The Elijah Syndrome - Part One: Inertia

March 4, 2003

I learned a long time ago that I was not the only one who heard the Lord in the way Elijah did but it seemed so at times. That still small voice had come clearly but there were always other voices that would try get in the way. These others voices think themselves teachers and prophets of the Lord and are misleading many.

The Elijah Syndrome has many elements to it. The first part is inertia; the second is loneliness and the third, despair.

Inertia:

God had just given Elijah to prophesy to Ahab that there would be no rain until he says so. He was then told to go and rest for a while. The birds brought him his meals and he drank from a brook and he didn't move from there until the water dried up. Then a widow provides for Him by the hand of the Lord. What a life, just sitting around being waited on. Elijah was faithful however, he got up when the Lord asked Him to and confronted the prophets of Baal.

People, look at the church today. Most Christians are just a little too comfortable in their bourgeois mediocrity to get up and do the Lord's work. They may do all kinds of things for their church, family, community, ministry and the rest and call it the Lord's work but most of it is in vain and only for our own glory. The world becomes a pleasure ground instead of a spiritual battleground. There are very few Christians led by the Lord compared to the masses that think they are. God has blessed His people with many things but these very things have kept His people tied to His blessings instead of His work.

I am told that only about 5% of Christians have led anyone to the Lord Jesus Christ. Part of the other 95% may get others to church but we are to worship Him in spirit and truth and there is neither in most churches, mostly delusion and false authority. If God provides for a prophet like He did for Elijah, there is no need to beg for money. Tell that to a false prophet with a prosperity scam or seed-sowing ministry. Do they believe that they are in the spirit of Elijah? Yes, but again, it is delusion. These things all add up to a church in inertia, standing still and doing nothing to progress toward the kingdom except to bring a diluted gospel.

Baal is translated Lord and many come with Lord, Lord but you and I know that delusion and deception is everywhere. Now these prophets of Baal are telling us to support an unrighteous worldly political system with the pretense of standing united against evil. Evil against evil, eye for an eye, God's vengeance by men against men in the name of righteousness. We all know that this is a prelude to Armageddon but they would rather pray to the image of the beast than humble themselves and repent for the sins of their country. These same people will be supporting Ahab rather than denouncing him, rushing to war by ignoring the Prince of Peace. Instead of denouncing the spirit of Jezebel, they would join her and stone the prophets of the God of Elijah. Pride instead of shame, heads up instead of down. I see it, do you? John the Baptist saw them as Herodians, Pharisees and Sadducees and denounced them like we should be doing. Licentiousness is confused with freedom, oppression with prosperity and exploitation for blessings. They believe these lies so God sends them a strong delusion, reserved for judgment.

Why are these prophets so obvious to some and so obscure to others? Because they must be seen in glaring contrast only to the Manifest Sons of God that are appearing and to those that recognize them. Only those of like minds will be willing to confront the prophets of Baal but we must choose and not halt between two opinions. There cannot be true spiritual unity in Christendom with these conflicting attitudes. There will be unity among the Bride of Christ who have washed their clothes in the blood of the Lamb and defer their authority at Jesus' throne.

There are a people called and chosen by God that have not compromised and bent the knee to Baal. They are of course in the minority compared to all the prophets with their misleading voices and will stand in contrast from those speaking from their own heart, delusions, pride and resentment. They will bring Jesus in all Christian groups in contrast to those who only flock to sleeping churches who tell them what they want to hear or are meeting in the comfort of their own homes instead of confronting the issues of today and trying to perfect the church. Jesus is not coming back for disunity and condemnation. The Elijah spirit will stand victorious over the Jezebel spirit that seeks to kill the prophetic word of the Lord.

My e-mail box is filled with hateful people coming in the name of the Lord. Leave it to me to open a big enough can of worms to get a lot more. Fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these people outside of mental illness, which will be dealt with in the next parts but it must be said right now that these false prophets are not just speaking in the flesh, they are plumb crazy. The trials and tribulations that we are all going through has made paranoid, schizophrenic, alienated, bitter, vengeful delusional and neurotic people of God. God needs to use them otherwise; truth and knowledge can bring healing but the evil spirits must be named and cast out. I do not believe that it is too late for anyone so we must be loving them and giving our lives for them.

Are you so comfortable in your cave that you no longer have any passion for the work that God has for you? Then ask the Lord to restore the joy of your salvation. Has Jezebel been starving you in her own cave and you want strong meat and living water? Then come out of your delusions and brainwash and into spirit and truth.

Now get to work all you prophets with the testimony of Jesus, what are you waiting for? Do you really want the latter rain poured out upon the earth? We must show ourselves to Ahab first. Take courage, for it is time for denunciation, not slumber; confrontation, not compromise. Standing together on these things will empower us, it is key.

A lot of discussion can be found for this edition below. Too much dialogue actually, since I have been under the same inertia that I write of, it piled up, so only selected bits are added. Good stuff, new people with new insights. The Elijah Syndrome was discussed along with much more like false authority, the wedding garments and true unity.

Get back to me one on one if you like and hit reply with discussion or comment on these things. I am confronting the false economic and political system that many use for their god. That always makes a lot of people angry but I sure don't want to be all alone out there, let's hear one way or another. Next time will be on the second part of the Elijah Syndrome when Elijah felt alone as he cried out to the people "I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord." The people did not answer Elijah at that time but I pray that it is not so among the latter rain list. Also, and even better if you want, come by the on-line forum to discuss as a group and fellowship at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Latter_rain_lightship/

Jay

Greetings Jay and Friends,

I've been silently very blessed by Latter Day Rain topics for quite some time now, but tuned into Lightship for the first time this week -- so imagine how it feels to be a newcomer on the scene arriving in the middle of this confusion.

I observed this kind of stuff going on at Beliefnet. During fall 2001 I tried to communicate via an email with several groups like this and the same thing happened with every one of them. Those who don't wish to be guided by the Holy Spirit before they speak end up invading the space of those who do without any respect or consideration for those they are hurting. Once this begins, it seems futile to ask those who are not resting upon the arm of the Spirit to be quiet or leave. Perhaps we shall see a new outcome here if all involved will open their hearts and examine their own motives in the light of Christ to see if they be truly walking and speaking out of love, humility and gentleness. Jesus always invites us to step into the Light for a look, first at Him, then ourselves, and then at His will for us in any given circumstances. Our actions then speak of our true disposition -- whether it be to obey His voice or not.

The word that speaks to my heart at this moment is from the beloved James (Chapter 1:16-21).

Do not be deceived my beloved brothers and sisters. All good giving and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variations or shadow cast by turning. He brought us forth by the word of truth, purposing that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

You know this, my beloved friends, but let me speak -- let every man or woman be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of men or women does not accomplish the righteousness of God.

Therefore putting away all unholy talk and the abundance of malice, receive in meekness the implanted word from one another which is able to save your souls."

I have learned that in all conversations and in all circumstances, the wisdom of the Most High is revealed -- sometimes directly through the mouths of the men and women who are speaking -- sometimes only by the Spirit as He privately sheds light and speaks to our individual hearts. Nevertheless, where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is in the midst and in this space the Light of Christ shines and the darkness overcomes it not.

Respectfully,
Miss Peg

Hi Peg,

Thanks for the good word, we need it. I hope and pray that you can stick around long enough until we get this confusion out of the way.

Jay

Miss Peg,

well, consider this for a minute... not everyone knows how to "move" in the Spirit.. few people react the only way they know how... if you could make them be silent or go away, the net would have the same kind of people... not everyone is the other.. you WILL encounter different ones, please don't say things too harsh to these ones, you'd apt to make everyone start their own site, then they will gather and gossip just like in the "real world". If you've been around enough of the "others", we might have more heart felt sayings for them.. so what if the Bible says that the word is like a two edged sword,, (i dont mean SO WHAT,) JUST A FIGURE OF SPEECH, you cannot use it against someone.. especially if it makes them feel bad, that's how the world judges "christians". they dont understand how they can be so "hard" on each other? half the time we act like we are'nt realated but we have that "religiuos" amen brother, amen sister, makes me personally sick,, well, that's the way i feel.. hhuuummmmmm, spit it out if you need to, or do whatever you would like... (another thing I noticed, that men think differently than women do anyway, so things come out differently) men may have alot to say and they say it the way God gives it to them..
I amongst alot of others, say with feelings..
oh well.. sorry
krissy

What a great word you have written (Peg). I enjoyed it and was truly blessed. You see I felt out of your writing peace so much so I just read your letter very slow. So I think our person does come out here in our typing and words.

Tom

Greetings Jay a brother on the Way in Christ,

Jay, the way of brothers is not always smooth and flat, there are many pitfalls, hills and valleys. But true brothers find a way that leads them through the rough parts and yet remain brothers till the end. (Hey this goes for our sisters too!)

Glad to have you with me as we walk the Way in Christ.

jahn17
(jan)

That means a lot Jan,

One of my problems is trying to be short and sweet and then it sounds like terse and abrupt. I had over a hundred e-mails in my box this morning. I sort through all the viruses, spam and hate mail and then take the time to read and answer the rest. It seems that I don't do a very good job of it.

Jay

Greetings Miss Peg,

Just a short note to say hello and thank you for your kindness and inspiration. It was your letter, one Mary posted and Tim's that i referred to as reaching into my heart and inspiring me to listen a bit closer to the voice of the Holy Spirit instead of my own mind and flesh. Believe me i know better than to get upset with my brothers and sisters, even in the slightest way. But you know, that is what is so wonderful about the Christ we all love. He will use someone, even those we do not know at all to speak His wisdom into our hearts and to remind us it is the Spirit that triumphs over the flesh and He is always willing to grant us repentance when we are willing to hear and obey the Holy Spirit He has given us via many messengers.

You say you will be leaving the forum for a while, i pray it be only a short time, i would very much like to hear more of what the Holy Spirit has spoken in your heart. Your testimony was a wonderful example of how our Lord works in and through us. i manage a site dedicated to testimonies that give praise and honor to our Father, His Son Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It would please me very much if you would consider letting me post it, or any other testimony you might desire to share, on the site.

As you get to know me, you will find out i am a seeker of many things. Testimonies that praise and honor our Lord is only one aspect of my quest. Fellowship with believers is another, but first and foremost i seek a personal and intimate relationship with Christ Jesus, i long to see His face and hear His voice, thank you Peg for helping me get a bit closer. In His mighty name i pray and give thanks continually. Amen---

God bless us all and keep us forever in Christ,
jahn17
(jan)

Vanguard and Rearguard

Isa. 52:12.---' The Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward.'

How do you regard human life? I suppose the three most frequent descriptions of life, the three most popular pictures, are these---a battle, a voyage, and a march.

Many have spoken of it as a battle. "For my own part," declared William James in a famous passage, "I do not know what the sweat and blood and tragedy of this life mean, if they mean anything short of this. If this life be not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it FEELS like a real fight."

And many have spoken of it as a voyage, the passing of a ship across seas which today may be as smooth as glass, and tomorrow tossed with a hurricane---on and on, till the harbor lights appear on the other side and the desired haven is won.

But the picture which doubtless has the widest appeal is that of life as a march. We talk about 'the milestones of the years.' We put our ear to the ground and we hear the tramp, tramp, tramp of the hosts of humanity. We turn the pages of history and we see the cavalcade of the sons of men. Life is a march.

Many of the greatest spirits who have ever lived have taught us to regard it so. We are given immortal pictures of the road beaten bare by the passing of pilgrim feet. Pictures of generations rising out of darkness into daylight, each living out its brief enthralling day, each hasting stormfully across the astonished earth, each leaving on the hardest adamant some footprint stamped in.

That is the history of the sons of men. That is our own life today---with the milestones hurrying by. And that is Isaiah's picture here. Only---mark this--- he has added something to it. He has added something most dramatically important. 'That vanguard on in front,' he says, 'that is God---God at the head of the host---the spearhead of humanity's advance! That rearguard following after,' he continues, 'that, too, is God, God coming up behind, God holding the post of danger at the army's rear! That is Isaiah's vision.

The Lord our vanguard! Has not that been your experience on the road? Can't you look back today and put your finger on place after place, and say, "Here, and there, and here God had prepared the way for me"? Take the longest view. Look back on the whole course of your life. Has not God always been beforehand with you? And if you love Him today, is it not because He has always loved you first?

Or turn from the joys you have had, and think of the sorrows. Think of the frustrations, the griefs, the disappointments; and see if you cannot say, looking back upon them now, that even in those things grace was present, even there God was leading on, with a definite plan for your life.

'We love Him, because He first loved us.' He has always been first. he has been 'the Lord our vanguard.'

And therefore [this is the point we have been making for], a brave heart to the passing milestones---greet the unseen with a cheer!

We talk about "the unknown future"; we say timidly that we have no notion whatever of what may be coming to us. It is not true! "But surely," protests someone, "it is true. We can't tell what a day may bring forth; we don't know one single thing about what may be on there in front." I say again---It is not true. One thing I know---God is on there in front! One thing I can say---Whatever that future is going to bring forth, it is going to bring God. The Lord our vanguard---that I know. And is not that enough?

Here we are today, with the dark mystery of the veiled future confronting us, wondering [as it is perfectly natural to wonder] what is moving there for us behind the veil, joy or sorrow, friend or foe, success or failure, life or death. But if you stand today, and cry into that black mysterious void, "Who goes there?"---you'll get your answer. 'God goes there! Love goes there. Your Father is there!' And again I ask you---Is not that enough?

'The Lord will go before you'---whatever else is hidden, that is gloriously certain. God our vanguard!

And when you think of the onward march of humanity today, and when you think of your own soul's march from the past into the future, remember there is not only a God on in front there, leading the way: remember there is also Something behind, Someone facing backwards down the road you have traveled as He gazes back to protect His own. O blessed, suffering gallant God---You are the rearguard!

And therefore, soul of mine, march with courage! Into the unseen days, marching singing. Past the milestones of the years, keep marching. March till your road begins to dip towards its end, and the towers and turrets of the City appear beyond the river. God is your vanguard, God your rearguard. Therefore sing---and march!

In Christ, timothy.
maranatha

Hi all,

I would like to know what was going on in the mind of Elijah when he fled from Jezebel. This was no cool saunter into the hills to pray, but he "went for his life" (1Ki19:3). Jezebel had clearly made inroads into his psychology with her threats, but it wasn't just a simple reaction to fear. I am thinking he saw his own vulnerability to her in a way that frightened him nearly to death.

In the cave at verse 9, Elijah was visited prophetically by the word of the Lord, inside himself hearing "What doest thou here Elijah?" His reply in V. 10 is this: "I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

And then as he waited, he listened for God. There was a moment on the way when He would come and speak with him, and Elijah now knew what he would say in that moment, and he knew for sure that his and our mighty God would answer, and would meet him at his point of need, and would give him what was necessary to get his feet to go forward again. The moment arrived in verse 12, not without a convincing show of distracting fireworks beforehand. But Elijah knew the voice of God.

I can hear a breaking heart in the tense that Elijah uses to speak his mind:" I have been very jealous..." Jezebel has driven him to see himself and his stand with God as if in the past tense. And she has got him to behave in a way that is quite out of character for him. More terrible than any implication of fleshly slaughter, she has threatened his prophetic life. He is forced to review his position in the clear 100% sight of God. He will have no man's condemnation or praise. Better to bring his trouble honestly to God, and take the consequences. If there is one thing that is certain, Elijah knows his God. I have had a continuing vision, an Elijah personality, perhaps a corporate Elijah, standing firm in these last days so full of seeming uncertainties. The ground he stands on is hard and compacted, like sand pressed down, hard almost to rock: it has been pressed down by the feet of the true prophets of God, and is no longer a place where fear may breed in the immature phase of wilderness psychology. There is a distinct sound of a sword point hitting the ground over and over. It is like one might pound a stick into the palm of the hand to warn off a would-be assailant. But this is a big sword, and it makes a high pitched singing noise as it repeatedly prods at the compacted sand. It is the Word of God, "with" the modern day Elijah as he leans upon Him in full New Testament power. It will not be messed with. In the vision, the Elijah figure is standing as if alone. There is a night sky, and all around a wilderness quite empty of visible signs of life. There is a sense of warning, of vigilance, of purity, of liberty in the Spirit and Holy Spirit power tremendously embodied. No place for adulteration of God's will, His Voice, His Word. All worldly visitors of flesh or spirit are instantly seen.

How urgent the call to Elijah purity in God these last days. How dreadful the consequences of compromise understood too late. Do we need to worry ourseves about Jezebel? Imagine how evil it would be to believe a lie. How would you know it was happening? What if the scriptures in your mind failed to convict you because of it and so you began to justify wrongdoing on the basis of no revelation to the contrary. This is the kind of thing that Jezebel will do to us if we let her. Her ways are insidious. The damage is subtle, and on the inside. For her to have made inroads, no overt sin need be visible.

"Where's the harm, where's the harm. A little lowering of the standards. A little exalting of the self. A little receiving of praise."

Proverbs 24:33&34 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: "So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

The ground is firm if we will stand fast against the insidious nastiness of Jezebel, against her subtle charms, against her lying "prophets". Be certain she will threaten and sceam out her venom as soon as she is exposed. Our vigilance is needed to identify her, but it is not enough to say who she is and what she does. We need to know where she will be located. When Elijah fled, Jezebel had got to him. The enemy was not only without, she was within. And that is the big scary one.

Love from Mary

You know, I think that I know how Elijah felt in these situations. I too have been "jealous for the Lord." Not that I am even near the type of person that has the right to identify with Elijah but I sure feel that retreat from Jezebel sometimes where I feel the need to retreat back into my cave. Is it fear? I guess so. I get rejected a lot for simply speaking my mind. When I want only love and respect for people and get resentment and alienation back for it, it hurts and I retreat. As for being jealous for the Lord however, I seem to speak out much more than if I am insulted personally. If the Bible is attacked, I speak out, if the church is attacked, I speak out, if I am attacked, I retreat. I don't know what it is about that but I sure know that I have a long way to go sometimes. I can defend others but not too good at defending myself, need to look within with self-examination, maybe they are right, maybe I am too rash, maybe I need to just shut up and chuck it all.

