Category: The Real Thing

Bibliolatry

“And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. “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 they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! (John 5:38-39)

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matt. 4:4)

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness,examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11)

There are many well-intended scribes among us in these latter days, devoted to external study, to mere words, many great teachers skilled at rightly dividing the written word. Mountains of books written, yet apostasy and falseness and superficiality everywhere and growing among so-called Christianity. They have taken the Word of Life and rendered it to mere fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; the wisdom of Solomon on scrolls of paper, but not written on the heart. “Live by biblical principles they say, and then reap the blessing of heaven.” They point to the Bible as some kind of path, some way out of death, when it was never given to be that. The Scriptures testify of Jesus Christ, and they witness to Him as the Word of God, sent down among us to express the very life and purpose of God in a way that we can comprehend. The “Word” of God is not just what Jesus (or His servants) said, but it represents all that He is – HE IS THE WORD OF GOD!

But (hear this please, for this is very important) life is not found in the Scriptures, and to take the New Testament and make its words and precepts so much like the law and prophets given to the Hebrews, is not what the Lord came to impart. “You do not have His word abiding in you,” said the Lord; and dedicating your entire life to mining, probing, dissecting, and parsing the written word may not get you one step further into the heart of God. You will become a scribe and scholar not a disciple trained on the bloody and narrow path that leads out of Adam into Christ. “Here take and you will be as God” said the dragon in the garden.

Jesus did not say it was better that He leave the twelve because He was going to give them the New Testament (and some super-apostle named Paul) to guide them in all matters of entering into the fullness of the Father – He said it was better because then He would indwell them personally and guide them from within through His Spirit. Then we will become branches of the true vine, bringing forth fruit of Him. Members of His body enlivened and directed by the Head, the Mind, the Brain that is Jesus. This does not negate the Scriptures at all but verifies them and substantiates them. Apart from the spirit, we cannot rightly divide them, or apply them, or even realize the rich spiritual meaning of them. But to take them beyond where they go, this is not helpful either. One can “know” the Bible and never truly know the Lord.

We all believe in the perfect, inerrant and Holy Bible, and it is an incalculable blessing to be sure. Yet it does not negate the need of each of us personally to be hearing the Shepherd as He leads us from within. We are to live by every word that God speaks; by His will in other words. Our lives in the Lord are living epistles and no less poignant or purposeful than the written letters we have brought down to us. As the Lord speaks to us He most often affirms this in the testimonies of those recorded in the Bible – this is my experience anyway, for what is worth.

When Ezra set up the schools to restore and circulate the written testimony of Israel, what evolved over centuries up until the time of the Lord was an oral tradition, a tradition of commentary and supplemental material (biblical principles and interpretations) from men known as as the Talmud. This was accompanied by sects, scribes, schools, each having their own slant on the testimony of God – sound familiar? This pattern has been repeated over the last 2000 years, until now many believers will not so much as stand up or sit down without affirmation from their favorite teacher or ministry. Well the Lord told them so much of what they had added to His Word was of the flesh, of men, and He then went on to teach what was really being expressed and intended. “You have heard… but I say….” They had taken the Scriptures as the end, the means to life, when it was really intended to point to and prepare the people for the coming of the Son of Man.

There is, to be sure, no less a Talmud it seems for Christians today than there was for the Hebrews. And this is at the least unhelpful and at the worst – dangerous. Rather than help the disciple to hear the Lord personally, these outward things can begin to replace His moment-by-moment leading. We are to obey the Lord, not some outward list of dos and donts. Converts are taught to live by “biblical principles” rather than following the Lord. Grace is stifled. Men (teachers) are exalted. Churches become schools rather than a body building up the members or a vine bearing fruit. Sermons become seminars with a step-by-step guide to living this life. There is great division over interpretation and ideas. The heart of the Lord is grieved. All because He is not first. All because men search the scriptures looking for something they can never give. Those who supposedly “know” lord it over His flock, yet they are not shepherds, and they are not the One True Shepherd!

We are to be led and instructed and illuminated in the ways of life from within, by the abiding spirit that will illuminate and breathe life into the written word. Yet the word on its own is just as useless for engendering life and salvation as the law. This is what Paul the pharisee taught, and this is why the Lord when selecting the twelve did not go the scribes or schools; He went to the seaside and the tax booth.

This “teaching” or that is not all that we need in this dark hour saints – but cross-bearing testimony, god-breathed witness and testimony, real spirit-touching-bone expression of life. And it begins and flows from within us, affirming His blessed Scriptures. “The Scriptures point to me” – yes but then we set Him aside and spend lifetimes returning to the Scriptures. They are a means to an end, not the end in itself!

