Why Testings, Isolation, Loneliness in Our Spiritual Life?

Lonely Christ

I have been going through a time of stripping, loneliness and isolation again and have been asking God, “WHY?” I came across this writing by T. Austin-Sparks that seems to explain why. I know that many of  you will be able to relate.

MDC

Christ has Gathered up Everything and Transferred it into Heaven

by T. Austin-Sparks

The next thing (and for the moment the last thing, but not by any means least in importance) is this: that Christ has gathered up everything and has removed it, transferred it, to heaven. God’s thought is centred in Christ in heaven, and God’s resources are centred in Christ in heaven. That means that the Lord’s people in this dispensation are essentially a heavenly people, and that means that it is quite impossible to attain unto God’s thought or to know God’s resources in Christ until we are a heavenly people. If in any way (and we are speaking to the Lord’s people now, and speaking of the life which we would call the Christian life), or in any measure we are earthbound, it will be in that measure impossible to attain unto God’s thought, and to know God’s resources. God only takes responsibility to supply and to carry on that which is essentially heavenly, and in the measure in which a thing is heavenly, and only in that measure (but surely in that measure), God takes responsibility for it. If it is in any way linked with this world, becoming a part of this world system, related to this earth, it has got to take responsibility for itself to carry its own weight, to find its own resources, to see its own way through.

Now we come back to what we stated earlier. In the end everything is going to be sovereignly tested by those heavenly realities. Where are we today? One of the tests that is being applied today is: How far can that which claims to be of the Lord go on in fulness, in life, triumphantly, without any kind of dependence upon this? How far can the thing go on in famine, in drought, in depression, in all conditions into which this world moves, so that its resources are no longer available? Can it go on mightily, strongly, as though it mattered not what the world does; where God’s work, God’s interests pursue their way in a glorious independence? God is going to place that issue. One of the tests at the end will have to be: How much is this of heaven and how much is this of earth and of man? How much in all this has been man’s? Yes, it may have been endeavour for God, but it may not have been a work straight out of heaven by God. There is all the difference between those things. How far has this been a great deal of busy activity for the Lord, and how far has this been the direct activity of the Holy Spirit from the Lord? There is a big difference between those two, and the test is going to be to be applied severely.

Christ now is in heaven, and when Christ returned to heaven, He transferred the basis of operations to heaven; He transferred all the resources to heaven; He transferred all the the knowledge of God to heaven. And the Lord’s people through this dispensation have to get their knowledge from heaven, their resources from heaven, all their government from heaven. Since the Lord returned it has never been centred and seated in this world.

We can only know Christ after the Spirit, so that Christ for us in this dispensation is spiritual in the sense that all that we know of Him or can have to do with Him can only be in the Spirit. “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him in this way no longer.” (2 Cor. 5:16). He is known after the Spirit.

Our resources are spiritual. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual. Everything has got to come to us from above. The one great effort of the enemy, which is again and again successful through this dispensation, has been to bring the things of God down to the attachment with this world, attachment to this earth, to make them something here.

Now we come back to the New Testament, and you only need to read John to see how unattached everything is, how everything is lifted clean out of this world, and everything is bound up with the fact that Christ is in heaven, and that the Lord’s people are here but not here, here but not known, in the world but not of it; a mystery people in this world so far as the world is concerned… unrecognised, unknown. And yet by that very means and for that very reason, the most potent force that this universe knows: the spiritual, hidden, secret people of God in this earth.

To take hold of Christianity and mould it, and shape it, and systematise it, and crystallise it, and make it some mighty Movement here; with its roots here, with all its associations such as man can see, appreciate and approve; to register itself upon the ordinary consciousness of this world as being something; all of that is contrary to the Word of God and is contrary to spiritual life and spiritual power. Christ is in heaven, and we are lifted out, translated, seated together with Him in the heavenlies. Our present purpose in this world is testimony only, by which others will be taken out of the nations, a people for His name.

Perhaps one of the things which you and I and the Lord’s people everywhere need to recognise more than anything else at an end time is the fact of our heavenliness. There is going to be a testing of everything which bears the Lord’s name by the law of the beginning governing the end. In the beginning they were a heavenly people, with everything for them in heaven, in Christ, and being drawn from Christ in heaven. All their government, direction, resource came from Him and was in Him as in heaven. The Lord comes back again and again to test things by that beginning, and in the end the test is going to be applied very stringently. We are going to see the outward form of things, which is earthly, man-made, man-constituted, an imitation or a representation of spiritual things, breaking down, shaking at its very foundations. All the organisations of our work are going to be shattered. In the nations all that framework will be broken up. That which alone will be left will be the people themselves, and they will probably be scattered. Then the test will be as to how much of this is Christ here. If there has been dependence upon orders, churches, systems, even meetings and conferences, the many things which in themselves are looked to as the means of support of the Christian life, when they are gone, broken, the question will be, How much of Christ is here? What is the measure of Christ, the heavenly Christ?

