Our Ever Expanding Spiritual Universe

Big bang.jpg

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isa 9:7, KJ2000)

A strange thing has been discovered in the last decade or so. Creation is defying the laws of physics. After many centuries, scientists finally discovered that the universe is expanding  after starting in a flash of light they call “The Big Bang.” They tell us that all matter started from one highly compressed and very small object that exploded, going outward in all directions, creating the universe as we know it. But then a problem was found in their theory. Not only is the universe expanding, but it is continuing to accelerate away from that central starting point. According to the second law of thermodynamics, matter can’t do that unless there is a continuing force applied to cause that acceleration. An influence greater than the first “big bang” seems to rule over the universe! So, the scientists just call it “Dark Energy” and “Dark Matter” because they can’t see it. The real darkness is in them because they refuse to acknowledge God as the Creator and Energizer of all things.

Susanne Schuberth recently wrote about three women she knows in Germany that are so steeped in their religions that they are always judging her for not going to their churches and believing in their doctrines. As a result, they never give her an opening for her to share what God has been doing in her life outside their religious institutions and traditions. She started out where these women are, going to churches in similar denominations, but Susanne has learned that continuing to grow in Christ soon causes those old wineskins to burst if we try to stay in them. In her story about these three ladies is a warning to us to not become fixed in our ways of thinking about the kingdom of God. Denominational teachings and thinking can be the worst enemy of growing in Christ. Even worse, we can be blessed by God in a “ministry” of our own that grows into something we become emotionally attached to more than our obedience to the upward leading of the Lord. We become fixed, not wanting to let go of what has grown into our Ishmael as Abraham found out. And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!”

God has given and taken away wonderful Godly things in my life, even wonderful fellowship with individuals from time to time. These wonderful God-given things served a purpose for a season, but once He wanted to take me further in His upward call than they allowed, He had to remove them or remove me from them. The Bible is full of stories of great people of faith where this has happened to them: Enoch, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, David, Ruth, Esther, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc. In Hebrews they are called God’s people of faith. The early Church in the New Testament was blessed with the Spirit of God in wonderful fellowship in Jerusalem. Then after a couple of years, God scattered them to the four corners of the earth, and they took the gospel of Christ with them. Sometimes we are just like these early believers. We know that Jesus told the disciples to take the gospel first to Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria and unto the utter most ends of the earth, but what happens? We become settlers and happy campers and what Jesus said becomes, “first Jerusalem, then Jerusalem and finally to the uttermost parts of Jerusalem!”

In today’s devotional, T. Austin-Sparks expands on God’s desire for us to continue to grow. As I read it I saw a picture of a crab. Crabs constantly shed their outer shell and make a larger one as they grow. During this time they are quite vulnerable with little protection, but it has to happen or they will die. When our comfortable shell, our “house,” becomes rigid and inflexible, God has to take us through a molting period where the outward things pass away and all things become new.

“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” This verse and many others take on scope if we are willing to be stretched by God’s work in our hearts. Even if God has blessed us so far as we have obeyed His voice, the vision He has given us will not always be the same tomorrow. As the Spirit pushed me to grow in Christ, I had to leave many churches and fellowships behind. He even gave me a dream where He destroyed my comfortable house and rooted up the old foundation because it was not sufficient for what He wanted to build on my “site.” He had to go deeper and wider with a new Foundation that would support the “building” He wanted to place on it. This is God’s way in our lives if we continue to follow His Son and let HIS government and peace continue to increase in us. To resist this stretching and His increase in us is to lose our heavenly peace.

Paul was first a Pharisee of Pharisees with great scriptural knowledge, but counted it all as dung in a flash once he saw and heard the resurrected Christ. He then spent years in isolation being taught by Jesus. Then one day Barnabas came to Paul’s home town of Tarsus where he was making tents, and took him to be in fellowship with the saints in Antioch. After a year or so he was separated from that wonderful fellowship he had in the Spirit and was sent off on what was the beginnings of his missionary journeys. That did not last forever, either. God finally confined him in prison and then under house arrest for years in Rome. It is from this season in his life that we have so many of his wonderful letters in our New Testaments. Finally, after he finished the course that God had for him, he was martyred by Nero. Yet, Paul was obedient to his upward call at each stage along the way, even unto death. What a lesson lies in all this for us. Those who hate Paul and his teachings today, like those rebellious Jews of old, refuse to follow the Spirit of God as they cling to a covenant that has been replace by a New and Living Covenant IN Christ. Zion is our heavenly habitation, not an “ism” or a war-torn country in the Middle East (See Hebrews 12:22-24 and 1 Peter 2:4-9). Now back to what I read by Sparks this morning that said it so well.

