Vol. 1, No. 3
We have many members in one body (but) all members do not have the same %unction. Romans 12:4
As our country celebrates its bicentennial year and starts its third century, Maranatha Center starts its first year. Though no ministry develops and operates independently of the whole Body, and without the direct operation of hundreds of the children of God, the vision for the ministry of Maranatha Center was specifically given to three men. Those three men are pictured on this page standing in front of their portraits in the main meeting room of the Center. Each man has had a very different function in bringing the Center to its present operational phase.
PUBLISHED BY MARANATHA CENTER
By Bill Volkman
In no area of life is the little childrenyoung men-fathers sequence of growth more apparent than in the area of prayer. A person's prayer attitudes and habits will reveal a lot about his true spiritual maturity and his understanding of union-life.
Do your prayers take the form of asking, anticipating or affirming? Is your concept of prayer petitions and persistence, or praise and performance, or spontaneous words of faith and authority spoken as part of your life for others?
I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. Lk. 11:8,9
God always deals with us where we are at. When one of the disciples said to Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray,'' Jesus gave them a model prayer for beginners - The Disciples' Prayer. "Our Father who art in heaven," etc. However, we must not assume that we should forever pray in that fashion. We frequently call this the "Lord's Prayer," but Jesus never prayed like that. For example, compare the real Lord's Prayer, as found in John 17 with the Disciples' Prayer. Because Jesus understood a level of prayer beyond their present comprehension, He prefaced His illustrative prayer for His disciples with these words, "For your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him" (Matt. 6:8). Yet to accomodate them where they were at, He still taught them to ask for needs.
Both Matthew 6 and Luke 11 give the disciples' Prayer and teach the concept of importunity, that is, persistent asking. Jesus told a parable to illustrate the certainty of unanswered prayer. The parable seems to stress that it is not the relationship that brings results, but the persistency. Even
though the neighbor is a good friend, he responds to the request to borrow some food at midnight based on the need and persistency, not on the basis of friendship. But Jesus knew that the emphasis needed by the immature at that point was that of involvement by importunity.
Jesus then goes on to talk about the father-son relationship, and concludes, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit (the indwelt, permanent gift of "all things") to those that ask Him?" (Luke 11:13). But to conclude from this that we should "ask for the Baptism of the Spirit" or for any other supposed "need" is to miss the point.
In a continuing spiritual infancy, many of us insist on focusing on our needs, especially external physical needs, such as healing and monetary prosperity. We continue to plead and beg and ask because we have learned little of the blank check inherent in the name God ascribed to Himself - I AM. What kind of a name is that? It is a name that is pregnant with potential. He is total sufficiency to each of us according to whatever we envision our needs to be. But because of our separated outlook, we see God as a distant, sometimes reluctant, dispenser of gifts.
Our supply is therefore limited by our unbelief, and by our limited perspective of God. Because our God is too small, our supply turns out to be meager, just as the Egyptian provision turned out to be meager for the Hebrews. As long as we look to our personal effort and the world (Egypt) for our supply, we will sense inadequacy just as the Israelites did.
Because we see God as a helper, at best, we tend to physically and mentally sweat for the fulfillment of our needs. When that does not provide adequate supply, we work at "prevailing prayer" to convince God that we are needy and serious. But self-effort of any brand is not God's way. The priests were told to wear linen clothing in the temple, and not to wear "anything which makes them sweat" (Ezek. 44:18). This was God's way to teach them that God's mercies are always dispensed solely on the basis of grace. We must learn that prayer is not getting God to do something, but letting God press through in love to us.
Gradually our focus changes. As spiritual young men we begin to recognize something of God's preexisting supply. As the Godhead provided for our salvation before the foundations of the world - before we even sinned - so we begin to see the unrealized potential of God's supply in all other situations. Since our supply is proportionate to His supply (which is obviously unlimited), we finally come to see the supply in every manifested need. We move from the level of asking to the level of anticipation.
And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19
But at this stage we still have many reservations. Being performance Christians, we stress the "if" in that glorious prayer verse, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" (John 14:6). Though we believe we positionally abide in Him, our separated focus sees our experience at variance with our position. So when we do not "see" results of prayer, and assume they are not answered, we maintain the integrity of Scripture by acknowledging that it is our fault, not the Lord's. Unfortunately, this is a negative acknowledgement - the acknowledgement of an illusion - because God has pronounced that we do abide in Christ, and that His words do abide in us.
Another reservation comes in the form of the convenient distinction between a "need" and a "want." God will supply our needs but not our wants. If a positive supply is not forthcoming, we presume that we have asked amiss - that we have asked for a want rather than a need.
Our performance orientation also affects our prayer habits. We convince ourselves and others that the more we sacrifice in prayer time and effort, the greater the efficacy of the prayers. We assume that the difficult and impossible situations are only reversed "by prayer and fasting" (Mk. 17:21). Lengthy allnight and early morning vigils seem to get better results. Kneeling, praying with outstretched hands, holding hands, laying on of hands, and other externals all seem important to many of us in this second stage. I do not want in any way to demean these externals. At this stage in our experience, all of these
things have great significance to us and are meaningful expressions as we try to relate to an imminent, but still distant, God. If you have what to you is a meaningful prayer life, do not try to change it.
The recent books on praise by Carothers and others have helped many to improve their focus in prayer. Thanking God for each situation, and thanking Him before visible supply becomes evident, has brought meaningful victory to thousands. The practice of focusing on and seeking the Giver instead of his gifts, on His ways instead of His words, has added vitality and reality to the prayer life of many. The Israelites experienced a wonderful and adequate provision in the wilderness. Not only was there manna, quail and water; but apparently their clothing and shoes never wore out, and their health was not impaired for the entire forty years (though many died of old age).
Although many of us experience wonderful answers to prayer, and see our external needs met by God's limitless provision, few go on to the third stage of prayer - words of faith, affirmation, spontaneous being.
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be glory . . . . Eph. 3:20,21
When a fixed union consciousness finally takes us, asking and anticipating are replaced with affirming, that is, fourth dimensional intercession. Paul's prayer in Ephesians 16-21 quoted in part above, is probably the best exam-ple of a mature believer's prayer. Verse 20 summarizes the three perspectives of prayer-ask, think, and affirm (according to the motivating power within you). This prayer certainly differs materially from the beginners' Disciples' Prayer and the prayers of young men.