You see how that was the crisis for the disciples. They had three years with Him, but there was an outward detachment, an outward dependence, a physical, sentient association. In those days they could say some very bold things, they could make great confessions and professions, they could declare themselves as to Him, Who He was, what they thought of Him, what they believed concerning Him, what they would do for Him. Then He was taken from them, and what was left? No Christ, no life, nothing to live for, everything gone! When the life of senses ceased, the outward order came to an end, they had nothing left, they were in despair, their faith was shattered.

There is much of that today. We do not know how much there is until the break comes, until we are no longer able to do anything for the Lord, until we are no longer able even to pray and read the Word of God, and carry on the usual devotional exercises, until we are no longer able to meet with the Lord’s people. Multitudes of the Lord’s people are coming there now. Over wide stretches of the earth the people of God are being driven, scattered, having everything outward taken. The question is: Why does the Lord allow it? Why is it so, if the Lord is wise, and almighty, and gracious? It is to discover how much the Heavenly Christ is to His people, and how much they depend upon the earthly order of things, even the Christian order.

That which was from the beginning… Little children, it is the last hour… the one who does the will of God lives for ever“. Do you see the link? If at the end, at the last hour, it is as it was from the beginning, then it will abide for ever, but if it has become something else, it will go. This whole question of heavenly relationship with the Lord is a tremendously searching one, the fact that Christ has transferred everything to heaven and that nothing less than a life in heavenly union with Him will stand the test at any time.

We will ask the Lord that He will take this – if it really is the truth – and search us. It may be that some of us will find comfort, because we shall see this is exactly what the Lord is doing with us. Why isolation? Why the testings? Why the loneliness in spiritual life? To save us from things unto Himself, even Christian things, so that God’s end that Christ may be all and in all shall be reached; not things, but Christ; not Christianity, but Christ; not Christian work, but Christ.

http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/002953.html

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36 comments on “Why Testings, Isolation, Loneliness in Our Spiritual Life?

  1. Dollea says:

    So needed to hear this today, Michael. Thanks. Christ is All and in all!

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  2. “I would do so much for Him, but He won’t let me” (my former life story)

    “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God”

    As a younger believer it would seem fairly common to have worldly thinking and act out of our own resources. There isn’t likely a believer that hasn’t traversed in this manner to some extent. This may stem from an overwhelming feeling of debt to God, a deep sense of obligation or even due to a selfish desire for significance. Regardless of the reason or method, all initially stem from who we are in ourselves and what we believe we can offer to God. Herein lies nothing but failure.

    The sad reality is most of the professing religious world knows nothing about living in the heavenlies and relying upon those resources. The majority of what “has been done” in the name of Christ is earth bound and that is the precedent that has been set. Therefore, just as the resources for God’s work have been turned upside down from the spiritual to the natural, likewise so must the results be judged. Everything is on a natural plane, there can be no exceptions. What is of the flesh is flesh.

    Personally, God used many methods of His own to show me these failures in my own life. It was a arm here, a leg there- He cut off many things in my life that kept me from going on in the wrong direction. I was so convinced I could see what He desired and yet I hardly saw at all. I only saw what others were doing and was confident I could do it better. I still didn’t see that the problem wasn’t this or that thing, but this or that origin that made all the difference. It wasn’t merely a part upon the religious machinery that was broke but the machine itself and its tendency to absorb everything around it to its own ends. Anyone who refuses to fuel this beast or contend with those who do will surely be rejected. Herein will each true son and daughter eventually find themselves.

    I found myself when the Spirit of God taught me His thoughts- when I was cast out and rejected, when no one care and when no one listened. When all that was left was Jesus and Jesus alone. Yes Michael, we can relate! For we finally see ourselves where we have always been but rarely noted, IN CHRIST, and in fellowship with His own very sufferings- on the outside looking in. The natural man would avoid them, the spiritual man deems them a necessity. How can I enter in without much tribulation?

    “When everything man has imagined and attempted to incorporate into God’s society has ceased, then and only then will we live reliant upon Jesus and Him alone” (my new life story)

    Excellent article Michael. Thanks for sharing. We were starting to wonder where you wandered off to- I’m usually the one who does that.

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  3. Kathleen Cressy says:

    Praise the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ! This is the very Purpose for what we are experiencing! My Heart longs for His heart. I welcome the Trial of the Translation from this world to the next. He promises to hasten this time but it is still going to happen, it must. This is the answer to all of our questions in life of “why is this happening?” or “What is going on around us?” His explanations is to intense and Liberating! I am sure that T. Austin-Sparks wrote this quite a long time ago, but these words are Pertinent especially now! This helps us truly see the Greater Picture!!! We must keep our hearts, eyes and ears open to these facts as he has stated them. This is the great sifting and the “Great falling away” is a planned and purposed event, here in our lifetime! It is happening right now, and well, as I see it, for about two thousands years it has been happening. That may seem like a long time to you and I but in God’s time it is the blink of an eye. Thank you so much Michael for sharing this excerpt of this powerful enlightenment. Praise the name of God, dear Lord Give me the nature of your Son and bring about that great forge which will reveal a true child of God and the Life Giving Force that is You!

