While reading the book, The Virtue of Selfishness, (written by Ayn Rand, an admitted agnostic), my eyes were opened to a truth seldom recognized: egoism and altruism can be compatible. A life of self-interest and a life of unselfish concern for others need not be mutually exclusive. Have you ever considered selfishness as a virtue? Well, it is, when we come to see who our true Self really is. At that point we see that the mature Christian life is not one of "either/or", but of "both/and". Both egoism and altruism have a viable place in the life of a spiritual "father".
One of our favorite phrases in Union-life is "I'm for others." Once we see that "As He is, so also are we in this world" (1 John 4:17), we properly conclude that we too are "otherlovers", regardless of occasional appearances to the contrary. We recognize that as "God so loved the world that He gave", so we too are lovers of all mankind, and we too will give and live and die that others might live in creative freedom. We say with Paul: "So death works in us and life in you (others)." This is true altruism: an unselfish concern for the welfare of others.
But what about us? Does dying to self in the interest of others mean an annihilation of all self-interest? Why do we talk so much about finding out who we are in Christ if all selfinterest is to be replaced by a life for others?
For me, the answer to these questions lies in an understanding of the difference between two words: egoism and egotism. The first is "the doctrine that self-interest is the proper goal of all human actions." The latter is defined as "self-conceit" or "selfishness". Though "egoism" and "egotism" are sometimes used interchangeably, in the area of ethics and philosophy "egoism" is accepted as having a positive quality, whereas "egotism" has clearly negative connotations.
Jesus was an egoist, but not an egotist. He was always saying "I - I - I ='. "I am the way, the truth and the life." "I am the bread of life." "I am the light of the world." Yet Jesus was the ultimate altruist - He lived and died as a total intercessor for others. If both egoism and altruism were true in His life, why should they both not be true in our lives?
The problem lies in our incorrect assumption that there must be a disparity between what we want for ourselves and what the transcendent God wants for us. This wrong assumption is another by-product of our past brain-washing as to the consequences of the Fall. When will our focus on alienation and separation finally become history?
Many problems will vanish when we finally learn to live with that "inner wink" of union consciousness; for then we will know that self-interest is really SELF-interest, because our "self" is actually God Himself, the Self of the universe. Even our selfishness will then be seen as a form of loving God, and when we say "I" we will really mean "He in me." When we finally see that we have an eternal God-nature because of the truth of replacement and union, all previous hang-ups caused by a separated outlook will miraculously fade into the unknown.
We have been properly taught that "to worship and serve God is the chief aim of man." But we have not been taught that we and our neighbors are all forms of the One God. So we do not appreciate the fact that to love and serve ourselves (as well as our neighbors) is to love and serve God. There is no automatic priority or preference between serving God, serving ourselves and serving mankind - they are all the same.
As we find out who the real "I" is, altruism (intercession) will be seen as the total, spontaneous outflow of our lives. Altruism will no longer be an onerous, contrived effort at serving God by serving our unlovely neighbors, but will be seen for what it really is: a natural flood of egoism (SELF-centeredness) that flows from us to others. All serving and pleasing
Page 2 UNION LIFE
of ourselves will result in a serving and pleasing of others, and vice versa.
My own experience confirms these truths. As an inner consciousness of who I am has taken me, I see less and less need of a focus on either egoism (pleasing myself) or altruism (pleasing others and God). I just live. Life has changed from a forced focus to a free flow. I contentedly rest in Jesus' words: "He who believes in Me ... from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water." I trust that this issue of UNION LIFE will cause many to see more clearly the rivers flowing out of them.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 A Damascus Road Experience
- David Ord
6 From Ground Level To Summit
- Amy Darnell
7 More Prison Letters
8 Rusiko - Norman Grubb
10 Sin No More - Bill Volkman
13 Dead: Not Divorced - Dan Stone 14 Let's Talk It Over - Bill Mortham 17 The Gift, The Giving, And The Giver
- Darrell Scott
18 Our First Visit To The Islands - Dan
20 Quotable Quotes - Brenda Marcy
22 What About The Smoking Habit? - Nor
24 The Beauty Of Angry Rebellion - Jacki
25 A New Awareness - Bill Mortham 26 Mailbag
COVER-The cover photograph is from beautiful Hawaii. See this issue for details about Union Life's first visit to the Islands, via Norman Grubb and Dan and Barbara Stone.
Editor: Bill Volkman
Assistant Editor: Dan Grubb
Circulation & Correspondence: Claudia Volkman,
Contributing Artists: Richard Moszumanski,
Jim Seward, Salvador Alcantara Contributing Editors: Norman Grubb, Bill Mortham
Alan Parker, Donald Scott, Dan Stone, John Whittle Design: Dwight Walles
Each of us probably finds someone in the Bible with whom to identify in a special way. For me, that biblical character is Joseph.
It was 13 long years from the time Joseph first received a glimpse of the intercessory role his life was to fulfill until the dream was fulfilled. That is a large chunk out of anyone's life, especially in his prime years from age 17 to 30.
Joseph was dragged from his homeland to become a slave in a far off country. It seemed impossible that he should ever see his father and mother again. He would probably never know freedom again. And yet, there were these dreams: what could they have meant?
No doubt his hopes rose when he found favour with his master, Potiphar. He rose to lofty heights in that household. Were the dreams about to come to pass? He must have been expectant.
But suddenly, his world fell apart for the second time. His situation was far worse than before. He found himself in the dungeons, a common criminal. It seemed he would rot in that prison. There was no way to escape, despite his favour with the keeper.
Then came the two servants of Pharaoh, thrown into Joseph's company for a few days. When he rightly interpreted their dreams, his hopes for release must have soared.
Two years went by. Each time things looked as though they were on the mend in Joseph's life, they deteriorated. What was God doing? Had he deserted his servant? Were
by David Ord
the dreams meaningless? Was he mistaken in interpreting them as God's calling to a great task?
Suddenly, the doors of the prison opened. He was hurriedly cleaned up to be presented before Pharaoh. In a flash, he realised what his Creator had been about. Each piece of the jigsaw fell into place. God had been with him every step of the way; each incident had been according to his perfect plan!
When his brothers feared for their future some years later, he explained, "And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."
God meant it for good! What a glorious truth. And it is as true for each one of us as it was for Joseph.
In 1962 I prayed earnestly for light on a particular matter. Not until 1975, some 13 years later, did that light dawn.
I had heard a radio broadcast by one Herbert W. Armstrong, and his son Garner Ted Armstrong. At that time, as a keen (but very young) evangelical, I was in the habit of tuning to various religious programmes, particularly those of Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. DeHahn, and others like them. I had a great interest in the Bible, an interest which had been awakened in an evangelical Sunday school within the Anglican church in the north of England.
This broadcast offered a free magazine by the name of Plain Truth. I wrote for copies. Suddenly, I was in confusion.
The magazine claimed that mainstream evangelical Christianity watered down the Word of God. It presented what was to me at the time a convincing biblical case for keeping the law of Moses, excepting for the sacrificial and temple elements. We were forgiven past sins by grace, it explained; but that did not mean we should continue to sin. We were cleansed in order to begin obeying - and that meant keeping the law.
I came to believe that I had not in fact been living by "every word of God" as Jesus admonished men to do. Indeed He had warned about those who would water down the law, relegating some of its commandments to a position of non-essentiality. Men should observe the whole law - every last jot and tittle, right down to the least commandment - not only the letter, but even the intent (Matt. 5:17-20).
Evangelical friends assured me that I was the victim of a false prophet. I was terrified! If they were right, it could mean I would burn in hell eternally! So I pleaded with God to open my eyes to the truth.
And in I went to what my friends described as a "cult". Old ties were severed, and soon the Worldwide Church of God and its Ambassador College had become my life.
After four years of training, I graduated and was sent to the New Zealand office of Plain Truth. Then in 1973 I was transferred back to England to take up duties as personal assistant to the vice president for Europe and the Middle East, one of
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 3
the Worldwide Church's highest ranking ministers and executives.
In this post I began writing extensively for the Plain Truth and other Worldwide Church publications. There were also administrative duties, and a fairly extensive speaking schedule. I wrote articles upholding observance of the law, showing how those who claimed to be Christians in other churches had a hazy notion of the whole question of sin and righteousness. I had a zeal for the law akin to that of Saul the Pharisee.
But in 1975 I was reading the letter of Paul to the Galatians in personal Bible study when several statements in the letter began to hit me in a way they had not done before. I had always viewed Galatians as addressing the problem of trying to earn forgiveness. Of course, no amount of law-keeping could undo past sins. Jesus had to die because we cannot put right the past by our own efforts. It seemed to me that this was what Paul was saying in his letter to the Galatians.
Now I saw that Paul was combating something far more subtle. The Galatians would not have imagined that they could earn forgiveness. Paul agreed that they had started out right, receiving forgiveness by grace. It was how they had gone on that was the problem. And not even Judaism taught men that they could earn forgiveness! That is why the old covenant had a built-in sacrificial system, to take care of men's failures. No, the Galatians knew better than to imagine they could wipe out past sins by their own law-keeping.
What they had fallen for was the concept that Christ's work on the cross was not in itself sufficient: it only netted forgiveness; but this forgiveness must be followed up by obedience to God in the form of lawkeeping.
The Galatians had been told by Jewish Christians, who were keeping the law in Jerusalem, that the law was binding on them. Christ had indeed become the true sacrifice for sins; but that did not mean people could continue sinning by breaking the law. Christ was only the means of forgiveness, and we must actually perform righteousness to continue on toward perfection.
After all, these Jewish Christians no doubt continued, what was wrong with the law? Who could fault the ten commandments, the annual holydays, the food laws, the laws about tithing increase, the agricultural laws such as the seventh-year land rest, and a
host of other commandments?
I had learned to meditate upon the law like king David of Israel. There were some beautiful laws when it came to how to run a community of human beings. Laws about taking a straying ox back to its owner, not taking the mother bird and her chicks at the same time, leaving the corners of fields unharvested so that the poor might glean them, and building a parapet on a flat-roofed house so that no one could fall off. Paul rightly called the old covenant and its laws "glorious". It was "holy, just, and good". It was "spiritual", too, for it reflected something of the character of God.
So the Galatians had been persuaded to take up with these old covenant observances. Not the sacrificial laws - they couldn't offer sacrifices in Galatia, only in Jerusalem. Besides, Christ was their sacrifice. But they had begun to keep much of the rest of the law.
How clever! And similar arguments have fooled millions since.
The Christian church never really got free of the problem of Galatianism. After the death of Paul, they quickly began returning to old covenant practices. Priests were introduced. Church buildings were erected, with altars, like simplified forms of the temple. Ritual multiplied. Before long the Christian church looked little different from the old covenant church of Israel, and the life of Christ was largely crushed by a burden of legalism.
We have some lovely church buildings here in England. I can understand why people cling to them. Men must have some "thing" to help them worship - a building, the administrations of a priest, robes, altars, a set pattern of service with beautiful oratorical language. These things are considered "aids" to worship, yet in reality they create the illusion of a God who is separate.
Jesus died to break down the mediatorial barriers of old covenantstyle religion. He revealed God as "Abba, Father" - the God within us, who welcomes us as part of his intimate family. Now we no longer need "things" to assist our worship; we are the building of God, indwelt by his Spirit. Stiff, formal prayers addressed to an "Almighty God" belonged to old covenant times - they have no place in God's new covenant family.
I had been in an extreme form of Galatianism. When I severed my links with the organization I had been locked into for those 13 years, after trying to bring as much light as
possible to those within, I imagined that my battle with legalism was over. Little did I know that I would leave behind one form of bondage. . only to discover that the majority of Christians are themselves trapped in a neo-Galatianism!
They may be in a watered-down form, but the ten commandments still play a prominent role in the Christian church, together with a whole array of other laws that are not actually in the Bible. These range from rules about dress (particularly for women, because many have never faced their sexual hang-ups), to rules about not drinking alcohol, not playing cards, the importance of a "quiet time" of prayer and Bible study each day, fasting, and an endless variety of similar rules depending on your group's particular bent. Milder than I was in, perhaps, but legalism all the same.
I discovered that the church is more often like a hospital than a barracks. We seem to be God's sick soldiers much more than his victorious soldiers. We try, but fail; the Christian life is more downs than ups. Repentance and confession of failure, together with a deep longing for something better, figure largely in evangelical Christianity when people are really honest with themselves. (The system is supposed to work, so it isn't too often that people will admit that it really doesn't work for them.)
For the next 18 months I was somewhat disillusioned with the church. I could not find a church that was at all into the new covenant. Until one evening we heard a minister speak who at least seemed to be relevant in the 20th century.
We learned that his church had begun in a redundant church building, with eight or nine people in attendance. Over about twelve years it had grown into a sizeable congregation in the centre of York, just across the road from the city's famed Minister. Now there were some 300-400 at a morning family service, and around 800 at the evening service of worship.
The service was very gentle, with the Anglican liturgy, but much more "alive" than my wife and I had ever seen before. It was modern. A singing group had replaced the usual choir, and the strumming of guitars together with the organ enlivened many beautiful songs of worship.
Before long the opportunity arose to begin to play a fuller role in the life of this church. My wife became secretary to the minister, and I assisted him with the final editing of a
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couple of books. The way opened for me to lead one of the house groups, and to impart a little of what I had learned from my experience of living under law and being released into new covenant freedom.
I shared with everyone who God placed in my path the fact of "Christ in us", the "mystery" Paul wrote of.
The external law God gave for Israel (it was never intended for the Gentiles) was just the ABC's of love, I explained - love expressed in a childlike form that humans without the Spirit of God can understand. This law was a "way of life". But it was just a shadow of the true and living way. That Way is Jesus. We walk this way as he lives within us. It is not following an external code, a written law. It is following the inner urges and impulses of the Spirit.
The old covenant was external - a way of life spelled out in commandments, statutes, judgments. It was a written law that men tried to keep.
The new covenant is not written, either on stones or with pen and ink. It is internalised. It is written on hearts and minds. It is not a "thing"; it is a person, the resurrected Christ living within us. This is what Jeremiah and Ezekiel foretold, a day when men would do by nature, naturally, spontaneously, the things of God. The commandments of Jesus are not words written on paper, but the thousands of commandments he prompts us with all the time in the inner man. This is the living Word that replaces the dead letter.
