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    Ezekiel 22:30-31 (NKJV)
    So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it;
    but I found no one. 31 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.
    Someone had prayed for you and it was because of that prayer that saved you from Satan's hand as it was his desire to take your life. As a result of this prayer of faith, you were drawn to the truth and you asked Jesus into your life. A hedge of protection was set around your life all because of at least one person's prayer.

    His grace is so intricate and so wonderful, the scriptures teach us that it will take untold ages for God to show us His grace and kindness He had done for us.
    Ephesians 2:7-8 (NKJV)
    that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
    When we first accepted Jesus into our lives, this was the beginning of our journey. This was when we chose to take the narrow path instead of the broad that leads to destruction. Once on this narrow path, we encounter other narrow and broad path choices, only now the choice is not life or death but obedience or disobedience as He confronts us with those issues of life that determine if our commitment to Him is true.

    Just as Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness, this did not mean there was not to be any further testing of his faith. That first encounter with God drew him away from Ur of the Chaldeans to seek a country, a land he did not know to receive a promise that was yet to be realized. For God had promised that He would make of Abraham a great nation with descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands of the sea. So Abraham left the land of his fathers to begin a journey that would end in the fulfillment of this promise.

    This is a picture of when we left the land of our father, the god of this world, by accepting the promise of eternal life from our new Father through Jesus Christ. Just as in Abraham, a promise was made but the promise had not yet been realized. It would take a journey down a narrow path for us to be led by His Spirit where we would encounter further tests of our faith to strengthen our faith. For your faith, being much more precious than gold, must be tested and with each test, dross would be caused to rise to the surface so as to be removed. Gold, for it to be purified, must be placed over intense heat and pressure to cause all impurities to be either burned away or rise to the surface. Gold, being the heaviest of metals, when brought under intense heat, will cause all other metals that are mixed in it, to melt too and the lighter metals would rise to the surface. This "dross" would then be removed to make the gold pure.

    For us, this process of testing and trials of our faith is what purifies us and cleanses us of all our impurities. Although we were forgiven of our sin nature when we came to Christ, there yet remained in us, the impurities that needed to be removed. This can be seen in the story of Lazarus. He was called out of death by name and so were we. When Jesus called, sin which results in death was removed. That which killed Lazarus was taken away but when Lazarus came out of the tomb, he was still bound by his grave clothes.

    These were those things which bound him in death and they carried in them the stench of death. He had been dead for 4 days and his body came into decay. With this, his body's fluids erupted from within, seeping through the skin and soaked the cloth he was wrapped in. When Lazarus emerged alive from the tomb, he still carried with him the smell of death soaked into those grave clothes. These grave clothes were wrapped around his limbs, legs and arms, with a cloth over his head.

    There remained one last thing that had to be done. Although he was alive, freed from death, he was not completely free. So Jesus commanded that he be loosed and let go. Those nearest him were charged with the removal of those grave clothes. Since he had no other clothes underneath these grave clothes, only sufficient grave clothes were removed to free his legs and arms with the cloth over his head removed. The rest would he himself remove once he returned home. Once these last vestiges of his grave clothes were removed, it was necessary he wash his body to remove the last of the smell of death.

    It is the same for us all. Those things (grave clothes) that bound us in death and now continue to bind us in life, must be removed but we are unable to do this ourselves. Once we came into life, other believers were there to begin to remove these grave clothes. It was then we were taught the word of God about forgiving. These areas of unforgiveness, are that which bind up our legs and our arms from being able to receive the life of the Spirit of God so that we may have our locomotion in this new life. Once our arms and legs and the cloth over our eyes have been removed, the next step in this new life is our responsibility and Holy Spirit's to lead us to rest (home) where the rest of these bondages are removed. These are the judgments and vows we have made in our youth and in our lives before Christ that set what manner of persons we were to become.

