WHERE DID MY TRUE SELF GO?

The end of a year is always a good place to reflect upon where one’s life is at and where it is heading. My problem is that being a thinker is an intrinsic and essential part of who I am . I think too much, too deep, too often. Can’t be helped! When you meditate on things as often and as deeply as I do, you come to realise that when certain thoughts and ideas keep creeping up is because they need to be considered and acted upon, or else they will haunt you and be forever present as painful reminders of your lack of courage and the hope deferred of what could have potentially been a much more fulfilling, purposeful life. There is something in our consciousness, in our spirit that acts like the rudder of our life. We are the ones turning the rudder but ultimately it is most definitely not us at the helm, or at least that is my own personal experience. I am under no false illusion that I direct my steps, but at the end I would like to think that I was able to at least recognise and act wisely, intuitively on those moments in life when I encountered a junction on the road or when a seemingly accidental curve ball was thrown my way to force me into jumping one way or another, to make a choice, to push forward without fear or coercion.

Perhaps what I have been experiencing in these last few months is nothing more than a mid-life crisis; a point in one’s life when you take stock and ponder on all the what-ifs, all the alternative paths one could have taken or may yet still need to take. It is a cliché to state that in the midst of investing one’s life in raising a family and cultivating a marriage with solid roots; in living sacrificially by putting everyone else’s happiness before your own, one can easily loose their identity and simply be identified as the link that keeps different chains together, be it family, work or relationships. Cliché or not, I have most definitely found this is true in my own life.

The recurrent thought or voice echoing on my head as of late has been saying: “Stop hiding behind what you are good at, what is familiar, and go on the journey to discover what it is you are destined to be, what it is you are meant to excel at. Go on a journey of self-discovery. Put for once in your life yourself first and discover what it is that you were made for, what makes your heart sing. I have spent so many years putting everyone else’s needs before my own that I am beginning to feel that my voice, the essence of who I am has got lost in the midst of life’s demands; my voice has been drowned out by those whose voices matter most or so I thought.

I know this will sound heartless and self-absorbed, but I am all about being honest to others and primarily to myself, and so I call it as I see it. Yes, I must say it: I would like to wake up tomorrow and not feel the ongoing, relentless, unforgiving burden of being a mum, a wife, a sister, a daughter or a friend. I want to know what it feels like to be truly free, free from a heavy sense of responsibility, free from the yoke of religion, education, history, expectations and promises, free from the oppressive sense that our life is all panned out for us; from the predictability of what is to come; the barrenness of what will never be. I long for my chains to be broken so that I can walk forward with only one thought in mind: How can I best use my personality, my knowledge and my gifting to be able to claim when it is all said and done that I have lived my life fully, without reservations, fear or regrets; that I have always been true to myself, pursued my truth and no one else’s?

Every fibre of my being assures me that I was meant for more than what I am today, than what I have achieved so far, and I am not talking about a reputation, fame or material success. I am referring solely to a place where my life will finally reach its purpose and full meaning; a point where I can assuredly say: “I have arrived”; a point where there will be no more internal turmoil, wrestling or strife. Perhaps such a place doesn’t exist, but why then be tormented by a void within that no one and nothing can fill? I know I am not alone in feeling this. When you move in Christian circles, you are told that only God can fill that void, but God’s presence is ever beating in my life and yet that void, that call to something more meaningful not only remains but rings louder and clearer each time.

I do not regret the path I have chosen, far from it, but I do not want to resent it because it stopped me from finding out who I am besides Mercedes the mother, the daughter, the sister, the wife. There is so, so much potential in all of us to do extraordinary things. I do not want to short-change myself by hiding behind what it is I am expected to be doing instead of braving it and embarking on the quest of finding what I was truly made to be. I know that longing I feel burning inside of me is a seed that has been planted in my soul. I did not put it there. To ignore that latent undeniable inner call that incites us to discover what is yet to be achieved, what is yet to be fulfilled is to clip the wings of a bald eagle and expect it to still dazzle us with its majestic presence and skill.

There must be more than this. I know there is!

ON THE PRECIPICE OF ETERNITY?

I have often published on my site prophetic words given by Priscilla Van Sutphin. I used to be very sceptic about anyone claiming that they had “heard” from God and felt a burden to be HIS mouthpiece. Indeed, I still feel there are many charlatans out there, many deluded people, deceivers who fool no one but themselves.

However, I do believe with all my heart that this woman “hears” from God and though I have never met her or know anything about her at all, every time I read the messages she shares, I myself sense the presence of God around me in a tangible way. I feel comforted, encouraged and disciplined. I feel His Spirit right there next to me. The words hit me like the words of a best friend, and intimate relation who knows you inside out and can get to those places we all try so hard to keep out of sight from the world around us.

This particular word is an example of how the Spirit of God can make contact with us when we least expect it. It can get to those dark, hidden, secret, sheltered, delicate, sensitive corners of our heart that nobody else gets to see or know about. It can unearth our deepest longings, fears and our biggest regrets, our failures and the strongest desires of our heart which up to that point have laid dormant, numbed by a culture and an existence fast forwarded by commitments, responsibilities, worries, TIME.

Priscilla, if you ever happen to read this, please know that in the past when I have shared your messages here, often I shared them because I felt they would encourage someone else. Well, this time the message was for ME.

I sit here in floods of tears feeling like that person you speak of who feels they have been discounted, who no longer have a role in the Kingdom, is ME. I am the one who has personally been given this promise:

“but I promised I WOULD ARISE OVER YOU.  I promised I would be SEEN upon you.  [Isaiah 60] So do not fall to defeatism, and apathy, and the spirits of heaviness that are lurking in the shadows.”

I am the one who saw myself in a dream doing these very things, flying, being carried, sheltered under God’s wing:

“I’ve called you to soar on eagles’ wings Higher above their domain, to fly with ME in the heavenlies and to see things from MY perspective.”

I am the one who was personally told to:

“Keep focused on ME.  Keep focused on the WORD.  Do NOT get into bitterness and do not allow critical spirits in your heart.  Again I’m not telling you to stop being discerning, and I am not saying do not speak out, because I have called you to speak up against evil.  You are called to be an ARMY, not to be a pacifist apathetic sheepfold.  True justice is the heart of a prophet.  I put that sense of justice there for many of you who are prophetic.  I developed it in you through the sufferings you endured, that you would have MY HEART.  David was a man after My own heart I said.  I have many David’s who have been on the sidelines, participating, but who will now be drawn into direct battle, and into the spotlight to speak out the things I’ve given them to say.”

I am amongst those who have been given this promise over and over again in dreams:

“For I have promised a tsunami of My love for a long time now, and it is about to be poured out.”

I heard this promise too:

“Throw off all the discouragement and expecting of bad things to happen.  For I set a table before you in the midst of your enemies I said.  I AM Your Rear Guard!  I watch over My children like a good parent does.  I provide all that is needed for those who are called to My purpose.  So BELIEVE that I am FOR you and not against you.  Do NOT listen to the voice that makes you feel disqualified, or not good enough.  YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE BLOOD OF MY SON.”

I am that person:

“He seeks always to steal from you your confidence in My love for you.  But it cannot be taken away.  My heart is ALWAYS FOR YOU.  My love is EVERLASTING and ETERNAL.  It is unconditional.  I never stop loving you.  So rebuke him and his minions from your presence and stay your mind on ME and My promises.  Speak them out and sing them out against his ploys.  Dance and sing, and dwell in My presence that you could hear My voice speaking to you in the quiet times.  REST in My arms and you will find all the peace you need.  FOR I AM the PRINCE OF PEACE.  My shalom is encompassing you as you worship me.  Even when you can’t FEEL it, I am imparting grace to you.”