With a union perspective, our focus is on our oneness with the Giver, and we see through every "need" to Him and His pre-existing supply. Even when we fail in "doing our part," faith realizes the supply. "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself" (2 Tim. 2:13). Since we are "Himself," He will not deny us, for He cannot deny Himself. With a union consciousness, we do not distinguish our
selves from God, for He is us, and we are He and each other. This is why Jesus said, "If you say (not pray) to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it shall happen" (Matt. 21:21). The emphasis is on the words "beyond all that we ask or think." All of life will become conscious and unconscious worship, praise and prayer. In selfgiving love we will sometimes go through certain prayer routines for others who still cling to an external approach to prayer, but sessions that were meaningful in the past will hold no further appeal for us.
How can we pray aright? What is a spontaneous word of faith? How can we pray without ceasing? Once again, union-life gives the answer - our spirit with His Spirit. It is not surprising that the victory chapter, Romans 8, gives us the answer to adult praying.
... (F)or we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself' intercedes ,for us with groanings too deep, for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (pv 26,27).
True intercession is more than verbalizing prayer for the needs of others. Intercession is a life for others. It is "being put to death all day long" (Rom. 8:36), for others. Only with this perspective can we pray without ceasing. The plentiful Canaan provision finally becomes a faith reality as we experience abundant supply in every area of life. But there will not necessarily be any correlation between our effort and the abundant supply. Sleeping in quiet confidence will sometimes make more sense than working harder or engaging in midnight prevailing prayer (Ps. 127:2).
It is well to learn the wisdom of the expression, "Don't pray through; see through." Don't pray through the circumstances, see through the circumstances. See through the current or impending, distressing circumstances to the redemptive purposes that we know are there.
Prayer should not have as its objective changing God's mind. We are to pray, "Thy will be done," not "Thy will be changed." Prayer should not be a way to escape or avert our present circumstances, but an opportunity to confess (agree with) God in every circumstance. To pray for change is to say, "No, God; no, Master." Obviously such prayer is not prayer, it is unbelief.
When we agree with God in our spirit, we are free to spontaneously speak an authoritative word of faith, and a positive answer is assured. However, a visible change in circumstances is not our objective. The proper objective of prayer is to bring ourselves to the point of release. We must see ourselves released so we can let God be God in the circumstances just as they are.
But the word of faith need not always be consciously verbalized. We must come to see that all of life, conscious and unconscious, is a word of faith. The Living Word is our life. Ultimately we will see that all of life and just "being" is prayer. With a matured union-life perspective we will see ourselves as "I am." Sometimes we will "call into being that which does not exist" (Rom. 4:17) by a spoken word of faith. At other times we will say and do nothing, but eternal results will come about by the spontaneous "power that works within us.
Many use Daniel 3:17,18 as their proof text for unanswered prayer.
Our God whom we serve is able to
deliver us from the furnace of blazing
fire; and He will deliver us out of your
hand, 0 King. But even if He does not
I believe this affirmation of Shadrach, Mesheck and Abednego to King Nebuchadnezzar was a mature word of faith. I believe they were saying, "Irrespective of the visible outcome, we will know a deliverance from your hand, O King." As spiritual fathers, these physically young men saw their deliverance in realized faith, irrespective of visible circumstances.
Again, in the Disciples' Prayer it says, "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matt. 6:13). Then why does it say in James 1:2-"Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations." (KJ)? Such seemingly contradictory verses are easily reconciled when you see that there can be varying perspectives dependent upon our level of maturity, or inner awareness.
Mature prayer is intercession by declaration or attestation. There is an attitude of willingness to substitute and die for others with self-giving love. Examine the Lord's Prayer in John 17 and list the evidences of self-giving love. On the top of the list is Jesus' prayer, "that they may be perfected in unity" (v. 23). Our perfection comes as unity consciousness is experienced by
faith-by our acknowledging reality. A declaration is a statement of authority. An attestation is a solemn declaration of a fact. It is not the fact. It merely certifies the truth; it affirms the fact to be genuine or true. Authoritative prayer, "saying" prayer, is the experience of spiritual fathers who have realized a unity consciousness.
But can you speak the word of faith for anything at any time? Yes, "all things" are the realized possession of those who see the All within. Mark 11:24 says, "All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you." A spiritual father, a "sayer," speaks the word of faith after he has waited on God, after he knows what His will is, and after he has already realized the answer by faith. Substantive realization is not necessary; but if it comes, it comes after objective realization by faith. The Power within us is unlimited, except for the limitation imposed temporarily by our unbelief.
Some people do not understand Jesus' statement, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me" (Matt. 26:39). They confuse soul-level temptation to doubt with the sin of unbelief, or negative believing. Jesus did not sin; He merely had a human reaction of doubt on the level of His emotions. But He immediately saw the reaction as illusion, so He added, "Yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt." His human reaction was the stepping stone to His positive affirmation of faith.
Paul's prayer concerning his thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-9), is another classic example of mature prayer. "Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' " In the flesh, Paul undoubtedly desired a change of circumstances. As he waited on God each time, the word came clear that God had a higher purpose in keeping the outer circumstances of the thorn in the flesh unchanged. So his outer entreaty changed to an inner consciousness that the manifestation of God's grace in the midst of unchanged circumstances was more important than any external change.
Recently my wife was scheduled to go in for shoulder surgery. The shoulder socket needed to be rebuilt so that her arm would not slip out of joint, as it had since she was a teenager. I could not pray for her
healing, for I saw no need in my inner being. I could not even expectantly praise God for what I knew He was going to do, even though by faith her restoration was already realized in my inner being. I found that I could not pray in the conventional sense.
However, for the benefit of my twelve-year-old daughter, I did verbalize and affirm Marge's oneness with Him who is Life. I affirmed the Peace and Power that relentlessly works within her, in spite of her fear and doubt at the soul/body level. During all this I experienced, perhaps for the first time, that mature, spontaneous prayer of Ephesians 3:20-a sense of oneness with Him who is the mutual Power within Marge and myself. The external outcome was obvious peace in Marge, "successful" surgery, and excellent recovery. But the visible results were anticlimactic for me, compared to my experience of spontaneous "being."
I find that to the extent that I do verbalize any prayer, it now only takes the form of affirmation. The prayer is liberally sprinkled with "I affirm," "I recognize," "I am aware that," "I say," "I declare," "I embrace the reality of," "I deny the illusion of," etc. All my words are affirmations of positive believings.