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  4. Rex Sheeley says:

    I have read this twice now and am still tring to un ravel it. I understand isolation and see its purpose.. to strip us of everthing that is not heavenly. but I do not embrace it for ever or like it for the season , I dont resist it. I do understand that the bride and bride groom are not present at the weddings men hold each week aka church service. I do not want to embrace the ideal that this isolation season is for ever till Jesus comes back. I have hope based upon promise that He is coming back for a bride made of many members and this bride his church will have a earthly pressence in a local identity as a testamony of the real life lived day to day. This season of isolation is not to replace the call of Jesus to make deciples and live day to day as a family. Scattered sheep are not a flock. I believe this season we are in will cease having done its purpose to all those who have been called out and into the wilderness “Who is this coming out of the wilderness leaning on the breast of her beloved” The true church many members building each other up in the Lord in your living room garage shop tent in the forest …but there a living breathing tangible testamony
    rex

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    • Hi Rex,
      Thanks for writing. Your response made me read Spark’s writing on here again and I still totally agree with what he wrote. He summed it up well with:

      We will ask the Lord that He will take this – if it really is the truth – and search us. It may be that some of us will find comfort, because we shall see this is exactly what the Lord is doing with us. Why isolation? Why the testings? Why the loneliness in spiritual life? To save us from THINGS unto Himself, even Christian things, so that God’s end that Christ may be all and in all shall be reached; not things, but Christ; not Christianity, but Christ; not Christian work, but Christ.

      Here in America, we as Christians, have had all the outward trappings and blessings and benefits of being “Christians.” We even call America a “Christian Nation.” We have come to associate what is highly visible and touches our senses as being spiritually blessed and successful. But God is saving those who are truly His unto Himself alone and cutting them off from this idolatry of things visible. We who are in this process are being accused by the religious establishment of “being too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” To this I say AMEN! So be it! The kingdom of heaven is not about this earth or the world systems (including its religions) that rule over it. In the end this world and all that is in it will be consumed by fire. If you want to see a form of Christianity that is all about this world, just look at Papal Rome with all it gold, glitter, buildings, statues, monuments to men, titles, offices, pomp and circumstance and then look at how much of all this worldly form and substance has made its way into Protestantism. One can not read Revelation ch. 17 & 18 without seeing the false church in all it’s glory. BUT the call is going out from heaven and God is collecting HIS people out of that worldly system, “Come out of her my people and partake not of her sins least you also partake of her plagues.” Finally, in that passage we read, “The voice of the bride and the voice of the Bridegroom will no longer be heard in her.” This is what is going on. We are being transformed from a temporal and visible worldly church into a heavenly and holy people of whom it may be said, “The bride has made herself ready… behold the Bridegroom comes” and she is going out to meet Him. God is purifying Jesus’ bride and part of that purification process is putting us through times of isolation to strip away all our religious preconceived ideas of who Jesus is and what the Kingdom of God is about.

      If God allows us to come together in our tents, homes, garages, etc., as you put it, wonderful! But I know that I will not flog a dead horse any longer. “Unless God builds the house, they who build it labor in vain.” “Unless God watches over a city, they who stand upon its walls watch in vain.” The church has fallen from that powerful Spirit-led wondrous body of believers that it was in the beginning into a powerless, fractured fairy tail that it is today. The point of all that I quoted from Sparks in our blog is that in all these painful things, it is God’s act of redemption toward us who are in Him. He is sifting us in this hour and winnowing us of all that is NOT of Christ that we truly might be able to be His ekklesia, His called-out one’s once again. Know this, every man’s work shall be proven by fire in this hour for the day we are in is declaring it for what it is. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken… not only the earth this time but heaven also. If we have presumptuously built upon the ONE true Foundation (which can not be shaken), Jesus Christ, with wood, hay and stubble it will not survive.

      Lord, purify your saints by fire. Consume all that is not in heavenly places in your Son that there might only be left your holy people… spiritual gold, silver and precious stones worthy for your crown. Amen.

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      • Hosea says:

        ….and AMEN Michael!!! These are trustworthy words! “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and NOW is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” –Jesus of Nazareth in John 5:25.

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      • Yes, my brother! Death does not have the final word in our walks. We SHALL know newness and greater depth of HIS life as a result of all that we are going through as we are faithful to submit and obey. Like Paul said, “Death works in me that LIFE might abound in you.”

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      • Rex Sheeley says:

        I have never been a big fan of Sparks but i enjoy Matthew Mark Luke John etc etc. I really like Paul and Peter and my all time favorite is John because I know Jesus spoke thru them all for sure.
        I truly believe and hope to see the wilderness abandoned, by those who the Lord calls out of it as one who first led them there. For many this is not the 1st rodeo when it comes to enlightenment concerning the great harlot be it Rome or Vineyard and such like pillars of straw. Im sure its not the 1st trip into the wilderness … man made clothes of religion are well made and can take years to wear off and rot. So… after the work of the wilderness lets dream for the day of The restoration of all things namely the earthly visible touchable not so mystic body of Christ The local church as seen in the book of Acts and greater. Paul was abandoned but that didnt negate the foundations and patterns He learned by the Holy Spirit ,all maybe set aside for a season for such a time as this.
        A time when Gods people are willing to follow the Lamb only and not men, nor have need of men to follow

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      • missdebra says:

        Michael, these words you speak bring tears to my eyes and comfort to my heart! What a blessing to know that others like me struggle with the loneliness of finding the Pearl of Precious Price and making Him our own! My sweet Jesus, how I love to hear His voice in the morning. Nothing else can compare with the sound of His sweet drawing of my heart when I wake up and joyfully remember that He has great plans for me and all of His called out ones!

