Pillar of Cloud and Fire to my Obedience

Earlier this year, I journaled about a ‘refining fire’ vision I had during the week of Christmas, 2022.

The following week, the LORD gave me a word, “Obedience“. Since then, I had been asking Him what He meant by it. Was it a big decision I was about to make? Or was He talking about obedience in day-to-day stuff?


But today, the LORD finally revealed to me what He meant by ‘Obedience’ along with a reassuring vision:

First, a quick background to what started this post… I have been attending a church who categorize themselves as ‘Progressive’. The controversy of this term does not bother me. Because I know the Word of God is timeless. And ultimately, labels and words weigh nothing unless it is founded in God’s Truth.

I am now serving at this church — after much wrestling, and conversing, and confirming, and asking the LORD again and again, He has given me a clear ‘YES, stay. Serve’. My service to this church is something that I hold dearly in my heart with gratitude and honor for only one reason — God asked me to. And I have decided that I will continue to do so for as long as He asks me to. Not for anyone but only for the LORD. My service and loyalty is to Him only.

But this past week had been a real test for me internally, and on a very deep and spiritual level. During the sermon, the preacher declared: ‘I don’t think the point of Jesus’ life was to die to atone for humanity’s sins; I think that Jesus lived His life in such a way that led to His death.’

My heart sank.
And my heart grieved.
I do not care how dramatic that sounds.
I’d be the first one to say it is.
But my heart grieved.
And my heart is still grieving. And sinking.
Because this is not The Gospel.
This is not the Good News.
This is not the The Truth that sets us free.

And you ask, who am I to disagree?
Who am I to say?
I say it’s not about me.
It’s not me.
It’s about the Word of God.
It’s about the Holy Spirit and what He reveals to us and the Church about Jesus.

I had promised God I will obey Him in His call for me to serve in this church, and I will. But moments like this just keeps me running to the LORD again.

You see, it would have been easier if God corrects me and tells what I believe is wrong. It’s not hard for me to admit I am wrong, especially in matters of God. I would gladly admit and thank the person for helping to open my eyes. But the problem is, the more I examine it, the more I seek and discern (and yes God calls us to test and discern), the more I ask for God’s wisdom about this matter, the more I am convinced that the real Gospel (and there is ONLY one!) is what is clearly stated in the Scripture, and in more places in the Bible than one. Jesus lived an absolutely sinless life here on earth was punished for my sins, died to conquer death for me, and was raised to life for my justification.

So yes, I am grieved.
But this morning… oh this morning, God painted a smile on my face. A messy smile full of tears… but still a joyous one! My ever-faithful Jesus showed up again. My my ever-loyal Friend, the Holy Spirit reassured me lovingly. The everlasting God, my ever-faithful Yahweh, King of kings and Lord of lords showed up and lifted me up today and gave me another vision, and conversed with me.

This has been one the most vivid and longest conversations I had with the LORD for as long as I can remember.

I said to the LORD, “LORD, why this burden of the heart? Lord, if You are not there, I don’t want to go!”

He said, “Many times, I call people to go where my Presence is ‘weak’. And I may ‘not’ be there but I will be with you!”

I said, “Go before me then. Shield me! Protect me!” I said this so many times, I lost count. Oh I felt my ever patient, ever-loving God let me just pour it out. Looking at me with eyes of love and comfort. I felt God feel for me.

He answered me with a vision of the Israelites crossing the Red sea with the prominent pillar of cloud in front of them, and the pillar of fire behind.

Exodus 14:19-22 says that the pillar of cloud stayed in front of them and the Angel of the Lord (which I interpret as the pillar of fire in my vision) was behind them. And when it was time for them to pass the Red sea, the pillar of cloud moved behind them, serving as their shield against the Egyptians.

And God said to me, “Surely, I have made a way for you. And after I have made a way, I will protect you”.

Surely, He has made a way for me to serve at a certain capacity at this church (which is a bigger capacity than I thought I would). I don’t even know how exactly it happened, but it happened fast. And many times I have been careful not to offend pastors and the leadership… and sometimes, I tiptoe because I know that my core belief of the Gospel is not aligned with what the church claims to be as the ‘gospel’ that they believe. The irony is that apart from the leadership, I know more people in the church who believe in The Gospel that I know, than those who do not. But knowing this is not the thing that’s making me stay — it’s God’s assurance that He wants me here and that He is with me.