    As in the forks in the road after our salvation metaphor, these are the new choices we must encounter to prove our faith. As each judgment or vow is encountered, we are given the choice to yield to God's cleansing, His way, or we resist because we do not wish to face the pain associated with this encounter. This pain comes from the wounds that have not yet healed in our lives caused by the anger and hatred of those who knew not Christ and sought to impose their own will in our lives. For example, if a child grew up with one alcoholic parent that would lose control and became violent to cause harm to their spouse and or their children, the children would not know God's command to forgive and not to judge. So the child judges that parent and does not forgive the harm he or she caused. As a result of this unforgiveness and judgment, that child's mind becomes set on how they are unable to trust their parent in those areas he or she was hurt and makes a promise to themselves that when they are adults, they would not allow such a thing to happen. It is this process in which mindsets are developed which shape the attitudes of that child as they grow into adulthood. The only thing that can change this is they chose to forgive their parent and break their judgments and reject their vows.

    Now when Holy Spirit brings these various issues up in our lives, we are challenged to release our hurt, our anger, our hate but in order to do this, we are reminded of that event and the pain of this remembrance returns. It is this pain we must encounter, this is the dross that is needed to be removed. The dross of unforgiveness...the dross of judgment....the dross of vows. For our vows, whether good or bad, is considered sin for it pits our will against God's will (Leviticus 5:4). Once we yield to this purging, the pain will cease and never have to be encountered again as that wound will have been healed.

    Each encounter along this narrow path we are walking requires that we let go of our pain and release completely those who are the cause of that pain. This is the dying to ourselves the scripture is teaching. To let go of the wrath, the vengeance, the pride, the anger and let go of the fruits of the flesh and through the washing of the water of God's word, we are exchanging our grave clothes, our unrighteousness and are putting on His righteousness.

    When we first came to Christ, he covered our filthy rags with His cloak of righteousness which gave us entrance into the Father's kingdom. So when the Father looks upon us, He sees only the blood of the cross and pass us over from judgment. The children of Israel were required to take the blood of a lamb that was slain to put upon the doorposts of their house so that when the angel of judgment, this angel of death came to kill the first born of Egypt, that blood would indicate that he was not to enter that house because this was the blood of their new covenant with God.

    Consider this for a moment. This blood protected all those who were inside that house but not everyone inside were descendants of Abraham. Many Egyptians feared the God of the Hebrews and were allowed to come under the cover of this blood. Many of the children of Israel believed enough to obey to put this blood on their houses but doubted this God of whom they still did not know. Not until they were delivered from Egypt were they to be brought to the mountain of God where they heard the voice of their God for themselves. It was there, after hearing His voice, they chose to not let God speak to them again fearing they would die.

    For God's voice, the rhema of God, cuts to the heart and reveals the thoughts and intents of the heart. When God spoke, they saw the selfish nature of their hearts and chose to keep their selfishness and not to yield to God's rule and judgment of their sin. Only the Levites chose the Lord that day and so they were chosen to become the priesthood God intended for the entire nation.

    Similarly, when we came to Christ, our own deliverer as Moses was, we did not know God. Not until we accepted His blood sacrifice would we apply His blood over our own house, that house of our lives in which we live and God's judgment of death would pass over us. Later, we would be brought to that place of God's choosing where He would reveal Himself to us and in so doing, we would be encountered with the selfish nature of our sin and see the unselfish nature of Christ, the very heart of God. These are the moments where we learned what is pleasing and displeasing to God. It is then when His law was made known to our hearts for its is by the law we learn what is sin. It is then we decide whether we are willing to be led down this new path of life and with each encounter with that sinful nature, where we had committed ourselves from the beginning to follow Him, we are faced with that decision we had made and whether we are truly willing to lay our lives down when we see the cost of that commitment.

    It is here many have difficulty and eventually turn away and follow Him no more. Just as when Jesus proclaimed to those who followed Him they are to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, many followed Him no longer for the saying was too hard for them. Only the twelve remained and Jesus turned to them and asked, "Will you leave also?" It was Peter who spoke for them and said they had nowhere to go, for He alone had the words of eternal life and recognized Jesus was that Son of God, that perfect Lamb of God. The saying Jesus spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood was an encounter with the Living Word of God and it revealed to all there, the contents of their own hearts. Those who refuse the light do not come to the light because it reveals the motives of their heart and because they do not want their sin exposed, they turned away.