The implications of any movement of God are not always recognized at the beginning, but if we go on with Him we shall find that much that is done here and is of time is – and has to be – left behind. The spiritual and the heavenly is pressing for a larger place and becoming absolutely imperative to the very life of the instrumentality and those concerned. It is spontaneous, and just happens. We wake up to realize that we have moved into a new realm or position, and no amount of additional earthly resource can meet the need. It is not only something more that is demanded, but something different. This is a crisis, and it will only be safely passed if there is vision of God’s ultimate object. This demands spiritual mindedness, capacity for grasping heavenly things. One world may be tumbling to pieces, but the full and final is the explanation.

The great pity is that so many just will cling to the old framework or partial vision. God presents His heavenly pattern in greater fulness and demands adjustment. He does it with foreknowledge, knowing of a day which is imminent when this vision alone will save. But, because it is ‘revolutionary’ or not ‘what has been in the blessing of God’ etc., etc., it is rejected and put aside. Then the foreseen day comes and all sorts of expedients have to be resorted to to save the ship. Paul warned out of his intuitive vision that such would be the case on the journey to Rome, and it proved true, the ship eventually foundered and much was lost.

Abraham had a vision of “the city which hath foundations” and he “looked for” it, but never found it on earth. He found it at last in heaven, but it was the climax of a walk which was ever upward. Ezekiel saw “in the visions of God” the glory lifting from the earthly scene, and moving up and on; and this vision related to all his other visions, culminating in a spiritual house and river which have their counterpart alone in the revelation given to Paul and John particularly: heavenly, spiritual, universal. What a significant phrase that is about the house seen by Ezekiel – “there was an enlarging upward” (Ezek. 41:7). God-given vision is always “the heavenly vision”, and always moves away from the merely temporal and sentient. If this were apprehended there would be much more vital fruit, and many fewer ‘white elephants’.

God is never on the line of reduction, limitation. It may look like that, but it is not so. If we really had His vision, that which looks like trimming and reduction is His way of enlargement, but spiritual and heavenly enlargement.

It was “the God of glory” who appeared to Abraham (Acts 7:2). It was the pattern in the heavenlies that was “shewn” to Moses (Heb. 8:5). It was “…above the firmament… a throne… and upon… the throne… a man above upon it” that Ezekiel saw. It was “that the heavens do rule” that Daniel apprehended. These are not only sovereign factors in government, but heavenly conceptions in the nature of things.

These two things proceed as one. God in sovereignty will run the risk of shattering, or allow the shattering, of so much that He has used of scaffolding or framework in order to realize the fuller purpose. It is not that it was wrong, but now He wants something more. We thank God for ever that He took Paul away from his travelling ministry and let him be shut up in prison. It was then that the full glorious vision and revelation of the “heavenlies” and the “eternal” was given to eclipse all the earthly and temporal. It was worth it, and was no tragedy! The Holy Spirit is the custodian of the full purpose of God, and under His government the Church and the individual believer will move ever on and up.  (http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/002082.html)

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28 comments on “Our Ever Expanding Spiritual Universe

  1. Excellent article, Michael! ⭐

    The following statement by TAS struck me since I have found myself in such a process during the last months. Sparks said,

    “We wake up to realize that we have moved into a new realm or position, and no amount of additional earthly resource can meet the need. It is not only something more that is demanded, but something different.”

    This is so true! When we begin to enter the Kingdom of God, we need to leave everything else which caused us to cling to earthly things, interests, old habits, and people who don’t know God’s plan for our life behind us. If we cannot let go of these interests and people etc., a spiritual wilderness is needed, a chastisement in which God takes (at least spiritually) our pride and everything we held dearer than Him completely away. We must be emptied of ourselves so that God can come in! He does not enter spiritual garbage cans or temples in which the merchants keep selling their worldly stuff. Instead, Jesus comes and cleanses the human temple before He can really dwell in us through the Holy Spirit, even 24/7.