        More and more I am made aware of my heavenly presence in heaven although I am still here on earth. I even had a dream where I was shown the beautiful white gown I wear when I present my petitions before our Father in heaven. It was revealed to me in that dream that when we make our sincere petitions to the Lord here on earth, He sees us quite differently as He receives those prayers in heaven.

        Letting “goods and kindred go, this mortal life also” as Martin Luther said in A Mighty Fortress is our God Is what this loneliness is all about. It is a humbling of ourselves and a finding of Him! He so wants to bless us in every way, but the biggest blessing is capturing His heart as He has captured ours. How did He do that? He humbled Himself and did not consider His former estate but took the form of a man that He might save us, so we as His imitators do the same. He is so precious, beautiful and awesome. Love personified. The pain of loneliness is so small when compared to His tender loving embrace. And then there is the Holy Spirit! I am just getting started with Him!

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      • Dollea says:

        Miss Debra,
        Thank you so much for your comment. It really touched my heart because it sounds a lot like my own experience. Truly, it is “a blessing to know that others like me struggle with the loneliness of finding the Pearl of Precious Price and making Him our own!” It encourages me to remember, once again, that through all this isolation and loneliness our Lord is doing His work in my heart and life. As you said, ” He has great plans for me and all of His called out ones!” Sometimes, the barrenness of the wilderness detracts from all that benefits me/us. And…I know the wilderness will not be forever. There are 2 wildernesses, I believe. One is the wilderness of unbelief. That’s where many die. The other wilderness (the one I’m in) is where we learn our true identity and the all-sufficiency of Jesus. When that work is done….I exit the wilderness! Thanks, again, Miss Debra. Sure wish you lived in Florida…maybe we could meet up. 🙂

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      • Dollea,

        Two wildernesses… I have never thought of it that way. It seems to have been one long one with a brief respite in the middle, kind of like it was with Moses 40 years to kill Egypt in him and then 40 more years shepherding the people of God while God killed Egypt in them, although I do not think of myself as a shepherd. 🙂 You are right about the second wilderness where we must go outside the camp to meet Him just as Moses had to when God told him to move the tent of meeting out of the camp of all those grumbling rebels.

        For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what to do with you.'” Therefore the people of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward. Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; and he called it the tent of meeting. And every one who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose up, and every man stood at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the door of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. (Exo 33:5-9 RSVA)

        Wow! There is much to be learned from this passage about the second wilderness and our intimacy with the Lord He affords us there.

        Thanks for sharing your insights with us and encouraging Miss Debora,

        Michael

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      • Dollea says:

        Wow is right! That passage is loaded: “…from Mount Horeb onward. Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; and he called it the tent of meeting. And every one who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.”
        What’s up with the “from Mount Horeb onward”? Something significant must have happened at Mount Horeb, wouldn’t you say? 🙂 Also, very significant and relevant about Moses pitching the “tent” (us, right….the tabernacle/dwelling place of God?) outside the camp.” In fact, not just outside the camp but “FAR OFF FROM the camp”! Alright! “And, he called it the tent of meeting.” Whoa….I LOVE that. The tent of meeting. “Everyone WHO SOUGHT THE LORD would go out to the tent to meeting…which was OUTSIDE THE CAMP.” Oh, boy, Michael. I’d love to read one of your posts on that. ❤

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      • Dollea,

        The meaning of Horeb in the Hebrew is “desolation.” Just before God commanded Moses to take the tabernacle of meeting outside the camp, they had been dancing around naked before the golden calf that Aaron mad out of their jewellery while Moses was up on Mt. Horeb getting the ten commandments. God was fed up with this stiff-necked people who proudly said before the golden calf, “This is the god that brought us up out of Egypt.” God used the sons of Levi to slay 3000 of the Hebrew men that day and from that time on until the resurrection of Jesus they would be His priests. Anyway this is why God had Moses pitch the tabernacle or meeting far off outside the camp. Everyone who truly is seeking the Lord today is finding themselves going, “out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.” So the Book of Hebrews refers to this event as a proto-type of what Christ and His followrs would have to go through just as Moses did for all the same reasons.

        We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore LET US GO FORTH TO HIM OUTSIDE THE CAMP and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. (Heb 13:10-14 RSVA)

        Times might change, but the unrefrigerated hearts of men do not. Different dispensation, same old prevailing sins.