The law had said worship God. But how could carnal humans perform this? By not having other gods, not making idols, and by setting certain periods of time aside to concentrate on the things of God. That was the closest they could come, and all that God required under the terms of the first covenant.
I explained that I now understood these things as mere shadows of the reality, for we have become "one" with God through his dwelling within us. We have entered into continual communion with him. "I in them, and thou in me," was how Jesus expressed his own union with the Father, and we share in that same union.
Eternal life, which I had previously looked for as something in the future, I now discovered is knowing the Father and the Son (John 17:3). It is to experience this life of union with God. We become partakers of the divine nature right here on earth, so that we already enjoy every spiritual
blessing in the heavenly realm. We have been raised up into a new dimension through a new birth, and all has become new.
There is nothing more thrilling than to see people grasp hold of this glorious revelation of the mystery of the gospel. I have been privileged to share it with quite a number over the past few years, and on a recent trip to Australia the Lord opened the way for me to speak in several churches and two Bible colleges, telling of our Damascus road experience.
Leaving the law behind was like emerging from a dungeon into the glorious light of day. Everything that the external law tried to state in outline form I now find fulfilled in the fullest sense because the one who is the Way - who is Love - lives through me.
Jesus' words in John 10:10, "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly," have taken on tremendous meaning. For many years I thought Jesus was talking about a prescribed "way of life" as revealed in the law. I thought that I should try to follow this way, asking God to forgive whenever I failed. But I found myself trapped in the Romans 7 syndrome - "Wretched man that I am." Now I know real "life", flowing spontaneously from within; not the shadow, but the reality.
God desires to free many from the bondage of legalism, and he is moving to do this all around the world. Here and there are prominent church leaders who are beginning to grasp the Mystery. At the same time, the Lord has been moving to soften hearts all over the world. Long-dead churches in all denominations are being renewed, breaking with old patterns and tasting the new wine of the Spirit. I believe that the renewal we have seen in recent years is only preparatory for what our Father plans for his church.
The charismatic experience has made tens of thousands aware of the difference between religion and life. But most have not yet found. what they are seeking. Operation of the gifts of the Spirit is only the first rung of the ladder when it comes to claiming our full inheritance in Christ. Many are still thirsting, not realising that they have the capacity for rivers of living water dwelling within! They are seeking, but don't know where to look.
This then is no time for withdrawing from those who have not as yet entered into these glorious truths. It is no time for aloofness. It is time to be among our brothers and sisters, and
as opportunity presents itself we must point them in the right direction. As the charismatic renewal wanes as a "thing in itself", the need for those who know the way increases.
God's ways of preparing us for service - for none of us has been called at this time for our own benefit alone - are mysterious indeed. Why did God let me become enmeshed in Galatianism for all those years? Why did he allow Joseph thirteen years of darkness before fulfilling his dreams? Few of us understand at the time. Yet as we trust in every circumstance, the good and the bad, that everything is according to his perfect will, we find that nothing was without purpose.
Why didn't the Lord open the eyes of Saul the Pharisee before he martyred Stephen, and perhaps many others? His Damascus road could have come earlier. But God knew that these seeming tragedies were all a necessary part of preparing Paul for his life's work, when hundreds of thousands would come to understand "Christ in you".
When the light went on, Paul saw vividly. There were no grey areas where the law was concerned. He had been so deeply entrenched in legalism that when God opened his eyes he really "got the message". And he was able to labour far more abundantly than other apostles for whom the contrast between the old and new covenants was more blurred.
What a tremendous thing it is to realise that our Father is forming each one of us as a unique expression of himself, that we might feed a hungry world. That he cares so much as to tailor circumstances in all of our hives to fit our needs with precision! And that what he has begun, he will perform to the glorious end.
Let us lift our minds out of the negativism and bewilderment that has so long beset us, and be about our Father's business! O
David Ord of York, England, will be moving to California this summer to work on a new magazine, WORLD INSIGHT INTERNATIONAL. His first book, The Jet Set Galatians, about his experiences in the Armstrong church, will be published in a few months. Like us, David has a vision for bringing the "Christ within"message to the whole world. He writes: "We feel God is doing something on a big scale today. There have always been those who have understood, but the Christian church as a whole has rejected the Mystery of the Jesus within revealed to Paul, in favour of the "safer" way of a written law. Now it seems God is moving to bring the truth of the gospel to light in the minds of perhaps millions, in a way that has undoubtedly been unknown since Paul himself:"
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 5
FROM GROUND LEVEL TO SUMMIT
(Ed: Amy is one of our first Union Life links in England. As Norman and Dan and Barbara Stone visit there this Fall many more contacts will be made. Then we will undoubtedly receive additional liberated letters like the one below.)
At the age of twelve I gave my heart to Father, and soon after was baptised in the Holy Spirit at a Young Warrior Camp. Then I was baptised in water about two years later. At that time I was on fire for God and wanted to die for Jesus. I witnessed to everyone I met and thought if I didn't they would all go to hell and it would be my fault. I tried to be holy, so I wouldn't watch TV or do anything I thought wasn't holy. I was very sanctimonious! No wonder people couldn't stand me!
Later, I can't remember how or when, I found myself in the world "doing my own thing." I thought that all I had experienced was just a dream. I have spent the last twenty years getting married, divorced and married again. I will not go into detail, but I was very unhappy and used drinking as a way of escape.
About five years ago, I started to talk to Father again. I don't know why. I just asked Him to give me a husband and a home and all these kind of things. I had no doubt that He would, and He did, praise Him, though I had no Bible and never went to church.
One day I felt Father said to me, "Well, Amy, have you had enough? What do you think of it so far?" My response was a single word, "Rubbish." It was as though Father had let me out on a piece of elastic and when it got tight He pulled me back. God seemed to get my attention for the moment, but nothing happened.
At that time, I was praying for my son, Jim. He was fourteen and going through a very unhappy time. I had just had a little girl named Marina, and I think he was very jealous. I never spoke to Jim about God, nor to my husband, who was an exJehovah Witness. I just prayed that God would make Jim happy.
Then one day, as I was going past the Pentecostal Church in our town, a voice said to me plain as anything, "Amy, you used to pray for that church, and yet you never have been inside."
So I said, "If You want me to go in there, You will have to show me a sign." It is wonderful how patient Father is with us all. At the time I just couldn't walk in that church. But a few months later, my son Jim was driving me mad, so I told him to go out somewhere. He didn't want to go out, but I made him. About Tea-time he came home and said, "Mum, can I go out tonight?" When I asked him where, he said, "Don't laugh, Mum, but it's the Pentecostal Church." I knew then that Father had answered both my prayers at once. Jim said he had met a young man over the field and he had asked him to go to the Gospel service. That night Jim was born again, and soon after was baptised in the Holy Ghost.
The next week I went to the church and was so nervous I had to have a couple of drinks. Even so, Father spoke to me that night, and I knew I could never go my own way again. That night I met my old friends Alec and Vera Stanbury, who told me they were "resting in the Lord". I could see they were different, and I wanted what they had. They gave me a UNION LIFE magazine, and I read it again and again. It seemed too good to be true.
Then a voice told me that God could not forgive me and that I would go away from Him again. I had so much fear in me. I
tried to feel humble, but the more I tried, the less humble I felt. I couldn't eat or sleep. I just wanted to die. Every time I read my Bible, I saw the devil in it and God's wrath. I tried praying, but Father ignored me, or so I thought. In the end all I could do was cry on my knees, "Help." Talk about laboring to enter into your rest. ..I fought every inch of the way!
One fretful night, I managed to drop off to sleep and had a dream. I was at a Fair. There was tent and a man shouting, "Come, and get the answer." I asked a man who had come out of the tent what the answer was, and he said I had to go in the tent to find out. I asked the man inside the tent what the answer was and he said, "You know it." When I said that I didn't, he said, "It's faith". I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to do something.
Another night when I could not sleep I felt Jesus put my head on His chest and say, "Trust Me". My brain was worn out trying to reason my way in, and Father said, "I AM, I AM." He kept on saying it to me and I fell asleep. When I woke up, God showed me Galatians 2:20. What a release. It wasn't me any more, but Christ in my old pot. I didn't have to save the world, it was His job! Then I finally gave up struggling. In resting, the brute "reason" was finally strangled.
As I rested, Father began to show me myself in Romans 8. He showed me that there was no condemnation and that nothing could keep His love from me. How wonderful! Every day, I prayed, "Lord, you increase and let me decrease." One day Father showed me that Amy is dead. What a day that was. I praised, cried and laughed, and wanted to celebrate that Amy is dead, by shouting, "Long live the King."
I now know that I am the Jesus form of Amy, and I see Father in everything that happens to me. I know that He is the only power. Father showed me that He is the one big heartbeat of the universe, and that we are all in Him. My son Jim is going through his time of fighting inside, because he is being taught that he will always have the "old man" in him fighting the "new man". I know that Father will show him otherwise.
What a blessed place the cross is to me now. I find that as I pray for Christians to come into their full inheritance in Father that I can't stop weeping. When the holy Spirit shows me to pray for certain people, I weep, and yet I know it is Father in me weeping. If that's the way Father wants to use this old pot, then I am only too willing. I know these prayers come straight from the Father and they get answered.
I also know that the last twenty years have not been wasted. I have been busy getting to the end of myself. As soon as I got me and Father sorted out, and I found that He loved me and was my life, I just fell into His arms. Now I just trust and enjoy Him. I'm so happy that sometimes I think my heart will burst. Now I can truly say that I love all I meet. I can do nothing else. Sometimes I have a soul reaction, but its only Father showing me I am the negative and He is forever the positive. Praise Him!
I enjoyed Norman's visit to England last year when we spent the day together at Millbrook. That was a big turning point in my life. Since then, Father has moved my husband and myself and a few others to start a Fellowship of our own.
I just wanted to write to you and tell you what Father had done for me and my family. I look forward to seeing Norman and some more "dead people" later on this year.
Much love to you all, Jesus in His Amy form.
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Dear Mr. Mortham: Greetings in Jesus' Name!
My name is Robby. I am an inmate at Sumter Correctional Institution, a prison about one hundred miles northeast of Tampa.
I have gotten your name and address from the back page of UNION LIFE magazine. Just today I read it for the first time - the March issue. Already I have finished reading it - a real blessing. For about two years now, I have been through the "identification with Christ syndrome." That is, I first started reading in depth about it through books by Watchman Nee, A. Murray, Roy Hession, and last but not least, Norman Grubb. In fact, I am now reading The Spontaneous You. (I am most impressed at present with "living for others.")
Mr. Mortham, I have already been locked up for three and a half years (on the charge of attempted murder). I liken this time in prison to Paul's years in Arabia.
I have been married five years. God has given me a faithful wife who knows the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. Donna, my wife, is a nurse at Tampa General Hospital. The Lord of Glory moved her from Miami, my home, to Tampa so that we may visit each other each week. A Great God is He!
My wife is at present worshipping with an Assemblies of God Church. I worship in Spirit and Truth here at the prison. I am the Chaplain's Clerk (one of two). I tell you, Sir, it is a real pleasure to fellowship with you in correspondence. In my job capacity I come across brothers of all sorts, but those who have an insight into our union and position with Christ are few and far between. Though many tell me they believe they are in Him and He is in them, they say, "I just can't put it to practical use."
In faith I hope to soon be out of prison, maybe a year or so. I'm trusting the Lord for His time - a hard thing to do at times. I see the parole man in December and by then I'll have a complete parole plan worked out to present to him.
Please keep me in your prayers as we are one in spite of the geographical separation. These fences limit my fellowship somewhat.
In Christ, Acts 17:28 Robby Knuck
(Further thoughts from Robby Knuck in a letter to Bill Mortham.)
I guess the biggest break-through for me in seeing, with some clarity, the "Union Life" was when I became introduced to Norman Grubb's books. An equal blessing was when I got a set of ten tapes from the Springs Of Living Water Tape Library. These tapes were by Norman, and they covered everything from the Universe to Humanity: the total manifestation of Deity.
The audio was not too good on the tapes, and I can well remember myself sitting up after lights-out in my cell, straining to hear all that Norman had to say-boy, what a job.
But my new insights put me in a predicament. As soon as I got some new light I would try it on someone. A close brother, Jim was always one of the first to hear about my new light. "Jim, did you know that our position is 'IN CHRIST' and there is nothing we can do to alter it?" But the answer came, "Well, that sounds great, Rob, but I just don't feel like I'm in Christ half the time - I just can't see it."
On occasion I would get brave and try a thought on the Chaplain. His answer was, "Rob, I'm afraid I just don't see it the way you do."
And don't you know that at times the biggest hindrance to ONENESS was my own past prejudices shouting, "HERESY! HERESY! PANTHEISM! PANTHEISM!"
But nothing can extinguish the light once it comes. I recall pondering Acts 17:28. (For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, "For we also are His offspring.") Then, by the grace of God, I was paging through my Interlinear one day, just looking up words here and there. I came across Colossians 1:17, and the Greek word sunesteken. In the new American Standard Bible this word is rendered hold together. "And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." King James reads a bit different: "and by him all things consist."
Well, what about the Greek? What does the Greek mean? I looked it up, and to my surprise sunesteken is a composite of two words (maybe three, but just two for now). The first half of the word is sunes. It is taken from the word sunesis which means, "a running together, a flowing together: of two rivers." The other part of the word, teken, is from the Greek teko. This means "to melt."
So what we have "in Christ" is a constant running and melting together. In modern language we could say a "constant molecular or atomic reconstruction". The things that be are in a constant state of rearrangement "in Christ." The molecules and atoms that compose your body (or any substance really) were part of who knows what years ago. Perhaps part of you was a dinosaur, an eggplant, or whatever.
Whatever, it really does not matter. What does matter is that it all goes on "in Christ": sunesteken! That's right - IN CHRIST. That is, what is from the beginning is still here. Not one particle has been lost in the eternal span of I AM. Everything that takes place takes place in Him.
Whether we believe this or not has no bearing on the situation. If' I believe I'm in Christ, I'm in Christ; if I do not believe I'm in Christ, I'm in Christ just the same. There is nothing I can do to alter my position; IN HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST, HALLELUJAH!
