That Was Then, but What Is Our Now?

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Watchman Nee wrote:

“Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on.” Philippians 3:13, 14

Because God acts in history, the flow of the Spirit is ever onward. We who are on earth today have inherited vast wealth through servants of Jesus Christ who have already made their contribution to the Church. We cannot overestimate the greatness of our heritage, nor can we be sufficiently grateful to God for it. But if today you try to be a Luther or a Wesley, you will miss your destiny. You will fall short of the purpose of God for this generation, for you will be moving backwards while the tide of the Spirit is flowing on. (1)

The last two days God spoke the same thing to me through my dear wife Dorothy, our sister Susanne Schuberth and my brother Bob N. (with the unpronounceable Polish last name). Dorothy had said to me, “If it wasn’t for T. Austin-Sparks what would you have to write?” Wow! That stung! Susanne spoke to me about the authority of the Spirit. If God is speaking through us and that should be enough. And as I talked with Bob this morning about most the things I have written in the past in books and articles as to the fact that they do not speak from where God has taken me since, Bob simply said to me, “That was then, but this is now!” The message to me from God through these three was, “What is God saying to you now, Michael? Do you have faith to believe it is Him?” These three rebukes came after I had taken the words from a T. Austin-Sparks chapter, re-arranged them, put them in my own words and written a blog, completely without any new inspiration from God. The teaching was good, but the Spirit did not inspire me to share it. Thank God that He sovereignly spoke to me through these dear saints before I published it. The body of Christ is a wonderful thing to be part of when we allow its proper functioning in our lives.

First off let me say that sometimes (most of the time) when God teaches us something, we hear it through His megaphone so loudly (because we tend to be spiritually deaf) that we want to apply it to everyone and not just as His personal word to us. A partial truth, compared to the whole scope of Christ our Truth, can become our ALL for a season and we set about to speak and write from that new perspective before it has totally changed us from within. Paul wrote:

Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1Cor 13:8-12, KJ2000 – emphasis added)

Did you see it? There is a then and there is a now when we are growing in Christ. We now see dimly, but then we get to see Him face to face. I am not talking about “pie in the sky by and by,” but God wants us to grow up beyond spiritual childhood into full grown spiritual sons and daughters in this life so that we might know even as we are known by Him!

Jesus has been speaking to me about how important it is to speak and write by what the Spirit is saying to me now and not repeating what I read in the writings of others or even sharing scriptures that were not spoken into my heart by Him. It is okay to quote others when it expounds on what God is saying to us, but it should never be the source of what we share.There is so much scope of meaning here in the above passage from Corinthians in light of what the Spirit has been saying to me. I hope I can share it in His light and leading with you.

In our spiritual immaturity we tend to be like a child who got a new toy that he really wanted for Christmas. We tear the wrappers off of it in great expectation and climb on our new “Hobby Horse” and ride it and ride it until we get our eyes on the next thing that God has for us to grow into. As a child, the next thing I wanted was a tricycle once I saw that a whole new world of mobility would open up to me that was not given to me by this stationary rocking horse. The important thing for us to learn from all this is that the current thing that touches our minds and hearts is not the whole thing that God has for us and it especially is not the whole thing that God has for everyone else!

We at best only prophesy and know in part! God is immense and He has given us His perfect Son tofully grow into as the First Born of many brethren. But when His perfect love has found its home in our hearts, the fleshly edge that we put on our prophesy, our words of knowledge, our teaching, our speaking and so on, wanting to force others to get, hear and receive what GOD HAS GIVEN US… that edge will be done away with. We will speak only what is motivated by His love for others. Will this always be warm and fuzzy feeling for them? No, but it will be timely and the word of the Spirit for them. God will have prepared their hearts to receive it. If not in that moment, He will haunt them with that word until they can receive it by His Spirit and not because we were forceful in our argument. We eventually put away away our childish ways as His personal words to us have sunk into our hearts and we quit playing with them in our minds, wanting to make them stick on everyone but us! “Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I am known,” by Him.

Having Spiritual Eyes to See

Paul wrote,

…That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (Eph 1:16-19, KJ2000)

The second thing that the Spirit has been telling me is that we need the eyes of the Spirit to get beyond where we are in our spiritual growth. For us to understand the deeper things the Spirit of Christ has for us, we have to stop looking for references in others’ writings to back us up on what we are seeing. A time comes in our spiritual growth that He can speak deep into our hearts and through us without appealing to others to be our authority. Paul had to rebuke the Corinthian church for doing this very thing…

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with solid food: for until now you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able. For you are yet carnal: for while there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men? For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal? (1Cor 3:1-4, KJ2000)

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1Cor 3:18-23, ESV2011)

Did you see the connotation here of us being carnal in having to constantly be of Paul, Apollos or Peter or even the myriad of contemporary Christian writers instead of listening to the voice of God in our hearts as they did? ALL things are ours in Christ! The very thought of this freaks-out most church bound Christians and their church leaders, sad to say, for fear that they cannot trust the Holy Spirit to lead them. So the church remains infantile and plateaus-out, never to move beyond the maturity of a handful of Christian reformers, founders and writers. Let us not remain carnal and childish by boasting in and putting our confidence in men, but in the Spirit of Christ He has given us to lead us into ALL truth.