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      • Debra,

        Thanks for your heart-felt letter and sharing your loving relationship you have with our Lord. This wonderful, meaning filled old hymn, “Amazing Grace,” came to mind as I read your letter written with so much heart. here are a couple of verses that have meant so much to me over the years:

        Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
        I have already come;
        ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
        and grace will lead me home.

        When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
        bright shining as the sun,
        we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
        than when we first begun.

        Keep seeking His wonderful face, my dear sister, and know that you are not alone.

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      • Rex Sheeley says:

        Sparks Sparks who is Sparks I know Him not,… I do know who wrote The book of Acts. Id rather read it 10000 times then words from a man I never knew. I am not trying to be mean here or antagonistic. I once knew a people who read sparks and this blog is a page from there History and it did not fair well. ( that powerful Spirit-led wondrous body of believers ) IS coming back. She is the one God is preparing in the wilderness, She will be a city on a hill in world wide locations here on earth. How could I believe anything else. I live here in the midst of a corrupt world as they did in Acts. His true body can be seen ,will be seen functioning day to day as a living organism and will be seen more often as men with leadership gifts by faith use them. Jesus is coming back for His body not scattered body parts.
        Love ya much
        Rex

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      • Rex,

        What Jesus is coming back for is not a body that only functions through a few high level, titled men and women, but a bride that is whole in every way, each one functioning fully as they each are connected to the Head, not the neck or any other part as it is so often taught today. As we each are connected to the Son in unity with the Father we each make up the witness that has been missing in this world, “that the world might know that you have sent me.”

        Jesus prayed:

        The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
        (Joh 17:22-26 RSVA)

        The goal of the gospel is not to just have our sins covered “under the blood” of Christ and live a mediocre life as “Good Christians” going to church, paying tithes and doing church programs. No, we are called to a much higher calling than that. In Romans we read,

        “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also bring to life your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you… if you through the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself bears 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, so that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us… but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body [the body of Christ]… the Spirit also helps our weakness: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us… he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 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. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom 8:10-30 KJ2000)

        God’s goal for the elect from the beginning has been to have a perfect and redeemed Body of sanctified saints that share in the glory of the Father and the Son making up the sons of God and the bride of Christ. The lives of the elect are ordered by the Father to bring about this high calling in us. We have been crucified in Christ and He was crucified from the foundation of the world. It stands to reason then that the elect IN Christ were also crucified in Him from the foundations of the world. We come into this world and we live a history as marked individuals who the world hates. For most of us even our families have rejected us. We come into the church system and because it is of the world (with few exceptions) it hates us as well. But in all this confusion and rejection we are becoming MORE THAN OVERCOMERS AS Jesus takes us through our trials and tribulations and conforms us into the collective image of Christ as members of His body.

        I have no issue with Sparks, Tozer, Osborn, Nee, or any other saint that has received light form the Lord and has been inspired to write about it. Just as Paul was inspired to write as was Peter and we receive from them we can also receive confirmation from others. No, the writings of these men are not “scripture” but neither were Paul’s or Peter’s writings until the Catholic church made them part of the official “cannon” of the New Testament and the Protestants followed suit. Each of these later men I mentioned have encouraged me to follow Jesus, not themselves, and they have shed light on what it means to be led of the Spirit. In this they have been useful in clearing up the fog that surrounds the church system and have verified what the Spirit has been saying to us all along. This is what a true Spirit inspired teacher does… confirming the saints in their most holy faith (Acts 14:22), not leading them off coarse with the doctrines of men (see Acts 20:29-31).

        Acts and the gospel of Luke were written by Luke. Are you saying that you KNOW Luke any more than you know T. Austin Sparks? I am sure you are not. No we who are Christ’s know the voice of the Shepherd and His Spirit in these men and as such, we receive light where there IS light. I don’t agree with everything Sparks has written, but I also have the Spirit of Truth in me that leads me into all truth, so I can eat the meat and toss out the bones. It is just that some men’s writings are more meat than bones and others are mostly bones. Why eat carp when you can have Copper River Salmon? The purest meat is the flesh and blood of Jesus and He desires us to eat and drink of HIM and find Him alone as our sufficiency. Teachers who are inspired by Jesus’ Spirit will always point us to HIM as our Teacher and away from themselves.

        Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (2Ti 2:1-2 KJV)

        Love you, my brother,
        Michael

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      • Rex Sheeley says:

        You Wrote:….
        “I have no issue with Sparks, Tozer, Osborn, Nee, or any other saint that has received light form the Lord and has been inspired to write about it. Just as Paul was inspired to write as was Peter and we receive from them we can also receive confirmation from others. No, the writings of these men are not “scripture” but neither were Paul’s or Peter’s writings until the Catholic church made them part of the official “cannon” of the New Testament and the Protestants followed suit.”

