Part 2: Chapter 3 – Day 7: Sea of Holy Fire

Welcome to Part 2 Chapter 3‘s Day 7 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a poem as a final free will offering of gold, looking expectantly toward the eternal perfection that awaits us in Christ Jesus, as He completes what He has begun in us. She also shares the Scriptures that have inspired and form a part of her poem.

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea. The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths.

1 Kings 7: 23-26 (ESV)
SEA OF HOLY FIRE

From North and South
From East and West
We come
Your Temple raised.

Purified in fires we've met
Refined and tested
Your Living Word
Has proved us Yours.

Not in our outward wiping clean
But in mercy's washing clean
In Your blood shed
And Your Body broken

You led us the old to shed
To know You
In Your death
And resurrection.

Purified of Satan's curse
Washed in a cup of wrath
You bore for us
Our hearts awash in mercy.

We ran the race
In Your jealous flames of love
Your liquid gold now pouring
In incense sweet arising.

Our hardened hearts You broke
To flow in mercy
Your Holy flame in trials thick and fast
All dross destroying.

Made in Your image
Temple
Of Your Holy Spirit
Purposed born

We bear Your Name
To lay down our crowns
At these
Your feet.

Harps are playing
Our hearts
And lips
Are singing:

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
    O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
    O King of the nations!

Who will not fear, O Lord,
    and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
    All nations will come
    and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Revelations 14:3 (ESV)

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
    O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
    O King of the nations!

Who will not fear, O Lord,
    and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
    All nations will come
    and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Revelations 14:2-3 (ESV)

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1: 12 (ESV)

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Day 6: Holy Fear

Welcome to Part 2 Chapter 3‘s Day 6 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing a poem and testimony as a free will offering of gold, declaring the goodness and mercy of God flowing richly in the place of His burning.

Into days of multiplied fear, and multiplied trials, I heard God whispering to my fearful heart to pause and learn more about a proper fear: 

The Fear of God ~~~ The Holiness of God

“He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:9-10 NIV

When my healthcare team prescribed a set of new and intense treatments, I asked many of my friends for special prayer. My body seemed prone to severe side effects whenever I started a new medication regime. But what no one could have foreseen was that not only would I have severe side effects once again, but I would also display severe allergic reactions, and be forced to make an emergency room visit because of those reactions. Even in that place, God was so gracious to preserve and protect me.

But with over 30 medication “failures” under my belt, the questions continued to haunt me, “What is the purpose? Why has God kept asking me to keep going forward? When does too much become TOO MUCH?” 

Instead of giving me an answer, my Lord directed me to remember an old entry and poetry that He had gifted to me several years before. While I may not know the answers, I can see the Lord here in this ground with me. A ground named HOLY, and a ground named FEARSOME, because the Lord of All has given me His presence:

Grounded

grounded
here in this sand
quick sand
it feels

days run
together
when duties
long stilled
echo the halls

changing plans
i follow the
sun
mete out my
moments

seeking a
firmness
wanting a
strength i
lose my clenching

find what was
missing
seek what is
losing
life laid down

LORD of the moment he holds me beneath where ground shifts
i watch him plant seeds in my feet standing ground sand shifting
and life is here blooming watered from well springing up


HOLY GROUND

“’Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’”
Exodus 3:5

and my heart started pounding
when i heard a whisper
calling my ground
holy

What if the very place where the trial looks hardest,
where the ground seems most burnt
is actually the place most holy
in the eyes of the ONE who is changing
my heart?

This poetry came after my husband and I had driven to our favorite prairie park, only to see it desecrated by a recent spring-time “controlled burn.” It certainly was not a pretty sight there. But those controlled, or prescribed burns are so necessary to steward and manage the lands for conservation.  

According to the Wisconsin DNR’s site, “State wildlife officials conduct prescribed burns on public lands throughout Wisconsin in the spring to improve wildlife habitat, control invasive plant species, restore and maintain native plant communities and reduce wildfire potential.”