…and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:19)

And so what indeed is “sound teaching”? It is everything and anything that leads to the increase of the love of Christ, that directs the thirty soul to drink deep at His well. It is never knowledge for its own sake. it is never – “if only I could learn enough, spend enough time at the feet of Gamaliel, etc.” That is spirit-sucking religion; it is outward, it looks and smells and feels so good but it can never engender the life and fullness of God.

Statements mean nothing! Statements of Faith even less! What is the the Lord saying to each of us now is what matters.

What matters is that the Living Word that came down has penetrated us and become flesh in us so that we live and move and have our new being in Him alone – the scriptures will then take care of themselves, and something wonderful will begin to happen – we will indeed begin to understand His divine purposes in the revelation of His written Word. We will see Jesus Christ in them, and once they have directed us to Him, deeper to Him, we can set them in their safe and rightful place.

This is a delicate matter saints, one requiring maturity and balance, yet what is needed in this dark hour is not more scribes, not more rabbis, not more textualists – but witnesses, prophets, cross-bearing, striped lambs who are willing to lay it all down for the Lord, to stand by Him and His little ones who are bearing the scorn and reproach of this world –

You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; (Luke 22:28)

Do that brothers, be that – and then you will see. The windows will open, and the scriptures will affirm all that you see. You cannot study life, you must live it, you must enter into it, knee-deep and then neck-deep until it is all and only the Lord, all His way in you – spirit, soul and body!

Bro Sparks writes on this subject of knowing, truly knowing, epignosis (Greek: knowing as a living, breathing, costly truth that is wrought at the very center of your spirit), knowing beyond mind, ideas, concepts, etc. And what makes this knowing real? Well it is the cross isn’t it, the very thing we have shunned in this generation, the very awful thing that we have set aside. The cross as it works its deep and terrible force in a man’s heart and life, unleashes a power that turns merely knowing into revelation – something laid bare and revealed. This is why the wilderness, why the cave, while the barrenness and loss, why the scorn and reproach, why the gates of hell come against us.

I absolutely adore how Bro. Sparks (below) so exquisitely conveys something that I have struggled to express for many years now. Oh for saints such as these, who have gone down, gone in, gone deep, and come out again with eyes wide open.

Oh pray that we would be willing to lose all that we might gain such an abiding knowing of our Lord and His ways.

The prophet must live the message he is to convey to the Lord’s wayward people. We need prophets today like never before, those willing to pay the price of seeing and hearing the Lord. Pray He will raise ones such as these among us in this hour.

Lord, we know what You have said, we know what is written, and we thank you Lord. Yet we need to know what You are saying to us now, in this time. Grant us Your word, your heart, that we might be everything we need to be for one another as the days grow darker, and the evil advances inside the gate. Let there be nothing we look back to once we have left this Sodom, let it all be released from our hearts forever, that You might have Your place on the very throne of our lives. In Jesus, we live and move and pray these things. amen


The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Daniel 11:32)

After the Cross, all the fullness of the Divine power was released upon the world through those who had been brought into absolute oneness with the Lord by that Cross. That is the peculiar kind of knowledge which means the release of such forces and such powers upon the world situation as are unknown by the great world systems. First, let us remember that this knowledge of God is by revelation. We can never get this knowledge of God merely by reading, by listening, by attending meetings…. You may understand it all by mental apprehension, know the terms and the verses, and use them – but what about the dynamic of this thing? What does our personal presence in a situation mean? Does it mean that there is the going out of a power which cannot be accounted for on any human basis whatever, but which is a greater force than the forces that are represented by world organizations, world methods, world resources? It is a most important question. Is this thing alive, or have we merely got a little more mental apprehension of it through conferences? Do we know God in this thing by reason of a personal inward revelation on the subject?

Secondly, it comes by the way of pain. You get a thing revealed to you as truth, perhaps something about the Cross of Christ, or victory over Satan, and you think you know it, and you say, “This is beautiful!” And you begin to talk about it, and it is not very long before something happens – your circumstances are touched. Now you go down with this truth, down into the vortex of awful agony, right down to the gates of hell, your being is upheaved right from the very bottom, and all the time there is the question – “Will that truth hold good?” Is it going to work? And when you have got down as far as you can go, the flesh elements and the self elements have been dealt with, and you grimly hold on to the Lord in this matter of victory – then it comes out, you have tested it right to the very bottom of your being – that thing has become you, and then you can go to others in their grim conflict and their darkness, and say, “I know – I know this thing, and I know God is faithful, I know the victory.” You have got a mighty emphasis on your knowledge, it is a thing about which you have no doubt, because you have gone down into the depths with it, and proved it down there, and by the very pain the thing has been proved.

