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 Posted March  10, 2023


During the Great Awakening of the early 1800’s, this land was hit with an out­break of unusual signs following the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus. Healings and out­pourings of the Spirit followed the proclaiming of the Word in many places. The movement spread until it has touched every denomination of the Christian world.

 Again a little over fifty years ago, a movement of the Holy Spirit spread among disaffected young people, the Jesus freaks,….sparked new life, release from captivity and Kingdom pursuing hearts across North America, Central America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Today, our churches, world, and culture are still feeling the effects of that Jesus revolution.

And now it seems to be happening again, causing joy in some places and controversy in others.  Most of us cannot afford to approach this gospel movement, this revival… as critics, since our lives were in shambles, our bodies were sick, and our minds were flying apart at one time. We ourselves have experienced the supernatural touch of God in some way. The Jesus of the New Testament has brought healing into our lives.

Many of us have experienced inner quickening of the same order as the believers at Pentecost.

 At some point in our lives the Holy Spirit

– visited us,

– opened our minds to the reality of Jesus,

– caused the Scriptures to come alive,

– inspired prayer unlike any prayer we had ever known before,

– freed our tongues, enabling us to proclaim Jesus to the world.

But now that a certain amount of time has elapsed since our first encounter with the risen Jesus, we have begun to realize that a supernatural touch from God – wonderful as it is – will not by itself hold us close to God for the rest of our lives and eternity.

It is possible, as it says in Hebrews 6, to see the Kingdom, taste the Kingdom, and yet drift from the Kingdom.

  It is possible…

to experience the power of the Holy Ghost,

to speak in tongues,

to prophesy,

to heal,

to break bars of iron and gates of brass with sheer faith,

  …. and still drift into complacency and lose touch with the Source.

The book of First Corinthians addresses this problem. It was a powerful church, that church in Corinth. They had healings, prophecies—and yet they were a carnal people torn with strife, because they lacked the essen­tial ingredient of the Kingdom of God in their living.

When Jesus healed the ten lepers, every one of those ten lepers was touched by the power of heaven. Heaven came down into their wasted bodies and yet only one of those ten whose bodies had been touched by heaven turned around and entered the atmosphere of Heaven.

 The other nine lepers had a wonderful blessing, but that wonderful blessing – even though it was supernatural – was not able to quicken them to eternal life.

And so many of us who have been wonderfully touched by the hand. of God are still living lives that mark us as carnal—as children of the world, lacking the essential ingredient of the Kingdom of God.

 What is the essential ingredient of the Kingdom of God?

And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man, and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the village; and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, “Do you see any­thing?” And he looked up and said, “I see men; but they look like trees, walking.”        (Mark 8:22-24)

Isn’t it interesting that the one instance in which Jesus touches someone for healing and the healing is incomplete, the incompleteness of the man’s healing manifests itself as his inability to see the people immediately around him as they really are.

“I see men; but they look like trees, walking.”

This man knew that if he couldn’t see men as they really were he was still, for all practical purposes, blind.

– No touch from God is complete,

– No vision from God is clear,

– No miracle from God has accomplished its purpose… 

…if our vision of those around us is distorted and blurred.

This essential ingredient of the Kingdom of God is that God has so taken possession of our hearts ….that when we look at other men and women….

We see them with the eye of divine mercy.

How often we Spirit-touched supernatural dynamos, who are so full of enthusiasm for pursuing divine blessing, but when it comes to the people around us in daily life, see only trees walking, moving blurs.

 For all our insight into spiritual things we stroll right by the wounded ones.

– We see trees walking.

 We fail to see….

– the hurt,

– the pain,

– the torment of guilt,

– the pleading eyes,

– the outstretched hands. 

We don’t see these people as God sees them.

– We see obstacles standing in our way.

– We see heads that are stepping stones for our climb to “success.”

– We see objects of lust.

– We see human cockroaches, vermin.

– We see trees walking.

 That’s how it was in Corinth for all the supernatural fireworks.

But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?    (I Corinthians 3:1-3)

  They were obsessed over who had what gift.

  They were jealous, disorderly.

What they needed, Paul explained, was the eye of love.

Love that suffers long and is kind, envies not, vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, and so sees and cares about people as they really are.

And should a brother or sister from the social justice camp be reading this, feeling especially clean because “at least we aren’t flaky holy rollers, at least we really care about the down trodden and the oppressed”… it often happens that people who are willing to give their bodies to be burned in the cause of peace, disarmament, human rights, racial justice, gender equality… when it comes to the flesh-and-blood human beings they touch every day… see only trees walking.

How do you see your mate? As a person given to you to love and serve and help and comfort … just the way they are with all their faults? … or as a walking tree?

How do you see? ….

the delivery man,

the telephone receptionist,

the refugees,

the ‘woke’ people, the ‘Trumpsters’,

the ‘vaxxers’, the ‘anti-vaxxers’,

the reckless drivers, the slow drivers,

the panhandlers,

the grouchy cashier,

the people who chew with their mouth open…


Those people around you right now, who oppose you, who irk you, who get in your way.

Do you see people, made in the image of God, for whom the Lamb shed His blood,

or do you see trees walking?

Some of us complain that we can’t find our ministry. Is it because the ministry isn’t there? God hasn’t given us anything to do? Or, is it because God sends us into the streets and lanes of the city to bring guests to His banquet and we can’t even see them?

All we see are walking trees.

 So the man lifted up his face for Jesus to touch him a second time.

…and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men; but they look like trees, walking.” Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly.

Two things happened here:                                                               ­

  1.   Jesus laid His hands on the man’s eyes again.
  2. The man looked intentlymade an effort – to see men as they really were.

 – Then he was restored and saw everything clearly.

Surely if we don’t have that compassion which gives us true vision we’ll never muster it up from within our­selves. We need to turn to Jesus for a second touch.

“Lord, I know you touched me and I know my life was changed, but I also know that my vision of my fellow man is badly distorted. I’m not seeing what I should be seeing.

I see men but they look like trees, walking. Lord, touch me again. Open my eyes!”

After we have prayed such a prayer, as the power of the Holy Spirit causes the love of God to be shed abroad in our hearts afresh, we then need to look intently,

 …. to strive to see….

– our neighbor,

– our friend,

– our enemy,

– our parent,

– our child,

– our mate,

– our brother in the Body;

– Lazarus who sits at our gate,

– with the new eyes God is giving us.

At first they will still look like trees walking, perhaps.

But as we look intently a miracle will happen. 

A miracle which will not only affect our vision of men but directly our vision of God.

For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.      (I John 4:20)

We will begin to see people as God sees them. And when we begin to see people as God sees them…

We will begin to see everything clearly, including and especially God.

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

We have come to a time when it will no longer be possible for us to stumble along in strife and envy and loveless­ness.

To survive the days which have already come upon us….

– We will have to see with the eye of God.

– We will have to be moved by a love which suffers long and is kind.

– We will need a humility to see us and others as we really are,

– We will have to seek a love that endures all things,

…. even if it means going to Jesus for a second touch,

…. even if it means straining our spiritual eyes….

…. Until we see what God wants us to see in the faces of those to whom He sends us.

Prayer: Lord, we admit our blindness. Despite being touched by your healing, by you looking intently at us and seeing our wounds, our weakness and having compassion on us, we haven’t opened our eyes to see what you see, to see people with your eyes. We get so busy in our own pursuits, our own opinions, achieving our own desires that people have become like trees walking to us. They are blurred, out of focus. They get in our way, slow us down, irritate us, annoy us. Forgive us for our cold hearts, for our narrow focus, for walking past and ignoring their wounds. Touch our eyes again Lord…help us to look intently at each human, flood us with love for them, give us the compassion to see others clearly… the way you call us to see them. Move us Lord, move us. Amen.  Maranatha Mirror
Message: Richard Bieber 1978  edited to suit the times 2023 by Maranatha Mirror with the encouragement of the author.   Shareable/Printable Copy 
Featured Art:  Courtesy and kindness of Corinne Vonaesch at

 Posted February 26, 2023

Don’t Chicken Out

Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!  Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.”   (Luke 6:22-23)

 How many of us are ready for that one?

 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you”

“Oh, but that would never happen here! Who’s going to give me a hard time for being a Christian? Isn’t this a Christian country? Maybe in Turkey, for sure in Pakistan. But not here.”

First of all, there is no such thing as a Christian country here or anywhere else on earth.

Never has been.

Never will be until the Messiah returns.

You can get away with more here than you can in Turkey. Nobody will lock you up if you go down to the town square and start talking to people about Jesus. But the real reason we haven’t been hated, excluded, and reviled on account of the Son of man is…

 Because we’re chicken.

We’re afraid to stick our necks out.

Even when your best friend gives you the perfect opening to simply tell what the Lord has done for you, you clam up. We all do.

That’s why nobody hates us, excludes us, reviles us.

And that’s why people we know who are looking for help from above, who are lonely and discouraged, and confused … are still stumbling around in a spiritual twilight zone.

Because we don’t want to risk losing their respect by offering them a miracle.

What if the miracle doesn’t happen?

What if I tell them what Jesus will do for them and Jesus lets me down?

One Sunday night many years ago – when we still had evening services down at the Church of Our Saviour- something made me announce to the congregation during the sermon that one of us would soon be proclaiming the gospel somewhere overseas. After the service Bill, who was the principal at a local school, came up to me and said, “I’m the one.” And sure enough, shortly after we went to Detroit, Bill went to Chicago Mission School and then off to East Africa working as a teacher among the Massai Tribes. 

One day after the land had been suffering months and months of drought and the herds of the Massai people were in danger, some of the tribesmen came up to Bill and said, “If your God is so good and so powerful, why don’t you ask him to send us rain?” Bill was scared to death. They’d put him on the spot. What else could he do but say, “Yes” “Sure, I’ll pray right now.” So there in the presence of these tribesmen, Bill lifted his eyes to heaven and asked God to show his mercy as a sign of his love for these people and send rain in Jesus’ name. Within 30 minutes the sky grew dark, thunder and lightning began flashing and crashing, and down came a deluge.

Bill almost fainted. The Tribesmen were struck with fear. Bill wrote to us and told us about it. What a wonderful sign of God’s love for these people and for Bill.

Years later, while I’m painting our garage door. Jean comes out and says, “Guess who’s on the phone – Bill. He’s in Halifax and wants to get together.” We hadn’t seen Bill in years. We picked Bill up at the Lord Nelson, and on the way to the restaurant, I reminded him about his prayer for rain. “That’s only half the story”, said Bill. “The other half wasn’t as good.”

When we were seated in the restaurant, he explained the other half. The Massai people were so moved by this miracle, they brought him all their sick children and begged him to heal them.  “What if I pray for these kids and nothing happens?  I’m not sticking my neck out on this one!”  So, he sent them away. He refused. Then Bill looked me in the eye and said, “What would you have done?”

Here’s a guy who’s spent his life all over the world helping people. I stand in awe of this man. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d been in his shoes with all those mothers bringing their children and asking me to pray for them.

But I know what I should have done.

And I know what I should have done in dozens of situations when I chickened out.

It may cost us. It may cause people to exclude us and revile us and cast out our name as evil. But who are we trying to please? Go ahead and pray for those kids and leave the consequences to God!

 Do it!

Don’t chicken out!

Of course, none of this is an issue as long as you think Christianity is simply a matter of belonging to a church and staying respectable.

    But once you understand that Christianity is discipleship—

It’s more than praying the “sinner’s prayer” and getting saved.

It’s answering the call that Christ puts on your life.

It’s realizing that you are being sent to touch other lives with the redemptive power of God.

Even if you’re shy, you’re going to have to speak up.

Even if you keep a low profile, you’re going to be put on the spot.

Just like those Massai tribesmen put Bill on the spot, sometimes the Spirit of God puts you on the spot.

You’re visiting a neighbor at the general store, a big, burly truck driver who hasn’t been inside a church since he was 10 years old. Something inside tells you that you should offer to pray for this guy. “This is crazy. I’ve never prayed out loud for anybody in my life.”  “Too bad”, says this voice inside you, “Do it!” “What if he chases me out of the room?” “Do it!” “Ed, would you let me pray for you?” He sighs, “Please do.” So you take hold of his hand and pray. You don’t even know what’s going to come out of your mouth. You don’t know how to pray for people. But you know the Spirit of God is nudging you this way, so you trust him to give you the words and he does. When it’s over, your neighbor’s face is soaking wet and he thanks you.

Don’t worry about the consequences – the consequences belong to God.

 All you have to worry about is to do what God is showing you to do.

 Once I was attending a death bed. The wife of the dying man took me aside and asked, “Do you give the last rites?” What am I going to say? Am I going to confess to her that I haven’t a clue how to give the last rites? What answer could I give her but yes? We do the best we can – we said some psalms, anointed him with oil, prayed. The Spirit came into that room. We felt the peace of God. Never have I experienced the presence of God at a death bed as we did that evening.

God always sees you through.

The more inadequate you feel, the better it is.

“God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.”

When God puts you into a situation where somebody needs a word, a prayer, a touch in his name, the helping hand of the Lord….

 Do what your heart tells you…. what God’s Spirit tells you to do…

…. and leave the consequences with God.

The big drawback in these special moments which God sends to each of us – the thing that causes us to chicken out – is fear.

 Fear that people will hate us, exclude us, revile us, cast out our name as evil. 

 They might even laugh at us.

 How do you get over this fear?

By accepting the fact that there will be people who will hate us, exclude us, revile us, and cast out our names as evil on account of the Son of Man.

   But when this happens to us, it’s okay. It’s time to rejoice!

That’s what they did to the prophets.

That’s what they did to Jesus.

  Why not us?

If you want to win friends and influence people, go to a Dale Carnegie course.

If you want to make it big, follow Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, or Jeff Bezos.

But if you want to be of use to the redeeming purpose of God in this crazy world…..

….follow Jesus….

Expecting the same treatment from the world that he got – and when you get that treatment….

 Don’t cry about it – rejoice!