So relax - you're "in Christ". Union-Life has never been sweeter. There is nothing you can do to change (or mess up) the situation.
Bill, these are a few things that have gone through my mind in the months that God has been bringing me into Union-Life. I know that in His grace and power he will continue to minister through me as he wills.
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 7
(Ed: Norman Grubb and Alfred Ruscoe were coworkers in the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade for 59 years, until Alfred Ruscoe went to be with the Lord this Year. Norman has written this outline o/' the Lord's wars in doing His complete work in a life, leading a person on through discipleship into "apostleship" - front the state of Christ for us, to Christ in us as us, and then on to Christ by us in the power of the Spirit. This account is another example of our "Union Life'' experience and witness).
by Norman Grubb
Alfred Ruscoe, commonly known among Weccers as "Rusiko" (the way by which the Africans pronounced his name), was one of God's glaring contrasts. He joined C.T. Studd in the heart of Africa in 1920 - C.T. Studd being famed as England's great cricketer who had renounced fame and fortune to take Christ to a lost world; whereas Rusiko, small of stature and far from strong from birth, used to joke about being called "England's last hope" when conscripted into the British Army in World War I. (Indeed, all readers of this should get Rusiko's own highly humorous but richly instructive account of how God uses His "weak things" in his little book, The Lame take the Prey, published by W.E.C. Headquarters.)
It was perhaps because Rusiko was free to laugh at himself that C.T. Studd was drawn to this contrast to himself. Studd looked upon him as a son, as he equally formed friendships with the then primitive Africans he had come to live among. He was in the process of teaching them how to trust God by taking bands of them on "faith treks" in the forest, looking to God to supply their needs from village to village. I remember one special aged old African queen called Manzege, a great witness for Christ among her people, who used to call Rusiko, "Sonny"!
But in those first early years God had much to do in His servant as well as through him, to fit him for God's full unexpected plan for his life. It was to take a few years, during which years he would pass through his discipleship to apostleship, from the school of faith to the life of faith.
Two attacks of the white man's dangerous enemy, Blackwater Fever, made it best for Rusiko to return to England for a period. But something else was also happening. C. T. Studd was continuing as a total firebrand for Christ and souls. From early 4 AM to late at night his sole occupation was
to bring Africans to "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" resulting in holiness of life, for "faith without works is dead." Such a standard of total dedication, combined with the determination to be content with nothing less than African believers "holy for He is Holy" by the power of the Blood and Spirit, meant that some of us were not ready to follow along with Studd on such high standards, for only fire can burn along with fire!
Upon returning to England, Rusiko lined up with the critics of Studd and resigned the Crusade, much to the shock of C. T. Studd and others. He later returned to another part of Africa with a group who were equally true servants of the Lord, but a bit more moderate in what they expected to see in their African converts. All of this was just the Lord's clever way of opening Rusiko's eyes to the contrast between a leadership by human selfeffort under which he then served and what he now saw to be a ministry in the power of the Spirit in C.T. Studd. It was God's next stage in showing Rusiko his own need of something more than just consecrated service.
At the same time he had been brought into contact with the teaching of the "over-coming life" through one who was God's special voice in those days in England in opening up the truth of identification with Christ in His death and Resurrection - Mrs. Penn Lewis; and he began to search the Scriptures such as Romans 6-8 with a new interest.
Knowing with the mind is one thing, and a stepping stone, but the inner knowing in the Spirit is another. This final step in transforming a Bible understanding into a Spirit experience took place by a new link back in
Britain between Rusiko and Rees Howells. Rees Howells was the founder of the Bible College of Wales, and had himself in the days of the Welsh Revival known the moment when, in his own words, "The Third Person of the Godhead had come in. Immediately I was transported into another realm, within that sacred veil, where the Father, the Saviour, and the Holy Ghost live. There I heard God speaking to me, and I have lived there ever since. When the Holy Ghost enters, He comes to 'abide forever'. To the Blood be the glory!" And we who came to know Rees Howells knew that difference about him, as with C.T. Studd, which enormously attracted us until we had that same Spirit baptism. And from him we also went on to learn that use of the word of faith, by which aspirations become realisation and on to the topmost secret of being the intercessors who take the way the Saviour and Paul went, who could say, "So death works in us, but life in you."
There at the Bible College, one day this same Holy Spirit so totally possessed Rusiko with an inner witness (not with outer signs, but inner reality) that it set him dancing round the kitchen table with Mr. Howells, and then laid him on his back for a few days! But out came such a new Rusiko that quite soon afterwards he was back in the W.E.C. again, though too late to join C. T. Studd personally; for it was in 1931, just after C. T. had been "glorified" in the Congo. This all came about as the result of a surprise invitation which I made to him (which came out of my mouth before I realized I was making it), and by an equally surprising acceptance by him at a time when he was actually moving in the direction of ordination
Page 8 UNION LIFE
in the Church of England. We had met at a Thanksgiving meeting for C. T. Studd, at which I had not expected to see him in the audience (unaware of the radical change in him), so it had to be the Holy Spirit speaking in me, as I thought he was still an opponent and critic of C. T.! At that time God was leading Pauline and me in the restart of the Crusade at the home base. Part of our decision was not to take funds from the Mission, but to directly trust the Lord on the basis of Matthew 6:33. Though we did not think we would find co-workers who would join us on the same basis, it was a final seal on the episode to have Rusiko make that the one condition upon which he would rejoin us. He too had recently been experiencing the joy and reality of God's day-to-day provision, as in his old days on the field.
So we started together in London, with others joining us, until we knew it was the Lord's call that we should equally restart in North America - but by whom? And the word of the Lord was plain that it was to be Rusiko. That seemed such an absurdity to him that it took some months before he said his "Yes" to the Lord, knowing also that it meant with no penny of financial help from us. We would wash our hands of him and cast him on the one rock of the promises of God, no matter how rough the seas around him, just as later he would let new recruits going to the fields know he had washed his hands of them!
He went in the early 1930's. His own story tells the absurdities of that first start on College Street in Toronto - the adventure, the narrow squeaks, the fun and yet the deadly reality of what was to become a vast outreach. All of this was evidenced by the streams of recruits going to the many new fields, the expanding financial supplies, and the growing home base staffs quartered in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, as well as in Hamilton, Ontario. New, unentered fields were to be opened in forty countries (where formerly there had been only one) in cooperation with the other home bases, implemented by a staff that grew to nearly 1000. At the same time assistance was given to the birth and growth of the Christian Literature Crusade from the same Ft. Washington HQ.
So those who first found it beyond their human reach to follow in the footsteps of their founder became his successors when that Same Spirit took up His total residence in them as in him, and then the same holy zeal
and boldness of practical faith-action "drove" them forward. Indeed, while Rusiko was never an able administrator, his was the highest commission for a homebase leader. He concentrated on making as sure as he could that the new Crusaders for fields and homebase should be led into the revealed truths in the Scriptures of that realized death to sin and law in Romans 6 and 7 - out from self-struggles and self-reliance which make service to Christ and discipleship such a misery in Romans 7; then on into the settled, experienced, permanent more-than-conqueror life of Romans 8; and then on into the "intercessor" life, which is laid down vicariously for the lost world of which Paul wrote in Romans 9:3. In this life we inwardly know that, though "not sufficient of ourselves to think anything of ourselves," we now are "able ministers of the new covenant" and can do all things through Christ. Many tell, like Bess Butters for instance, how they first well knew Romans 6 in their heads, but under Rusiko's insistent ministry the day dawned when she had reckoned herself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God. When she
finally saw it she had to wake up Rusiko in the night to tell him so! To which his only answer was to tell her, "Go to bed"!
Rusiko always purposed to give the right hand of fellowship for proceeding to a field to only those whose lives witnessed that they knew the Spirit-enduement in power. In all his years in Canada and the USA, Rusiko was undeviating in living the life of faith in his personal life with his wife, Ellen. (Their romance is one of the fun and guidance stories of that little book mentioned earlier.) He solidly built the homebase and staff on the same principle of operation, by finding and knowing God's guidances, and then moving forward on that favorite Mark 11:24 Scripture. Every new development or maintenance of the existing work was always on the tightrope of faith, which "calls the things that be not as though they were," and then they are. John 12:24 remained the keynote of his life, and indeed of the Crusade: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." And as he has gone on to glory, we rejoice in the much fruit that has remained. 1
LAME TAKE THE PREY
Are you conscious of weakness, my Christian friend?
Has it seemed that the trembling just never will end? And you've wanted so badly to follow God's way?
Remember God's Word says, "The lame take the prey."
'Tis not the world's way with its pomp and its pelf; Its struggle for fame and for glory for self.
But God's way is different as before Him we lay Our lives in surrender-"The lame take the prey."
We give Him our weakness-He gives us His power;
We give Him our trembling-He supplies hour by hour All the strength that is needful as we live day by day
Secure in assurance-"The lame take the prey."
'Tis the wee babe who gets all the mother's attention;
care for her babe knows no suspension.
It's helplessness draws her by night and by day.
Take a lesson, my friend-"The lame take the prey."
Do you want God's attention-then bow low at his feet; Acknowledge your weakness in humility sweet;
Confess that His strength is sufficient alway,
And you will discover,-"The lame take the prey."
(Written by our Kansas Contact, Nina Miller-originally printed in the Texas Herald.)
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 9
Time and again Jesus said in a few words what most people cannot say in a multitude of words. Take, for example, the simple but profound words of Jesus to the woman caught in the act of adultery: "Neither do I condemn you; go your way; from now on sin no more."
Can you imagine how many sermons and lectures have been given to ''clarify'' these simple Words of Jesus? Do you have any idea how many books, chapters of books and articles have been written on the subject of sanctification? Many of the short statements of Jesus have been the basis for endless books and sermons because most theologians have never seen the full implications of their union life in Christ. Are all these words really necessary, or are they
Never having known personal freedom from self-condemnation for their indiscretions, the Scribes and Pharisees were not free to cast the first stone.
only necessary because we refuse to take literally what Jesus said?
In any event, I would like to add my two cents to the countless explanations of John 8:11 which you have read and heard in the past. Are "present sanctification" and "sinless perfection" valid truths for today, or are they reserved for the sweet bye and bye? But perhaps we should first refresh our memory on some of the details of the extraordinary episode that led up to Jesus words, "From now on, sin no more."
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The Scribes and Pharisees had caught a woman in the very act of adultery. With the hope that they could entangle Jesus in His words and discredit him with the people, they asked Him whether the woman should be stoned. They knew that both a "yes" and a "no" answer could be attacked. If Jesus said, "Yes, she should be stoned, because the Law
The key to freedom is not in a multitude of words, nor in a conglomeration of works or endless service, but in our recognition and acknowledgement of oneness.
should be obeyed," the Pharisees would counter Him with His own teachings on love and forgiveness. If Jesus said, "No, she should not be stoned, but forgiven," they would accuse Him of denying the validity of God's Law.
But Jesus knew their hearts, so He dealt with them at their point of greatest vulnerability -.their own sinful self-image. They could not handle the situation in true freedom because they themselves were not free. They only knew how to apply the dead letter of the Law, because they were still operating on the legalistic basis of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
On the other hand, Jesus operated on the basis of the tree of life - on the life-giving basis of the spirit of the law. He was flexible and comfortable with alternatives because of His union-with-the-Father consciousness. He trusted himself to make the necessary judgments and decisions he faced in life.
The genius of Jesus' action was His ability to capitalize on the attitude of self-condemnation which was typical of the Scribes and Pharisees. Whatever Jesus wrote in the sand with his finger must have indicted all of the religious leaders which were present. For when he added the words: "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her," one by one they all slinked away without a word.
I have always suspected that Jesus wrote the first names of past or present "girl friends" of each of the accusers. Knowing that Jesus knew
of their past indiscretions, and never having known personal freedom from self-condemnation for those indiscretions, the Scribes and Pharisees were not free to cast the first stone.
But what of the adulterous woman? Why didn't Jesus take time to explain more to her? Why didn't He schedule a series of Bible Studies with her? (That's what I would have done, at least until recently.) With her past, how could He say, "Go your way, from now on sin no more"? Most of us would not dare say that to someone we had led to Christ, much less to someone who has not even made a profession of faith?
But rest assured, Jesus knew what He was doing. He knew that freedom from self-condemnation was the key. And the basis of that freedom was merely an inner acknowledgement of oneness, and a response of gratefulness. The key to freedom is not in a multitude of words, nor in a conglomeration of works or endless service, but in our recognition and acknowledgement of oneness with the Father.
Romans 1:21 clearly describes the position of the Scribes and Pharisees: "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks." The woman also knew God in her inner being, but Jesus apparently sensed that because of this encounter she was more prepared to honor the God with whom she was one, and to give thanks by living in true freedom.
Did Jesus really mean the woman was to "Go and sin no more"? Is this then a proof-text for present sanctification and sinless perfection, or does this statement by Jesus just mean that we are meant to sin less? Is ultimate sanctification reserved for after physical death?
Let's look at three verses in John's commentary on these questions in his First Epistle. In the parenthesis following the verses I have indicated my common sense literal interpretation of the verses.
1:9 (NAS) - If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins. (Christians sin and will be forgiven when they make confession.)
3:9 (KJV) - Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (Christians do not and can not sin.)
3:9 (NAS) -No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (Christians do not habitually prac
tice sin; in fact they can not sin at all.)
4:18 (NAS) - We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. (Christians do not commit sins, because Christ keeps Satan from touching them.)
Are you sufficiently confused? Join the club. From the above verses and comments you can see why there have been countless books written on the pros and cons of sinless perfection. If the translators of the original manuscripts can't agree on the proper translation, and if even the "top" disciple could not be consistent in his theology in a short letter, what hope is there for laymen to unravel questions like sinless perfection? (I'm a lawyer, supposedly trained to argue about interpretations of the law and semantics, but I find the patent inconsistencies in such verses so confusing that the verses are virtually useless in application to every day life).
Paul constantly spoke of learning to live by spirit reality rather than soul appearances.
