try to make you feel forsaken of God. But you have my promise, I will never forsake you! The colours and lights and shadows of my pictures must be rich, deep and dark. For saints there is no rest this side of eternity for there is no release in this warfare. Yet every valley of Baca shall become a well when you rest in me. No second causes, all in the plan, and all planned for your eternal profit and my eternal pleasure."
"You will sometimes be circumscribed in opportunities and feel frustrated. You at times will feel that, with a very little fleshly effort you could change things the way you want them. Beware of this! Flee from it! You will lose far more than you gain; and soulish satisfaction carries no reward but tends to gender pride, which will take you right away from God. Suppressed desires often are the means to press you into God. Like the goldfish, you may feel you are going around in circles and getting nowhere. A circle is the same as a straight line in the will of God. It is the attitude of the heart toward me that matters. Goliath stalking through the earth is impressive to men, but a humble, hidden saint impresses God."
"Like the lovely little marble angel, you too need to be chiselled and chopped in order to be changed. At times you may feel you have nothing left. Never mind. That is the time when God takes you up to pour in all He has. When the work is done you will bear the image of God. He has planned your part in the eternal picture so fair, but three score years and ten is too short to finish the work apart from your co-operation. This place is Godís workshop. Whether you become a blade of grass or a rose, or reign like the marble angel, depends on the measure with which you yield to the all wise hands."
The voice divine within ceased to speak. Now my own heart talked to me and began to reason out all the wonderful things I had heard, and seen. I had seen these truths already through many years, yet saw them with a clearer vision. They became infinitely more real as a result of what I had seen and heard. What had been distant had now become very near, and far more personal. Relearning many things that had become dim and damped through fog and rot and mildew, and many heavy trials of which the devil was taking advantage, but now the mercy of God had made me aware. All temptation to quit for something easier was now completely gone. There was only one way now for me, and that was straight ahead, straight ahead with Jesus. There must be no thistles and weeds in my life. The beauty of holiness gripped me with longing. It must and it shall be mine, by the grace of God. Let the Gardener do what-so-ever He will. Let the wise hands have their way. Live or die, the remains of that unkempt wilderness in my life which shrieks aloud itís shame and desperate need to be plucked out and thrown over the wall, shall be attended to until beauty, equal to the picture in the heart of God shall reveal itself, and Jesus will be satisfied. Thus the vision ended, or did it end? I feel sure it will remain, green in my memory and working out in my life until the day when I arrive in the presence of reality, when all the mists and shadows have fled.