        Since the Catholic Church and The Protestants are clearly not of God then that means their cannon is not God inspired and we are left with just good advice with the mere writings of men in what is known as the New Testament. So lets disregard the bible as we know it? Holy cow Michael that’s scary stuff. I got red flags popping up all over here.
        Be very clear and bold here and tell us what you really mean lest we come to the wrong conclusion.
        I ask you for clarity sake , Is the Greek New testament God breathed ? word for word. every jot and tittle
        IF not then we must cease relying upon it and or free to supplement or replace it with what ever we feel is more reliable.( I can not bring myself to except that is what you believe I must be wrong here)
        Love you
        Rex

        Like

      • Rex,

        You seem to have an axe to grind here. I said no such thing in my post as what you accuse me of. Has anyone else who is reading these writings I share got this message Rex seems to be getting from me? If so join in and rebuke me as my brothers and sisters in Christ.

        The Greek New Testament and the Hebrew and Chaldean O. T. I have no problem with as being inspired by God. I also know that out of the mouths of God’s children can also come the words of the Spirit and they can confirm what the Spirit is saying to the ekklesia. I do NOT believe in the doctrine of “sola scripture” which is bound in legalism. I DO believe that the Spirit can and does speak to us through the inspired scriptures and refer to them often in the things I right. BUT there is also err in searching them using them and missing the reason that they were dictated to the men who penned them. Jesus said to the bibliolaters of 2000 years ago, “You search the scriptures and in them you think you will find life and it is they that speak of me, but you will not come to me that you MIGHT have LIFE.” The scriptures by themselves are worthless UNLESS the Spirit is able to speak the heart of God to us through them and shine His Light upon them as we read. The Spirit was given in the place of Jesus to lead us into all truth, not the Bible. The devil used scripture to tempt the Lord to sin, but the Father in Him knew the difference. This is an hour we are in where deceptions of every kind are being unleash upon mankind. If we do not live by every word that PROCEEDS from the mouth of God (not that once proceeded from His mouth, alone), we will also be deceived for if it is possible, Satan will deceive the very elect in this final hour. We must open our hearts daily to receive the guidance of the Spirit of Truth and the discernment to know Jesus’ voice from that of the deceivers (see 1 John ch. 2).

        Love you, my brother,
        Michael

        Like

      • Gary says:

        When the shaking (really) starts – the only safe place will be IN the Shaker.

        Like

    • Rex Sheeley says:

      As we are broken of trusting in ourselves and seek only that Life that is found IN Christ to abide in us, we will be able to say to this lost and dying world as Christ’s body, “If you have seen us, you have seen Jesus” and it will stick. Until then we are just part of the problem.

      Like

      • Just a note that Rex and I were able to clear up the confusion we were having over my quoting T. Austin Sparks. He was thinking that I had put Sparks on the same level with the writings of Paul and Peter and other New Testament writers. This is not the case. Rex asked me to post our email exchange on here for the rest of you to see…

        Rex:

        Michael you wrote this Yes or no?

        “I have no issue with Sparks, Tozer, Osborn, Nee, or any other saint that has received light form the Lord and has been inspired to write about it. Just as Paul was inspired to write as was Peter and we receive from them we can also receive confirmation from others. No, the writings of these men are not “scripture” but neither were Paul’s or Peter’s writings until the Catholic church made them part of the official “cannon” of the New Testament and the Protestants followed suit.”

        Michael:

        Yes, I wrote the above. No I did not say that what was written by Paul and Peter was not inspired from the moment that they penned there letters. I don’t know where you are getting that idea from at all. What I meant by “scripture” in the above quote is what most people think of as “scripture” that which is found in the Bible known as the cannon. The cannon of scriptures didn’t come along until Constantine got in the mix and tried to make it official what was inspired and what was not. I could give a hoot what the Emporer, the Catholic church or any other denomination for that matter says is the official cannon. The inspiration of God in what is written is everything.

        As for these other later authors, I have found that God has used some of their insights to inspire me over the years as have many others. I hold that God can use almost anything to teach us, even a jack ass. George Davis, whom you know, has been used by the Lord as my brother to bring to light many areas that I was still foggy about after coming out of 22 years in the Whore and almost as many in her daughters clutches.

        Rex:

        These 2 apostles wrote divinely inspired words for us which are to us life because we have the spirit and are dead to those who do not. To the one who has not faith in them they are indeed dead. These 2 apostles are un like other men such as Sparks and Tozer who as you confirmed had bones among the meat they shared.

        Michael:

        No disagreement here!

        Rex:

        We don’t always present well enough in our words to dispel concerns others may have about what we are exactly saying..

        Michael:

        Like one dear of saint said, “We are all limited by the confusion and languages of Babel.” This is why Paul said, “Whereby we once knew Jesus by the flesh, but now we know Him thus no longer. Neither should we know one another by the flesh, but by the Spirit.” I have had very little negative feedback on the things that I write both in our books and articles with George or on the blog. George and many other who write have taken time to know me after the Spirit. I hope to get to know you the same way and you, me.

        Rex:

        I have faith that the bible KJV and or text it was translated from is 99.9%and is Holy Spirit wrote from the day the letters and books where written….Period. Canonization was God using the affairs of men to complete his purpose to give us a sure bench mark.