    Thank God, the Scripture you placed in front of your article, my brother, reveals that it is NOT our work to expand (ourselves), it is “The zeal of the LORD of hosts [that] will perform this.” (Isa 9:7, KJ2000)

    If we have really found ourselves in a new, more heavenly position as TAS described it, we do not want to go back, ever. Instead, there is always something more we need to leave behind so that we can grow more and more into the image of Christ. But it is also, always, spiritual gain for us where we might have perceived earthly loss at first. And eventually, to cut a long story short, we will all be convinced through God’s overwhelming love that draws and pulls us ever closer to Himself that dying to our old self nature has been necessary because it led to supernatural joy and peace, provided by a resurrection life in Christ, even already here on earth.

    Regarding these three women of which I wrote on my blog, well, been there, done that, too, in the past. Michael, as you already mentioned. Today I simply keep listening to them and pray for them as the Spirit leads. Nonetheless, I also need to draw distinct boundaries when I sense that the spirits that push these women into another direction than God leads me. In fact, we cannot have fellowship with anyone when the Holy Spirit is not or no longer in it (as you described in your case when you saw you had to leave others or that they left you). If you don’t mind, my dear brother, I was just reminded of having written a blog post about the impossibility of fellowshipping with believers who do not have the Holy Spirit, even though they might not know about it. If you like, see https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/do-not-be-deceived-bad-company-ruins-good-morals/.

    May God bless you and keep you!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Susanne,

      (Long reply) Your comment touched on so many things that God has had to take away in my life as He has continued with me on my heavenly journey, “interests, old habits and people” were mentioned. In 1980 I went through a major purging after He showed me my pride and carnal agenda that was cloaked in MY “prophetic ministry” desires. At that time my interests were mainly in becoming an “internationally know prophet” and to be supported by God’s people so that “I could do the work of the Lord full time.” I was filled with ambition that was alive and well in my old man that had not gone to the cross with my initial salvation experience.

      He has since shown me in many ways that my flesh profits nothing and that my carnal and un-crucified mind is at war with the kingdom of God. My “old habits” were driven by a need to be honored and loved by men. God showed me that I was running around with my emotional umbilical chord in my hand looking for a man of stature to plug into. I wanted to “hitch my star to another man’s wagon.” I wanted a man to do for me what only our heavenly Father can do. This came from a vacuum that was left over from my abused childhood. My father never affirmed me or gave me a since of identity. I never received a “right of passage” into manhood from him or anyone else as I grew up into my adult years though I tried many things to achieve that.

      I started to speak prophetically in about 1978, but there was so much of my fleshly attitude and prejudices mixed in with what the Spirit spoke through me that I can not say that it was useful to God and His kingdom. But I saw this gift as my chance to get affirmation form God’s men and admiration from my fellow believers. Boy, what book of the lives of the prophet was I reading?!! I remember one man that I knew and looked up to that was a “internationally known prophet” and when I told him that I thought God was calling me to the same gifting as he had his response was, “Gee, that’s too bad!”

      What I learned out of all this was that we come into God’s kingdom carrying all our earthly baggage, goals and desires wanting God to fulfill them. God has to do something drastic in our lives to kill all that so He CAN have pure fellowship with us and bring forth Christ His Son in us for HIS glory. All our drives, wishes, ambitions, and earthly way of looking at things have to go. Like God said, “My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts.”

      So as I sought His will in my life and He showed me the pride (the mind of carnal man) that was still in me I asked Him to kill it! That was the beginning of 14 years of wilderness or what is called the “dark night of the soul” which you are very familiar with. Within two years He had taken away everything that I had held dear. Like Job, it was a matter of a few months after that prayer that I was stripped of my “ministry,” my job related income, my friends, my church, any esteem I had in the eyes of others, my pride and confidence in my ability to do anything, and finally I was separated from my wife and kids and sent to a remote wilderness island in Alaska as my finishing school called “the Valley of the Shadow of Death.” I was there for six months and at one point I almost died from falling down a cliff, but God saved me. At one point I was so miserable that my mind was leaving me. I was going catatonic. The mind does that when the pain and loneliness becomes too much.