The words: “You are called to be a LIGHT in the DARKNESS” have been given to me time and time again:

“Have confidence that My plans for you are for GOOD and not for evil to give you a future and a hope, that you can be the LIGHT OF THE WORLD you have been called to be!”

Oh! I am the one crying as His words unravel the complexity and the burden in my heart that no human around me is even aware of. He sees in me what no one else can or will see; He alone knows the dreams and promises He has laid on my heart; He alone sees me in the night troubled by visions of Tsunamis and earthquakes that shake the foundations of the Earth; He alone sees the tears I cry when those chosen and called to share the Good News, misrepresent HIM in such an abysmal and hurtful manner, and THAT is how I know this word is coming DIRECTLY from  my Heavenly Father to me.

Thank you Priscilla for being that vessel, that channel which brings this healing balm onto my soul and reminds me that HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME, NOR FORSAKE ME.

http://www.hiskingdomprophecy.com/the-lord-says-were-on-the-precipice-of-eternity/

The Lord says We’re on the Precipice of Eternity!

“[So I went with him, and when we were climbing the rocky steps up the hillside, my beloved shepherd said to me] O my dove, [while you are here] in the seclusion of the clefts in the solid rock, in the sheltered and secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.  [My heart was touched and I fervently sang to him my desire]  Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom”   Song of Solomon 2:14-15 AMP.

“You’re on the precipice of eternity, and many are not aware of how close My coming is.  They’ve been lured asleep by compromise, apathy and complacency.  But I am asking you now to be ready for extraordinary change that is coming.  Nothing will ever be the same.  Life as you know it cannot be Counted on.  The things you have taken for granted in the past, cannot be taken for granted any more.

My coming is urgently approaching and so many are sleeping in the church.  Deep darkness has filled many people as the darkness has covered the earth, but I promised I WOULD ARISE OVER YOU.  I promised I would be SEEN upon you.  [Isaiah 60] So do not fall to defeatism, and apathy, and the spirits of heaviness that are lurking in the shadows.  The vultures are ready to pounce if you let them, but I’ve called you to soar on eagles’ wings Higher above their domain, to fly with ME in the heavenlies and to see things from MY perspective.

Keep your oil lamps filled to the brim, for ordinary substances that people count on are not being supplied.  There is a plot to starve out many, and to lay many to rest through cruel and unusual means.  PRAY these things do not come.  I will uncover it all if people will repent and seek My face in this nation.  Change is about to turnover many things they think are established.  You are on the precipice of GREAT CHANGE.  Not the kind some were looking for in last few years, but that which WILL change people’s hearts and expose the hearts of others.

Keep focused on ME.  Keep focused on the WORD.  Do NOT get into bitterness and do not allow critical spirits in your heart.  Again I’m not telling you to stop being discerning, and I am not saying do not speak out, because I have called you to speak up against evil.  You are called to be an ARMY, not to be a pacifist apathetic sheepfold.  True justice is the heart of a prophet.  I put that sense of justice there for many of you who are prophetic.  I developed it in you through the sufferings you endured, that you would have MY HEART.  David was a man after My own heart I said.  I have many David’s who have been on the sidelines, participating, but who will now be drawn into direct battle, and into the spotlight to speak out the things I’ve given them to say.

I am NOT the God of the new age.  I am not the God of the world, though I should be.  But I AM the CREATOR Who made heaven and earth and sent My Son to die for them.  Many have heard and rejected Me.  Many have spurned My love through My servants.  But many have not seen the kind of love I am about to pour out.  For I have promised a tsunami of My love for a long time now, and it is about to be poured out.  Ready your hearts to be enraptured with Your King!  For I AM READY and I see the plans that you cannot see.

I see the plans of the wicked behind closed doors, and I know all things about them, and about you. Do not hide yourself from Me now.  Come to me with your burdens and I will give you rest for your soul.  I will heal the hearts who are corrupted by the enemy.  I will do miracles upon miracles.  Startling miracles will be seen, and people will be in shock, including you, that I do them now.  Others will arise trying to mimic them, but they will be shown to be the frauds that they are.  Ask and you will receive.  Believe that I am GOOD, and that I have your best interest always on My mind.

Throw off all the discouragement and expecting of bad things to happen.  For I set a table before you in the midst of your enemies I said.  I AM Your Rear Guard!  I watch over My children like a good parent does.  I provide all that is needed for those who are called to My purpose.  So BELIEVE that I am FOR you and not against you.  Do NOT listen to the voice that makes you feel disqualified, or not good enough.  YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE BLOOD OF MY SON.  Many continue making mistakes, sinning, but did I not know that when He died on the cross?  Did I not show you the parallels to Israel, and how they wandered for 40 years in the desert because they could not attain to the law, nor get all the unbelief and rejection and bitterness out of their hearts.  IT IS BY THE BLOOD that you have My righteousness, and I see you through that blood.  YOU are My precious possession, and I will make you My jewels.  So fret not, and do not take on the condemnation of the enemy.  Do not allow it in your heart.  He is a liar and the father of lies.

He seeks always to steal from you your confidence in My love for you.  But it cannot be taken away.  My heart is ALWAYS FOR YOU.  My love is EVERLASTING and ETERNAL.  It is unconditional.  I never stop loving you.  So rebuke him and his minions from your presence and stay your mind on ME and My promises.  Speak them out and sing them out against his ploys.  Dance and sing, and dwell in My presence that you could hear My voice speaking to you in the quiet times.  REST in My arms and you will find all the peace you need.  FOR I AM the PRINCE OF PEACE.  My shalom is encompassing you as you worship me.  Even when you can’t FEEL it, I am imparting grace to you.

Have confidence that My plans for you are for GOOD and not for evil to give you a future and a hope, that you can be the LIGHT OF THE WORLD you have been called to be!  I will remove the little foxes that spoil the vine as you worship ME and seek My face.  Don’t worry about the little foxes, just trust ME, that I will remove them as you seek Me.  That is why you find yourself crying in My presence, without knowing why.  I am healing your heart and plucking out all that the enemy has sown that is not from ME.  I love you My bride, and I am at the door, so lean on ME.  Lean on the everlasting arms for I am not weak as man is weak.  Trust me to bring you through anything that you have to go through.  For I am with you always, even to the end.”

“The earth dries up and withers”. Is God’s word fiction or the reality unfolding in front of our very eyes?

I have often been told that my outlook on everything is rather pessimistic and yes, that is true to some extent. I do however strongly feel that one has to have a certain pessimism built-in within them if they are ever going to have a genuine fear of the Lord, which we know from the Scriptures IS the beginning of wisdom. I think it is important in all areas of life to not be over pessimistic but neither over optimistic. I like to be real; I like to keep it real and I like to be realistic.

I know that our Heavenly Father is Love but I also keep close to my heart and spirit the certainty that God is a Just God in equal measure, a loving Father and specially the only ONE who knows it all, despite the fact that so many who are seen as men and women of God today think they too know it all. God alone can see the end from the beginning and the purpose in everything, the true “bigger picture”.