John saw that spiritual children were to grow beyond their need for milk, being on the breast of their human teachers, and even warned of this danger.

These things have I written unto you concerning them that deceive you. But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. (1John 2:26-28, KJ2000)

If we hold ourselves in check as to what we can believe by constantly going to human teachers (even if their teachings were inspired by the Spirit), we will eventually become deceived because we will never grow beyond the revelation that they have received. The question is, “Will we grow up into the fullness that Christ has for us to walk in or will be remain on the breasts of men and be ashamed when we stand before Christ with milk dripping down our chins?”

God has spoken many wonderful things to me through the writings of Watchman Nee, Andrew Murray, Oswald Chambers, A. W. Tozer , T. Austin-Sparks and others over the years. He has spoken to me through pastors and teachers, too, but if that is the only way we can hear Him, then our growth will be limited by what they know and teach and we will not grow any further into the fullness of Christ. If we continue to grow in Christ the time comes when His Spirit is the only authority that we need and we will be able to speak and write from that authority just as Paul or Peter or John did. They wrote things in the New Testament that they did not read in the Old Testament scriptures or received from any of the world’s philosophers or Judaism’s teachers because they were inspired by the Spirit of Christ.

I know what many of you are thinking as you read this. “That’s it! Michael has gone off the deep end!” Well, the amazing thing about revelation that comes from the Spirit is that He also gives us scriptures to back up what He has shown us, though they are often scriptures that we have never seen in this new light! Literally, the eyes of our hearts are being enlightened and made to see in ways that we have never seen before. This happened to Paul, Peter and John all the time and they prayed that those who walked in the Light of Christ would grow up into Him as they did. Part of growing up into the fullness of Christ as sons and daughters of God is coming to the place where we walk by the revelation of the Spirit and not by what we only can receive from others in books and sermons and such.

And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. (Rev 19:14, ESV2011)

May we each continue to grow and see “what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” Amen

(1) http://joyfulheart-watchmannee.blogspot.com/2012/01/january-1.html

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41 comments on “That Was Then, but What Is Our Now?

  1. You touch on a significant dilemma, Michael. The organized church (Catholic or whatever else) has sought to oversee and regulate doctrine, in an effort to protect Christians against false teachers. That was and is a laudable goal. Tragically, it has lead over the centuries to the martyrdom of Joan of Arc and many others.

    Individual Christians, seeking to advance in their walk of faith, are advised both to educate their consciences, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. This, in turn, has led to multiple schisms.

    We live in a flawed world, and our judgment is flawed. Those two facts will necessarily impact the paths we take, and the history of the church as a whole. We will sin and make mistakes, individually and corporately.

    Ultimately, all we can do is trust in the Lord, and lean not on our own understanding (Prov. 3: 5-6). Not even the understanding of revered men and women of faith can substitute for this.

    Your sister in Christ,

    A. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Anna, thanks for sharing your insight with us. I have spent most of my life in either the Catholic system or quite a few Protestant ones. The way I see it is that the organized church in all its forms has sought to take the place of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to lead us into all truth, not a hierarchic system. If these churches really believed that Jesus is the Head of His body and believed in the power of the Spirit to guide us, their wouldn’t be all these schisms that have ecclesiastical authority enforcing them. Paul believed in the power of the Spirit to guide the saints and so did John (1 John 2:26-27) and refused to take His place in their lives.

      “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as would be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Phil 3:14-15, KJ2000)

      Liked by 3 people

      • Someone observed — jokingly, I’m sure — that the large number of Christian denominations at least serve the worthwhile purpose of confusing Satan, as to which he should attack.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Anna, from my experience this person’s observation is backwards. The confusion exists in the churches and that is what keeps them divided. Satan is the author of confusion and mankind is the victim.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mrs. N says:

        I’m not really so learned or ” smart” about much but it seems to me that – since Satan is the author of confusion and lies that this whole situation we see today – all the divisions and denominations and such- well it just seems to me to be a satanic scheme. Satan knows that ” a house divided against itself cannot stand”- what a perfectly evil scheme to throw confusion into the body of Christ — confuse everyone so no one knows which end is up anymore or which ” path” is the right one. Sorry if that’s a rather simple minded thought. That’s just how it seems to me.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Connie, It all started when man decided to eat of the tree of knowledge instead of the Tree of Life. Since then men and women have known both good and evil, but have not had the Spirit in them to rightly discern the difference once Satan starts talking to them. The answer to this dilemma is found in 1 John 2:26-27. We do not need human teachers who do not know the voice of the Spirit and make room for HIM when they teach. These are antichrists.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mrs. N says:

        Exactly- just said a different way.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mrs. N says:

        And what’s more… You are ” for real” brother. So is sister Susanne. What a relief to be in the company of family. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Connie, welcome to our family gathering around our Father, dear sister. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you very much, dear sister Connie! 🙂

        Much love to you! ❤ ❤ ❤
        Susanne from Bavaria

        Liked by 1 person

      • This really sounds like a joke at first, dear Anna. Having come to know Satan’s ways over the years, I feel he is much smarter than any human being could ever be and that he primarily attacks those who want to do the will of God. Regarding these believers whom he already confused in these many denominations, with these he has already reached his goal and there is no need for him to attack them. They are captured in the darkness of their own thoughts and will remain stuck there unless God opens the eyes of their heart. But then, they will come to know the flaming darts of the evil one of which they were somehow ‘protected’ due to their ignorance of the devil’s subtle devices.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Well, said, Susanne. The church as we know it has fallen away from the the true gospel much further than most of us understand. Even we who are desiring to walk in the simplicity of obedience to the Spirit have a hard time discerning what is truth and what are the well established lies in Christendom. We just know that something is not right when we hear these false doctrines of demons. Paul told Timothy that in the last times it will keep getting worse, too.

        Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, (1Tim 4:1-2, ESV2011)

        The great falling away (apostasy- see 2 Thes. ch.2) was already happening by the end of the first century. Men were coming out from the early church and the teachings of the apostles and establishing their own following around themselves instead of teaching all men to be followers of Christ and to be obedient to His Spirit. John wrote about this at the end of the first century saying,

        Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1John 2:18-19, ESV2011)

        Paul wrote of this too before he was killed saying,

        I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise (rise up) men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. (Acts 20:29-31, ESV2011)

        You see, the nature of these false leaders? They are manifest when they “come out from among” and they “rise up” exalting themselves over those who believe. This spiritual pride has become so prevalent in church leadership that we expect it. Church leaders hold themselves aloof from the rest of us and rise up over us. Pride is considered a virtue among them. They even love the physical high places; pulpits, stages, churches and homes built on high ground, etc. They come out from, rise up and teach perverse and twisted things, not sparing the flock of Christ. Among church leadership this has become expected by those who believe.

        How different this is from the Spirit of Christ who was meek and lowly and did not exalt Himself over others, but took the lowest seats in gatherings and even wrapped Himself in a servants towel and washed their feet to demonstrate to His disciples what spiritual leadership is and does. He finally took the lowest place of all and allowed Himself to be crucified as a sacrifice for the sins of all and thereby tearing the veil of the most holy place, making a way that we might all have fellowship with His Father with no man-made priesthood standing in the way. Yes, Christianity as we know it has fallen away from the simple faith it once was. Here is more on the subject if anyone is interested. http://awildernessvoice.com/FallingAway.html

        Liked by 2 people

      • Dearest Michael and Susanne, I am deeply grateful that you have clarified this subject for me. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      • I was a happy to hear that our comments were helpful for you, dear Anna. 🙂

        Much love to you! ❤ ❤ ❤

        Susanne

        Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Anna, it is good to hear that we were a help clearing this up for you. You are dear to us both,
      Michael ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Tobie says:

    Wow. Thanks Michael. What a word. Fresh from heaven!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Tobie. Listening to the Spirit for ourselves, yet being open to Him speaking through others and even when He speaks through the writings of men (including the scriptures), requires much fine tuning and a deep work of the cross to silence the voice and desires of our flesh which can come down on the side of the enemy’s lies. Like Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” David knew this danger as well,

      Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps 139:23-24, KJ2000)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pamela says:

    Oh yeah – you definitely are off the deep end! And in a good way! 😀
    There is such pressure with bloggers to keep up the interest by writing regularly, and while there is nothing wrong with that, it’s easy to play it safe and become un-relational in what we write (unconnected from relationship with Him first and foremost), and instead try to “keep up” with an image that we have of ourselves as bloggers, and fill in the space with whatever comes to us in our readings and studies (which as you said, might even be good – but was just for us at the moment).
    But beyond that – to venture out as a writer – or a child of God for that matter – in that even broader place of not always having proof texts – speaking straight from the heart – saying things that are in the Bible, but putting them in our own words … this is a scarier place. As a result we may be suspect with others. Thought to be a new-ager. Accused of falling away or not loving the Bible. None of which may be true – and definitely is not true if we are connected to the Source (Him). Which reminds me of an excellent article that Jay Ferris wrote called “Hiding Behind Scripture,” in which he describes a personal journey of doing this less and less. He began to see in Jesus (ultimately doing so will change us!) a way of interacting with people that quoted the Scripture rarely – but as a result, rightly. Here’s the article for anyone interested in a better explanation: https://lovinglikegod.com/2014/05/13/hiding-behind-scripture/
    Much love to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Pam, yes, to venture out into this life of faith and obeying the Spirit will surely gain a lot of enemies as well as encourage others to do the same. Jesus, Paul, John and many others knew this quite well. Jay also knew this and his blog article points to the struggle within him that it caused. I saw this first hand where those who clung to legalism and outward appearances rejected his openness because they wanted the safety of hiding behind the scriptures instead of being real and vulnerable. The Catholic Church hides behind the “infallibility” of the popes and Protestants hide behind the infallibility of the Bible even when it was not translated correctly (KJV Only crowd for instance). To hang out with Jay was to be rejected by the establishment, even the so called “house church” establishment, but He did stretch me in the process and that was good. I don’t agree with everything he wrote, but I could not help but love him for he was what he believed and there was no guile in him. That alone is a lesson that we could all learn.