      The following 12 years after that I lived in a state of numbness in which I only existed with no ambition other than to survive and provide for my family. Somebody gave me a copy of “The Dark Night of the Soul.” That and the Book ob Job were about the only things I read that made any since, though I could relate to what happen to Joseph and David and Moses in the Old Testament with their own wildernesses and imprisonment.

      Susanne, please forgive me for the length of this. Don’t feel you need to reply. I guess I wanted to share this so that others might see how serious God will get with us when we pray, “Father, make me like your Son, that I would only speak the words that you have for me to say and only do the works that you want me to do.” After that initial time of killing and deadness for all those years has come many “refresher courses” that keep my flesh knocked down when it starts to raise its ugly head off of its death bed. Paul called it his “thorn in the flesh” and said, “I die daily.” Oh, how this is needed in my (our?) life. John wrote something that gives me hope that my above prayer will be answered,

      “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.” (1John 3:1-3, KJ2000)

      It has been a blessing to have your fellowship, dear Susanne, because of the deep work God has done in you and the way we can relate and encourage one another in this walk. Others have come along who are on this journey as well and it has been a blessing to correspond with them, too, when it happens, but you have been something special that God has put in my life. I think that He has put 5,500 miles between us for a reason so that any earthly attachment is inhibited. He wants us to dwell together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and leave the rest of it behind. Like John said,

      That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (1John 1:3-4, KJ2000)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Carina says:

      Dear Michael and Susanne,
      I loved both the original blog and the exchange between you. If I were to comment on what you’ve said, it would be another very long comment. 😉
      I can relate to many experiences you’ve shared, as you already know!, and your comments on your experience are a confirmation of the teaching the Holy Spirit has been faithfully providing for my soul’s daily death and resurrection.
      You’re both a blessing. I’ve learned a lot from you. I hope I have also blessed you a little, even if sometimes I stick my not yet fully cleansed foot in my mouth (yuck!).

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I had to laugh at your remark: “first Jerusalem, then Jerusalem and finally to the uttermost parts of Jerusalem!” But Sparks’ statement that “…if we go on with Him we shall find that much that is done here and is of time is – and has to be – left behind” is powerful.

    So often we focus on ourselves, not on Christ.

    Satan in the desert laid before Christ the kingdoms of the world. While Christ rejected them, worldly advancement remains a temptation — something to distract us from what is really important, to draw our attention to external rather than internal gains.

    How ironic that worldly loss should, so often, be the means of achieving spiritual progress. Yet, if we do not realize that fact, how pointless our suffering will seem.

    Your loving sister in Christ,

    A. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Anna. The older I get and the more I see just how temporal my body is and the less affinity I have for this world. But I also pray that Christ will become so wonderful in our sight by experiencing Him first hand that we can gladly walk away from all that is not of His Father’s kingdom. Thank God that we have a spiritual family here that will never fade away.

      Your brother in His healing love,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Mrs. N says:

    Hello brother and sisters,
    I’m not really very good at writing beautiful eloquent posts…I wish I was. Please forgive me if I stumble over words when I write. I know that a few of you have been to my “Japan” blog…which is well..about our life in Japan…mostly. But that is only a small part of me. I have been a Christian for about 30 years give or take a few times when I really wondered about myself. I can really relate to this post and to many of the comments. My life has been a series of constant changes. Just when I get comfortable….whoops…there goes the rug again. As my walk with the Lord deepened I understood that these events were for my growth. Indeed they were. A few times in our lives we experienced losing most all of our worldly possessions…the first time that happens it knocks the breath out of you…but then you realize…ah…growth moment-awesome. These are trivial things I write here but suffice it to say…I’ve trudged through some rough territory and have learned that yes…it’s all good…it’s all for our good and for His glory.