Did you know that many native grasses and wildflowers develop deep roots that can withstand the high heat of the fires, while the invasive plants are shallow rooted, and give way to the heat?

So, where does that leave my heart when the fires rage inside? Is there a similar growth that might happen after the raging of the fires subside? 

When we revisited our favorite park just a few months later, it was hard to imagine the way that fire birthed life into the worn-out prairie lands. A lush growth of fresh green covered every area that had been burnt over just weeks before.

These burnt-out shifting sand places of our lives become HIS fertile land when we let Him have the final say. 


For those of us who fear the flames, can I offer a prayer?

Dear Lord of the Harvest,

What an Amazing LORD you are! Will you open our eyes to see YOU in the shifting sands and burnt-over ground of our days?

Will you help us to loosen our hold and lift up our fears, to find YOU at work in the fertile soil, the sandy loam of hearts set free? And will you pour the gold of Your Holy Spirit into our hearts, that we would be transformed into YOUR HOLY GROUND.

We bow here, on this very ground, and worship You, our holy and awesome King.

In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Day 3 The Joy and Peace in the Gold

Welcome to Day 3 of Part 2‘s Chapter 3. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of gold – a poem, testimony and prayer – praising Jesus for the joy and peace He births in us through His perfect living Word.

I had a dream several months ago of this large ruler and I was petrified of him, until I got smaller and smaller and entered underneath him. It was almost like I disappeared into him and that then I was no longer afraid of him.

At the time, God was asking me to humble myself and go lower and lower. I did so, following His call, but not understanding what He was up. At every turn the writing education project I had felt His call to begin kept getting smaller and smaller, until what I still had sitting there He asked me to delete.

Now, I realize it was never about the actual project. Jesus was after my obedience and had designed every step along the way to grow me in my trust of Him and to refine me to look more like Him. Through it all He was teaching me to delight in His Voice, to look to the unseen and to rejoice in His fatherly desire to see me learn and grow in His perfecting Word.

It was about allowing Him to shape my character. He taught me so much about laying down my own expectations for His. He shut the doors I thought He would open, only to open doors that required me to stoop lower and lower to serve others in their need, but also to allow Him to refresh and replenish me.

For, as I listened for His Word to me, He taught me so much about setting and keeping boundaries that preserved His rest in my life. He enabled me to come away with Him between all the tasks and to continue loving my children and husband well. And where I disobeyed His gentle call to rest, He was quick to rebuke me and lead me to repentance, showing me why His safe boundaries are always best. Through it all, He showed me parts of my character He desires to continue refining to make me more like Him. I learnt so much.


At the time, I saw the ruler as those I had to set my project before to find financial support. Now, I realize that ruler is Jesus and that He worked through everyone on my path, continually inviting me to become smaller and smaller. As I humbled myself, again and again beneath God’s mighty hand, I became less and less fearful. I grew in my confidence of His Word to me.

Suddenly, the opinions of those around me mattered little. Not just because I was bathing myself in God’s Word to me, but because God was opening my eyes to the beauty of His freeing truth. The path He set for me lifted off burdens at every turn that I could never have lifted off myself.

I began to obey my Jesus, no longer to do the “right” thing, but because I loved and trusted Him above all else. I witnessed and rejoiced in His loving protection, direction and refining of me and others, every step I took.

It was such an amazing experience. So sheltered in His love, after all His recent pruning, I found the lies I once clung to, gliding off me. The truth of God’s Word surrounded me at every turn, uplifting me and carrying me forward.

Now, I can also look back at my past with new eyes. For the past seven years, since God brought this little lost sheep home, He continually asked me to surrender one thing and one person after another into His hands: some physically and some spiritually and some both. It has been an incredibly painful and gruelling process, but one that I now see is reaping such fruit. Our God’s Word is truly gold – true and trustworthy:

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Hebrews 12:11 KJV

A few weeks ago, I penned a poem to express this journey God has taken me on. As you read it, I pray you too recognize the fruit of peace the LORD is reaping in your own life and heart through all the painful surrenders He has walked you through also:

Peace

Caught
Between two w/Words
The religion
I know

And the Son
Of God
I hear
Beckoning.

