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The Message for a Church: Rev 3:17

When Scripture tells us that God uses the foolish things to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27), it is the truth. Backstory... It was early 2021 and I walked into my local church excited for a joint service with another church only to get through a short portion of worship before I began to feel odd. The physical sensation was heavy. It was so overwhelming that I left the sanctuary and walked to the fellowship hall alone to pray. As I prayed, I heard the Lord say to me: "band-aid". Now, I had no idea what this meant. God later gave me the understanding that there were things that this visiting church was dealing with but instead of addressing the issues, they were using band-aids to remedy the situations. Essentially, temporary fixes as opposed to lasting solutions. I also sensed that there was an affair/ infidelity in leadership. This all shocked me because they seemed so "perfect." If you ask me now, maybe I was slightly jealous of how seemingly organized and community oriented they "seemed." Our church had gossipers to say the least so that kind of closeness seemed foreign. Our church had experienced some trauma resulting in huge changes. We also were certainly not as organized as they were. Lesson learned: the grass is never greener—don't compare or complain. I am sharing my envy/jealousy honestly because I am not the only one who's been here. Maybe you'll also feel encouraged to be authentic so God can heal you like He's been healing me. Carrying on... During my times of prayer for this church following the "band-aid" incident, literally February 22, 2021(I wrote this down in my journal) I was having an internal conversation with the Lord. I was thinking about this church's external presentation while God in His omniscience highlighted for me that though they "seemed rich" (my words) they were "poor in spirit" (His Words to my heart). I knew I'd heard these Words before so I immediately Googled them before I forgot. I was taken to Revelation 3:1, where Jesus says to the Laodicean Church: "You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." From the context of this verse, I knew the visiting church was in trouble, but there was hope. With God, there is always hope. In verses 18-22, the Lord addresses how He intends to counsel the church of Laodicea to move from the consequences of Revelation 3:17 to "victorious" in verse 21. This was His heart for this "seemingly perfect" church. I sensed that God wanted to answer their prayers but that His hands were tied. They had to first come to an awareness of where they were falling short, and repent. God is such a good God, y'all. He really does reveal to heal. All while this was taking place between God and I, I confided in my pastor and we prayed. I was told details I had no knowledge of prior that made what God was telling me make perfect sense. What was on the table was a future where we would possibly be one church as opposed to two separate churches. It was crucial to stick close to God regarding all of this. You see, it's one thing when God reveals things to me, it's another when He wants what He has told me, shared. There was an intense stirring in my spirit. I knew the Lord was preparing me to address these matters with the pastor of the visiting church. I asked my pastor how to go about this and I was advised to pray. So, I continued to pray to God regarding the how. The Lord said one word to me: "order." I wanted to know what this would look like. Things were "heaven radio silent" from them on. My pastor suggested that I share with our church board what God had been sharing with me. Not everyone agreed that these things should be addressed. I did not want to address them either because of the intense backlash from board members who were not privy to what God had been sharing with me over the months leading up to this moment. I was fought up until I shared with this pastor what the Lord was giving me to share. A member abstained from the meeting because they disagreed and wanted me to stay quiet. I explained that at the expense of being in trouble with God Almighty, I could not remain quiet. Ultimately, it was the pastor of the church, our pastor, and other board members who were present the day I shared what God had to say to this pastor regarding matters of their church. I shared the message and I shared the hope God had for them. When I shared that there was infidelity in leadership, the pastor assumed that God was referring to them and made a joke (nervous habit I suppose). Yes, there was infidelity in leadership, but it was not the pastor. God revealed to me who. This specific detail I shared with my board who then advised me not to share it. If God wanted me to share it, I would have had to. I sensed that this was a learning experience as well with the Lord. In my possession was access to information that if not properly handled, could have hurt many people. That is never God's goal and so it was not ours (the board at my church including myself). This is what God meant by "order." I prefaced with 1 Corinthians 1:27 because after sharing all of this, the visiting pastor asked me one question. Essentially, how long things like this had been happening to me. "Since 2019" I responded. I recall hearing God for the first time in 2018, but in 2019, God and I were having conversations. I'd been walking with Jesus just two years when the Lord led me to address someone who'd been in this position of leadership maybe longer than I'd been alive at the time. I am humbled typing this. I suspect the visiting didn't believe me. It isn't ever about me anyways, but about God. Seek Him and ask Him if what I share is from Him or not. I pray you do this with everyone. We are to test the spirits (1 John 4: 1-3). As a Reminder... God is God. Not only can He do whatever He wants, but He can also use whomever He chooses as well. We often forget this. I was a nobody, still am to the world, and that is okay. But to God, I was a tool of warning, rebuke, and encouragement. To the God of all creation, I am special—as are you in the area to where He has called you. Why am I sharing this now? This church instantly came to my heart last week. I began to pray and hope for them that they corrected what through me, God had addressed. Today as I am beginning my day and listening to a sermon, this story came rushing back to my mind and heart. I knew it was time to share it. If sensing something that heavily isn't confirmation enough, when I was going over my notes from my last year's notebook to make sure I wasn't adding or missing anything God would want me to share in this post, I flipped through and found the page. The date was February 22, 2021. Tomorrow marks one year since this note was jotted down in my journal. No one can make that kind of precise timing “coincidence” up. I really hope the pastor sought God even if what came from my mouth sounded untrustworthy or even crazy. The Lesson... We often idolize mankind and titles so much that we can miss God. As I’ve previously addressed, He can use anyone. He used a donkey (Numbers 22: 28-30). Had the people stopped crying out God's praises, Jesus said, "...the stones will cry out (Luke 19:40)." What are the chances that approaching a year, God reminds me of this event? With fear and trembling, Luke 13:6-9 comes to mind:

⁶ Then He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. ⁷ So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ⁸ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. ⁹If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” Friends, God is not only fair, He is also merciful and compassionate. I pray the visiting church has repented. Whenever you come across this post, it will be on time for your life and situation. When you realize it applies to your relationship or lack thereof with Jesus or your church, repent, intercede, and get back on track with God. Moses interceded for the children of Israel. Daniel repented on behalf of the children of Israel while in Babylonian captivity. There are more examples. I believe our earnest prayers to Papa God's ears are so precious and POWERFUL. Ezekiel 33:10-11 ESV ¹⁰ “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ ¹¹ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

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