Your personal approach to prayer might vary considerably from mine. Do not try to change your prayer attitudes or methods. As you come to see and know more clearly who you are in Christ, changes will come about spontaneously, without self-effort. "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). But I predict that your prayers will progress from asking to anticipating to affirming and spontaneous being.
by Dan Stone
Union-life is the summit position for living the Christian life. You know the truth of the above sentence if you have personally discovered union-life. Union-life testifies to a union of believer and Christ.
Many know the unsettleness produced when their Christian knowledge is restricted to the Christ of history coupled with a vague idea of the Person of the Holy Spirit. It is a life of spiritual "Highs and lows." However, let me hasten to add that the Christ of history is still the saving Christ of the Cross. That is, we first know Him in this revelation: the Christ of the Cross.
The typical Christian's response to this limited understanding of Christ is to try to offer Him his best in personal commitment. This commitment takes the form of religious service, activity, and an outwardly moral life. Ah, but we are all familiar with the results. They are defeat, discouragement, and disillusionment. We are left with religion separated from life. Most of us finally ask ourselves, "Have I been cheated?"
I have experienced this sequence myself. I was saved, so I wanted to offer God something in return to show my gratitude. So I did. The result was an inner spirit of frustration. Some good was accomplished; no doubt about that. But I had no abiding sense of His eternal Presence within. It was as if He were "out there", remote from what was taking place in my life. I was unsure of myself. Re-dedications to do good were frequently made in my "secret closet." I would run the maze and once again exit at the same end: frustration.
I have concluded that the revelation of the Christ of the Cross does not reveal to the believer his full and complete victory. It only confirms to him his justification from sins.
Victory Life is. different, though Christ is not different. Only our revelation of Him is altered. I have likened the difference to the view a theater audience has of a stage. When the curtain is only slightly open, they see a part. But when the curtain is fully extended, they see it all. The stage scenery has not changed; but the view has
What are some of the altered views in the Victory Life?
1. FROM EXTERNAL TO
A person with the union-life
perspective transfers from the external Christ, who works for him and for Whom he works, to the internal Christ. This internal Christ lives in him as his "I". Paul states it so well in the familiar Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Of all the New Testament writers and figures other than Christ, Paul was the unparalleled exponent of this .,mystery".
Once a believer discovers the inner Christ, usually he seeks a special gift as the confirming sign of the Indweller. At this point the Holy Spirit is more likely to be viewed as a Power than as a Person. But as his vision matures, the believer moves from an absorbing concern with ecstasy and external miracles as confirmations of the Holy Spirit's Presence, to a fixed awareness of His inner Presence.
Compare it to moving to a new home; you consciously remind yourself of its location, the telephone number, and maybe even the house number. You even consciously point the car in the right direction at 5:00 p.m. But as soon as you are settled in, you live spontaneously. You are the unconcerned occupant of the new home. You are fixed in the awareness of where you live.
2. FROM DOUBLE TO SINGLE VISION
One of the Biblical statements of the Victory Life position is "seated in the heavenlies." The statement has to refer to an inner position, for there is no way to conceive of this position literally. This statement represents the believer who sees himself in the Victory Position. This position causes a Christian to see God in all circumstances.
With our spiritual vision we see with the single eye (Matt. 6:22,23 KJV). Single vision sees through the external appearance of separated opposites and declares God is the One working in every event to accomplish His own purposes.
As products of the Fall we start by seeing all things in terms of opposites: light and dark, sweet and sour, good and bad. The fallacy of this viewpoint is to consider these opposites as truly separated rather than complementary.
Union-life does not deny what is seen; it does deny the finality and reality of what is seen. Union-life says that God is using every event to cause the person or persons to come to Him. Single vision says God is the only real Person in the universe. The entire universe is form through which God manifests Himself.
Thus, persons occupying the Victory Position see God operating on
that side of the opposites where we usually deny His Presence.
3. FROM TIME CONSCIOUSNESS TO NO-TIME (ETERNITY)
Another consequence of Victory Life is the awareness of the timelessness of the "heavenlies". Previously, we were imprisoned by the necessity for God to constantly manifest Himself to us in order for us to be sure of Him. But once we experience Victory Life, we sense that time, as we use the term, is not a reality in the spirit realm. A study of scripture shows that things are considered as completed now in God's sight. Our fixed inner awareness tells us that events are completed which may not yet be finished in the earthly time sequence.
What we have sensed in our inner consciousness will be manifested at some time. But our anxiety, or our "taking thought" over that anticipated manifestation, is erased, for we have already seen the conclusion in the spirit realm. The need for physical proof is removed. We see it done. God is bound; He will manifest. We rest. We praise. We thank. We need not ask again.
4. FROM STRIVING TO RESTING
Though the list of Victory Life byproducts is long, the last one I want to discuss here is Rest. When you see God only (single vision), you have seen the heavenlies where God alone is Sovereign. When you have moved into eternal time where the Sovereign is the Conquering King, you have the desires of your heart, for your heart is His heart. You have entered the Sabbath-Rest. Of course, rest does not mean inactivity; it means activity from the position of full supply-the position of a co-son and joint heir. You are the vessel of the Victorious King. You live easily and spontaneously, calling the things that be not as though they were (Rom. 4:17). You know who you are!
This Victory Life is the overcoming position. I am persuaded that the Holy Spirit desires to lead every believer to this position. I am further persuaded that God uses all events of our lives to press us into seeing this position as our resting place. For it is only here that we operate as fully-functioning sons.
Q I have always tended to be overweight. It is - not a gland or health problem; I know it is accentuated by frustration and times of pressure in my life. If self-effort and personal discipline is not the answer, what is? If you want to change a bad habit, whether it is over-eating, or laziness, or smoking, or nail-biting, what should a person do?
A How does one change a bad habit? Don't try. . But much more radical than that, change your whole negative outlook on yourself. Instead of seeing yourself as a poor, weak human with some distressing habits (over-eating, smoking, or what not), see and delight in yourself as God sees and delights in you - as His precious possession, as His dwelling place, as His holy temple.
You should admit to yourself and to Him that there are certain things you like and to which you are partial. Admit that you are tempted to feel guilty about doing those things, and that it might be better if you were rid of them. But also honestly admit that a main reason for wanting to be rid of them is because they hurt your own self-esteem or reputation in the eyes of others.