Now you’re free – free to talk to people about the things that count because you’re not worried about how you look to them.

You’re free to reach out to that grouchy neighbor.

You’re free to say “yes” when they ask you to pray for the impossible.

It’s called boldness.

It’s the freedom from the fear of man…. and it’s yours and mine for the asking once we get over this one hump….

Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven;  for so their fathers did to the prophets.”

Prayer: Lord, give us the courage, the insight, and the motivation to reach out and speak to the people we interact with. Forgive us for the many, many times we chickened out. May we take and make openings in which we can listen well to others, we can pray with them for their needs and sorrows, and we can speak to them of your tender mercy. Give us such vision, such love, such faith that we will not fear our prayers will go unanswered, that we will not fear rejection, that we will not fear being reviled or persecuted. Give us a deep trust in you Lord that you will answer prayers and meet needs in your perfect way. Give us a wonderful sense of freedom and joy because you, you are with us in this and it is our honor and joy to be the vessels that pour out your holy redemptive power to any we interact with in our daily lives. Amen. Maranatha Mirror
Message: Richard Bieber 2001    Shareable/Printable Copy 
Featured Art: All photos from Pixabay. “Breastplate” is by Signe Flink (Norrland in Sweden) konst/signe

 Posted February 12, 2023



One day a farmer was working in his fields when he heard a voice speaking to him. Now he couldn’t tell whether this voice was being heard by his ears or by his heart, but he knew that it was the voice of God.

The voice said…

“I’m calling you into the harvest”.

That night before the farmer went to bed, he shut himself into a room and opened his Bible. It was if the very pages of his Bible caught fire. Never had the Scriptures spoken to this man as they now did.  And everywhere he turned, the same message came to him.

“I’m calling you into the harvest”.

  For days there was a glow within him.

  His wife never saw him in a better mood.

  His children never found him more patient.

He kept working his fields, but he knew deep within him that there was to be a change, there was a new life waiting for him, that he had been called into the harvest. The months went by and wherever this door was which was supposed to open him into this new and fruitful life he couldn’t seem to find it. Then the pastor of his church was transferred to Alaska, and he was asked to preach every Sunday. “At last,” he said to himself

“This must be my chance to get into the harvest”.

He had visions of a spellbound audience, growing crowds of people, healings, and a spreading revival. But the reality was that the same sleepy congregation came week after week and went on their way, obviously unchanged.

This couldn’t be the harvest, so the farmer sold 50 acres of his land, bought a revival tent, some sound equipment, a semi-truck and hit the road as an evangelist….

Evangelism must be what the Lord has in mind”.

He went from city to city and occasionally really got some good crowds together. Sometimes people answered his altar call. There were even a few healings. But after two years of this, he knew that this was not where he belonged… He asked himself…

“Where is this harvest Lord”?

Then he heard of desperate needs and tremendous spiritual opportunities in southern Brazil. So, he sold another 50 acres of his land, studied Portuguese, and took his family to Brazil. The reception in Brazil was like everywhere else, lukewarm. After three years of urgent labor among the people of Brazil, in spite of the hopeful things he sent back in his mission letters, he was driven to the very edge of despair.

The farmer came home with his family, holed himself up in a room with a typewriter and for six months worked on a book which he hoped would start a Christian world and bring in a harvest. But the book didn’t even sell 1000 copies. He said…

“I’m going back to farming”.

And so he set about trying to restore his overgrown fields, what was left of them, and mending the broken down fences. One spring morning as he was plowing with his rusty old tractor, the voice spoke to him again….

I’m calling you into my harvest”.

But this time he was angry. “Oh yeah, I believed you the last time you told me that and you can’t say I didn’t try, but everything I put my hand to failed, so please don’t mess up my life anymore”.  

Just then the engine of his tractor sputtered and died. It was out of gas. So, he picks up the gas can that’s hanging behind the seat and heads for an old broken-down shack that lies just across the property line that had been there a long time. He says, “well, surely they’ll had some gas and it will save me having to walk back all the way to the barn”.  “Gas”, says the old lady at the door, “I don’t have any gas, I don’t have a car, I don’t have a tractor, I have no truck”.

Looking through the door the farmer could see poverty … a bare table with part of a loaf of bread and a teapot. The woman was shivering. “The only thing I can offer you” she said to him, “is a cup of tea”.  And sitting there at the table of this poor, lonely, sickly old soul… this woman who had been his neighbor since childhood… whose husband’s death never even left an impression on his mind…the voice came to him, for the third and final time.

“I’m calling you into the harvest”.

Now suddenly he understands.

This is the harvest!

And this was the beginning of a new life for him, for the elderly lady, and for numberless other people.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. He called to him the twelve.   (Matthew 9:35-10:1)

Now there is call on the life of every single one of us who is at all serious about following Jesus.

When Jesus calls us to follow him, he always calls us to a work. To each of us, he says.

“I’m calling you into the harvest”.

When Peter fell to his knees in the boat, after the net came up loaded with fish, he said “depart from me for I am a sinful man, oh Lord”.

Jesus did not say “you must be born again, you got to repent and become a Christian Peter”. The only thing Jesus said to him was….

“Don’t be afraid, from now on you’re going to be catching men”.

Which was the same as to say…

“I’m sending you into the harvest”.

But it’s so easy to accept the fact that we’ve been called into the harvest of God and to rejoice in the knowledge that there is a call on us….and yet to spend or to wait half our lives going all over the place and racking our brains trying to figure out where the harvest is.

The harvest of God is a glorious thing…  but… when we get up close to it, it looks so ordinary and often so repulsive…. that we miss it, we pass it right by.

Because all the harvest is… is people.

People who hurt.

People who are lost in the shuffle.

People who don’t even know how to say “thank you”.

People who hide their wounds and their hurt behind anger, boredom, bad habits, cynicism.

And the ones who are sent to do the harvesting are also people…

…..almost exactly the same kind of people.

People like you and me.

For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,  God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.     (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

So, God takes the earthen vessel of our lives… weak and faltering as they are… fills them with the Heavenly treasure, the transcendent power of his spirit…. and sends us forth.

See the people (the Harvest) in the place where we are….  with the eyes of God

And if we will begin with the people who are right where we are…

There will be a harvest.

Specifically, Jesus is calling us to see the people in the place where we now are… with the eyes of God.

The farmer went over half the world trying to find his calling because he failed to see his nearest neighbor with the eyes of God.

And we do the same thing, we miss the needs that are right under our faces because we don’t see these people with the eyes of God.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus saw these people, saw beneath their masks, saw how weak, how troubled, how helpless, how needy, and how wounded they were… and his heart went out to them with a compassion that bore their iniquities and carried their sorrows…

…. and he commands us to do the same.

Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.            (John 4:35)

And as Jesus said that to his disciples in Samaria, out comes the woman he had met at the well, who was now coming with people from the town. “Look at them”.

And Jesus says the same to us right now…

“Look at them” 

 “Look at these people, see how ripe they are for the Kingdom” …

“Where else can they turn?” …

“If you will only look at them with my eyes” …

“You’ll soon be pouring out your life for them in my name”.

Jesus calls us to draw nearer to the people, in the place where we are …

…with the heart of God.

This man, the farmer, had visions of setting the world on fire for the Kingdom, yet ignored his nearest neighbor.  Now how in the world is he going to have any kind of compassion for people in Brazil, if he doesn’t even see the work before him and draw near with mercy to this woman.

Draw near to the people in the place where we are…. with the heart of God

 And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  (Matthew 9:10-13)

       Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?

He eats with them.

In other words, he doesn’t draw near to them as a professional approaching a client, but he comes to them as a peer.

The physician comes down and dwells in the world of the sick… with mercy.

And if we would but draw near the people in the place wherever we are, with the heart of God, we will soon find ourselves surrounded with human anguish and human need.

You don’t have to do something dramatic to develop a ministry. All you have to do is to eat with tax collectors and sinners, and before you know it, your hands are going to be fuller than you can handle.

And you’ll have to cry out to God for help.

Serve the people in the place where we are … with the patience of God.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”   (Matthew 20:28)

… That’s what Jesus did, he ministered… he served.

He served day after day after day … when they appreciated it and when they maligned him and despised him and rejected him. The nine others who never said thank you were still healed. Jerusalem… over which Jesus wept because of its hardness of heart was still the object of his love, it was his goal, it was going to be the place where he would lay down his life.

…good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.          (see Luke 8:15b)

How else do we patiently produce a huge harvest …. but by serving people right where we are!

We serve whether they like us, whether they dislike us, whether they malign us, and whether they misunderstand us. Our joy is not that people appreciate us. If we seek that for our joy, we’re going to be upset all our lives.

Our joy is that God has given us something to do.

That’s all.

Lift the people, by name, in the place where we are … into the Kingdom of God.

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:17-19)

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me”, Jesus said…

Now the Spirit that was upon him during his days of flesh and blood … is upon us. And when we…in him, preach good news to the poor, there will be a response.  When we proclaim release to the captives, they receive freedom… eyes open…oppression lifts.

And the scene of the most awesome aspect of this lifting people up into the Kingdom of God, from their bondage into God’s freedom, is a room where there are no crowds.  In fact, where there is nobody but just you…

…. and faithfully by name, we lift these people up before God’s throne.

And we do that every day. You say that’s a ritual, sure, so is eating, so is sleeping.  And this is a more important ritual than eating and sleeping.

No ministry will ever get to first base without it …  nor any calling God has put upon our lives… until we start to do this, until we start to intercede for people, by name. That’s not just for Saint Francis of Assisi. That’s for you and me.

Then when we do that, we then can go out into the world and proclaim the word God gives us to the people in the place where we are…knowing that that word will not come back empty.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.

He called to him the twelve, then he called to him countless other people down through the centuries, and now he calls to us.

Why should he call us?  Surely, not because we have the greatest potential. On the contrary, he calls us to him, to show that the heavenly treasure can do marvelous things even in such piddly earthen vessels as you and me.

For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,  God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.     

What awesome things God will do through us….

If we will but open our eyes to the harvest right where we are.

Prayer: Dear Lord, open our eyes to the harvest right where we are. Help us to hear your voice speaking to us “I’m calling you into the harvest”. Lord at this point, even if we’ve misunderstood your call into the harvest, help us to see it very clearly now. Help us to look around and really see the people who need us, who have been waiting for your hand. Help us to see with your eyes, light our hearts with compassion. Help us to draw nearer and sit down and eat with them, to truly be a part of their lives. And as we face their needs, some of them that are beyond us, we cry to you for help, for intervention, for mercy, for answers, for change, for release, for peace in the lives of these people who are beloved by you. And yes, help us to serve patiently, joyfully….no matter what….because serving in joy is where we find you. Lord, take these weak, earthen vessels and turn them into heavenly treasure filled with the life, the light, the healing of your Spirit so that we can pour it out into the fields in front of us and harvest right where we are. Amen. Maranatha Mirror
Message: Richard Bieber 1980    Audio link to this sermon   Shareable/Printable Copy 
Featured Artist: Courtesy of James Janknegt at

 Posted January 20, 2023


How did Elijah do it?

How did he get the fire of heaven to fall on his sacrifice?

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.”  And they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped about the altar which they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is musing, or he has gone aside, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice; no one answered, no one heeded.

 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me”; and all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down; Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.  And he put the wood in order, and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time. And the water ran round about the altar, and filled the trench also with water.

 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.  Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that thou, O LORD, art God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.”       (1 Kings 18: 25-39)


 So the prophets of Baal built their altar and laid their sacrifice, but no fire came.  

They had religion, but it had no life.

Elijah built an altar, laid the sacrifice, doused it with water three times so it would be evident that he wasn’t playing any tricks on them, and prayed.  Suddenly fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and even drank up the water.

Much of the time we Christians have a faith, which is much more like the altar of Baal than the altar of God. 

We have the sacrifice on the altar and it’s neatly laid out, but no fire comes.  

Nothing happens.  

Nobody comes to repentance.  

No lives are changed.  

There is no power.

Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;  or at least believe me for the sake of the works themselves. Truly, truly.  I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works I do. And greater works than these they will do, because I go to the Father.  (John 14:11-12)

Jesus teaches clearly, that if we believe in him….

not just mouth religious words, 

not just run around and do our own thing and call it a faith, 

…. but really believe in him….

….then our nature will be absorbed by his nature. 

We will begin

– to think his thoughts

– to do his works.… 

…. and the lives around us will be cleansed by the power of his crucifixion…….lifted by the power of his resurrection…in us.

When we say, as we so often do, “How come nothing is happening from my life? How come nobody is being changed through my ministry?”

He says,  “When you believe, things will start to happen.”

“Wait a minute Lord!  I believe! Look at the changes I’ve made.  Look at the hardships I’ve endured.  Look at my discipline. Look at my sacrifices.” 

And yet there is an awareness in our heart-of-hearts that there is something missing….. 

The sacrifice is there, but there is no fire. 

Not only is the power missing in our ministry to other people, it’s missing in our own inner lives.  

The life we really live, away from the eyes of others, is earthbound. 

Isn’t it ridiculous?  We want to open the eyes of the blind, and set the captives free, when we ourselves are still in captivity.

The most helpful thing we can do is frankly admit how far we are from the faith Jesus calls us to have. 

When Jesus says, “Whoever believes in me, the works I do he will do also”,  he’s not exaggerating, but describing a faith  which is far beyond where we now are.

Of course, if we want that faith, it can be ours. 

We can have a faith that is visited by fire from heaven, that licks up the wood, the sacrifice, the stones, the dust, and the water.

A faith where we begin to do the works Jesus does, and even greater works than these, as he pours out his Spirit from the right hand of the Father.

“This is the work of God”, Jesus says, “that you believe on him whom he has sent.”  

Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.  

Whoever believes in me the works that I do, will they do also.

But this belief is not a matter of the mind or of the imagination.  

It is a thing of the will.

Don’t sit around, as we so often have, wondering, When is it going to come?  Hoping that faith will come and envelop us like a cloud. 

This faith will burn in our hearts as we bend our will toward the will of God.