    Each encounter along this narrow path, God is leading us to prove us and test us, to see if we will obey Him or not. It is these encounters where we affirm or confirm our intent to follow Him wherever He will lead us. When these tests are ended, He promises us a place of rest...a place of safety...a place of peace...where we will never have to pass that way again.

    It is that place where we can rest and be strengthened in His glorious presence. It is that place of unencumbered worship where all that distracts and hinders has been removed and we can truly worship in Spirit and Truth. It is while there that all our tears are wiped away and the time of trial and testing is finished. It is in this place, that we are told by the unbelieving heart does not exist for us until we die and enter heaven. It is while in this place of rest and joy that all the remembrance of the flesh is forgotten. It is from this place of sonship and approval from our heavenly Father that we are taken by His hand to show us that call and election He has died to deliver us to. It is from here He takes us by the hand to the mountain of our God and shows to us the vastness of His kingdom and our place in it.

    So to recap, Paul teaches that we must crucify the flesh and the way this is done is to allow Holy Spirit to guide us along this new path. It is as we are confronted along the way that we must confirm our initial commitment to lay down our lives. It is this laying down of our lives and our choice to lay it down and to establish the attitude of heart we must have to continue to overcome the flesh and overcome the world so we can say as Jesus said, the god of this world came and found nothing in Me.

    When we come to that place in our lives where we feel stuck but feel there is more and do not know how to get there, this is the place and the time of God's choosing to see whether we love Him more than these, even His promises to us. This is the life we are to lay down at this time. For that is what we have traveled this far to receive, His promises. Are we willing to lay even His promises down in our life to have Him and Him only. Understand, the promise of eternal life is not God Himself. It is but the gift He is giving us. It is His desire that nothing, not even His promise, becomes more important than He is. This is why Abraham was required to sacrifice his only son. Does Abraham love God more than God's promise to Him?

    Abraham believed God could raise his son from the dead, according to Hebrews and he willingly began to sacrifice his son, his only heir, his only promise. Then, God stopped him and provided for him a sacrifice. Are we willing to do the same? Do we love God whether He gives us the promise or not? Are we willing to give up all, even our hopes, our dreams, those we love and the promise He made? Is our love truly for Him or only for what He can give to us. This is the most crucial of tests. This is the test that determines whether we go on with Him or we stay where we are.

    Even in our own lives, we desire the same. Are we to accept a love from others that exists only on the basis of what they are able to get from us or do we want to be loved for ourselves and not our attributes, not our abilities. I tell you, love is not love if it is limited to what can be received or attained through that relationship. We desire to have someone love us because they love to be with us. They love us as we are. They love us for WHO we are and not for what they can get out of us to satisfy their own desires without considering our desires. We do not want nor desire a selfish love but what we truly seek is a love that is selfless, that gives without requiring anything back to qualify for that love.

    God is love and He created mankind in order to share with us in all that He WHO He is. He created us and took that risk in giving us a free will in the hope we would choose to love Him in return, not out of obligation, not for how He might provide for us, not how He can feed us or heal us or deliver us but we were created with that free will in the hope we would see Him and the greatness of His love for us that we would fall in love with Him for Who He is. For it is in this, in this perfect love, that we have all things as well but not because what He can do for us is what is most important to us.

    So let us choose today. Do we follow Him for what He can provide for us, for what He can give us, for how we can be blessed in this life and the life to come...or do we follow Him because we Love Him for Who He IS? Where we go from this point is determined where our choices lie. It is our choice after all. It was His risk and our gain if we choose Him above all our gain. Choose well!

    Jerry Sundberg

    Soon after I received the Lord in 1976, I started receiving prophetic visions and warnings about the future of the church and the United States. I share my visions on my Hidden Manna websites and offer free of charge my two ebooks entitled “Hidden Manna” and “Hidden Manna 2”.

    Website: Hidden Manna

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    Item Reviewed: WHICH WILL WE CHOOSE? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jerry Sundberg
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