After my vision, I felt Peace.
Just Peace.
That familiar sense of Peace in His Presence.
And then I wept… and wept…
I’ve never wept like it before.
I could hear myself moan and weep. I’m pretty sure anyone in the living room would have heard me.
I just felt extreme grief.
And then in my mind I see Jesus on a donkey.
The moment before He wept over Jerusalem.
Weeping because they have rejected Him (Luke 19:41-44)1
I felt no anger, just extreme sadness and grief.
And God gave me a sense that this is just a glimpse of the grief that He feels over His people.
His heart of sorrow and grief for those who reject Jesus… for those who reject the Gospel. His heart grieves so passionately for them.

1Coincidentally, Luke 19:41-44 is the passage associated to Palm Sunday, and the said preaching I mentioned above happened during our Palm Sunday service (and today is Good Friday!).

My Prayer
Lord, I submit to You
Refine me as You will
Refine me with Your Word
Showing me more of Your heart
Make me know Your Heart
Make me know Your will always
And then, help me to obey Your will
And when trouble stirs my heart,
Let me see Your pillar of cloud by day
And Your pillar of fire by night
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen

The church is not the enemy

To be fair with the church, they did not force me to serve. They did not force me to stay. And they do not force anyone to believe what they preach. I chose to stay, by God’s instruction. And to be very clear here, I do not refer to the church as the enemy here. I do not see them as the Egyptians in my vision. Because I know it’s a spiritual battle and not a physical one (Ephesians 6:12). And to be fair, the church was upfront with me about what they believed. I have asked them in the past, ‘What is the gospel that the church believes in?’. The answer I was given was that the church believes the gospel to be: that we are called to be like Christ and that nothing can separate us from the love of God… (to which I thought: this verse does not end there. It says ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus’. And when you take the cross out of the equation, this passage crumbles!). But I did not say anything. I didn’t think it was the right time or avenue. I don’t know when is.

What do you believe?

I believe that Jesus died for my sins and for all the sins of whoever will believe in Him. I believe that Christ’s cross is a culmination God’s love AND justice. Because He is not just Love — He is ALSO Holy and Just! And His wrath is not violence… His jealousy is not envy. He is merciful AND just, hence the cross!

I have been told that people like me who believe in Jesus as sacrifice for our sins are people who believe that God is a violent God that needs to be appeased. To me this is a faulty argument. Because they forget that Jesus is ONE with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. They forget the mystery of the Trinity. They overlook Isaiah 53:10 and so many other scriptures. They forget that The Gospel is what caused the great revival. The reformation. They forget that the most anointed songs, books, song writers, authors, pastors before they became big or known… they all have one thing in common — The Gospel.

This is not the first time that The Gospel has been diluted. The enemy is not so creative. Galatians 1:8 talks about the gravity of anyone who preaches any other gospel. This was at a time when some Jews claimed to believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ while still keeping the practice of sing offerings as sacrifices, when the Gospel clearly states that Christ we have been through Christ’s sacrifice once for all (Hebrews 10). And now, the enemy has convinced some Christians to be offended of the ‘blood’ and of the ‘sacrifice’ and of the Holiness and Justice of God.

It’s not even about being right. It’s about the Truth. It’s not about our opinions and ‘I thinks’… it’s about God’s Truth. And the evidence is that Jesus as atonement for our sins is written all across the Old and New Testaments. Both literally and figuratively. While it’s true that there are obscure passages in the Bible (and we can argue about how we interpret them), it’s also true that there are many passages that are as clear as day and are indisputable. Most of these clear passages point to The Gospel. Just like 2 Cor 5:21 and Isaiah 53:5-6, and many others. How can we dispute them to preach a different ‘gospel’? How can we bear to grieve the Holy Spirit who reveals the LORD Jesus to us? I choose to believe the Bible against any other author or any other opinion formed thousands of years after Jesus walked the earth. I choose to believe early and first-hand accounts of those who had been with Him. I choose to believe the accounts of people like Paul, who although He did not know Jesus before His crucifixion, was was so radically transformed after his encounter supernatural encounter with Him. I believe the Bible is timeless and surpasses all made-up labels.

Have you had the same experience?

Sometimes, God gives me a word through someone else’s mouth, it would reverberate unto my ears the moment they say it, unbeknownst to them. Perhaps ‘reverberate’ doesn’t exactly describe it but that’s the best way I can… this is then followed by a strong sense of knowing His Presence at that moment. I remember it happening one time through my boss. It was a different word and answer to my question relating to my job. When my boss uttered the word “Thank God…” it echoed so loudly (yet gently!) that I could still here the rest of what he was saying. I remember trying so hard to not tear up in that one-on-one meeting. lol. He is Jewish and a non-believer of Christ and I wasn’t about to pour out my heart to him. ;p The word ‘obedience’ happened in a similar manner except that someone said it at a group meeting. And it was more of the repetitiveness of the word throughout that week that made it persistent.
Have you had the same experience?

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