Been depressed lately, not so much for myself but for the condition and attitudes of others. For myself, I know how much I fail, I am used to it. To see other people bicker and lift themselves up with pride, trying to get others over to their "side" and with all of the vindictiveness that we have all seen lately, I go into my shell and wonder if I should go off and do something else, I feel isolated and alone and there are few that can identify with the jealousness that I have for the Lord. My ministry is too much of a job lately, too much like work, it is like a distraction from what I really want to do and not really knowing what it is that I should do, wondering if that Jezebel lie is hers or my own. Yes, it is scary. I wake up in the morning with my hands on my head and cryout out "Oh no! I am obedient and open my e-mail but would rather be doing something else. Don't feel very strong lately.

Jay

Hi Jay, and all,

After the last round I felt as though I was crippled...kept opening my mouth to speak, and nothing came out; felt exhausted, kept doing a lot of self-examination, wanted to run away...it got to me. I became aware of some other things too that I knew should have bothered me, but didn't. Horrible. It was a spiritual thing I am sure, and I didn't like it one bit. Things only got clearer for me when I saw it in myself and got scared enough to deal with it.

What you said about getting depressed and isolated makes me surer that we are talking about a shared Elijah spirit. I know there is a lot talked about an Elijah company, like some have what it takes and others don't. As if by the flesh we could lay hold of such a thing and then exalt ourselves over the rest who don't have it. Not keen on that. But being jealous for the Lord and sharing those same fears and vulnerabilities, and past experiences and hurts and all of that, ought to mean we can share the depression and ease the burden and keep company in the isolation, and help each other to stand and do what we need to do in the Church at war.

I hope what will happen when the church starts to get holy (I mean me too of course) is that the enemy comes clearer into view. The "intruder" we spoke of before was very much an invader of territory, and visible as a being, where the garden (and the wilderness subsequently) seemed to be empty spaces representing the Spirit, so that intruders were spiritual ones, not people. I am hoping too that with our vision properly developed there won't be such a danger of feeling hurt, or self-recrimination like we are all apt to feel, because we will see what is happening in the heavenlies, as opposed to between flesh and blood. I think it is nice that you are able to defend other people, but not yourself so much. We would all be properly "defended" if we all did the same, and thought less of saving our own skins.

Love, Mary

Greetings Jay, Mary, and all,

After reading these latest conversations between Mary and Jay, i too find much that speaks inward concerning my own heart. Jay i am very familiar with what you are feeling when you say you are depressed, not so much for yourself but for the conditions and attitudes of those that surround you. This can be a heavy burden causing us to feel faint (weak) as the weight increases in direct proportion with our awareness of the shortness of our time left to fulfill our Lord's will in these matters.

It is a constant internal conflict between our flesh, soul and our spirit, between our will and His Will. The story of Elijah and Jezebel has much to say about this. The burden we feel at and during these times of internal conflict can be likened to the weight and burden of the cross our Lord bore as He moved forward into the crucible of our Father's Will. i think it is significant for us to realize that Christ also stumbled under the unbearable weight of His own cross. He too felt the weakness of His brutalized flesh, but our Father, knowing His Son's heart was set and fully committed to fulfilling His will, sent help in the form of another's flesh. One who took it upon himself out of love and compassion to pick up Christ's cross and share His burden, even for a short while.

Thats what i try to keep in perspective when i feel my own weakness and begin to stumble under the weight of the cross i have been asked to bear. Our Father provides the strength needed to stay the course He has set us upon. No trial, no matter how seemingly unbearable, lasts forever. If we stay committed and our hearts pure in obedience to His will, someone will lend a hand in accordance to the call he hears from the Holy Spirit dwelling in his/her heart. Each one of us has moments when our faith wavers but our Father's faith never wavers. It is as constant as His Son's love for each and every one of His sheep. No matter how near or far we may wander from His green pastures, our Lord is sure to find us and restore us as one in Him.

Keep on keeping on my brother and my precious sister Mary. Before we can share one another's burdens, first we must acknowledge them to one another. Sounds like fellowship in action to me, i praise our Lord for our weaknesses that lead us to Him for our salvation and to our true brothers and sisters in accordance with His Will. Amen!

God bless and keep us all forever in Christ,
jahn17
(jan)

That collective Elijah spirit can be a tremendous force if it only can be collectively submissive to the Lord. We can all fulfill the role of Elijah but I think that we can only truly be a part of it as a collective Elijah. There are those that think they are the one but that is the Elijah syndrome in that he was isolated and thought that he was alone. Paul talks about it too:

Romans 11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

As far as "what it takes and others don't" like you say, it is the "shared Elijah spirit," Paul talks about it as a remnant, an election at the end of what Israel only seeks:

Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

I really feel a part of all that, I wonder if anyone else does. Once this Elijah congregation gets moving, the world will change. Read the book of Joel.

Jay

Hello!

I'm Peggy. Just dropping in to say "whew!" the holiday is over!

I'm just listening and learning from what all of you have to say about the Elijah Spirit. I'm not a bible scholar, but deeply love scripture and consistently live in it and try to put it into practice, (frequently falling short of the mark, but tenaciously hanging in there.) I just know from experience what you mean by the Elijah spirit in a corporate sense, and feel what all of you feel --sometimes very much at odds with the world and family, even. I just know I am consciously aware of the Spirit and His movements and hear His voice and feel His touch when those around me are totally unaware of it. Makes me feel lonely and jealous for them to know the Lord and be aware of HIs presence at all times too. I'm taking it for granted that this is what all of you are referring too when you talk about your awareness of His Spirit in the presence of those who haven't had their senses quickened yet. You can correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, I just want you to know I'm hanging around and listening to you. Enjoying the fellowship very much. I'm so happy I found you.

Blessings,
Peg

Thanks Jay, and Hi all,

That Elijah syndrome, I believe I understand how it happens at least partially. It is like, when you seem to be the only one who sees or cares what is going on in the church, and you've been bullied, abused and forced to flee, it is one of the conclusions you find yourself drawing trying to make sense of what is happening to you, i.e.that you are in fact alone, it is just you and God on the same wavelength. It is a short step from there to drawing false conclusions that then elevate you to super-Christian status, and you identify so personally with Elijah that if it wasn't for the fact that the time wasn't right, you would step into the limelight and start a cult. Am I being revolting here, I see those kind of things happening all over the place. Pride again tarted up.

To be honest, it is not something that comes naturally to me to want to fit in and be part of something bigger, so I can only think that God is changing me if in any way I am able to grasp the concept of a collective Elijah. It is really only recently that I have understood myself in terms of having a function in the body of Christ, and more recently still that I have attempted to walk in it without compromise....I seemed to upset people all over without even trying somehow.

I think you are right though, that the only way to be part of it is with that corporate mentality collectively submitted to the Lord. Anything that elevates some over others, or writes God's chosen off is not submission to Him, it is something else.

But I do see it and desire the day that God will take pity on us and send the church those things promised in Joel. He is already taking pity and providing the solution, it is already taking shape in the form of holy desires in our hearts, like the subject of this Elijah conversation, to dare to think that it is a possibility. Man there is some work to do first though. The desire for the better day is alongside a big sorrow that things are not as they could be spiritually, The one gives birth to the other. I feel my lack personally, and feel it for the church. I am a bit afraid of giving vent to it. But the day will come.

Love from Mary

Hos. 6:4.---' O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.'

Most of the prophets seem concerned only with the evils they see; and sometimes their message strikes us as harsh and hopeless. But Hosea is distinguished from the rest of the goodly fellowship of the prophets by his tenderer nature and his more human sympathies; and this has given him a profounder insight into the real condition of human nature. He sees the good there is in it; the weakness is in its admixture with evil, and especially in the uncertainty and evanescence of the good, which is as fickle and misleading as the morning weather. It is so easily stirred by generous emotions and attracted by high ideals; the difficulty is to secure their effectiveness and permanence. Man has good inclinations and tendencies within him that make for righteousness, but they are so soon exhausted. He seems able to live only by some intermittent principle, and most often achieves nothing better than a continual rise and fall in his ethical life.

We see the ideal, are visited by high and holy thought and feeling, are ashamed of our inferiority, vividly see what we ought to be, receive a sudden influx of power, and resolve to lead a worthier life. Most men know these special times of illumination and conviction, brought about, it may be, in various ways---by calamities and sorrows, by special mercies and blessings, by the message of the pulpit, and often simply by the direct action of the Spirit upon the conscience and heart. Yet all these exercises of mind, these stirrings of the heart, these good resolutions prove vain. Nothing permanent comes of it. Thus multitudes are inconstant, fitful, wavering. Their goodness never lasts: ever beginning anew, the relapsing; ever making a show, good feelings, aspirations, resolves, and yet there is no abiding result.

Religion is not a thing of mere moods and frames of mind. It is not mere emotion, but the power and principle of a new life. This does not mean that religious life, like other life, has no ups and downs, no inevitable vicissitudes. It has its times of clear vision and realization of the love of God; its times of lively conviction or of tranquil confidence, of touching emotion and of settled peace. But it has also its fears and troubles, its dullness and depression. Today the Psalmist exults in God as his chiefest joy; tomorrow he remembers God, and is troubled. At one time he is sure that the Lord's mercy endures for ever; at another he cries out, 'Is thy mercy clean gone?' Thus variable is the inner life even of the most spiritual of men. Yet such a life may not be at all like the morning cloud or the early dew; but on the contrary, with all its variations, its path may be as the path of light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

What the prophet complains of is that the people were satisfied with penitent feelings which led to no practical results. They were satisfied with the temporary stirring up of a little emotion, without any strenuous effort to turn it to practical account. And the evil of indulging in this kind of mere emotional goodness is that every time it is repeated it blunts our moral sensibilities, and enfeebles our moral power, and produces at last, if we persist in it, a deep-seated unbelief in all spiritual things. That result is vividly set before us in the parable of the man from whom the evil spirits went forth for a season. He had left his old house empty, unoccupied, untenanted, with no busy work going on in it, and therefore it was easy to return and take possession again. And it is certain that, in such a case, the old evil power will return with fresh force, and it will be harder than ever to shake off its hold. Not only so, but every time that besetting sins prevail against us, our faith in God and in all spiritual things grows weaker and weaker, until we run the risk of losing all belief in a better life. A man who has thus quenched the Spirit comes at last to lose all faith. He says, "Oh, I have felt all that before, and there is nothing in it; it never comes to any result." And that is the most deadly of all unbeliefs. The skepticism of the intellect questioning and travail and frivolous objection about doctrine is comparatively a shallow thing. But that is a fatal unbelief which learns to distrust goodness and the Spirit that pleads for it, and feels no sting of conscience.

Religion is neither a doctrine of truth nor an emotion of piety, but it is both of them working together to bring about a life of practical goodness. A mere intellectual religion of creed and dogma is a poor affair, but a mere emotional one of regrets and longings is not a bit better. The former may abide and work no change of character, the latter may pass like an effervescence, and leave our heart stale and dead, but neither will bring us a step nearer God. To think that all is well when our opinions are right, or that we need no more than to have our heart touched for a little with lively emotion---either of these is a kind of religion made easy. But what we need is, not religion made easy, but religion made earnest, to depart from evil and learn to do well.

In the New Testament our Lord teaches the obligation of permanence. 'Abide in me, and I in you.' Revelation puts no value on sudden exuberance of feeling, on surprised confession, on temporary panic or ecstasy. 'Persistence is the sign of reality.' Whatever does not persist may be fancy, sentiment, or imagination; but it is not the righteousness of God, nor does it avail in His sight. These brief seasons are all too short to bring to any kind of maturity the faint beginnings of higher qualities and graces.

We know the dangers only too well from our own fluctuating feelings. We have had high moments, when we saw the light, discerned the truth and vowed eternal fidelity. But those moments are often superseded by a reaction, and remain, not as permanent impulses, but only as memories. We had a great emotion in which it was possible to vow almost everything; but we may have lived to drift back again to an undirected and undedicated life, determined by outward events, swayed by the opinions of others, coerced by the constant compromises of life. Or we may still cling to the vision as something we mean to obey some day when circumstances are more propitious, when we can work ourselves up to take the final step; but if so we must be getting rather alarmed at the poor prospect of realization. What disconcerts us is that we do not keep our resolutions. We do have sudden awakenings. We discover that we are losing ground, that some bad habit is gaining upon us, and we determine to change it. It may be a quite small thing: procrastination of decisions or conflicts until things are decided for us; battles which are never lost only because they are never fought; a growing irritability which makes it difficult for people to live or work with us; slothfulness which is gradually destroying our efficiency; a constant speaking about ourselves which is making us a bore to every one. Or it may be something much more serious---some horrid habit or disgusting vice which we resolve with sincere intention for the moment to give up. But we discover that to will is easy, to carry out is astonishingly difficult. What we lack is sustained vitality. If we could only feel the breezes of the Spirit carrying our raft to the desired haven!

How may we convert the movements of the soul into abiding goodness? Many fail because they do not take measures to perpetuate the higher life that these precious visitations of grace initiate. The great thing is to take care that the times of our spiritual visitation do not exhaust themselves but that they are seized, we being frugal, and perpetuated. We must follow on to know the Lord. By wise and practical effort we must fix the gracious inspiration.

And as we do not, and were not intended to, live this life alone, we must have our faith sharpened and our emulation stimulated by others who have the same aim and are traveling to the same goal. We must cultivate the communion of saints, and that means more than having our name registered as a member of a church. And above all, there must be that spirit of prayer which keeps us in continual contact with our Lord. So shall we be His disciples and glorify the Father by bearing much fruit.

In Christ, timothy.
maranatha

Greetings Timothy,

A single moment of spiritual vision being as infinite in nature as the Spirit of Christ is capable of producing an infinite response. However created man who is an interface between the physical and spiritual worlds has been given the ability to decide what he/she is going to believe (in the seen or unseen) and how he/she is going to act. If left to our own devices (worldly intellect, unbridled emotion and pride) the choice will most certainly be to believe in the seen world thereby producing a temporary action. This is why we so desperately need the Spirit of Christ continually refreshed in our hearts each and every day. It is Christ's infinite power that renders a single moment of spiritual vision into a persistent action. Working in us to produce our Father's desired result, which He has so graciously given and explained to us through His Prophetic Word. The Book of Revelation does indeed lead us to this irrepressible conclusion.

Tim, i hope you understand that i am in agreement with all you have said here. Well at least with all of it my own limited intellect can comprehend haha! The above statement i make is meant only as an affirmation of what i believe you have written. May each and every one of us who reads these words see past our own weak word constructions and into the truth and strength of God's Word that inspired our hearts to write them. May we become invisible so the Light of Christ shines even brighter through us.

May God bless all who seek His Light and Love, persistently in Christ,

jahn17
(jan)

Hi Jan, Tim and all,

It is one thing to have the vision and another to carry it through. A problem arises when ownership is declared: "this is MY vision" -it isn't, it comes from God and belongs to all of us, in the sense that it is never for our own personal self advancement or exaltation, but rather for the benefit of others, according to the measure of faith that we have, and the part we play in our individual ministries.

Moments in our life we glimpse the high points on the landscape of our Christian journey and set off towards them. If they come from God they are all in the same direction and represent features in a land which is the Kingdom of God. Others will share the same view, but since our sight is not perfect we need each other to point out the rise and fall of the land as we near it and it becomes more clear.

The landscape of 100% vision belongs to God. Prophets "see" for themselves and others the high points of vision that we are aiming for personally and also corporately. But also they see the low points of personal circumstance that cause us to lose sight of what God has given us to "see". While some have extensive vision which potentially affects large numbers of people, others are concerned with more local ministries. Since on matters of vision we hold all things in common, our responsibility is to do what we can to keep the vision in view and alive for each other, and thus help us all fulfil our Godly aims. They are Kingdom aims.

If for instance the vision of the Kingdom of God can be represented by the sight of the land from out at sea, then our major goal in the body is to reach that land, turning the vision into a reality. If it were a simple matter of getting from A to B, our Christian lives would be all plain sailing. Some indeed may have that happy Christian experience which consists of catching sight of the haven while floating on calm sea under untroubled sky. This is the kind of vision that has no urgency and excites no contenders. The danger is that in the pleasantness and safety of this spiritual environment with its limited view of the land, we are apt to abandon all urgency to reach the shore.

But there are some whose personal vision of the vastness and importance of God's Kingdom has come to their sight on a rising wave of great experience, or tribulation, or both, and seeing the threat this is to business as usual, the enemy unleashes his opposing forces. Where one is given a great vision of purpose, and where the attainment of that vision has to do with the function of the church, and thus the salvation of multitudes, so we might expect the forces unleashed against that Christian to be immense, powerful, destructive and very black. The enemy knows our weaknesses and our vulnerabilities, and the "sins that so easily beset us". Here on the shadowed side of that massive wave are we sucked into an irresistible motion intent on curving us ever downwards against the purposes of God. It is in this place we are tempted to be pressed back into evil occupation, self-centeredness and worry, and can lose sight even of the possibility of the vision that God gave us. It is in these dark times of threat and uncertainty we are required to exercise faith.

Aware of such pressing dangers in these circumstances the prophet is not to judge and despise others if they fall - but neither is he the enemy who speaks an uncomfortable truth. One vital role of the prophet of God is to serve through seeing and speaking and/or praying on the body's behalf. If you like he throws a lifeline of help, seeing the certainty of the vision when another's sight has failed, and applying the appropriate remedy according to the will of God. If necessary he will plunge into the deep waters himself and facilitate the spiritual rescue.

I pray that our prophetic gifting in these momentous times will increasingly be used to return life to the Christian in his God-given vision, and to help restore his sight by reviving his heart.

Love from Mary

Hi all,

I received this letter this morning, and wondered if anyone might be interested enough to comment on it. I feel I will have to reply, but I have no idea where to start just now. Some comments might offend us as Christians, so my apologies in advance. But I wanted to share this with you before I tackle it. I have asked the Lord to show me how to respond wisely, firmly and above all effectively, and I am confident He will use some of you to help me in this, because I am out of my depth. Here goes:

Dear Mary,

Thank you for your interesting letter. I am pleased you have found peace and happiness in your faith and have no doubt of your sincerity, and I have no problem with a belief based on the wonderful teachings of Jesus. Those teachings are part of my faith too.

What I have learned and understand in my life is that there are many paths to God, Mary. In the end they are all the same path but people call them by different names. The path I have been on has taken me to many places and many revelations over the years but has led me to a deep faith in what I have found. To say that one path is superior to all others is like saying cheese is superior to spaghetti. A pointless undertaking. We are, after all, only human and subject to the imperfections in language and understanding that is the human condition.