May this word speak to some of you groaning under the burden of never knowing enough.

Let us esteem each other more worthy than ourselves in this our, of our love, of our blessings, of our prayers and our treasure.

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Trees

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I stared at this tree for such a long time on a recent trip to NE Thailand.

Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 3)

If we are awake, we learn more about the Lord from the natural world, than from the bible or any other book.

Take trees, for example.

There really is nothing like a tree.

It stands alone.

It provides shelter.

It provides food.

It provides protection.

Through photosynthesis, it ensures the cycle of life for all around it.

Its height is determined by the depth and strength of its roots.

It provides cool shade in the heat of the sun.

In winter time, it appears to be asleep or even dead, but it comes back to life in the spring.

There is rebirth and renewal.

Many varied creatures, great and small, all find a place here.

Watch the birds and the squirrels, and the insects, how their entire existence is so intimately and symbiotically connected to the tree that is their home.

It is impossible to consider them apart from the life of the tree. They are one with it. They run to it when they are threatened, when they are hungry, when they are cold, and when they are vulnerable to the world around them.

Everything about the tree speaks of life, and fruitfulness, intimacy and relationship.

And even in a deeper way, grace and love; for the tree asks little, perhaps nothing at all, of those that benefit from it.

It is silent but says so much for all those with ears to hear.

It is majestic and imperial, but yet so approachably humble.

There within its cool canopy of shade and quiet, you will find peace and covering.

The wind will blow the storms will rage.

But you will be untouched.

So today, put your books down and go walk among the trees.

Listen to all they have to say.

For they are trees of life,

Just as He is the Tree of Life.

Labels

I am personally finished with labels. They are designed solely to divide, exclude and discriminate, as they are so front-loaded with meaning and value. So what if you are not a “christian”, or an “evangelical” or this or that. The first response from those that are, is that “you are not one of us”, so there is suspicion. division and fear.

What is our first response when we here someone is a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Catholic?

Be honest now.

It is that you are not like me, you are not in my group, I have to change that. I either have to avoid you entirely or  convert you, change your mind in some way.

We hate racial prejudice but accept religious prejudice freely and loosely all the time. THIS IS WRONG and very dangerous, and it is not the way of our Lord. He never once said to anyone, go and become a christian, change your name. He said “go and sin no more” if I am not mistaken.

Look at how these pious, religious men treated lepers, the unclean, gentiles, Samaritans, and prostitutes in the New Testament. Look at how their labels reared up high walls around these human souls. Repugnant. Insidious. Then look at how the Master so graciously and irreverently tore them all down into heaps at their feet.

Let us here and now vow to stop labeling human beings, and start treating all human beings as children of God, individuals with a redemptive story, a history, value and meaning.

No more of this us and them mentality. No more caste systems! No more untouchables!

We will never learn anything or truly share anything with anyone if we are trying to convert them to our label. Love is impossible with labels, as you will never go deeper than the label and all of its associated bigotry and meaning.

Children do not use labels!

Go the playground and watch and listen.

Watch as little ones approach others they know nothing about.

Are their first words – “What are you?”

Or do they look for things they can share – a toy, an activity, an interest, and then plunge right in?

So over time, their parents begin the process of programming them to discriminate, and for this they need what – LABELS.

Black, white, rich, poor, christian, pagan, american, republican, democrat…

So by the time they reach adulthood, they are no longer looking for things they can share but things that discriminate and divide. They have become as narr0w, isolated and small as their parents.

“Come to me as little children” – said a very wise man.

Labels are a lazy, insidious, sheep-like way of making sense of all of the color and diversity in this world.

All is done.

Once you discover that the man over there is a Muslim, there is nothing else to know. You will never know what is in his heart, never discover that he deeply loves his family and works hard to support and provide for them, never know that the faith he holds is a sincere and deep one. You will never go to his home and share a meal with him.

In short, you will never, ever, ever be like the very one you profess to follow.

Consider how aggressively the various Jewish groups tried to get Joshua to proclaim which groups he was in – pharisee, saducee, herodian, etc. So they could then either shun or exploit Him. This still goes on today. The christian caste system is every bit as active and insidious as anything found in Hinduism.

“One can never safely approach God through theology, only by the Holy Spirit.”

Do you know who wrote that?

What would you say if I told you it was a Buddhist monk from Viet Nam.

“Oh but, but…”

See how this works.

NO MORE LABELS!!!!

If God is Love…

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

“So what did you learn in Sunday School today darling?” said the father to his young daughter as they got into the car.