      Thanks for your comment, my sister.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sorry, Michael, I read the link to Jay Ferris’ blog which Pamela posted above two times and I also prayed about what to do for several hours on my prayer walk today. I got a warning in a dream and a sign yesterday in which God announced something which I did not understand at that moment, but I knew it was a warning about another spirit. Reading Pam’s response and especially Jay’s blog post, I felt a disturbing uneasiness which I often perceive when other spirits than the Holy Spirit try to mix the truth with seducing lies. I know that I am not nice when I write such a comment, Pam, and I do not want to offend you on a personal level since you are dear to me. But if you or someone else who also read Jay’s article is interested in the truth and real love from God, they could ask God to show them whether I speak the truth or not. Below I copied and pasted a longer excerpt of one of my older articles. I gave this entry the title How to Detect False Spirits – The Spirit of False Unity and Fake Love.

        I believe it must be important to God that we learn to merely listen to His voice and to keep ignoring those other seducing spirits that approach us every day.

        Well, that kind of spirit I pointed to in my headline is one of the most dangerous spirits because many people believe this is indeed the Holy Spirit. You can see this kind of spirit somehow freewheeling through Christianity and you can watch people getting happy and merry about knowing “god” through this certain spirit. What are his characteristics then?

        (1) The spirit of false unity causes people to never take a stand for the truth. Instead, he seems to be acting according to Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer where He prayed “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (Jn 17:21 ESV) That is quite tricky, indeed. You can watch efforts of ecumenism not only in mainline churches, but also on a personal level in home churches, and even on the internet. This spirit tries to create oneness of mind and/or heart between people by ignoring that Jesus told us, “I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” (Jn 17:9 ESV) It is not about making more and more people “one” in a sense human reason understands it. Actually, divine oneness with God and Jesus requires having received eternal life by Jesus before (cf. Jn 17:3). This gift eventually enables us to “know” (read love) God and Christ through our own spirits who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And if God puts us together with someone who has received the same eternal life we have, more and more perfect oneness between these believers will be the outcome. Alas, mere human efforts of ecumenism and of trying to become “one” with others avoid God’s intervention here. If we cannot wait on God, which is indeed quite difficult at times, we might be tempted to create oneness as we see fit by seeking to find some proper people with who we could become one. Whether we feel drawn toward them by our feelings (heart level) or if we simply agree on certain doctrinal issues (mind level), believe it or not, that is mere human stuff and an area where the devil is at work.

        (2) Are there different kinds of “love”? Yes, indeed, there are. Perfect agape love is never man-made and we may not confuse it with being touched on a human level when we see someone is hurting to a certain degree. What I meant by “fake love” in the headline was a love that keeps giving and reaching out to others by ignoring the truth. Since there is only one truth (Jesus Christ as The Truth), it should be quite clear that there are not many contradicting truths that could be reconciled through what we call “love” (or our emotions in this case). If there is only one truth, then there are not two, nor three, or even more. The fact that there is so much division in churches and between Christians has to do with the fact that people have become used to listening to spirits of division instead of listening to God. This whole confusion in churchianity has been Satan’s work alone; in fact, he is very good at it. In contrast, the love of God is a much different thing as the apostle John told us here.

        “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 Jn 5:2-3 ESV)

        I am sure that John did not ignore those of us who stumble into sin and repent; he knew that we do such things at times (1 Jn 2:1). However, John, and Jesus before him, made it very clear that the love of God that should be seen by the world consists of both loving our brothers and sisters AND keeping His commandments which God has enabled us to keep, of course (see Phil 2:13). If we, then, try to become one with others who obviously ignore, let’s say only one of His commandments, do we think that God will truly encourage such a friendship or even fellowship with them? 🙄

        I will close this article with a hopefully thought-provoking quote by Anglican vicar and Alpha Course founder Nicky Gumbel.

        The same Spirit lives in the Catholics, and the Orthodox, and the Pentecostals and the Protestants, even the Anglicans have the same Holy Spirit living within them. That’s what makes us one!