I wrestle
With the Alpha
And Omega
Who asks me
To surrender

The letter of the Law
I know
For the Living Word's
Searching
And knowing.

But what can I do
But open the door
To my Lord's knocking
To sup with Him?

Where can I go
But to the only One
Who has the Word
Of life?

So I surrender
My known
To be known
Fully and wholly

By the only
True God
Who stills
My heart
To know

The world
And all who dwell
Therein are
His.

I yield
The cup of suffering
To my lips now take
And drink

In communion
The Living Word
To my Father
In thanksgiving lifting

I break
The bread
And take
Eat.

I fill my heart
With the
Law fulfilled
Who calls for me

To join Him
In each and every
Death that's
Dying.

To take the hand
Of the sovereign God
Who walks me
To the tomb
To show me what
He already sees:

"Unwrap him now
And let him loose"
I hear my Savior
Calling.

His work
Of surrender
Just invites me
Into

More.

More JOY
Before me laid
Than I could ever
Think of, ask for
Or imagine.

For, Christ's blood
Was shed
For this:

To reconcile
All things to Him
Whether on earth
Or heaven

To make

Peace.

Now, rather than seeing these surrenders as my shame to carry and as proof that I failed, I see them as God’s gift to me and proof of His Word – His gold – growing and flourishing in me. For, all along, God was lifting one burden after another off of my shoulders to shower me in His life-giving grace.

What He has gifted me through it all reminds me so much of John the Baptist’s Words in John 3:29-30, ESV:

The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom stands and listens for him, and is overjoyed to hear the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Now, I see that all that decreasing Christ brings through each surrender is in fact what brings us such peace. For through each dying to self, we come to know how deeply our Abba Father knows us and loves us.

Every trauma trigger shaking my body has only invited me into a deeper and deeper resting in my God’s golden Word to me. I now see how my precious Jesus has been ever increasing in me, through my every decreasing. And oh the joy that brings me now, as I look back with cleansed eyes. Praise Him!

Will you join me as I end today’s free will offering of gold in prayer?

Precious Father, oh how we thank and praise You for the gold of Your Word. We thank You for choosing imperfect and weak vessels like us to display Your glory and grace to this yearning world.

We thank You that You are laboring in such love and devotion through Your Son to refine us to make us look more and more like You. Thank You that even when the path You set for us doesn’t make any sense, we can trust Your perfect will and Your desire to grow us and bless us.

Forgive us, where we have looked to the seen and bemoaned our lack or the closing doors. Forgive us, where we have based our identity on anything other than You. Father, thank You for loving us enough to withhold things, people and communities from us that You know will destroy the beauty of Your Son in us.

Thank You that You withhold no good thing from those who are upright, who walk in You. Father, open our eyes to see what You see: the beauty and perfection of Your Word to us and the healing it is bringing to our hearts. Oh LORD how we long to decrease that YOU may increase in and through us. Have Your Way in us!

Thank You for inviting us to commune with You through each setting apart. Thank You for silencing the enemy’s accusations through each closing door, so that we can hear Your Voice more clearly than ever before. Thank You for changing both our minds and our direction, for blotting out all our sins that we may now bathe in the refreshing and healing waters of Your living Word and Presence with us.

In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen.

Come let us glorify our God:

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Day 2: Heaven’s Glory

Welcome to Chapter 3‘s Day 2 of Part 2 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing a poem, story and prayer as a free will offering of gold, in praise of God’s precious presence with us and His heavenly touch.

How Long, Oh Lord?
The pain wraps around me
And I am felled
Like a tree toppled, thudding
As it drops to the ground.

The questions swirl
Heavenward, in the morning
Dew, light swimming
Around my foggy eyes
As they narrow and shut.

“Open your eyes.”

The order comes at me
Like a voice from
The sky, and I scrunch
The sweat off my face
As I try to gaze out.

While the pain throbs
I see what had lain
Hidden before me:
Sparkles gathered on
Every blade of grass
And each leaf tip.