“We learned that God is love. That love is the thing that God is most known for”, she replied.

“A wonderful lesson my dear, so true, so very true. He loves us very much.”

As they drove through the thick, green countryside, there was a period of long silence, as the young girl seemed to be deep in thought.

“Daddy….”

“Yes darling?”

“When we see people who are not Christians acting with love towards each other, does that mean God is there with them?” she asked curiously.

“Hmm.” said the man pensively… “I suppose it does, doesn’t it.”

What if…?

What if… all the churches and denominations in America liquidated all of their buildings, all their schools, all their real estate, all their TV and media assets, all their publishing houses, and all of their investment holdings, then went out into the street with all that money and fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, comforted the needy, clothed the naked, propped up all the hurting families who just need a leg up?

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What if… every American missionary sent abroad was brought home, and we simply prayed for the Lord to bring His Life and His Love to the poor and needy in this world?

What if all of the parasites and leaches who make a living off of the name of our Lord were exposed, dragged out into the courtyard, and told to “leave and never come back, just leave and never come back”?

What if …. every named “Christian”  group was surreptitiously dissolved, and all badges and labels that divide us were no longer? What if every sign was toppled and stamped into the dust?

What if… we stopped judging sinners and simply started loving and serving them?

What if… the sheep would rise up and turn the tables over, then take back all that was stolen from them in the name of God for over 2,000 years?

What if… if there were no more preachers and priests, no special chairs, no private rooms, no privileged status among God’s little ones? 

What if …men and thieves were to stop making merchandise of the things of our Lord, and simply worshiped Him in Spirit and in Truth?

What if… there were no more high places, no Jerusalem and Rome, only a hillside, and a place where we go to meet the Lord wherever He may be?

What if… the world saw something it has never truly seen before, and experienced a truth borne out of love, and enlightenment borne out of real grace?

What if… we finally realized that the One Narrow Way is a Person – not a religion, not a group, not a system, not a book nor a building?

What if… we rendered to Caesar the things that are his, and we rendered to the Lord everything else? What if every Christian and every group employing Jesus’ Name severed all reciprocal political and business ties? What if the singular ideology and imperative remaining was to simply serve the Lord?

What if Christians stopped pretending, stopped lying to themselves, stopped serving two gods, stopped raising themselves above the rest of humanity, stopped taking up arms to shed the blood of God’s children, stopped playing the harlot with the world?

What if…?

“Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,… (Matt 23)

The Religification of the Father’s Son

In His life and in His words and in everything He expressed and represented when He came down to walk among us, the Father’s Son rejected everything that is religion.

Religion happens when men, in some manner, touch or interpret the things of Father God.

Religion promises much, but only promotes and advances death. It tends to breed obsequious sycophants who exist only to prop up a small privileged class of priests and preachers.

Yet He, the Father’s Beloved Son, is the Life of the World. He is both the Tree and the Fruit of Life in His Father’s Garden.

He never forced anyone to come to Him or remain with Him. There was never the need to resort to coercion or duplicity.

Religion probes endlessly into the abstract and the metaphysical, exhaustively attempting to draw lines and form boxes. Those with the pens tend to enjoy special titles and  letters after their name, like Phd, and Thd. anything to remind the sheep that they are in a class above.

He invited the little children to come and simply be with Him. He allowed the sick woman to touch Him. Real human tears washed His feet.

Religion connotes endless study, the reading and interpretation of texts, the exaltation of teaching and teachers.

He said “Follow me” and “Watch and see”

Religion gives place and prestige to men. It is wholly and miserably corruptible. It has a price.

He worshiped His Heavenly Father and invited us to do the same. freely and simply and forever.

With the touch of men, comes the foul stench of religion, and fetters and toil.

With Yeshua, comes a sweet savor, freedom and rest.

Religions have different names and presumptions, and doctrines but they are all yet the same. They all lead to the same poverty and thirst.

Religions have symbols, and high places and histories packed full of tradition and mythology.

It is all painted gold. Scratch the surface with a child-like heart, and you will see.

Religion seeks out and devours zeal, then steals men’s souls, one by one, it is a consuming fire.

It is proud, haughty, insatiable, shadowy, feeding on innocent human faith like a drunkard with a jug of wine.

The Father’s Son declared a new way to live, in Him, for the Father, from a heart of compassion and tenderness and love.

He was sincere, pure, real, genuine, touchable, always glorifying the Father, never Himself or other men.

For two millennial since He left us, men and demons have leavened everything He did and said with religion, with isms and ologies.

All is a lie.

All is stained.

All leads only to chains and death.