The faith that brings down fire from heaven begins with a deliberate abandonment of our lives into the hands of Jesus.

Okay. We all know that. We’ve heard it a thousand times. Yes, we know the theory well, but have we actually done it?

Whoever comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and  sisters –  yes, and even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.  (Luke 14: 26)

This commitment belongs only to Jesus.

The commitment we have made  to our father, or mother, or wife, or husband, or child, or brother or sister, or to ourselves, or our particular religious community, or our favorite kind of evangelism, or our particular choice in doctrine, has to be replaced with a commitment to…. 

Jesus as the supreme focus of our lives.  

To Jesus only.

If we haven’t made such a commitment to the Lord Jesus, if we aren’t maintaining that commitment every day, we cannot possibly understand what Jesus is talking about when he calls us to this kind of faith. 

“Unless you forsake, renounce, all that you have, you can’t be my disciple,”

Or if you prefer: Unless we renounce “all that has us”, we can’t have that kind of faith. 

When we begin to renounce -the things that have us – these attachments, whatever they are, then we begin to understand what Jesus is calling for.  

When we renounce the things that have us, 

we are able to do the things he commands us. 

And we will also know how to apply his commands in daily life.

Having faith that brings down fire, calls us to follow him into a world of risk, onto a sea of uncertainty.


Launch out into the deep.  

Deny yourself.

Take up your cross.

Launch out into the deep

It won’t be a popular risk—

It may not mean that we are supposed to go to South Sudan, or break into the heart of the Muslim world, or do some dramatic thing that causes us to be fired from our job. Although, it could mean any of those things. Yet somehow, as we follow him, we will find ourselves traveling a road where things become quite uncertain.

For instance, most of us have been quite clever about not doing or saying things that might upset our friends, or alienate those whose respect we crave.  We don’t care what the rest of the world thinks, but for these people in particular–we seem to really need their admiration, their friendship. Then one day, we find that we’re moved from within, to speak to them of God’s mercy.  And as we do, they shake their heads and turn away from us as if we had leprosy.

Of course, the adventure that God has in store for each of us is going to be different; and nobody can predict what that is. It’s entirely up to the Lord. But we can be sure of this….

…. as we follow him we are going to find ourselves walking down a road where the things that comforted us and gave us security are gone.

Now, the only certainty that we have left is Jesus.

Deny yourself

This may be offensive to some readers, but here it is…The faith that brings down the fire involves a deliberate turning away of our heart love from past pleasures and fixing our heart’s love on the joy of remaining faithful to Jesus in the midst of derision, privation, or even death.  

“I’m taking you to a banquet”, Jesus says to us, “but the road to the banquet is not a picnic. And if you are going to survive the hardships on that road, you are going to have to deliberately and continuously learn to give up distractions and find your meaning exclusively in me.”

O, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man/woman that trusts in him.  (Psalm 34:8)

You taste the goodness of the Lord by deliberately subjecting yourself to being disenchanted from your former distractions, whatever they are – the things that made life pleasant and livable in the past, and learning to find a new kind of joy, a new kind of meaning.. 

This is not morbidity. We are not saying that you have to be unhappy to be a disciple of Jesus.  

But now we have to find a new kind of joy and a new kind of meaning.

You give up the pleasures of Baal and take hold of the pleasures of God

  —which are far better, and far more lasting. 

Take up your cross

Finally; the faith that brings the fire involves a daring trust…. that the way of Jesus’ cross is  the right way, the best way, the most satisfying way, no matter how absurd it looks in the eyes of the world. 

“When I came to you”, says Paul, “I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified.”  

When Paul was saying that, he was not talking about his “doctrinal position.”  He was talking about his life. Jesus Christ and him crucified was the door to God for Paul. 

Jesus was his source of his joy. His life. 

His everything – day by day, and hour by hour.

But Jesus Christ and him crucified was also for Paul, his example, his pattern.  This is what he was learning to do, day by day and hour by hour.

Paul was walking in the footsteps of his Master –

– the bleeding footsteps of his Master.  

Learning to deny himself. 

And as Paul did this, learned to deny himself, that others might taste God– 

— the fire from heaven fell upon him and his ministry.

As we learn to do this joyfully—-daily to deny ourselves, that others might taste God–

–the fire from heaven falls upon us. 

And it will continue to fall as we find ourselves doing, the works of Jesus, and even greater works, as the Spirit moves upon us.  

This is the work of God,  that you believe on him whom he has sent.  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me or else, believe me for the sake of the works themselves.  

Whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and greater works than these will they do, because I go to the Father. 

There are people on this earth right now, who are in possession of that kind of faith. 

We can join their ranks if we will. 

It all depends on how earnestly we desire to have a faith that brings the fire. 

A Prayer……

Lord, you know our hearts. And you know the longing in them to be able to do something effective. And Father, you know how frustrated we get when it just doesn’t seem to happen. We ask you to help us to be the men and women you are calling us to be. And to come into a life of faith beyond anything we’ve ever tasted.  Disillusion us in whatever way necessary, if we think that we have it when we don’t, Lord. Help us to press on until we begin to enter into that territory where the life of Jesus becomes everything to us.  Where the delight of knowing him far surpasses every other delight. We ask it Father in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Message and Prayer : Richard Bieber  1977…   Shareable/Printable Copy 
Featured Artist: Courtesy of Amy Rylander at

 Posted January 13, 2023


I once met an angry man on Vernor highway who told me, “I gave my life to Jesus Christ, but it ain’t working for me. Nothing’s changed.”

Jesus speaks to us, promises us….

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.   (Matthew 11:28-30)

Now, this man I met on Vernor Highway, was basically saying, “I came to Jesus like he invited me, but I didn’t find any rest for my soul.”  And what he expressed is really what many, many, many professing Christians feel in their hearts.

     “I’m trying to follow Jesus. How come my soul hasn’t found any rest?”

When we have this rest for our souls, then we can function in the Kingdom of God.

We can love God.

We can believe Jesus.

We can love our neighbor.

We can wash on our brothers’ feet.

We can go out there and bring hope to the hopeless.

And we can keep doing this on and on and on without burning out…

When we lack that rest for our souls, we become like Christian skyrockets. We shoot up and put on a wonderful display of faith and love for a brief time… and then we burn out. Many churches are really warehouses for burnt out Christian skyrockets. We once had zeal and then it played itself out.

And now we come together and we try to help to conserve that little spark that might be left, we exhort each other, we encourage each other…but no fire comes.

And no fire will come, no lasting fire…. until we get rest for our souls.

When we get that rest for souls, which Jesus promises, then we can keep going, we burn with the fire that never goes out, we mount up on wings like the eagles, we run and are not weary, we walk and we don’t faint.

Everything hinges in the Body of Christ and in the individual believer on finding that rest for our souls, which is promised….

…. that inner sabbath that fills us with the order and the peace of Heaven, even while we live down here in the middle of a war zone.

Notice that if we’re going to have rest for our souls, there are some things we have to do.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

We always hear that word “Come.” But we don’t always seem to hear that “take my yoke”….”learn”

And there are many, many, many professing Christians who endlessly come to Jesus all the time. They’re coming over and over and over again, they come, but they never take the yoke, and they never learn.

“Here I am Lord, I’m back again. Praise the Lord. I come to you, I give you my all. I surrender all to you. It’s so wonderful to be up here on the mountain top with you Lord. I’m going to build a booth for you. I’m going to stay here forever. I’m going to sing to you.. ‘Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come.’”

But the minute Jesus says, “OK, come over here and get under this yoke with me and learn from me in the real world,”  they’re gone, they evaporate. And they’re gone until the next moment of revival, and then the whole thing plays itself again.

What’s needed if we’re going to have rest for our souls…. is that we have to get under that yoke.

He says “Take my yoke upon you. Come on under this thing with me. Link yourself to me. You will not learn from a distance; you will only learn under the yoke with me.”

The Christian, who has no rest for the soul, is a Christian who is unyoked; Full of ideas, full of good intentions, full of marvelous plans, full of deep insight into other people’s sins, full of scripture quotes, but in their own personal life they’re loose as a goose, distant from Jesus, no discipline in the things of God. That person will not have any rest for his or her soul.

Don’t be afraid of the yoke.

It’s easy.

It’s light.

The weakest person can carry it.

And it is under this yoke, this easy yoke, that we find rest for our souls.

The Easy Yoke is to Carry Jesus’ Burden with Him

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” (Matthew 26:36-38)

Jesus is asking these men to be with him, to stay awake with him, to support him with their hearts, to pray with him.

What an awesome privilege.

When Jesus chooses us to be his disciples, he doesn’t choose us to be spectators…

  He chooses us to carry the weight of the glory with him.

   To carry the burden with him.

When he prays, he wants us to pray with him.

When he weeps over Jerusalem, or Detroit, or California, or Russia….  he wants us to weep with him.

When he has compassion on the multitude, he wants us to have compassion with him.

When he goes out there looking for that one lost sheep, he wants us to be there at his side.

“Do you love me?”” Lord, you know that I love you.” “Feed my sheep.”

“My sheep are my burden …. because I love them. I lay down my life for them. And if you love me, you’re going to be with me carrying the burden.”

“With me”

And the amazing thing is that we find out when we pick up this burden with Jesus, which he gives us, our heavy hearts become light, and our restless souls find rest.

The easy yoke is to labor at Jesus side

We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.     (John 9:4)

Notice it doesn’t say “I must work the works”…  it is “we must work.” We together! And at the same time, we need to remember, that it’s his yoke, not ours. It’s not Jesus at my side, laboring at my side, while I do my thing. It’s me at Jesus side … while he does his thing.

And we often like to picture Jesus walking at our side as a silent partner.

We decide what road to take.

We choose what door to open.

We run the program.

Jesus is out at our side to bless what we choose.

No! That is not a vision of the Lord.  That’s a delusion!

When we get under the yoke with Jesus we’re walking at his side. Laboring at his side.

He chooses what door to open, and he can show us .

He decides what roads are taken, and he can make that clear.

He runs the program, and we fit in.

On your job you’re standing at Jesus’ side, under his yoke, sharing his labor. You’ll never do better work and while working, life from God will flow forth from you.

In your home, you’re standing at Jesus’ side, under his yoke, sharing his labor. You’ll never be a better parent, spouse, son, daughter, friend and life from God will flow from you.

Being yoked to Jesus all the time can feel threatening. It’s like we’ve become a Siamese twin, we can never get away from it, we’re stuck.

We’re afraid of that. It’s our nature.

The reality is that …. outside from under that yoke….. away from that yoke, is actually where the heavy burdens are…. and actually where all the trouble is.

The only place where we have any freedom, any lightness of heart, any peace, any rest for our souls is… under the yoke.

My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Standing at his side laboring with him is absolute rest.

The easy yoke is to learn Jesus’ poverty of spirit.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart

We are not by nature lowly in heart.  There’s not one of us who is naturally humble. We can walk through doors backwards, we can crawl around on our hands and knees, but basically we are proud, self-centered, hard, impatient. Our whole mindset is to make the world and the universe revolve around us. Each of us wants the world to revolve around us and to feed our hungry ego. But the whole world keeps going on its own way and just when we think we have found ourselves a little self-esteem., the world stomps right on it.

Now here comes Jesus, God the son, the Word by whom the worlds were made and he says, “Get rid of those useless burdens and come on over here and get under this yoke with me. Let me teach you how to be poor in spirit. Don’t just come to me… but get under my yoke and learn from me and I will teach you. Learn my heart, learn my mind, learn my attitude, learn my way.  And the basic lesson I’m going to teach you is how to be poor in spirit.”

….How to be open, empty, thirsty, yielded to the living God.

And you will learn that nowhere else but under my yoke.”

The easy yoke is to learn Jesus’ childlike faith

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle. I am meek. What does it mean to be meek?

A wimp? Gullible? Naive?  No!

To be meek, simply means to trust God like a little child.

And that’s exactly what God the son did, He emptied himself of his glory and became a child in Mary’s arms. When he grew to manhood his only link with the Eternal Father was childlike faith. The Holy Spirit came to him, filled him, empowered him, guided him, because he kept turning to the father with childlike faith.

It was childlike faith that brought him to the waters of his baptism.

It was childlike faith that drove him out into that terrible wilderness.

It was childlike faith that enabled the Spirit to heal the sick and open the eyes of the blind through him.

It was childlike faith that enabled him to submit to the Father’s will and go to the cross and lay down his life for us, trusting that somehow the Father would bring him through this ordeal and raise him from the dead.

And you say, “Oh, If only I had such childlike faith. If only I could believe that way.”  And he says, “Get under my yoke and I’ll teach you. Stay under my yoke with me and you will soon have the faith of a child.

And your soul will find rest.

And your life will burn with the fire of heaven that will never go out.”

Many of us are looking forward to a time when we will have rest, when the rat race will be over, and the pressure will be off, and when the Lord will come to us, and he will say, “sit at my table. I’m going to serve you.” That time is coming.

But that rest, that we look forward to, that we seek, that we desire….. is already here.

The same joy, the same peace, the same rest of soul which will be ours at the banquet in the Kingdom …

Is waiting for us now.

Is waiting to be the atmosphere we breathe through the remaining days that we have on this earth.

Is waiting to fill us with the power we need to go out there and set the captives free.

The rest of soul that all of us so desperately need… is waiting for us right now under the yoke….

Where we carry Jesus’ burden with him.

Where we labor at his side.

Where we learn his poverty of spirit.

Where we learn his childlike faith.