But I believe there is a simple, legitimate, practical answer to sinless perfection. That answer is in Jesus' words: "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement" (John 7:24). He was saying that we are not to judge the events of life on the soul level (on the sense level), but on the Spirit level of inner Oneness and eternal Spirit fact. The answer is to read and understand Scripture with an awareness of the proper division of soul and spirit; with a proper division of the soul's (flesh/appearance) expression of Life and the spirit reality of union life in Christ. The foregoing might at first just sound like a lot more words, but it is the only way I can answer these questions to my own satisfaction.
Paul constantly spoke of learning to live by spirit reality rather than soul appearances:
Look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are unseen. (2 Cor. 4:18).
Take pride in heart, not in appearance (2 Cor. 5:12).
Recognize no man according to the flesh, not even Christ (2 Cor. 5:16).
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 11
Do not look at things as they are outwardly (2 Cor. 10:7).
Some writers speak of a distinction between "sin" and "sins" ("sin" being the producer, and "sins" being the product). This distinction is correct in principle, though it is sometimes confusing in its application to specific verses because the writers of the various books did not know we were going to try to live by "the letter of the law" and attempt to form our theology by whether a particular verse used the word "sin" or "sins".
One writer attempted to delineate sin and sins as follows:
Sin is the center, sins are the circumference.
Sin is root, sins are the fruit. Sin is the producer, sins are the product.
Sin is the sire, sins are the offspring.
Sin is the fountain, sins are the flow.
Sin is what we are, sins are what we do.
I prefer to start from the point of a new nature. We were by nature children of wrath; now we are children of God. We were no gods; now we are gods. As such we are dead to the Law and free from its demands and condemnation. "But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of Spirit and not in oldness of the letter" (Romans 7:6). On this basis, we cannot "sin". Paul says that "Whatever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). Since "we live by the faith of the Son of God" (Gal. 2:20), we live lives of faith and sinlessness, not lives of sin. On the soul/appearance level we still commit "sins" (referred to in I John 1:9), but these are "under the blood", and we take little notice of them. Yes, we confess - we change direction as we are led - but we take no condemnation.
This brings us back to Jesus' words, "Go your way, from now on sin no more". He must have agreed with the proverb, "Where there are many words, transgression is un
avoidable" (Proverbs 10:19), so His words were few. Jesus knew that the woman would learn as we all learn - by the school of hard knocks. The school of Law with its temptations, sins, condemnation and confession would all be used to bring her to maturity. In time she would take her full inheritance of freedom from all condemnation. She would learn to live by the inner reality of the perfection of her union with Christ, not by soullevel appearances. So Jesus did not load her down with explanations and fine-line theological distinctions. It was enough that He had demonstrated His freedom to her. He told her by his actions that this same freedom was hers.
Whatever your past, Jesus' words are equally applicable to you: "Neither do I condemn you; go your way; from now on sin no more." You too have a present-day inheritance in Christ which is meant to manifest itself in creative freedom today. It is in this sense that the Kingdom of heaven has already come. Go your way; from now on sin no more. 0
Don't feel badly, Bill. Even Dan and I don't always see with a single eye!
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In one of our recent meetings the main sharing centered on the truth of our death with Christ and how this affected our lives. After the close of the meeting I overheard a person inquiring of their minister if she really was dead in Christ as Romans Six taught. He gave a curious reply. It went something like this, "Yes, you are dead, but not quite." I had to smile. How can you be dead, but not quite?
Paul's immovable stance is highlighted in Romans 6:7, "For he that is dead is freed from sin." I think it is consistent to reverse the sentence and say, "For he who is freed from sin must be dead." You are only free from what you are completely separated. The primary problem people have with Paul's statement stems from "appearances".
They do not appear to themselves to be dead. At this point appearances are more real to them than God's statement concerning them. Most Christians know little about Spirit Reality. By Spirit Reality we simply mean that to them their true position (dead in Christ) is not their true condition. Spirit Reality is not a realized reality in them. If we live by appearances we still accept the devil's old lie. The lie is that we have an independent, dualistic nature - under the influence of God when we are good and obedient, and under the influence of Satan when we are bad and disobedient. We reason that this is true for we see the appearances of inconsistency in our daily actions. But these appearances are not our position. We never were an independent nature under "influences". We are vessels who contain a spirit nature. We were born containing the spirit of Sin. We are now containers of Christ, because we are born of the Spirit (John 3).
Our true position, as stated in Romans 6, was not difficult for a Jew like Paul. Jews had no difficulty in calling themselves "sons" of the head of their extended family. There is a good illustration of this in John 8 where the antagonists of Jesus are quick to label Abraham as their father and themselves as his sons. In doing so they jump approximately two thousand years of appearances (history).
Another classic illustration of this is in Hebrews 7:9. This writer says that Levi paid tithes to Melchizidek because he was in the loins of Abraham. Physically Levi was Jacob's son, not Abraham's. Abraham was the head of the race, their race, so they saw themselves as Abraham's sons. Several generations separated Abraham from Levi. Equally relevant is this point: whatever the head did, they did, and whatever happened to the head happened to them, as they were "in his loins".
It is against this background that we must see Romans 6. Paul, the writer, was a Christian. He would easily see Jesus Christ as the head and himself "in His loins". In I Corinthians 15 Paul calls Jesus the second Adam, the head of a new race. So, Paul saw himself "in the loins" of Jesus Christ, because he was part of that new race - a Christian. Whatever happened to Jesus happened to Pau I.
What happened to Jesus? Did he really die? Yes. In Matthew 27:63,64 the antagonists of Jesus were satisfied that he was dead. They took special precautions to prevent Jesus' disciples from stealing his body and thus claiming that he had not died. Our emphasis on the shedding of the blood also underscores the fact that Jesus died.
Since Jesus Christ really died, Paul saw that he too had died. Died how and to what? Paul had died to being a vessel of Sin (Paul's frequent name for Satan). Romans 6:6 is blunt in its assertion "our old man (Paul joined to Satan) is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that hanceforth we should not serve sin."
This approaches the heart of the matter. What does crucified mean? It means "put to death by suspending from a cross." Paul even claims that he is crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). I agree that in our own case we do not appear dead. We appear very much alive. But remember, we are only alive to what we believe we are alive to. Whatever you may think you are alive to, you are not alive to being a vessel of Sin. We need not be alive to appearances or absolutes.
The same truth is evident in
Romans 7:1-4. This illustration centers on a death that separates the wife from her former husband. She can no longer produce seed (offspring) from a husband who no longer exists. In these verses Paul emphatically says that having two husbands is illegal. He calls it an adulterous situation. We would call it bigamy. Either way he sees the having of two husbands at one time as an impossibility.
If you know a widow with children, these children are the seed of her first husband. Should the widow remarry, any offspring will be the seed of the second marriage. There is no way that she is going to have children by the dead husband. You would not call the children of the second marriage the children of the first. You know better. This is precisely what Paul says is our position in the Spirit realm.
Based on appearances, Christians believe they are only divorced from Sin, not dead to him. But this is an error. In believing that they have only divorced the former husband, they conclude he may still enter to control them. They think he can periodically slip in again and occupy the house. But we are not divorced from sin - we are dead to Sin.
There is a second marriage. Paul saw that when Jesus died the Spirit He contained as a representative of Paul left the body. This is a general fact of all deaths. The spirit, or life, leaves the body. He coupled this with the resurrection truth that the Father raised Jesus by placing into His dead body the Spirit of life. Thus Paul can say, "If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." For me the "if" is out. I have been planted together in the likeness of his death. Paul knew it and says so in Galatians 2:20: "Christ lives in me".
We are not divorced from Sin, we are dead to Sin. Never again can the vessel be a container of Mr. Sin. We have the faith privilege of climbing over appearances, which include the horrendous foolishness of divorce, dualism and an independent nature. We can claim our full salvation. We are not saved from past sins and then sent on our way struggling and striving. He takes us all of the way just as Ephesians 2:6 states: "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
We are "not quite dead", or divorced. We have died to sin and we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. O
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 13
Recently I read, "When the student is ready, the Master speaks." Aren't you glad you're still a student in God's school of eternal Life? That you are one who sits at the Master's feet ready to listen and learn?
We are never tested even as students above that which we are able and have also in Christ our escape to be able to endure. The presentation of the Person is also the application of this same Person -the Christ of all yesterdays, todays, and forever! Hearken ye, His Beloved, to His voice as your vision.
You are the Word become flesh and He seeks through you to teach the world for whom He died and rose again. Listen in readiness. The Master speaks, "Come and Dine!" E
The Voice of God
Recently, I read that "the man who knows what he is talking about can afford to use words anyone can understand." The deeper we go into and with God, the more simple life becomes. We are childlike though never childish. People still wise in the ways of the world complicate simple things by reason and logic. But in fact, knowing and being known by the Author of the Word of God, makes His revelation of Himself both audible and visible. Nothing is hidden. In this case familiarity does not breed contempt. We know Him and His voice more distinctly than that of either family or friends. Yet still taking upon Himself the "form of man" He speaks through us and as us.
"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows forth his handiwork." Yet man is created in the image of God, to hear and be
heard of Him in all dimensions of life. In fact there is none other than He. He is all in all. The inner ear of every believer can and does hear the Voice of God. We are His offspring. We are His will, His chosen ones. We are not nor were we ever our own.
To hear his voice is to be and become His voice to others. We listen to know and speak (even with body language) to make known. Every believer becomes a preacher who having heard His voice and believed, now becomes His living epistle, read of all men everywhere. I]
Trust or Thrust?
For years, the emphasis laid on me in "Being a Christian" was that of service. "If you're saved and you know it, then do something, if just to say 'Amen,'" they said. The doing was supposedly expressing the being, but always as separate entities. "Thrust" was the watchword. One was known by one's measure of success in Christian service: souls saved, tracts distributed, church meetings attended - especially prayer meetings - monies given, classes taught, etc.
In the midst of this I was challenged by a sweet old Christian lady to see that God was more interested in me than in my ministry (or service). Though it took a while to penetrate, the Presence of the Person surfaced within me and I realized that "relationship" was my prelude to all fellowship and service, a relationship with "trust," only, as sum and substance, trust demanding an immediate response of obedience.
Trust is within itself our thrust, for unless God is Master Builder, we who build the house labor in vain. But with trust as our thrust, His yoke is easy and burden, light - there'll be no growing weary in well doing. All will be, "Well done my good and faithful (TRUSTful) servant." Ours to live from Victory not for it. Hallelujah! El
I'm told fishing is as much art as sport. The element lacking in my desire to fish is most usually patience. I want immediate action or I'm ready to try something else. But because I am impatient, I'm left high and dry without fish.
In the sport of God, "fishing for men," art must also be employed. Then going fishing can be utter joy, as we make known He of Whom we are known. Armed with "He is not willing that any should perish," we fish the deep rivers and lakes -yea, and even the sea - rich unto harvest, our nets full.
A good catch is promised, and seeing their appetites satisfied, satisfies ours. Sun-up until Sun-down will be our shortest day. Frequently a twenty-four hour day will be our fishing season, snacking all the while as people nibble at our bait, with a majority taking Him hook, line, and sinker! El
Identification with athletes, even for the non-athletic, seems to give people a feeling of achievement and belonging. To win or lose as a participant is not always the criteria of importance in sports. Involvement, even as a spectator, seems reward enough for most.
But God speaks of bodily exercise as profiting little as compared to spirit exercise. As a healthy body is the result of a healthy mind, so are both only bi-products of a healthy spirit. First things first is always our imperative, most especially when the "First" is also known as the "Last." For Christ is Beginning (Alpha) and Ending (Omego) of all.
Never are we to major in minors -
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worshiping the creation rather than the creator. In God alone we live and move and have our being. Seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven (Christ) assures us that all other things are ours in Him. In Christ we are already whole even though we may be at present physical or social misfits. Heirs of the Creator God, we become joint heirs of all created in Christ. 11
Have you ever heard anyone say that they would rather see a sermon than hear one? Often our lives are the only sermon some people will ever see or hear.
Another clich'e says: "Your life speaks so loudly, I can't hear a word that you say." In fact, therefore, "body language" is often our main source of communication - the means by which God lives His Life through us. They may be able to determine how many folk have been won to Christ through some popular evangelist, but "God only knows" those won to Him through your smile. Clothed in Christ as our "whole armor of God," we are his living epistles, to be read and understood as being all things to all people.
Twentieth century people need a twentieth century Gospel and Epistle to read and believe as their very own. Your expression of Him, via "body language", may be that human channel where your exposed and expressed Indweller will be the source of eternal life to others. D
The Word Who once dwelled among men, now dwells within all men. Jesus Christ was and is the Word of God. He is the idea of God made manifest in the Word. The Christ once incarnate in Jesus' form is now incarnate in every believer's form, allowing us to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the hopeful and needy twentieth century.
Speaking Christ as the Word is that element of Faith that can move and remove mountains, setting all prisoners free, converting all seekers into finders. He can make the blind to
see and the lame to be made whole. He dispells the darkness of sin and death. He rends the veil in two.
We desire and seek not because we already have. Cater not to the flesh. Even bodily exercise profiteth little. Honor Him as you speak the Word of Faith. He is that Word. He spoke, we heard, and now we are. As He now speaks through and as us, others will hear, become, and be His Word to yet others who need also to hear and believe. D
If this fact were our only inheritance of God in Christ, it would be enough. If UNION (Oneness) in Christ is to be manifested anywhere, it is in the JOY that radiates from a burdenless Christian, one not weighted down with needless care and concern. We are to enter into all experiences of life, including trials and testings, with cares and burdens already cast upon Him. God, everywhere present, is the Fact.
But Christians tend to let things build up - then cast all upon Him. In the interim we've become nervous wrecks, laden down with ulcers, premature graying hair, bitten-to-thequick fingernails, or whatever.
Recognized Oneness in God will afford you a trouble-free lifestyle. He has already answered. All needs are met in Him as Supply. Because all matters to Him, nothing needs to matter to us. His laughter is ours to enjoy; we are but to trust and obey. D
Christ is the scratch that satisfies. Looking for the right things in wrong places has been man's dilemma in every generation. Love was once spoken of as the itch around one's heart that couldn't be scratched. Using those same definitives, Christ is both itch (need) and scratch (supply) - Christ the need calling our attention to this same Christ Who is Himself the Supply of all needs (Phil. 4:19).