    So here we are in Japan and as far as I know-it’s permanent…(well…depending on what the Lord has in mind…you know). My husband recently stated that he knows the Christian God is real and he now prays to the Lord….he was born a Buddhist. We are going to an Anglican church. Not exactly what I had in mind but it’s a funny thing…churches are rare here with Japan being about 1 % Christian….I looked for a church or a fellowship before we moved here and found our church online and I knew that this was “my” church-the way that you know something when the Holy Spirit puts it on your heart…but when we got here they moved, couldn’t find them –and so for 3 years or so I just sort of floated until circumstances brought it about that I actually found the new building they moved to. When I walked up the path that led to the front door the pastor came rushing outside – I guess he saw me thru the window. He had the biggest grin on his face and said- “the Holy Spirit sent you” …just like that! I was stunned because yes, the Holy Spirit had sent me. I guess I was stunned because the Japanese pastor just blurted that right out! Japanese never blurt anything-especially when they first meet you! 🙂
    I would have never thought about going to an Anglican church on my own accord. So…the Lord has work for us here. Exactly what-I’m not sure but I will find out. I have learned to hold my life loosely. When we moved here 6 years ago we came with 10 boxes….after 35 years in Saipan (small, remote isolated island in the pacific)…that’s it. We had no real money- but I had faith. We were given everything we needed to start over- and I really mean given…unexpectedly given. That’s the way it is…kind of a nomadic life we live…all of us…if we realize it. It isn’t easy at all though-learning to just let go. In this process of seemingly “losing” everything we “had” we have greatly expanded…such an awesome and amazing God we have. Just totally indescribable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear sister Connie N.,

      Thank you so much for your introduction on here. Often we get commenters that leave us in the dark as to who they are, much less who they REALLY are, exposing their hearts. I feel like I have got to know you a bit with this openhearted reply you wrote today. Thank you. I also wrote you a little story about one of my favorite memories about Japan on your blog. That was my favorite country that I visited while in the Navy. I wish that I could have had more time to get to know the people over there, but the Vietnam war was going on and we were busy elsewhere.

      It was great to read your story about your Anglican church. I have not had very many positive experiences with Sunday church organizations in my life, but I can remember one that had home fellowships that the Lord was definitely part of and we all grew from the presence of the Spirit that was there when we gathered together as brothers and sisters in His love. Like you said, God keeps us on the move for we are pilgrims and strangers on this earth, seeking that City that has Christ as its Foundation. It is so good to meet another one of Father’s scattered children in this world.

      BTW, here is a Japanese brother’s book on our website about the body of Christ from his eastern perspective that I have really been blessed by. I hope you can find time to read it.

      “One Body In Christ” by Kokichi Kurosaki
      http://www.awildernessvoice.com/OneBodyInChrist.html

      There is still a fellowship that gathers at a Christian school that he founded there in Japan in the Kobe area, I think, but that is all I know about them.

      Your brother in Christ,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mrs. N says:

        Dear brother Michael,
        You are so welcome. I’m really thankful to have found your blog. It’s going on my small list of reading material that is part of my learning, studying, growth. Allow me to say a bit more about the church we go to. I know that the Father doesn’t have me there so that I can join the Anglican Church. He doesn’t have me there to become a member of that organization. I’m not there because this is my church home as you in the West think of church homes. It’s quite different. I carry the Holy Spirit inside of me so when the Lord sent me there…He was really sending me to carry his Holy Spirit there for whatever reason. Ive got a hunch but I’ve learned not to assume. Obedience is my response which is the only thing I need worry about. I wish I could rightly explain how different it is to be a believer here. In western countries there is a church on every corner. Not here. And brother, the Japanese who become Christian face a lot of ridicule from family and friends. It’s almost as if they are forsaking being Japanese. In America- being a Christian is ” American” if you get that. Shintoism and Buddhism permeate so much of their lives here. Because I’m married into the culture I see the fullness of it. It’s incredibly complex. So the people that go to the church – they have had to make sacrifices. They have had to endure ridicule and more. I have a heart for them. So does the Father and he wants them to truly know him. I know him. That’s why he sent me there. I’m building relationships right now. Trust isn’t easy here….And to top it off I’m a foreigner. So… patience. Humility. Sincerity. It’s not easy for me to sit thru Sunday mornings sometimes….I struggle with the language, with the repetitive liturgy…Etc. I keep foremost in my thoughts that the Father sent me there for a reason. I see the two little old ladies who are always there….They sit in the meal room reading their Bibles and writing notes. I think about how hard it must be at their ages to have stepped away from their ” Japaneseness” to follow and learn about this ” foreign God”. They are brave and they are my sisters. Our sisters.