 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Message: Richard Bieber  1988..Edited and formatted 2023 by Maranatha Mirror    Shareable/Printable Copy    Featured Artist: Courtesy of Maria Lang Garcia at
Prayer: Oh Lord, that we would come to you in our weariness, with all these burdens we carry, all these troubles that oppress us and weigh us down. That we would take this easy yoke, this wondrous rest, this closeness to you that you have for us. Help us to stay with you, always stay with you in your prayer, your weeping, your compassion, and your burden for others. May we remain next to you under your yoke, so we may learn from you in every way. Help us to learn to joyfully labor at your side, working wherever you take us. Teach us to be humble, ever willing to let our egos go and to be consumed by the Living God. And may our faith remain firm, trusting, childlike for life…knowing that when we take your easy yoke, when we learn from you… we will find the joy, the peace, and the rest we so desperately need…now Lord…now in this life. Amen.  Maranatha Mirror

 Posted January 6, 2023



So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.   (2 Corinthians 4:16)

A problem that almost every one of us has is that grasping spiritual truth with our heads is far beyond what we have turned into substance in our lives. 

We grasp the theology. 

We understand marvelous truths….but we’re not living them. 

We can talk about the joy of the Lord, we can write books about it, read books about it, create art about it, and even taste it from time to time when the assembly gathers. 

But it’s quite another thing to have the joy of the Lord as a constant burning flame in our hearts….

-when we get up for another rainy day,

-when our spouse has disappointed us again,

-when our best friend keeps letting us down,

-when our house is broken into,

-when we have to work at a job where there’s corruption on every side of us,

   – and in the midst of these to still have the joy of the Lord burning in our hearts.

There were a lot of people in the apostle Paul’s day who had just as much insight as Paul did and who had a grasp of Scripture which was just as good, if not better, than his. But Paul had one thing which made him effective where many other people failed.  Paul translated his in­sight into actual living…. so that he was the embodiment of every­thing he taught. 

How did he do it? Listen to him….

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Paul’s body is getting older and he’s being hassled on all sides by many problems. He has aches and pains. Yet every day this inner self comes up fresh, new, unsullied, clean and bright, burning with the joy of the Lord in the midst of chaos. Paul can’t be sunk.

His outer self is looked upon as an imposter, his inner self is true.

His outer self is unknown by the world, his inner self is well-known by God.

His outer self is dying, his inner self is always alive.

His outer self is being punished, his inner self cannot be killed.

His outer self is sorrowful, his inner self is always rejoicing.

His outer self is poor,  his inner self is making many rich.

His outer self has nothing, his inner self possesses all things.

When Paul talks about being renewed, day-by-day, he’s talking about his relationship with Jesus. Every day that Paul breaks conformity with this world, he’s renewed in the spirit of his mind.

One of the best ways to understand this miracle of daily renewal is to think of it as an exchange in which we bring our old self (the old Adam) to Jesus, and lay it at the foot of the cross, and in exchange for it we get a new self.

One of the best descriptions in Scripture of what Jesus will do for each of us is found in Isaiah 61. Usually when we read this passage we think of it as a description of our mini­stry, and it is that. But to minister to other people in this manner, this first must become Jesus’ ministry to us, daily.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; 

That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.  (Isaiah 61 (NKJV))

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Jesus…

   -to give us good news,

  – to bind up our wounds,

  – to preach deliverance to us,

  – to set us free from captivity,

  – to comfort us in our mourning.

When He begins to do this, the exchange takes place:

  – He exchanges beauty for ashes,

  – He exchanges the oil of joy for mourning,

  – He exchanges the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness and gloom,

…. so that we might be trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, 

…. So that we might be able to go forth and build the old ruins, and raise up the former desolations, and repair the wasted cities, the desolations of many generations.

There cannot be a more accurate description of the situation in which every one of us finds him­self or herself. 

Ruined cities, devastated families, wasted nations are the result of the desolation of generations of evil that are now beginning to bear fruit. 

If we are going to live in the midst of this death and survive, (spiritually as well as physically) and bring it some healing and do some building…. we ourselves will have to be renewed every day by God. 

There will have to be an exchange in which we bring the old self, all the evil that is in us, and in its place receive something fresh from God every day

To console those that mourn ….

How can we look out over this world, and observe what is really taking place in human hearts, and not mourn?

How can we look into our own hearts and face the truth about the ugly, evil, twisted, warped, weird thoughts that go through our heads, and not mourn? 

When we begin to see, with the eyes that God gives us, we no longer go around criti­cizing, we find ourselves unable to do anything but mourn. 

We begin to weep.

 It is with this frame of mind that we have to approach the Throne of our God every single day.

 To give them beauty for ashes…. 

  We bring….. 

the ashes of our self-lust, 

the ashes of our self-righteousness, 

the ashes of our good intentions which so seldom materialize, 

the ashes of our own bigotry, our deceitfulness, our bitterness, our compro­mise, 
and we lay these ashes at His feet. 

Only when we are willing to lay our ashes at His feet, instead of what we think to be our own righteousness, is He able then to give us beauty….to exchange our ashes for His beauty, the beauty of His presence, of His holiness which is clean and pure and unsullied and unfailing.

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord and to in­quire in his temple.     (Psalm 27:4)

If we don’t see the beauty of the Lord every single day in His temple, our vision is warped. Pretty soon all we see is ugliness everywhere we look, and we’re overwhelmed by that ugliness. 

But that’s not necessary, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have the beauty of the Lord re­freshing our vision every single day. 

Don’t be content until, in your prayer life, (and you won’t survive without a prayer life), you are bringing those ashes and laying them down at the feet of the Lord every day and exchanging those ashes for the beauty of His presence.

And you may not be dancing for joy at first, but at least you will know now that you are exchanging those ashes, for the beauty of the Lord coming into your heart.  

The oil of joy for mourning….

Don’t be afraid to mourn before the Lord. 
Don’t be afraid to bring your weeping to Him. 

We’ve done most of our crying and weeping in total secret. Nobody has any idea how much mourning has been going on in your heart while your face has been smiling.

But now we bring this to the Lord and He transforms our mourning of self-pity into the mourning of repentance. 

Now I begin to weep; not because everybody has let me down, but seeing now with the eyes God has given me, I start to weep because I have let others down — I have especially disappointed my Heavenly Father. 

I begin to weep because I see that I am part of the desolation of generations.

 0 God, I’m a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.    (Isaiah 6)

And as we bring our mourning to Him, He takes our weeping of repentance into His heart and it’s gone. And in exchange, He puts His joy into our hearts, He anoints us with the oil of joy.

There’s no reason why this cannot be our portion every day. 

The only reason we don’t experience this anointing of joy every single day is because of our inconsistency, our lethargy, our un­belief, our lukewarmness. 

We don’t have to settle for this. We don’t have to walk day after day under a cloud of gloom. If we will bring our weeping to Him. He’ll transform it into joy. If we will go to Him in the morning and say,

“Lord, I will not be able to get through this day and do one constructive thing unless my heart is filled with your joy instead of my tears,”

He’ll do it. He absolutely will do it. He’s only waiting for us to ask Him

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness….

We are not being told that we are to pretend to praise God when our hearts are heavy, as so many people today are telling us to do. As if we are supposed to go through the motions of praise while our hearts are breaking. That’s not what we’re being told to do here. What we are being told to do is to bring our spirit of heaviness to Him, to admit that it’s there. Don’t pre­tend anything, don’t be jumping for joy saying, “Praise the Lord”, trying to work yourself up into something. Bring to Him what’s really in your heart. If it’s the spirit of heaviness, that’s what you bring Him.

And when you bring the spirit of heaviness before Him, 
Jesus reaches down with His own hand and clothes you in the garment of praise.

Why should I be walking around pretending to be full of praise while my heart is heavy as lead, when I can have the real thing? 

I can bring to Him my heavy heart and my gloomy spirit and have it replaced by His own hand, with a garment of praise. 

How important it is for us to be honest with Him! Don’t be satisfied with that spirit of heaviness!

Take it to Him, and soon He will have you, with all the company of heaven lauding, praising, magnifying His glorious name. Then you’re ready to go out and minister.

That they may be called trees of righteousness….

That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.

And oh, how this world is in need of people who can heal, and who can build. Nobody is going to rebuild the ruined cities and raise up the former desolations who has not first learned daily to be renewed by God. And those who try without getting that daily renewal are sure to succumb to despair or to be sidetracked with temptation of one kind or another.  


If we come to Him, every day,  He will give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness.

Should there be someone reading this who has never actually experienced these things, it’s not too much to promise you, in the name of the Lord, that you can taste them now,

– Bring to Him your ashes as you go to prayer and He will give you His beauty.

– Bring Him your weeping and your mourning and the anguish of your heart, and He will fill you with His joy.

– Bring Him that heaviness, that gloom, that is weighed down upon your spirit and He will clothe you and send you forth wrapped in the garment of praise.


He will make you trees of righteousness…
equipping you to raise up desolations and rebuild ruins.
Message: Richard Bieber  1976…Edited and formatted 2023 by Maranatha Mirror    Audio Version
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Featured Artist: Courtesy and kindness of  Jane Spencer at The Secret Place on Facebook
Prayer: Dear, sweet Lord, Oh how we need this daily exchange, Oh how we need you to transform our ashes, our shame, our guilt, our mourning, our faintness, and our gloom into beauty, joy, and praise. Keep us from losing heart in the midst of the ruins, the waste, the desolation, and the evil that is bearing much fruit at these times. Without your help, without your mercy, without your Spirit we cannot face it, let alone battle and conquer it. We come before you, we lay ourselves at your feet, letting go of our own sense of righteousness, baring our brokenness, and admitting our weaknesses asking that you exchange them for your presence, your beauty, your holiness. Give us your good news, speak to us, bind up our wounds, deliver us, free us from our captivity, and bring us your comfort. And Lord, may we arise from our daily exchange with you, with such joy burning in our hearts that we can do the same thing and can raise up the desolations, transform the waste, and rebuild the ruins. Amen.
Maranatha Mirror

 Posted December 30, 2022



In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of She-al′ti-el, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: This people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.”  Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet,  “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?  Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared.  You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes.

 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared.  Go up to the hills and bring wood and build my house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory, says the Lord. You have looked for much, and lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while you busy yourselves each with his own house.

Haggai 1:1-9

The thing those people didn’t understand was that their personal destiny was tied to the destiny of the temple, whether they liked it or not

They could live in their paneled houses, but as long as they lived in their panel houses, while that temple still lay there in ruins, their lives and their paneled houses would be empty.

Build the temple.

Raise it up from its ruins.

Transform it into a real house of prayer.

Cause it to be a habitation of God through the Spirit in the midst of his people.

Then their lives too, their individual-personal lives, will begin to enjoy…

the blessing,

the peace,

the healing,

the quickening,

the life of God.

These people had the idea that they could have their own little private contract with God and so avoid the trouble in the work of having to get together and build that temple again. That temple, which had been destroyed some 70 years before and burned.

But as long as that temple lay there in ruins, their personal lives would be empty and barren.

And so Haggai the prophet comes and says as much. He says, “you’re never going to have personal revival, any kind of real life, until you first take care of corporate revival, until you get together, become one, and raise that temple once again”.

And to us the Prophet Haggai says basically the same thing.

“You want personal revival, you want personal vision, then raise up a true dwelling place for the Spirit of God in your midst, that temple built with living stones.

Contribute something of yourself for the building up, the true building up the Body of Christ and then you yourself will come to life.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:19-22)

If there’s any message that the Spirit of God has been bringing to our fellowships, if there’s any message that can be regarded as coming from the Lord as a way to begin this new year… it’s this…. That for those of us who have been called by God to function in the Body of Christ, in our congregations is that our personal destiny is tied much more closely to the destiny of that flock than we have ever dreamed.

Most of us are rugged individualists. We go out there and take care of business on our jobs and in our ministries. And we look upon our assemblies as a check in point, a place where we touch base with each other, worship the Lord, break bread, and then get out there and get to it again.

And it’s good that we see that the major place for the exercising of our ministries, our serving God, as being outside the walls. But what we haven’t understood as clearly as we are now being shown, is that our effectiveness outside the walls, our power to bring good news to the poor, deliverance to the captives, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed … is dependent on what goes on among us, what happens in our fellowships, in our relationships with each other.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Now the dwelling place of God in the Spirit … is the Body.

It’s this living temple made of living stones.

It’s this organism of which each of us is meant to be a member, a part.

The true dwelling place of the Spirit of God in this world is not the individual believer, the true dwelling place of the Spirit of God on this earth is the body, the unified body.

Now our physical bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit only to the extent that we are in fact joined to the larger body.

Put it another way. If we are individually failing to contribute to the life of the Body, to edify it, to build it up, then we’re dreaming if we think we’re going to have any kind of healing for the sickness of the world out there.

If our relationships with each other are distant, indifferent, if these relationships are broken by resentments or attitudes, then the Spirit is hindered.  Hindered not only when we’re in here trying to worship God, but also hindered when we’re out there, seeking to proclaim the Kingdom of God and manifest the Kingdom of God in our daily life.

And the truth is that our corporate life, our body life, our life together, this life into which we have all been called to function as members of each other in this body… is in many ways like that temple, that ruined temple, that greeted the people of Judah when they finally came back from captivity in Babylon.

The situation is similar. If we are as busy with our own houses as they were with theirs, while the temple lays in ruins.

And if we’re busy with our own houses, taking care of our own lives, and our own affairs, while the body itself is incomplete… then our individual lives are also going to suffer. Maybe you don’t think of it as in ruins, but we can agree it’s incomplete.

The Body life will never be what it was meant to be until we get our priorities right.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider how you have fared.  Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory”, says the Lord.

Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house. Now we all agree that the one who builds the church is Jesus.

On this rock I will build my church and the gates of death will not prevail against it.

But he builds his church through us. Each of us contributes to the life of the Body, edifies the Body, builds it up.

Go up to the hills and bring wood and build my house

Each of us is called, first of all, to contribute to the life of the Body.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…   (Ephesians 4:11-12)

And we will be alive and come to the knowledge of the Son of God, and be built up like this, only when each of us sees himself as a gift to the Body. We may not all be apostles, or evangelists, or prophets… but every member of the Body is a gift to the Body.

Each one is ordained by God to convey life to the Body.

  We don’t gather together primarily to take and receive, but primarily to give, to give life

   And we will give life to the Body when we go up to the hills and bring wood.