Application of Christ as Supply (Scratch) affords us assurance that the Need (Itch) will never surface again. As our Satisfaction, He is complete. Before we ask, the answer is ours. The answer is the same as the need to ask - Christ, the author of both. Having an answer to life's questions is good. Having a satisfying answer, Divine! O
Having good credit is more important in today's work-a-day-world than having cash. The criteria of affording something is measured by the extent of our credit. The philosophy of "going without" or "making do" is too old-fashioned to be embraced by most today.
God also has an installment plan of dispensed and dispersed grace in which our credit cannot be overextended or ourselves bankrupted, because the simple fact is that He is the "personage" of us all - incarnate as the ME of you. Banking in Him your installment can neither be adulterated nor your resources bankrupted. Invest today! D
Recently when I asked a fellow Christian where he went to church, he replied: "We are the Church!"
He is right. The only "true" Church is any and all bodies of Believers, wherever and whenever gathered. The "how" of our worship as a body of believers is of little significance. The "Who" of our worship is both cause and effect, for Christ is our only reason for our gathering together as both Subject and Object of our affections.
Formally and informally, the chief end of all men collectively and individually is to know God and glorify Him by making Him known. If any church is fulfilling this basic command of God, CHURCHianity and CHRISTianity can be as ONE - a union of person and purpose that honors Him. Then personal and public needs meet in Him Who is the Sum and Substance of us all. O
"Cast Your Care
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 15
(Our Topeka, Kansas Contact, Nina Miller, shared the following with us.)
In returning some books to the library earlier this week, I decided that while I was there I would look through the author files and see if the library had anything by Jacob Boehme, about whom Alan Parker has been writing. However, before I went to the author files, I checked the new book shelves as I always do when I visit the library. Lo and behold, one of the first books that met my eye was Jacob Boehme - The Way to Christ. I was amazed. It was done in a most attractive, modern cover. Along beside it was another book in the same kind of cover, Julian of Norwich-Showings. Delighted with my find, I brought both books home and began to peruse them. I found the Boehme book rather ponderous, but the Julian book is like fresh springs of water. I have simply revelled in it. I am including a couple of quotes that I feel that other readers of UNION LIFE would appreciate. (Both are published by the Paulist Press under the category of "The Classics of Western Spirituality". Julian was a Cardinal in the 15th Century).
On one occasion our good Lord said: Every kind of thing will be well; and on another occasion he said: You will see yourself that every kind of thing will be well. And from these two the soul gained different kinds of understanding. One was this: that he wants us to know that he takes heed not only of things which are noble and great, but also of those which are little and small, of humble men and simple, of this man and that man. And this is what he means when he says: Every kind of thing will be well. For he wants us to know that the smallest thing will not be forgotten. Another understanding is this: that there are many deeds which in our eyes are so evilly done and lead to such great harms that it seems impossible that any good result could ever come of them. And we contemplate this and sorrow and mourn for it so that we cannot rest in the blessed contemplation of God as we ought to do. And the cause is this: that the reason which we use is now so blind, so abject and so stupid that we cannot recognize God's exalted, wonderful wisdom, or the power and the goodness of the blessed Trinity. And this is his intention when he says: You will see yourself that every kind of thing will be well, as if he said: Accept it now in faith and trust, and in the very end you will see truly, in fulness of joy.
And so in the same words said before: I may make all things
well, I understand a powerful comfort from all the works of our Lord God which are still to come.
After this our Lord revealed about prayer, in which revelation I saw two conditions in our Lord's intention. One is rightful prayer; the other is confident trust. But still our trust is often not complete, because we are not sure that God hears us, as we think, because of our unworthiness and because we are feeling nothing at all; for often we are as barren and dry after our prayers as we were before. And thus when we feel so, it is our folly which is the cause of our weakness, for I have experienced this in myself. And our Lord brought all this suddenly to my mind, and revealed these words and said: I am the ground of your beseeching. First, it is my will that you should have it, and then I make you to wish it, how could it be that you would not have what you beseech? And so in the first reason and in the three that follow, our Lord reveals a great strengthening, as can be seen in the same words.
And in the first reason, where he says: if you beseech, he shows his great delight, and the everlasting reward that he will give us for our beseeching. And in the second reason, where he says: How could it be? this was said as an impossibility; for it is the most impossible that that may be that we should seek mercy and grace and not have it. For everything which our good Lord makes us to beseech he himself' has ordained for us from all eternity. So here we may see that our beseeching is not the cause of the goodness and grace which he gives us, but his own goodness. And that he truly revealed in all these sweet words, where he says: I am the foundation. And our good Lord wants this to be known by his lovers on earth. And the more that we know this, the more shall we beseech, if it be wisely accepted, and this is our Lord's intention.
Our Lord is most glad and joyful because of our prayers and he expects it, and he wants to have it, for with his grace it makes us like to himself in condition as we are in nature, and such is his blessed will. For he says: Pray wholeheartedly, though you may feel nothing, though you may see nothing, yes, though you think that could not, for in dryness and in barrenness, in sickness and in weakness, then is your prayer most pleasing to me, though you think it almost tasteless to you. And so is all your living prayer in my sight.
God does not have Love. God is Love.
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I John 4:12 says, "No man hath seen God at any time." Yet, Moses "saw him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27), and the promise given to the pure in heart is that they shall see God!
Even as it takes a new-born baby time to develop the ability to focus its eyes on an object or person, spiritually reborn babes in Christ have to go through stages of development before the eyes of their understanding are enlightened enough to "see him who is invisible." Let me share three of those stages with you.
The first stage is Seeing the visible things of God. We see manifestations of him in all of nature. David said, "I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the works of thy hands" (Psalm 143:5). As we meditate and muse on the visible works of God, our eyesight begins to focus past the visible to the invisible realm.
This is when we discover Stage #2, Looking through the visible to the invisible things of God. Romans 1:20 says, "For the invisible things of him ... are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made." 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen."
Looking at invisible things through visible things prepares us for Stage #3, Looking through invisible things and seeing God, who is ALL IN ALL. This occurs as we develop the single-eye vision of Matthew 6:22.
In John 12:22, there were certain Greeks who wanted to "see" Jesus. In response to their desire, Jesus pointed them not to himself, but to a grain of wheat! Seeing the process of a grain of wheat being planted and the watering, growing, and harvesting that follows, enables one to "see" the invisible principle of death, burial, and resurrection. This in turn should enable us to look beyond the principle of life to the God of the principle!
When a child receives a gift from someone, the tendency is for the child to be so occupied with the gift that the motivation and the person behind the gift is ignored. But, as time passes, and maturity sharpens the child's awareness, he begins to see the reason the gift was given. He begins to see through the tangible to the intangible.
Giving can be motivated by pure
love, but it can also be motivated by greed or revenge! There have been times when young people have resented expensive gifts that were lavished on them by parents who were too busy to give of themselves.
As long as we only look at the visible gift, we miss the invisible purpose, motivation, or design behind the giving. A fish that has never been snagged by a hook only sees the worm, but in the Louisiana bayous where the author was raised, there are some wise old bass and white perch that have learned by the things they have suffered to "look for the hook"!
Seeing the motivation behind the gift, or the intangible behind the tangible, is important; however, eventually we learn to focus in on the one who stands behind both gift and motivation, the giver himself. The motivation behind the gift is only an extension of the character of the giver. If the giver is evil or greedy, then, regardless of its appearance, the gift may be tainted by the giver. On the other hand, if the character of the giver is perfect, selfless, and loving - regardless of the gift's appearance - it can be received with joy and appreciation.
Jesus said in Luke 1 1 :11-13, "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts ... how much more shall your heavenly Father give."
What Jesus is saying is that God will not give us something bad when we ask for something good. If earthly fathers with questionable character can give good gifts to their children, how much more will our heavenly Father with a perfect nature and flawless character give us what is best for us.
It is imperative to look beyond the visible to the invisible realm, because sometimes when we ask for eggs God gives us what appears to be scorpions. We ask for fish and receive what looks like a serpent. This is only frustrating when we walk by sight, and not by faith. When we walk by faith, we "see through" the shadows of the temporal into the substance of the eternal.
In the past I have asked for patience, and have been given tribulation (Rom. 5:3, Ja. 1:3). I have asked for maturity and received suffering (2
Pet. 5:10). I have asked for more love to be manifested through me, and have been given seemingly unlovely people to deal with! So I have learned that when I ask for bread, what I get may look like a stone - but it isn't! So, I bite into it in faith, and sure enough, it turns out to be nutritious and edifying. Incidentally, I learned years ago that Satan can make stones look like bread! That's another important reason to develop "see-through" vision.
James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
Two times the word "gift" is mentioned in the foregoing scripture. However, in the Greek language, two different words are used in this passage. The first "gift" is the Greek word dosis which means "the act of giving." It does not refer to the gift itself. In other words, dosis means the way in which a gift is given, the motivation behind the gift. The second Greek word for "gift" is dorema, which means "the thing given".
In essence, this verse teaches us that God's purposes in giving to us are always good, and that every gift that He gives is perfect. However, this verse also goes on to describe the character of the giver: "The Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
There may be times when what we receive in life will appear in the form of trouble, confusion, and sorrow. But we can rest assured that when we ask in faith, we will receive perfect gifts given with pure purposes from an unchanging God. El
(Ed: We first met Darrell and Beth Scott when he had a ministry in Salt Lake City. At that time we found our oneness in a mutual "union life" reality. They have now moved to Aurora, Colorado, where he writes, "The Lord is manifesting a work of unity between our fellowship group and two other groups. Fifty of us from the three groups just spent a three day retreat back in the mountains together." One of those groups is with Bus and Marjorie Williams, also very much a part of us. Dan and Barbara Stone recently had a good visit with all three groups there in Aurora.)
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 17
Hawaii is a magic word to most of us Mainlanders. Just the mention of the word "Hawaii" is enough to bring to our minds thoughts of luaus, grass skirts, coconut palms and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. In May, Norman, Barbara and I went to the Hawaiian Islands at the invitation of some new friends who wanted to hear first-hand something more of the union-life message. It was our first visit, though it was hard for me to believe that a world-traveller like Norman had never before been to Hawaii.
We were welcomed to the Islands with the traditional leis and kisses. Our host was Bob Chamberlain, ably assisted by his lovely wife, Sue Ann. They met our every need for the ten days we spent with them. Dwaine Farrell and "Red" Phillips were Bob's aides. All three men not only kept us busy, but also lent their visible support in every way.
A series of providential events were the background to our visit. I am not sure as yet of all of the details, but they go something like this. First, Bob distributed some copies of Norman's booklet, "Touching the Invisible", to his friends. Then "Red" visited a brother in eastern Pennsylvania and spontaneously threw in a visit to Norman at Ft. Washington. Norman, in turn, gave "Red" a copy of the UNION LIFE magazine at the conclusion of their visit. In Hawaii, Darrell saw Norman on The 700 Club and was much intrigued by what he heard. When "Red" returned to Hawaii and shared the magazine with his friends, Bob initiated correspondence with Bill Volkman, which was later turned over to me for the setting of dates. The end result was our ten day visit to the Islands.
Our schedule was full. I have not been able to count all of the times we spoke, as Norman was alone on Maui for a few days. But it would be safe to say that we spoke twenty-five times in ten days. The majority of our audiences seemed to come from groups with FGBMI and Assembly of God connections. As usual there were several house meetings without ties to specific fellowships or denominations.
A beachhead has been established. Our Island friends join with us in seeing the opportunity for an expansion of our witness next year. This year we planted; soon some of you will be invited to join us next March to help us water. The door is wide open for our return!
I am excited about the plans for our
Page 18 UNION LIFE-
return next March, for it will offer the chance for establishing the same kinds of bonds that we have fashioned among ourselves here in the continental U.S. We have told our Hawaiian friends that we would have no difficulty in convincing fifty of our friends to come over with us to the Islands next year. This will be a real encouragement to our new Hawaiian friends. I'm sure you can remember how you felt when you were the only person you knew who sensed who you really were in Christ.
Opportunities for sharing will be available at the places where we went on the first trip, along with the possibility of new ones opened by the Spirit. These sharing experiences will be open to any of you who join us in our next visit. Our stay at a centrallylocated hotel will offer the opportunity for our Island friends to meet with us for some fellowship on several of the evenings. I would assume that these will be much like our Louisville sessions with more time given over to sharing than to teaching. (There will be adequate time left to do the things that all tourists like to do.)
The same questions were often asked in Hawaii as are asked on the Mainland: "Why don't we hear this in our churches?" Then the additional remark: "The Spirit had already revealed this to me, but I am so happy to have it confirmed by you." Sounds familiar doesn't it? Whether on the Mainland or in the Islands, hearts are hungering for all God has for His children.
The questions are the same; the interest is intense. People are after God! And we know the complementary truth - God is after people. Consequently, when a contact is made and confirmation results, it is no wonder that excitement and inner joy is experienced. Several times we were able to witness this coming of awareness in the lives of our listeners. This is that "meat to eat that you know not of." Even though we know people are meant to be
where they are and cannot be at any other place at the time, our desire for them is a clearer revelation from the Spirit concerning who they are in Christ.
Norman and I especially appreciated the opportunity of sharing with Loren Cunningham's Hawaii Base of Youth With a Mission (YWAM). They are a sold-out group of people, mostly young people, with a witnessing commitment. Our presenta
tion was different, but we were courteously received and cared for in a loving way. Miss Janet Pace of Richmond, Virginia, was our special YWAM hostess.
It was a thrill to encounter this YWAM group and to have a two-day exchange with some of them. I doubt if you could find a more dedicated group of people anywhere. But to many of them we seemed to be overbalanced on grace and lacking in our emphasis upon obedience. I knew what they were feeling, for I had for so long tried to be obedient. My spirit had to keep responding, "I am the obedience. You just fight the good fight of faith." They are truly after the real goods; that is, witnessing to the lost and needy about Jesus Christ. But I had to remind myself that God does not only take us half-way, but all of the way. All too often our response to God implies that He saves us from sins past, and then expects us to make the rest of the way on our own efforts (obedience).
