WEIGHTing it Out

It has been a time of quietness for several weeks; of trusting in His presence and nearness while not seeing, hearing or sensing Him. Not my favorite of times, but very necessary I know.  These times are when you see what you are made of. You can’t trust in your gift, your call or your senses. You just have to KNOW Him.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I heard  very clearly this message I am about to share with you.

I began to sing one of the most beautiful worship songs that I have ever heard. It also was the first worship “chorus” I ever heard. It became engraved in my soul; “When I look into Your holiness, When I gaze into Your loveliness, when my will becomes enthroned in Your love, when all things that surround become shadows in the light of You…”

I meditated on that stanza for a time. Lord, is my will really enthroned in Your love??

Those that know my husband and me are aware of a very long arduous struggle over the past nine years. There have been many periods of silence and seeming hidden-ness of God during this season. Sometimes we feel invisible ourselves.  My husband and I await the fulfillment of a promise and the opening of doors to the nations.  We sense it is very close. We even see glimpses of it drawing near. Yet, we wait. And sometimes that waiting is crushing. Sometimes it is all we can do to cling to the hem of His robe and say, “NO, we are not done” as the enemy would like us to believe. In our minds, it would make much more sense for us to be going back out to the nations at the age of 45 instead of in our mid fifties! But GOD…

Isaiah 55:8-9New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are )your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

 I am here to tell you today that His ways are not only higher, but HEAVIER!

The weight of the wait can feel like it is weakening you.  Guess what?   It is!

Definition of WEIGHTINESS

1 the state or quality of being heavy <the weightiness of the bookcase made it difficult to move>Synonyms  heaviness, heftiness, massiveness, ponderousness  hugeness;   2 the quality or state of being important <first judged the weightiness of a case before deciding to hear it>

Synonyms account, consequence, import, magnitude, moment, momentousness, significance, weight, weightiness
The Hebrew word for glory “kabad” means: bosom, glorious , glory, honorable,  riches,  splendor, wealth.

 The glory (the weightiness of  God) weighing your priorities, commitment, and loyalty to the King does weaken you.  More on that in a few moments.

 First I want to ask you if you truly wish to be a vessel of the Lord, a conduit of His love, grace, mercy, and truth? Do you want to be an occasional conduit, or a dedicated conduit? Do you wish to fulfill that sole purpose for which you were created? Or are you comfortable with an occasional summons from a distant God that you believe in, but do not intimately know?

   A vessel is crafted to hold something else.  A boat or ship is sometimes referred to as a vessel which holds or carries people or merchandise. We are vessels and what we carry as Christians is the Spirit of God and God’s Word. We are vessels for God’s Spirit and we can carry Him into the world.  The Bible talks about vessels of honor and dishonor. It briefly mentions them, yet if you do not understand the culture you will miss the boat, so to speak!  One was commonly used and another was set aside- called out for a specific valuable purpose.

There are six things  that determine the value of something:

First is the purpose for which it was made.
The second thing that impacts value is the design.
The third thing that impacts value is the material from which something is made. (testing what you are “made of”)
The fourth thing that impacts the value of something is how it is used.
The fifth thing that impacts the value of something is who uses it.
The final thing that impacts the value of something is who owns it.
dreamstimefree_147987    A gold cup and a wood cup may both hold the same amount of water, but the gold cup is more valuable because of the material it is made of and what it took to make it. God resides within us, but we do not all carry Him the same way. Some hold Him close and dear to our hearts while others keep Him at a distance so that He does not impede our having a worldly good time. A vessel of honor and a vessel of dishonor. Both are vessels, both can carry something, but both cannot be used the same way or in the same circumstances. The type of vessel we choose to become will dictate how, when and more importantly if God can use us Jeremiah 2:13. This is what God told Jeremiah:
“For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
  Think about this for a moment. When the Israelites turned their backs on God, God said that they walked away from the living water – Him. But they did not walk away as you would think. They walked with Him with their bodies (going to worship and carrying out the traditions of worship) but their hearts were turned somewhere else. They tried to be vessels of honor to God according to their standard, not God’s. Look closely at what God said. He said that they “hew for themselves cisterns….” meaning that they decided how they would come before God. God said they made their own vessels, but the vessels they made were broken and could hold no water.

  Our choices can weaken  or strengthen  our capacity to hold the presence of God.

God is the living water that is deposited within us – His vessels.
Another song came to me this morning like a blast from the past, making me ask, what idols are in my heart?  It was the old hymn “Whiter than Snow”:
“Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to live in my soul; Break down every idol, cast out every foe— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
  We can easily fall into the trap of setting our calling, our vision, even our promise from God as idols upon a pedestal between us and the Lord. These things too must be subject to His sovereignty.
If we are vessels of honor, we have processes in our lives to complete, like clay so that we are solid and can hold the living water that is poured within us.