Then tell the Lord that since you like them, you will go on with them; it's no good trying to stop doing them, and you are not going to bother about it. But being His, if He wants you to stop them, then you take the position of faith that He will do it in His own way and in His own time. Meanwhile you are free, refusing the guilt or condemnation of others. You continue to "love God and do as you like!" And God does have His ways of doing things!
Q. Can you know God without knowing Christ?"
A .Son; You can only come to God through the
.Son; redemption is through Christ alone. However, even in those cases where Christ has never been manifested in the world, the Bible says He was available in the Spirit before He ever came in the flesh. Speaking of the children of Israel, 1 Corinthians 10:4 says, "they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ." And in Hebrews 11:26 it says that Moses "counted the reproach of Christ greater than the riches in Egypt." 1 Peter 1:10,11 says that the Spirit of Christ was in the prophets of old - before Christ ever actually came in history. Christ is the Eternal Person, the Lamb slain from the foundation
Q of the world (Rev. 13:8). In God's sight He has always been the slain Christ. Explain the term 'fixed inner consciousness.'
Doesn't this have to be experienced on the soul (mind and emotion) level? Is this an experience common only to union-lifers, or was this the basic experience of many deeper-life exponents?
Fixed inner consciousness is a condition of
A. spirit, not of soul (reason or emotion). Consciousness is knowing something. "Knowing" in Bible terms means "being mixed with the thing we know." (That is why the word "know" is used when speaking of sexual intercourse in Genesis 4:1, etc.)
Such "knowing" is possible for the human spirit on a human or temporal level. Thus, a competent professional man "knows" his profession and can operate at ease in it. He has a "fixed inner consciousness" of his profession.
But the true knowing (fixed inner consciousness) is a Holy Spirit's knowing, in the same way in which the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - know each other in a fixed consciousness. We, the redeemed, enter into this in seed form when "the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God."
Then when we come into an inner knowing of our union with Him, ("He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit"), confirmed by His inner knowing in us, we come to a more mature form of eternal fixed consciousness. In time we learn to discern between soul and spirit, and no longer confuse emotional disturbances or rational questionings for the stillness of the fixed spirit-knowing (which is really "being"). For "we know" that "we know" that "we know" - which was John's final emphasis in his great first epistle (1 Jn. 5:18-20).
From there we move on to inner knowings in the outer confrontations of life. As we see through to Him in all things, we enter into those knowings of faith that He is certainly doing this or that against all outer appearances. We "call the things that be not as though they are" (Rom..4:17). This is the "father" form of fixed inner consciousness.
Such "knowing," which is the inner fixed fact of our spirit-being, is called by Jesus, "eternal life" (see John 17:3). This is on another dimension than rational thinking; and is (whether in seed or fullgrowth form) the realized fact in everyone born of the Spirit.
By Bill Volkman
we have this
treasure in earthen vessels, that the
passing greatness of the power may be of God and not from
ourselves. 2 Cor. 4:7
After a full-scale rebellion for over three years, from ages 16-19, my son Scott "came home." Though drugs and strong drink miraculously became history overnight, he battled another habit for many weeks. Scott had concluded that for him, smoking cigarettes was a bad habit. This is not to say that smoking or any other habit is necessarily an absolute wrong for all. The Apostle Paul put it well when he said, "I know and am convinced that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him that thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean" (Rom. 14:14). Because of personal persuasion, Scott purposed to quit smoking.
By sheer self-resolve and careful planning (such as making his cigarettes as inaccessible as possible, and purposing to smoke only if he could "bum" one), he cut his two pack (40 cigarettes) a day habit to about five cigarettes a day. But he knew that this still was not victory and freedom when the battle raged constantly and defeat occurred five times a day. The temptations and periodic "slips" of humanity are one thing; but endless battle and defeat is another.
So the day came when Scott said to the Lord, "I am through trying. I can not stop. If you want me to stop, you will have to do it."
Scott has never smoked since that day. At the time, even the desire to smoke evaporated. In fact, smoke still bothers him.
At the time, Scott did not even recognize the key as to how his smoking habit was broken. He just saw it as another miraculous working of God in his life. All he knew was that he had "committed the problem to the Lord," and God handled it.
But Scott now sees four concepts as being basic to his breaking the habit of smoking. All four are inherent in the phrase-"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels ..." (2 Cor. 4:7).
The first truth to recognize in breaking a bad habit is that we are only earthen vessels-that apart from Him we are hopeless and helpless. We must be willing to agree "that nothing good dwells in me" (Rom. 7:18). God can not be everything to us until we first see that we are nothing apart from Him.
The second concept to recognize is that as Christians we all have a Treasure within - the person of Christ Jesus. We do not have to live by our faith; we live by His faith. The King James version of Galatians 2:20 makes this clear when it says, ". . . And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." For too long we have been
taught to have faith and to let God help us to exercise our faith. We must come to see ourselves as dead and "crucified with Him ... that we should no longer be slaves to sin" (Rom. 6:6).
The third concept for breaking a habit is found in Romans 8:2-"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death." These two laws must not be seen as necessitating a struggle in our lives. In spite of temptations, slips, and the illusions of battle, the truth is that only one law is operative from God's viewpoint-the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
In our dual outlook we see the law of sin and death operative on our "soul/body level," and God's Spirit of life law operative on our "spirit level." But with a unified outlook there is no room for two laws. As we are free to choose to misuse ourselves, we must see that we are also free to choose to break a particular habit. Because of union-life we are competent, volitional beings who can do all things. "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). The vacillation of Romans 7:15 ("I am doing the very thing I hate") and Romans 7:19 ("I practice the very evil I do not wish") need not plague us. Because of oneness we are competent and adequate to deny the illusions of the flesh, and cling to the reality of who we are in union-life with Christ. "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who has made us adequate" (2 Cor. 3:5,6a).
Finally, we must learn to avoid regrets and selfcondemnation. If future temptations and slips in the area of the habit do come, we must not condemn ourselves. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). Though we must realistically face the results of our negative believings, we must not embrace them with regrets. "Sorrow which is according to the will of God is repentance without regret" (2 Cor. 7:10 NAS). True repentance is focusing on God midst failure, not a focusing on our failure. We must allow each negative episode to have redemptive purpose in our life. We must permit each temptation and seeming defeat to establish us, not condemn us. We must acknowledge His life and faith in us, and go ahead in confidence.