But the Holy Communion teaches us otherwise. The cup is only one-half of the truth - a remembrance of the covering of sins past. The body, of which we must also partake, is recalled in the bread. In the body, we are taken all of the way. We are buried with Him, raised with Him and seated with Him in the heavenlies. Though it does not always appear to be true, the Bible clearly says that it is so!
What final observation do I have from Hawaii? Christ in us is not slothful, but actively engaged in what He is after as us. He is after the filling of this "need" in people, for love exists to meet need. He keeps those who are His and keeps them busy. So we no longer need to worry about "staying or straying", for God is at work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. O
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 19
Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests and mines and stone-quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.
I am always environed by myself; what I am, all things reflect to me.
In the eternal activity of wanting to understand the structure of this thing which thinks, feels, and wills inside itself; there is a something of the infant who turns the mirror about to see if there isn't another him hidden behind it.
-Remy de Gourmont
Various Comments on Faith
The teachers of paradoxical logic say that man can perceive reality only in contradictions, and can never perceive in thought the ultimate realityunity, the One itself. This led to the consequence that one did not seek as the ultimate aim to find the answer in thought. Thought can only lead us to the knowledge that it cannot give us the ultimate answer. The world of thought remains caught in the paradox. The only way in which the world can be grasped ultimately lies, not in thought, but in the act, in the experience of oneness. Thus paradoxical logic leads to the conclusion that the love of God is neither the knowledge of God in thought, nor the thought of one's love of God, but the act of experiencing the oneness of God.
The experience of union with God, is by no means irrational. On the contrary, it is as Albert Schweitzer has pointed out, the consequence of rationalism, its most daring and radical consequence. It is based on our knowledge of the fundamental, and not accidental, limitations of our knowledge that we shall never 'grasp' the secret of man and of the universe, but that we can know, nevertheless, in the act of love.
While irrational faith is the acceptance of something as true only because an authority or the majority say so, rational faith is a conviction which is rooted in one's own experience of thought or feeling. Rational faith is not primarily belief in something, but the quality of certainty and firmness which our convictions have. Faith is a character trait pervading the whole personality, rather than a specific belief.
- Erich Fromm
The Art of Loving
Sheldon Vanauken's question:
My fundamental dilemma is this: I can't believe in Christ unless I have faith, but I can't have faith unless I believe in Christ. This is 'the leap'.
C. S. Lewis' answer:
The contradiction 'we must have faith to believe and must believe to have faith' belongs to the same class as those by which the Eleatic philosophers proved that all motion was impossible. And there are many others. You can't swim unless you can support yourself in water and you can't support yourself in water unless you can swim. Yet you do swim.
- Sheldon Vanauken
A Severe Mercy
By our act of faith we are identifying ourselves with the Christ whose atoning sacrifice reconciled us to God: and there settles into our inner consciousness an awareness that we are forgiven, accepted, justified in His sight as if we had never sinned, adopted into His family. It produces a peace, a solid certainty of a new relationship, something inwardly substantial in our spirits. It is God the Spirit, to whom we have attached ourselves, bearing witness with our spirit. Faith has produced a substantial awareness of Him in whom we have placed our faith in action, and of what He has done for us.
- Norman Grubb
The Spontaneous You
Abel and Cain met again after Abel's death. They were walking in the desert and knew each other from a distance, for both men were very tall. The brothers sat on the ground, made a fire, and ate. For a while, they were untalkative, the way tired men can be after a long day's work. In the sky, some still unnamed star appeared. By the firelight, Cain made out the mark of the stone on Abel's forehead, dropped the food he was about to put into his mouth, and asked to be forgiven for his crime.
"I no longer remember-did you kill me or was it I who killed you?" Abel answered. "Here we are together again, just as we used to be."
"Now I know for sure you've forgiven me," said Cain, "because to forget is to have forgiven. I'll try my best to forget, too."
"Yes," said Abel, speaking slowly, "you're right. As long as there's remorse, there's guilt."
- Jorge Luis Borges
In Praise of Darkness
Selected and edited by Brenda Marcy
Page 20 UNION LIFE
Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all-young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self. Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth. But one creature said at last, 'I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I-shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom! The other creatures laughed and said, 'Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!' But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks. Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more. And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, 'See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!' And the one carried in the current said, 'I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.' But they cried the more, 'Saviour!' all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Saviour.
- Richard Bach Illusions
Pope John Paul II - A Poet
In 1946 Karol Wojytla was ordained as a priest. While attending the Angelicum University in Rome, he wrote a thesis entitled, "The concept of St. John of the Cross," which was given a summa cum laude mark. (Since his election to the papacy it has been kept under lock and key.)
Since then he has been a pastor, professor of ethics, bishop and archbishop of Krakow. He is fluent in several languages and the author of six philosophical treatises, numerous poems and over five hundred essays.
Here are some excerpts and one complete poem from the book, Easter Vigil and Other Poems (after vatican censorship), written by the man said to be "the voice of those who have no voice" and "the Pope who will change the world"-Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II.
Straining you planted
a particle in me. But this I know: the inner burden you took away is not hung in the void. Scales will never tell its weight or differentiate.
This undifferentiated state
I weigh and I am light again.
A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in its luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.
(from "The samaritan woman meditates')
There is silence again between heart, stone, and tree. Whoever enters Him keeps his own self. He who does not
has no full part in the business of this world despite all appearances.
Thought's resistance to words
Sometimes it happens in conversation: we stand facing truth and lack the words, have no gesture, no sign; and yet-we feel-no word, no gesture or sign would convey the whole image that we must enter alone and face like Jacob.
This isn't mere wrestling with images carried in our thoughts;
we fight with the likeness of all things that inwardly constitute man.
But when we act, can our deeds surrender the ultimate truths we presume to ponder?
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 21
THE QUESTION ASKED AND
Thank you so much for being so faithful in writing me back. You are so right in what you said about me. I am always looking at the sin problem, and I can't seem to get past it. I hate guilt and condemnation so much that I let myself get caught up in it. At the time I accepted Jesus into my life, and the Spirit came to dwell in me, many negative things were immediately gone - they simply vanished out of my life. I was quite a heathen and there was a whole lot of transforming to take place - and it did, with no self-effort. It just left.
But there was and is one thing that keeps me in bondage and really upsets me - it's my smoking. I don't really think it is so much the smoking that upsets me, but the fact that I have no power within me to quit, no matter how hard I try. It seems so natural for me in the comfort of my home to smoke when I sit down to read or whatever, that the thought of what it is doing to my body doesn't hit me hard enough to cause me to want to quit.
It's not so much the smoking that upsets me, but the fact that I have no power within me to quit, no matter how hard I try.
There are so many other things in my life that I seem to be able to rise above. But let me try to discipline myself and try to quit smoking, and I am a complete failure! Now, I know what you are thinking, Norman. There I go again, self-effort. But Romans 14:23 says that anyone who believes that something he is doing is wrong should not do it. He sins if he does. He thinks it is wrong, and so for him it is wrong. And I feel smoking is wrong for me because it is not taking care of my body.
As I have said, when I have had convictions in my life about some particular thing, and when I recognize it as being harmful or a hindrance to me, I can generally put it aside. But boy, when it comes to smoking, forget it. My smoking habit really
I have prayed, begged and anything you can think of when you are desperate, but ... it hangs on to me.
makes me mad, because its such an unnecessary thing - but yet I can't let go of it. I have prayed, begged and anything you can think of when you are desperate, but to and behold, it hangs on to me. I feel especially defeated by it, because I enjoy it, and it makes me mad that I enjoy it.
So, this is where I am at right at this moment with this problem. I have said, "Lord, it is your problem. I belong to you. By your stripes I am healed of it and I will not be moved by what I see. I accept my healing and thank you for taking this with you when you died on the cross. I have confessed it to you and have stood in my helplessness before you, and I now leave it at the cross. I have taken enough guilt about it from myself and others, and I now hand it over to you."
Now, I am sure you will have some comments, but Norman, this is where I am today with the problem. By His word, I have the Victory; by His word, I have no fear in me; by His word, sickness can't dwell in me; and by His word, I've been set free! Now, if I can just let that register in my brain, how wonderful it would be. I am no good to God when I feel defeated, and I know this. So I have got to keep my eyes off myself and let Jesus do in me what he is wanting to. Glory to God!
Love, in Jesus, Nancy
Page 22 UNION LIFE
My dear Nancy:
My dear, your problem is really very simple. The smoking "bondage" is to "force" you to see that you are still holding on to a false self-image in which you think you are a Nancyself who shouldn't smoke; and so you struggle against selfcondemnation in your smoking, and pray and "believe", and nothing happens!
You see this is the final form of the self-affirming self we got tricked into believing in at the Fall by the Enemy Deceiver. We there partook of the "tree" of knowledge of good and evil", and not just what we usually call evil. So really the worst evil (to which we were blinded) is that we can and should be "good" selves -just a final form of self-loving and self-affirming self. This is the final struggling "self" of Romans 7. In our spirit centers we are the redeemed who "delight in the law of God in the inward man," but we still don't recognize that our human self was never an in
now my same self has changed husbands and "bosses", and instead of believing this lie of independence, I see that I am the vessel, branch, and wife of Christ, the Spirit of truth. And when I know that, and cease to respond to life by fussing about my own self-improvements and self-bondages, not only do we cease to listen to the laws of "you ought, you ought not" to which we are "dead", but we settle by this same faith into the fixed consciousness of we being Christ in our redeemed human forms (the second phrase of Galatians 2:20 - "I live, no not I, but Christ lives in me").
Knowing this, we recognize the former temptations to try to improve ourselves or to take guilt and condemnation for our
failures. And instead of resisting such temptations, we now
accept them as mere temptations, and replace them by affirming and knowing Christ in us as us. We recognize deliverances can only be HE expressing His delivering Self by us in any way he pleases.
Thus, love, with your smoking. You recognize and accept (without resisting) your desire and enjoyment of smoking. You don't try to change yourself or stop smoking. You simply say, "Christ, you in me, will do the stopping in your own way and time. I take that for granted by faith." If then, the habit grabs you again and you smoke, you don't take condemnation (Romans 8:1), but again just reaffirm that He is the real you, and that He will easily and naturally cut off the smoking in HIS own way and time. Then go ahead with your daily living - without condemnation, but with faith. It looks daring, and looks like license, but turns out to be the only permanent liberty - HIS freeing HIS temple in the way HE pleases and does it.
The smoking "bondage" is to "force" you to see that you are still holding on to a false self-image.
dependent, self-relying self, but only a slave and vessel and branch of Satan, that "spirit of error". But he "kidded" (deceived) us into thinking we were independent selves who could be good selves; though in that bondage to him our "good" self was just another Satanic form of self-loving self (which can take all kinds of forms of good works).
Because of this Romans 7 deceit, we are still blind to the fact that the moment we were delivered from Satan indwelling us and expressing his self-loving self by us, at the time of our faith union with Christ in his death (Paul's "I am crucified with Christ" of Galatians 2:20), we were immediately in that same faith-union "married" to our Other Husband (Romans 7:1-6). Instead of the Romans 7 lie of apparent independent self, we have become slaves, branches, vessels of and in Him.
The law was given to expose this lie of self-relying self and expose us to ourselves as slaves and expressors of Satan (John 8:44). We first saw that in our committed sins, and found our deliverance from guilt and wrath in His shed blood. But then, as redeemed ones, we have to move on to recognize the final lie of an apparent independent, selfrelying self which holds on to its supposed goodness. This is the final form of Satan deceiving us, because the lie of independent self really means we are still in self-bondage to the god of self-loving self (that is Paul's "I am carnal, sold under sin" of Romans 7:14). There the law still says to us, "you ought"; and of course that independent self can't stop doing its self-loving things, as with your smoking. So the law has its final Romans 7 use in exposing to us this lie of being independent selves who "ought" to be good and do good, and resist any forms of self-indulgences or self-reactions, including self-esteem.
And so, at last, we are brought to the final discovery of Romans 7, that we are "dead to the law" in the dead body of Christ (7:4). Finally we see that there is no such thing as an independent self on which the law can lay its demands; for that lie of independent self was really my self enslaved to Satan, (Mr. Self-loving Self), and just fulfilling his "lusts". But
Your problem is not the smoking, but the false Romans 7 concept that you should not be a smoker.
So, love, you see your problem is not the smoking, but the false Romans 7 concept that you should not be a smoker and you should be rid of it. So it is God's good way of the final exposure of the lie of the self-affirming self of Romans 7 - the final form of sin which still gives Satan his ways of a temporary grab on us. I've loved talking this over with you, my dear, and let's keep talking. So I shall await the next line from you.
Ever loving you, Norman
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 23
In a recent issue of UNION LIFE one of the sentences in a letter really hit me. It said, "Sometimes what looks like rebellion is merely a manifestation of the inner man's knowledge of reality trying to come through against all the religious habits and structures which we have built and surrounded with all our mental reasoning."
At this same time God was expanding on the one line I brought home with me from the Family Reunion in Hixton: "Love God and do what you want to do." Coming home on the plane He said, "Your name is 'Love's Desire.' " I started to experience thinking a desire and seeing the echo or manifestation. Boy, did this ever conflict with a thirty-five year old, self-denying martyr whose way of living was: If you want to do it, don't; if you don't want to do it, do it anyway. Begin your day by doing the things you hate so they will get done. Always do what others want you to do, but never what you selfishly desire.
But God said, "If you deny yourself, you are denying Me. I am Yourself." The martyr in me said, "You aren't ready for that yet. That's true only after you've been a Christian for years and really been through lots of purging", etc. In short, I hadn't suffered enough to merit Oneness. Even seeing the stupidity of this human reasoning has not yet freed my body from furious angry rebellion and a shaking fear of displeasing God.
But all this is Perfect. The only thing at this point in my soul stronger than the fear of following my desires is this rebellion and anger which causes me to act on my desires. The conflict is so intense some days I am sick in my stomach. I am so full of anger I scream at my Love, even though I know that He is the only one who really understands me and is directing every moment.
Last Friday I awoke so angry I was sick. By noon I couldn't continue with the day, so I went to bed knowing He would come through when I awakened and the conscious me had stopped battling. Upon awakening I found myself screaming that I hated crummy five and ten cent Christmas decorations and the ugly garbage that had been hanging on our tree for the past fifteen years. The martyr in me went into her usual guilt trip for having such a terrible, materialistic, selfish heart, and started her usual drivel about the starving in India, what she had is good enough, etc.