        “Same Spirit” does not necessarily mean the Holy Spirit, right? So, it is not a lie at first sight, yet it immediately leads to deception if we only believe what is proposed here.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, your reply about ignoring walking in the Truth of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit in order to have a form of unity that is not the same unity as Jesus has with the Father, has given me cause to search my own heart. As you know I have been meditating and writing on John 17:21-26. Here Jesus prays for the same unity between us as followers of Christ that the Father and the Son have. And yes, Christ’s unity was based on His obedience to the Father in his words and His actions. He calls out for a unity that is FAR above any organizational unity or feel good “love feast” that we can have in the flesh in a “fellowship meeting hall” or a drunken back-slapping time together down at the local pub.

        Obedience to the Spirit of God is imperative if we are to survive the attacks of the devil and our unity is to last. He convicts us when we are not obeying Him, expecting us to turn about and follow Him. The danger is that we so harden our hearts to His voice, seeking our own wills, that we finally become reprobate and He quits convicting us.

        Jesus also said, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them [set them apart] in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:16-17, ESV2011). There is the world which lives in arms of the evil one and there are those who are set apart from the world in the arms of God who obey His voice. There is no middle ground.To walk in what is called “our own free will” is to partake in the “If it feels good, do it” philosophy. This lie is right out of the Timothy Leary era of Hippy-dom. Paul wrote, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” (Gal 5:17, ESV2011). Here we see that as long as this battle goes on within us we are NOT free! We can be in bondage to law keeping or we can be in bondage to sin. Neither one is the freedom that is ours in Christ which flows with the wind of the Spirit and obeys Him.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Michael,

    It was never meant as a rebuke by me (I think I can speak for your wife Dorothy here as well) as I wanted to encourage you to write about what YOU experienced with God. We can always ‘use’ any author from the Bible or elsewhere as a confirmation of what we have been going through or we can ‘misuse’ them to let them say what we do not dare to openly admit yet. In the latter case, any other author might serve as a windshield of sorts that keeps us protected against adverse reactions from others. We truly need the Holy Spirit’s encouragement to be who we are. With this article, you once again proved how honest and vulnerable you dare to be. This is a rare thing, especially among Christian men! Thank you for being who you are, Michael! Warm regards to Dot and Bob who served as His instruments to set you free to become who you always wanted to be in Him, my dear brother! ⭐

    What struck me in your excellently written and expounded article was the following. You wrote,

    “If we hold ourselves in check as to what we can believe by constantly going to human teachers (even if their teachings were inspired by the Spirit), we will eventually become deceived because we will never grow beyond the revelation that they have received.”

    So true! Even if their teachings were inspired by the Holy Spirit, God is eager to always give us a new revelation on a personal and individual level NOW, a revelation no one else on earth has ever received and no one else will ever receive in this particular way. From hence we need to learn to look at Him who is Spirit and to wait on Him and His timing for all things…

    Your sister and friend in Christ who highly appreciates the blessing of fellowshipping with you!

    Susanne 🐱

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, I did not take what you said as a rebuke, but rather as a sobering truth that I needed to consider. You wrote, “We can always ‘use’ any author from the Bible or elsewhere as a confirmation of what we have been going through or we can ‘misuse’ them to let them say what we do not dare to openly admit yet. In the latter case, any other author might serve as a windshield of sorts that keeps us protected against adverse reactions from others.” This is so true. We tend to build our theological “snow forts” and amass our pile of theological “snow balls” so that we can fend off our fellow Christians instead of loving them as they are, knowing that the Spirit will eventually teach them as He has taught us (or vise versa). It all comes back down to faith in what Jesus said to the disciples, “I will not leave you alone. I will come to you again…” which He has done through His Holy Spirit.

      You wrote, “God is eager to always give us a new revelation on a personal and individual level NOW, a revelation no one else on earth has ever received and no one else will ever receive in this particular way. From hence we need to learn to look at Him who is Spirit and to wait on Him and His timing for all things…” Well, these words will get you killed on some “Christian” circles, dear heart, but they are true. This very thing is what got Jesus and Paul killed, too. I think we must be very careful, as you said, to wait on Him and His leading before we share the pearls He has given US with others. This is why Jesus taught the crowds in parables, but only gave the meaning of these parables to the twelve. Religion wants to standardize all revelation into a “dogma of faith.” But the problem with this is that it destroys true faith! They point to Jesus as being an individual Savior, but then they strip Him of His individuality with each one He calls. He taught the woman at the well truths about true worship that He did not teach to anyone else! He revealed Himself in his spiritual body on the mountain only to Peter, John and James. He wrote something in the dirt that was never revealed to the rest of us when confronted by the religious crowd that wanted to kill the woman caught in adultery (it was probably just for her). He spoke things to Nicodemus about salvation that are not found anywhere else in the gospels.

      Susanne, you and the personal-ness of your relationship with Jesus and the Father have inspired me to seek them out on my own in a very personal way. You have inspired me to pray often and about everything after a long time of being prayer-less for the most part. You have drawn me out from behind my theological armor and inspired me to walk in the love of Christ in vulnerability, like no one I have ever known. For all these things and more I will be forever grateful.