Whatever the nature of your "bad habit" or "weakness in the flesh" (whether it is over-eating, or an impure thought life, or anything else), allow the insights above to bring you to the freedom which is part of your inheritance in Christ.
(For further discussion on breaking habits, see QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS on page 12 of this issue of UNION LIFE.)
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7
On a recent TV talk show, the well-known criminal lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, prearranged with the producer for an episode to take place during the show. Mike Douglas and the guests were honestly taken by surprise when an apparently deranged man appeared on the set, started to attack Mike Douglas, and had to be removed bodily from the set by security police.
Mike Douglas and a couple guests were then asked to describe what they thought they saw. The disparity in their testimony was ludicrous. Instant replay showed everyone that no one really saw all the facts accurately. (You sports enthusiasts know how often instant replays show the factual decisions of umpires and referees to be wrong.) Bailey used this demonstration to show the subjectivity of supposedly objective facts.
In the field of law, decisions are supposed to be based on objective facts, not on subjective feelings or emotions. All testimony is supposed to be based on what witnesses heard and saw, not based on what the witnesses "think" or "feel" or have heard as hearsay from third parties. But who knows how many wrong decisions have been made based on supposedly objective facts. Witnesses, judges and juries must all necessarily comprehend and communicate subjectively.
The same problem confronts a Christian. With all the variations in testimony as to truth, what are we to believe? Can subjective, inner man know objective truth?
A new magazine published in California dedicates itself to "the great Reformation principle of justification by faith. (We) have united to uphold the objective gospel amid the present deluge of religious subjectivism. Multitudes are being caught up in the popular and frantic effort to find satisfaction in some sort of religious experience." The editors' fear of indiscriminate subjectivism (the doctrine that individual feeling is the ultimate criterion of good and evil) brings them to a conclusion which I do not believe is valid. They improperly assume that only objective Scripture is valid and that subjective experience is invalid. However, I believe that the truth lies in the merger of the two.
But before we discuss how subjectivity is merged with, or swallowed up by, objectivity, let us define a few terms. Many people are confused by the words objective and subjective.
In dictionary terms, objective means that which is
material and substantial apart from our consciousness of it. Subjective means that which is determined by empirical experience - that which is determined by our consciousness of a subject. Based on these definitions, we speak of objective facts and subjective feelings. That which is external and discernable to one of our five natural senses (sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing) is objective. That which is inner and not discernable to our natural senses is subjective.
Based on these three-dimensional definitions, faith, the necessary ingredient of knowing and believing, is subjective, not objective. But man is created in the image of God. This includes the capacity for faith, the fourthdimensional capacity for knowing God.
All men know God, though all men will not honor Him as God (Rom. 1:21). Therefore, all men live by faith; they live by their believings (including their negative believings, or disbelievings).
Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as "the substance (objective) of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen" (subjective). Faith is both objective and subjective. To argue that faith is solely objective, because it is based on the written word of God, is as naive as to think that our justice is administered solely on an objective basis.
There is a place for both the external objective word of God, and also for the internal subjective word of God. If we deny their merger and embrace one extreme to the exclusion of the other, we end with mysticism, determinism, existentialism, subjectivism, or pragmatism - all of which individually limit truth.
Objective facts must be comprehended and communicated by subjective beings. Even our legal system acknowledges that in its rules of evidence and proof. In the same fashion, the- objective word of God (Scripture or otherwise) must be comprehended and communicated subjectively. The objective facts of God must merge with the subjective feelings of man in an objective/subjective faith. When we finally see unity - God in all things, God in fact and feeling - objectivity and subjectivity will finally merge.
Once we have an established consciousness of our eternal union with God, we can live subjectively - the way we feel. All our thoughts, decisions and emotions will be objective, because of our objective union with God. We can act authoritatively, though subjectively, because we are consciously and unconsciously aware of our union-life. Then we will be walking by faith' (eternal Spirit fact), not by sight (temporal fact).
CONTROLLED BY LOVE
For the love of Christ controls ("constraineth" -KJ) us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died ... Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh . . . . 2 Cor. 5:14,16
In Christ, we are positive manifestations of God, who is love. Therefore, we love and live for others as Christ did. Have you concluded that Christ died for you and that you died with Him? Then, because of union-life, His love is your
life and you are controlled by Him.
It is in the area of, love that most of us have our greatest hang-up. We allow the oscillation we experience in our feelings to convince us that we alternate between loving and not loving depending on whether we feel like we are walking in the Spirit or walking in the flesh.
This is why we must see ourselves as the spirit persons we are, and not according to the flesh illusion. This is why Paul says, "Therefore from now on we recognize no man by what he is in the flesh" (alternate translation in margin). The "no man" includes ourselves. Do not accept what you physically see of yourself in the flesh as the real you! That is not reality, that is illusion, for we are primarily unified, spirit persons who are controlled and live and love by His life. "You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Rom. 8:9). We acknowledge that the Spirit dwells in us; therefore, let us also acknowledge the illusion of the flesh.
Recently I heard a Christian teacher say, "If we are going to be the salt of the earth, we must assume our responsibility and share the Gospel today and every day."
But this approach is both inaccurate and legalistic. Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:13), and "You are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14). Was Jesus wrong? No! Our feelings are illusions. There is no responsibility; there is no choice. As we see who God says we are, we can just spontaneously be ourselves. Nothing will keep us from being the salt and the light that we are, even during the times of temporary illusions of the flesh when we feel
By Bill Volkman
that we are not salt and light to our world.
Flesh tells us that we have a choice each day as to whether we will love and serve God or if we will not-love (the negative of love) and serve independent self. In this sense flesh is an illusion. For we have a new nature which knows nothing except the nature of God - living and loving for others. God converts even our illusions of the flesh into that which is redemptive love in all the lives involved. Exposure to the negative reveals the Positive.
Maturity is our development of a God-perspective toward all things. This includes seeing all men from God's viewpoint. God does not evaluate men by the externals of the flesh, but on the reality level of the spirit.
Paul says in the second part of verse sixteen of our text, "even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer." To see Christ merely as an historical figure in the flesh is to fail to see Him and experience Him as a life-giving Spirit. It is equally important that we see the eternal and unseen in self and others, not the temporal and seen. "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18).
