The Spirit of the LORD came upon me, and I heard the Lord ask, “Do you love Me?”
Immediately I replied, “Yes, Lord, You know I love You!” Why do You ask?
Instantly, I was transported back in time to April of 2005, when the LORD then asked me if I trusted Him. At that time I was not so quick to respond, as I did today. At that time, my mind began to travel through every thought imaginable, as if I knew anything, I knew that I was about to go through something that I really did not think I was ready for. I had just founded the INT”L Church of LIVING STONES as He had commanded me to do; and why are You now asking me if I trust You, I thought?
Again He asked, “Do you trust Me?” Meekly, or rather timidly, I softly whispered, “Yes, Lord, I trust You; but, I am not sure if I am ready to go through what I am about to go through” I replied. So that I do not leave you here wondering what indeed happened, the enemy came in like a flood, and indeed the LORD raised up a standard against him. And what the enemy meant for my harm, God turned it around for my good! Amen.
So, having some wisdom now, I know that when the LORD asks a question, we are going to be tested!
It was almost instantaneous that I began to battle the spirit of fear. The attack or test was now on, and I began to wage war by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and loudly declaring, it is written: We love Him because He first loved us. 1John 4:19
My love for the LORD is even now still being tried, to see if it is indeed faithful and true. To be tried is to be put in the refiner’s crucible and found to be without any impurities or dross. It is said that the refiner continues this process until it comes out pure.
It is written: You have tried my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Psalm 17:3
And again, in 2 Timothy 3:10-13, it is written: But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
If one is truly committed to maintaining an excellent character, one of integrity and honor, then they are diligently striving to live a holy and godly life, which is pleasing to God the Father. We are not here to please man, but God who has sent us. This is what being a disciple of Christ really means, we are daily showing ourselves to be disciplined ones, workers that need not be ashamed. Amen
Are we not 100% committed to picking up our cross every day, and following Him down the paths of righteousness that He is so faithfully leading us on? Do we not live to bring glory and honor to God our Father, in whose glorious image we all have been so fearfully and wonderfully made? And don’t we too have a heart like David’s that is quick to repent of our sin? If your heart responded saying,” yes, yes, yes!” Then indeed you are being perfect even as your Father in heaven; and you are faithful to the One who has called you.
In John 14:15-24 Jesus said: “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper,*that He may abide with you forever- The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
Indwelling of the Father and the Son
“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
In John 15:7-17 it is written: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. * By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Love and Joy Perfected
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.
And now little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him
Let Truth Abide In You
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
The Children of God
And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. (1 John 2:24-29)
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Sin and the Child of God
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
The Imperative of Love
In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
The Outworking of Love
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
My little children let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error
Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (1John 3:1-24)
1 John 4
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Knowing God Through Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Seeing God Through Love
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.
The Consummation of Love
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.
Obedience by Faith
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can] he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
At beginning of this year the Lord spoke to me saying, “Do not fear the discipline of God but embrace it.
The Race of Faith Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The Discipline of God
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Renew Your Spiritual Vitality
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
The Glorious Company
For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.”And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Hear the Heavenly Voice
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 13 Concluding Moral Directions
Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say:
“The LORD is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
Concluding Religious Directions
Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
In Romans 8:18 Paul proclaims saying: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
The Lord has led me through some very narrow passageways lately; they were so tight I struggled with my flesh as I pushed my way through. At the time I had no understanding of the things that I had to endure and suffer through, it was only as I came out on the other side that I received the understanding.
This has been a great year, as it has been a time of great testing. When I called for the LORD my God to send His fire, I did not think He answered me, and I began to question why? I began to question everything! It was then that I beheld the fire that had indeed consumed me and yet I was not burned.
In 1 Corinthians 3:13,14 it is written: each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
It goes on to reveal that if anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor 3:14-16
When I called for the LORD my God to send His fire indeed He did, and the fiery test that I was put through was the test of Love! It is easy to love those who love you, but can you respond in love to those who are in fact rejecting you? The LORD has commanded us to love our enemies; we all must pass this test, in spirit and in truth!
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep (guard) the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:1, 2
With this in mind, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Let love be without hypocrisy.
Abhor (hate with a perfect hatred) what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging (lazy) in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord: rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; For it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21
What is the reward if indeed you faithfully pass this fiery test? I believe that the LORD will command the blessing. And His blessing and glory will rest upon you for all to see!
"He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward. Matt 10:40-42
I have had two dreams and in both, a person has come to me asking what is it that my heart desires? Whatever I want they will give it to me. The first time, I replied saying, “I know this is going to sound strange to you, but all I want is more of Jesus!” Immediately I was awakened, and began to praise God, thanking Him for I knew that I passed the test!!!
The second was similar to the first but a different scenario, and again, my reply was, “more of You, Lord, more of You!” Do you know what sheer joy fills your heart and whole being when you know the love that you have with Jesus is real!!!
And you discover the truth that He is the desire of your heart! Amen.
I will tell you, you are going to be tested in just about every way imaginable!
And it will be with those whom you love, those who call you their friend, as well as strangers. One of my last and greatest tests was given in God’s house, yes, the church. In obedience to the Lord’s command I had to be still, when everything within me wanted to stand up and boldly declare that which was written for doctrine and reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. In obedience I had to humble myself, in order to faithfully walk this out in spirit and in truth. For the first time in my life I knew that I was surrounded by the cloud of witnesses, the heavenly hosts, the blessed Trinity; and I could feel the fire of their eyes as they too stood and observed all who were gathered there that day. I knew it was being witnessed personally by the LORD Himself, who is our true and faithful witness. Amen.
This blessed life more abundant is a journey, where daily we mature, as we are taught in the school of the Holy Spirit. And when we successfully pass the lessons we have been faithfully taught and given, then His truth manifests itself in our lives. This is the way we receive wisdom and get understanding that makes our way to be be successful and prosperous. This is how the word comes alive within us, as it manifest as flesh among us. This is walking the paths of righteousness in oneness with the word of God who is leading and guiding you on this straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life.
© Sharlyn k. Castillo - The Purified Soul Ministry on this 21st day of October in the glorious 2010th year of the LORD