      Your brother and forever friend in Christ,
      Michael ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wow!! THAT was touching to read for me, Michael! Thank you so much for your honesty, once again! 🙂

        These biblical examples you described make it perfectly clear that we have a God and Savior who wants to have an individual relationship with everyone of us. Very well put, my dear brother!! ⭐

        Your sister and friend eternally!

        In Christ,
        Susanne ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Pat Orr says:

    Michael, thank you for the blog. Thinking of what you wrote, I am reminded of the question that Jesus ask the disciples: ” But who do you say that I am?”. Perhaps, this question is always fresh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Oh, Pat! “Some say this and others say that, BUT who do YOU say that I am?” We need a revelation of Christ that only comes to us from our heavenly Father like Peter had that day, just as the Spirit has given YOU this deeper lesson from what Jesus was saying to His disciples.
      VERY GOOD! It is a blessing to hear what Daddy shows you, dear sister.

      It is a joy to be your brother,

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. David Murry says:

    Michael,

    I rarely share my thoughts these days. The Lord has been leading me to just “be quiet” a bit more and listen. To be honest, I am hurting a lot. There is so much pain and wounding not only in the lost world but in the body of Christ… I am trying to let Him mend me a bit more. But I wanted to share my heart here (and I believe, a small bit of His) if I may.

    Thank you for your transparency and willingness to share as the Lord is giving you revelation and Truth. So often many of us are afraid to discuss what we struggle with (or recently have) and everything is “past tense.” You encourage and compel the Church more than you may know… thank you.

    Here is something I have always felt with you that in love I would like to share.

    You are not afraid. You do not fear and you have counted the cost. You have been a great encouragement to me, and when my wife first sent me your blog with tears in her eyes, she said “David, this man loves the Lord. He will encourage you.”

    She was right.

    One of the things I truly believe the Lord is inviting us to enter into is letting the love of Christ teach is how to wash the feet and serve the milk and meat of the word to those who are confused and still babes in Christ. You do this whether you realize this or not. You have more place of influence in the Church than you may perceive (or.. perhaps you are well aware 🙂

    Within the United States, we are very quick to write off each other in this hour, but I am reminded of how Paul sternly but in the Love of Christ corrected Peter when he fell into error. (Gal 2:11) I am certain that today, in this generation, Peter would be written off altogether as a false teacher or perhaps worse.. one not worthy of fellowshipping with.

    Your blog (and many of those in your circle of fellowship) offer that insight, and a loving hand to reach down and wipe away the confusion. You offer love. You offer hope and restoration. Not only of us to our Lord, but to each other.

    With the breakdown of traditional church religion, there has also been a fallout of the body ministering in much of true discipleship.. unless of course we all believe the same thing, which leads to further division. We are all… ALL… working out our salvation… and those who are confused are without true Shepard for the most part..

    Please do not grow weary in guiding this spiritually lost, and “younger” generation. Too many in the body are being despised.. and there are few willing to count to cost to train and serve and bear the heart of Father.

    Thank you, Michael. Dad brought you into my life during a time when I looked around and could find none… who loved Father’s children very much. I have since found several through you.

    Your little brother.. and always the student

    David NY

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can only say, “WOW!!”… I am speechless, David. Thank God, your wife has been so wise to point you to Michael’s blog! Your honest sharing was very touching to read for me! Thanks for sharing your heart in this particular comment on here.

      Just some thoughts on apostle Peter who fell in error…

      I think there is no one on this site who had never been deceived. What is important is not so much where we stand right now; it is more about what we let God do in our hearts. Someone who is not open for correction, what can he learn? It is so hard to speak the truth in love and I always struggle with doing so since I do not love to be corrected, either, perfectionist as I am. As for me, I always want to remain silent and say NOTHING, hiding my head in the sand.

      But sometimes our Lord does not let me rest or even urges me to open my mouth (more or less boldly). He knows the hearts of those who really search for Him. Deceived or not, someone who keeps asking God to reveal Himself will receive the truth he was looking for, eventually. As for Michael and I, I also receive correction from him when God sees fit That was not easy to accept for me in the beginning, but more and more I see that this is the way the Body of Christ should work. We are members one of another and should help one another due to the love God has poured into our hearts.

      David, I was so sorry to hear that you were hurting a lot! But I am glad you found a friend in Michael! I know he is able to communicate on a heart to heart level without judging you, which is something only a few (wo)men can do.

      Your sister Susanne

      Warm regards to your wife also!! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Well, Susanne, now I am speechless! Yes, dear heart, the very elect CAN be deceived. John wrote that if any many says he has no sin (falling short) he is a liar. The one who say that they can not be deceived because they are the elect of God is deceived already. Peter is in the gospels to show us that we can fall and that the Lord will help us up again.

        Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. ​I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. (Mic 7:8-9, ESV2011)

        I am so glad that you and I have been put into a relationship where we can speak the truth in love and lift one another up in prayer and encouragement. You truly have been a gift from God to me.

        Your brother in His love. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      • David Murry says:

        Thank you so much dear Susanne.