Colors shimmering
White and bright, twinkle
From the warm sun’s
Beckoning to waken
The early morning life.

“But one drop.”

Voice urges again
To see with new eyes
A Drop of Glory catches
The sun but won’t let go
And reflects a Golden ray.

My pain remains
Underneath a covering
So sweet and exploding with
Glory in my heart
As I have touched Heaven.

How Long, Oh Lord?
While the Glory remains
Your Golden Glory rests
Inside my heart, Heaven
Holds me here.

And I am loved.

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Madgalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’” Mark 16:1-3

The days ahead can seem impossible for those who live in a state of constant pain. But when a sudden flare-up drops the pain to a whole new level, a flood of questions about the future can easily overwhelm even the strongest survivor.  It is in those kinds of moments that I have had to face my own weakness head-on.  I thought I knew how to lean into God’s grace, but when a new level of pain knocked me flat, I realized that I had simply grown accustomed to carrying the pain myself.  “How will I function? How will I survive the days ahead?” 

Crushed to my core, I heard a gentle whisper, calling me to acknowledge that it was never mine to bear alone. This life was meant to be lived only in HIS strength.  Was there a gift then in the trial?  Oh, yes, resoundingly yes! He rolled away the stone that I could not have moved myself. He walked me through a day when I never could have kept the Faith on my own.

Oh, beloved, are you crushed under the weight of questions and pain?  We weren’t ever meant to bear that weight alone.  Look up to His light today, and let Him show you the sparkling gold waiting in the midst of the trail: His presence is His gift for you.

“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. “  Mark 16:4

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7

Dear Lord Jesus,

We come crushed and broken to You today. We confess that we don’t know how to carry this pain any longer. Will you lift the weight from off of our shoulders? Thank You that You have already rolled away the stone. Thank You that the glory of Your presence is here for us today. We want to receive the gift of Your glory, the beauty of Your honor and praise today. In Your precious name we pray,

Amen.

 

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Gold Perfection

Welcome to Chapter 3 of Part 2. This week we are resting in the free will offering of gold: the perfection of Christ, the Living Word of God. Today, Anna is sharing an introductory post, as she reflects on how God compels us to bring forward this free will offering in Christ, through the shaking and refining fires He sends our way.

At the end of this introduction, you are invited to join Anna and Bettie in prayer. Each day, we will then also add a new free will offering of gold – poems, prayers and testimonies of praise and thanksgiving to our God. May each offering encourage you also to bring forward your own free will offering of pure gold in Christ Jesus.

Take a sacred offering for the Lord. Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; Exodus 35:5

Interestingly, gold, like silver, was given by the Israelites as part of the wave offering:

The total amount of the gold from the wave offering used for all the work on the sanctuary was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel. Exodus 38:24 NIV

“A salient point regarding the wave offering: it is lifted up and presented to the Eternal, but then waved back toward the priests and given to them for their use in doing the Eternal’s work.” (Source:  https://talmidimyeshua.org/wavedfirstfruits.htm). Likewise, even the Levites themselves were given to the LORD as a wave offering, being consecrated to Him, before being put to work in the Temple as priests. 

Today, we too, are set apart, or consecrated, unto God as royal priests that we might declare His greatness. 

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)

If we look at the Hebrew Word for “wave”, we discover it means:

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

offering, shaking, wave offering

From nuwph; a brandishing (in threat); by implication, tumult; specifically, the official undulation of sacrificial offerings — offering, shaking, wave (offering).

see HEBREW nuwph

Source: https://biblehub.com/hebrew/8573.htm

Does it remind you of this Word, like me:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)

And this Word:

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:26-29 (ESV)

Have you also noticed that it is through the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our weakness, as we shake and tremble, that God sets us apart to serve Him, as He shakes off all that has no part in Him? Praise God perfect and flawless Jesus -the Word fulfilled at the Cross – chose to perfect His power in human weakness, that He might now, through His Spirit, perfect His power in each one of us.