Begin by acknowledging that you and your Christian brothers are controlled by love, because you are unified with Him who is love personified. Ultimately you will see that even those who by nature are no-gods, are love manifestations of God, though they are misused, negative forms.
REPENTANCE, WITHOUT REGRET
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to
salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 2 Cor. 7:10
Most of us are prone to regret certain of our past actions or attitudes. This tendency must be recognized for what it is - unbelief. All sins have unbelief at their root. But our failure to believe God when He says we are forgiven is more death-producing than the action or attitude for which we repent.
Saints should repent. As soon as we recognize our sin, there should be a turning to God in repentance and belief as to His instant forgiveness. To see God is to see our sins where He sees them - separated from us as far as the east is from the west.
Actually, it is unnecessary to ask God to forgive us. Though the disciples' prayer says, "Forgive us our trespasses," a mature believer sees things from God's perspective. God sees us forgiven in Christ. Therefore, as soon as we recognize our sin, we can thank Him for His allsufficient forgiveness.
But saints should not regret. Many are concerned with the question, "What is the will of God?" Part of the answer is clear. "Sorrow which is according to the will of God produces repentance without regret." Don't regret anything you have ever done once you have seen it in the light of His forgiveness.
To regret is to assume retroactively that things could
have been different and that what happened was not God's will. Was it regrettable that Satan entered into Judas and that his treachery ended in the crucifixion of Jesus? Was all of this really God's highest and best will?
This man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. Acts 2:23
The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief Isa. 53:10
The whole scene was God's determined will, not just His permissive will. All the scenes in our lives are equally the determined will of God. But when misuses occur within the freedom granted to us by God, do not assume that the individuals involved were not competent and responsible to take the alternate positive course.
This admonition to repent without regret is particularly important in the area of sensual sins. We are especially prone to retain guilt for past sins of the body. When we violate our personal purity, our conscience sends out a strong signal. But once you have repented - turned to God - do not continue in the sin of unbelief by regret or guilt.
Many who have violated their consciences in pre-marital acts, or post-marital infidelity, live with haunting regrets and guilt. When such gnawing thoughts and doubts come, acknowledge the reality of your position in Christ. To see yourself in Christ from God's viewpoint is to see yourself perfect and spotless. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).
"Before they call I will answer". We as sons speak that word of faith, "Let there be", and the manifestation comes in His way, not ours.
(Who Am I, Page 22, by Norman P. Grubb)
It is not at all out of character for God to illustrate Himself. In fact, as we SEE Him more and more as He describes Himself in His Word, as All and in All, the inevitable outcome is that all of life is illustrating Him. His "immanence" is apparent in all daily routines and in all seemingly human endeavours, for those who have eyes to see. We don't have to look for sensational miracles, for miracles happen under our very nose, even though a little under the surface at times. One of these miracles is the use He is making of the book WHO AM I?
My close friend, Fran Giles, had been acquainted with the contents of this book since it was first in manuscript form. Through it she came to an expanded knowledge of what was happening in her being. Soon after the book was published, she was on her way to pick up additional copies to take with her on a youth retreat weekend. She knew that concepts contained in the book could bring release to many women even as it had to herself. If only she could see this happen, she would be a happy woman. She visualized a room filled with eager women coming to this knowledge of whom they were in Christ, and she immediately claimed the fulfillment of a vital and expanding ministry for the book. When she related her experience to me later, I immediately agreed with her on the fulfillment of her vision. From that moment on, WHO AM / became to us the handbook of union-life in our circles.
Faith is an act - and Fran acted immediately, going to her church where there was a room like the one she had visualized, and requesting the use of it. She went through "channels", of course, and permission was finally granted. The first six-week series was scheduled. Ten ploughed through that first course. The next group was smaller and it did not seem at first that faith was rewarded, but at least
two women came to life before our eyes. These two saw
things happen in their lives and families, and soon they
requested that a group be started in Maryland where their
homes were. That group has been established and at this
writing is settling in to believing the preposterous
statement that "The Self Can't Be Improved" (Chapter 11,
Who Am I).
In addition to another group which meets in Maryland, we
share with a group of apartment dwellers in Virginia. Con
cepts contained in the book are also being communicated
in three night classes - all in Virginia, as well as all day
long, every day, by an increasing number of people who
have found their freedom in Christ. Having been released
into seeing the broader ramifications of God's grace, they
are no longer finding anything more worthwhile than to be
available to love others into this "freedom to be", as
rejoiced in by Paul in Galatians 2:20. The numbers now
being reached in these varying ways in the Washington,
D.C., area alone may very well be equal to the numbers
seen by Fran in her original vision.
Comments, such as the following, made by women who
are in various stages of awareness of who they are in
Christ, illustrate the quality of this Life that is being shared: "I have never before gotten through a weekend of company with such ease." "I have finally simply seen my daughter as already in Christ, even though the outer evidences are not there. I have no more inner fretting about her, and I'm actually seeing changes of attitude in her." "A year ago I was seeing everything black, believing that Satan was controlling everything. Now I see that he is only God's convenient agent. I no longer have any reason to believe in evil or in the power of evil. Satan has no power except what I choose to give him by believing he has power." "My husband said, 'Why in the world do you run from one Bible study to another?' I think I'm going to tell him I won't have to run anymore now that I've found out who I am."
"I can't believe that I could be as relaxed as I've been the last two months." "All my life I've yearned to be in a group like this. I know you know something I don't. I won't stop until I know it."
"This is a whole new perspective. I feel like I'm breathing fresh air."
The above is only a small sample of responses that come
daily as God's freeing Truth is revealed in the inner life of
individuals. Not only is the quality of this new Life ex
pressed in the comments, it is also expressed in the very
simplicity of format that has developed in these groups.
When we started the first group, there was a flurry of
preparation. Attempts were made to use additional materials and approved teaching methods. We soon saw that the Spirit had put an extraordinary tool in our hands to use-a book made up of short distilled chapters-the first chapters laying the foundations of life and the last describing the beautiful super-structure. We found that the worst possible practice in teaching-reading the book aloud in class-was the best possible practice here. So we settled down to the simple method of reading a paragraph, commenting as the Spirit gives insight, entertaining questions and comments, and sharing in lots of rejoicing; moving through the chapter in that simple manner. As we do this, we are quoting or looking up scripture as the Spirit brings it to mind-adding to our understandings-finding the joy of rightly dividing the word of Truth.