God's desire in me sided with the angry rebellion. The martyr couldn't stand and block His perfect vision of His perfect tree for me. The reasoner tried to stand with the martyr since she doesn't know why God wants this lovely tree and He would not give her answers. If she doesn't have concrete reasons, she figures they don't exist.
God had calmed her down a few weeks previously by showing her how He does flower arranging through this Jacki form. (A new
talent, just unfolded.) I never know how it will look when completed, but rely completely on instinct for container, color, form, etc. I just pick up a flower and place it, perhaps defying some of the rules of good arranging (though I don't know what they are). The first one I did was so beautiful my husband thought I had bought it from the florist.
The Lord said, "There is also a complete arrangement for your life. Each desire is a flower, and you must pick it up and act on it even if you don't see the completed form of the arrangement now. See the desire, think about it, and act on it no matter how selfish your reasoning says it is. You are no longer selfish, you are Selfish. This Selfishness is self-giving. Each desire is in reality for others."
Back to the Christmas tree. The next morning we went to buy a tree. On the way I saw a lovely one with clear small lights on it. I thought to myself, "How beautiful!" After buying the tree we stopped to buy a skirt to cover the stand. In the store my husband headed for the tree lights, picked up the identical ones I had been loving and bought them. I never spoke a word, but was one with his purchase. We returned home and he asked whether I'd like gold balls and silver tinsel or vice versa. The "angry rebellion" (the Truth emerging) said, "I want gold and gold or silver and silver." After trying each I finally decided on silver. He bought four boxes of silver balls and we added candy canes. The tree is perfection! The whole room is a beautiful blending of tastes. My part is fragile and delicate. His part is reflected in the candy canes, stuffed animals, elves, mice, etc. Before I was suppressed and everything reflected my husband. Now it reflects Him through both of us.
Each day new areas are uncovered, and each time the suppressed one comes through first in angry rebellion. The true me is so submerged under the layers of fear of His disapproval, martyrdom and selfdenial that if it were not for the anger there would be nothing to root out the Real Desire submerged under the garbage. 7
Page 24 UNION LIFE
(Ed: Norman sent the following extracts from a letter that he received recently, suggesting that we include this explanation: "Bill Mortham was one of the first among us to catch onto Union Life Reality. He is now in that challenging calling of being a teacher of high school students with learning disabilities, mainly blacks. He is far more than a school teacher among them, reaching them and their families by love. Bill has a way of sharing profound and revolutionary truth in his letters, not always easy to understand, but therefor those who will dig in and find the great riches.')
Since the birth of religionless Christianity resulted in a new "awareness" as my daily LIFEstyle, every moment of every day is commemorable. How silly I was for so long to major in what I now see as the minors in my lite - always pointing out to myself and letting others bring to the surface only and always the "bad". Oh the JOY of a single-eye, "seethrough" vision. Plurality swallowed up in this ONE Who is now realized as 'all and in all".
Yes, I am caught up in a scene and setting here that allows me first hand observation of those still blinded with only "outer" realities. Physical attributes are so important to them. Their when's, where's and with whom's far exceeding the surpassed and quenched Spirit Who alone can and will one day call attention to their "WHO". Though such awarenesses are usually a long time in their surfacing, there are always those who day after day, manifest His LIFE as a known their's, and an overflow measure is their enjoyed portion.
Numbers are of no importance any longer. He adds to His known "Church" daily, and such is Perfect. My thrill is to count it all JOY and to give thanks even before the outer awarenesses can be seen by most. To see all as "finished products", while yet in their infancy, is out-ofsight FUN. But then the flower is always in the seed, is it not?
How exciting when prelude and postlude are now realized as "Mainstream". And in Him, no hint of mistakes.
Talk about "casting your bread on the water". But when we see him as Sum and Substance of both, there is no waste. Nothing premature and nothing by chance. Our God is total Consummation as the "Whole", and makes total JOY of both cause and effect.
But then I have always stayed more on the "application" side of things,
and only offer hearers a sincere "I love you". I go a step further and define this LOVE as "having their best interest at heart." When this is defined via a shared life rather than verbalization, you're in like Flynn. Just the known opportunity of offering them "no condemnation" for their participation and practice of life (which most call sin or sinful) commands their attention. Perhaps just an introduction of "I'm okay, you're okay" kind of thing is a refreshing drink in their needed oasis.
For too long I was too busy speaking of friendship and love to be this to very many. My tree was lost in the forest. BEing was neither desired nor defined. God was as ambiguous after salvation as before, though I then claimed a right to call Him Savior and Lord. To tell folk "HOW" was my "claim to fame". I was trained in these "methods", and might be attending to them still, had my heart not further cried out for the reality of His presence as a Person. It was in those days and months of travail that I was first introduced to Norman Grubb, first via God Unlimited and then "face to face".
A quandry still is to want to tell folks "how". Telling was forever a MUST, it seemed. All too slowly this "telling" of WORDS OF LOVE has been converted into a LIFE OF LOVE. It's taken a lot of sitting alone on the seawall to find contentment even in solitude, but believe me, once He's found there, He's easily found again in the crowd.
Now in this enjoyed "He being me and I being He" syndrome, which is my known Kingdom of Heaven, and with most gears having been both stripped and shifted, I now stand ready and willing to rest in Him and just "BE". Where once I was "becoming to be", now my BEing is my Becoming! Hallelujah!
For a while I hastled over this "thought/word" concept and wonder
ed if I could ever think apart from words. Now my whole essence of BEing in Spirit is beyond revelation via words and thoughts. Oh the joy of worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth. Thinking Him as my thoughts and speaking Him as my Word of Faith which makes the foulest clean.
I just look as I walk by my old prayer chair. The place where I used to travail, as I bombarded God, waiting for split second decisions to confound the wise and make ready and steady the future. Thinking His thoughts after HIM was for me "thinking and doing what I wanted to do anyway", but always with a look over my shoulder, a wink of eye and a measure of self condemnation. "God, I'll do it with or without you. Knock me dead, see if I care!"
Not doing something was His "No" answer, and doing it, His "Yes". I never could see a Positive God in a "No". That always had punitive and condemnative connotations. But crossroads have been swallowed up by "Straight-a-ways", have they not? Seeing all as "I AM" gives us Green Lights always to both hang in there and dare to let it all hang loose.
I even thought once that this was only for those able to handle it, thinking a little letter of the law would only maim, not kill. Others still had to cleave to some "law" to stay straight. But I was a fool and saying no to God!
Today I say to my "babes" in Christ, "The One you took really took you before the world was. Take your 'Leap of Faith' and 'Dare to be a Daniel.'"
Putting todays teens down so much for their exposure and wetting of whistles with drugs, sex, alcohol, etc. has capped many of them with a defeated attitude, to a point of dwarfing them in their stimulation and motivation early in life to "Taste and see that the Lord, He is Good." God is there as we know, but the society in which they love and live call their thing Good. Bad! So they "closet" themselves until a "later time", when they hope to again try to be themselves with some assemblance of "acceptance".
But Hope arises for them and us when the Light of a few but sturdy Lampstands remain, with Him as their Fortress and Hightower. Though lame, we do get the prey, Hallelujah! For those asking, "Where will it all end?", we point them to Him Who is both ending and beginning. And in Whom total victory is forever ours. But hope isn't in the conquering, but in the Conquerer. 0
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 25
Let me share two wonderful examples of faith-in-action in my life.
Last summer I claimed, in faith, that I might join those planning for a trip to England. When I filed my tax return, my refund was exactly what I needed for the trip. Another confirmation of God's faithful ways!
But before I could get the return in the mail, Chris, my youngest, informed me he was getting married in July. Because of finances, I closed the door (but only part way) on the England trip.
This week a dear friend asked me to tell her all about the trip. When she heard about the situation she said it would give her great pleasure to buy me the ticket for the trip so she could see me enjoy her money while she was still on this earth, as she planned to leave me something anyway. So - the door to England is open again!
The second illustration involved Amy, my 2-1 /2 year old granddaughter, who recently visited me for a few days. She brought to life much of what Norman says in Spontaneous You.
The faith of Amy is to awaken each day in love and wonder; to love unabashedly and expect the same love in return, and more; to have that certainty that those who love her will pick her up when she stumbles; to know she will have love and understanding in her frustrations, and even more love in her unlovely moments; to not wonder about her daily needs, but to know they will be supplied even before she asks.
The awe of Amy is to see God's universe with untainted eyes; to view with wonder a bird in flight; to see the magic of a crocus in bloom; to watch with awe and curiosity a bug on the sidewalk; to collect pebbles and cherish them as if they were pure gold; to greet each passerby with unrestrained friendship and expect
the same in return. These precious days with Amy gave a first hand example of spontaneous living and gave me a wonderful appreciation of our Lord's words: "The man who will not accept the kingdom of God like a little child will never get into it at all."
Just wanted to share a few precious moments.
L.C. - Hopkinsville, KY
AWAKE AND BEHOLD!
Throughout my gradual awakening to Spirit Life, I was constantly told: God is this and God is that, but don't expect to see Him yet. My place in the scheme of things seemed nonexistant, so suicide appeared to be a more exciting path. After a number of sincere attempts, I figured, "To hell with everything." I decided rather just to live. I did succeed in alienating myself from my "stable" friends, so in one sense the suicide was quite successful.
In the process of letting-go and in ceasing to try to control my life, I was rewarded with the realization that I
Progress is the "name of the game" for most, but the fact is that we have already made it.
was merely relaxing into the "flow". It seemed that if this God exists, then the walls between us were beginning to fall. I knew that "Love" had always sustained me in it's variety of manifested forms, so this is the name I gave to my new-found feelings.
We are like light bulbs that increasingly become brighter as the rheostat is turned up. Each experience, down to the every breath of life, frees us more and more to fully emanate this "Love-Light". People extend great efforts to satisfy selfrighteous desires, and all of it ultimately results in a "waking up" in one form of another.
Progress is the "name of the game" for most, but the fact is that we have
already made it. Heaven has always been occurring, here and now. This progress is felt to the extent that we realize our inheritance.
As we gain trust in the CHRIST, we seem to be gently absorbed into this Loving ONEness. Though it is true that we are already totally absorbed in Him, we sense it as a quickening, snowballing effect. The more open we are to being vessels of this Light, the fuller is our experience.
Where do we go from here? It's like putting our canoes into a clear river. At first it takes work to get to the river, but once in we're only meant to enjoy the adventure of the journey. As we feel our way along, we learn how to stay upright, and when going through rough currents we begin afresh to notice the everpresent beauty and perfection of our LIFEstream. The more we recognize and bathe "in His Love", the more familiar we become with our Craft. As we become more familiar with this Vessel, and the ONE contained therein, we see more direct routes leading to a fuller experience in our ONEness. Each moment is a new stretch of river, a new opportunity to see the Truth in all situations, a new chance to "see through" to the Harmony of existence and the everpresent ALLness of GOD! David Riordan - St. Petersburg, FL
LOSING MY SENSE OF GOD-CONSCIOUSNESS
In recent months I have been experiencing something quite different. Before that I had worked at "practicing the presence of Christ", at developing a greater Godconsciousness.
Without the continuing sense of the "other world", I felt dry at first. I craved to write to some Union Life friends, to read my favorite writer, Kierkegaard, to do something to salve my need. But no, time and circumstance did not seem to permit any such thing. Since I know in the deepest core of my being that it's all He, this seeming dryness didn't bother me. In that inner core I continued to acknowledge His gifts (EVERYTHING).
Whether this makes sense, I don't know. It's just that each life experience is now more completely seen as an act of worship, as an act of His life through me, though not
Page 26 UNION LIFE
necessarily felt as that. All along I've known that his "de-religionizing" of me was O.K., but sometimes I longed for the "props"! But one cannot dance this life's dance in beauty propped up on crutches. We must be at one with ourselves and our SELF, expressing Reality as one unit, not two or three separate parts trying to look at ease.
flowing! I'm finally knowing its beat and its flow, and releasing myself to its motion more and more. I no longer fear the loss of control, knowing that as I lose more control I am really gaining true control.
H.Z. - Richmond, VA
THE TWO TREES IN THE GARDEN
My move from a two-power outlook to a "God only" one was helped tremendously by seeing the important difference in the two trees in the garden of Eden.
Having eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for fifty years, I am well acquainted with the struggle that results when you do not adequately understand the difference. Of necessity, I became a judge, for everything had to be made to fit into one of the two categories. The result was frequent frustration, as that which I called good turned out to be evil and that which I labelled evil sometimes turned out to be good. My dilemma was the very thing that finally opened my eyes to that other tree.
Partaking of the tree of Life means that there is never again the need to judge and condemn, for everything is simply "Life - in its myriad of forms. Seeing "God only" means that everything life gives me is from God and is God. Now that I accept that, I can live in true freedom. I praise God for revealing to me the glorious simplicity of truth.
accept the enclosed
donation as a thank-you gift for the
support and affirmation that your
magazine affords me. May you know
rich blessings as you celebrate Life.
F P- - Pacifica, CA
GOD'S WAY WITH
A TWENTY YEAR OLD
Let me tell you a bit about my background as a Christian. I received Christ at 13 (I'm nearly 21) as a sort of on-the-spot fad. (Christ won
derfully honors those not knowing what they're getting into!) I went through an adolescence of hell, consisting of law, law and more law, as well as extreme fear, continual failure and utter weakness. (I am now wonderfully seeing what loving grace it really all was!)
It was particularly difficult because I'm a perfectionist in the flesh, and inside I constantly came against this miserable inadequacy of never meeting up to my own rigorous standards, as well as always fearing failure. The people around me never saw my problems, because to them everything I did was wonderful. I was screaming out in desperation for acceptance and freedom from all the pressures inside me.
I just couldn't take God at His word. I thought He was sadistic and mistreating me. I tried threatening Him with my life and dozens of other drastic measures. Well, my dear Lord finally got through to me by dear Bette K. It was mind-shattering and a bit traumatic, but this time Christ in me believed His Word. I finally realized that belief didn't necessarily have reassuring feelings supporting it. I Praise Him, for the once hateful God has become my precious loving
The once hateful God has become my precious, loving Daddy.