Have you noticed God’s shaking in your own life recently? Have you found yourself, like me, trembling at His call to you, wondering how someone like you could fulfill such a call? Then, you (and I) are in good company. 

For, have a look at Paul’s words to us from 1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (MSG):

“I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.”

What a beautifully humbling and freeing experience for Paul in his weakness, and what a precious reminder to all of us today that our God perfects His power in weakness. As we yield our weakness to Him, Christ’s pure Word arises in us in power. 

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. Psalm 12:6 

Interestingly, the gold the Israelites once brought forward for Solomon’s Temple was used to overlay the clasps, fillets and capitals. These items strengthened the weakest parts of the Temple’s frame and joined the many curtains into one whole curtain. 

Do you see how Christ now literally strengthens and makes us – His Body – whole, perfect and complete in Himself, through the work of the Living and breathing Word in us. He literally overlays and joins us to Himself, the Head, and thereby to each other also, through each shaking and refining fire.

For, now, through Jesus, our spirit is united to the Spirit of our God, so that at the sound of His Word our hearts hearken to obey Him:

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1 Corinthians 6:17 (ESV)

It’s then, as we put out our nets afresh at the Voice of Jesus, just like Peter did, after a long tiring night of battling in his own flesh, that we discover that our Jesus – the Word made flesh – always knows best. For the Word’s timing, instruction and love for us is perfect and flawless.

It’s right there, as we watch Christ’s power being perfected in our weakness that we also come to know our Jesus and His love for us and His Body, more and more intimately.

No! We “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but [we] have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:15-17 (ESV)

No, in our muck and mire of self, praise God we have the power of the Spirit of God breathing in life and power into us:

Do you see how our Abba Father is answering the prayer His Son, Jesus, prayed, right before He gave His life at the Cross for us? Through His Spirit, He is now laboring to make us One, not in and through our own perfection or strength, but in His perfecting power in our weakness and imperfection. He is sanctifying us and unifying us in the gold of His Word (John 12: 17 – 23, ESV):

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

As we prepare to share our free will offerings of gold with you in the coming week, we invite you also to join us in laying the Promises of our God before the feet of Jesus in our weakness. May He write His flawless Word upon our hearts and perfect His power in our every weakness. May He bind us – His Body – together in love as we come to know Him more and more intimately, through every shaking and purifying fire sent our way. 

Will you join Bettie and I in prayer?

Dear Holy Father,      

Only you are pure and perfect! You are altogether lovely, with no blemish found in You! Oh that our hearts would worship you in the splendor of Your Holiness! And yet, You would come to us, weak and lowly, and offer to make us Holy, even as You are Holy.  

We await the day when we will be fully perfected with You in Your city of pure gold.  We offer our hearts to you now, in the Name and Beauty of Your Son Jesus.

May our hearts be open to receive your gift of perfection through your own Blameless, Dear Son. Stir our hearts, through Your shaking and refining fires, that we might invite You to make Your perfect home in us, now. Thank You for Your shaking and Your refining fires that are removing the dross in us, to reveal and lift up the pure gold of Your Living Word, Jesus, in and through us.

We await the day when we will be fully perfected with You in Your city of pure gold.  We offer our hearts to you now, in the Name and Beauty of Your Son Jesus.

 Amen

The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. Revelation 21:8 

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. Revelation 21:21

Day 1: Holy Spirit Power

Day 2: Heaven’s Glory

Day 3: The Joy and Peace in the Gold

Day 4: The Hands That Were Pierced

Day 5: Not By Might, Not By Power

Day 6: Holy Fear

Day 7: Sea of Holy Fire

A Winnowing

See not your failing 
See my wind blowing
Each point of collision
A lifting
Divinely appointed
To winnow the seed
In husks beautifully
Hidden, bursting forth
Through the breach
Long opened in my
Body broken to heal
Your every division.

A Winnowing was written in response to the d’Verse quadrille prompt with its roots resting in these Words.

A quadrille is a poem of 44 words (excluding the title), and it can take any form. This week’s challenge was to use the word ‘seed’ in a quadrille.