I have over the years talked with many devout and enlightened Christians, and with Buddhists and Super-mystics, New Agers, Humanists and many others. There are some wonderful cross-faith seminars that take place. If you can go beyond the language employed by the various belief systems, we all seem to be able to agree that the oneness and unity in God is the love that flows through everything in the universe. Even the Humanists - on the love that flows through all things, although they would say that it is an intrinsic property of the universe, not a creator.

It's the experience open to us all, not the language employed in describing the experience.

I have no problem accepting Jesus into my heart, or the Buddha, or a thousand other holy people that, throughout history, have revealed the truth of this love.

The American Indians call this love that flows through all things - the Great Spirit. This is sufficiently neutral for most people to accept, so I shall call it that.

To me, the great faiths of the World come with a lot of baggage that obscures the essence of the experience of oneness. The message of Jesus is pure and clear but there are so many other things in the Bible that I take issue with. Apart from the teachings of Jesus I can not find the Great Spirit in there anywhere, especially in the Old Testament, which is pure swords and sorcery, a fantasy no different from Greek myths or Norse legends. Have you read anything about the Gnostic Christians? Originally they were the mystic wing of Christianity. After the crucifixion some of the disciples and some of the followers of Jesus retreated into the wild places of the World to live a simple life in harmony with nature and each other. They believed that the universe emanated from the Godhead, and that God is imminent in the evolution of form through time. This part of the message they took directly from Jesus and is very different from the ideas of creation found in the Bible.

The Gnostics were relentlessly persecuted by the newly established church in Rome. They were executed on site and their ideas and teachings were censored and almost obliterated from history. It seems to me that for the last 2000 years the established church has subverted the teachings of Jesus and forced misinterpretations onto the people as a means of control or oppression. 200 years ago I would have been put to death for suggesting this. How can a church founded on the teachings of a man of infinite love and peace take on the idea of putting to death anyone who does not conform to their interpretation of those teachings? To me, the Bible has too much of the hand of man in it for me to embrace it totally. I prefer the ideas of the Gnostics on creation. They seem much closer to the ideas found in other faiths and in science.

I also take issue with the concept and idea of original sin. Original sin implies morals, and there is overwhelming evidence that the universe is essentially amoral. I can only see the concept of sin in human terms. I can find no meaningful way to place human morals onto an amoral universe and call it a natural law.

Human morals are for humans to decide. Every human is born into this world pure and without sin. It is only as we grow up that we accrue sin, by making bad moral decisions. You reap what you sow and bad people usually end up paranoid, bitter and twisted. This is Karma. The actions you take in life will come back to you. The morals expounded by Jesus and Bhudda etc are wonderful codes for humans to follow but are not applicable to the rest of the universe.

Making the right moral decision in life is the essence of free will. We are free to choose the path of love or not. God to me is essentially non-interventionist. The Great Spirit does not meddle in the universe or in the affairs of humans. The universe evolves and unfolds according to the laws implicit in its nature. The Great Spirit flows through us and the universe as we move into the future on the wave-front of now. The Great Spirit is there for us all to embrace and take inside us. It is the unity, the oneness that links all things through the love that is manifest. It is there in everything but it has no implicit tangibility in physical reality.

For me the Great Spirit is manifest most clearly in the natural world. The wonderful symbiotic harmony of nature screams love, oneness and joy. We are all part of this world, and the natural world is part of us. Go beyond human language and human arrogance and with humility and compassion BE part of the natural world.

Many times I have meditated in a wood or place of energy and the Great Spirit comes to me, flows through my being and I am overwhelmed with love and unity with all things. I have had butterflies and birds alight on me and plants bend in towards me. I can feel them all, the wonderful symphony of life all around me and the love implicit in it. Their essence in me, and I in them, and we are one.

These experiences of connecting with the Great Spirit have been very strong and I am finding that as I understand more these connections don't go away. I spend a lot of time in that rapture now. No fears or doubts, I am part of and with the one love that flows through all things. This is my faith, Mary. I have no need to follow the words of man written in some so-called holy book. This is direct experience, the true nature of reality revealed.

Once upon a time this experience of the Great Spirit was open to all. It was the ancient way of the Shaman. But then along came the world's religions, kings, power freaks and people who want to control others. They took those direct experiences and clothed them in laws and rituals and words that made people easier to control. They tried to dominate nature, destroy the places of energy and deny access to the Great Spirit by imposing codes of worship. But it didn't work. The energy is still there. The oneness and love is still open to all.

As I said, there are many paths to God. I am not questioning your faith, or your path. There is no conflict between us as we are one with the love that flows through us. I understand and accept totally your experience of oneness with God through Jesus. Please accept that my experiences are just as valid.

In the spirit of love and unity,
D.

For such a one as he, it will not matter what we say to him, it is only the Holy Spirit of God that will reach him. All we can really do is pray for him. But also I think that he does deserve our best effort to tell him the truth as it relates to everything. Hopefully someone else in our little fold, can tll us something, and hopefully I will have more time too, myself.

Love ya,
Tim

When I first read the letter, I was struck with two things. First, just how far does Gods grace go? Second is that I think this type of thinking is a cop out from repentance, but that is just my opinion. These are all the classic arguments but ones that need to be answered effectively. some are easy to counter, some are more difficult, especially when trying to present a God of love that accepts the man the way that he is.

I believe that there is a way of Jesus that would be acceptable to him. Because he has heard so much misinformation from the church in the past, he has been alienated from spiritual truth. It is after all a matter of the spirit, there are many paths to God but not all paths lead to Him and too many people go astray. He can afford to be as broad minded as he is, it is easy to accept people out in left field when you are out there too.

Jay

Isa. 53:2.---' He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.'

Hello Mary. Your friend D. sure brought up a lot of issues. And each one will have to be dealt with. So try to keep an open dialogue going with them. Here, I hope, is something that you can use to keep that dialogue open, or at least be able to see some of the things that are really happening.

The attractiveness of Jesus is an almost universally accepted conception. The painter's brush finds no subject more inspiring than some aspect of His grace and beauty. Our poets are quickened to high feeling when they remember His passing. Our great composers are moved to solemn music as His words sink down into their hearts.

But is this wholly true? Is Jesus so universally attractive as these testimonies would seem to prove? Is it not as true to say that to many men Jesus is not attractive at all, and that at times He, and all He stands for, are objects of dislike? The Evangelist who revealed His inner life summed up the sharpest edge of His rejection, 'He came unto his own, and his own received him not.' All the apostles bear witness that He was 'a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.' Jesus Himself, with a shadow on His heart, described Himself as 'the stone which the builders rejected.' And His most pathetic benediction is found in the words, 'Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.' What is the deeper truth in this unattractiveness of Jesus? It is this, that to the natural heart Christ is alien, and always remains so.

So Mary, you and me, let us mark the features in Jesus which repel the natural man.

The Holiness of His Character.---Deep down in the unregenerate heart there is an antipathy to holiness. Human nature is not entirely evil, but it is tainted through and through, and, in consequence, as Paul says, 'the carnal heart is enmity against God.'

To ask some men who pass muster with the world's moralists to spend a whole day with a man, whose motives are purely unselfish, whose peace is seen in the quiet contentment of his spirit, whose conduct is touched to fine issues of thoughtfulness and courtesy, whose prayers are felt when they are not heard, is to call them to live in an atmosphere which they find difficult to breathe. They are glad to escape to lower levels of conduct and impulse. In the same way Christ's holiness always troubled men. As the intense light of His sanctity fell upon Pharisee and Sadducee and discovered the devils lurking in their hearts, as it searched and exposed even the disciples, they shrank from Him.

The Mystery of His Personality.---This reason for Christ's unattractiveness leads us into a different region of thought. There are minds which are simple and unquestioning. These are easily accessible to spiritual things and are swiftly brought into tune with the infinite. They find the mystery of the personality of Jesus full of helpfulness and delight. But there are other men who are accustomed to the clear white light of material truths. They are eager to reduce all knowledge in terms of mathematical precision. To them Christ's mysteriousness is a stumbling-block. Every great personality, lays upon the world the penalty of explaining him. Our foremost thinkers and teachers, our statesmen and men of action, and all our leaders of commanding genius are problems to their generation. But the task in regard to them all is simply one of exploration, knowledge, and analysis.

It can be said in perfect truth only of Jesus, others abide our question; but You are free. Simply because Christ goes beyond the reach and the grasp of the natural man, he is hostile to Him, and resents both His Divinity and His humanity. Today, even among those who are willing to be His disciples, there is a shrinking from the unsearchable depths in Jesus. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways than our ways, and we tremble and flutter before the mystery of godliness, and with such an experience He is unattractive.

The Authority of His Claim.---Whether it be a claim which He makes for Himself, or one which He makes upon men for their obedience and their devotion, it rouses instantly a reaction in the natural heart. The unregenerate heart always treasures a pagan ideal. It has a constant hunger for pre-eminence, and exaltation, and it has an eager thirst for, and a delight in, what this life can give. The world's ideal of life was never more finely imagined and more completely attained than in the high days of Greece. Then was conceived a manhood, self-poised, self-sufficient, self-pleasing. It was a manhood developed, disciplined, and enriched until it was able to lay a strong hand on all the realms of power and enjoyment. If any man will question himself as to his day-dreams, he will find that they are precisely those of Joseph in his unschooled youth. He sees his sheaf in the field and all other men's sheaves bowing down to it. But Christ came with a claim for humiliation and submission. He made known the meaning of that claim by the course of His life. He came to be poor, homeless, outcast, to refuse the honors the world would have bestowed upon Him, to drink His Father's cup, to walk in the narrow way all through life, and to pass in through the gate of His cross. That is the claim he makes with an imperative authority. We need not wonder that men resent it and refuse it in the hostility of the natural heart.

The Message of the Cross.---Here we reach the core and kernel of the antipathy of man. It is natural for him to resent the message of the Cross. It comes with its condemnation of the life he lives, and loves, and excuses. it comes with a requirement of repentance, and that is the most searching and humbling experience the heart can know. It comes with a call to a lowliness and humility, which cuts deeply into the pride and self-sufficiency of the human heart. it comes with the inexorable condition that only as a little child can a man enter the Kingdom of God. It comes with a demand for a confession of wrong-doing, and acceptance of forgiveness, and a surrender of the whole being to Him who has redeemed him. That has always been the foolish thing to the Greek, and the stumbling-block to the Jew. Today, there are millions upon whom Christ's moral loveliness has begun to dawn. They are willing to let the other features which they resent lie in the shadow, and, as they say, become agnostic to what is too high for them. But they are not willing to accept the gospel of the Cross, and there Jesus is still unattractive.

Mary, the aesthetic appeal has never been the true power that holds the saved. D. may perhaps someday be shockingly distorted, and may awaken certain temperaments to sincerer attitudes than cynical antagonism or sentimental attraction if only they will only make some attempt at interpretation. Jesus' Cross has been taken out of His hands and smothered in flowers; it has become what He would have hated, a source of graceful ideas and agreeable emotions. Some of us may be thankful that it has not been affronted us with an attempted "likeness," but provided instead a sufficient amount of mass and form to suggest the tremendous reality of the despised Christ.

When and how is this unattractiveness overcome? It is overcome in that day when men's eyes are opened to see Christ in His redeeming grace, and their ears are able to hear His regenerating word. There comes a time when some great need, or some baffling experience, or some disheartening and shamming fall, or some discovery of a man's own true self, changes the whole angle of vision, and silences all the sounds of the world's music, and then he sees and hears Christ. Then Jesus becomes, in the language of the Old Testament poet, once heard so frequently on men's lips, 'the altogether lovely.'

There is a day when Jesus takes every man aside. He makes a silence in our lives. Then His voice rebukes and humbles us; but as He speaks with us the light dawns on the soul, and we begin to see what those saw in Him to whom He became both their desire and their delight. Then we enter into the peace of that benediction, given to those who no longer stumble at Jesus.

I don't know if you have one of my old posts, but it is about, that even Buddha, looked forward to the coming of Christ. I will try to find it and send it.

Love in Christ,
Tim

I just want to add "my two bits" to this posting. Mary, that letter was interesting, and I have received a couple of letters like that in times past. I wish to say, "Jesus is the only one who died and shed His blood for our sins. No other name whatsoever that will save us from our sins and give us life eternal. Some day, "EVERY knee shall bow to Him and all will confess that Jesus (Yashua, the Lamb of Yahweh) is the Messiah and Saviour and King of Kings. Amen? Bless His name forever. That's all, folks. I love you all much. Marilyn

You know what, Marilyn? Took the words right out of my mouth!

One of my standby's in this situation is to share the thought that all of us have heard so many times from teachers and preachers throughout the body --Consider the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was asking that salvation could be provided another way. 'Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless thy will be done and not mine." If it were possible for any of us to receive eternal life any other way, the Father would have provided it. If salvation were possible another way, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross. "There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood, the blood of the precious holy Lamb of God." No other religion or discipline provides that sacrifice with the accompanying gift of the Holy Ghost -- Christ in us, our only hope of Glory.

Throughout the years in situations like these my heart aches for a way to wake the person up" -- but am guided to be patient, share when I can, pray, and know that Jesus said, "No man can come to me unless the Father draw him. I remember when I came to the Lord and gave my heart to Him. It was not a man nor a woman that drew me to Him. It was the Father. We are mere facilitators who sow seed, water, and reap at the "appointed" time.

All the input from the group was truly inspired and deeply appreciated. Thanks for sharing the letter, Mary.

Peg

Hi both,

Thanks again for the input and encouragement. The more input there is on this, the better I see my need. That is interesting, isn't it. Sure glad to have you all around.

In spite of the way D. has written, I can't shake the feeling that he is in fact seeking the Truth, "feeling for God", and that his statements aren't so much statements as questions in disguise. Of course I will have to go along with it for a bit, but I feel my heart responds to the call to help here. He has taken an awful lot of trouble over this letter, I am thinking, why would anyone bother if they were as confident as he says he is that he has found all the answers? I am pretty sure he considers any form of evangelizing rather low, so I think his aim is not to convert me! I will need to tread carefully.

Very grateful of your prayers,

Love, Mary

Hi all

Just thought id send an introductory letter to the group not sure if this the done thing im not a big one for the internet any way im from sunny australia, on the southern coast i guess victoria, were in drought but it did rain a bit last week its been an interesting journey to get to were i am now, but all i can say is that God is faithfull and good and always comes through, the hardest thing i have found at times is when God says "what i want you to do is wait on me and i will fight yr battles, i am going to do this my way not your way" especially hard were family is concerned and i always think i should be doing this or that but feel God saying if we do things our own way there will be little ishmaels running around every where and not the isaac that he wants for us read a bit of mary's friends letter dont have too much time to go over it as im about to start night shift, but ravi zacharias book, deliver us from evil, does cover various aspects of pluralism (the many paths to god or you believe what you do and i believe what i do but dont tell me that yr way is different or better than my way) from memory he says the main problem with pluralism is that they accept many truths but by defintion if one thing is true how can something that contradicts the original truth also be true any how not a problem for christians because we follow the Truth, Jesus Christ.

gotta get going night shift beckons
God bless you all

Jonno

Hi Jonno,

Nice to meet you. That seems to be a pretty good estimation of it. We really do need that original truth as you say to be the plumb line that we use. Having a plumb line is good. Since we believe in the Bible, it is easy to have a concept of ultimate truth but I think we sometimes have a language peculiar to ourselves that others have not picked up and they may speak a different language than us but not perhaps one that God cannot respect. Other paths, but sometimes within that ultimate truth, especially if done in love. God's will be done anyway but He could use us all in different ways or even many numerous ways. I respect many who are caught up in iniquity simply because they treat others right.

Jay

Hi all,

Glad we have got onto this subject. I had never heard it called pluralism before but there are a lot of my family who believe in practice that there are many paths to God, and think it is politeness to respect everyone else's right to go their own way. Even think it is the height of bad manners to speak about Jesus as though He is the One Truth. Well He is. It is an old dilemma of speaking up or keeping quiet in those situations, but not a problem if we are walking in the Spirit, and living the Word as well as speaking it. Man I want to have those days back.

D. has developed pluralism to a fine art. It seems to me that he is attempting to contain all the "truths" he has ever read or heard or experienced in one big bag, which has become cumbersome, wordy, an intolerable burden because it lacks the simplicity that Truth is. I would like to see him put it down, and receive Christ. He will start off by trying to add what I say to this bag of his, so that at least there is a measure of the real truth in there somewhere, and he will think it should comfort him. But all the time he tries to mix it in with all the other stuff it won't work for him, there won't be any comfort, and laying hold on salvation will be too much like a "lucky dip" -full of chance and danger as he puts his arm in to try and retrieve the Truth. But I want him to know what that joy is to put the whole beastly lot down, and "pick up" if you will the simple treasure of Christ's love for him personally, and all that that means to his troubled heart in terms of his salvation and destiny. Lord bring it on.

Yep we have all come to the Lord by different routes. At least they looked different - circumstances, studies, experiences...all stuff of which the world consists. But the story of our lives that has any real value is the one in which we are being reconciled to God. And even in Christ God is still bringing us closer to Him (and each other) through what is going on in our lives. That is after all the aim: that we would be one in Him. That there would be no "pluralism" in the Body.

Lord bring that on too! In Jesus' Name, AMEN!
Grateful of your prayers.
Love, Mary

John 17, 20+21 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

I was asked a question for consideration on another community. I am going to ask for your comments. I already posted my thoughts.

"Which of the two is more serious? Believing a lie, or Receiving a Truth and rejecting it? Also, this matter of discernment. What does that play on knowing truth from falsehood?

One place in the scriptures tells us to "exercise" the gift, of discernment. In other words, if we don't, and if we don't prove all these things coming at us, then we deserve to be deceived. Right? But I know, especially a "little lamb of Jesus, who is not ready for strong meat", they might be confused as to what to believe. Anyway, Comment on what I was asked, if you do have a comment. I won't post what I wrote until I read your comments. This individual would like to know what we all think.

Confused? I hope not. I have thought about this for a couple of nights.

Love, Marilyn

Greetings Marilyn,

On your questions: Of all those in this group i may be the least knowledgeable in terms of being familiar with what the word has to say about these matters. But i do believe i have heard enough to be able to make some viable comments.