What we do know for sure, for those of us who accept the Bible as God-inspired and as the revelation of who Jesus is and why He came to the world and why He will come again, is the fact that there will be a day of Judgement. Many Christians shake in disapproval and with righteous anger when they hear such statement mentioned, because to them God is above all else love, and talking about judgement is something which in their eyes is non-sensical seeing as Christ has already paid the price for our sin on the cross and therefore what would be the need or the point of God judging men on that final day or even today? Personally, I feel that this type of Christian attitude does away with the need for ongoing repentance, contrition and the determination to go through a process of sanctification until the day we die; all absolutley vital and key steps in becoming more and more like Christ, which is ultimately what one would hope all Christians are striving for, even when we know we will never be like Him, not really. It is an attitude that brings forward countless of new converts, but the question we need to be asking ourselves at that point is: what are they really converting to seeing as the concept of God’s judgement and our need for repentance and humility are so paramount, clear and prevalent throughout the Scriptures?

Though we don’t know when the end will come, we know without a doubt that it WILL come and we have a pretty good description of what will happen when it does, both in the Old and the New testament. Listen for example to this fragment in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 24, 4-13) and ponder afterwards whether you see any similarities with what is going on in the world today:

The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers,
the heavens languish with the earth.
5 The earth is defiled by its people;
they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
and broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up,
and very few are left.
7 The new wine dries up and the vine withers;
all the merrymakers groan.
8 The joyful timbrels are stilled,
the noise of the revelers has stopped,
the joyful harp is silent.
9 No longer do they drink wine with a song;
the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
10 The ruined city lies desolate;
the entrance to every house is barred.
11 In the streets they cry out for wine;
all joy turns to gloom,
all joyful sounds are banished from the earth.
12 The city is left in ruins,
its gate is battered to pieces.
13 So will it be on the earth
and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.

A view from the International Space Station shows bushfire smoke clouds over southern Australia.

As I was reading these words this morning, the images of the fires currently devastating large areas of Australia and also recently in various States on North America immediately came into my mind. Fires of uncontrollable scale are raging, more and more landscapes are becoming desolate. “Earth’s inhabitants are burned up…” we read in Isaiah. It all seems far too immediate and current already! We are getting to the end of October by which time the weather in the UK has already turned nasty weeks prior, and yet this year we are enjoying spring-like weather at the moment. Temperatures are so much milder (17 degrees forecast for tomorrow) and you do get the sense as you are out and about that indeed the whole earth seems to be warming up at an alarming rate.

Lines of scorched earth and huge smoke plumes from wild fires in Australia were visible from the International Space Station on January 8, 2013. Credit: NASA/Chris Hadfield

Only today as I went out for a walk with my dog, I had to contend with fighting off wasps which themselves appeared disorientated and bewildered as the autumnal landscape which they are not familiar with surrounded them. Little did they know, it was them who did not belong in such a landscape at such a time and not the other way around. I think there is a hidden message in that somewhere, but it is not coming to me right now. I will ponder on that a bit later perhaps!

I am not deliberately trying to be a scaremonger, far from it, but one cannot deny that there is a general sense of inevitability and bewilderment amongst earth’s inhabitants today. We realise we have neglected our duty and responsibility of looking after our planet and everything that is in it: our marriages, our lifestyles, our children, our relationships, our morals or lack of, and yet we continue doing “business as usual” instead of actually trying to either repent and change our ways, instead of humbling ourselves and finally recognising that neither we are God nor will we ever be, instead of putting aside our differences and concentrating on what we have in common: our humanity and those things which are vital to our existence: our planet and everything that lives in it.

Christians, the people of God, above anyone else should lead by example by coming alongside each other in unity to encourage and bless each other as we seek to do God’s will, and yet, disunity, pride and a desperate need to stamp our own identity and validity above anyone else within the Christian world is only too apparent when one ponders on the dozens of different Christian denominations and church identities we see all around us. We brag about how good we have it in our own church, how our church’s vision is the one that clearly capture’s God’s heart for His people, belittling in this manner what any other Christian individual or group may be doing be it in their community, for each other or in the world, instead of joining forces as the Body of Christ should to compliment and enhance what each other is doing. The problem with that is the results would no longer point to how amazing WE are, but to the kind of God we claim we serve.

I also see Isaiah’s prophetic words coming to pass not only in the natural world but much more so in the spiritual realm, amongst all Christians, as a scattering of God’s people of biblical proportions is taking place in the world today. Whilst in times past during so called “revivals” Christians were known for their gatherings together and their fight for a common cause and purpose, there is today a great sense of so many individuals being scattered outside of the “Structural” and “Institutional” fold, individuals who are searching for the one and true God whose temple is not made with human hands. These people who are being scattered are also experiencing a tremendous and unrelenting time of draught but the difference is that their draught results from God’s mercy and not his judgement, as He seeks to remove from us anything or anyone who is not from HIM or who deviates us from our true purpose in Christ, anything or anyone who is stopping us from following HIM and from doing HIS will.

I think I should finish with another portion of Scripture which pretty much sums up what I am trying to say here:

Isaiah 26, 7-11

7The path of the righteous is level;
you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,[a]
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.
10 But when grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, your hand is lifted high,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;
let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.

“The Church for those who don’t like church” by Dave Yeubanks

I read yesterday a post written by Dave Yeubanks at Truthforfree.com entitled “The Church for those who don’t like church” which floored me, in the sense that it unearthed so many of the feelings and realities I have been experiencing myself over these last few years during which the veil has finally been lifted off my eyes.

I was deeply touched by Dave’s honesty, passion, and righteous anger as he shares with the world his utter frustration with a religious system that is intent on bulldozing its way forward even if that means leaving countless spiritual casualties along the way, even if it means looking like it cares for the needs of others but simultaneously watching those closest to it hurting, rejected and yet doing absolutely nothing to bring healing and restoration to them, because the health of the system is a far, far greater concern to its leadership than the health of the individual Christ died for.

A system that seeks to bring forward the redemption and freedom in Christ with the one hand, but forces out of its way those whose allegiance is first with Christ and not the system, is really not of the Spirit. A love that nurtures with one stroke and severs hearts with the very next and does not care to look back at the mayhem it leaves behind is not really LOVE,  it is born of the flesh and not the Spirit, and it is clearly obedient to the will of men and not of God.

We often talk of the religious system, but what happens when we stop talking about a system and we recognise and remind ourselves that this system is made up of a group of people?  What if we stop referring to a group of people and we specifically refer to the Church as the group of people who stand proud against the rest of the world as the carriers of the TRUTH, the envoys for Christ, the bearers of His Cup? You and I are the Church of Jesus Christ. We have a responsibility to the world and primarily to ourselves to live with integrity and to represent Christ on this earth for who He is and not for what He can do for us, our crusades, our agendas, our own significance and purpose on this earth. When I read my bible, time and time again these words echo in my ears: “You shall love the Lord your God  with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” The Christian Religious System has replaced the word “God” with the word “Church” and also the word “neighbour” with the words “Church Leadership”. No fresh living water could ever emanate from a system which by its very devotion to itself produces nothing other than dead works and a people who time and time again would rather reach out for a bottle of water than hike up the mountain to find that wonderful spring whose liquid gold will ensure you are never thirsty again and you never mistake the deception for the real thing.

Please read Dave’s own testimony.  He expresses what is out there far better than I ever will.

I would give up and trade all my years as part of the institutional church in an instant  to share in Dave’s passion, zeal for a true relationship with the Lord, integrity, determination, transparency and strength. A heart that pursues and abounds in these qualities cannot but spread the aroma of Christ wherever it goes, whoever it may come in contact with.

Here is Dave’s post:

The Church for those who don’t like church… really?

I wonder how many of you have run across religious organizations that like to use this phrase (or some variation of it) as their “outreach slogan”. A few weeks ago I received a flyer in the mail from a “new” church in the area that proposes to be a “church for people who don’t like going to church.” This reminds me of a pastor friend who said to me a few years back, “Dave, I hope to one day build the kind of church that even you would want to attend.”

