PLEASE EXCUSE THE LONG POSTING - I HAD TO GET OFF WHAT WAS ON MY HEART.
MAY YOU BE BLESSED!
Truly, I testify to you today that the residence of the Holy Spirit does bring "righteousness, peace and joy." It is a deep, deep joy that bubbles up as I learn more of God's love as it truly is, instead of the way I was taught through the Babylonian system. What a joy it has been in the last 2-1/2 years for me when the light of God's truth began to shine upon His Kingdom, and His sons who are to be manifested in due time. I have been so tenderly been reversed from my wrong Babylonian thinking, and pointed toward God's sovereign choosing, and working in my life: "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery . . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Little did I know, nearly a half century ago, when I knelt at an altar in a Nazarene church repenting of my sins, and believing in Jesus, that it was but only the first step into the Kingdom of God. Along beside me was a skinny red-headed girl who later was to become my faithful wife of 46 years and counting. We both were there, because her parents would only let me see her if I would go to the church services with them. I, certainly, didn't have much interest in attending church services, but it seemed to be a good trade-off to be with this skinny cutie that had captured my attention. At that time, I didn't know nor care that the scripture said: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Today, as I look back over my life, in similar manner that John, on the Isle of Patmos did when: "looking behind . . . heard a . . . voice," I can see where God has directed my life as the writer of Proverbs says: "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." Surely, there is more in this that eye can see.
It was about 2-1/2 years ago, after I had accumulated old trucks, tractors, bull dozers, and restoration parts as project materials (for when I retired and could play all day restoring them), but in my innermost being God spoke to me: "Get rid of this stuff – it's not going to happen" – "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness . . ." There was no great flash of understanding, no vision like Paul, when he said to King Agrippa: "I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision," but a gnawing restlessness in my heart to seek God in a deeper and fuller way. Thus, starting on this journey, I sold those "precious" treasures (because it was necessary to separate myself from my "idols"), and began to search for the deep things of God.
At that time, as I began to yield to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, I had become completely disgusted and frustrated with organized religion and orthodoxy. For so many years this had led to frequently changing churches pursuing something deeper that was calling out from within. I would, over the years, go through many cycles of getting reconciled to God, and, then, back-slide, because I was not getting the challenge or edification through fellowship with the saints. Yet, there was in me a perceived shallowness, and a strong desire to crawl out of that shallow condition to know the deeper things of God. I sought the "deeper walk" within those fellowships, but almost all, without exception, were content with being "saved" and being fed the "milk" rather than with "meat." I was continually reminded of this dilemma when reading scripture recorded in Hebrews 5:12-6:1: "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God . . ."
Oh, where was that deep satisfaction of soul and spirit to be found? I'm reminded of the hymn "Satisfied" and refer to a couple of verses:
Feeding on the husks around me, Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better, Only still to hunger on.
Hallelujah! I have found Him Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings; Through His blood I now am saved.
This is, also, supported with scripture:
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Psalms 107:9
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. Isaiah 58:11
As I began my searches, I knew that finding what I was looking for would not be within religious orthodoxy, so I sought for help on the internet. And did I find it, including the bazaar! Yet, I knew that in John 14:26, Jesus said: " . . . the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Armed with this promise, and trust in the Holy Spirit, I searched and searched. As I conducted those searches, some words and phrases seemed to have more significance to me than others such as "manifest sons", Kingdom of God within, "first resurrection," "Who will have all men to be saved, " "forever" really meaning "age", "hell" really meaning the "grave", and so forth. Wow! Now, I was getting into something that was more "meaty" than I had ever experienced. During that early part of the searching, I first found the writings of Bill Britton. Yes! I was beginning to see the hidden truth in God's word, and the loose parts of scripture that I had struggled with for more than 40 years were, now, coming together (connecting the dots). It spoke deeply within my spirit, and as a good "Berean," I checked "to see if those things were so." Yes, it was! I continued to search and found more authors having this same approach to scripture, George Hawtin, George Warnock, Preston Eby, Royce Kennedy, Elwin Roach, and others.
Again, as in the words of the songwriter: Hallelujah! I have found Him, Whom my soul so long has craved!