        Michael:

        Again I agree, if one can find a pure text in the original that has not been man-handled or mistranslated down through the ages… I agree that all scripture is inspired by God and is good for reproof, correction and the establishment of teaching. I have no problem with the books and letters that made the cut, nor do I have any problem with the ones that didn’t end up being in the Bible. I have read parts of these other texts and they have added nothing to me more than what the accepted texts have spoken clearly already.

        Finally Rex wrote:

        All is well here, I am comfortable with your reply and suggest you post the conversation to your blog so no one is left scratching their head about our unity in this matter.
        Id much rather read You and George then any other.
        May the Holy Spirit guide you even more as you write to the brethren

        Your brother
        Rex
        Lets Roll…

        Like

      • missdebra says:

        Michael, I have read the objection you received on your quoting of Sparks, and the resulting discourse. I thought, What in the world? I see nothing wrong with that quote you posted, in fact let me tell you thank you for posting it. It is a great reminder and it is true.

        God speaks today as much as He ever did. We can’t say He only spoke to those who wrote letters right after Jesus rose, or only in the “canonized” bible. That is far too limiting and does not agree with scripture. God can use anyone He wants to give the truth. If we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we can discern truth from lies. One of the gifts of the Holy Ghost is prophesy. Is that not words from God?

        I do understand that immature Christians have to be protected to some extent, but the Lord has brought me from immature to mature and the pitfalls of false doctrine were not guarded by man but by the Holy Ghost. Anyone who tries to control everything we think or say is far too controlling!

        There are those who would try to rob you of your liberty in Christ by guarding your words. I believe as far as I can tell that you do know the Lord and have that lively relationship with Him that not many do have. Please do not let someone try to snare you in your words and pummel you down based on their own fears. You are not wrong to put out the truth of what someone said, even if all their doctrine is not correct. The truth is the truth no matter if it comes from an ass’ mouth or a man. Words of truth are always appreciated.

        One day on a special vacation, actually a vacation of a lifetime I realized I had not heard from the Lord in a few days. I told Him this while on an airplane flying over Minnesota and seeing the most beautiful view I had ever beheld, beautiful blue lakes, green green grass, and fluffy cotton ball clouds. Suddenly the Lord responded to me and said “There are many ways I speak to you. I speak to you in the Word, I speak to you through the Spirit, and I speak to you through the clouds. There are many ways I speak to you!” He floored me with this, and I traveled home immersed in His infinite love!

        I am also posting this on our special page because I believe it needs to be heard.

        I love you brother! Debra

        Like

      • Debra,

        Yes, The Word still speaks! He speaks through the whole of His creation which He spoke into existance. I once was in a time when I had not heard from the Lord in many long months and I was hiking around a mountain, way away from any roads and was thinking, “Wow, I bet no man has been here before.” Then a tiny bit of dark pink color caught my eye at my feet. I thought, “Oh wow, man has even poluted this spot as well.” So I got down on my hands and knees to see what it was and it was a tiny four pedal flower all by itself, just looking up at me. I said, “Wow, Lord! You put that there for this very moment so that I would KNOW that you ARE and that you love ME.”

        Another time, my wife was having a hard time of it because we had been living off the power grid for almost eight months and then a flood came and took over our road for a month that spring and we had to walk in and out to get from the house to the car to go to work each day in town. Anyway, she was feeling pretty down and looked down at her feet and there was a stone shaped like a heart. She knew it was a sign to her that God loved her and that things would get better and they did. The flood subsided and we finally got the power hook-up. She still has that heart-shaped rock to remind her that when times are hard, He still loves us.

        Thanks, my sister for your loving and kind note. You are a blessing!

        Like

  5. bill wood says:

    just a few weeks ago while going thru a rough patch I picked up a bible and randomly opened it up and found myself reading a section in Job and began seeing that the words before me were exactly my testimony/experience at the time….

    “He has blocked my way so that I cannot pass though;He has veiled my paths with darkess. He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. He tears me down on every side so that I am ruined. He uproots my hope like a tree. His anger burns against me, and He regards me as one of His enemies. His troops advance together; they construct a ramp against me and camp around my tent……” chapter19:8-12

    What was SO interesting and incredible while reading this was I did NOT find myself in a deep pit of despair, but in a place of comfort, peace, and rejoicing.

    Why?

    Because I know the story doesn’t end there! Just as The Almighty wasn’t finished with Job at this juction, so it is with me.

    So God is now answering me out of the whirl-wind which is driving the very chaff away. He is mercifully revealing to me that while I thought I was knowing, I wasn’t YET knowing as I ought to know.

    And my response to Him will be, “I have heard about you in the hearing of my ears, but now my eyes have seen YOU!!!

    Like

    • Bill, thanks for your comment and testimony. YES! There is a strange peace to be reached in all this whirlwind of God that is blowing away our chaff. We often, like Paul, are so sure that we are on the right path, even the scriptural path, only to find ourselves kicking against the goad of the Lord. Peter was so sure that he was doing the right thing by denying salvation from the Gentiles and not associating with them. It was the scriptural thing for a good Christian Jew to do. Yet, he finds himself in a direct confrontation with God and refusing to obey Him in his religious self-righteousness saying, “Not so, LORD!” Oh, the irony of our self-righteous blindness… calling Jesus “Lord” and then openly disobeying Him.

