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Healing The Seed of Bitterness

By Jerrell Miller
The Remnant Christian Newspaper - She has a personality that captures you if you've never seen her before. Looking at her today she is a child of revival, but the revival was not always in her. It was the first time I had heard her story and it was a little gem of faith that everyone should hear. Within her story is the story of the church and the bitterness that holds revival from breaking out.

Kathy Gray had a bitter seed and it was there the day that Steve came back from Brownsville to break revival in Smithton -- and it was there long before Steve left for Pensacola.

She stood before a small group of people in a California sanctuary while back home her church, the Kansas City Revival Center, was frozen like a pop-cycle. It would be the first week since the church was opened last March that revival services would be canceled because most of Kansas City was snowed in without electric.

"We have no other choice but to go with revival right now because God is in the fast lane at this moment. Our goal is to leave an impartation of the Spirit of revival where ever we go."

For everyone born of God overcomes the world; this is the victory the victory which has overcome the world, even our faith (I John 5: 4).

"Are you overcome or are you an over comer? There is a faith that overcomes the world, where God's people should not be bent over without faith. I was overcome; I was bent over without hope. I had an attitude in the world that I cherished and nurtured and it was bitterness."

In Hebrew 12:14-15 it says, "Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Looking diligently lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.

"When we were in Japan we saw a congregation where there was bitterness. A root of bitterness had been left over from what happened in World War II. You could see some of them had hardened themselves over a period of years."

"Bitterness is a root that starts deep in your guts; it's like a seed or a thought that grows over a period of time. Like anything that starts in your life, it starts as a seed or an attitude and begins to grow in your life. The Word of God is like a seed. You need to take the Word of God into your life and let it grow - it is the living incorruptible seed that brings the life of God into you."

"A bitter seed got planted in me even when I was in my mother's womb. When I was born and was a little infant I was called kicky Kathy. I would lie in my crib on my back and I would kick, kick, and kick until the crib would role from one end of a room to the other. My parents thought it was real cute because I was a healthy, energetic child. But I think even now a seed of bitterness was there as an infant, because all my life I was always mad about something. And I had no reason to be mad. I had loving parents who always surrounded me with love."

"I grew up as a good little Methodist girl. My parents knew I had a little un-forgiveness in my life. They were kind of afraid to confront me on it. By age 20 I was really angry and bitter. I had a book in my heart of people's names, and each time someone would disappoint me I would put a little mark by that person's name. I don't know why I was like that because my mom and dad always loved me. But I think they knew I had a problem with bitterness. I had everything going my way and I was always the big sister and had no reason to be angry with anyone. My daddy would lay hands on me every night and say, 'Jesus bless Kathy, your God's little girl and you're going to have a great life.'"

"But there was a root of bitterness in me."

"Like a little seed planted in the ground, it would poke its little head up out of the earth and begin sending out its poisoness pollen in the air to defile many. I met Steve Gray, and I really tricked him. But the minute I said 'I do,' I heard a voice say to me, 'The first time he lets you down, don't let him get away with it.' After being so sweet all the time to him and not showing my real side the minute I said, 'I do,' the real me emerged."

"Five months after we were married we gave our lives to the Lord in 1975. We were both filled with the Holy Spirit right in his mama's family room. It was in the Jesus movement days. We just prayed and began to sing in tongues. And after Steve finished singing he said, 'I've been called to preach.' That was on July 21, 1975. Just five months after we were married our whole lives changed. We immediately began to make plans for the ministry. At the time we were both teachers. We both went to the superintendent and told him, 'we have signed our contracts for this year but when the year is over we are leaving teaching for the ministry.'"

It was no doubt that God had his hand on the couple but the root of bitterness would last longer that Kathy had imagined. Always justifying what she did by measuring it by the last disappointment with Steve, Kathy wouldn't let go of bitter seed as it grew and grew.