Take a look at the 7-step process of pottery making (a simplified list):

  1. Selection of the clay – many grades were available.  (AVAILABILITY-WILLINGNESS)
  2. Trodden under foot – to take the air out. (PRIDE)
  3. Washed with water – to soften it.  (CLEANSING)
  4. Kneading – to remove small rocky pieces until there was a cohesive yielding. (SUBMISSION)
  5. Sun drying – 30% of the water content is lost. (WE MUST DECREASE to allow Him to fill us)
  6. Kiln drying – intense heat until it shrinks to 80% of its size. Different temperatures are needed to expose the quality and color of each individual clay. (TESTINGS and HEALINGS)
  7. Marked – each vessel bore the potter’s trademark. Only the “chosen vessel” received his signature. (Identity)

A CHOSEN VESSEL

Esther underwent six months of preparation with Myrrh; an oil used to soften skin, purify the systems and heal abrasions. She was not born a Queen, and her very being was being transformed to meet the standards of her life’s purpose.         Costly perfumes were made from saffron, roses, and galbanum. These fragrances, all native to Persia, are believed to be the first perfumes and were used in Esther’s 6 months of beautification.. Picture this; Esther is ready to apply roses (unity, love and simplicity), lavender (dignity, and excellence), frankincense (purity and worship), rosemary (remembrance), cinnamon (uprightness), saffron (mirth, great joy), galbanum (the choicest portion) and other spices, herbs, and floral essences to herself. Everything that was presented to her was part of her preparation for the weight of the crown she was destined to wear. She was presenting her body as a living sacrifice, submitting to the process that would lead her into the king’s wealth, honor, splendor, riches, influence and power. There was no distinctive design given to the chosen vessel. Its strength and beauty were known to the potter alone. The chosen vessel was the best work the potter could produce. It was handled differently — kept out of view. Esther was undercover …her real name relates to ‘myrtle’ a tree whose leaves only release their fragrance when they are crushed. When Esther was under pressure that is when her true fragrance came forth…I pray that we are prepared and equipped to set our true fragrance free in times of trouble, pressure where the world is heading according to scripture. The potter knows the vessel will never bring him shame no matter where it might go. It’s the best his hands can make. Thus, he alone chooses the vessel. If God singles you out to be a chosen vessel, He will also provide you with a special grace. For, with the calling to be a chosen vessel comes the need for a stricter discipline and a more intense commitment than is required of other vessels. When God forges character, He carves deeply. I have found that God’s intention is to take from our hearts everything that we love more than Him. Everything we trust in, everything that might compete with God, must be chiseled away.

Chosen vessels are available, touchable, and know they are clay.

So, we know we have been chosen and we have answered the call. We have to submit to the preparation and training until the moment that HE says it is complete. These seasons of preparation come several times in a Believer’s life, and relate the next stage of purpose.  That is where the “weighting it out” comes in.

670px-Escape-a-Sinking-Ship-Step-9I Timothy 2:
 3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.
5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. I Timothy 2 :3-5, and
   Like a person engaged in a physical weight training program, the wait that the Lord causes you to pass through is intended to shape you, to make you fit, to prepare you for the life you long to live. The comparisons are enlightening!
 Strength training is a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. In short as a Believer, God’s Weight/Wait system builds your foundation of trust and dependency upon Him. Your self-strength is being crushed. You, like me, might have times where you think, “God, You are making me look foolish”; how will anyone believe this call when it is taking so long?” Two comments: 1. YOU are the one that must believe it, and 2.; like Joseph’s brothers, it may seem foolish to those who do not understand God’s weighty ways. Now back to the physical analogy…
resistance-training-300x271Resistance training is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, mass, and/or endurance.  If you desire to be a Chosen vessel, you must resist some things, and at the same time, you will find that your soul wants to resist the training. You must allow the Lord to stretch you, to apply weight to you in His way and for His timing. The resistance to the pull of your soul and the tension of embracing His rest will strengthen your ability to be dependent upon Him instead of your calling, your gift, or your experience.
Strength training may be described as resistance exercise that builds strength. While physical resistance training does not use weights, it is very active! Nothing passive about trying to run forward while being held back. Selah.   And in Kingdom training, all that resistance is strengthening your trust and conviction of Who God says He is!

 

I Timothy 2: 21 I”f a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. ”   He was reminding Timothy that he was not alone nor what he to rely on his own strength.
Everything about us was made to be a reflection of the one we serve so if we are not reflecting God in our image, manner or actions, it is not because He is not within us, but because we are choosing not to do it.
IF you find yourself in that state, look at the steps a potter takes to restore a vessel:

FOUR-STEP CLEANING PROCESS TO RETURN TO SERVICE

  1. Emptied – nothing can remain inside – honest, hard self-evaluation. It’s still the truth that sets us free.
  2. Scraped with strong brushes and files – produces humility. Let us then learn silence. God’s raking does not need explanation, it needs repentance.
  3. Restoration to fix and re-file the lip – so the vessel can pour correctly. Because much use has widened the vessel’s mouth, the lip must be reshaped. humility; staying yielded.
  4. Fired again – we are again ready for the fresh supply of life-giving water. This is a loving stage. If the vessel is not fired again, the filling would cause it to burst!

I empathize with you if you are in a waiting period. Know that it is NOT passive waiting. You are learning to walk under the weight of His glory and rest in HIS ability nor your own. It’s not about your calling, or how long you’ve been in preparation or conditioning; it IS about you becoming a vessel of honor that carries but does not touch the glory of God. I have posted below  the song that started this process today. Note that there is a time of spontaneous worship- the Body is pouring out heartfelt worship in many languages, with many races represented. It is one of the most beautiful experiences my husband and I have had. It sounds like the rushing of a great many waters! It sounds like Heaven!

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