      It is interesting how we start out our Christian walks, experiencing all the Holy Ghost “good stuff,” even “Holy Ghost goose bumps” and all the warm and touchy-feely things we associate with the story of the early church in the the first chapters of the Book of Acts as Christ’s resurrection power was released. “Oh, what fellowship, Oh, what glory divine…” we sang with such confidence. But as we mature in Christ “the power of His resurrection” in our lives in the visible form we were used to seemed to fade and we started learning about “the fellowship of His sufferings” and we started being “conformed unto His death.” We all loved it when there was all the Book of Acts early chapters stuff going on, but what is all this suffering and death about?

      Have you ever thought that the Father is maturing us into sons of God like Jesus? Jesus walked upon this earth for three and a half years with great power from the Father and enjoyed a great following, but ended that walk by being stripped of that power and even of any human fellowship of other believers and was conformed unto the death that the Father commanded Him to partake in. “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?!” Do you see the pattern? HE IS THE PATTERN SON and His servants are not greater than Him, but it is sufficient that we be just as He is. Even Paul before the Book of Acts story ended wrote, “All have left me…” with many of the churches he founded upon Christ running off after a flood of false teachers (see Acts 20: 28-30).

      The REAL question we ourselves have to face is, “Are we willing to grow-up in Christ and let Him share with us His sufferings… those things that make Him weep as well as those things that make Him rejoice?” Are we willing to be so conformed to the image of the Son that we can honestly say, “I would that this cup pass from me, BUT, never the less, not MY will, but THY will be done”? Coming to this realization has put depth to Paul’s assertion, “That I may know Him, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings and be conformed unto His death.” May we all boldly pray this prayer and embrace the cross God has for us as His saints.

      Like

      • Hosea says:

        14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained Philippians 3:14-16 (ESV)

        Like

      • Rex Sheeley says:

        Now you got me stired up dear brother and thats good for we are called to stir one another in love.
        Who died in the wilderness? all the old farts 20 and above only 2 old guys made it out after 40 years. These 2 BELIEVED God… believed what god had said and revealed about the promise land (AKA the church as I understand it.) I believe are God is willing and able to restore the early church revelation and promised to do so. Joshua and Caleb … Michael and George the list is endless but WE have to believe The Lord, and fight, and lay again ruined foundations… repair the walls and defend the labor day and night. I dont want to die in the wilderness thats not its purpose. Id rather die with my shovel in one hand and my sword in the other giving my brother a piggy back ride to safety. When Jesus returns I want to be found connected to some foot some where connected to a body, not a dried up lether tong writing in the wind and straining to hear distant voices. The power of his ressurection, the suffering and shaped unto His death… would to God we see this marvel in us in the flesh and blood,, of His church …who better to die for then ones brother or sister who better to serve daily and to be served. The wilderness was never intended to bring us into the fullness of Christ but as we all know and see it was and still is causing us to loose are way, are way of flesh we learned so well from years in the flesh pots of men systems. In the wilderness we learn the true North… Jesus are only compass. we become lost in him and yet truely find the right direction so we can serve each other in love face to face, day to day , suffering with those who suffer and leaping for joy with those who leap. My wife and I have been fed in the wilderness and we have drank water from the rock. But we were given a vision of the church so we would not perish while the work of the wilderness is taking place.
        Gods Church is where we come into the fullness because its the body he lives for , not the wilderness which is only a means to an end

        Like

    • Rex Sheeley says:

      Good word brother

      Like

  6. missdebra says:

    Thank you for your encouragement Michael Clark. I really like your articles. Would you give Miss Dollea my email address? She requested contact and I did not want to put it here on the public blog.

    Like

  7. Tim Shey says:

    Wow! This is excellent. Thank you for posting this.

    I liked this paragraph:

    “Now we come back to the New Testament, and you only need to read John to see how unattached everything is, how everything is lifted clean out of this world, and everything is bound up with the fact that Christ is in heaven, and that the Lord’s people are here but not here, here but not known, in the world but not of it; a mystery people in this world so far as the world is concerned… unrecognised, unknown. And yet by that very means and for that very reason, the most potent force that this universe knows: the spiritual, hidden, secret people of God in this earth.”

    This reminds me of what Isaac Penington wrote:

    “The wisdom of this world is precious in the eye of the world; and the wisdom of God in His poor, weak, despised earthen vessels is still foolishness with them; but the Lord so orders it, that He still justifies his despised wisdom in his despised vessels, and makes the wisdom of the world appear foolish to all the single and uprighthearted, who thirst after and wait for the revelation of His truth.”

    You may also want to read this:

    “The Babylonish Church–Isaac Penington”
    https://hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/the-babylonish-church-isaac-penington/

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Tim. Paul put it this way,

      “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-29 KJ2000)

      Yes, Penington’s book sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for the link

      Michael

      Like

  8. WolfM says:

    Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Michael says:

    Thank you, Wolf M.

    Like

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    Like

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