That is, when we go up to Calvary and join ourselves to the death of Jesus, allowing his death to work in our mortal flesh, so that the life of the Lord may flow out of us into the Body.

And this is what Paul described. So clearly all through second Corinthians, but particularly in this passage …

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.  (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)

What was Paul doing? He was going up to the hills and getting wood. He was joining himself to the death of Jesus, allowing the death of the Lord to work in his mortal flesh, to slay it.  So that through him life could flow out into the Body.

And when we do the same. when we take the trouble, to die to ourselves enough to take the trouble to pray for our brothers and sisters. When we take the trouble to really go out of our way for them, to really care about them, weep with them, rejoice with them, decrease that they may increase.  Take all of their burdens and then humble ourselves enough so that they can also take hold of our burdens. Then we’re conveying life to the Body, we’re bringing it to life.

Go up to the hills and bring wood and build my house.

Each of us is called by the Lord to minister, or to convey, or to sustain unity in the Body.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Now there’s only one church worldwide, only one Body. Every assembly of believers is a manifestation, or meant to be a manifestation, of that one Body.

But when walls come up between us, as they do, and have, and when we drift away from each other in indifference, then that unity is marred and destroyed.

On the other hand, when I join myself to the cross and allow the death of the Lord to work in me, I can then approach the Body with something that’s going to preserve that unity.

And each of us is responsible to preserve the unity of the Body, to sustain it somehow. If I live under the power of the cross and by that power draw near to my brothers and sisters, with my prayers, with my physical presence, with my encouragement…then I preserve unity.

If, on the one hand, I busy myself with myself, and on the other hand become negative toward everybody else (often when we do the one, we do the other), not only do I suffer, the Body suffers.

Because whether I like it or not, the destiny of my life and the destiny of the Bodies life are tied together.

Go up to the hills and bring wood and build my house.

Each of us is called by God to contribute to the growth of the Body.  This is not about numerical. It’s not a matter of you know how bulky it is, but whether it has muscle, whether it’s able to get the jo b done in the Body.  And each of us is called to contribute to that kind of growth, to growing up, to grow up in the Spirit.

So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  

Every new gospel that comes along and offers mammon and God at the same time.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.  (Ephesians 4:14-16)

And so the Body is built up…

when we speak the truth in love to each other,

when we fit in with each other,

when we allow ourselves to be knit together.

So each of us has to ask ourselves…

“Am I really contributing to that kind of growth?

 Am I living under the power of the cross in my relationship with my brothers and sisters?

 Am I speaking the truth in love?

 Is the body in fact being built up through me”?

Go up to the hills and bring wood and build my house.

Each of us is called to contribute to the ministry of the Body

From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

So when every part is working properly, what is the Body doing?

It’s doing precisely what Jesus did when he was here in flesh and blood.

Corporately, now, we together do what he did….

We bring good news to the poor.

Deliverance to the captives.

Sight to the blind.

Freedom to the oppressed.

And each of us contributes to the Body’s ability to do this.

The more we serve each other, the more the Body together will be able to serve the purpose of God out there in the world.

The more we wash each other’s feet, the more the body will have the cleansing power of the Lord for the world out there.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider how you have fared.  Go up to the hills and bring wood and build my house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory”, says the Lord. You have looked for much, and lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while you busy yourselves each with his own house.

The time has come for all of us, without exception, to repent of our preoccupation with our own house and our own life. And to get on with building a habitation of God in the Spirit.

If we will get serious about going up to the hill and bringing wood and building a house, we will see the glory of the Lord among us, in our fellowships and in our personal private lives as never before.

We ask Lord God that you show us what to do to enable us to bring wood and build your house. That you would help us to be delivered from our fear of becoming to bound up with other people, our fear that it is going to impinge on and limit our freedom. Show us the bondage we are always in, when we try to stay free. Help us to become bond slaves of Jesus and true servants of each other in practical ways.

In the coming year especially, we just look for this and we look for your guidance and help so that we can begin to do this far more effectively than we ever have in the past. Amen.   (REB)

 Message and Prayer: REB- New Years Day 1984

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Featured Art: Ephesians art from Full of Eyes, the Illustrations (stills) are from the Bible Project’s Haggai video and photos are from Pixabay

 Posted December 23, 2022


The wise men saw a star.

  Everybody could see that star if they knew where to look.

It was probably a cluster of stars lined up close to each other.

It wasn’t like the star you see on the Christmas cards.

It was a star among millions.

But these Gentile astrologers knew what it meant.

         It meant the Jews had a new king.

         The Messiah was born.

         “It’s the beginning of a new era”, they said.

         “We must go and worship him.”

How come those Gentile astrologers understood the meaning of that star while nobody else did?

No doubt these wise men were really smart, but it wasn’t their smarts that helped them here.

No doubt they had studied the stars for years with their charts of the heavens — they knew how to read events in the stars. But it wasn’t this knowledge that helped them here.

If you were to ask these men how they knew that that bright star in the east meant the Jewish Messiah,

they’d tell you they weren’t just studying astrology all these years, they were seeking for something beyond the heavens.

They could see what others could not because their eyes had been opened by God.

There is such a thing as “seeing the light”. “He saw the light”, we say almost jokingly of some ruined man who’s finally figured out how to stay sober, after wasting years of his life on skid row.

But if we took the trouble to get to know this man, we’d discover that’s exactly what happened to him.

This guy got a glimpse at what the wise men saw.

He saw the light and it changed his life.

Only God knows our hearts. We can’t judge each other.

But it’s a simple fact that in most of our churches some people see the light and others don’t.

Once you see the light, there’s no way you can be casual about it.

It gets hold of you.

It moves you and shakes you.

Even if you try to push it aside and turn your back on it, it haunts you until you get on your camel, so to speak, like those wise men and start riding toward the light.

On the other hand, if you don’t see the light, then this is just “church” or “Christianity”.

It’s a nice thing to do, It’s a nice thing to believe, but no big deal. “I’ll go if I feel like it and if I don’t, I won’t.”

And really, why should you get excited if spiritually all you see in front of you is a gray mist.

So what is it that causes some people to see the light while others see nothing? 

How come the wise men saw it and the scholars of Israel didn’t?

Some time later there was this man, Nicodemus. He was impressed by the things Jesus was saying and doing. He knew God was at work in this prophet from Nazareth. But he still couldn’t figure it out.

So Nicodemus came to Jesus by night searching for answers. And Jesus told him the one thing he needed to know.

       “Unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:33

“If you want to see who I am and what I’m about, you’ve got to get a new set of eyes, and you’ll only have these new eyes when God’s Spirit is living inside you.”

Now there are those who claim that some people are predestined to have vision while others are not. 

“The Spirit opens some eyes and leaves others to stumble around in their blindness.” In other words, “If you can’t see the light, it just means that you’re not one of the elect. Too bad for you!”

No — just as surely as God desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, he desires that all should have eyes to see.

God doesn’t want a single one of us left out.

That’s why the child was born: to gives us eyes.


“I have come as light into the world that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”    (John 12:46)


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind.”  (Luke 4:18)

— To give us eyes!

His Spirit is among us now to give us eyes.

But whether it’s the wise men, Nicodemus, or you or I….

There are four things we have to do if we want God to open our eyes — and give us light.

If we want light, we’re going to have to;

  1. Ask for it
  2. Believe for it
  3. Pursue it
  4. Walk in it.

Now if you’re satisfied with things as they are, go ahead and be satisfied.

But if you want light from God….

  1. Ask for it

You have to ask for it. You’re going to have to ask God to open your eyes. “Fill me with your Spirit, Lord, so I can see!”

And even after you get the light, you never stop praying that prayer.

That’s what Nicodemus was doing. His heart was crying out for light until he stumbled through the darkness to Jesus. “You need the Spirit”, says Jesus. Pretty soon, we see Nicodemus walking with new eyes. Because he asked!

Nobody gets turned away.

Everybody who asks receives.

 “If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”     (Luke 11:13)

You want light? Ask for it. And keep asking until you know you mean it.

  1. Believe it

If you want light, believe it. Believe that God will keep his word to you.

He promised that if you ask for the Holy Spirit, you’ll receive the Spirit.

If there is the slightest crack of humility in your soul, the Spirit of God will come to you and open your eyes. 

Believe it!

Don’t go by your feelings.

Don’t be waiting for bells to ring and whistles to blow.

Just believe that God keeps his word and pretty soon your eyes will open.

The confirmation that you have received what you asked for is that you will begin to see the glory of God right in the midst of the darkness of this world —

— just like that star.

You will see the presence of the Son of God scattering the darkness of your own heart

just like that star.

Now you’re beginning to see the light.

  1.  Pursue it

Pursue the light! The wise men didn’t just sit around and admire the star, they went where it told them to go. For the light they were looking for wasn’t hanging out there in space —

   — it was right here on earth, waiting for them in Bethlehem, and they pursued it.

The real light was not the star, but that child.


The apostle Paul never stopped pursuing the light. “I know Jesus now”, says Paul, “but I need to know him better. I need to know him in the power of his resurrection, in the fellowship of his sufferings — 

— becoming like him in his death.”

So Paul presses on.

We need to do the same. There’s always more ahead.

Once we have the light we keep pressing on for more. And we get more.

“To him who has will more be given. And from him who has not, even that which he has will be taken away.”

There is no such thing as standing still in this business. You’re either moving toward the light and getting closer all the time or you’re sinking back into the darkness.

  1. Walk in it.

Once you have the light, walk in it.

The Spirit of the Lord is showing you the way.

A step of faith he wants you to take.

A change of attitude.

And now it’s a matter of doing it. Don’t think about it. Don’t talk about it — do it!

Walk in the light. 

Maybe there’s somebody you need to get right with.

Maybe you need to stop looking at everybody with a critical eye.

Maybe there’s a habit that needs to change.

God’s light is power.

You can do this thing now. Just take that step.

“This is the message we heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”    (1 John 1:5-9)

 Jesus came to give us eyes to see the light.

He came to be our light and guide us away from the darkness.

But there are four things we need to do,

         –  ask for the light and keep asking,

         –  believe for the light and keep believing,

         –  pursue it,

         –  walk in it.

 The glory of God is already here right in the middle of all this darkness —

— just like that star — for those who have eyes to see.


Message: Richard Bieber exact date unknown, but most likely 2004
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Prayer: Holy Lord, like the wisemen may we see and seek your light. Open our eyes and fill us with your Spirit so we can truly see your perfect beauty. Strengthen our belief that we will find you, that we will dwell in your presence, and yes, that your presence will scatter the darkness within us. Lord, give us an overwhelming need to keep pursuing you, to keep pressing in for more of you. And Lord, may we faithfully continue to walk in the light, to choose your ways over the ways of darkness and in that may we see your glory, live in your holy power wherever you lead us. Amen.
Maranatha Mirror

 Posted December 16, 2022


 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”  When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;  and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.  They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:

    ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

   for from you shall come a ruler

  who will govern my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared;  and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”  When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy;  and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.

Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 

Matthew 2:1-11

The wise men brought treasure, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But they also came seeking treasure, heavenly treasure. They traveled an awesome distance and at tremendous expense to them, to find this treasure. Now as they look into the manger, tears streamed down their ancient faces. For they saw in this infant what almost nobody else could see.

They saw heavenly treasure contained in a tiny fragile, earthen vessel.

And as they worshiped this treasure, which was contained in this ordinary thing, this baby, they saw glory coming from his face, not with the natural eye, but with another kind of eye.  And as they saw this and worshiped, the glory that was in this baby flowed into their hearts like a river of healing light.

They went on their way rejoicing because in a mystery, the glory which had been in this child, and is in this child, had come in and touched and changed their lives. They went back to their homeland to spend the few remaining years that they had on this earth to prepare the way for the Messiah in the East.

About 30 years later, this baby, now a man, spoke these words.

The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys the field.

Matthew 13:44

The treasure is always hidden in the field, always wrapped in an earthen vessel. It’s always found in something so ordinary that you could walk past it 1000 times and never see it, never notice it, until you have eyes to see. But when you see that treasure, really see it, how can you not sell all that you have to buy the field?

That’s what the wise men were really doing. Now they saw the sign of the treasure, this brilliant light in the heavens, but they didn’t worship the light that they saw. They followed the sign. And when they finally got to the treasure, there it was wrapped in a baby. A baby like every other baby that needed to be nursed, changed, washed, held, protected. And as they worshiped this baby, these men sold all they had to buy the field for this treasure. That’s what they were doing.

And we need to learn three lessons from these wise men. To….

Behold the treasure in the earthen vessel.

Receive the treasure into the earthen vessel of our own bodies.

Give the treasure to the earthen vessels around us.

Behold the treasure in the earthen vessel

First of all, we have to learn to behold the treasure in the earthen vessel, to see it. To see that the heavenly treasure is always contained in an earthen vessel. And to do this we need to know what we’re looking for. Many of us are still looking for the fireworks and the chills and the thrills. Many of us are still hoping that we’re going to see some kind of blinding light, like the apostle Paul saw, or at least an Angel like Mary saw. But it wasn’t the blinding light that changed Paul’s life, and it wasn’t the Angel that changed Mary’s life.

It was the glory that came from the face of this child

This is the thing that changes us. And keeps changing us when we see it.

For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthian 4:6

When the wise men saw the star, they didn’t just get their telescopes out and analyze it. But they followed where the star led, where it pointed. They read the meaning of the sign and pursued it until they finally could see the glory. They kept going until they saw the glory shining out of the face of this ordinary child.

And we need to learn to do the same, don’t settle for anything less. Don’t be satisfied until you see the glory. And don’t be confused by the fact that the glory always is contained in the ordinary. No, they weren’t looking for fireworks in heaven. They weren’t looking for spiritual thrills, they weren’t looking for lots of bang and boom and noise and crash. They were looking for glory. And they had enough sense to know that that glory is always wrapped in something quite earthly. And when they found it, they worshipped.

Now if that glory made itself known to those Gentile wise men, it will make itself known to us, if we seek it.