On your first question i have read in the scriptures several instances where the question of how our Father views and judges the seriousness or differences between being deceived (believing a clever lie) or hearing, understanding and then rejecting the truth for the lie. This is spoken of early on in the Bible in Genesis at the fall of Adam and Eve and their banishment from the Garden. Many of the Old Testament stories center on this same theme and Paul has much to say about it in the books he penned as well as the other Apostles. i know you have read all these words yourself, but here is my understanding.

i believe it is made clear, that in our Father's eyes a distinction is made. He considers it worse to once having been made aware of His truth to reject it than to be deceived by a clever lie. Exactly how or by what measure He deals with the individuals who commit these errors is a subject of much discussion, but He does make it clear these things will be judged, first by Christ (the deceived) then our Father Himself at the last judgement(those who reject the truth).

On the question on discernment, i think it is a matter of maturing faith in Christ. The closer and more intimate our relationship with Christ becomes the more and louder we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit who gives us the discernment. This is a gift that comes from a loving and obeying (walking) relationship. The more we show our love for Christ and our Father by following and obeying His word, the more this gift of discernment is poured out upon us and the more we hear and understand it. We are asked to exercise this gift, that begins at the moment of rebirth, so as to increase its measure as we mature in our faith. Each one of us is given a personal measure of faith, but as we grow in our living relationship with Christ so grows our measure of faith and our level of understanding of the truth of the word.

i agree with you when you say if we don't use our gifts to the full measure given, then we have taken them in vain. i dont think it is a matter of what we deserve though, cause we never deserved anything Christ did and does for us to begin with. But He deserves that we make the most of the gifts He has bestowed upon us. In that respect, if we waste, neglect or reject these gifts, then we will deserve the loss we must suffer when we stand before our Lord Jesus at His judgement.

Hope this helps some,

God bless and keep you forever in Christ,
jahn17
(jan)

Hi Marilyn, Jan and all,

Good post Jahn 17,you are as qualified as anyone else on here and all of my insides agree with what you said. Perhaps an additional point might be made that since we are not a perfect work yet and revelation is progressive, we are all believing some lies at this present time: we don't know it all, and we have to know we don' t know it all. It is knowing that that protects us from falling into the error of the second more dangerous position that of having the truth and rejecting it.

The real danger here that I see is in an inflexibility towards God, not the truth or falsehood itself. That manifests as pride and is the stiffneckedness that God so hates. To have a truth and believe it is the final truth, and that no more can be said on it, is arguably as bad as believing a lie, since it rules out God's right to reveal it in a greater fullness, and also the right of the brethren to speak light on it as led of the Lord. If holding on tenaciously and pridefully to a small truth prevents the body from coming into a greater fullness of truth as God reveals it in His real-time relationship with us, we have gone down a wrong road.

To be flexible towards God is being that soft clay in His hands, willing to be fashioned by Him, willing to let go of our opinions and the right to voice them. He can do something with that, He can bring us into all Truth if we are willing, He can exchange our grasp of the truth for Himself. Regarding discernment, I am with Jan here completely. I believe it is taught some places that discernment is a gift some have and others don't, like the other spiritual gifts. I have seen some who operate with some discernment then assume that they have the divine mandate to slaughter and slice God's people to bits, judging and passing sentence on everyone they meet. But discernment increases with intimacy with God, since it is to do with the truth unfolding, and God is Truth - the nearer we get to Him, the better we are able to see what the truth is. God is also love, and so we would expect the love of God and each other to increase alongside proportionally. If pride and hatred are strong features of a personality, it is likely that there is no real intimacy with God.

I have got to say legalism I think has a lot of disguises. As humans our fleshly instincts are to formularise the living relationship we have with God into a list of right and wrongs, and then declare the "rightness" of our territory. But Jesus is the Truth and ready to reveal Himself to us at every moment, and in Him is a wholesome freedom from rules. If He wants me to do something I will hear Him if I am near enough and listening, and if I love Him I will do it. Others may not see it the same way...others may think I am dabbling in falsehoods and up to my neck in sin and hypocrisy...but if I am near to Him, and if I have heard His voice, and if I love Him enough to do what He asks, all other concerns are fleshly ones and can't be worth worrying about.

Hope this helps!
Love, Mary

Hi there Jonno, and lightshipmates (?)

Thanks for putting your prayer request here Jonno, makes me feel like we are a real fellowship again. Sure will pray. Heard about your high temps on the news, gak! 43 would fry me. I never fitted in either, and like you all the important things that happened to me were not inside a church building. Bit confusing at the time and I needed some help to see who is the church, like we aren't subject to man-made boundaries and regulations, it is you and me and anyone who truly believes and has the Holy Spirit. So we are the church, how cool is that.

Seeing the church much more as an organic structure operating on a relationship basis with God in His love. That sounds a terrible way to describe something so beautiful but that is what a Bride would be. So when Paul says Eph 5:29 "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones." - it makes me think the time has come for us to nourish and cherish our own "flesh" in the Body, i.e. each other, and see that we put away anything that would divide us up, whether denominationalism, or any other evil belief or practice.

Keep finding the church everywhere: inside the IC, outside the IC, out on the street, on the internet - all over the place. Lots of hungry needy brethren. Lots of us needing to be nourished and cherished. The church buildings seem to encourage worship in isolation, I guess that's why we felt like outsiders so much. We are told that Jesus is all we need in such a way that we think we don't need Jesus in each other, but we do. Uh-oh, I feel a steamroller moment again.

Good to have you here Jonno.
Love, Mary

Hi, Jonno and Mary, and all the rest. I don't have a definite comment. but I just want you all to know that I am enjoying the postings, the comments, etc. It's really like being in a "loving "litte group, and listening to all.

For myself, as most of you know, I belong to 3 communities, and that is my fellowship. I have no group where I attend to worship the Lord, except on line. And I really love that. Sometimes, some of us on another community talk on IM Messenger, and it is quite a lively conversation. I also have been (at their request!) teaching, praying, and encouraging a few 'little lambs", trying to give them some fresh Heavenly mana, (mostly milk, because they couldn't digest very much meat) and they seem to appreciate it. I do so love to do that. And they encourage me, also. I do have a few friends here in this town; we go for coffee, and usually go for Sunday Dinner. We talk much about spiritual things. They both are spirit filled. He is a minister without a congregation. Mary invited him to this group, but so far he hasn't joined. I hope he does, because he writes interesting articles. Those that feed us, not controversial subjects.

Mary, keep on praying for revival, and plant a few seeds along the way. Especially about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Let your light shine, and they will want what you have. Love and prayers,

Marilyn

I have had a stirring in my heart this last week. That can be only a few things happening that I can think of.

Maybe, it is the coffee that I have in the morning.
Maybe, it is the enemy trying to get me into the flesh.
Maybe it is the daystar arising and something good is about to happen.

Hopefully it is the latter but who knows. My emotions run from elation to depression lately, I have had a lot of doubt about things. For sure, the Lord loves me and even if He disciplines me, I know it is for the good. Anyway, I am getting back to normal, whatever that is and getting my web site back in an updating mode and taking care of business.

Love you all.

Jay

Hi everyone,

Jay wrote this

"Maybe, it is the coffee that I have in the morning.
Maybe, it is the enemy trying to get me into the flesh.
Maybe it is the daystar arising and something good is about to happen."

Maybe it is indeed the latter, and I am glad it wasn't just me. Thanks Jonno and Jan for being so encouraging, and thanks Marilyn ditto regarding my fellowship. Prayer meeting tonight, sure would be grateful of your prayers for that.

Sunday a.m. was interesting. I am thinking it might be best to avoid the mornings when I know the preaching will make me feel worse. But we had a visiting speaker and I felt the Lord's presence in a different way. Like sweetness and pain at the same time. Never sensed that so acutely before. Felt my need of Him, not that I don't know it, but not often in this sweet way. Trying to figure out what the Lord is telling me here, there is more than just the experience, there is what it signifies.

The nearest I can think of is the pain of yearning between lovers, a kind of "so near and yet so far" feeling which I am trying to spiritualize in terms of what is going on there. The sweetness was all His, and the need was all mine. I want to pray that we will be one in that certainty of need, all kept safe and catered for in the certainty of His sweetness.

One man said that following last weeks B.study and prayer meeting, he was able to go a couple of days before returning to his less spiritual pattern of thought and behaviour. That was encouraging. I see something happening with him that he is willing to feel after God and not fear his emotions surfacing, or fear speaking about them.

I am prone to wishful thinking. But then when something goes wrong I start to think, what am I doing here? Why am I doing this again? I get that lonely feeling like I am standing outside in a howling wind, not part of the structure of the church. If something goes really wrong I know I will have my exit. At some point someone will ask me to sign a form to say I "belong" to that particular baptist church, and I will have to decline probably. Best pray about that. Lonely sometimes.

Don't suppose that is only me either. Love from Mary

Hi all,
Sending this off for starters, will let you know what happens. Thank you all for praying.
Love from Mary

Hi D......,

Sorry for the typewritten letter and also for taking ages getting around to answering yours.

It is difficult to answer all the things that you said in one go, but if you can bear with me we can deal with a little bit at a time, and maybe get somewhere in establishing what the truth is. I know you want that. One thing at the outset I feel I should say is that the truth may not seem reasonable to you, it may not be something you feel sits comfortably with the other things that are part of your assessment of what Truth is. I think that actually is a feature of the real truth often, as opposed to someone's theory about it, that it is personally challenging. But I know you are up for that.

I can tell you before I met Jesus, I met a real Christian, who spent some time with me telling me ABOUT Jesus, and meeting all my enquiries with kindness and patience. He needed some patience because I was determined that I was going to get to the bottom of his belief system and prove it was nothing but fancy. Well that didn't happen because I hadn't bargained for God being real. Things were not as I thought. I imagined I was this person's total equal at least in terms of intellect, and that sooner or later one of us was going to win the argument, I thought it would be me. Mmm.

There was no doubt that this person had something that I knew I wanted and needed. That was just about the only thing I did know, it turns out. He told me the Gospel, that Jesus knew all about my asking and my needing, and that He had provided the one solution that would settle every question my heart had to ask, and that it was all written down in the Bible. He told me that I had to accept salvation as a gift, and that there was nothing I could do to earn God's approval, or persuade Him to give me heavenly things on the basis of what a good person I was, and what a good life I was living. Well that was a shock for a start. He told me that I had to accept by faith that Jesus had died for me, and that through His death the price was paid for all my sin, everything I had done wrong and was continuing to do wrong. He told me I needed forgiveness for my sin and that Jesus would give me that freely. He also told me that I would need to turn away from everything I knew to be wrong, not just then, but as an ongoing thing.

I don't know about you but to me there were a number of challenging things in all that. One thing that became clear was that there was an exchange here required: I couldn't keep my old life and have the new life God was promising, I had to put the old one down, and with it all of the old thought patterns and behaviour patterns and the lifestyle that I had become accustomed to, I had to be willing for everything to change, and for God to tell me the truth himself, not filtered through what I thought it was and what I wanted it to be. But I was being reassured that if I could do that, I could have Jesus in my life and know Him in such a way that would bring the kind of peace in my heart I desperately wanted, and that He would give me a powerful help alongside me to comfort and guide me through every situation that I faced. He has been true to His Word. Having taken the step of faith, God showed me immediately in a very personal way that I now belonged to Him, and that my new life had begun.

That first step of faith is the beginning of everything. I need you to see that it can't be any old faith that saves you from death. It is pleasant if you ask my forgiveness for something and I forgive you, but it doesn't have any eternal value like if you are forgiven by God. The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. But if you exercise faith by believing what God says, He shows you that He is True.

Below are some passages from the Bible that might interest you. I hope that you see where I am coming from. But I hope much more that God Himself is calling you and that you will decide to answer and see for yourself.

God bless you,

Love from Mary

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us

Eph 2:5 (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),

Eph 2:6 and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,

Eph 2:7 so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,

Eph 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

John 8:30 As He spoke these words, many believed upon Him.

John 8:31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed.

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 14:5 Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You go, and how can we know the way?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.

2Co 5:17 So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Act 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ to remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Act 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all those afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Mat 11:28 Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Mat 11:29 Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.

John 3:14 But even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

John 3:15 so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.

John 3:18 He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

John 3:21 But he who practices truth comes to the Light so that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God.

A New Testament prophet is one characterized as bringing comfort and encouragement. That seems to describe you perfectly Mary, and others on this group. Discouragement and frustration is not always easy to handle but one thing we know is that Jesus is right next to us in all that we do. He may not be a part of what we do when we are out of His will but He loves us anyway. Preaching to the choir here, aren't I.

Finally getting a new edition out on my five-fold today column, working on it today anyway. Lost a whole week of what I was about to do and then lost another week figuring out what to do. Feel like I am back in the wilderness. Praise the Lord.

Jay

Greetings Mary,

While reading this particular post it seemed to me that there may be some inner conflict working its way out from the innermost reaches of your heart. It appears to me that you are not alone in this aspect of our walk as i think i heard this same type of conflict in Jay's post. Then i realized these are echos from my own heart too. We all face many conflicts daily and as aspiring Christian brothers and sisters we are told by scripture this will be so for all of us at some time or other during our growing and maturing process in Christ.

This all reminded me of some passages in Romans and of a prayer i have read from another site based on these passages. i would like to quote this prayer now in affirmation of our common quest and the presence of the Holy Spirit in us who stirs our hearts until our conflicts are resolved in Christ.

Romans 6,7

"Dear Father,

I have died to the world (and to the idea that I can be justified by keeping a set of rules) through the body of Christ that I might belong to Christ.

He was raised from the dead that I might belong to him and bear fruit in his name. Help me to bear fruit for you in the way I live. Let me serve you in the new life of the Spirit.

Give me strength to resist suggestions to do evil. For even though I want to do good, opportunities to do evil lie close at hand. Don't let my inner rebellion convince me to do the opposite of what you command.

In the name of Jesus resolve the conflicts of my life and give me a clear course to walk as I follow him. Amen."

God bless us and strengthen us all as we strive to resolve our conflicts between this world and His Kingdom to come, by the power of the grace of our Lord Christ Jesus, the guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the everlasting Love of our Father God. Amen
jahn17

Greetings Jay,

Thanks for the description of a New Testament prophet. i have often searched for the passages in the Bible that shed light on whether or not there is a difference between the Old and New Testament prophets and if so what those differences might be. i have similar questions concerning modern day Apostles. But so far my personal search has not yielded anything literal just some theories based on broad interpretations. Can you point me to the scriptures that have yielded this characterization of a modern day prophet? i would appreciate this greatly as i have been of the view that prophets were also raised to a higher level of function, by the first coming of Christ just as the Old Testament Law was raised to a higher level by the coming of Grace. We know by scripture the time of the prophets is not done and over, but as to how their function within the body has changed i have struggled to comprehend. This characterization of one who brings comfort and encouragement lifts my heart and is consistent with what a prophet under grace might be. Indeed it is a description of Mary and many of the others who post here, yourself included. Thanks again for sharing this bit of insight with us.

God bless and keep you and all our family forever in Christ,
jahn17

Hi Jan,

New Testament prophecy, I believe is different than in the Old because of the role that the Holy Spirit plays in every believer. Paul writes about it:

1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Not too complicated really, Paul writes that all should desire prophecy. In I Thess, he writes also about edification and comfort that 1Th 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

I looked up encouragement and can't find it at all in the KJV but it is part of that. I looked it up in Darby's translation and encouragement is everywhere there used in place of comfort. Same things I guess. I personally think that the two words are different, comfort more in consolation and encouragement more in the idea of empowerment. The Revised Standard Version for example translates the same verse about prophecy and says: 1Co 14:3 On the other hand, he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.

I also believe that prophecy is raised to a higher level of function but prophets are not. The pride of many people's calling would disagree however.

Jay

hi Jay and all
just while we are on the subject of prophecy in Ephesian 4:11 it talks about different "callings" as such, :-And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.

Just wondering if any one thinks/knows/has an opinion on what the difference is between being a prophet and having the gift of prophecy?? just wondering seeing as we're all called to prophecy as in the scripture below but also some are called to the five fold gifting of being a prophet

in Christ
jonno

AMEN Jahn 17,

Thank you for the prayer, and I am so glad that you were able to speak up about what the Lord has laid upon your heart. If I may, I would like to take up the subject with you of conflicts experienced currently, in the hope that some will pray, and also that some might be helped.

In my personal life, conflict would be quite a mild word for what is happening, I am undoubtedly in a fight fought out in the open plains of my understanding. That is maybe the only advantage, in that the choices are quite clear, and I am pressed to make the right ones continuously. But I do fail sometimes, and it is because I want to fail. My will is not always surrendered to God. Indeed, I am inclined in one particular battle to insist upon my right to fail, because I can see no alternative for me until the Lord provides me with the solution.

When Paul besought the Lord thrice over the thorn in his flesh, he was pressed in his own battle which was allowed to continue. I don't believe for a minute that "My grace is sufficient for thee" stopped the fight, but more that it pressed Paul to throw himself continuously upon God for mercy. And of course only by doing so would he find in his struggle that God's grace is sufficient. Far worse than failing is falling into the conceit of thinking that we do not need God.

In the church though, I get weary sometimes. The fight seems to be going on at so many levels, and the one against indifference is exhausting. We all say we want to see God move, and yet seem to be content to believe that He would do so if the time was right, and that we need not concern ourselves about why He isn't meanwhile. There are some very sincere souls willing to press in to God in whatever way He would direct, and yet there is this traditional stronghold that has its fists tightly gripped around what they would say is "tried and tested" in the Baptist church. Sometimes the preaching is good, I am fed, I feel the Lord's presence, the worship flows. Sometimes I sit and become angry that the same congregation tolerate two hours of total spiritual starvation. Sometimes the prayers are flowing, genuine, spiritually uplifting ones that reach out and lay hold on God. Sometimes they are stuffy, self-important, confident in the church rather than the Lord. Then last night this little evil thing slipped in. It sounded good, but it wasn't right. It said all the right things, but there was a foul spirit. It drew men after it in admiration, but it went down a road that led to death.

Man, Jahn 17, sure are some conflicts going on around here! God bless you and me and everyone here who ever engages in any worthwhile fight, and keep our boots polished and ready to walk, no, run, to the rhythm of the heartbeat of our wonderful Saviour, perfect forever in power, in love and in purity, in Jesus' Mighty Name, AMEN

Love from Mary

Greetings Jay,

i cant express my thanks enough for your reply to my request for the scriptures concerning the New Testament role prophets have today within the body of Christ. This was exactly what i had hoped for and had been searching for.

i also totally agree with your ending statement:
"I also believe that prophecy is raised to a higher level of
function but
> prophets are not. The pride of many people's calling would disagree
> however."

