Seriously! I’m like, “okay God, what are you trying to tell me here”? Lately I have been either hearing of or reading about the subject of “bitterness.” And so, I’ve asked Him to search my heart; I have prayed and processed my recent history. I have thought through those things which have caused me pain due to the actions of others. And it is true that their actions hurt, but the pain I bore was a pain not my own. I knew it was from the Lord. That it pained Him and broke His heart. I was burdened because I knew these brothers and sisters were not obeying God, but obeying men and their ideas, and there was nothing I could do about it except sorrow, pray, and speak. I was burdened because they were blinded by man, and their blindness was going to affect many people eventually. But they refused to hear; they refused to listen. They closed their ears to the message. And though I did sorrow, and I did not understand at the time. Later, I saw I had a message to give to the Church. I saw that the Lord had given me understanding and discernment and a message regarding the condition of the Church and of that which needed attention. And to declare that which must be uprooted, torn-down, built-up, and planted within the Body-of-Christ. And what came out of that experience? This ministry. So, am I bitter? I don’t believe so. But if I am bitter, it is because I feel bound to a message which is for the Body-of-Christ, but it simply is an unpopular message and some, or many? seem to not welcome it because it causes them to question their Christianity. At least, as far as I am able to discern through the Word of God and prayer, that that is the case. Now, what I mean by “blindness” within the Body-of-Christ is that slowly, over an extended period, ideas from the culture have crept in which have brought “cloudiness” or “distraction” to the Church as a whole, affecting the message of the gospel, and affecting the individual’s faith, and the way that faith is lived out.
So, why am I hearing about “bitterness” while listening to Bible podcasts or during reading the Bible? I wonder if my message is being received as a “bitter” message by many in the Church? It is very true that I rarely talk about “grace and love.” But do you know why? The ONLY reason is because it is LOUDLY proclaimed and has been for many years now. I see and hear the message of “grace and love” continually … but without context. Grace and love are ABSOLUTES in the Kingdom of Christ. They are there for the taking! But I am ABSOLUTLY convinced they are taken for granted … and sometimes taken in vain. And in our present hour I sense a need to voice that which has equal value but is not heard or understood enough, and that is God’s holiness and truth. Regarding things which were going to soon be attacking the Church is Ephesus, the apostle Paul says, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all [Paul is referencing here from God’s warning to “sound the alarm” to the people in the Book of Ezekiel], for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God…. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears” (Acts 20:26-31, emphasis mine).
Now, here are some verses I found during my quest to understand what the Lord may be trying to tell me as to why lately I have been hearing or reading about “bitterness”:
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isa. 5:20-21).
“Your evil will chastise you, and your apostasy will reprove you. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the LORD your God; the fear of me is not in you, declares the Lord GOD of hosts” (Jer. 2:19).
‘“As for you, son of man, groan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes. And when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that it is coming” (Ezek. 21:6-7).
“And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings”’ (Rev. 10:9-11).All scripture emphasis mine.
Finally, Jesus and the Apostles repeatedly warn the Body-of-Christ to “stay awake and stay alert” in the last days. I am convinced that the message which I preach is a necessary message at this hour. I am not at all alone in this message, many are voicing it. However, the grace of God in the cross of Christ and the power of the resurrection and the hope of glory are the foundation of every message that I bring which is a call for “repentance, rebuke, course correction, or surrender” for the Body-of-Christ.
So, my message is a prophetic message, and my prayer is many will have “ears to hear.”