        Your words are encouraging and comforting as always. You guys have been a blessing. I am so often warmed by the ways we all speak on different aspects of our same Lord and Father and Counselor.

        Again, thank you, for your friendship and for also accepting me when I am sure, at times, my writings may be misunderstood or not entirely agreed with.

        I’ll pass along to Maija for sure 🙂 !

        Your NY brother,

        David

        Liked by 2 people

      • You are very welcome, dear David. It is true that I do not always agree with what you write, but I think this is not so important because the Holy Spirit will lead us both into all the truth whenever one of us might be wrong. I believe it is not so much about being right or wrong, it is more about searching for God and His will and it seems to me that you and I keep doing so. 🙂

        Your friend and sister IN Him,
        Susanne

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      My dear brother, David,

      Reading your comment was very humbling for me. I do not think of myself as anyone’s “big brother.” Somebody once said, “Real witnessing is when one beggar tells another beggar where He found some bread.” I see the body of Christ this same way, The Spirit teaches and enables each of us so that we can edify one another and bring growth to the whole body. My heart edifies my hand by sending it food and oxygen and taking away the waste from its cells by the circulation of blood. My hand edifies my heart by putting food in my mouth that is good for my heart. This is true of each part of my body. Not one of them exist for its own purpose and goals. So the love of God compels us and the Spirit guides us to do what we have been equipped to do for the good of whole body.

      But when one member insists on being more or less than is their part in the body, the rest of the body suffers. Thus, my brother, many of us have suffered in churches because they do not function as the body of Christ. A few members insist on being “larger than life” with the right to dictate to the rest and most members feel they are so “nothing” by comparison that they do not function in their God given gifts and callings at all. If they do function it is to keep the machine going and they never obey the direction of the Spirit for them because they are told to fall back in line and keep the machine going (child care, Sunday school, janitor, grounds keeper, etc.) according to the dictates of the human leader.

      Being open about my current struggles is something that is fairly new to me. You are right, we don’t want to be open and honest with one another out of fear because today’s church is a mixture of spiritual sheep, wolves and swine. But by the example of the humility I have seen in Susanne and the way she shares her life, I have been encouraged to do the same and I feel that if we are open, other will feel safer and share what they have and are going through as well… in short, we can be FAMILY with one another IN Christ as it should be.

      As for what your wife told you about me… Well… Please tell her thank you for sending you my way, my brother. I love you! It seems that we do our “best work” for the Lord when we don’t know that we are doing it. We just LIVE in His love and He does the rest. As for Peter, I totally identify with Him. I have fallen into delusions and errors as I struggle to follow Christ more than not. But as John wrote, “If we are walking in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse us from all sin.” THIS is body life in action! We walk openly and honestly in HIS light with one another and fear not. If we do error, the blood of Christ is there to cleanse us as the Spirit leads us into all truth.

      I am glad that God has used me to lead you to those who love His kids, my brother. You and your wife give one another a big hug for me and if you ever get out to the northwest look us up. We will leave the light on. 🙂

      Your brother in His love,
      Michael ❤

      Liked by 3 people

      • I and humble… Ha! God knows my very heart, Michael. 😉 Nonetheless, thanks so much! You have been a great encourager for me all along. ⭐

        Your sister and friend in His great love,
        Susanne ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • David Murry says:

        Michael,

        Your love always comes thru. I have seen and been ministered through your walk in a deep, quiet way.

        And so true, when our eyes are on His heart and His steadfast love.. we are so seldom aware of our own impact on others… true humility. It start and ends with Him, and all His goodness. This is so often hard for me to articulate when I share some of the ways Father uses His Church to reach those who are hurting…

        It all starts and ends with our Lord.

        You reflect this. As I mentioned a bit to Susanne, we all reflect this differently in how we communicate, like a diamond where each surface reflects a diff aspect of His light… and yet there is still so much more He desires to renew in me!!

        Thank you, Michael. Some day I think we shall get a chance to visit. Love you too, brother.

        Maija sends her love 🙂

        David

        Liked by 3 people

  7. David Murry says:

    From Susanne: (could not find a “reply” button)

    Wow!! THAT was touching to read for me, Michael! Thank you so much for your honesty, once again! 🙂

    These biblical examples you described make it perfectly clear that we have a God and Savior who wants to have an individual relationship with everyone of us. Very well put, my dear brother!! ⭐

    Your sister and friend eternally!

    In Christ,
    Susanne ❤

    So well said Sister!! Amen.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Grover says:

    Thanks, Michael. I was praying this morning with several local pastors, and they (we) were struggling with the question, “what do we do when CHURCH is covering up or destroying the vision and testimony of JESUS? One commented that CHURCH has become a substitute for Jesus. Another noted that “church” IS the problem, etc. These folks are all traditional pastors, but it is so refreshing to hear that the Holy Spirit is digging deep and challenging the traditions of men (which make of no avail the word of God…Mk.7) and bring us to the realization that NOTHING we can do in our natural understanding can build the kingdom of God. This is a huge step for many of my dear friends who are still trying so hard to make the traditional model of “church” work. I love and respect these folks and work with them whenever possible to help build our community. But I also grieve for them, as the vision for the “real church” is very difficult or impossible to build within the traditional paradigm (my opinion,) and there’s a high price to pay if they(we) move away from the normal model.