Most of you will recall how I have mentioned this subject before and most of you know how much of an utterly ignorant and ridiculous a statement I think this is… My sincere apologies if I have offended anyone who is really jazzed about attending one of these post-modernistic church organizations that thrives on this logic. But if I have just pushed a button, I hope you’ll hang on and hear me out. If you’re really interested in reaching people who aren’t into church, then it might help you to understand our mindset a bit more before you set off with big intentions to try and pull us all back into “the fold”.

I guess then, as it turns out, this blog post today is for those of you I have just described; Those of you who really think a hip new church program is the answer and the way to reach people who could care less about hip new church programs.

Please know that I previously spent 30 years of my life in church world and I am very familiar with the thought-process of the typical church-goer, not to mention that of many pastors who often lead these kind of endeavors.

I remember discussions with friends back in my church-going days about how it would be cool to try something like this (a post-modern, non-churchy church endeavor)… You see, even then, there were things about typical church that annoyed me (and a number of the rest of us) and I was also able to see back then how so many of our religious practices stemmed from stale traditions, were badly outdated, unbiblical, and tended toward legalism. We knew then that so many of these things were part of what turned off a lot of folks outside our walls and they even embarrassed many of us in the church system. I’m quite sure that plenty of folks who attend church today could probably find some agreement with this.

Our instinct seemed to be a cry for reform! We wanted to see things change! We too were tired of the boring weekly routine. We were secretly asking the question we’d never dare admit out loud… Is this really all there is? It can’t be… and we certainly can’t let it be, so we have to do something to make it not be. We thought we wanted to be part of a church that was relevant, unique, fun, on the cutting edge, and totally in harmony with Jesus. Is there an honest person out there who can relate to some of these feelings?

    As a side note, I really believe that this is a large part of the reason I welcomed the Toronto movement when it hit. Though I was hesitant at first, because it appeared so unusual, I eventually gave myself to it. It was refreshing to see the old stale routine busted up and nothing appeared to be business as usual anymore. People were finally starting to recognize the deadness of religion and legalism… and more people were talking about Jesus than they were about church programs or pastor’s sermons. But, as I’ve written before, the devil was in the details and a lot of corrupt doctrines and concept eventually crept in. Thought I’m embarrassed to admit some of the things I once embraced, I thank God that He delivered me from those errors and the experience has caused me to be more discerning as I look forward. One very interesting thing I noticed about the Toronto thing when it happened… Despite the good that transpired a midst the crazy, there was a season of that whole experience that produced a real hunger in my heart for truth. The more I yielded to the Lord, the more freedom I experienced from the bondage of religion and the more I began to recognize the amount of religion I was still captivated by and infected with. The more I began to read God’s Word, the more I realized the gross deviations from it that were being taught by many in the movement. Eventually, I withdrew myself from the environment entirely… Not just the “revival” but “church world” itself. I also watched as those whom I once thought had left behind religion to embrace the “new thing” God was doing, actually just digressed into further religion and more and more false doctrine. Churchianity took an even stronger hold on many (even though those captivated by it thought they were breaking free from religion). Even some of my very close friends thought I had become totally deceived because I was pulling away from this environment. I mention all of this to illustrate how though there was a time many of us thought we had broken free from religion (because of this new distraction of so-called “revival” or “renewal”), it was a setup of the enemy in many ways.

I remember the conversations we used to have about how free church was going to be now that we were no longer blinded by religion; no longer trying to put new wine into an old wineskin. Sigh… We really thought we had it all figured out.

The funny thing is, the way we always set out to accomplish this well-meaning ideal was by applying the same stale solutions to the problem, which (obviously) was no real solution at all… just a lot more of the same old thing in different clothes. It is hardly any wonder that we’d see a lot of excitement about “new directions” or (in other words) “slight alterations to the program” at the beginning, and then experience a degeneration over time to another lifeless routine, which again became hum-drum church as usual. We had to always figure out some new way to keep things interesting because… well… apparently God just wasn’t quite interesting enough. It must be our church program that keeps people interested in following God and without a good program, people just won’t be interested in God… so we have to get this right! The program became a major part of what defined us as Believers… and we allowed it to gauge our spirituality, to qualify it, to control it, and to influence everybody else with it.

Sad that the whole thing really avoided the most important thing of all; a resolution to give it all up to Jesus and let His Holy Spirit be the Leader of our lives… even if that meant it might lead us completely away from “business-as-usual” churchianity. The very idea was out of the question! We simply could not envision a Church (i.e. the body of Christ) without “church” (i.e. a religious organization)!

Today, the same mindset plagues so many Christian people. And when they hear someone like me talk this way about church world, all they think is that I’m against Christians meeting together or even organizing for various purposes, but that’s actually not true at all. The big problem I see is that most (church-attending) Christians don’t really know how to differentiate between a man-made organization as opposed to that which the Bible calls the “ecclesia” (the Church of the Firstborn – those who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous Light)… Note I said most, not all. If they were able to see their little organization as nothing more than that, a lifeless building and a man-made set of organizational processes that has NOTHING to do with actually being a follower of Jesus or being saved into the Family of God, then maybe they would just take it for what it is and stop throwing it in everyone’s face as though it were the be-all and end-all of the Christian life. If they really thought that their meeting hall was ONLY a meeting hall, then maybe they really could BE the Church. But they DON’T usually see it that way. They see the meeting hall as an essential part of Christianity itself. Simply put, you cannot really be thought of as being a Christian if you don’t go to a church! And, therefore, if you don’t go to church and yet dare to call yourself a follower of Jesus, then you really need to be convinced of the importance of the church building and program. But (their thinking goes), we don’t want to scare you off, so we’re gonna pose a clever approach that is sure to win you over… The logic basically goes like this:

“Hey, we want to reach people that are burned out on church……. Hmmm…. I wonder how we can accomplish that….. Hey, I know! Let’s start another church!”

Forgive me for laughing out loud there, but that’s the basic idea… Yet it seems that none of these groups have any clue about how (pardon me) stupid that kind of logic sounds, especially to those that are burned out on church. In case you’re reading this and still aren’t catching the hint…

Definition of Stupid: “Lacking in common sense or perception. Characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness, foolish; senseless. Tediously dull, especially due to lack of meaning or sense; inane, pointless.”

If you’re trying to reach someone who isn’t interested in church… STARTING ANOTHER CHURCH ISN’T GOING TO WORK!

In my town there are a number of churches who have started re-vamping their routine; trying desperately to make themselves more relevant. Time and again I hear the same old rhetoric used: “Are you one of those people who doesn’t like going to church? Are you looking for a place where you can belong, find fellowship, encouragement, that doesn’t feel churchy? Try our church… We’re different. We get it… We have an espresso machine and our pastor skydives.” Ok, maybe not those exact words, but you get the idea… Then, 5 minutes after you’re there you realize as you look around that they still have 4 fast songs and 3 slow ones, a benediction, announcements (usually by video with plucky comic relief by witty church volunteers), collection of tithes and offerings (bla bla bla), a sermon, prayer, and coffee and donuts in the foyer (or a lounge room with couches). Virtually every single church group I’ve seen that claims to be a “church for those who don’t like church” are nothing more than just another church… and, guess what? Those of us who don’t like church…. STILL don’t like it.

Please, someone in church world explain to me, HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU THINK THIS WILL EVER APPEAL TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE CHURCH?