Seek it and you’re going to find it. You will see the glory of God in the face of Christ.

You will see it.

Somehow you will see it.

And when you see it, you will not be able to resist, joyfully, selling all you have… to buy the field with the treasure.

Receive the treasure into the earthen vessel of our own bodies

The second thing we need to learn to do is take the treasure into the earthen vessel of our own body…in an act of faith.

For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.

2 Corinthian 4:6-7

These wise men were not tourists. They didn’t travel all that distance and then whip out their cameras and take pictures of each other in front of the manger to show all their friends back home. They were there on business, and their business was to worship. What they did when they found the treasure was bow down. They took off their shoes, they became low, so low that the glory in this infant could flow from the child into them.

Now they gave him gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh which were prophetic gifts. showing what was lying ahead for this child who was to become a king in the highest sense of the word.  Who was to become a priest in the highest sense of the word.  Who was to become a sacrificial lamb in the highest sense of the word.

But the gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh meant something more than that. These gifts meant that these men were selling out. They were selling all they had to buy the field. They were joyfully making room for this glory to come into the earthen vessel of their bodies.

And that’s what we need to learn to do.

We need to learn that no matter where we feel we are on our spiritual journey, to open up wide, and to make room, so that the glory of the Lord can flow into our aging, dying vessels and to let the glory of heaven, which is eternal, to come into us. And we need to make room for this to happen.  We need to behold it, to receive it, to make room for it, and push out anything that gets in the way. Don’t let anything interfere with this.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. 

If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, 

I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20

“I’m going to make myself known to you. I’m knocking on the door. If you’ll open the door, I’ll come in. If you will give me any kind of welcome at all I will visit you.

If you will call on my name. I will answer you”.

So we’re talking not about accepting a doctrine, holding a certain doctrinal position. We’re talking about receiving the Living Spirit of the living Yeshua, into the vessel of our body, into our lives.

Letting him come in.

Letting him take charge.

And even if we don’t fully understand what that all means and say “Lord, please take over. Take over the whole house, every room, not just the front parlor but the whole thing, every room in this house and cause ….

Everything that’s evil.

Everything that’s deceitful.

Everything that’s dishonest.

Everything that’s shallow.

Everything that’s false.

Everything that’s of death

…. to be driven out by your glory”.

And it will be done. It’ll be done afresh today.

Give the treasure to the earthen vessels around us

And then finally we have to learn to give this glory, which comes into us, to the earthen vessels around us, to those ready to take it. To give this precious treasure to the earthen vessels who are hungering for and thirsting for and seeking it.

And we may not think that there are any such people around, but they are. They’re all over the place.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed.

Always carrying about in the body, this body, this earthen vessel the dying of the Lord Jesus, so that this heavenly treasure, the life of Jesus, the glory of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthian 4:7-10

We really don’t know what happened to the wise men when they went back to their homeland. But we can be sure of this, that the heavenly treasure that visited them took control of their lives.

The heavenly treasure always rules the earthen vessel because the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.

So that if I open myself to the Spirit of the Messiah and he comes in, then my life is no longer mine, but his.

I become his servant. My life becomes his servant.  And now the earthen vessel, this body, this life has its purpose in taking the heavenly treasure around, giving it, yielding it to those nearby who are hungering and thirsting, who are seeking glory, looking for glory.

And there are many such people out there. And all we need to do is share this and give it.

But to do this it costs us something. Every time it costs us something.   

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken struck down, but not destroyed.

Every time we are afflicted. Every time we are perplexed for his sake, persecuted for his sake, struck down for his sake, the death of Christ is working in us in a way that brings life to somebody around us. Somebody nearby who’s looking for his glory.

Marcus Rodriguez, and Rick Klees, and I went into a bar Saturday passing out these little tracts that we write.  We went to the back of El Padrino’s and as this guy was coming away from the pool table,  I offered him a tract and he grunted and looked at me like he wanted to hit me. “What is that?” he said. I said” it’s good news about Jesus”. He started to move in my direction and as he lifted his fist to prepare to hit me when somebody else came up from behind, at the pool table, and said “let me have one of those”. And we were very grateful that he came at that moment. Rick said, “I knew it was coming. It was right there this time”.

And there is no guarantee that it wouldn’t have happened, that we wouldn’t have gotten struck down, but at least that time we got a reprieve. Hostility like that is not pleasant. Who likes that? We don’t say “thank you Lord, I got persecuted”. We may say it later, but not at the time, not right away.

But whenever hostility like that happens, when persecution happens, there’s always somebody who receives a blessing out of it. And I truly believe that this man who stepped in there and kept a fight from breaking out by diffusing the situation, was blessed. This man was blessed. He was touched by the glory of God.

We don’t have to make them repeat the four spiritual laws, or the seven steps to salvation, or the sinner’s prayer, or this or that or lead them into some program, into some track that we have for them to travel.  All we have to do is be there, be there and then give them whatever we have to give them.

Sometimes it’s a word. Sometimes it’s a prayer. Sometimes it’s a touch of healing.

And as we do this, the life of God, the glory of God flows out of the earthen vessel of our own bodies, into the thirsting, earthen vessels out there.

May God give us the grace to follow the example of these wise men, to have the eyes to see the glory that’s always wrapped in the earthen vessel.  

May God help us to keep seeking and not quit seeking until we see the glory wrapped in the earthen vessel and help us to keep seeing that glory all the time. To help us not to look for the fireworks and the thrills and the chills, but to look for the glory in the earthen vessel, to find it hidden in a field.

May God also help us, having seen it, to open ourselves up to receive it.

May God help us, having received it, to begin to share it, to give it to the ones around us who are hungering and thirsting for something real. 

For this is the only treasure that will last. 

This is the only treasure that will be here when heaven and earth have passed away.

May God give us eyes to see it. And may he give us the hearts to settle for nothing less.

Message Richard Bieber 1987, Christmas Eve. Transcribed 2022 by Maranatha Mirror
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Prayer: Yes Lord, give us the eyes to see this precious treasure. The eyes and the insight to see it in earthen vessels…wrapped in the ordinary, in humility. And oh, Lord give us the thirst, the passion to continue seeking it, to continue pursuing it, until it fills us, until we can continually keep our eyes and hearts fixed on your glory. And until that glory, that treasure within these weak, earthen vessels becomes a healing balm, a drawing force to the other earthen vessels all around us. And yes Lord, bring us to the point in which we settle for nothing less. Amen.
Maranatha Mirror

 Posted December 9, 2022


Let’s say there’s this person who walks all over you.  Takes advantage of you whenever they need you, and then forgets all about you until the next time they want to use you.  This goes on for a long time…  but it happens once too often. One day you wake up and say to yourself, “I’m not going to be their doormat any more.  That’s it!” So the next time this person comes along and wants to use you as their little doormat, you smile and say, “Sorry, I’m not available.”

Then one day the Lord comes by and says, “Yes, you’ve been a doormat long enough for people who have their own agenda…  but Now I have a job for you.  I want you to be a welcome mat for my kingdom.   

Not a doormat.

A welcome mat.

A place where people can meet me and find their way to the Father’s house.  You are going to be a welcome mat for the kingdom of God.”

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

                                                         Matthew 5:46-48

When our daughters were in high school, they began spending time with some Jesus Freaks.  Jean and I could not deny that good things were happening in their lives.  But we wanted to be sure that they weren’t being drawn into a cult. So one Sunday night, with their permission, we went to one of their meetings.  Wall-to-wall young people, crammed into this house on a cold winter night, praising God and studying the Word.  Awesome.

But the thing that impressed us most about these kids was the way they welcomed everybody who came.  No exceptions.  No matter who you were, or what you looked like, “Welcome!  Come on in!” 

It was like the angels welcoming newcomers to heaven.  

You stepped in the door, and it was like the heavenly Father saying, “Welcome home!” through whatever servant happened to be nearby.

 “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 “You must be perfect.”   

Jesus is not talking about “sinless perfection,” a life without flaws.  

He’s talking about the Father’s perfect welcoming love.  

His offer of life to all. 

“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Everybody’s sin!  He died for everybody!

Of course he won’t force you to come into his Banquet Hall.  If you don’t want to come, he won’t drag you in against your will.  But he wants you to know that you are welcome.  “Come on in!  All that is mine is yours”!

That’s his word to each of us, as we read these words.  

“Welcome home!  I’ve been waiting for you to get here.  Come on in.  Hey! bring the best robe and put it on them!  Put a ring on their finger, shoes on their feet!  Kill the fatted calf!  We’re going to celebrate”!

That’s how the God of the universe looks at you and me as we come stumbling into his Banquet Hall with humble hearts. 

You wonder why those people would drop what they were doing, stuff some bread in a bag, and chase off to the hillside to be with Jesus of Nazareth—thousands of them!   

Yes they came for healing.  They were drawn by his powerful words.  

But there was something more.

Jesus made each of these souls feel the welcome of heaven.  No one was turned away.  No one was put down.  “This is the kingdom of God, this is the vestibule of Heaven!  Come on in!”  

And they came.

And this is still how it works.  When the Spirit of the Lord Jesus is alive in a fellowship, people are drawn.  Just like they were drawn to those hillsides of Galilee.  I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes.  And I’m sure it’s happening at this moment in many, many places—perhaps where you are.  

If the Lord Jesus is alive in our fellowship, and we allow him to have his way with us, we will see people being drawn.  

Without gimmicks.  Without promotion.  

  They’ll just come.  

     Men, women, young people, old people, children.

They themselves won’t be able to figure out what’s pulling them.  They’ll be drawn like those fish swimming into the net after Jesus told Peter to let down his nets for a catch.

And the power of the cross which draws them, (“And I when I am lifted up [on the cross] will draw all people to myself.”) will express itself in one simple way:  the Father’s welcome.  

Where people are gathered around Jesus, it is one place where nobody is rejected, nobody is bypassed. 

 Come on in!  This is the Doorway to Heaven!”

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Lord Jesus is calling each of us to be the Perfect Welcome that draws people into his kingdom….

….The Welcome Mat that draws people to the cross and heals them. 

 And to be that Welcome Mat for the Kingdom, there are only two requirements:

  1. Know that you yourself have been welcomed.  Know this!
  2. Be that welcome for everyone God sends across your path.

First: know that you yourself have been welcomed by God.

 “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Tucked in the back of so many minds, is this idea that if you get too close to Jesus, your fun days are over.  He’s going to rob you of your joy.  He’s going to transform you into a religious creep. This is understandable, when one considers the abundance of “religious” types who cloud the room with gloom as soon as they enter. 

But that’s not how it’s meant to be.   

The man in Jesus’ parable who found treasure hidden in a field did not become a gloomy cloud.  He didn’t stand there and weep, “O, if only I had the money to buy this field!”

In his joy, the man goes out and sells everything he has and buys the field!

The life Jesus gives you, when you let go of your old life, is a thousand times better than anything you ever had before. 

Yes, you will carry a cross.  

Yes, you will put in a good day’s work in the Vineyard.  

Yes, some of your friends may turn away from you.  

But you will have a life like no other!

   Peace which this world cannot give.

   Joy no one can take from you.

   You’re royalty walking down the street.

   You’re a daughter, a son of the King.

   You are under a cloud of glory by day, and a pillar of fire by night.

You have a heavenly Father watching over you, as you walk in his mercy—showing it to others—and as you breathe the breath of his Spirit day and night.

You are living under the welcome of Heaven all the time.  

Never forget it!

Secondly: Be that welcome for everyone God sends across your path.

The life we live under that cloud of glory is very simple: We are to be the Welcome Mat for everyone God sends our way.

 “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

If you have abandoned your life to the Master, he says to you: “You are the light of the world!”  He doesn’t say, “Try your best to be the light.”  

He says, “You are the light!  

God himself shines through  you!  

You are a walking, talking invitation to the Banquet of Heaven. 

Don’t hide it under a bushel.  Let it shine!

As the Father has sent me, so I’m sending you”.  

“Just be there in my name.  You don’t need a sales pitch!  I’ll give you the words you need.  I’ll give you the power you need.  Just be there for the people I send across your path.

Your job is to welcome them to my Banquet Table by letting my peace, my healing, my forgiveness, flow through you to them.”

Some time during the next few days your phone will ring.  Your heart will sink when you hear the voice on the other end.  No, Lord!  Not them!   But then it hits you that this is not a coincidence.  This phone encounter was set up by God.  

So you lift your heart to the Father and cry for help and direction.

Or perhaps you’re in the supermarket.  You look up and see coming toward you the last person on earth you want to see.   In a flash of heavenly insight you realize that this is a God-appointed meeting. 

So you yield.  You soften.  You hold still within and trust God for help.

Nothing dramatic seems to happen.  No bells ring.  No trumpets sound.  

But because you accept this encounter as set up by God, something does happen.  This person receives from God, through you, exactly what they need.  They have been drawn one step closer to glory.  

God is not looking for hot shots to revive his church.

God doesn’t need smooth talkers or wonder-workers to get the job done.

He’s looking for welcome mats.  

People like you and me, who know that we have been welcomed….and who are willing to be there with open hearts for the souls God sends our way. 

Just be that Welcome Mat.

And God himself will do the rest.

Message Richard E. Bieber 2011
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Featured Artist: Anne Cameron Cutri at
Prayer: Lord may we be the welcome mats from heaven that you call us to be. May we offer the same perfect, welcoming love to others that you give to us. May the joy of your welcome to us bubble up with such joy within us, with such awe and thankfulness, with such a burning light that it can’t help but touch the hearts of those you send to us. May your love shine so strongly within us that others will know they are welcomed to your wonderful banquet table. Amen.
Maranatha Mirror

 Posted December 2, 2022


But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.  Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 3:7-12

John the Baptist is saying, “I applied water to your life but the one who comes after me brings fire”.

Two kinds of fire.

Either the fire that heals or the fire that consumes.

The fire that heals.

I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 

The fire that consumes.

