A Season of Dying
November 6, 2016
(Martha) I’ve been looking around at us and at me, and I realize that we’re in a season. “There’s a season to everything.” And our season is a season of dying. And I believe all of us are in some process of dying. Even if it’s dying into something wonderful, it’s still dying. Derek Prince has a book that they put out recently, and he says in it that unless the cross is in your message, your message is ineffective. I think I could look back, and probably you all could too here, that every person that has dropped off the train of His will, has done so because they wouldn’t die. And dying is the test of love, and God’s going to give us the most extreme tests of dying, so that we can see how much we don’t love Him or how much we do. All the test is in the willingness to die. And this scripture, Luke 9:23, I’m going to read it in the Amplified. Well, I’ll read it first in the New American. “He was saying to them all,” that means us too, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” And the Amplified says, “He said to all if any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself.” And this is the explanation of deny. And I looked it up to make sure it was this bad, and it really is. It’s accurate. “Let him deny himself, [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself.]” It’s not giving up something. It’s giving up yourself, isn’t it? “And take up his cross daily and follow Me, [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and if need be in dying also.]” So the real deal is when God wants you to give Him something (or He’s already taken it), will you let go? Will you let yourself die to that? And recently I was praying for someone close by, and John’s raising his hand. And the Lord said, “Galatians 6:14, specifically, and I didn’t know what that was. I think forever now I will know. What is this? The New Living says, “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Boast. “Because of that cross my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” (all laughing!) I didn’t read it to John in that version, but that’s, I think that’s real interesting, because the world’s interest in us dies. The world is under Satan. Christ has won it back, but it’s still a system under Satan. And we have to die to the world, and the world… I remember Jacquelyn called me one day years ago and said, “I’m so mad. I’m crucified to the world and the world’s crucified to me.” She was losing it, and she knew it was God. So, it’s… Dying is dying to the world, but mostly to self, and it’s a radical ignoring of your self. And most of the time if people hit the cross, they refuse to die. And so, you can’t follow Him unless you’re willing to die.
(J) You know the thing I’m seeing, I have something in particular that’s bringing this to the surface. But I’m seeing where Job went through what he went through with the pain and the suffering, and where Satan sifted him, and how he had the boils, and he had the death and he had the destruction, and he had… Ok, it’s one thing to die to yourself to more common things. You know, not being able to go somewhere or do something, or not be able to…whatever. I don’t know. But it’s a totally different deal when it’s something that affects you physically. I don’t know about any of you all, but if I’m in pain or suffering or sickness, it’s really hard not to number one, to either get into fear; number two in anger, frustration or depression, because it’s so consuming. And I personally don’t understand how Job did it other than the total grace of God. Because to, you know, to be in the position that he was in, that his body was literally on fire with everything, and to even have his wife say, “Why don’t you just curse God and die,” you know, because it was so bad. The dying to yourself when it comes to something so consuming as pain and suffering and illness is just shocking to me. I really, I don’t understand how Job did it.
(Martha) You made me remember Joseph. He’s just a major figure in the Old Testament to me, because his cross… He represents Christ figure, Christ’s figure. He also represents the human journey. Nobody can top his suffering except Job. He had injustice long years. And somewhere in it he not only forgave, but he died to himself. And when you die to yourself, you find the purpose for your suffering. And most people never get to that much surrender to see what God is after. What God was after was causing him to die to himself, die to his rights, his freedoms, his right to justice, to his home and family. He died to everything. And it was so that he could be trusted to save two countries, his own, Israel, and Egypt, and to be a figure in the Old Testament; the story that represents how to suffer, how to lose, deny yourself and what God’s purpose in it is. God has a reward (such a reward!) if you’ll die for Him, if you’ll die to self and die to your rights. I remember one time, I was telling someone about this, this morning, and she was quite shocked. I was telling about going into a relationship that God called me to, and some people from a long way away knew about it, and they called John and said, “This person is real evil. Does Martha know?” And John said, “Yeah, she knows. She’s just called.” Without knowing this person really or ever meeting this person, Julia called me one day, my daughter, said, “Mom, there’s something strange here. This person could kill you.” And I said, “I know.” She said, “You need to get out of it.” And I said, “I can’t, I can’t.” Ultimately it was proven true, but not so much against me. But I was kind of afraid, but when … God’s going to take us no telling where in the future, but He trains you to die to yourself and your safety one step at the time. He doesn’t throw you in the lion’s den. Daniel had had plenty of experience before he was thrown in there, could have the faith for it. But God is going… It’s daily. This thing says daily. “Take up your cross daily.” Whatever it is that’s crossing you up is from God for a fantastic, unbelievable, unimaginable purpose. Mostly it’s to rule and reign. Because if you can rule and reign through your own suffering and injustice, through your own enemies, then God will give you nations. I’m not particularly ambitious to rule and reign, but I do want to be with Him.
(J) Well, as far as an example of what I was saying is, the injustice of somebody persecuting you is one thing, but when illness is inflicting, it’s just to me, when you have physical illness, it’s, somehow it’s greater because the enemy’s within. You know, it’s like, ok, you know, not that it’s… It’s just different, but it just feels more intense, because when I’m being persecuted by someone, and they’re, you know, mocking me or they’re whatever, that’s still external. It hurts. And you know, Joseph’s being accused falsely, that was external. But it’s still painful, but it was outside of him. Job’s sickness was inside of him. It was the enemy within that he couldn’t escape, and that you really have no power over. And to have to die to that, that’s the most vulnerable position before God, where you’re saying, “I can’t do anything about this,” you know. “I can try, but I can’t really do anything about this, God, You have to move.” And that vulnerability of dealing with the enemy within, the suffering of that cross, you know…
(Martha) And Job’s story tells us that he couldn’t have that sickness apart from God’s permission, so it’s really a blow from God Himself, and it’s very intimate. When you have help you can go through a lot of suffering, but when your health is attacked, it is a different suffering. But the phenomenal thing is that you have to find out why, you know, why that’s happening, why you’re in that. And imagine, sometimes it’s to the glory of God.