Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Beauty for Ashes: Let Go of Your Wounds

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

Eating Ashes

I am going to tell you three Scriptures that I think will help you. Listen to this. Some people eat ashes like bread. This is Psalm 102:9: "I have eaten ashes like bread." If you talk to them, they will always end up telling you about their wounds. That is what they talk about. They talk it and talk it and talk it and talk it. You will always end up with a conversation about who hurt them, what they did that was wrong. They go over it and over it and over it. They don't get their beauty because that is all they talk about. What do you talk? Do you talk wounds, or do you give ashes to Jesus and talk His beauty?

We all have wounds, and we can talk them. But when you talk wounds instead of beauty, you get more wounds, and you never get the beauty that the Lord has for you. We have all blown it. We have all been hurt. But some Christians are walking around with an awful lot of beauty. Does God have pets? No. He just has bigger believers.

Sitting in Ashes

Let's look at the second one. Some people sit in their ashes, Jonah 3:6. "The word came to the king of Nineveh and he arose from his throne and lay aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes."

I am a pastor's wife. We have pastored one church, if you could imagine, for 43 years. That is a long time. Now my son-in-law and my daughter are really taking over the church. I have seen lots of things in pastoring, and I love pastoring, but there are people you could never get to do anything. You ask, "Would you teach Sunday school?" "Oh, no, I was very disappointed. I taught one time and they didn't appreciate me." "Would you sing in the choir?" "No, I had someone offend me in the choir one time and I just don't do that anymore." "Would you drive a Sunday school bus?" "No, I might wreck the bus." You can never get them to do anything.

What is it about some Christians that they just sit all of the time? Because they not only speak wounds, speak ashes, they sit in them. And I have found out, I could sit down and give up. I could, because everybody has had occasions. If you want to sit in your wounds, you can sit there. That is just where the devil wants you. Don't do anything; just sit there. Why are some Christians not doing anything? Because they are sitting in their ashes.

One time I did a really, really unusual thing that I thought I heard from God. We had a big crusade in New York City, but we had the wrong venue. It cost us a lot of money. We went into debt. It was bad. I was very discouraged because I thought I had heard from God. Why haven't we paid for this? On top of that, we were taking a ship that would hold 600 people to Tanga, Tanzania, to do a crusade, and it was at that time that the Embassy was hit with a bomb and Dar es Salaamand our government said not to go to Tanzania. I lost 300 people on that ship, but I still paid for 600 people. My ministry went into debt over a million dollars. It could have put us under. It was so discouraging to me that I said, Lord, do I not hear Your voice? That was the most discouraging thing. I prayed about these things. I tried to be sensitive to hear Your voice. If I cannot hear Your voice, I shouldn't even be in the ministry. I just wanted to sit down and forget it, close the doors, and say I was retiring.

I will never forget this. I went to our board meeting. We have a wonderful board. I said, "I have very good news for you: We are a million dollars in the hole! It is my fault because I made wrong decisions." They said, "Well, Marilyn, did you have anyone saved in New York?" "Oh, yeah, we had a lot of people saved."" What about in Tanga, Tanzania? "We had over 40,000 people who received Christ, and we had healings." They said, "That doesn't count then? It is the million dollars that is important, not the souls." They said, "God can make up the million dollars."

That is exactly what happened. I think that year we doubled our income. But I could have sat down and done nothing if I hadn't given the ashes to the Lord.

Wallowing in Ashes

Let me talk about the last one. You can wallow in ashes. We talk about 'Holy Rollers.' There are people who roll in their ashes. It is just disgusting. Ezekiel 27:30: "They roll about in ashes." They never go anyplace. They just roll and roll and roll in ashes. Ashes don't look good and they don't smell good. All they do is they go back and forth and back and forth about who wounded them and 'I can't do anything.' It may be their mistakes or everybody else's mistakes, and they miss what God has for them.

When I met my husband, I was a Methodist. I was born again, but I was raised very liberal Methodist. He was Spirit-filled, went to a Spirit-filled church, so I went to a Spirit-filled church for him. I didn't want to be Spirit-filled. He would try to push me, and I would back off. Finally, we were engaged, and he went on a fast for me. I was so embarrassed because he said, "I am not going to marry someone who is half-way for God." I said, "I am born again." He said, "But you are not Spirit-filled. You have known about it for four years and you backed off." I don't even know why I was that way. I think I worshipped my brain. Isn't that a little tiny thing to worship? My goodness! So he began fasting and I couldn't sleep at night. For three nights I couldn't sleep. God spoke to me. The third night, God said to me, "I will never deal with you again about this. I have dealt with you for four years. I will show you what you are going to do. If you turn Me down now on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit -- and I will never deal with you again -- you will go to California and you will be a school teacher ( I was already a school teacher). You will get your master's. You will continue to teach school. You will never marry Wallace Hickey. You will have a good life. You will die and you will go to heaven because you belong to Me. But I have something so wonderful for you that you cannot even imagine if you yield to Me."

I had no idea what He had for me. I didn't know I would go to 97 countries. I didn't know God would call me to cover the earth with His Word. I didn't know I would go to Khartoum, Sudan, and have a crusade, the first crusade ever held there in a Muslim country. I didn't know He had that.

He has the same thing for you because "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those that love Him."

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