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This message is to all or any of the little ones who will hear –

Stand up. Lay down your chains. Set aside your doctrines and presumptions and sacred books.

Walk out that door and through the gate. Go up to the hillside where He is waiting for you. Don’t ever look back.

Place your weary head upon His breast.

Until you feel His ageless heart beating beneath you.

And be at peace my brother, just be at peace.

Lord forgive us all.

 

 

No Place for Any Other First – W.E. Smith

Dear saints – It is with some fascination that I contemplate what men try so creatively, so ingeniously to do for the Lord. It is as though we don’t trust Him, or somehow feel we can do things better in terms of bringing about the fullest expression of spiritual body life. I absolutely relish this description by Sparks here of what really transpired shortly after He ascended –

“While there was some initial testimony, the Apostles did not formulate in conference an enterprise, a mission, with all the related arrangements and organization. The new Life forced off the old leaves and dressed the new organism with a new vesture from within. The might, energy and urge of the Holy Spirit within produced a Way and an order, un-thought-of, unintended by them, and always to their own surprise. What was happening was really that Christ was taking form within them, individually and corporately, by new birth and growth. The believers and the companies were becoming an expression of Christ.”

Now if I may speak quite frankly, such a thing positively scares the life out of many believers, especially those who feel that everything of Christ must be branded, named, organized, systematized, collectivized, boxed, replicated, scheduled, itemized, etc.

Where I wonder in what Sparks has described is there a place for one such as Diotrephes, who loves to be first, over others, standing apart, in some place of self-importance?

I dare say that such Nicolaitans create these unnatural religious mechanisms so that they can control them, lord over them and derive no small degree of stature and importance from them – all in the name of Christ, all for Him ostensibly.

“THESE THINGS I HATE!”

…said the Master.

Rather than step back and glory in what the Lord through His Spirit was doing back then, we rather pull a verse out of the Book of Acts and create a system, a methodology from it – oh what a wonderful idea.

“They met in homes” – Oh so the pattern for church is to meet only and always in homes.

“The church in this city.” – Oh so we must organize city churches with spiritual headship over each jurisdiction.

“They all sold what they had…” oh so we are to give all of our resources to a centralized church body and have them manage and distribute it as they deem suitable.

Dear saints, what is so delicious, so marvelously impressive about the Book of Acts, is not only these things specifically, but that the wind was blowing, and that these saints allowed themselves to be swept up and away in its moving. Nothing of men, All from the Lord. Attempting, even with the very best of intentions, to replicate, simulate or return to the various particulars of what happened HAVE AND WILL FAIL EVERY TIME!

This book is a book not of patterns and templates, but of free-flowing life. It is the most un-religious book ever written.

May we open all of our doors, tears down all of our walls, open all of our windows – and simply let the mighty wind of the Spirit bring forth life into our fellowship and union with one another in the Lord. May we lay down all pride and lust for power and control. May we learn from John in his first letter which speaks of real heaven-blown fellowship and oneness in the LIGHT, LIFE and LOVE of God.

May He breathe on these words as they pass through your day today… amen

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From TAS –

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you. (Ephesians 1:18 NIV)

It is a seeing of the immense significance of Jesus in the eternal and universal order. With the Apostles that seeing was subsequent to the days of physical association. During the forty days after His resurrection it was like the dawning of a new day. First, those intimations, as when the uncertain light just passes over the heavens. Then more steady and certain rays, leading to the Day of Pentecost, when the sun appeared in full glory over the horizon dispelling the last shadow of uncertainty. On that day they saw Him as by an opened heaven. The mystery of the past was dispelled. The Bible lay open like a new book. They saw Him in the light of eternity. They began to see that, while He was the glorified, personal, Son of God, He was Himself the embodiment of a great, a vast heavenly and spiritual order and system. This seeing was absolutely revolutionary. It was a crisis out of which a new world and a new creation was born. True to this fundamental principle, all that vast revelation, which has come down the centuries from and through the Apostle Paul took its rise from that crisis described by him as “It pleased God… to reveal His Son in me” (Gal. 1:16). “I received it… by revelation of Jesus Christ” (vs. 12). All the implicates were in the crisis; the full content was a progressive and ever-growing revelation.

While there was some initial testimony, the Apostles did not formulate in conference an enterprise, a mission, with all the related arrangements and organization. The new Life forced off the old leaves and dressed the new organism with a new vesture from within. The might, energy and urge of the Holy Spirit within produced a Way and an order, un-thought-of, unintended by them, and always to their own surprise. What was happening was really that Christ was taking form within them, individually and corporately, by new birth and growth. The believers and the companies were becoming an expression of Christ.