My point is, if you’re really interested in “gathering the body of Christ”, then do it and stop getting clever about it and, even worse, manipulative. If you want to get together, then get together… Whether you do it at home, at the park, at a theater, or (surprise surprise) a church building, just meet. Who cares if there’s 100 of you or 3. Stop trying to fool the rest of us. We know what you’re up with the whole “church growth” thing and it’s nothing new. Remember, unless THE LORD builds the House, they which labor, do so in vain.

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT… What is that “house” that the Scripture is talking about… The house of God is the HOUSEHOLD. It’s a spiritual thing. The apostle Paul described it as a SPIRITUAL house of LIVING STONES (i.e. PEOPLE); 1 Peter 2:5. It has nothing to do with a building. The apostle Paul declared that WE are that house (that “temple”), NOT A BUILDING! So flush the whole “house of God” idea as being a church building you attend, because Jesus never taught such nonsense! …and I dare say to you this… HE’S STILL NOT TEACHING SUCH NONSENSE!

If you really want to reach out to people who don’t like church, may I please first ask you WHY? What is your motive for “reaching” us? Is it because you think we cannot have a relationship with Christ without attending an organization? Stop trying to deceive us with your false evangelism ploy. When you come at us going, “Hey, we don’t like church as usual either and we understand you…” but then you go right ahead and say, “But come try our church,” PLEASE! Please get a clue! You are talking nonsense!

Secondly, if your motive to “reach us” is not about concern over our relationship with Christ or thinking that we must be backsliding and need church to be saved, then why can’t you just come to us as a brother or sister in Jesus and let that be enough? Why does a church organization ever have to be part of the conversation? WE DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR COOL CHURCH PROGRAM! But we might just appreciate your friendship, if it’s sincere and genuine. We might just appreciate you hanging at our place for dinner or doing some mutually-enjoyable activity together as friends, where conversation is free and unfettered by some ulterior agenda to try and work some religious order into everything. It utterly frustrates me that even some of the coolest people who happen to gather in a church environment (even a really cool church environment with all the exciting bells and whistles that make that kind of thing attractive to some people), FAIL so often on the point of relationships, when it comes to maintaining those relationships outside the church environment. They use all the right lingo… they talk about loving people… but just try to have a regular friendship with any number of them. Unless your butt sits in the pews, you won’t usually see much of them. Unless you’re involved in the same church programs they are, they won’t often have time for hanging with you. Everything revolves around church first. Of course, not everyone fits the stereotype, but I’m sad to say that the stereotype fits most! So again, we don’t care about your church program… but we’d like to care about you and feel like maybe you really cared about us too.

The thing is, many of us sincerely crave fellowship (yes, we actually want to hang out with you). We love God’s people. We already know that in Christ we ARE part of THE Fellowship! Anyone who belongs to Him, belongs to His Family and are IN the Fellowship! But we also crave the tangible expression of this. We desire to have friends too and to socially interact as well as enjoy the benefit of sharing Christ together. The difficult thing is, many of us don’t want friends that are only friends if “church” must be at the center of the relationship (rather than Christ). We also aren’t usually fans of all the other junk that comes associated with religion (that has nothing to do with biblical Christianity). To put it another way, we want YOU we just don’t want your club. The problem is that many who have decided to disconnect from church world worry that church is the only place to find you. Some of us make compromises and go “back to church” because we so desperately want to fellowship with you, but you have no idea what kind of internal conflict this presents for us.

I think of all those Christmas Hallmark movies where the dad works too hard and neglects his family and friends because he’s married to his job… They should make a movie about church people who are blind to the relationships around them because they are married to their church! It happens all the time and I almost dare say a lot more often than a dad who is married to his job. I think this is a much bigger problem that is created and maintained BY THE CHURCH! So, of course, I’m not interested!

Thirdly, if your motive to “reach us” is very simplistic, because you just think the organization you are part of is cool, then just try to understand, we aren’t impressed by it so stop dangling it like a rotten carrot in front of our face. We don’t feel any need or desire to be entertained by it. We don’t feel any obligation to attend such a thing. We actually see it as a distraction of more important things. We’re not going to be enamored by the awesomeness of your cool, motorbike riding preacher. We’re not likely to be interested in your song service that plays the same old mediocre emotion-based sing-song tunes over and over again, week after week, in the name of “worship”, where one person tells us how to “enter God’s throne room”… We know how to enter God’s throne room, and we know it doesn’t require a groovy religious rock band singing “Open Up The Heavens” on Sunday morning to accomplish it (and constantly being told when to stand up, raise our hands, dance, shout, sit down, clap, etc.). We don’t need your organization “encouraging” us about how “giving money to the church is worship”. We know this is just more religious mumbo jumbo to get money to pay for your cool program and really has virtually no actual spiritual element to it. We already know that giving is a matter of relationship with the Father and we believe it is His Spirit that leads us how and where and when to give… and that giving isn’t necessarily always money and it’s NEVER anyone else’s business unless we chose to make it so or the Father leads us to let someone else know.

I’m speaking bluntly for your benefit because you need to hear it. You need to hear how we feel and see how we think. This is not evidence of a bad attitude or because we are hurt or bitter. Many of us have a variety of different stories related to how we came out of the routine of religion, but those details are no longer about how we choose to live each day and to engage a genuine, awesome relationship with Jesus. We very much desire HIM to be at the center of our conversation and practice, but you keep throwing this other “thing” you call church in the middle. I’m speaking bluntly so your eyes will open and you will understand.

This reaction is not because we don’t love you or because we don’t want friends or don’t believe in fellowship with other believers. WE DO!!! We just don’t define “fellowship” any longer in terms of sitting in a chair, looking at the back of some guys head, while some guy tells us how to live (because he studied about it all week in preparation for his sermon).

The truth is that many of us have continued to darken the doors of your church buildings on occasion, because we keep hoping that someone in there really believes that Jesus is to be the center of our conversation and our relationships. Many of us have given second, third, and fourth chances in hopes that we would find evidence of a genuine expression of love by people who care more about God and each other than religion. But we keep bumping into your programs and all the rhetoric that goes along with it and you won’t allow it any other way. Even when you try to re-package it so that it’s less legalistic and more “inclusive” it still gets in the way of Jesus! We hate it because we desperately want to know who you are and how we might walk together in Christ with you. We’re not often sure how to tell you politely, with all love and grace, that we don’t give a sh** about churchianity. That has NOTHING to do with how much we desire to be among our family in Christ. We’re just tired of having to put up with the rules of the devil’s playground that we just happen to think “church” has become.

God already has a Church; His body! He doesn’t need another (i.e. your organization). In fact, I’ll say it plainly, with no apologies… HE DOESN’T HAVE ANOTHER!!!

You simply will NEVER be able to think up a style of church that is given any significant regard by people who are only interested in the One Church that Christ Himself has ALREADY established! WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT ANY OTHER!!!

Do you remember the church organization I first spoke about in this post (the one that sent me the advertisement about being the church for those that don’t like church)? Well… I wrote to them. I tried to share with them what I have shared here today… It does not appear to have been received too well. They responded only with the comment, “Sounds like you have it all figured out.” Sadly, this only confirmed to me that they really aren’t interested in those who don’t like church (despite the claims of their clever ad)… I don’t wish to be their judge, but it does make me wonder if they even belong to Christ at all, when they can so quickly reject a member of His body who attempts to reach out to them in love and speak to them as the very person they claim to have a heart to reach. If it weren’t that I have walked in similar shoes myself (before I came out of the deception of religion), I would probably conclude as much… I think of the apostle Paul, who also thought he was doing God’s service while persecuting the Lord’s people. He knew the Scriptures, was a very religious man, educated in the best religious schools, and believed that He was serving the Lord (and did so zealously)… though it was eventually revealed that He didn’t know what he was doing or who he was doing it to. Jesus showed up in his path and convicted him of truth.