"Once we left school we began to travel and sing. We had a great big gospel bus, and had music listed on the gospel charts. God put together a great musical ministry. Steve began to write music and we were being blessed. Here we are in 1977, in full time music ministry, baptized in the Holy Ghost, and I was still hanging on to my bitter seed. We had a lot of faith, but having this bitter root I kept pushing it down."

"This root would come up at the very time Steve was getting ready to preach. Just as he would get ready to preach I would say something mean and angry to him and it would try to throw him off track from what he had tried to minister. At times I would just give him one of my Kathy looks and then defilement would come. After ten years of marriage he stopped wanting to be in the same room with me. Bitterness would defile every relationship. I've seen it destroy families and churches."

"I wanted to control everything so no one would make me mad. I was very judgmental -- bitter people are very judgmental. You're justifying yourself so much that you become extremely critical. Watch out for critical or judgmental people coming into a church because they have a root of bitterness. One pattern that I have seen about people who are overcome by bitterness is that they don't want to go down alone. People who are being judgmental and critical of the leadership of the church don't want to go down alone. They want to spread those seeds of fundamentalism and bitterness. They work hard to disrupt and they are not afraid to be vocal. They speak up more than the people who are right."

"Bitter people go to like-minded people, they group together and they like being the way that they are. They are extremely controlling. I was so horrible that when we adopted a 13-year-old girl -- I was so bitter by then. She was in foster care half her life; she couldn't hold her head up. By then I was so hard hearted I could not love that girl and I refused to mother her. The root of bitterness had taken over me and it had taken hold in my guts. Every Sunday when I went to church I had to put a mask on and help lead praise and worship. This thing was ruling my life now and it took total control over me. I could feel it in my stomach and could feel it inside like a giant hook inside of me. I would rise up and the little girl that we had adopted began to be on the receiving end of my bitterness. I felt like I was a hypocrite and didn't feel like I would ever change. I used to tell Steve this is who I am and cannot change. Every time I got close to repentance I used to justify myself by remembering offenses that had happened to me through my daughter and Steve."

"When revival came I was immediately aware of the presence of God in the church. What happened to me on March 24, 1996, at 6:20 p.m. when the lightenings of God hit my husband and the congregations -- when life came in the outward attack of people who were trying to destroy us just fell away. Some people had betrayed us. I was hurting so bad from some of the things that happened to me that we felt that the people who had hurt us just didn't try to hurt us any more, but they went to others and tried to kill us out. That all fell off."

"By month 10 of revival we were experiencing the glory of God coming into the church, but I still hadn't been delivered from my bitter seed. Something happened one day when Steve came to me and said, 'Kathy, I was born for this, revival is my destiny. It's cost me a lot but your going a different direction than me. You're not allowing the power of God and revival to change you. Kathy were going two different directions, I'm going to lose you if you don't allow the power of God to change you.'"

"When he said that, for the first time in my life true repentance came into me. I said to myself, 'I was born for this hour to.' What kind of a fool was I; I'm going to miss the greatest opportunity of my life. I didn't think I would ever have another opportunity like this ever again in my life and I wasn't going to let it go by. The fear of God fell on me, and that weekend, when I went to church, instead of me being in control -- I came down for prayer and we called our people there to pray for me. Our ladies in the church are prayer warriors; they know how to get to God in a hurry. Two of the ladies that I trust very much began to pray for me. They layed hands on me and prayed prophetically. They said, 'Jesus, plunge your hand into Kathy's soul and put your hand on that destructive, defiling bitter root and get it out of her. They knew how important this prayer was because it was a battle of life and death for a movement that is going to sweep the world. As I went down to the floor I asked myself, 'who will I be when this is over.'"

"God changed me. That was five years ago this month and my life has been totally changed. Steve says that he been married twice and the second marriage is a lot better than the first. My daughter has seen the change. When she went back to school in Springfield she sent me a letter telling me how much she appreciated her new mother. I had now begun to love my daughter as she felt a mother should love."

"Sad to say that most of the church is like this today. There is a bitter root in many congregations across the land that won't allow revival to come forth."

© The Remnant Newspaper. Used by permission.

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