It's the actions of following God's word and Holy Spirit (by Grace and heart love) that have risen to a higher level, not the man. Pride is an ever present thorn that can quickly cause us to lose our focus as to who our real benefactor is and where our calling comes from and the power to fulfill that calling.
God bless and keep us all safe in Christ,
jahn17
(jan)

Hi Jonno,

Good topic. It is my opinion that the significance of what a calling is in prophecy is very important in understanding what goes on here. As I was thinking about it, the idea of free will comes into play. This may be another topic but is just what crossed my mind. Paul asks us to especially desire to prophesy and that has to fly in the face of the ones that teach that man does not have free will. The Calvinist would say that even our desire comes from God and that may be true but I believe that He responds as we respond to His drawing us near. He chooses us or calls us because we decided to follow Jesus in the spirit. In other words, mankind has the choice to reject spiritual direction and New Testament apostolic teaching. I mean what good would it do to be told to desire spiritual gifts if our desire does not have any sway in the matter. If we are waiting on God when He is waiting on us, nothing happens. Of course, the ultimate decision is God's to give because it is about His gifts we are speaking of but God will grant us the desires of our heart. Right?

We should all be prophets, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Some do make a distinction between the gift and the office but I don't. By making it into an office, we discriminate and associate the gift with the testimony of man instead of Jesus. This is what Jan was saying in that last post. I think it negates any spontaneity that He would like to have in all of us. To me, the gift is included in the interpretation of tongues and discernment, witnessing and spreading the gospel, the word of knowledge in spiritual understanding. I look at prophecy in the idea of the prophetic rather than the prophets, the spirit, not the instrument. Too many people out there are putting prophet and prophetess in front of their name and exalting themselves and looking to make a name. And then the church lets them do it by exalting them above their own selves, putting the gift as an office to desire simply for the power and authority.

The five-fold includes the apostolic as well but anytime we are led by the spirit and are sent to do something for Him, we are apostles. When that happens, do we start acting like apostles in a separate five-fold office? Many do. Christians are again making the mistake of putting them into a ministry that is above the rest as an office. Orifice is more like it; they are digging themselves into a big hole of pride and false authority, demanding obedience that will have to be dealt with as the church comes under judgment.

Just my take on it. As Christians, we are called to prophesy, when we do, the spirit of the Lord speaks through us. We are not exalted, He is. We lift Him up and not in the way that people are doing in many of the prophetic and apostolic communities that I see.

Jay

Amen, Jay. I absolutely agree!!! At some time or another, we will, or do, all of these "gifts". And I have never seen so many "Prophets and Prophetess' in my life, as I do now!!! So I affirm (!!) that you are correct. One thing I have not been able to do as yet, is interpret tongues. Maybe one day soon?
Marilyn

Thanks Marilyn,

You know it has been years since I have heard interpretation of tongues. I hear speaking in tongues in church from time to time and when I do I pray for interpretation but nothing happens. I can only shake my head and wonder why it doesn't come. It may be that I am just not in the right place and I am sure that it happens in other fellowships all over the world but it seems strange to me why I don't see it as much as I used to.

Jay

Hi all

well what can i say, after today at the fellowship meeting i am privileged to attend, all i can say is praise God, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit moved in a mighty way, certainly not in a way i had ever seen or experienced a wind virtually swept through the house as we sought to humble ourselves and just give ourselves over to God The verse that came up at this time was John 3:8 the wind blows where ever it please. You hear its sound but can not tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it with every one born of the spirit. It was very blessed in deed also it says in 1 Peter 4:17 for the time has come for judgement to begin at the house of God we are all part of the house of God so we all need to seek him as per below lest judgement fall on us also Daniel fasted and prayed for God to shorten the time of captivity for the Israelites, even if the majority don't repent at first it needs to start somewhere and though we might think that individually we cant do anything just think we all are part of the body no matter where we are, whether we fellowship with hundreds or few we are all part of the body that is Jesus Christ, Mathew 18:20 for where two or three are gathered in my name I am there in the midst of them and in Gal 2:20 it is no longer i who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life i now live in the flesh i now live i live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me so we dwell in Christ we need to come to him with a humble and repentant heart, God gives grace to the humble, bring him our respective nations pray that the Lord may have mercy on our nations anyways God Bless You all

Jesus' name
jonno

Praise the Lord!
Oh, God bless you Jonno, and Hi all,
Yes, fasting and praying and humbling ourselves before God, for ourselves, for the Church, for the world...I am thinking likewise it is now, and it was in my heart this morning that I have been waiting for someone to call the solemn assembly, when I know that God has been calling it already among His people for some time. I confess I am afraid what lies ahead in prayer for me, and I have been reluctant to "go" on this without confirmation that others are also going to be in prayer in this serious way, this end-time serious to end all serious way, folks it is now. I know however, we all know, what a little step is needed on our part comparatively for God to begin to outpour mightily. Haven't we seen it from the beginning of our walk, from the very first tottering little steps we made in God's direction? Hasn't He always dealt with us in this bountiful way? Then now is the time, now that we KNOW His goodness and willingness to bless His children and bring the big changes that we all so desperately need, now that we KNOW our need personally, corporately, globally, and our responsibilities are now not hidden. In the very loosest sense we are an assembly. Nevertheless I am calling for us to get serious, formally if you like. I am going to do just that. I am preparing those around me. I am putting my house in order. I am going to pray. God bless you and continue to bless you Jonno, and all who in Jesus strive for the same end here.
Love from Mary

Hi all,
was prompted to share this

Luke 6:46-49 in the Amplified (46) Why do you call Me, Lord Lord, and do not [practice] what i tell you? (47) For every one who comes to Me and listens to My words[in order to heed their teaching] and does them, will show you what he is like: (48) He is like a man building a house, who dug and went down deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood arose, the torrent broke against that house and could not shake or move it, because it had been securely built or founded on a rock. (49) But he who merely hears and does not practise doing My words is like a man who built a house on the ground withou foundation, against which the torrent burst, and immediately it collapsed and fell, and the breaking and ruin of the house was great

Luke 13;24-30 in the Amplified (24)Strive to enter by the narrow door [force yourselves through it], for many, i tell you, will try to enter and not be able.(25) When once the Master of the house gets up and closes the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door [again and again], saying , Lord , open to us! He will answer you, i do not know where [ what household--certainly not mine] you come from (26) Then you will begin to say, We ate and drank in your presence, and You taught in our streets. (27) But he will say, i tell, i do not know where [ what household--certainly not mine] you come from; depart from me all you wrongdoers! (28) There will be weeping and grinding of teeth when you see Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves being cast forth (banished, driven away). And [people] will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit down (feast at table) in the kingdom of God (30) And behold, there are some [now] last who will be first [then], and there are some [now], first who will be last [then]

When are we doing the will of God? Have we truly sought Gods will for our lives (we need to do this long term and every day) If we just go and do good things just because the opportunity has arisen or an open door seems to be beckoning or again an "opportunity too good to miss" has appeared, without these being Gods will for us we are outside Gods will and sinning as then its us doing "good" for God. As I've read often "good is often the biggest enemy of best". God calls us to be perfect Jesus says in Mathew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Our main gaol is is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ the resurrected son of God first, Math.6:33 seek But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Our foundation needs to be CHRIST then he will work the works HE wants us to work through us

yours in Him
jonno

Lord show us your pain. Forgive us for being preoccupied with our own. Lord I thought I was always open to you but I am aware of a barrier I have put in place on my heart to try to seal you out and look unwounded. I don't want it there any more. I don't want to hold you away from me. I don't want any pretense. Above all I don't want to be hardened to what you want me to hear, what it is that you feel, to where you hurt, to where the bleeding and the aching and the weeping is in your body, and where you grieve. I know I must grieve you so much. How foolishly I have used my time lately, loving the world and ignoring you. I am sorry, I have lost ground. Please Lord I want to feel what you feel, by faith I expose my heart to you naked in the pain and fear and failure I concealed. But empty yourself into me Lord. Give me your own heart as I give you mine again. Make me know your true concerns. And pray the prayer of faith and power in all of us here, by your precious Holy Spirit, in the Mighty Name of Jesus, thank you Father, AMEN
Love, Mary

Oh Jonno, if we can only see more of this. i saw the spirit move in our church Sunday also. Not in power so much but in conviction, in a message of repentance and waking up from our slumbers. The pastor's young son preached yesterday and would you believe that he showed up in pajamas and robe to illustrate the sleep that the church is under. His name is Jonathan also, he reminded me of the prophets of old. What is needed is more love, more conviction, more repentance and prayer for a church yet to wake up and get it together.

I am really trying to get more work done now. Sometimes, I just sit around and play too many games or read the wrong things instead of doing what I know the Lord would have me do. It is inertia and it can only get worse unless it is dealt with by turning around completely. We can take no baggage with us in this restoration of the church, only our love for the Lord and for others in our path.

Jay

Matt. 5:17.---' I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.'

Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfill. What a valuable lesson those with good speech writers could learn. A great many people still think that Jesus comes to destroy. The religious life appears to them a life of giving up things. Renunciation seems to be the Christian motto. The religious person forsakes his passions, denies his tastes, mortifies his body, and then is holy. But Jesus always answers that He comes not to destroy, but to fill full; not to preach the renunciation of capacity, but the consecration of capacity.

Here is your body, with all its vigorous life. It is a part of your religion to fill out your body. It is the temple of God, to be kept clean for His indwelling. Not the ascetic man, but the athletic man, is the physical representative of the Christian life. Here is your mind, with all the intellectual pursuits which engross you here. Many people suppose that the scholar's life is in antagonism to the interests of religion. But religion comes not to destroy the intellectual life. It wants not an empty mind but a full one. The perils of this age come not from scholars, but from smatterers; not from those who know much, but from those who think they "know it all." God deals with those, and especially the ones that say that we are the greatest. What a prideful thing. And here, once more, are your passions, tempting you to sin. Are you to destroy them, fleeing from them like the hermits from the world? No! You are not to destroy them, but to direct them to a passionate interest in better things. The soul is not saved by having the force taken out of it. It is the expulsive power of a new affection which redeems one from his old sin.

How small a thing we make of the religious life; hiding it in a corner of human nature, serving it in a fragment of the week; and here stands Jesus Christ at the center of all our activities of body and mind and will, and calls for the consecration of the whole of life, for the all-round man, for the fulfillment of capacity.

Christ came to fulfill the Old Testament. The connection between the Old Testament and the New is not merely one of type and antitype. The real connection between them is of a deeper kind, which is expounded in the Sermon on the Mount. The separate commandments in the old law might all be deduced from the one law of love: only they forbade, while love inspires; they prescribed actions, love is an inward principle; they were limited and subject to exception, love is infinite, universal, and eternal. Hence, when Christ proclaimed the absoluteness of the law or spirit of love, He was not destroying the essence of the Mosaic law. He gave free course to the eternal thought of which that law had been the local and temporary expression, so that the living water that was for the healing of the nations, but had been artificially confined for the supposed benefit of the chosen people, might well forth afresh and inexhaustibly, and be found enough for the supply of the whole world.

The first point that will occur to every one is THE STRESS CHRIST LAID ON MOTIVE AND THOUGHT, as compared with result and action. Law is a crude makeshift affair. It deals only with what is overt. Conduct, and what is written down, and words before credible witnesses---these are its sphere; but beyond that it cannot press into what a man is in the hidden places of his own heart. But all the great religious teachers follow us into these remote fastnesses, past conduct and past words and down into the secrecy of thought. If one wishes really to change and cleanse the world, one must get back to thought, the final material out of which life is woven. That is why legislation, which deals only with outward things, is, and must be, so inadequate; why politicians are at best mere fumbling amateurs; why in the last resort we must rely upon God's prophet's, who dig deeper and push matters farther back, and strive to change, not our environment alone, but our innermost selves.

Christ forbade not murder only, but anger; not adultery only, but the impure thought. These are, of course, mere illustrations. It is not possible to exaggerate the importance of this complete alteration of the sphere or righteousness from action to thought, from deeds to disposition; this discovery of a new standard by which to judge oneself. It was a revolution in morals. We may keep all the ten Commandments and a hundred more, and yet be hard, unkind, impure, jealous, mean, selfish, complacent---a Pharisee in fact, without a trace of the Christian character. Christ gave a new and far higher standard, by making the test not our action, but our real selves.

The next point, perhaps, should be given as THE LIFTING OF THE MORAL ABOVE THE CEREMONIAL. The religious Jew at the time of Christ was one who carefully observed the law and its traditional additions, as interpreted by the great Rabbis. These regulations governed conduct in curious detail. They prescribed, for example, how often, and when, and precisely how, vessels and hands were to be washed; when fingers in washing were to be held with the tips up, and when to be held down; and precisely what made persons, or foods, or places unclean, and for how long, and how they were to be purified. Now Christ saw that, however great their value might have been as discipline in the past---and that no one would deny---they had now become relatively unimportant. He saw that they were now obscuring and misleading men's thought's of God and righteousness. Woe unto them that do that. And He said so. Therefore the religious people thought Him irreligious and a blasphemer, and brought about His death. But from that religious world Christ, and His Apostles after Him, appealed to the revelation of the God of righteousness, even then latent in the heart of the whole world, Jew and Gentile, and He appealed not in vain. We do well to remember that the judgment of the outside world on religion, a rough-and ready judgment it may be, but just and final, turns on one point only---they judge it by its fruits. 'Does it make men good?' Temples and priests, dignity and wealth, learning and privilege, count for little or nothing in that final court. 'Does your religion make men good? Yes or no.' And the world said of early Christian teaching that it made men good, and of Pharisaism that it did not. It was by that test that the world judges the Church today.

And again, CHRIST SHOWED THAT THE TRUE SERVICE OF GOD DEMANDS not only our abstaining from doing wrong, in the hope of saving our own souls, but ACTIVELY IN EVERY WAY DOING RIGHT. We are answerable for the good we neglect to do, as well as for the evil that we do. In this lies a broad distinction between Christ's teaching and all that went before it. The Old Testament defines duties by 'Thou shalt not,' Christ by 'Thou shalt.' We infringe Old Testament laws when we do things we ought not to have done; we infringe the law of Christ when we leave undone the things that we ought to have done; judgment, condemnation, is prefaced in the Old Testament case by the words 'inasmuch as ye did wrong'; in the New Testament by the words 'inasmuch as ye did not do right.'

This was more than the discovery of a new field for conduct, a new test of rightness. It did for morals what Copernicus and Kepler and Newton combined did for astronomy. It altered the center, the point of view. It determined the future development or religion. It disclosed the master-principle, the ruling force that gives unity to the whole. That master-principle is that God is our loving Father, and that all we are brethren in Him; and that only by showing love like His can we be true men, true servants, and children of God, worthy of the life of our Father in us, and that life is love.

If this is a worthy and dependable interpretation of Christ, there should be a growing approximation to Him in the lives of His people. Our influence must be directed, not toward destruction, but toward fulfillment. For we are here to represent Him, and to carry on His work. That there is much to be destroyed in the lives of those among whom we serve is obvious. But it can be effected only by Christ's own method. What is most needed in those around us is not the destructive word of condemnation so much as the encouraging spirit of comradeship. The warm sympathy which He ever showed toward even the feeblest desires after God, and which encouraged and stimulated the most unlikely in their endeavors, has often guided and saved despairing hearts when manifested through His followers.

It is for this ministry on the part of us all that these days call. We can do more for those around us in their need, and for the nation in its moral want, by our own endeavor to live Christ than anything else. Here is service for all who name His name. There is no worthier aim on the part of those to whom other service is impossible. It has been expressed by the man who said:

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by---
Men that are good, and men that are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Nor hurl the cynic's ban;
Let me live in a house by the side of the road.
And be a friend to man.

In Christ, timothy.
maranatha

This morning after receiving my scripture for the day which was: "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." [1 John 3:3] I was reading the passage below.

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no """wedding garment"""; and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22: 2-14

Can we discuss the "wedding garment" here?

Peg

Hello again, Peggy and all my brothers and sisters in Christ. I, too, would like comment on what you posted. Not to be argumentive, Heaven forbid.. because I have studied on this and I believe our Father has shown me what all of this means. However, I wish to hear all of your ideas.

I know that the wedding garment is not the same as the "bride's gown". They are two separate groups. The wedding garment is believing on the Messiah and His blood for our covering...thus a wedding garment. That's all I wish to post. I will be looking and waiting eagerly for replies. We will never all see exactly "eye to eye" until we reach perfection. So I am open to discussion. And I love you all. Peggy, I do hope you are doing well, and that the Father's Face is "shining" on you.

Another thought: I was reading Ps. 80, and it really ministered to me. Maybe another time, we can discuss that. But I saw America, as well as the Nation of Israel, and also I saw us as individuals, and even this "community", crying out for God's Face to shine upon us again. Amen?

Marilyn

Hi Peg, Marilyn and all,

Can't say I have examined what the wedding garment of this scripture signifies, except in broad terms. Holiness is something that springs immediately to mind, "without which no man shall see the Lord".(Heb 12:14)

What if the one who was bound and slung out had a level of holiness to see the King, but insufficient to stay? Bear with me, I am just chewing on a couple of ideas here. He must have thought he was entitled to be there, even probably thought he was appropriately dressed, but in the event had a rude awakening, finding that neither his covering nor his presence there were appropriate or acceptable.

What is it that would lead a person to be so terribly and fundamentally mistaken? Self-righteousness and pride springs to mind as the kind of covering that is unholy and unacceptable, a veneer of superficial cleanness enough to "fool" the man on the door that he was one of the wedding party. It is extremely sad, this. That it could be possible to be convinced that we are entitled to be at the wedding, when we are not. I am wondering if the "intruder" represents those Christians whose holiness was positional only, but not practical. Perhaps the ones who wanted all the blessing, without any of the hard work or suffering. Wanted the feast without bothering to know the groom. Talking the talk without walking the walk.

There is a mannerless greed and arrogance displayed by one who would dress inappropriately and attempt to gatecrash a wedding feast. Spiritually perhaps we have seen it all in the church already with false authority done up in religious robes and expecting preferential treatment. These are the ones who, having received their reward in full down here mistakenly expect business to continue as usual when the Lord returns.