Daddy. I love Him so much!
The pressures are gone. They're all on Him -no longer on the illusory, independent, inadequate self! My flesh is sometimes tempted to think what a cop-out it is - this LIFE IN CHRIST - but after all that law, I say it's the best cop-out I've ever experienced!
I'm still experiencing failure, fear and weakness, but now I know who I am in Christ. I see that each situation is a perfect opportunity to recognize Christ as me and thank Him for His perfection! I feel as though I've been stripped of everything I ever thought I possessed. I now know life is truly nothing without Him.
B.A. (age 20) - Washington, D.C.
A FAMILIAR STORY
Eight or ten years ago God led me into a wilderness, and I came to see that there was and is only one power leading my life. I have been called "Satanic" for some of my beliefs,
which are basically the beliefs your magazine shares.
I must admit that during the past few months I wondered if it was worth the effort to explain or defend my beliefs to others. I felt rather "alone". Then to and behold, your paper came here by a friend, and I realized that I am not alone in my experience or learnings. I really needed this confirmation at this time. Thanks.
B.L. - Reserve, LA
Norman Grubb and Dan Stone recently visited the fellowship in our area. How very much their teachings meant to our group and to me personally.
I thank God that I become a Christian at the age of six and that through the passing years of my spiritual growth He has continued to lead me to learn more of Himself. I had planned to write earlier and express once again our thanks for the visit of Norman and Dan, but I felt that I must first truly live it for myself. As you know, walking by faith and not by sight works so perfectly in all the everyday situations of life, as well as in the larger "problems".
In a ladies Bible study I was leading, we made some "seethrough" glasses, to be worn on occasion to remind each of us to see through each "situation" to Jesus. (They are made of cardboard with only a tiny hole for vision).
I have taken Isaiah 40:27-31 as a life's verse. I do not always seem to soar with eagles or run with the Lord, but by God's grace I always walk by faith.
L.C. - Morgan City, LA
I used to argue with God when I read that there is no sin in him who is in Christ Jesus. I'd say, "Lord, there is in me. I know that I do those things that I should not do!"
He would answer me, "Are you calling me a liar, N_?"
And I would answer, "Oh, no, Lord, I know that you cannot lie."
Then He said to me, "Believe my Word! If I say there is no sin, then there is none."
Recently I heard Norman speak on this, but I just couldn't get it quickened to my spirit. I was blind,
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 27
but now I see. I finally see that THE BLOOD COVERS ME AND KEEPS ME CLEANSED before my Lord. Man, once you see that and you also see that He says there is no condemnation in him who is in Christ, then you know what real freedom is; then you know what the abundant life is that Jesus spoke about; then you are on the High Road. Hallelujah, Praise God.
N.D. - Wichita, KS
(Ed: Bill and Millie Baldwin have long been active for Christ, especially in Lay Witness weekends. In recent years they have become very much a part of our Union Life Family. Millie writes below of many confirming and liberating effects in their lives and witness.)
We have just returned from another Lay Witness Mission, this time to Homer, NY. At the last minute Bill had to take over, as the coordinator's mother was scheduled for open-heart surgery.
We experienced once again how God speaks through us. It's not that I give it much thought, but I just know that He will and that He does. I'm sure His love pours through to others because of the love reactions of the team.
One gal said to me, "Millie, did you always speak with so much authority?" When I answered no, she said, "How did you get that way?"
Bill and I told her that it is the result of a deeper knowing and realizing of He in us, we in Him, and His speaking by us and as us. I'm not sure that she understood. All I know is that I am much bolder to speak the words of faith. I'm seeing that as I speak what I
Many times I have stumbled on truths that I later learned were God's special way for me.
know, He does come through to others, for I am He in Mildred form.
So many of the folks at the meetings beg God, "Be with us - Come, Lord Jesus, come Help us". And although I know He answers them, when my turn comes I simply thank Him for being with us.
Years ago, 25 to be exact, I was very intrigued and delighted with Mark 11:24. I had read it in the J. B. Phillips translation. It said, "Whatever
you pray about and ask for, believe that you have received it and you will." I tried it and often received an answer to my request. But I never heard that approach in church, so I would forget and revert back to begging. I guess I wasn't always too sure my request was the will of God.
Another realization that has been a long time in coming is that God is in action in every situation. I can remember years ago when Bill and I would be so angry. I remember saying (not out loud), "Jesus is in this situation." At the time I did not quite believe it, but I said it anyway. Now I know that He was, even though I did not fully realize it.
In the same way at so many times, I have stumbled (or so it seemed to me) on truths that I later learned were God's special way for me, though the full realization of it was a long time in taking root.
Millie Baldwin - Binghamton, NY
I'm seeing that as we recognize our UNION WITH CHRIST, and that there is no independent self, then all our desires are seen as His desires! We need not "tell" God what to do (which is how people often pray), and we need not ask Him for a thing (He knows our needs before we even ask, and He provides what we need when we need it). Life becomes a matter of simply letting Him live His life through us, accepting what He does and praising Him continuously.
Being a classical pianist, it is most difficult to get jobs where I can play my kind of music. There are probably no more than twenty-five concert pianists in this country who actually earn a living from their performances. Other than the concert circuit, the jobs available to classical pianists are very scarce. Churches and women's clubs will call you, but they usually want you to play for free or present you with a token gift. Piano bars in restaurants and hotels are possibilities, but a classical musician usually finds himself compromising his music. Classical music is seldom requested in these places. They usually prefer popular music, jazz or show tunes. Popular music and show tunes are fine, but they were written to be sung and not as piano solos. Jazz is fine too, but classical musicians and jazz musicians are not usually the same breed. A dedicated classical pianist prefers to play music that was written specifically for the
piano. Another problem that a pianist confronts in piano bars is that a good portion of the audience is often inebriated and can't even appreciate your music. There is also the noise distractions of people talking and the clatter of dishes.
Needless to say, I was very excited when a job came my way that not only paid well but did not have many of the above-mentioned problems. The job was at one of L.A.'s oldest and most exclusive clubs. The dining rooms are elegant and the people very pleasant. The members happened to be very knowledgeable about classical music and they responded very enthusiastically to my music. What more could I ask for?
It's wonderful to know that it is really not I who plays, but Christ in me who plays. I have often told people that I play "soul" music; meaning from my soul to theirs. Since I am "Christ-in-Karen-form", I know it is Christ speaking to their soul when I play. My audience is actually experiencing an encounter with Christ. One morning I realized that if I am going to communicate Christ to people through my music it would be necessary to have a captive audience, an audience that does not have to overcome the distractions of restaurant surroundings. Of course, I realize that to live is Christ, and if what I am doing does not glorify Him or help further His kingdom then it is all in vain. I was beginning to see that the present job was not really all that it could be, however, I was not ready to go to the phone and tell them I was quitting.
As He was revealing this to me, the phone rang. It was the Club. They were calling to inform me that they had just had a board meeting and it was decided to temporarily terminate my engagement with them. They were going to hire a strolling violinist for a while. When I hung up the phone I felt disappointment. I loved the job and desired to keep it.
If I had surrendered my will to His, then my desires should be His desires. It was very obvious that it was His desire that the present job be terminated. "Why?", I asked Him.
"Why do you always have to know why?" He said. "Just be still and know that I am God. Now get back to your practicing."
"But I don't even have a job," I responded.
"Don't argue with me," He said. "Do it because I told you to."
I practiced four hours that day and five the next. I was amazed at how He arranged my time so that I could practice. I know that He has a plan
REALIZATIONS HAVE FINALLY TAKEN ROOT
HOW TO LOSE
A JOB GRACEFULLY
Page 28 UNION LIFE
and that it is in process. I am no longer disappointed, because I know that He knows what He is doing and everything He does is in my best interest. I know that the job is not really what is important; the important thing is that I know who I am (Christ-inKaren-form) and whose I am (the King's kid). I also know that as I am still and let Him be God that He gives me a peace that passes understanding and fills my heart with so much joy that no matter what happens I find myself praising Him and delighting in Him.
Karen Huffman - Glendale, CA
I feel I've come into a deeper realization of union through all the turmoil I have recently experienced. At first I felt, "God can love the people who are against us-He can do so through me." Then I came to a point that I realized I loved them. It wasn't just that God through me loved them, but that He and I are meshed together in such a way that there is no beginning of Him or end of me. The I actually is being one with God, and therefore I am love. Not that I say it with my head and yet have reservations in my heart when around certain people. No, I truly
love everyone I know. That seems
wild to me. I never thought I could say that and mean it. I always had thought I could say that only by prefacing it with "God through me". Now I know as I am known. I know I am love. This is really something for me.
I recently had a most beautiful insight regarding the Virgin birth that just thrills me every time I think about it. I believe that with the Virgin birth of Christ, God was showing us that we are all born of a virgin in the sense of our real selves (Christ in us). What we term our "born-again" experience is our coming alive to ourselves as spirit people, as our spirits have always been pure (virgin) - because our spirit is Him in us. I wonder now why it took me so long to see this!
Jesus was the manifestation of all that is true of God in man - and I'm
Then you were a servant of the world in the world; now you are a Servant of Love for the world.
sure that He wanted most of all for us to know that what was true in Him is true in every man.
I must confess that through the years I have had very negative feelings about the word "servant." I know it all goes back to early experience as a maid, and the third class status of that position in England in those times. It was a degrading experience for me, and I still rebel at the idea of ever going through something like that again.
But as I saw all this, I was ready to hear God's word to me about being a servant. He said "My dear Edna, then you were a servant of the world in the world; now you are a Servant of Love for the world.
Suddenly I saw that to be called to be a servant is the highest calling of all, for it means that The Greatest Servant of All has come to dwell in the servant girl. It is a calling that frees the one who accepts it to scrub floors, preach sermons, cook meals, heal the sick, wash clothes, teach truth, or do whatever needs to be done. The Christ in one can do anything He wants to do, and I know He will love through me in the way that the occasion demands.
I feel so freed by all this. No more worrisome feelings about my "mission" or what I ought or should be doing for Jesus. There is just a deep peace, together with a great feeling of adventure.
ANONYMOUS - CA
We are so excited! For some time my brother has been searching for a new life in Christ. He's very intelligent and has wonderful insights into the reality of life and God and man. His has been a continuous search for the past few years. We talked often, and he saw many things about God in man and God's universe. However, his inner person had never found peace and rest.
His restaurant business has just failed, and it looks as if he is going to
lose his home, cars, and all possessions. Once again he called us to talk. When we got to his house, he asked "What can I do to be saved? I believe 99% in Christ, that he is my savior, but how can I know it?"
We told him to ask and receive Christ by faith - that he cannot know it except by faith. And he did. We prayed aloud with him as he received Christ by faith and forsook total understanding for action, explaining that as he walks his brand new faith steps, God's spirit will pour out new understanding of all things to him. In one hour after receiving Christ, God spoke to him and gave him all the feeling and emotion that he wanted to feel. How fantastically God works, as we just move along as Christ's in our particular form.
T.M. Chester, PA.
I can't begin to express how much the First John tapes by Norman have blessed me with their message. .1 listen and I confirm over and over again the truth he speaks, especially how we were never meant to improve ourselves in the sense of having more love or patience. We just are the vessels, and He is the love, patience, etc., through us. No more need I engage in self-effort and striving, only to experience more guilt and failure. How much easier it is to accept myself as He does-without condemnation.
Though I sometimes respond negatively to negative situations, the awareness gradually returns that I'm not really alive anymore. It has nothing to do with practicing a new belief; it is simply a series of awarenesses and recognitions in the various situations which He causes us to walk in.
The message I wish to express to others is that we are all loved unconditionally. It doesn't matter who we are or what we have done, for He can't help but love us because of who He is-and He is love. Now I see myself loving the same way; not striving but merely being who I am in situations which He has prepared beforehand that I might walk in them; watching, beholding all this vastness of love spontaneously flowing from me. It is He-as-me loving others around me. Though it is sometimes painful, gladly do I lay down my life for others, for this other-loving is all that there is.
I AM LOVE
THAT WONDERFUL FIRST STEP
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 29
My little boy and I were lying together
looking at the night. I said it was dark, He said it was light.
We looked at the moon.
I told him the sunlight
Made the moon bright,
To give us light in the dark night.
Then I saw what I knew in my heart Night is no different than light.
In the center of the night
Is a light; shining, bright. A gift from the Son, A reflection of One;
Reminding us to remember
Dark is the same as light.
Colors, Fragrances, hidden by night.
Son warmed, Son lit, back into sight; Sensed differently by night, and by Light. How precious when walking by Faith,
My child - fear not. Your anxieties are being used. I have already completed the work in your life, and it is good. You are cast in my image, and I have my way which will be accomplished. You are only a by-stander who watches the procession, for all of my work can only be performed by me. Why do you think you can do it? There are those who I shall reach through you who are anxious and lonely. You will have understood what they feel and then I will be able to draw them, by you, to my redeeming power of love, grace, and salvation. I have always been, and I shall always be completing in the eyes of my people what was completed in reality before time began. I write my words in a simple way for my inheritors to understand, but I am not a simple God. I am complex and mighty. I am ALL things. I AM.
Not sight We
Sun Light, Day bright, Dark night, Moon bright, Night Light, SON Light, New sight, Day or night.
by Amy and Joel, her little boy son.
Ed: These words were shared with us by our Albany, Georgia CONTACT, Henrietta Burt. Together with her lawyer-husband Hilliard, Henrietta is a living witness in various local churches as well as among a special group of friends with whom she fellowships.
All Is We
Do not feel that you must search for me; I am here.
Do not feel that you must beg for mercy; you received it on the cross. Do not feel that all is lost; all was won on calvary. Do not feel ashamed that you cannot excel for me; I do that through you for myself as I choose.
Do not feel alone and unloved; I am your very self - and I am love. I prize you with a vastness that you cannot comprehend. I plan for you with a purpose that is beyond your imagination. My love for you is without measure. Arise, and go in peace - for do you not see - my precious one - That all is well?
UNION LIFE SEPTEMBER 1979 Page 31