        There is so much I could write but…It’s past midnight and anyhow…Perhaps you understand. Sometimes the Lord asks us to do things we don’t fully understand. My eyes are heavy..Good night brother. May our Lord richly bless you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Connie, thank you for sharing more of your life in Japan as you follow Christ in that land as His pilgrim. Yes, that would be hard to sit in a church listening to sermons that probably lack inspiration, especially in a foreign language, and all that repetitive liturgy would choke me out. You see, I was raised in Catholicism and even was an altar boy who had to memorize much of it by rote in Latin, not knowing what a word of it meant. I saw so much of what Jesus was speaking of when He said, “You make of no effect the commandments of God (His moment by moment leading) by your own traditions.” The problem for me was that once I was filled with His Spirit and started to go to Protestant churches, it was still the same problem. I have learned that the traditions of churches can be more powerful than the scriptures and God’s leading in the lives of those who are trapped in them.

        All that said, I also had to get over my resentment for those church systems and my anger against pastors, priests and nuns that have worked me over during the first fifty or so years of my life while tried so hard to follow Christ in that system. I could easily write a book about church abuse. More recently the Lord has been talking to me about being available to Him and to be able to show His love to no matter WHO He sent me to and that included the clergy. So, it is like Peter with me to whom Jesus said, “When you were younger you dressed yourself and stretched forth your hand and went where you wanted to. But when you are older others will bind you up and take you where you would not go.” If Jesus is truly our Lord then we can expect as His servants to be sent into places that HE needs us as His lights in this dark world and they won’t always by our choosing.

        May our Lord bless you and open doors for you to share His love in that country,
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mrs. N says:

        Brother-I can totally relate. I was raised in the Lutheran church. When I was 18 I was excommunicated and it was publicized in the leaflet that is distributed to everyone at the door each Sunday morning. I was not a “bad” kid (drugs, troublemaker etc.). The pastor never came and talked to me about “what happened”. He just decided that I needed to be kicked out and publicly shamed-and we lived in a very small “one horse” town in Wisconsin. Everyone knew what happened. He had no idea of our circumstances at home and how difficult life was growing up with a prescription drug addict parent. I will be gut-level honest and say that I hated the church for years. I wrote many letters to that pastor that I never sent. I still feel resentment creeping up now and then and I have to take it before the Lord immediately or be choked by it. The scripture you quoted in your comment couldn’t be more relevant. I never ever wanted to have anything to do with organized “religion” ever again. But here I am. The Lord Jesus came not for the saved but for the lost. I makes sense that he would also send us to the lost or to those who are perhaps ….missing something, confused…longing to find that missing piece that they know exists but can’t seem to grasp. As you may know from having spent time in Japan relationships take time here. It takes a lot of effort to show that you are trustworthy enough to be called a friend and then it takes more patience and effort to get the friendship to a point where heart to heart sharing happens. This is what I am doing now…buy sitting and struggling through the hymns in Japanese. By struggling to understand the words pastor is saying. But it’s not all so bad…I did pray and ask the Lord to help me with the language. I use this time to practice my Japanese. 🙂 The pastors wife expressed a desire to learn English. She speaks a little..so does pastor. The Lord put it on my heart a while ago to have a free English class (I was a teacher) using Bible based ESL materials. I had no idea how to get anyone interested in that at the time the Lord put that on my heart. Little by little I see the Lord’s plan emerging…but it wouldn’t happen if I was not open to really laying aside MY desires and going “where I would not go”. Ja? The blessing of being led to your teachings here is also, I believe, interwoven in his plan for my life. While I am not “fed” in the church I attend…I am not starving for truth or for communing with other brethren.
        May our Lord continue to guide you in all truth.
        Connie

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        Michael and Connie,

        You have really blessed me with your exchange. I also used to be a Roman Catholic, but being raised after the Second Vatican Council, I got to hear the Mass in Spanish, and I quite enjoyed it at the time. Later, in Pentecostal churches, I’ve found it much more difficult to put up with an hour and a half of singing! It seems many believe that a three or four-hour service is better than an hour service, and it’s not necessarily so. 😦

        Much of what we “declare” are empty words. I’m always reminded of Ecclesiastes 5.
        1Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

        I’m also reminded of Jesus constantly saying, These people bless me with their mouths, but their hearts are so far from Me!