Paul told the Philippian believers that, before his conversion to Christ, he was a fiery defender of the purity of his religion, even to the point of persecuting Christians; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book. But once the Lord enabled him to see his error, he completely changed his heart toward the whole thing. I do like how the Message version paraphrases this passage:

Philippians 3:7-10

    – The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash–along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant–dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ–God’s righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.

That’s quite a conversion, wouldn’t you agree?! I have to say, I feel much the same way with respect toward the religion I also once embraced. I count it now as though it were manure and worthy of the trash bin. That strikes some folks as very offensive… but only because they don’t understand yet. What’s amazing is that Paul used these very strong words to describe the end of his religion… but does anyone question Paul’s devotion to Christ? They forget that the guy who wrote most of their New Testament Bible regarded his former religious life as completely without any value at all compared to the excellency of knowing Christ.

To all my church friends, past and present, I LOVE YOU! I am not against you. I am not desiring to be separated from you. I want to know you, to walk with you, to be your friend, to share Christ together with you… but I will not compete with your program and I will not be sucked into its religious grip (again). I already danced to that piper’s tune and I know where it leads. I know that “thing” was not created by Christ (for He has no substitute) and I know it is NOT His Church. Only those who have been bought by His precious blood are worthy of being called His Royal Assembly (His Church). THERE IS NO OTHER TO HAVE REGARD FOR! Your organization is only that – an organization! It is NOT the Church that Jesus established. Whether or not you continue to attend it is not my concern and that is between you and Jesus… seriously. I do not judge you because you choose to attend meetings somewhere… But if you will hold that institution in any way between us, then it is clear that you have made it your idol and we cannot enjoy any real, godly fellowship until you forsake your allegiance to the false god of churchianity and return to Christ Jesus, the Lord. Until then, I will be waiting. So many of us already are! I pray the day will soon come when many more return to Him.

With much love in Christ, Dave Yeubanks

COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE – CHAPTER 8

This chapter is in my opinion far too important and far too beautiful to split into two parts and so I have inserted it here as a whole.

Peter Whyte offers us here an exceptionally beautiful vision of the wonderful jewels Christ’s Royal Priesthood is called to be adorned with and what each of these jewels means in terms of the stages of spiritual development we are to experience in order to become more like Christ and indeed become part of that spotless Bride He is coming back for: the new Jerusalem.

Personally, I feel strongly identified with the traits of the Sapphire, Emerald and Sardonyx but deep inside I know I am called to display the rest of those traits and attitudes symbolised by all the other different jewels.  I have a long, long way to go yet, and often every bone in my body resists to the death undergoing this process of purification which transforms a rock into a jewel, and yet every bone of my body recognises that I am destined for this process and outside of it, my life does not make a lot of sense.

Some of these precious jewels like Chrysoprase and Topaz are quite a tall order but at the same time a magnificent goal to pursue in our Christian walk. Only the disciplined, humble and loving servant of Christ will endure to the end of this race and be able to claim as his or hers the marvel of ALL THESE wonderful jewels.  I don’t know right now how far in the race I will be able to go. Quite frankly today as I am battling the flu and feel like even lifting my hand to type is an effort, I truly doubt I am cut out for such a glorious destiny, but I do know that if I continue setting my eyes on that price, if I persevere no matter how discouraged, disappointed or dissuaded I may feel at times, the Lord himself will pick up that baton for me and see me through to the end.  That is HIS Promise and I believe it to be true and am betting my life on it. What are you betting your life on?

THE NEW JERUSALEM – Chapter 8

“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2)

“And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me saying, ‘Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear Jasper.” (Rev. 21:9-11)

The New Jerusalem is the eternal, beloved companion of God. She is the Bride of Christ, the wife of the Lamb. She is without spot or blemish or wrinkle, having been sanctified by Christ who gave His life for her, and cleansed her by washing her with His Word, the gospel of the Kingdom of God. He did this that He might present her to Himself, holy and blameless. She is the church of Jesus Christ and He loves and nourishes and cherishes her just as we do our own individual bodies. He does this because every believer is a member of His body.

The last two chapters of Revelation describe the Bride, who is being formed over many centuries, for she is composed of every generation of believers. The book of Revelation is a revealing of what is happening in the spirit realm, where there is no time as we know it. These things were happening before John was told to write them in a book, they happened during the rest of his life on earth, and they will continue to happen until all the purposes of God with men are fulfilled.

It is important to realize that most spiritual things involve process rather than events, because the marriage of the Lamb may well be a process rather than a single occasion as we automatically presume from our earthly experience.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians about a great mystery of Christ and His church becoming one flesh:-

“For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:31-32)

It is possible for us to enter the New Jerusalem, to be come part of the Bride, and one flesh with our Lord, while we are still in our earthly bodies. This is why the Spirit and the Bride say “Come.” This is why the Lord says to His church in Babylon, “Come out of her My people…” for He does not want us to be participators in her sins and to receive the plagues He piles upon her in judgment.

The book of Hebrews was written around 68 A.D. and in it we read:-

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” (Heb. 12:22-24)

Revelation was written many years later, around 95 A.D. and so in 68 A.D. there were believers who “had come to the Heavenly Jerusalem”. However the influence of Babylon had so deceived and penetrated the churches in the next 27 years, that it was necessary for the Lord to rebuke the seven churches in Asia, each city church separately, for varying offenses to God. Exhort all who read Revelation to “Have an ear to hear what the Spirit says to the churches”. Exhort all to be Overcomers. Reveal the deceptions of Babylon the Great which had already overcome and imprisoned the saints. Tell all believers to “Come out of her, My people” and that both the Holy Spirit, and those already in the Bride, joined in the same cry.

“And the Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ Let the one who hears say, ‘Come.'” (Rev. 22: 17)

“I Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.” (Rev. 22:16)

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Rev. 1:3)

These words of Christ have application to every believer in every church in every generation. God gave this Revelation of spiritual things to Jesus in order that Jesus might give it to His bond-servants. (Rev. 1:1)

New Jerusalem, as described in Chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation, has both present and future aspects. When she is complete in the future, she will consist of a great throng that no man can number. Her measurements, 1500 miles in height, 1500 miles in length, and 1500 miles in width, (Rev. 21:16) reveal that she will eventually have billions of people. One day Jesus will bring ALL of His beloved church to Himself, and many who lived and died in earthly spiritual captivity will come to the heavenly city. However, we must be concerned with the present, and allow Father to take care of the future.

While we remain in our earthly bodies we are being called to be part of her NOW. We can be part of her now, only if we love Jesus enough to obey Him, and heed the call to come out of Babylon. Because of our obedience, both Jesus and the Father come and make their abode with us, as Jesus promised.

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (Jn.14:23)

This obedience is not a legalistic one, but stems out of the loving, joyful relationship of a bride’s desire to please her Lord. It has no connection with duty or obligation. It is the loving response of our hearts when the enormity of His love for us floods our souls, and we enter into His rest, and cease from our own religious labours. It is the inevitable result of our intimate personal fellowship with Jesus, Father and the Holy Spirit.

Only overcomers inherit these things in this earthly life, not every believer. If therefore we desire to enter the New Jerusalem now, we must learn to be overcomers.

“He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be His God and he will be My Son.” (Rev. 21:7)

The twelve Apostles of the Lamb are the foundation stones of the city wall, and they are adorned with precious stones, which reveal the spiritual maturity of the overcomer disciple. Special meanings were attributed to each of these stones by the ancients, and they can be related to our spiritual growth. They show progressive stages both in our spiritual understanding and our individual relationship to Jesus Christ.