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

We all know something about the fire that consumes, the fire of judgment. We know this in our hearts, we are aware, intuitively, that just as surely as one day we’re going to die, one day there will be a judgment of separation of good from evil, an accounting. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and we know it.  He’s going to clear his threshing floor and he’s going to gather his wheat into the granary and the chaff he’s going to burn with unquenchable fire.

What we don’t understand quite so clearly, is that there’s another kind of fire from God that does not destroy.

It cleanses, it heals, it quickens, it refines.

And if we have any hope of escaping the fires of judgment, we need to become well acquainted with this fire that cleanses and heals.

I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. 

   He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 


Moses met God at the Burning Bush, a bush that was inflamed and yet remained green. Now, this flame that Moses saw was the outward manifestation of an inward fire which had been burning within, and upon, and around this man Moses for 40 years in that wilderness of Midian. Refining him. Teaching him what it means to be poor in spirit. Cleansing him. Making him ready to walk with God. And now he’s arrived at the place where the fire has done its work. He sees this burning Bush. It’s time for him to fit into the purpose of God and bring the people of Israel out of bondage. 

Moses was well acquainted with the fire that heals.


Isaiah had a vision of God in the Temple and saw the Lord high and lifted up and he was filled with fear, and he cried out…

 “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.  And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” 

Isaiah 6

And this painful year, this awful year, for Isaiah when King Uzziah died, culminates in the fire cleansing the mouth of this prophet, so that now his mouth is able to speak things he could never say before. 

Isaiah knew the fire that heals.


Daniel lived at the very heart of the Kingdom of Satan, Babylon. You could say he lived at the heart of the heart… because he was in the center of the bureaucracy of Satan, up near Satan’s throne. And never does Daniel complain and say “Get me out of here Lord, I can’t take it anymore. Give me a little break here”. Never does he say this, because all through his life, and it was a long one, there in the middle of all this junk, Daniel is preserved in the midst of hell, his mind, body, and spirit are preserved by the fire of God.

 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.  

The great sea is the multitudes of the earth, multitudes of people, souls of men.

And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.  The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’  After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it.  After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.  I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

Daniel 7:1-8

It’s like Daniel is in Washington DC or Moscow, right up in the upper echelons of government, right near the top decision makers. And he can see, clearly, that the kings of this earth for the most part, are but pawns being pushed around by these giant and grotesque spiritual beasts that control their behavior and dominate it… through their own lust for power, no doubt. That these little horns with eyes and a mouth are kings or people high in government. But Daniel doesn’t get intoxicated by this power, as most people do. He doesn’t get overwhelmed by this because he also sees that all this power, manifested and symbolized by these giant ugly beasts, is still under the authority of the One who sits on a throne of fire.

Daniel sees the fire that heals.

As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. 

And so he sees that these beasts which represent power systems of the earth…. businesses, governments, any kind of power structure …. are under the authority of the One who is on the throne, and that they are already destined for the fire.

“I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking.

This man.

And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.  As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

And so now as the kingdoms of the earth, the power structures of the earth are brought down under the authority of the One who sits on the throne of flame,  the Messiah appears, the one who comes to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 

And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me.  I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things.  ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth.  But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

Daniel 7:9-18

And the saints who shall receive and possess the kingdom forever, forever, and ever are the ones who are baptized by this Messiah with the Holy Spirit… and with fire.

Most of us are already quite aware of the fact that there’s a move of the Spirit going on all over the earth. And with this stirring of the Spirit, there is also an increase of the fire. The Spirit comes to give us new eyes so that we can see God and the things of God. A new mind so that we can think with the mind of Christ, the mind of God, and the thoughts of God. And a new tongue so that we can speak the Word of God with power.

But right in behind the moving of the Spirit, comes the fire. The fire comes to burn all the distractions, and all the pettiness, and all the fear, and all the besetting sins, that undermine what we’re trying to do. So that we can do something valid and effective with these new eyes, this new mind, and this new tongue.  

What is this baptism of fire?

It’s suffering of some kind. 

Nobody likes to talk about it but Jesus talks about it. And we’ve got to look at it too.

Pain, isolation, rejection, opposition, conflict ….

 …. that comes because you’re being faithful and walking in the Spirit of the Lord.

He didn’t promise that if we followed him, it would all be a bowl of cherries.

He promised that there would be fire.

And we need to learn to get accustomed to that, adjust to it and literally welcome it.

Our Lord’s baptism of fire began the very day the Spirit came to him.

He came up out of the river Jordan and received the Spirit, and he did not immediately go into Jerusalem or Galilee and preach the Kingdom and heal the sick. But he was, by the Spirit, driven into the wilderness first… to be tempted by the Devil.

And there, his baptism of fire begins.

That’s where Jesus picks up his cross and he carries it all through his ministry, all the way to the time he gets to Calvary. And it’s this baptism of fire which begins then and continues on through … that makes his baptism with the Spirit so effective.

On the day of Pentecost.

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 

Acts 2

These tongues of fire were the outward sign that now not only has their baptism of the Spirit begun, but also their baptism of fire. And that baptism of fire for them, continues all through their days.

For Peter, it was persecution that began very shortly after Pentecost and took him all the way through the rest of his life until he dies on some kind of cross.

For John, it begins there also and carries him through persecution after persecution, until he ends up on a barren, rocky island in the Aegean Sea as an exile.

For Paul, his baptism of fire begins on the day that Ananias comes and lays hands on him that he might receive the Holy Spirit. And remember, Ananias was already told by the living God, “I’m going to show Paul what great things he must suffer from my namesake”.

God is not sadistic. He’s not trying to put us through pain. But it is through the fire that Paul becomes effective. He’s dogged by all kinds of problems; Weakness of his flesh that keeps him dependent on God and enables the power of God to really move through him.

For many of us… the months, years, decades have brought us fire. There have been problems (along with the blessings) … troubles, conflicts, strains. Sometimes these are invisible to anybody but God. Perhaps nobody in this world has any conception of some of the things that we’ve gone through in the months, years, decades.

What we need to see is that this fire is good, it’s helpful. It’s refining us and healing us so that we can be effective in the work that God is giving us to do. That we are not to run from it, turn our backs, and flee. 

But we are to open our arms and welcome and receive it…. and be transformed by it.

For instance, we go out into the world, into our neighborhoods, our communities, among our friends, our relatives, our workplaces, or wherever we go, and we begin to proclaim the Gospel. We talk about Jesus. And we experience and discover, as we do this,  that people don’t fall on their faces and repent, and say “thanks a lot; Gee, I really appreciate it, that’s wonderful”, and then they vote you the hero of the city. What happens is that only a small percentage respond in a positive way. The majority will always oppose you. And they’ll say “What are you doing? We thought that you had brains. You’re crazy.”  

And as we begin to experience persecution, the amazing mystery is that in this fire… the effectiveness of our witness increases tenfold. 

The fire doesn’t kill our witness, the fire makes it stronger.  

Or if in obedience to our Lord… we go out there and we join ourselves to the people who are rejected by this world. He sends us specifically to the lost sheep; the poor, the maim, lame, and the blind. He does not say “go and look and see if you can find a Nicodemus, go and look for a man or woman of influence to see what they can do”. He says “go to the ones that nobody cares about.” And so, you do that, you go out there and you look for them and your experience turns out to be that instead of them saying, ‘Gee; It’s wonderful that you came down to spend some time with us. Isn’t that marvelous?” That’s not how it works. What happens instead is they say, “What do you think you’re doing, you hypocrite, get out of here. I don’t need you”. Sometimes they’ll take your help and then they’ll say it.  It won’t be, “Thanks a lot”. But it will be fire.  

And the mystery again is that, as we do this faithfully, our effectiveness at bringing healing to the poor, the maim, the lame, and the blind, doubles… triples …increases tenfold. As we experience fire from them… our power to bring healing to them increases.

If we insist on remaining faithful to the Lord with no shortcuts, no compromises to receive money, power, influence, or protection from the world. But instead, we trust God, the result is not that we will in six months have a new cathedral built. The result will be that after 10 years or longer, many times, we may look like failures. And your best friend from high school days or whatever comes up to you instead and says, “I expected better things from you.” Well, what do you have to show for all these years following Jesus? What good has it done you or them?” And at first, you’re covered with shame.  And then, the Spirit of Glory and of God comes to rest upon you…. the fire.

And you find that in this fire comes the power to turn water into wine, to raise the dead, to bring life to a dead church.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.  

  … (or a busybody)

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.  For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

1 Peter 4

Judgment has begun at the household of God, not only with you, but all over the earth.

The fire is coming to us to ready us for the work, now to be done, that will take us into things and enable us to accomplish things in God that we never dreamed we would do.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The time of the unquenchable fire is approaching.

In order to give the world a fair shake and a fighting chance, God in his mercy is now raising up a people who are to manifest the Kingdom and warn the earth… with clear, unmistakable signs of God’s love. These people who are now being raised up are already feeling the fire. If we are among them, called to be among them…. we will feel the fire too.

When this fire comes, and as it comes, let’s not run away from it. Let’s embrace it. Let’s welcome it… so that refined and cleansed, we may go out there and open the eyes of the blind and waken the dead, to the Living God and to his Living Son.

…. Before the consuming fire begins its work.


Message Richard E. Bieber 1984. Transcribed and edited 2022 by Maranatha Mirror
   Shareable/Printable Copy      
Featured Artist: Chris Powers at Full of Eyes
Prayer: Yes Lord, help us to embrace the fire that heals, to welcome it …so you can refine us, cleanse us. Burn away all that holds us back, all that holds us in the powers of the rulers of this world. May we not fear it, may we see your hand at work in it as we face discouragement, let downs and difficulties. In the midst of the fire may we be covered by your Spirit, so we can rise up with the humility, the love, compassion, and the power to open blind eyes, waken the dead to you, the Living God and to bring healing to this world. Amen.
Maranatha Mirror

 Posted November 24, 2022


On Thanksgiving we come together across the country with our family and friends to give thanks.

        – Thanks for the abundance that surrounds our lives.

        – Thanks for the peace that covers this land.

And to express our thanks to God, not only with words…but by doing something, offering something to demonstrate how grateful we are for how good we have it.

There are a thousand different ways we can demonstrate our thanks to God.

        We can open up our hearts and share our abundance with those who have less.

        We can reach out to somebody who needs a friend.

        We can pick up the phone and touch base with that lonely cousin.

The idea of setting aside a special day to give thanks to God is certainly worthy.

        Why shouldn’t we observe a certain day when we all do this together?

But there are people for whom celebrating thanksgiving is the easiest thing in the world.

        They do it all the time.

        They get up in the morning,

“Thank you, Father, for the new day.”

        They sit down to breakfast,

“Thank you, Father, for this food.”

        They drive to work singing.

They seem to appreciate everything that anybody does for them.

They appreciate the waitress who serves them lunch and they give her a good tip.

They appreciate the mailman, the cashier at the store, the cleaning staff at work.

Above all, they appreciate their wife, their husband, their child, their friend.

And behind all this appreciation, and the generosity that always comes with it,

….is a heart that’s just grateful to God.

We see this in the man, Jesus.

As a man…as a human being, the Son of God never stopped giving thanks.

Before he fed the multitude,

Jesus lifted up the bread and gave thanks. lifted up the fish and gave thanks.

 When the disciples returned with joy reporting, “Lord, even demons are subject to us in your name!”

He said,

 “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and have revealed them to babes.

Even on the night when he knew he was going to be betrayed, he was still giving thanks…

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”       

Matthew 26:26-28

But how do you get like that?

How do you get to the place where you’re able to give thanks all the time?

…. able to trust that God is there even when things look bad…still giving thanks?

 Who can deny that living like that is far better than to be walking around under a cloud of gloom with our souls weighed down with a thousand complaints?

Most of us are so pressed and burdened in our daily lives that even when we do thank God for our food, our mind is busy racing somewhere else… “Where am I going to get the money?” “How am I going to fix that leak?” “What if I lose my job?”

Listen to the advice of a man who knew tough times.

He’d been beaten by angry mobs, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, half starved, despised and threatened everywhere he went.

 Yet, he can say,

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,

to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”                                    

Colossians 3:15,17

Almost every letter Paul wrote begins with thanksgiving.

You can’t help but pick up a spirit of gratefulness to God ruling this man’s life even in the face of suffering.

We can be like that.

   Every one of us can be like that.

Here’s the recipe given to us by Paul himself,

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.              

Philippians 4:6-7

Two steps:

        1) Turn every anxiety into prayer.

        2) Turn every prayer into thanksgiving.

You’re worried about something. How can you be thankful when you’re worried about something?

Step #1: Turn that anxiety into prayer.

Instead of stewing about your health, your child, your finances, social discord…

      start praying, “Lord, I need help.” “Lord, I’m looking for you ‘cause I need you.”

And if the worry comes back every 3 minutes… turn it into prayer every 3 minutes.

“Lord, I’m worried about what the doctor told me.”

“Lord, I’m worried about my kid.”

 “I’m worried about the future.”

“In everything by prayer and supplication…”

 In everything, keep praying, keep asking.

Every time it hits you, you turn it into prayer.

 Step #2: Keep turning that prayer into thanksgiving.

 So, it’s not just, “Give me this.” “Give me that.”         “Help me with this.”      “Help me with that.”

 But with every request, it’s also,

“Thank you, Father, for who you are.”

“Thank you, Father, for hearing me.”

“Thank you, Father, for the help you always give me.”

“Thank you, Father, for bringing me this far.”

“May your name be praised!’

“In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known to God.”

Turn every anxiety into prayer and every prayer into thanksgiving.

Do this until it becomes a habit, until it’s your second nature.

 And you’ll find yourself appreciating God the Father like you never have before.

Jesus will become real to you.

    You’ll begin to appreciate these brothers and sisters here in the Body.

    You’ll appreciate people you never noticed before.

The whole tone of your life will change.

Your outlook will be positive even when things look gloomy.

   You’ll be the person who gets up in the morning and says,

        “Thank you, Father, for this new day.”

   You’ll sit down to breakfast,

         “Thank you, Father, for this food.”

   You’ll drive to work singing.