Teaching tapes are being prepared which will be very much along the lines described in the last paragraph. Those to whom God gives the compulsion to start a Who Am I class may need such a pump primer to get started; but through the use of this tool that the Lord has put in our hands, we have seen the Spirit simply control the course each class is to take. The responsibility is His and He is faithful. We are simply the containers through whom He flows.
The following exciting comments were sent to me by a member of one of my classes after she had attended only one time.
"Sometimes I think I'll explode with joy when a new Truth is revealed to me. Are there really words to tell it as I've seen it? There are, but they're so confining. But since it is the only vehicle of expression I have, I'll give it a try.
"Where am I? Where am I going? Who am I? Where do I fit in to the scheme of things? Is the me I see all there is? Who are you? Are you an extension of me? Can I touch you and be a part of you? Am I one with the universe?
"Those were the questions, for which I really saw answers, even though only in part. Now I feel I see life in a new dimension, and that my quest is finally over. "I'm me! I'm simply me! The product of God's imagination, existing from the beginning in God's mind; of Him, with Him, through Him, I Him! "There are two things that get in my way-time and the capsule I'm in, called the physical me. They confine me! But both are necessary for now, so I'll just play the game this way. It's really kind of fun. It's like a guessing game. Finally you burst through a big bubble of supercolossal dimensions, yet so deeply refining that no one else is aware of your liberation, except for others who have crashed through before you. Some that understand are used to stand at the door and guide your steps through. It's all in God's wonderful plan.
"I'm excited to be right where I am. I want to yank all lost souls who are desperately searching, so that they too may walk through the same bubble and experience Life."
Union-Life is One with God,
Spirit with spirit - never to part,
Fused together forever -
God dwelling within our heart.
Union-Life is realizing
God's Presence in our life,
Each and every moment we live,
Walking with Him in Light.
Union-Life is seeing His Hand,
Knowing He gives all things to us,
Praising His name in rain or shine,
Seeing His Hand thru faith and trust.
Spirit with spirit - One with God,
Living in His Presence thruout our days,
God living His very Life thru us,
Hearts filled with Love and Praise!
-Ruth V. Eaker
Laurie Hills lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Her husband, Dick, is Assistant Superintendent in the Alexandria public school system.
Laurie has been a pioneer in the production and distribution of the Norman Grubb cassette tapes, as well as in the starting and directing of study groups using Norman Grubb's recent book, WHO AM I, as their text.
(Do not allow the implication in the above cartoon that our misuses of freedom are God's fault offend you. Before we come to be adequate, "safe" sons, we must all pass through a stage of seeing ourselves as dead-of being a "no person". The article, Breaking a Bad Habit, on page 13 partially explains this concept.)
Here is a new revelation for me: God is the ultimate truth (reality), and living anywhere else causes pain - not because we are being punished, as such, but because we are not living in the truth. He is the Truth - there is no other. People and things hurt us and fail us because we see them as more real than He. We always are susceptible to hurt, but to continue in that hurt is to put emphasis on that which hurts us (thereby giving it power).
This has been a source of light for me. I don't always recognize this, so I hurt needlessly, but it is slowly and surely sinking in.
Herby , Virg
These simple, practical principles that Norman Grubb espouses as the Christ-life in our journey through this planet, enroute heavenward, need to be shouted from housetops; so that lame strugglers along the way can leap and dance and sing. Oh! How I long to hear someone say these things from the pulpit of some church-and, indeed I still do!
Delighted With Union Life
I am delighted with the first issue of "Union Life"! I never thought I would have a magazine in my hands written like I think! This one does! Sometimes when reading books and articles by folks who don't understand the concept of unity, I just write in the correct terms, phrases, etc. Then when I pass my books on to other people, they don't have to read all that "hogwash" and get confused!
Crown Point, Indiana
Thank you so much for our copy of "union Life." Tom and I enjoyed it very much from cover to cover.
Lately Tom and I have been experiencing the fantastic fruits of our total union with God. Thru my surgery (arm and leg), and subsequent recovery, God has revealed himself to us in a way that we can only describe as "altogether lovely," and with a peace that passes understanding. He has been bringing many people to us who are totally lost and in need. He is pouring thru us a love and supply for others' needs where there seemed to be no hope.
Going thru the fire was worth it to see God as the only reality and the only hope and the only answer. Today I accompanied a friend to a mental health clinic for possible treatment. She found no answer. As I talked to her on the way home, she said, "Kathy, talk to me; help me."
My answer was, "Your only hope is in Christ." After a few moments we prayed and she felt hope for the first time. (In the past I have always been afraid of my own shadow and never had any confidence at all. This is an example of Christ's ability to work thru a perfect nothing!)
What a great release for me to see that I am a "Pot;" and what an adventure to be a partaker of the sufferings of others.
Kathy Morrison; Chester, PA
Don't Try To Change Your Husband
Sometime ago I finally came to the place where I could accept my beloved and darling husband for the person he is. What a tremendous release when I discovered (God revealed) that I was to simply love him and not try and change him. It became evident that my love towards him was always demanding something from him which would
be from "self-interest". I hadn't learned that that self-interest kind of love never sets the other free-consequently, I wasn't free. Having to manipulate, control and be possessive is a burden. The liberty I now have as a result is a miracle. I only mention this because I am so aware of the folk who (like myself at one time) are caught up at trying to make hubbies into an image of the ideal they think a Christian husband should be. It's the "in thing" here at my church, and the poor men hate it. But thanks be to God I've come thru and see it for what it is-another idol worshipped in the mind which does nothing in the way of freeing and building up.
Oh! how I love my husband as I continue to see all of Christ in him. I know now more than ever that it was God who joined us together as man and wife. He made us one in spirit even when I thought it was an awful mistake that we had to get married over 25 years ago. He meant it all for good, and no longer do I condemn myself. I only rejoice and praise Him who worketh all things well. What at one time appeared to be failure and mistake has become my blessing in disguise. See how marvelously the Lord works? Behind the wrong there is His continual faithfulness of being-love, mercy and grace.
My Son, My Son
At present my husband and I are in the midst of our precious son's having been caught up with drinking. A week ago he totaled his car as a result of this - a wonder he didn't kill himself. The car rolled over and came within a foot or less of hitting a tree. He came out from under without a scratch. Thank God!