    We all agreed that none of us has all the answers, but we are trusting God to show NEW paths and NEW answers to some of the old questions. The secular polls state that the “church” in America is irrelevant. But we know that God is bringing HIS vision and zeal into HIS ekklesia, and that it is totally relevant, both to society in general and to the kingdom. How difficult it is for humans to walk away from things that worked in the past and embrace areas that are not familiar. Perhaps a bit like God telling Abraham to leave town without telling him where he was going.

    Thanks again for your good word as we welcome another year, and blessings to all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Grover,

      “What do we do when CHURCH is covering up or destroying the vision and testimony of JESUS?”
      Wow! That is a piercing assessment of the problem we face today, especially from a pastor!

      Thank you for sharing your recent experience with these brothers. I assume you have also been a pastor or they would not include you in their circle the way they have. I was blessed by the heartfelt things these men shared with you and each other so openly. You can see what they are up against in trying to change this system and make it work.

      I have a conviction that trying to revive the church inside a paradigm that was never inspired by the Spirit of Christ is totally futile. Jesus showed no hope for reviving or changing what Judaism had become and the same is true today for the same reasons. Consider this passage where Jesus is rebuking Jewish leadership and their theologians…

      You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” …Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. (Matt 15:7-13, ESV2011)

      There are two things here that apply in today’s churches even if the hearts of these leaders are NOT far from God which I hope is true of many of them:
      1) Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men
      2) Every plant that the Father has not planted will be rooted up

      These two things and at times the third (you cannot serve both God and Mammon) are why God cannot revive and bless what the church has become. They teach and hold to the doctrines and traditions established by men over the leading of the Holy Spirit. And what is worse, many of these denominations and church plants were not planted by God in the first place! True reformers and men who honor Christ do not go out and start their own denominations. That always came later from their followers who did not have their vision. The whole system we see today is based on division, yet Paul made it clear that there is only “One Church.” Jesus’ last prayer before going to the cross was:

      That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21, KJ2000)

      Without true Christian unity which can only be found as we are together in the unity of the Father and the Son, there is NO witness to the world that Jesus is the Christ. A fractured church does not demonstrate to the world the love and unity of the Father and the Son or our love for each other, but rather the very meaning of Babylon – confusion. Paul wrote about church confusion saying,

      If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad? (1Cor 14:23, KJ2000)

      Whether we are speaking in many languages at the same time or we, as the church, are teaching many conflicting doctrines, the result is the same to the world who observes and hears us. They think we are mad! Our witness is defiled. Our actions speak louder than our words. They say, “Behold how they loathe one another,” instead of what was said about the infant church, “Behold how they love one another!”

      Also, when a singular figure rises up over a congregation or denomination as the “be all and end all” in spiritual things, you have an anti-christ spirit in control. The word in the Greek antichristos not only means “against Christ” but it means “instead of Christ.” One cannot let himself be THE teacher instead of Christ’s Spirit who teaches us all and leads us into all truth, without becoming an anti-christ. This is why John said that we have no need that any man teach us, but that the unction of the Spirit in us will teach us all things. And this was a warning of how to ward-off “many antichrist” that were already among them. It applies today more than ever.

      I hope that I have not offended you, my brother. I had been under that system for decades trying to make it work or change it from the inside to no avail. The whole system is wrong and it is best to shut it down and let God raise up what HE wants in these last days. House churches can be a step in the right direction, but we might soon find that we have left Egypt without having Egypt removed from us! The wilderness is still needed in many of our lives.

      To read about Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots in Revelation makes it clear who she and they are. The final call is going out to all who are in that system,

      Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (Rev 18:4-5, ESV2011)

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Pamela says:

    Dear Susanne, I appreciate your boldness, I really do. And that you spent several hours praying for a response… well, I’m not sure if this is going to mean anything to respond then. But I will express at least my initial response, which may or may not be right. We don’t know each other well, and have never met, nor conversed outside of a few public blog comments here and there. Never privately to my knowledge? So with all that being said, to know I am “dear” to you, is something I will take at face value. I do enjoy so much of what you write, and see your heart through it all. It is His heart. So I will try to take what you wrote to heart – although – I can’t say that I disagree with anything you wrote. I don’t know if you will find that strange or not. But these are things that we can definitely discover together, if interested in conversing with me in private (assuming this isn’t the best place.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love you, Pamela. You have such a sweet heart, dear sister. ❤ As to conversing about this issue I tried to explain, or rather hint to, in my lengthy comment above, I will wait on Him to nudge me if, what and when to do so.

      Just rest in Him, my sister.

      Much love,
      Susanne ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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