There is, however, a politeness about the humble and loving, spiritually fruitful personality that would not presume to expect favour, but rather hope for it, and do one's best. If we know our Jesus well enough, we will have taken all His commandments to heart; we will be ready to serve, and not be served; we will be preferring each other, and taking the lowest seats. Deeply conscious of our failings we will not abuse or cheapen grace, taking nothing for granted, not thinking we stand, lest we fall. If we let Him deal with us now as He wants to, not hardening our hearts against His voice, His heart will not be hardened towards us in that day we are discussing. We need to pray for each other, and take stock.

Much love from Mary

I really appreciated, as usual, all you and Marilyn had to say about the wedding garment. I saw it as the righteousness of Christ obtained through faith in the blood of the atonement on the cross, repentance, baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Anyone who tries to enter in "another way" is not welcome at the wedding feast. As heartbreaking as this sounds to many who would interpret this exclusiveness as "mean" -- Jesus makes it pretty clear it is a reality. All the more reason, like you said Mary, to take soberly and earnestly our opportunities to encourage others to receive the good news and follow through with the faith, the repentance, the baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. I haven't been an evangelical because I have been so burned on trying to share the gospel. But, that fire to seek and save that which is lost is being rekindled in me. I think I became complacent because I bought into the lie that somehow our Father will make room for everybody -- that there are probably many ways to eternal life with Jesus. However, it really has sunk in that if all that were true, then Jesus wouldn't have had to fulfill his mission in the dramatically painful way that He did -- shedding his blood for us on the cross.

After many years of putting my light under a bushel, I'm ready to "come out and shine." My strength in that sense is returning. This time, I hope to handle my witness in a balanced and sensitive way because back in the late 70's I was a "wild-eyed fanatic" who acted out in compulsive, immature ways and probably did damage to the gospel because of it. A few of life's lessons later, and a little more depth, perhaps I can be a productive witness. It seems like we are all on that track here and it feels good to get the support and insight needed to move forward.

Love you all in His Love,
Peg

Hi Marilyn and Peg and all,

I see the wedding garments as robes of righteousness, washed in the blood of the lamb. Traditionally, all brides wear white, which is symbolic of the purity and chastity expected of a virtuous wife to be.

Jay

Greetings Peg,

Great discussion going on here on the "wedding garment" spoken of by Jesus as He spoke to the people at the temple courts in Jerusalem. When it comes to interpreting the meaning of the parables Jesus spoke at that time, we have an advantage the people He spoke to did not have. That being we are now living in the age of grace and have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to give us spiritual insight.

Also the people He was speaking to saw Him not as the Christ, but as a prophet (Matt. 21:46). The parable of the Wedding Banquet was prophecy, spoken to God's chosen people prior to the change from the age of Law to the age of Grace. So Jesus spoke to them in stories that they could identify with according to their daily lives and the customs and laws of their present day. Giving them a picture of where they were at in God's eyes, where God wanted them to be and what was to come.

It helps a lot, if when we read these parables that we have some knowledge of Jewish law and custom in those days. i had a similar discussion on this very parable with a Messianic Jew. By that i mean a man who was born and raised a religious Jew, but as an adult was born again and has accepted Jesus as the Christ and his personal savior. He explained to me the odd reference at the end of the parable concerning the man who was at the banquet but was not wearing "wedding clothes".

It was the custom in those days that the father of the groom provided all the invited guests with special wedding garments that signified the tribe of the groom, which symbolically indicated all in attendance were equal family members. It was mandatory that these garments be worn at the wedding supper and wedding ceremony. To not wear them while in attendance was a rejection of the father's authority as head of the family. In Matt 22:12 when the King asks the man how he got in without wearing the provided wedding clothes, indicates that some kind of trickery must have been going on. Therby pointing out that this man not only had rejected the King's authority but was also a deceiver. The language used to describe this man's fate which is very similar to the fate of those prophesied in Rev.21:25-27, 22:15 amplifies and verifies the prophetic nature of this parable.

While i am in agreement with the others who have responded as to the spiritual significance of wearing or the putting on of the proper wedding garments and what those garments represent: Holiness, obedience, righteousness, through grace provided by the blood of Christ. i think the story was told more to convey to the chosen people of that day the consequences not only of ignoring God's invitation into His Kingdom to come, but also the consequences of deception and rejection of Christ and God after accepting the invitation. In some ways you might say the first part of the parable was for the Jews who would reject Him as their Messiah, and the last part was for those of us (grace agers, Jews and Gentiles) who would gladly accept His invitation, but reject His grace and His authority to work in us so we might be purified and cleansed enough to walk through the gates and into His Kingdom for all eternity.

In other words, first we must accept the invitation, then wear the garments that our Father has provided for us, so that we will be recognized as equal members of His family and inheritors of His Kingdom.

God bless us all and keep us clothed in the Righteous Blood of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen

Jan

Hi Jay, just some thoughts.....

Evangelism in the post modern era. Is the preaching of the old -school evangelical Church relevant for our secular culture? Has the church and the Bible lost all or almost all its authority for the unchurched? Reginald Bibby (Christian sociologist) says that more people than ever are hungry for answers yet fewer and fewer people believe the church has them. Why is that?

Is it time for a grass-roots movement which does the work of the organized church. If so, should new converts be brought into the organization, or kept out of the denominational hierachy.

blessings,
Paul

Hi Jay and all,

Just a few thoughts on this subject, still chewing....

"Evangelism in the post modern era. Is the preaching of the old - school evangelical Church relevant for our secular culture?"

We are in the "post modern era" of yesterday, and this question has been asked by the evangelistic wing of the church in successive generations. Almost invariably I would think the answer to be "no": Preaching of any kind in the church is not going to be relevant to secular culture, nor should it be. The temptation is to make it relevant by "updating" the message to give it modern appeal. The Gospel doesn't need updating: it needs liberating into the hearts of the current generation in the power of the Holy Spirit. If we have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, we have what we need to be relevant in these times. Unless we are on fire ourselves we cannot expect any secular culture to feel the heat of the gospel message enough to want to do anything about it.

"Has the church and the Bible lost all or almost all its authority for the unchurched?"

The UK at any rate is a Christian nation historically, and many of its laws are structured around Christian values. In that sense the authority that the Bible has is interpreted for and imposed on the unchurched through the law that exists. Society however is becoming less "Christian" - Jesus isn't taught so much in schools, and Christianity is becoming less fashionable among young people. Good. Same point as above really in that it isn't supposed to be fashionable, it is supposed to be life-changing, radical, dynamic, liberating: a matter of vibrant relationship with the Living Lord outworking in Divine experience including the ecstatic. Stuff fashion. When modern society has an encounter with Jesus, nothing will be left the same. Jesus is authority. It is only to the extent that there is any encounter with Jesus that the authority of the Bible will be recognized and acted upon personally.

"Reginald Bibby (Christian sociologist) says that more people than ever are hungry for answers yet fewer and fewer people believe the church has them. Why is that?"

God tells us things will get worse in the last days - lawlessness increasing etc. Greed has been so thoroughly taught and encouraged in our society in recent times, and more than ever it is thought that happiness exists in the abundance of wealth - money itself and the power and possessions associated with it. It isn't surprising therefore that, as it is gradually realized that materialism does not bring happiness, except to those irrevocably perverted from Godly values, more and more people will be hungry for answers. Answers, mind, not theories. Good again - it is the germination of a rising hunger for God.

Is it time for a grass-roots movement which does the work of the organized church. If so, should new converts be brought into the organization, or kept out of the denominational hierarchy?

It is true that the organized church as it is known at the moment has little in terms of a spontaneous response to offer those that are coming to the Lord in these last days. I daresay as it feels its powerlessness to an increasing degree, it will attempt to formulate new methods of filling the pews. That will come to nothing too if it is done in the flesh. It is time instead for the church to start breaking a few rules: not departing from everything that is wholesome and lovely in its teaching, but everything that smacks of religion, denominationalism, traditions and agendas of man, inflexible trappings of church life, and everything that is not of God. Clearly a wholehearted repentance is needed on a corporate scale. The organized church is an old wineskin that needs to be sloughed off to reveal the new wineskin that can stretch to accommodate a fast-expanding body in these last days. To institute another organization, albeit a grass-roots one, which takes the place of the organized church would be to swap one old wineskin for another, which itself will very quickly become inflexible too. This is arguably all that can be achieved by an exodus from the visible church into an alternative set-up. Neither of these old wineskins is an accurate boundary inside which the church lives, and outside which is the world. But as God pours out His Spirit on all flesh in these last days, so the true church begins to come into view: the new, living skin like a beating heart expands and bursts through the old wineskin so that all that is dead, misleading and powerless is split away and sloughed off, no longer to be relevant. Thus, with the true and living church emerging from within everything that it was built upon by man, new converts as part of the glorious bride can be fully catered for in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and in spite of restrictions, excesses, and past abuses imposed on her by denominational hierarchy.

Love from Mary

Relevancy of the old school

I am still chewing on this topic also but it is hard to swallow. I believe that the Lord is anywhere we lift Him up and the church is not perfected yet. We are still working on that perfection, I am suspect of any group or person that think they have it all together, especially the ones that turn their backs on all churches simply of their organization. To me, the "IC" is part of a process in coming back to where the Lord would have us, coming back from misdirected courses and false authority. The Lord has not abandoned the churches, even the bad ones. Did He not say that He will never leave us or forsake us? Obviously however, the evangelical wing of the church thinks that they are the main ones to spread the gospel but it is a false unity, one that I believe will be spit out as part of the luke-warm church.

The false authority with the pretense of hearing from God is what we must separate from. How many times have we heard that God has told particular Christians to leave the church as if they leaving Babylon. We have had long conversations concerning Babylon and found it more that just a religious system but an economic and political one as well. I am seeing people all over starting house churches as if that will solve the problem when all they are doing is leaving the four walls of a church and taking their Babylonian baggage and false authority with them. Where is the love? Where is the faithfulness, the commitment to the ones that brought Jesus to them in the first place? They are rejecting the same people that Jesus died and bled for, deserting them , leaving them for the enemy to devour. And still they lift themselves up in pride as if they are part of a movement through the spirit of Jesus. I don't see it as holy but part of the apostasy.

Montou, keep on looking through the lightship archives if you like but you will see the good with the bad and that can be confusing. We could have deleted the confusion that goes on from time to time but they are left there. The latter rain archives of our discussions throughout the past years give you a better idea of the unity that you are looking for because I have tried to reflect the unity there and bring us together by ignoring the false authority and divisions except for the sake of example. I have tried to be objective with all that and not pick and choose just the things that I agree with, that is not easy sometimes and I am coming out of a burnout right now. You mentioned about how you enjoyed what Michael wrote. We all did, but he believes that the church is Babylon, not just held captive but Babylon herself. Since then, we spoke of the Elijah Syndrome, this is part of it, it is a mistake that many make but since I disagreed with Michael, he left as if he and his friends are the only ones that hear from the Lord. That is not unity and that is not doing what we can to perfect the church but rather abandon her, like I said. Where is the love. We have had other problems here where I had to insist on correctness for the sake of one that was wrong but especially for the sake of false doctrine being permitted in the group. These are from ones that cause dissension through flattery and deceit, it is not a purposeful thing but one that can be put away with simple humility, that is hard for many in the church. There is a big difference with love for individuals and love for a group that needs protection from the same people that we love. We will be and have been attacked for it but come out stronger and more mature.

Mary asked for everyone to pray for me. We all need it, not to worry. Mary is very protective of me out of the brother and sister love that we should all be having but it seems that I need to learn these things first hand, like the isolation and depression and inertia, in order to be able to pass on the cure. God is not finished with me yet either and I learn through these trials. He would not have put me in the situation that I am in just to abandon me. The same with the church. Some people give up on me the same as they give up on the church but the ones that will go through this fire will come out without the scent of smoke to be the perfected Bride that Jesus is coming for.

Jay

Jonah 3:5.---' So the people of Nineveh believed God.'

Under every form and character of human life, beneath all needs and all habits, deeper than despair and more native to man than sin itself, lies the power of the heart to turn. It was this and not hope that remained at the bottom of Pandora's Box when every other gift had fled. For this is the indispensable secret of hope. It lies in every heart, needing indeed some dream of Divine mercy, however far and vague, to rouse it; but when roused, neither ignorance of God, nor pride, nor long obduracy of evil may withstand it. It takes command of the whole nature of a man, and speeds from heart to heart with a violence, that, like pain and death, spares neither age nor rank nor degree of culture. This primal human right is all that is claimed here for the men of Nineveh.

The writer of the Book makes no attempt to record an historical conversion of this vast heathen city. For its people he claims only the primary human possibility of repentance; expressing himself not in this general abstract way, but as Orientals, to whom an illustration is ever a proof, love to have it done---by story or parable. With magnificent reserve he has not gone further; but only told into the prejudiced faces of his people, that out there, beyond the Covenant, in the great world lying in darkness, there live, not beings created for ignorance and hostility to God, elect for destruction, but men with consciences and hearts, able to turn at His Word and to hope in His Mercy---that to the farthest ends of the world, and even on the high places of unrighteousness, Word and Mercy work just as they do within the Covenant.

How did Nineveh return to God? The movement began with the people and spread to the throne; it was the heart of a nation, clutching at the one hope of escape from an approaching doom. An alien prophet had brought the word. For a whole day he passed through the lanes and streets threatening the city with God's judgment upon its sins---one man among a million who alone knew the true God. Five words were all he spoke---'Forty days and Nineveh overthrown.' And the words, we read, went straight to every heart. Silence fell upon all the songs; the buying and the selling ceased; the bright colors were hidden; feasting gave place to hunger. The tidings came to the king, and he stepped down from his throne and led the lamentations of his people. A proclamation was issued that none should fail to take his part. By all the means known and sacred in that age they drew near to God.

To the author of the Book of Jonah the Word of God was so convincing that only to hear it might lead even Nineveh, that heathen city, to repentance. The record is set forth in the prophet, not as a deed accomplished, or an experience already won, but as a daring forecast of faith, one day to be claimed. Some Nineveh would yet repent; some nation would come back with its ranks unbroken to God; till that day the vision should be written and wait.

The world waits for a city to repent as this Nineveh repented. It is a new experience to be appropriated; it is reserved for some nation, as a place of honor; it has been partially known, but never perfectly. In cities before now the righteous men have prayed and won their fellows from doom; but no Nineveh has cried with all its voices in unison to the Almighty. But nothing less than that is the ideal of a nation on its knees.

If a nation is to return to God, there must be a voice of the prophet with the Word of God upon his lips. There is still need for the prophet or a prophetic Church; and the mark of the prophet is to be found in his supreme faith in his word as the word of the most High God; it is a word which bears upon the situation in which the nation is found, but it is always the counsel of the Just and Holy God which burns within his heart so that he cannot contain. That burden may still be laid upon one solitary being, or it may be shared; there may be a lonely Amos coming from his wilderness to preach the word; or there may be a group, or a Church, using many approaches for the same proclamation. No one can say of any method that it is ruled out beforehand, no one can assume that, because one method was followed in Israel, it must be followed still. One thing is clear; without the Word of God there will be no new life in a nation; there must be the Word of God proclaimed by His prophet.

But can it be delivered in any sense with the hope that a nation, as a nation, may hear and readjust all its life to the new Word of God, which is the new fact? In other ages it might be possible, it is urged, but not now. The ancient states were more compact. One voice might be heard throughout the length and breadth of a Nineveh; but how can there be any one issue set before a vast nation like ours? How can it act as one mighty being? How can it be made to hear the same word and face the same situation?

Has not the very size of our modern nations ruled out anything like a common repentance? Yet there are other things than vastness to be considered. There are the new and swifter ways from soul to soul; there are new lines of communication between separated lives; so that one great voice, if it were here to speak, could still reach almost in a moment all the nations. One emotion can be experienced by all the scattered members. The change of mind which is called in the New Testament 'repentance' is not inconceivable, even when we speak of vast peoples. What if there is a call more imperative---a need more urgent? What if this, too, were proclaimed in the ears of all men? Before that is done there will be no return to God.

Again, it may begin with the people, and the cry rise in a crescendo till all are swept into it, from the greatest to the least; or it may begin with those entrusted with power and leadership. These may be the first, and the vast multitudes may follow. There is no way whereby we may standardize the Divine method.

What, then, is the relevant fact that needs to be proclaimed? What is the Word of God for a nation in its collective life? How can it repent and return to its Lord, and in Him find its true life?

It was doom on the lips of Jonah. There is the note of doom in the Word; but there is more. It is not the cry to the nation---'Forty days and America shall be destroyed!' There is always judgment in the prophetic voice, but in no such dramatic form does the word come to us. No new message of judgment is needed but the old one which we have had from the beginning; for it is plain as history can make it that doom rests upon the nation which will not adjust itself to the spiritual situation when that is set forth. The nation that ignores God must perish. No prophet is needed to tell nations today that certain ways, if they are followed, lead to the decay and fall of nations. Europe and America is beginning to discover for itself that it cannot afford not to be Christian.

It is not in the word of doom that the characteristic message of God comes. Christ came not, and comes not, to condemn the world, but to save. His Word to the nation is not a warning of death, but a call to the nation to serve His purpose---a call to bring all treasures into the commonwealth of mankind; a call to the nation to die unto its egotism and adjust itself to the Cross of Christ, by which nations no less than individual souls find a world crucified to them. The word of the Cross is still the word to bring nations to their true life.

When the Cross is proclaimed as the burning center of the Divine Revelation to a people, what it means must be this. There in the Cross is the Word and Act of God; there are His values; there is the measure of all natural aims; there is the call to all who love their nation. To recognize that Word of the Cross as the very heart of eternity; to interpret its call in terms of service---of sacrificial service; to lay down all ambitions that are out of place there; to face the new world with His kingdom---the kingdom of Just and Holy Love, supreme in thought and in purpose--- that would be to repent.

In Christ, timothy.
maranatha

Hey All,

I thought I would share some of my thoughts.

Bible is the word of God and God is talking to us only if we try to understand and meditate on His words. Needless to say everything He says there are of CONVICTION. It opens my eyes and have me do something.

Of all that He said I want to share two of the passages here.

The first one comes from Mark 8:34

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Jesus here is saying if anyone would come after Him. He is not forcing anyone to be a Christian. So I feel everyone of us when we claim ourselves to be Christians have decided to follow Jesus. We are committed to serve the Lord. So we all are CALLED. But people today truly fail to realize this.