Now I was beginning to understand the passion that Paul had when he wrote in Philippians 3:10: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of (Young's literal "out from") the dead." Furthermore, I was beginning to understand why Paul stated in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 when he wrote to " . . .strive for the mastery," "run with certainty," "I keep under my body and bring it into subjection." I began to understand that there was more than just being "saved" and sliding in through grace, as I was taught through the Babylonian system. Paul was "pressing toward" and being "apprehended." But for what? A "high calling of God in Christ Jesus," because Paul had the revelation of " . . . the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: . . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col 1:26-27)
It had been revealed to him the truth we read in Revelation 20:6 ("Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection"). That these were the over-comers, and they would reign and rule with Christ. No longer, (after the mysteries of Christ were revealed to Paul), was the general "resurrection of the just" at the end age which "no man could number" any longer sufficient for him! Paul had to be in that "first resurrection" – to be caught-up IN Christ, to hear that command from God himself:
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." (Isaiah 60:1-3)
Over these last 2-1/2 years, I have read, and consumed over 10,000 pages of son-ship literature. God has put an insatiable desire to know the truth. Oh, praise His name for that! Through these thousands of hours of study, I've seen His hand working in me, and for me. At this point in my life, He has granted to me these thousands of hours of freedom with very few hindrances. Furthermore, time without number in my prayers, I would ask what the meaning of this or that was, and He would, in a supernatural way, direct my thoughts to get that answer speedily, oftentimes within a day. It has been so remarkable, that I've mentioned to my wife on many occurrences how it was that I was directed to an answer so swiftly.
Brothers and Sisters, I, like Paul, have been apprehended. I know it with certainty, and sense His hand heavily upon me. I only have scripture that witnesses to my inner-most being, and that witness is with great joy! I've learned that Romans chapter 8 is the key to understanding of the manifested sons, and if we suffer with Him, we WILL be glorified with Him.
Here are some verses from Romans chapter 8 that bring me joy and confirmation:
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God"
"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
"And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
At this point, I'm changing thoughts. In some of my readings of the various authors, I've discerned a "head" knowledge more than a "heart" knowledge of scriptures when it comes to the principles of son-ship, and of the Kingdom. Currently, I'm reading through Preston Eby's 48 part series "LOOKING FOR HIS APPEARING" for the second time. I read it earlier in the year, but my thoughts were directed to read through it again, and I've been overwhelmed as if reading for the first time! If you have never read it, I highly recommend that you do so.
In Bother Eby's "Looking for His Appearing," it is brought out that our love for Christ must be as one who is the bride expectantly looking for the bridegroom. In doing so, we must lose our self identity, and take up our identity in Christ, similarly, as we see in today's society when the bride yields her maiden name, and assumes the husband's last name. Yet there is a deeper relationship as brother Eby included Lyn Gitchel's worthy comments of how our intimate relationship with the Lord truly must be. What she wrote rings true for me, and we all too often get wrapped up in the principles, and then "can't see the forest for the trees."
Please note the deep truth brings out here by Lyn Gitchel:
"Today, most of God's people, that are aware at all of what He is doing, are readily admitting that we are on the verge of a new day, a new dimension in the Lord. Everywhere you can hear the trumpet call of the message that His kingdom is near. Dry and parched bones are awakening at the sound of His voice and are arising to be prepared as a mighty army to meet the enemy and take the kingdom. The word "kingdom" is heard more than ever before... and expectancy... is arising in the hearts of those who are waiting for Him.
All this is good, but I have become aware of one thing. In all the striving for perfection, teaching of the kingdom, and preaching of the gospel of redemption that will be completed this side of eternity, we are strangely far from the real goal of it all. Some are striving for a greater understanding of the scriptures and the things of God, and some for a bigger and better revelation than ever before. Some are striving to become like Him, formed into His image; some are looking to become His dwelling place on this earth. Some are seeking to become mature 'sons,' and others are looking towards becoming the 'order of Melchizedek.'
All these are fine goals, but they are not THE GOAL that God intends for us. The goal, and the only goal, is set out in the first commandment which bids us seek God first with every part of our being. To move into Him; to establish a ONENESS WITH HIM - this is the only central goal of it all. So often we are seeking something so close to the real thing - and yet not the real central goal. We seek God in order to receive something from Him - or to be made holy, or be like Him in some other way. We seek Him to have Him dwell in us, or to have His power, or joy, or peace. None of these are wrong! They are just not the goal!”