        So whatever you do, Connie and Michael, do it for God, for His glory. If you feel led to attend a certain church building and show God’s light there, go! If you feel the Holy Spirit’s leading to stay at home and blog, stay! If you feel led to pray and intercede, stand in the gap! God is very pleased when we believe Him and obey, even if your discernment is yet imperfect. 🙂

        Michael, I have also been asking God, as regard my past involvement with the RCC in particular, Should I go to them? Not meaning become a Catholic again, heaven forbid! But I’ve been sharing a bit of Christ with quite a few people in that religion, including a priest who is my husband’s cousin, and other family members who belong to the Opus Dei. I sense perhaps God will at some future time lead me in this direction, just like I’ve been sharing truths with people in the institutional evangelical church.

        Very good what you’ve said about past bitterness. My drive is not anti-Catholic nor anti-Evangelical. It is pro-Christ. It’s all about displaying He is our all in all, our hope of glory, worthy to be our King and our Lord. He is the Way, the Truth and our Life. His love far surpasses any cold comfort offered by religion. He is the only Doctor who can truly heal our wounds.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Yes Carina, we are not our own. Christ purchased us with his blood. And he will lead us according to his will as we obey Him. I think that our own personal prejudices are the biggest blockage that we have to deal with if we are to obey him in all things. Wounds we have suffered seem to seal those prejudices and make them hard to be rid of. But until they are gone we are not free. Like you said, Jesus is the only Doctor Who can heal us of these heart wounds. But he waits for us to grab onto the hem of his garment and refuse to let go until he does.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mrs. N says:

        PS- thanks for the link to the article by the Japanese brother!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mrs. N says:

        Brother – I started reading the material by the Japanese brother

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mrs. N says:

        Brother Michael,

        I think I just goofed and started to send you a message but my iPad went kookoo- sorry I think I sent a message that I had started … But didn finish–i was going to ask you if you knew if this was in Japanese? If there was a Japanese version?

        In Christ,

        Connie

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Connie,
        I don’t know if this book is available in Japanese. I am sure he wrote it originally in his native language, but where to find it is a mystery. The copy I have was edited and revised by John Myers of Voice Christian Publications, Inc., Northridge, CA, USA, but I cannot find that company or anything about a Japanese version on the web.
        Here is a copy that is just like mine I found in English that is available, though:
        https://www.amazon.com/One-Body-Christ-Kokichi-Kurosaki/dp/B0007EHND6
        Also, because it went out of print and was not available my wife transcribed it and we reprinted it in book form ourselves a few years back and have copies of it in English for free. Let me know if you want a copy and I will send it to you.
        There is a bio about the man I found here:
        https://books.google.com/books?id=HtitCgYBOoUC&pg=PA76&lpg=PA76&dq=Kokichi+Kurosaki&source=bl&ots=WWS5jLrv0x&sig=xCMozehlPYE0xdqa5VOepVcehnI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj08dz024rRAhVH0mMKHRSUDRQQ6AEIKzAD#v=onepage&q=Kokichi%20Kurosaki&f=false
        I also found a book in Japanese that is his biography here:
        https://www.amazon.com/That-era-life-Kurosaki-4887610785/dp/4887610785
        I also found this site that looks like pages from a book by him in Japanese:
        https://books.google.com/books/about/Kurosaki_Kokichi_chosaku_shu.html?id=xqpIAAAAMAAJ
        I wish I could do more to help for he understood the nature of the body of Christ and following the Spirit.
        Your brother,
        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mrs. N says:

        Guess what?! I may have found it … Maybe… I’ll let you know!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Great! Yes, keep me posted. 🙂

        Like

      • Mrs. N says:

        Dear brother- I would really like a copy of this in English book form. Do you have an email address where I could send you my postal information? Thank you.
        God Bless you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        We will see that you get a copy soon. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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