Being a Christian for most is just another name or title. Reading a Bible is like just reading any other book. But being a Christian is much more than that. It's a life of commitment to follow Jesus. Its about picking your cross. There is a cost but you are not forced to bear that cost if you are not ready. We are compelled to pick up that cross because we truly understand what Jesus did for us. Bible is the word of God and everything in there is TRUE.

But majority of Christians fail to realize that.

Another one is from Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

Jesus here clearly tells about our access to heaven. Its in plain simple English. I don't know if there is anything hidden behind but for me its pretty straight forward.

Those Christians who are not living the "life" are not only fooling themselves (Matthew 7:21) but grabbing somebody else's opportunity to know Christ (John 14:6 ). And that means you are taking somebody else's eternal life. That to me is an absolute SIN. My humble request to these people would be DONT BETRAY JESUS.

I am not trying to scare anyone or offend anyone but this is the REALITY. Lets be REAL and do what the Lord has called us to do. There are so many souls to be won and so much work needs to be done. Lets all pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

And we have made this decision and lets live it to the extreme. Let our light shine.

Are you all in?

Please continue to pray for Christian Unity and to those who are lostů

Love you all!

By His Grace,

Montou

Examples are--- well, just that. They are examples. they are teachers, items of interest that should point us in the direction that we are to go. Sort of sign posts. But more than that, they are physical truths that are used to teach us spiritual truths.

"All scripture is given by inspiration by God, and profitable---" (2 Tim. 3:16). I believe the teachings in God's Word are given as physical examples to teach us spiritual truths. We are to learn from these natural truths that we might understand spiritual truths. (1Cor.15:46) "the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual".

God the Father has established this process, and we have no mandate or ability to fine tune it. Spirit is Truth. "God is Spirit. (John 4:24). Once we see and understand the Spiritual lessons, we no longer want to be fed and ministered to by returning to the natural example. there is no water in that well. "It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh (natural, physical) profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and are Life.(John 6:63)

Someone said "Heresy comes when believers receive Revelation Knowledge, and then attempt to apply it to their carnal living". Believers have historically received spiritual insights and immediately attempted to convert them to flesh. How ironic!

In Gal. 4:24-28, it reminds us that Hagar (Ishmael) and Sarah (Isaac) represents two covenants. Hagar deals with the flesh, the carnal nature, and is ever changing. That relationship has no resting place. It moves, just like the tabernacle in the wilderness. A wilderness is not meant to be a resting place. It is a place you are to pass through, not rest in. Abraham's covenant through Sarah, however, produced the "son of promise". That promise was "that we might receive the SPIRIT through faith". Paul goes on to tell us that "the Jerusalem which is above is free". It is the mother that produces sons and daughters that are free.

Gal. 4:29 reminds us that the natural man, the first Adam, will persecute and even seek to kill (to stop from being) the spiritual man, the last Adam! Your natural, carnal nature will seek to prevent your CHRIST nature from being realized.

So now, Gal. 4:30 tells us to cast out that bondwoman and her son. I have always believed this, but I could never SEE it. We, who are the beloved, must CAST OUT this fascination with the Sinai covenant because it produces Ishmael! Ishmael means "God hears; or God will hear. He is always looking forward to another day; another time.

Isaac, however, means "laughter; the sound of laughter, joy, merriment. " Isaac is the joy and revelation of being in the presence of FATHER and HAVING THE RIGHT TO BE THERE!!. No man gave us that privilege, and no man can take that away from us!! Praise be to God.

The covenant that Sinai, physical Jerusalem, produces, will always try to block out and overpower the covenant of "the Jerusalem which is above". Ishmael would steal the covenant promise, "the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT"(Gal. 3:14). If that were possible. It is not. (Unless we let it). You are, I am, in CHRIST, the manifestation of the son....of the free woman through promise". God the Father has only one son. "Now to Abraham and his seed...(singular). he does not say "and to seeds" as of many, but as of ONE. "And to your seed, which is Christ". For you are all sons of God, through faith in CHRIST JESUS". (Gal. 3:2

Be blessed. Marilyn

Go for it Jay. That about says it all doesn't it. Can't you just see Elijah looking at the dried-up brook and saying, "what now Lord?" - is he cool and laid-back or what? I like that the Lord spoke to him and said how He had already commanded the widow to feed him, it was all in hand, the need was already supplied, all that was missing was the hunger and thirst on Elijah's part to get him off his bottom. That widow was hand-picked, wasn't she? Reckon she must have been listening to God if she was willing to feed Elijah first and not say "on yer bike, mate". Faith, huh. Hunger and thirst; a readiness to be sent; faith; love........miracles happen with that mix.

Bring em on!
Love, Mary

Lord Jesus, you are beautiful, you are strong and mighty and you are meek and lowly. Our hearts yearn for you. Our hearts are incomplete without the full measure of you within. Oh Jesus I feel your lovely presence here and know you have come to touch us and make us new. Everything we need is in you. Everything we love is in you. All that we desire is in you. Thank you that you are ready to heal and to impart strength. Thank you that you call us friends. Thank you that you laid down your life for us.

I ask Lord that as each treasured family member connects with Lightship today, we will know your peace fall heavy on our lightweight faith, and transform it. Make it materialize into something good that brings the glory fully back to you. Father you have seen the difficulties here, and there is nothing you have missed. Lord cause the sunshine of your love to fall on the dark questions in our hearts regarding our circumstances. And as that sunshine breaks through into our minds Lord help us lift our faces and receive your truth. Where we rest, let the rest be sweet. Where we wait, let the waiting be full of healing, full of revelation, full of joy. Lord, your tenderness this morning isbreaking me, and I want to be tender like you. I want to slip my hand in yours and walk in the garden with you. I want to know what your will for me is with just one glance from your beautiful eyes. Thirsty and hungry for you Lord, there can be no satisfaction other than in you. Lord we want to be beautiful for you. There is no beauty but in you and we desire to be like you. Everything that we are on the inside, and everything on the outside that eyes can see, beautify us Lord, sanctify us and make us Holy for all of our waiting is requited in you, in Jesus' Precious Name, AMEN!

Come, Lord Jesus,
Love from Mary

We must try the spirits and see if they be of God. If a man have not love is he from God? We must all pray for humility lest we become proud and fall from grace. Whatever our shortcomings or failings, we must approach one another in the spirit of love. Listed below of a few scriptures we can reflect on.

Gene

2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

RO 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

1CO 8:1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.

2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Hi Jay, Gene and all,

My situation here gives me a lot to say on the subject of false authority, but it is such a big one I haven't known where to start. I suppose the first thing to say is that none of us has it all together, like you say Jay, and the false authority that affects us needs to be put away personally as well as corporately.

The fellowship that I am part of strains to move in two different directions. There is much in the form of religion, legalism, false authority, traditions of man. But on the other hand the Spirit of God is there, and He is noticeably the breath of fresh air in prayer and ministry who comes to blow all the sad old cobwebs away.

It is now impossible for me to think that the Lord would have us abandon such places and "do church" elsewhere. Imagine if you fell in love with someone, she was your chosen, your beauty, the perfect match for you in every way, the one you had promised yourself wholly to. Would you want to then turn away from her and seek another elsewhere? Jesus wouldn't and couldn't. It would be impossible for Him to be untrue who is Truth. He has chosen His bride, and He is coming for her. He knows just who and where she is. What beautifies His bride to him is her love for Him, and it is a passionate love. It is what makes us one in Him, what unites us in Him and commits us to Him before He comes. It beautifies our Godly relationships so that we can be one with each other in Him. There is no unity without this passionate love. It is the bond of perfectness.

When we were dead in sin, we did not know the love of God. We maybe thought we had some good approximations of love in the flesh, but the love of God was not in us. Only when our hearts were touched, and we responded, did we begin to come to life. As we have allowed ourselves to be brought back to life, our hearts and minds are renewed, our bodies have followed, and we have yielded to the authority that Christ has in us. Anything that tries to woo us away from that love growing in us is false authority.

The church to me is like that body touched by love. The perfected bride is so when all of the body "members" are yielded to Christ's authority, in love. In our natural bodies, honestly, we have many imperfections still, fleshly needs, flesh lusting against the Spirit and trying to get the upper hand, many personal forms of disobedience and rebellion with which we fight on a daily basis, false authority. But we have a hope in Jesus, He is in us, ever present in trouble, His perfect authority there for us to yield to at any moment through confession, repentance and the cleansing from all unrighteousness which we are promised. Where we fail, we have that hope in Jesus.

So too the church. In recognizing Jesus, the church must acknowledge and confess its sins, repent of them, claim cleansing from all unrighteousness and begin to walk in new life. That process begins in the will. Christ will not write off our members when there is a will in the church for repentance and cleansing.

We cannot write off that which is undergoing purification, by abandoning the church where she exists within walls or denominations or traditions or legalism: it is not our authority to do so. It is false authority. Jesus comes to set us free from all those things that would have dominion over us, in our bodies, and in the church which is His body.

Forgive us Lord, your body, for everything we have ever said or done against ourselves, to cause schism and division between us. Forgive us for being untrue to you by yielding to false authority, by hating ourselves and each other, by not loving ourselves and each other enough. Forgive us Lord for the sin of walking like we don't need any help, we clearly do. Forgive us for not listening for your voice, and when we have listened, for not hearing you. Flood us with your love and your power as we put away everything that rises up against you, in our minds, in our hearts, in our bodies, personally, corporately. Give us that sense of responsibility, and that refined love and deepness of purpose, like Daniel, in our heart for you, give us a heart for each other,

In Jesus' Precious and Mighty Name, AMEN!
Love to all from Mary

Dear Mary

Thanks for the insight. I can identify with your position/experiences that gives you first hand experience with continuing in a fellowship(church)in spite of the fellowship's shortcomings.

I was raised in a legalistic, authoritative(presumed authority), condemnatory, man worshipping, fellowship that taught its dogma with such vigor that most of its members was hopelessly indoctrinated in its rules and doctrines of isolation an exclusivity.

Yet in spite of all its shortcomings, the love of God was there also. Real Godly love was demonstrated by many of its members. As a child I wondered about many of its teachings and upon reading the bible I found many of the teachings in direct conflict with the scriptures.

But we were taught not to questioned the administration's authority, and to do so meant certain condemnation. However, privately some of us wondered about some of the teachings.

A close relative of mine was also a member and was furious about some of the teachings. While I empathized with his position, I did not feel it was our place to openly (publicly) challenge the administration. This would owner sow further discord.

I suggested we continue in the fellowship and trust that God lives and would not desert the sincere hearts in the fellowship, but would correct the error in due season.

However, my relative did not continue. Just about the time of my relative's disassociation with us, a new administration had begun. This administration had grown up in the organization just as I had.

Too my joy this new administration had questions about the teachings we had grown up with. He began to test them in light of scripture and found them lacking. And so he began to abandon them. The rules and traditons of the fellowship he began to declare them as just what they were -rules and traditions and not the gospel of Christ.

He was met with much opposition from both young and old in our fellowship. I have observed that many of the people did not want to know God and his word for themselves, but would rather be told what to believe. Rather than study the scriptures for themselves, they preferred to believe their salvation was in following the traditions of men.

And many of those who would study, brought all our dogma to their studies and thus were blinded by it. Despite this cult like environment, there were many sincere hearts, who welcomed this opportunity to really study the word and examine it within the context of scripture.

As the numbers of sincere seekers continued to growth, our fellowship found new joy and liberty in christ. And it continues until this day. I believe each christian is planted in the vine, on various branches of the vine at different times for the edification of the church. Therefore, we must not be too hasty in abandoning a fellowship, less we find ourselves outside the will of God and not walking by the Holy Spirit.

I'm sure there are some fellowships that are outside the fundamental christian faith and are not really a branch of Christ. But likewise, there are no perfect fellowships in and of themselves. We have perfect examples of this through the epistles of Paul to the various churches. Paul admonished them, corrected them but yet called them brethren.

Likewise, our savior Jesus Christ, in addressing the churches in revelation, found them all lacking in some way (except perhaps the church in Philadelphia). Yet he recognized them as his and extended them the opportunity to correct themselves rather than immediately cut them off. We should demonstrate this kind of patience and love that Christ showed toward his church. Patiently enduring, yet firm in righteousness, allowing the various fellowships time to come to the fullness of the gospel in its time and its season.

Only when that time is past as established by the Father and directed by The Holy Spirit will the day of reckoning come.

Love
Gene

(Posted by Montou on another group and criticized there)

The Lord straight up told me that JESUS is the only way to Heaven. I had a deep conviction of winning the other people for Christ. I had a VISION that the Lord gave me through this passage. The vision to win the world for Christ.

But I sense a problem on the way. I realized that our own Christian Family was divided. Having different denominations was not the right thing at all. And I felt that unless our Family is united its impossible to win the world for Christ. Only united we stand was true in this case too. And John 17:21 "That all of them may be one Father just as you are in me and I am in you May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." Jesus' prayer goes with what I have to say. Unless we Christians come together as ONE BODY its hard to win the world for CHRIST.

Montou

I am accused frequently for starting division by bringing up what divides us. That is all that (person on another group) is doing to you, it is his way, I am not faulting him for it, that is not my job. Well I would think that we here at lightship agree with you Montou. I know that I do. What he saw was an attack on denominations. I am not anti-denominational but this is not and attack but just saying it like it is. We are to perfect the Bride and put away the disunity not put up with the division for the sake of unity. To me that is not unity but perpetuating the schisms according to the traditions of men. Paul wrote about these factions and didn't praise them out of Christian love but condemned them. What many people want to do is to bring denominations together but I do not think that this will work. We need to bring the hearts and minds of all Christians together, at least the ones that will respond to that, and put away all the denominating influences long enough to love each other the way that we are supposed to do. As long as there are denominating influences tolerated, there is no unity. Does that mean that we get rid of denominations. No, it is too late for that, God can work with us where we are. But we do need to put away the denominating influences that have caused the division. People start denominations because they think they are led by the Lord to separate from what is false not knowing that is is based upon a false premise and they are the ones being false. We are all false, sinners saved by grace. We all know that sinners go to hell but we are all sinners and we are not all going to hell. Are we to separate from our own selves who make up the body of Christ? This is what they are doing. Getting off by themselves thinking that they are going toward Jesus when they are actually separating from Him.

Churches cannot save you, denominations cannot save you, it is just like you said Montou, Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Jesus is the one that unites us, not man, not denominations or non-denominations or inter-denominations. Only when we respond to His love and take that love to other people is unity possible. That means denying ourselves, our churches, our denominations, putting that all behind us and uniting on one fact, that of His dying on the cross for all of us individually, not any one particular group or groups or any kind of unity based upon bringing incompatible factions together.

Jay

I confess I am one of those people that has trouble leaving those situations behind. Even worse really than that, because I start to think I am the world's policeman and ought to wade in and do something about what I see as wrong. In this case, you could probably tell, on Montou's behalf I would have joined that list to make a few comments of my own. You are right, it would be a waste of time. I would be sliced up and slaughtered anyway. And I have such a lot of other things to be doing. But it makes you want to weep. Outrage, frustration, anger...and how everyone there appears to have let it happen without comment or concern makes me miserable. I have a hard time sitting still. I think if somehow I have got involved in a situation, it must be because the Lord wants me to do something about it. I remember you stood up for me once or twice in the past, and I was grateful and touched by your willingness to defend me. Well some of your sweetness must have rubbed off on me because that is how I feel about our Montou. In fact, I was in two minds whether to ask you if you wanted to go over there with me. Ha ha, turn up like a couple of heavies. OK, I know, I wasn't wholly serious..... Back to your post, love, humility, unity.....sweet music....let's keep singing that song here.

You are one cool geezer!
Love, Mary

Very well said, Jay. Although I walked away from the denominations, then I went to the "non-denominations groups, it's basically all the same. Sort of like "clubs". But we must show the world that we love one another with that Agape love, or they won't want anything we have to offer them. (maybe I should re-phrase that. The sinners don't see anything in us that is that appealing. I don't blame them. That also goes for all the children and young people. A lot of them don't want anything to do with "religion". Anyway, there are a few sincere, loving members of Christ's Body, who have genuine love and compassion for the lost, and also for each other. Thank God for them.

Someone on this thread, I believe, mentioned a Religious Spirit. Man!! That is all around us. and Judging, when they don't even know us!! Jezebel. I used to think that old Jezebel was a female "Church Boss". (I've met several of them). Nope. It's male and/or female. Well, I am glad I found a few people who really loved me, and were willing to pray with me, study with me, and love me, in spite of all my stupid actions!! know what I mean?

Love,
Marilyn

Mary,

I can relate a lot to what you say here.

When I was converted to Christ, I was "on fire for Jesus." That was the popular phrase for those who "caught the wave" back in the 70's. I tried so hard to be an evangelist. I haven't quit wanting to evangelize and use any door that opens to me, but back then I busting doors down to "gettem into the kingdom." Those folks really didn't appreciate me. They avoided me, the bible thumper," like the plague. Even lost a spouse because he thought I was "too churchy" and wanted to "have some fun." I did learn after that heart-breaking event that my mission is "to water" and not so much "to reap. If I had really understood that in the beginning, I could have saved myself a lot of grief. Now that I am "watering" with the Spirit of the Word, I see a lot more success. The planting, the watering, the fertilizing, and the pruning all play a part before the reaping. Each part of the gardening is equally essential to the increase of the Magnificent Body of Christ.

But every once in awhile, I like the opportunity to pluck a "ripe one." It is immediately gratifying. But when I do, I have gratitude for all those who came before me to plant, water, fertilize and prune.

Isn't gardening wonderful?