Precious stones are formed under great pressure, and each one of us who overcomes will experience some kind of suffering, stress and pressure, while God is forming us into His Bride. May the Holy Spirit reveal to you the necessity for you to be adorned with some of these stones, as you journey to Zion, the city of our God.

Many years ago I asked the Lord to reveal the meaning of the precious stones, adorning the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem, in Revelation chapter 21. Some years later I was given an old book, which contained a section headed, “The ancient meanings of Precious Stones.” As I was reading it, the Holy Spirit suddenly enlightened me to understand what follows. May He also enlighten your understanding of their spiritual meaning, when applied to your own personal spiritual progress.

JASPER is opaque but impure quartz found in metamorphic rock. It denotes process of change, and every believer undergoes this metamorphosis from the moment we are born of God’s Spirit. Although it is precious and beautiful, Jasper is lacking in brilliance and rarity, being found in abundance, just like the millions who believe in the Lord. It always contains impurities, just like all of us.

SAPPHIRE means free from enchantment. It shows that we are no longer bewitched by the charms of Babylon. It also denotes repentance and indicates that we have given up all our arguments with God, and abandoned all the religious traditions that were once so important to us. Repentance is an ongoing attitude, a permanent characteristic of the overcomer.

CHALCEDONY denotes progress to less impurity. It is less cloudy than Jasper. As we respond to the call of God to be Holy as He is Holy, we reject all impurity of thought and deed. The more intimate our personal relationship with the Lord, the more we grow like Him, and the more we hate and reject sin. The Bride makes herself ready, and clothes herself, by her righteous acts, in fine linen, bright and clean. (Rev. 19:7, 8)

EMERALD discovers false friends and ensures true love. It denotes ability to discern the false from the real, and this ability is given to us by our Lord as He sees the sincerity of our hearts toward Him. True love for Jesus can only be given when we are no longer deceived and captivated by the beauty of the whore city, and He has not only the first place, but the only place in everything. We can also come to a point in our spiritual growth when we are able to see through those who profess to be friends but are not.

SARDONYX is believed to ensure conjugal felicity, success in love and wedded happiness. This speaks of the Bride’s faithful relationship to Jesus. Adornment with this stone means that we have no further adulterous relationships with Babylon. We enjoy an intimate personal love relationship with Jesus, which fills us with joy, and makes everything else unimportant by comparison.

SARDIUS (RUBY) is found in the breastplate of Aaron. (Ex.28:20). Every believer is a priest, and can intercede with God, for those without Christ, and can also proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom. As we function as priests for the unbeliever, we are adorned with this first priestly stone.

CHRYSOLITE is supposed to be the antidote for madness and denotes freedom from evil passions. When we are entirely free from the subtle form of religious madness that held us in Babylon, and which is not The Way, we are freed from the evil passions which made us love her, and with which we loved her. Then we are adorned with Chrysolite.

BERYL is the second stone found in the breastplate of Aaron. As our fellowship with Father matures we progress in understanding and ability to function as the priests of God. We function like Jesus functioned in His humanity, representing and revealing God to others when we are adorned with Beryl.

TOPAZ denotes fidelity and friendship, which grow out of a long and close personal relationship with the Lord.

“You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his Master is doing: but I have called you friends, for all the things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (Jn.15:14-15)

Topaz is reserved for the completely loyal and trustworthy friends of Jesus, who also unconditionally love one another.

CHRYSOPRASE shines in the dark. Jesus said that His disciples are to be the light of the world. We can only be the light of the world when Christ has been formed in us, and He is manifest in our lives to those about us. Many Christian activities in Jesus Name do not glorify God and we sometimes act and speak in an ungodly manner. Chrysoprase is reserved for those who reflect Christ in their attitudes and behavior, and thereby shine in the darkness of the world.

JACINTH is translucent, allowing the passage of light, but the stone diffuses the light so that the bodies beyond it cannot be clearly distinguished by the person looking at them through the Jacinth. Every prophet is adorned with Jacinth being able to receive directly from God and reveal His light and truth to others. Those who receive it through the prophet do not see or hear these things quite so clearly. Before we can be adorned with this precious stone we have to grow in fellowship with God, until we can receive the things that the eye cannot see and the ear cannot hear.

AMETHYST denotes sincerity and is a preventative from violent passions. In all of us there is a desire to appear spiritual in front of other believers. We may speak or act unspiritually when unobserved by our brothers and sisters, and the degree to which we do this reveals the hidden insincerity in our hearts. As we mature in God we cease to worry about the opinions of others and overcome this desire to be well thought of and of good reputation. At this point we become truly sincere and allow our true nature and inner feelings to be seen by all. Then if there is unrighteous anger, impatience, intolerance or other sinful impurities hidden inside us, they are revealed and our violent passions exposed. Those that love us and care for our souls can then help us to overcome these things, and be delivered from their spoiling effect on our inward walk. Only those who have willingly become of no reputation and have truly died to self can be adorned with Amethyst.

The Holy Spirit will reveal to us much more concerning these things if we will hear the voice of Jesus and become rooted and grounded in the Word of Christ. The Lord reveals much more to us about the Bride of Christ in these last two chapters of Revelation. He states plainly many things which we need to hear and heed.

The New Jerusalem has no temple or sanctuary in it, for the Lord God and the Lamb are its temple and sanctuary. (Rev. 21:22) How unlike the city of Babylon with its cathedrals of stone and glass, the bricks and mortar called “churches” or “sanctuaries” or “the house of the Lord” by the captive and deceived saints.

Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life may enter the city. (21:27) Its gates are always open, waiting for the Kings of the earth to bring their glory into it. How God longs for His royal priesthood to make themselves ready and so enter His city. (21:24, 25)

The bond servants of the Lamb have His Name written on their foreheads, for they have renewed minds and have developed the mind of Christ. (22:3, 4)

They serve the King of Kings, not some organized religious institution or man-made structure. (22:23)

The New Jerusalem is people. God’s children who have become His bond servants and friends and His bride. Through them flows the water of God’s life; a Spirit river which originates from the throne of God in the hearts of those who have truly enthroned Him there. (22:1-3)

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life and He yields His fruit continually, every month of the year. The leaves of the tree are those disciples, rooted and grounded in Christ who have been illumined by God and reign in life, bringing healing to the nations, both spiritual and physical. (22:2-6)

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and everyone who loves and practices lying. I JESUS HAVE SENT MY ANGEL TO TESTIFY TO YOU THESE THINGS FOR THE CHURCHES. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star. And the Spirit and the Bride say COME. And let the one who hears say Come. Let the one who is thirsty come, and let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” (Rev.22:14-17)

Jesus clearly states that all these things are for the churches, which means every born again believer in Christ. The Spirit and the Bride are saying “COME” to the children of God who make up the churches, because they are held captive by Babylon the Great.

The ones who HEAR and respond, also say “COME”.

Let those who are thirsty come out of Babylon and bring their glory into the New Jerusalem and take the water of life without cost.

COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE by Peter Whyte, Chapter 7, Part 2

Chapter 7, Part 2

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I COMMANDED YOU; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

Jesus does not instruct us to make church members of denominations, but disciples of the King and His Kingdom. Jesus does not instruct us to teach catechisms, homiletics, hermeneutics, psychology, the doctrines of our denomination, church history, the Bible, or anything else that the natural mind of man can invent.

Who has bewitched us that we blatantly disobey Him and neither do or teach what He taught? We must repent of our disobedience and restore the King to His rightful place as “the Head of every man”.