"What kind of response do you think you would get if you were moving into a love relationship, with the intention of marrying that person, and then, when they asked you why you wanted to enter into that depth of relationship with them you replied, 'So that I can become like you!' or, 'So that I can have your power!' Too often that is the way we look at God. We have sought to come close to Him so that we might become like Him, or so that His power might be seen in us. Both are admirable desires, but they are not desires that will be fulfilling to the heart of God. He wants us to draw close to Him, not that we might become like Him, or that His nature be found in us (though, inevitably, that will happen), but solely to draw close to Him BECAUSE WE LOVE HIM FOR WHAT HE IS. He wants us to, come to Him WITH NO OTHER INTENTION in our hearts but to fellowship with Him, to love Him, and to appreciate Him, sharing with Him all the love-flow of our hearts. Everything else, no matter how fine a goal, must be second to that!" (end quote)
Lastly, I would like to bring to your attention the importance of the times that we are in. As I write this posting for the brothers and sisters who read here at the "The Berean Group," it is now 12:30 AM on New Year's Day 2011. Never, in all my life, have I seen a condition in the world as we are seeing at this moment. It seems as if we are looking at a total global cataclysmic collapse of the money systems, governmental systems, and the religious systems. In 2008, we saw the collapse of the mortgage system which affected many of the "too big to fail" banking criminals in which they were rewarded for their crimes with multi-million dollar bonuses provided by taxpayer dollars. Also, we are seeing the continuing losses of millions of jobs in the USA which is looking like they will never be recovered, and is sucking the treasuries of the states empty. But these are only a foretaste of what's coming!
Now at the threshold of 2011, we see many of the US cities, and state governments that have grossly over-extended themselves, now heading for bankruptcy. In Europe, a couple of countries have had to be bailed out, and several more are expected in the first half of 2011 – these are known as the PIIGS, an acronym for Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain.
Throughout my lifetime, we were worried about the cold war, nuclear arms, world wars, bomb shelters, and now we see governments, businesses, and personal finances imploding nationally and internationally through debt owed to the money meisters.
What we are seeing in the world of this magnitude, has no precedent. We who are the Lord's sense down deep in our being that we are about to witness the changing of the ages, and by His grace, we will be participants in it. Nevertheless, we must be prepared, and not to be like the "five foolish virgins."
All of my life, I have been reminded, if not "haunted" in some way, by the following two verses. For me, they are irrevocable, and I must continually, fervently apply them to my life. How can I heed them any less?
And Jesus said unto him, No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48)
Finally, I, again, direct your attention to brother Eby's words from his publication "Looking for His Appearing". May we comprehend the importance of what he writes, and may we yield our rights to ourselves by yielding to God's: "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning" (Hosea 6:3)
Brother Eby writes:
"We are undoubtedly standing at the threshold of a new dimension in God, a higher realm in the Spirit, and a new level of experience. There is an awakening among the elect of the Lord that transcends human knowledge. He is putting into the hearts of His chosen people the desire to ready themselves for the sonship prepared for them from the foundation of the world.
When we come to a time like this, many will refuse to go on. There is some strange thing inherent in all men that makes them reluctant to leave the security of their fixed abode to press forward into the challenge of the new. They feel that they have journeyed far enough and that the effort to press into the new and more wonderful realm is too great a risk. We tend to become rigid, settled, self confident and crystallized, - fixed in our gaze and in our pose. In order for us not to miss the next phase of the unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ, God has to sound a shrill trumpet into our hearts that we might be alerted. God is wanting to say and do a NEW THING.
It is time to go forward. It is the hour to arise to the battle and possess our land, our full inheritance in God. It is time to leave the first principles of the doctrine of Christ and GO ON TO PERFECTION. It is time to put on the mind of Christ and be transformed by the renewing of our mind. It is time to live and not die. So the Lord descends from heaven in a battle alarm, in the electrifying sound of a trumpet-message, to stimulate, to arouse, to alert and challenge you to get ready for the battle of the ages and the victory of victories that follows!
This trumpet sound commands us to pull up the tent stakes of tradition; fold up the tents of man-made religion; take down the banners of static creeds and dogmas and past experiences in God, and stop camping around this mountain of "kingdom-building" and a partial experience of God. We have camped around this mountain long enough. Let us go on to know the Lord in all of His glorious and eternal reality! Only men who have ears to hear can hear this call of the Spirit, but the trumpet is blowing and many have heard the call.
There are times in your life when God wants you to move forward in Him. He says you have camped around this mountain long enough. He has a land of promise ahead for you with all its inexhaustible abundance! Let us not settle for a partial revelation of God as through a glass darkly, but let us see Him face to face, to know Him even as we are known of Him." (End quote)