   You’ll appreciate everything that anybody does for you…   the waitress, the cashier, the mailman, the cleaning staff, and above all the person you share your life with.

And behind all this appreciation and the generosity that always comes with it

…will be a heart that’s just grateful to God.

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.              

Message Richard E. Bieber 2004 Nova Scotia   Printable Version         
Featured Artist: Courtesy and kindness of Wayne Pascall at
Prayer: Lord you are worthy, so worthy, of continuous thanksgiving from us. Help us to live lives full of appreciation for who you are, what we have, and for all those around us. May we thank you at all times, even when things aren’t going our way. May we choose to let your peace rule in our hearts because we trust you. Lord, we take every anxiety, every concern, every fear, every hurt….and lay them before you and thank you for your divine wisdom, guidance, strength, and mercy. As we do so, may we find the peace that passes all understanding and may we truly live lives of continuous thanksgiving. 
Maranatha Mirror

 Posted November 17, 2022


They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.                                                              Psalm 126:5-6

Oswald Chambers says that in proclaiming the word to people we get pretty much the response we aim for. If you have the right technique and you aim at getting people to cry you can make them cry. 

They will cry, but their lives haven’t changed. 

If you want some emotion, if you want to get them running down to the altar rail, you can aim for this and get it …

… you’ve got the emotional response but their lives haven’t changed.

On the other hand, if we aim at getting a genuine re­pentance, a genuine change of heart, we may not reach as many, but those who are tender to the Spirit of God will repent and change their lives.

This principle applies not only to preaching to a con­gregation or to a large evangelistic gathering, it applies to our day-in-and- day-out dealing with people in the name of the Lord—one-to-one.

When we play with people’s emotions we get emotions but no real change takes place in their lives … it’s no different than crying at the movies.

So, we have to speak … not only to people’s emotions, but to the mind, the heart, and the will.

Otherwise we could work our­selves up into a good-cry every Sunday and still never change.

But while it may be true that weeping in church is often no more significant than weeping at the movies,

– There is a kind of weeping that not only changes us, it moves God.

–  There is a kind of weeping that breaks our pride and prepares the way for the coming of the Spirit of God into our lives afresh.

– There is a kind of weeping that causes us to forget all about ourselves and drives us to cry out to God, to visit Zion and heal it.

This weeping is desperately needed in the Body of Christ at this hour.  It’s a gift straight from the Lamb of God (who did his share of weeping and still does).  And we need to be careful not to stifle or hinder this kind of weeping when it comes to us.

How many times we’ve heard people say, “I can’t come to fellowship right now because I’m afraid that if I did all I’d do is sit there and weep.”

… So come and weep.

Or someone says, “I’m afraid to really open my heart to God because every time I open my heart to God I start to cry.”

 …Then open your heart and cry.

“I can’t even pray these days,” says another. “Every time I start to pray the tears come,”

… Is that a sin? Let them come.

Don’t stifle this precious gift.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Matthew 5:4

    ….Blessed are those who mourn.

 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!”

Luke 7:11-16

On the human side, the key to this resurrection sign of the kingdom is the weeping woman.

    And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

   And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak

– Life comes to the dead man.

– Revival comes to Israel….

– New life comes to the church through the tears of this weeping woman.  She was a sign of the Lord himself. She was weeping over her dead son … like Jesus was weeping over his dead nation.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Most of us, however, at the present moment do not have this gift of weeping, or if we have it we’ve been stifling it. But if Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn,”

   … this kind of mourning must be something worth pursuing.

  1. It’s worth pursuing the weeping of true repentance.

How shall we ever know the peace of God until we allow our hearts to really break open to God in true repentance? And when the repentance comes, how can we not weep?

 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he canceled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”                                                            Luke 7:36-48

Notice that in this entire episode this woman doesn’t utter a single word. All she does is weep as she

kisses Jesus’ feet and anoints them with ointment. From her broken heart flow two pure streams.

Pure repentance.

Pure love.

If you say, “But I was never the kind of sinner that woman was. I don’t have as much to repent of”, it’s only because your heart hasn’t broken yet.

When our hearts break in repentance for what we are, for our hardness, our pride, our hypocrisy, we’ll be right there at that woman’s side weeping and somehow showing our appreciation, our love, to the One who took our sin upon himself.

“In those days and in that time, says the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come; and they shall seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant which will never be forgotten.”‘    Jeremiah 50:4-5

The revival of Israel and the revival of the Church begin with the weeping of repentance.

May God give us such weeping.

May God pour out upon us such a spirit of repentance that he may raise us from the dead and make us alive in him.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  

  1. It’s worth pursuing the weeping of vision.

People who are given vision to see some glimpse of God as he really is and to see the Body of Christ as it really is, are so overwhelmed with the discrepancy between the goodness of God and our hardness of heart in the Body…. that they are driven to weeping.

Jesus is riding the donkey down into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday … the multitudes have been shouting his raises. “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! “Jesus gets to a certain point, looks out over the city, and starts weeping As if his heart is going to break, saying,

“Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”                                                               Luke 19-42-44

Jesus sees the Father’s hand stretched out in love toward the city, and the people pushing that hand away to go on about their own affairs.  And as he weeps Jesus is joining his heart to the heart of the father who also weeps for Jerusalem.

Which brings us to the most important weeping of all….

…the weeping of intercession.

  1. It’s worth pursuing the weeping of intercession.

 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

How do we sow in tears?

By praying for those who have drifted from the Father’s house.

 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed,

– the seed of prayer,

– the seed of intercession,


… shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me. Behold, the cry of the daughter of my people from the length and breadth of the land: “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” “Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images and with their foreign idols?” “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded;

I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me.

Is there no balm in Gilead?  Is there no physician there?

Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored? Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!                                             Jeremiah 8:18-9:1

This kind of brokenhearted weeping for the Body, for the suffering race, is not natural to us.

It has to come from God as the Spirit of the Lord moves our hearts to intercede.

And every time this spirit of mourning intercession begins to move upon the Body of Christ the outcome is some kind of revival.

The widow wept…her son was raised from the dead.

Jesus wept …Lazarus was raised from the dead.

John wept … the Lamb took the scroll and began to break the seven seals.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

There is a spirit of weeping which comes straight from heaven, which the Father has been trying to give us for a long time.

– We’ve been afraid to receive it.

– We’ve been afraid to let it take hold of our hearts.

If this spirit of weeping should begin to move upon us, may God help us not to be afraid or embarrassed or self-conscious.

This weeping is the gift of God that will open our hearts to heaven and will, in a wonderful way, open heaven to our prayers and to those for whom we pray.

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”


Message Richard E. Bieber 1981   Printable Version         
Featured Artists: Courtesy of Grace Carol Bomer at and Wayne Forte at 
Prayer: Lord touch our hearts, soften them so we do mourn what needs to be mourned. May our tears go beyond the surface and break our pride, our hypocrisy, and our hardness of heart. We mourn because despite being touched by your tender love, your kind acceptance, and your total forgiveness… we fail again and again to love you and others in this same way. Break our hearts open because this is where we meet you, precious Saviour, this is where we find your beloved comfort. And Lord may we sow tears of care, love, and mercy as we pray for and truly intercede for those around us, for those caught in the snare of this twisted world, and for light to overcome their darkness. May these tears bear the precious seed of your redemptive power and bring a harvest of joy to them, to us, to you, and to many. Amen.
Maranatha Mirror

 Posted November 11, 2022


Let’s face it


Most people today find Christianity boring,

Most teenagers find Christianity boring.


Who wants to go to church?

It’s boring.

The Bible?

“Are you kidding?

You actually read the Bible?

What’s the matter, are you depressed”?

There are two reasons why people find Christianity boring.

First, they don’t see anything happening like what happened in Jesus’ day, or in those early days, or today…

like people getting healed,

lives dramatically changed.

 In Jesus’ day, it was exciting! Wonderful things were going on!

Oh, you can find churches today where the music at least has a beat, but that gets boring too, after a while.

 The second reason why people find Christianity boring is because…

It’s too cheap, too easy.

It doesn’t offer much and

It sure doesn’t demand much.

 “Come to church. Sit through a service and we’ll punch your card. And if you have all the numbers punched out when you die, you’ll go to heaven.”

 Compare that with the way Jesus did things, the way he still does things.

 First of all, Jesus was not boring.

 The religious professionals of Jesus’ day were as boring as they are today.

But Jesus was not a professional.

He was an ordinary man who manifested the power of God.

 People came because he could heal.

They came to hear words that burned like fire.

They came because they saw everybody else flocking to the temple, or the seaside, or wherever he happened to be.

 And they didn’t want to miss anything.

 But notice this: Jesus never made it easy.

Whenever Jesus had a big crowd eating out of his hand, he did what no modern evangelist would dream of doing.

Instead of building on the momentum of these growing numbers, and harnessing this crowd into a movement…

 Jesus would sift the crowd down to a handful.

He would deliberately say things that would turn them off, offend them, frighten them, cause them to walk away.

 “Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them, ‘If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.’ ”         

 Luke 14:25-27

Talk about pouring ice water on a hot fire!

You can just see these people shaking their heads as they walk away. “This guy is just too much!”

Does Jesus cry out to them? “Wait a minute! I’m sorry. I take it all back! Don’t run away. Come on back! Bring me your prayer requests.  I want to prosper you! I want to bless you!”

 No. He lets them go.

Because Jesus isn’t looking for crowds….

 …. he’s looking for disciples.

As far as Jesus is concerned, one disciple is worth more than a thousand admirers.

Admirers are fine if all you want is to fill your church building, put them on your mailing list, shake them down for a little money.

But if you want people who are of use to the redemptive purpose of God….

…. you want disciples.

 That’s what Jesus was looking for.

 Jesus spent three and a half years preaching, teaching, and healing from one end of Israel to the other, speaking to crowds that often numbered in the thousands.

 What did he end up with?

     A handful:

 – 12 apostles, one of which was a phony

– and roughly another 110 men and women who were serious about following him.

 Was Jesus a success?

  By today’s standards, he was a dismal failure.

 But by the standards of God’s kingdom, he was a roaring success.

 This handful of 120 disciples was all that was needed …

 ….to spread fire on this earth.


 So what is a disciple?

  “Well, it’s a person who belongs to a church and helps other people.”

     – No, that’s an admirer.

  “Well, then how about a person who knows the Bible and prays each day?”

     – That’s an admirer.

  “Then a disciple is a person who speaks in tongues and heals the sick.”

      – That’s an admirer.

Let’s narrow it down to Jesus’ definition of a disciple:

All these people are coming to him.

They want to get close to him. They want to learn his secret. They want to be blessed.

So what does he do?

 He says, “You see this door? I’m standing inside this door. If you want to get close to me and get to know me and receive what I have to offer you, you have to come through this door. And the only ones who can get through this door are those who leave everything else behind.”

“…whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”  (Luke 14:33)

Does that mean I’m supposed to hate my wife, hate my husband, hate my kids, get rid of my house, cars, bank account?

He’s saying;

   If you haven’t come to the place where you…

– love me more than any of these,

– love me to the point where all other loves compare as hatred,

– love me to the point where you hate anything that tries to get between you and me….

   If you haven’t come to that place, you’re wasting your time trying to follow me.

 “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son and daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.”  (Matthew 10:37-39)

A disciple is:

A person who is committed to Jesus to the point where Jesus is first in their life.

A person who demonstrates this in the way they live, relate to people, relate to the Body of Christ, handle their money, use their time.

Now if you’re saying, “This is too much! Who can live like that?”

The answer is, “You haven’t even begun to live until you do live like that!”

   This Jesus that we tack onto our lives on Christmas, Easter and some Sundays….

   This Jesus who comes to our rescue when we’re in a jam, and then is conveniently set aside until the next crisis….will fade from our lives completely as he has faded from the lives of so many others if he doesn’t come first.

Jesus never allows himself to be used as our heavenly butler who comes when we call, obeys our commands, and leaves when we dismiss him, “You can go now, James.”

   Jesus, the Messiah can only be known, experienced, loved, enjoyed…

       … when we understand that he comes first…. ahead of everything, everybody…

-every plan,

-every hope,

-every dream.

To be a disciple of Jesus is to renounce everything in favor of Jesus….

 – everything we have,

– everything we are. 

You’re still living in the same house. You’re still married to that man – that woman. The kids are still your kids. You’re still at the same job. But…

None of these has a claim on you like Jesus.

 None of these fulfills you like Jesus.

 And if Jesus should lead you on a road that causes conflict with these other things, you won’t hesitate a minute, you will know what you have to do.

Most Christians in North America find Christianity boring.

That’s why they are so lax about it all.

 It’s boring. It’s dull. What good is it doing?

 The reason they find Christianity boring is that…

They really don’t know what it is. 

They haven’t entered it.

           They are standing on the front porch and they think they’re in the house. 

           They haven’t a clue what’s inside that door.

           They are like the multitudes that came to watch, and listen, and be healed.

But the minute Jesus told them what they had to do to come through the door, they took off like a shot.

Churchianity is boring.

Lutheranism, Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Calvinism and all the rest …. Boring!

Following Jesus is life.

It’s the only life that makes sense in this crazy world.

It’s the only way to a living relationship with God.

But following Jesus means following him on his terms.

And these are his terms:

“He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son and daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.”                    (Matthew 10:37-39)

Those are his terms.

 Follow Jesus on those terms and you won’t be bored.

You will experience things that will amaze you.

And you will never miss what you left behind.

Message Richard E. Bieber- 2004 Nova Scotia  Printable Version         
Featured Artist: Kindness and courtesy of Jenny Allio at
Prayer: Lord bring us to the place where we love you so much, seek you so diligently, where we place you above everything, everything Lord. Instead of boredom, may we find such an intensity of life that we will never be bored. May our closeness to you, our love for you, our commitment to you… lead to such life, such healing, pouring into us and out of us, that instead of finding you boring…others will find you real…authentic…amazing and sparks of life are ignited in them. Amen.
Maranatha Mirror

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