In His prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus clearly tells us that His words are the Word of God that He wants us to keep.

“I manifested Thy Name to the men that Thou gavest Me out of the world. Thine they were and Thou gavest them to Me and THEY KEPT THY WORD. Now they have come to know that everything that Thou hast given to Me is from Thee, FOR THE WORDS THAT THOU GAVEST ME I HAVE GIVEN TO THEM.”

(In. 17:6-8)

“I HAVE GIVEN THEM THY WORD.” (In.17:14)

“Sanctify them in the truth, THY WORD IS TRUTH.” (In. 17:17)

If we can break away from our habit of calling the Bible the Word of God, and refer to it as the Scriptures, many of our false concepts will be exposed. This will not alter the fact that every word of Scripture was inspired by God, and is of great value to us, but we will discern correctly THE WORD that is of paramount importance.

Jesus had to rebuke the religious leaders because they would not listen to Him, and preferred their own understanding of the Old Testament scriptures. It is an amazing phenomenon that religious Christians will likewise argue heatedly to defend their mind’s natural understanding of the scriptures, yet refuse to obey the true Words of Christ.

“And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. AND YOU DO NOT HAVE HIS WORD ABIDING IN YOU FOR YOU DO NOT BELIEVE HIM WHOM HE SENT. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is these that bear witness of me, and you are unwilling to come to Me that you may have life.” (In. 5:37-40)

Devotion to the Scriptures and failure to believe Jesus Himself will earn the Lord’s rebuke. Until we grasp the truth that Jesus and His teachings are what the New Testament calls the Word of God, we will not correctly understand what we are reading and hinder our spiritual growth. Obedience to Christ is the only way to grow in the Spirit, and to be given increased faith by the Lord.

It is important and excellent to know the Scriptures, but mere knowledge of them does not make us more like Jesus. More of Christ in us equals more spiritual growth. We are to become conformed to the image of the Son, not merely a people who can quote Scripture verses.

The apostle Peter instructs us to “desire the pure milk of the Word”. When he wrote this letter there was no New Testament, so he was not telling us to desire the pure milk of the Bible, but more of the pure milk of the Words of Jesus. It is obedience to the Words of Jesus that brings spiritual growth.

Peter starts his letter by telling us that “we have been chosen to obey Jesus Christ”. (1 Peter 1:1, 2) and then he writes:-

“…fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born not of the seed which is perishable but imperishable, THAT IS THROUGH THE LIVING AND ABIDING WORD OF GOD (referring to Jesus). For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off, but

THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER, and THIS IS THE WORD THAT WAS PREACHED TO YOU.” (The Word of Christ) Therefore putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and slander, long for the PURE MILK OF THE WORD (Christ’s Message) THAT BY IT YOU MAY GROW in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord, and coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a Holy Priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

(1 Peter 1:22-2:5)

Remember that the first recipients of this letter had all received teaching from the apostles long before they read this. True apostles of Christ do not disobey Him in their choice of foundational teaching, so we can be certain that the first readers of Peter’s epistles had been rooted and grounded in the doctrine of Christ. They immediately understood that the word of Christ’s message which had previously been preached to them was the pure milk of the Word.

Some of the many references to the Word of God, which in context can only mean the message, and not the bible are:-

“And the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables… But we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word’… And the Word of God kept on spreading…” (Acts 6:2,4,7)

“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent them Peter and John.”

(Acts 8:14)

“…Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the Word of God… Then the Proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.” (Acts 13:7,12)

The New Testament contains two very important statements, made by Paul and John, which stress the importance of the Words and teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately they are generally ignored by those who claim to teach God’s Word.

1. Paul writing to Timothy instructs him in the essence of sound doctrine, which is teaching right attitudes and relationships, and he concludes:-

“Teach and preach these principles (referring to all he has already written). If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree WITH SOUND WORDS, THOSE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, HE IS CONCEITED AND UNDERSTANDS NOTHING; but has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of depraved mind and DEPRIVED OF THE TRUTH, who suppose godliness is a means of gain.” (1 Tim. 6:2b-5)

2. John warns us that anyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God, and he says we should not have fellowship with such people.

“Anyone who goes too far and DOES NOT ABIDE IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST DOES NOT HAVE GOD. The one who abides in the teaching HAS BOTH THE FATHER AND THE SON. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting, for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” (2 J n. 9-11)

Every bible-believing Christian who sincerely desires to become a disciple of the King and His Kingdom will do well to meditate carefully upon these two passages of Scripture, and measure his beliefs and doctrines by them.

May we all humble ourselves and repent of our failure to give our King who is the Word of God, and who brought us the Word of God, His proper place as Head of the Body.

COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE – CHAPTER 5, PART 2

Come out of her my people – Chapter 5, Part 2

THE WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE

Until the Holy Spirit reveals to others the truth about Babylon we cannot explain these things to those in captivity. There is a veil before their eyes. Spiritual things are only spiritually understood and discerned, and the carnal, religious mind is unable to receive that which contradicts its intellectual knowledge. It is often wise to never explain and never complain. Jesus never tried to justify Himself or explain to His religious accusers, and we do well when we follow His example. If we have left Babylon of our own choosing, it should only be for the love of Christ and submission to his will.

Alternatively, if you have been spewed out of the system involuntarily, then see it as the gracious hand of God delivering you from captivity. Religion tears families apart. We do not need religion. We need to know Him. Intimate knowledge of Christ is attained outside the camp. A bride’s most intimate moments with the Bridegroom are not experienced in public or observed by others. When we are alone in the wilderness, there is nobody else to turn to except Him, and that is wonderful, and the best thing for us.

Our journey through the wilderness is usually slow, and may take a long time. If we have spent many years in Babylon, it can take years because a de-programming process must take place in our minds. The evil spirits of tradition and superstition and our deceiving religious culture need much time to be fully exposed, rejected and cleansed from our minds.

For most of us there is an overpowering feeling of guilt when we stop attending meetings, and drop all our previous religious activities. We become confused, for we do not know what to do when we stop doing the things that “Christians do” according to tradition and “popular belief”. There is also a very great danger that we may become ensnared by the world when we are alone in a spiritual wilderness, and it is therefore important that we resist temptation and shun evil companions in this period.

The wilderness experience will also cause some to give up and return to the carnal, well-ordered security of Babylon, but those who persevere to the end are overcomers.

There are seven promises to the overcomers:

1. They are granted to eat of the tree of life. (Rev. 2:7)

2. They will not be hurt by the second death. (Rev. 2:11)

3. They will be given some of the hidden manna and a new name known only to the one who receives it. (Rev. 2:17)

4. They will receive authority to rule over the nations with a rod of iron. (Rev. 2:26)

5. They shall be clothed in white garments and not have their names erased from the book of life, but have their names confessed by Jesus to His Father. (Rev. 3:5)

6. They will be made Pillars in the temple of God (the Body of Christ) and have the name of God (Jesus – Saviour) and THE NEW JERUSALEM written upon them. (Rev. 3: 12)

7. They will sit down with Jesus on His throne as He sits with the Father on His throne. (Rev. 3:21)

Only when the Name that is above every name is written on our foreheads, do we have the mind of Christ. However, like all God’s promises there is a condition to be fulfilled before we can receive them. These seven promises are received only by those who endure and overcome.

Father desires each one of His children to overcome:-

The world. The flesh. The devil and his demons.

This takes time, for there is seldom a quick and easy entrance into the New Jerusalem. Our journey is better understood as a process of transformation, and each one will progress according to their will to die to self and live for Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ must replace man as the Head of His Body, and He alone must be given the first place in everything.