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Having personally declared war on Satan (which is another story), he used corruption of church to try and destroy me.
With scripture quoted every which way but up, in order to validate positions of authority and their agenda, I began searching to 'know' truth. And, having declared this war on Satan, even more so, absolute understanding of God's intent was required (on every given subject matter) ~ so my walk and service would always be under umbrella of His protection.
Thus, more they persecuted, more I ran to God. Then, as I searched and researched, more I learned, and stronger I grew ... 'til my faith became my own. Only, through this, God didn't make it any easier, as He kept gifting me for more areas of service thought only men could do.
Then, having once shared of incredible growth and learning I had discovered with my Heavenly Father, that had been shown to and also rejected by church, dad said if I had been a male having brought this to church leadership, they would have set me up as some awesome teacher/leader, to say least, to be highly respected and learned from.
Dad was silent for a moment, then shook his head and said this never would have happened had I been male. And to this day, it brings tears to my eyes to remember my dearly departed daddy for this ... as a reminder, when no one in whole world did, apart from God, my daddy believed in me.
None-the-less, life became harder, still, mostly because legalists don't stop until 'til they destroy body; which turned out to be a good thing because death finally puts an end to curse of law.
So, yes, I, too, know mourning of being separated from one's mother's womb, rejected by church and family (all I had ever known, loved, or placed any additional faith in) in order to follow a higher call. And though most are not visible except to spiritual eye, my body bears marks of having given God all.
The signs of times are in God's children. Isaiah 8:18 But if your wounds were not to that degree or you thought such as a wheel chair had separated you from your church, thank God you were so spared!
The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that righteous is taken away from evil to come.
Like most of you who are reading this, I am among Persecuted Church, longing to be 'welcomed' home ... also knowing that, once truly welcomed, captives will finally be free; including you and me.
However, I would not change fellowship that came in knowing sufferings of Christ. I would not change having discovered God to such a degree He is my life. I would not change having overcome battles that were intended to keep me from knowing whose I am, who I am, and purpose of my creation. And, I would not have changed my time here with you, all my fellow brethren (wounded and, if there be any, whole); my church and my family.
We built websites. We planted church communities. We developed, grew, and sometimes transformed ministries. We reached out to world. We valued our aged. We welcomed handicapped into service, again. We embraced people from around world and welcomed whatever each had to offer; only requirement being having a heart for it. We opened doors; providing opportunity, skills, tools, and labor.
We proved Christians can serve in unity, regardless of doctrine, for a greater good. We lifted fallen. We mended wounds. We offered unconditional love. We shared truths to help others overcome, too. But mostly importantly, we learned to listen from our heart instead of our eyes or ears. In such, we became heavenly cheerleaders; universal church ... sheltering each other from rudiments of world.
Having way surpassed structural church, we did sooo good! And now, in end times, we are ones most trained for Kingdom building. Matthew 5:10
It is structural church our lost sheep; ones with no shelter or sure foundation. And for all true sob stories we can share (enough to make us all cry were details known), Jesus still thought structural church was worth saving, worth dying for.
We are exhausted beyond reason, for a reason; pulling us away from our universal shelter because our calling isn't finished yet. It is time to rest in God until we're rejuvenated and ready to go again. Only then, we have a new assignment, one we were created for ... to bring God's children home.
If that means returning to hurtful church of our past or learning to love a new one, follow God's leading. And no matter what you see or hear, if it isn't love, it isn't true and you are one most qualified to know difference. 1 Cor. 6:4
It's your turn to be a shelter. Don't accept, receive, or give anything less than love ~ as love is God. Then, when persecution comes, shake dust off your feet and keep going. Only, this time, it won't hurt so much ... because it was your choice.
© 2005 by Joyce C. Lock http://our.homewithgod.com/heavenlyinspirations/
This writing may be used in its entirety, with credits in tact, for non-profit ministering purposes.
Joyce C. Lock is a published author, poet, and columnist. In addition, she founded and maintains the email ministries "Heavenly Inspirations" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HeavenlyInspirations/ and "Share a Smile" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smilesharing/. Joyce's writings encourage us in our relationship with God and each other.