Friday, July 31, 2009

The Coal Vision

While currently in a season of crying out for fresh spiritual fire, I have found myself freshly aware of my terrible depravity. Figures. This morning I was praying Psalms 51 (which I do often) asking God to “purge” my iniquity.

As my prayer became very intense and I began to see myself lying prostrate before the throne. As this imagery became stronger in my mind I actually thought, “sweet I’m going into a vision.” I knew there was God on the throne and he was surrounded by creatures, I wasn’t able to look directly at Him or the creatures but was aware of them. Around me was many diamonds, but they were flat and like the diamond shape on a playing card, lying seemingly prostrate before the throne. ( I believe these may be other people ) As I continued praying “purge my iniquity,” I saw myself lying in a blackness. I started getting depressed seeing that I was in darkness, it seemed. I continued crying out “purge my iniquity,” hoping that maybe an angel would come with a coal and cleanse my lips, like Isaiah’s experience. (Isaiah 6) Instead, I noticed I was actually lying in and on black coals. Coals that were no longer burning. I became more depressed realizing that all these coals were past times in which the Lord had come and mercifully cleansed my sin. At this point I wanted the vision to change badly. I kept trying to force the vision to be different, trying to imagine that an angel did come after all and cleanse my lips again, making me clean, and making all the blackness go away, but I could not change the vision. I just lay there in darkness, on top of and surrounded by coals, circled by my past failures.

So I then began to drift out of the vision, becoming more aware of my surroundings in the natural. I was glad that God had cleansed me so many times, but not satisfied with what I was seeing, nor feeling resolved. After a few minutes, I heard a small voice in my mind say, “My work is complete, I’m going to light that coal on fire.” - Richy Clark

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Emphasis on De-Emphasis

God loves us whether we feel Him or not! He is faithful whether we are aware of His faithfulness or not; but, how healthy is it for a church or ministry to overly emphasize our lack of encounter? This can be similar to making doctrine to justify a lack of healing in our midst. Is it fruitful for a congregation to regularly emphasize and dwell upon our weakness? (albeit somewhat true) To say that we don’t have to shout when we pray, be excited when we worship, or feel emotional about Jesus? Is it healthy to believe we may live our lives without feeling His presence, “as long as we believe we are faithful!”?

If we make it a practice to emphasize what we should not be doing, because certain forms or beliefs are deemed religious or insincere, we risk creating a counter-movement that is equally religious and insincere.

If we make doctrine (written or cultural) based on our lack of spiritual experience or breakthrough, we risk creating an atmosphere of false contentment, where the church is not contending for a greater manifestation of God in their midst.

I have a confession, I want to feel God! I want to be filled continually with His unspeakable joy! I want to weep when He weeps, laugh when he laughs. God is emotional, and so am I. I want to be continually spiritually discontent causing me to cry out for a greater breakthrough for my generation, all the while being completely content in Christ’s sufficiency for me. I will shout in worship, if my heart says shout!

Listen, there truly is a lot of flakey mess in the body of Christ! And I certainly believe churches should be taught to avoid certain practices and excesses. However, we must have an overriding emphasis on who we are in Christ, (the resurrected side of the cross) and help create an atmosphere of faith for greater breakthrough by raising the bar of our spiritual expectancy. As Paul stated, “earnestly desiring spiritual gifts…”

God doesn’t necessarily respond to those who have an excessive amount of self control, but those who have faith!

Yes, He likes us just as we are, and Yes He wants us to contend for more.

- Richy Clark