In His Sonshine,

Peg

Dear Jay,

How you doing? Good to hear from you. Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. You might be busy this weekend then. I hope the revival things go well and the church gets filled with the spirit. We need that all over the world. You said, "Unity is not for everyone"

I understand that Jay but still why I have this CONVICTION that as Christians we need to unite. There needs to be an absolute Unity among us. Why is that? I am not saying this just to say but it really concerns me. I am really bothered to see so much disunity in the family. I understand you telling about luke-warm. That really frustrates me yet I tend to look them as part of the family. We need to wake them up. We cannot leave them behind. Unless we are united as a family, we cannot win the world for Christ. People in the world are observing us. They see us fight among us and they are turned off. We cannot afford to do that. And as a member of a family I have the right to raise my voice when things go wrong. Why is this so hard for us to realize this? Why cannot we get to that level and realize this? I know I cannot avoid what's happening that is people not living the "life". I cannot make the decision for them. I cannot have them experience the same thing that I am experiencing. I cannot have them perceive the same way I perceive things. But I sure can try to correct them. With the God's guidance and wisdom, I sure can try to lead them to the truth. And I am not going to keep quiet but continually work at it. That's why I am here. That's what the Lord wants from me. And that's exactly what I am going to do. Honestly if I am not working at it I don't feel I am living life to the fullest. This is part of me. This comes to me naturally.

And lastly Jay, like I have told to Aunt Mary that I am a dreamer. And dreamers are often misunderstood and told to come down to earth. I meet all kind of people who have all kinds of questions about what I am trying to do. But they don't really know my heart and how serious I am. I need to be true to my heart. This dream of Christian Unity and winning the world for Christ burns within me constantly. And if this dream is of God then it will happen and if this is just an imagination of my mind then we will find that out in due time. So lets see in the days to come.

Guess that's it for now. I think I have told what is in my heart. I don't know everything I said here is just the way its in my heart. Sometimes I will be thinking of something and it comes out the opposite. Hope you understand where I stand. And feel free to ask me if I have confused you in anyway. Okay U take care and keep in touch.

Love You All
Please continue to pray for Christian Unity and to those who are lost...
By His Grace,
Montou

Eph. 4:3.---Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit.

What is to be kept is 'the unity of the Spirit.' This phrase may admit of different interpretations, but let us understand it in its most strictly literal sense, as indicating the unity of which the Holy Spirit is the author, that oneness of believing men in Christ which is the Spirit's new creation. Of course, in that view, it must be a unity corresponding in its nature and character to the nature and character of Him who is its author and Creator. It cannot therefore be merely outward and formal. It may be that; but it must be something more than that. It must be inward and spiritual. And the outward and the inward, the formal and the spiritual, must meet in this unity, and harmonize and be at one.

Thus the unity may be regarded as twofold. It may be viewed in two lights---as outwardly manifested, and as inwardly wrought. But in either view, it is the unity of the Spirit. It is unity of which the Spirit is the immediate author. It is unity of the Spirit's making.

The outward Unity.---It is a unity that may be seen, and known, and read of all men. Now, holiness and love, godliness and charity, if they exist at all, must make themselves visible. A holy and loving man, or woman, or child, is not an inward ideal, but an outward, palpable reality. The Spirit makes holy and loving men, and women, and children. And that is His unity in its outward manifestation, as well as its inward birth. Thus He manifests His unity, inwardly and outwardly. That is the visible unity which He produces, which alone is worthily and truly His.

No doubt the unity of a common badge, or of a common dress, a shaven crown, a red cross, a peculiar gown or hat, scarlet stockings, and the like, may be more discernible, and discernable with less trouble. It may be deceptive, nevertheless; specious, yet hollow; a seeming oneness, covering all but infinite diversities. But true holiness and true love are everywhere and always the same. And there is nothing under them. They cover nothing. Where holiness and love prevail, there can be no diversities. All holy and loving persons speak and act alike, because they think and feel alike. Is not that the true ideal of the holy catholic church?---holy and loving persons associated together?

There is a pleasing story of the conduct of a Roman Catholic priest in Ireland who, when the saintly Protestant Bishop of Kilmore, William Bedell, was buried in 1642, attended the funeral, and exclaimed, "O that my spirit might be with his!" Even the fierce conflicts of that cruel age, and the immediate inflammations which then made life in Ireland almost unendurable, could not destroy the witness of his spirit to the essential Christianity.

The inward Unity.---But the real seat of this unity is within, in the heart. There, of course, it is invisible, save only to God the Father, who is indeed Himself its living center. For the unity which the Spirit effects among all the redeemed is primarily and essentially unity in God the Father; unity, in a high sense, with God the Father. It is the unity of which Christ speaks when He prays: 'That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me' [Jn. 17:21-23].

That oneness which Christ thus seeks is the unity of the Spirit. The Spirit is Himself one with the Father and the Son, in the Divine unity or oneness with which, in some sense, the human is here so wonderfully identified. It is as being Himself one with the Father and the Son, in their mutual indwelling in one another in love, that He makes us one; through the Son's dwelling in us as the Father dwelleth in Him; and the indwelling in us consequently of the very love with which the Father loves the Son. That is 'the unity of the Spirit,' the only unity that can be worthily ascribed to Him. It is, as the Lord intimates, a unity which, in its fruit or issue, may be and must be visible; for by it the world is to 'know that the Father hath sent him.' But in its deep source the seat is invisible. It is the secret of the Lord which is with them that fear Him. It is a communication made by the Spirit of God to and within the deepest spirit in man. It is His causing us to know and believe the love with which God has loved us---loving us as He loves His own Son---that constitutes our unity or oneness, first with God the Father, and then, in Him, with one another as brethren. It is no narrow, earthly, selfish unity, but a unity wide and high and heavenly.

In Christ, timothy.
maranatha

Hi Marilyn,

You sure got this right. non-denominations are just as denominational as denominations are. Most of them anyway. I know one church that thinks that they are the true church because they use Christ in the description of their church instead of a denominational name. Paul used the terms "I of Paul, I of Apollos or I of Christ" as being Christ divided. I was once part of a group like that and stuck around for a while but they never got to me in that way. They were so "Christ" like that they could not even use the name of Jesus in any way except historically. There is power in His name but they denied the power, thought spiritual gifts died out in the first century, things speaking in tongues is of the devil. And again, they are the only true church.

How we deal with those people is simple. Love them anyway and recognize whatever Jesus that they do have. As long as we can do that and not be fooled by their false authority, I think we do well.

Jay

Just a few thoughts about authority......

The distinction between human authority and God's authority is that it is given not taken. Authority is something that is given to someone by others, hence we have democracy. Democracy says, "who will rule over you"? We then elect someone and we agree to give them authority to perform a certain function in our society/church. No matter how domineering someone is, they only have the authority WE give them. It is we who control authority, because we are intrinsically and inalienably given it by God. We can choose to give some of it away to others but to whom, how much, and when are the questions. If you don't believe that a person is acting in your best interest (in the Spirit), we have the freedom in God to take back our authority and withdraw our self until such time as we hear the spirit of God ministering through that person again. Even when we recognize Godly authority, we must always be responsible for our choices and never give to some one else the responsibility only we can take for our lives. Authority in the church is a function of the church and not the individual. Every individual is responsible before God to do what the Holy Spirit directs them to do. So even when we acknowledge authority, it has limited control in our lives, because we can never successfully give away that which can only be our own. This is the most common mistake in relationships (the church, marriages).

The only authentic authority is the grace of God. When a person is placed in authority, it is a recognition of the grace of God to perform a certain task in the church. *We recognize the grace, not the person.* There are no positions or offices in the New Testament church which are given carte blanche authority. The only authentic authority the person has is the grace of God and any other authority is not authority which we as Christians are obligated to give deference to. We don't follow men, we follow God.

If we give the responsibility which is only our own, to someone else, we become spiritually sick. No matter who or how great the person is, no one but you can be responsible for yourself. Do not give authority to people, give it only to God who works through all of us who have the Spirit of God in us. We are to be surrendered to the Spirit of God who operates not through one person but through all His children. The church has for years (catholicism, evangelicalism) taught that you can not survive spiritually without it and without its authority (from God) but I believe that to be both self serving, and not congruent with Scripture. Jesus is far more capable of keeping us than men are. Hence, Jesus' assertion: "my sheep know my voice" and "I am the author and FINISHER of your faith". Since our covenant is about faith and relationship, I see the church as standing in the way of that principle, when it seeks to take authority over believers it was never meant to have. When men claim authority in your life because they have received a "call from God", they say they are "anointed" or they have their authority given to them by other men (not yourself) - be very skeptical. Authority is not passed down from above, but comes from the bottom up. Authority is resident in each one of us, for ourselves. If we have the Holy Spirit, we will recognize the Spirit of Grace on someone's life and we don't need to be told to submit to the grace and truth which comes to us through that person. However, if in a certain area that same person is in the flesh and their ministry to us is not the grace of God, withdraw your authority from that person in that area. It is yours!!! not theirs!!!! Most churches seek to control their members because they claim they have been given authority from God - usually simply because they call themselves a church. Their claim to authority has little more substance than that they have put a cross on the roof. Ridiculous!!!

Do not rebel against these types of authorities but only give them the authority they should have. That being, when they are in the Spirit, obey the Spirit, when they are not, obey the Spirit.

P.S. be wary of anyone who says the church is not a democracy. They are trying to claim authority over you that they do not rightfully have. Further more, these people are living in the old covenant. The Old Testament church government was resident in the person, however that has changed in the New Covenant - we are a nation of kings and priests!

Paul Weigel

Hi Montou and everyone at lightship.

Yes, quite busy this weekend but it was a good revival. Now if I can only do things God's way and stop getting in my own way, everything in my ministry should come into place. Easier said than done but with the Lord's help I can do it.

You have the conviction that Christians need to unite because God gave it to you. He did the same for me but that was before you were born and I have crossed many more bridges since then that has clarified a lot of things. Don't lose your enthusiasm Montou, or your love and concern, do increase in wisdom and understanding. And don't get discouraged. We are in the New Testament restoration mode right now in the history of the church and I believe that it will be Christians that will be mostly out there hindering in the rebuilding, just like it was in the physical temple after being called out of Babylon. It is our job to be led by the spirit to promote unity but not all Christians are led by the spirit. It follows that not all Christians will be part of the unity then. It is all right to feel bad about that but not all right to let it affect us to the point where it hinders in the rebuilding. I wrote something about "Christians in the Stone Age" a while back that I would like you to read.

Thanks for being faithful.

Jay

Many Christians are in the Stone Age. Because the restoration movement is a full-gospel people with a message of love and humility and exhibit all of the gifts of the spirit as well as our belief in the Bible, other Christians will cast stones at us. Those that try to live the Christian life solely upon the Word of God without being led by the power of the Holy Spirit can never understand what we are trying to do here. The deeper things of God only confuse them, so they get angry and think that we are confusing others. It is very easy for those that lean upon their own understanding of what the Bible says to get with others who will deny the grace that saved them and return to the letter of commandments. We obey the commandments of Jesus because we walk in His spirit, not because we have to but because we choose to. Stone Age Christians will never have a part of what we are doing in the restorative process unless they get away from the idea that their malicious confrontations with those that they disagree with are from God and not the adversary.

It is not our place to return the insults. We may be able to identify the heresies and divisions and come to the truth ourselves but we are not to interfere with those that attempt to divide and scatter the sheep because the Lord's true sheep will hear His voice and come to Him. We must have the faith to know that it is the job of others to cast stones - not ours. We are out of the Stone Age and into the light. That light shines like a beacon with the words "God is Love."

We must however, measure the temple of the Living God if we are to restore it. Many analogies are used in the Bible to describe the work, one of them is that we are to rebuild the walls. Many stones are used in the construction and as long as God has only the chosen remnant doing it, our kinsmen outside the walls of the temple will be jealous and cast stones. What will we do with these stones? God is not through with us and we are not through with the restoration, so we will cherish these stones, identify the weaknesses in the walls and strengthen the work that remains. If we pick up those stones and throw them back, we are just giving them more ammunition. So we pick them up in all humility through self-examination, polish the rough edges, shape them so they will fit and put them in the wall to quicken the work.

For what is considered acceptable for others to do, will not be acceptable for us. We must hold onto a much higher standard and not fall into the same judgmental attitudes that our self-made enemies fall into. Love them, pray for them, and take the battle into the heavenlies. God is not finished with Stone Age Christians either and they may have to go through this process for the destruction of the flesh. They have the power to cast stones, we have the power to cast out demons. They hurt and destroy, we heal and restore. As they lift up their spiritual swords so as to cut the flesh of our brothers and sisters, we lift up our swords to preach the truth. Ours is the better way. Ignore them, put up with the harassment and fiery darts with the shield of faith and get on with kingdom business. Use these stones not as an offense but as a blessing. Do not cry but laugh out loud. We must stay focused on what we have been commissioned to do and not give them the advantage of wasting our time.

Psalms 40:3, 4: And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that makes the LORD his trust, and respects not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Jay

Greetings Everyone!

I'm thinking about Montou's vision and how deeply it burns within him and how eager he his to "be about His Father's business." I can't help thinking about Jesus Himself when he was young and anxious to be about His mission. And remember Joseph who had dreams of his mission and eagerly shared with his brethren. His visions were not gladly received.

What I'm leading up to is the discussion of "personal visions" from the Lord Why do we receive them and how free are we to share them? Mary "pondered these things in her heart." Paul claimed to have received visions and revelations "unspeakable."

My own experience has been that when I first began receiving visions and revelations and some insight into my personal mission for ministry to the Lord and His Bride, that many were not able to rejoice in the visions and revelations with me. That discouraged me somewhat, and that is how I learned to be more discrete in my sharing. I was very young in the Lord and easily hurt because I was such a sensitive being. But with time, I found a companion, a sister in the Lord with whom I could share everything without being judged, preached to, or awed at. She simply listened, validated, and supported me. That was what I needed most.

My next problem with visions and revelations was in being so "self -propelled. I thought it was my task to "bring it to pass." I moved ahead of the Lord many times and fell flat on my face. I was very stubborn and self-willed which got in the way of all the right motives. The best thing I learned from this was, "it's not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." When I exhausted all my own resources and "gave up," I realized I was really "giving in," not "up." Then the ball got rolling and the vision I had back in 1981, began to materialize the past two years, with many experiences and learnings in between. Perhaps I'm more "hard-headed" than most and learn slowly, but I can look back and retrospectively see now that the Lord all about it and me the entire time, patiently and lovingly preparing me for this time in my life where I'm seeing the original dreams come true.

Anyway, I'm not sure what's already been shared about "personal visions" and how our missions materialize, but I think it's a good topic. I'm fishing ------- any bites? Hee hee!

Love in Him
Peg

So you are fishing, Peg, well I'll bite. Visions come to me every once in a while as dreams, usually between waking and sleeping. Very few of my dreams actually come from God, most are just my imagination and they can play tricks on people if they are not careful. When you are dreaming, your mind is in a subjective state and the objective is receded. That's why it is good to have these things while you are partially awake, and to be aware of the tricks that they can play. Anything you dream will appear real to you, that is how the tricks are played because your subjective mind cannot tell the difference between truth and reality without the objective mind doing the reasoning. The same thing happens when psychotics and religious fanatics under delusions believe that everything that comes into their mind is real or from God. When I do get a vision that I know is from God, it is vivid, all the elements are recalled, I do not need to strain to remember the specifics, they are clear. They are also self-interpreting; God gives me complete understanding, no matter how cryptic the dream or vision appears to be. I do not need to go to anyone else for an explanation of what it means, God will not give it to me without the interpretation so any dream or vision that I do not at least begin to understand at the very first, I dismiss. It is presumptuous to think that all dreams come from God or that God is speaking to us in all we think. Dangerous as well, it leads to delusion and disappointment.

Visions that come to me with spiritual feelings when I am fully awake are like what Montou experienced about unity. These come to me more as an awareness than like dreams that can come like a movie in your mind. While "feelings" per se are not to be trusted, the visions that I have had that I can trust have been accompanied by these intense spiritual feelings and I believe that they are confirmation as coming from God. They can happen in an instant but gain more clarity with time. God does reveal Himself to people, of course the devil can imitate the same type of feelings so discernment and prayer is necessary to make sure.

That of course is only my experience with dreams and visions, others may be different.

Jay

Hi Peg, and Jay and all,

A little while back, I had been praying a lot with someone on the telephone, and that was how the visions began to move for me. I found that, because I was relaxed in her company, I could say what it was that I was seeing without fear that she would tell me I was a false prophet or off my trolley or some such. As we prayed together, the picture would come, and as I spoke it out, so it changed and developed, and we prayed until we reached an end point. This went on for some weeks, it was great. Then came a day when we were praying together about her situation, and I just spoke up as usual, having no fear to do so. But what I said didn't go down too well at all and she wrote to me to say that she believed the vision was from God but my interpretation was not correct. I had been confident that they came together, and her reaction threw me for a bit. I nearly went right back in my shell.

Very interestingly, she phoned me today, and mentioned these visions again, which have come to pass and she wanted to tell me so. But she did say that in her opinion it was the "normal form" to speak out a vision, but leave the interpretation up to the recipient. Kind of an opening to me to say "Oh, sorry you didn't like the interpretation, I must have got it wrong". But I can't, because it came at the same time with equal clarity. Hmmm I notice that the Lord gets my attention with something I don't understand, it is just something I suppose in my psychology, and another way He works with me. I think it is when it is important. I don't always know what He is saying but have to stop and look properly at what He gives, pray about it, see how it applies. Also some visions/dreams being prophetic cover a time period extending into the future. They seem to unfold and develop, and understanding grows. I think the ones that are just my imagination or otherwise not from God just get forgotten, they have no depth.

If I have to give something to someone else, I usually get to the point when I think I would be disobedient not to. It doesn't happen very often. I never find it easy. But we all make mistakes. In an ideal environment we could do that too without fear. Love, gentleness, humility....they are things that help you gain the confidence to speak up, and not worry if you get it wrong. A good learning environment.

Hope we have that here....

Thanks Peg, good to chew on that one.
Love, Mary

Dear Jay and all,

How you all doing? Good to hear from you Jay. Good to hear that the revival was good. Praise God. I am new to my Spiritual journey. I am thinking that I can learn a lot from you. Since you have had the similar vision and have gone through so much maybe I can learn from you. Would really love to talk about this. Jay I am not going to give up at any cost. I have passed through lots of Spiritual Warfares. This thoughts telling me that I was a fool for what I am trying to do used to come back to me again and again. But with God's power I was able to rebuke such thoughts. I have come a long way on that. Now its all about moving forward. There is not turning back. I have decided to follow Jesus and I am going to go all the way.

Thank you for this email. I do understand what you are trying to day. Thank you also for all your prayers.

I read that "Christians in the Stone Age" and it does make a lot of sense. I agree with you.

Guess that's it for now.
Take care all and keep in touch.
Love You All
Please continue to pray for Christian Unity and to those who are lost...
By His Grace,
Montou

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