My husband was out of town that night when the Police Department called at 3:00 a.m. to tell me of the accident. Years ago I would have fallen apart, but this being about the 6th call in the wee hours of the A.M. concerning my son's wrong choices has conditioned me to knowing before I answer that it's the Police Department. I'll not go into detail, but want to mention that it's a marvelous happening when you feel the power of God's grace girding your dry bones. Alone for four hours until I could fetch him caused me to delight in my weakness, being only concerned for him knowing how much
Shout It From The Housetops
more he needed the reality of love and forgiveness - though my heart broke into a million pieces and my pride was crushed! I welcomed him into my arms when I saw him. No easy thing to see your son behind locked bars and in a stupor from drinking too much beer! However, I still see him as a diamond having the rough edges chipped away. I am his Mother and that can never change.
On Tuesday he has to appear in court. This will be the third time we've gone. What a mess, what an expense, what a waste-or is it! Does not our great God specialize in messes? Allowing God to have His way with him and bruising him for His purpose gives me reason to praise Him and not take the incident personally and condemn myself as though we never cared for him nor loved him. God only knows we did. Yes, we've failed him in many ways. We thank God that his wrongs have contributed to our growth in seeing more than ever that apart from God there is little one can do with his life in the way of change. The truth is that everyone needs a new life-a spiritual rebirth. Our hope is in Him Who has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us and that our whole household is saved because He promised it to be that way if we believed. Faith is the key - it's up to Him, not me, to cause that change within my son. In the meantime we go on loving him in all ways possible, standing with him and by him, even before the judge.
A.C., Simsbury, CT
When the first copy of "Union Life" magazine arrived yesterday. I thought, "Oh, no! Another religious paper, filled with send-your-contribution messages." When I picked it up to drop it in the trash can, to and behold, there was my dear, dear Norman, looking up at me. Believe you me, that was the best thing that has happened to me in a long time! Of course, I let everything just go, and sat down and practically ate the whole magazine. How marvelous it was to know that all of you are "up there", and it just seemed that we were all caught in a big old fishing net, and being drawn closer together.
Not too long ago I came to understand a puzzling passage in the Bible, one which had caught my attention many times, but had caused me to wonder at its meaning. It is the passage that is often used at funerals. The real meaning had eluded me in the past, but suddenly I saw it.
In John 14:2-3, Jesus says, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to me, so that where I am you may be also."
In effect He is saying, "In our Father's kingdom there are many places belonging to the sons. If it were not so (if I, Jesus, were to be the only son forever) I would tell you that it was only for me, and not for you. But I go to prepare a place for you (by my death and resurrection). And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again (as at Pentecost) and take you to me, so that where I am (a son) you may be also (as sons)."
Lil Sindel, Bethany, OK
I just had to tell you how much I enjoyed and digested every word of the "Union Life" publication. It said so many truths that became alive and meaningful to me.
The words just leapt off the pages to meet me where I am. It was only recently that union became an inner reality to me. It is now a conscious fact, established once and for all in my being.
I know a freedom in this union-life that I've never experienced in my previous years with the Lord. I am reminded so often of the scripture, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth will set you free." What I especially want to share with you is that because of your publication I was given a clear insight and understanding of the fact that it is the Person of Jesus (His Holy Spirit) who is my teacher. It is His anointing and that alone which is sufficient and adequate. I am experiencing a freedom from all duty, guilt, "ought tos" "shoulds," except as the Person of the Holy Spirit directs me in His own perfect time, place and procedure of the workings-out of my everyday life.
Now I know what the Book q/' Common Prayer means by the statement "in whose service is perfect freedom."
For the first time in my life I am experiencing a deep abiding joy in living each day, knowing that whatever my situation, this is what and where God means me to be. I find myself reacting only as His anointing motivates, teaches, guides or chastises me.
I can't explain all this to my Christian friends, because they are so hung up on trying to find God's will and on what they ought to do. Even the Bible itself has become an obstacle for some, because they don't cross the bridge to the Person of Jesus. I suppose they would view my beliefs as a rash copout.
I am just embarking on the 3rd stage of this Christian walk. It is very new and exciting, knowing I can only be available for others, now that my own sufficiency is settled. I understand myself as the human negative through which the Divine Positive expresses itself. I know now that I contain Someone who is my adequacy.
This has helped me a lot to settle down and stop thinking about all I should be doing for others. It suddenly hit me that I was God's business; and He would move me out as He saw fit and timely. Until then I could relax in the certainty that I was where He meant me to be (in the diapers and pots and pans)!
Milner Noel, Birmingham, AL
My Calling Is My Family
Please do not think that I am some silly thing with no sense at all. It is true that I am not as educated as some, and I know that as far as knowing the truly deep things of God, I'm just on the outer edge. But God being God, He will make Himself known in my form as time goes by. My soul is blown about by this life, but at my center there is a sure, true calm as hard as a rock. And I must know Him as He is. I will not settle for a passing glimpse of Him. I thirst for knowledge. I sometimes find myself frustrated because my home and children and my husband take up so much of my time. I fall into bed dead tired, not being able to read, study, pray or contemplate. I know that taking care of my family is what God wants of me now, even though I get impatient so often.
V.F., Germantown, Tn.
Not Just Another Religious Paper
Dear Mr. Grubb,
In May, I had the blessing of hearing you share at a video taping in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. At that time you spoke of many things the Lord had revealed to you. You spoke of our being free to be ourselves, and of Christ being released to flow through us, so much so that we and He are one.
When I got home I said, "Lord, I don't know who I am. I can't go a step further in my life until you reveal to me exactly what I am."
Well, He awakened me at 3:00 on Sunday morning to show me of what stuff I am made, and it was a real shock. I thought He might say that I was a sweet little girl and not to worry about such things, pat me on the head and send me off. Instead He showed me a vision of myself - a knife in one hand and a gun in the other. The words that were coming out of my mouth were foul and ugly.
I was horrified. I said, "But Lord, that's all I have to offer in myself. If that's how you look at my life, what will I do? That's all I have to give." After He had been so bluntly honest with me, I was afraid of what happen next, and yet I was very grateful for such a clear picture. After years of wondering who I was, there was no longer a question. Yet I was released in a wonderful way.
The Lord lovingly took me in His arms and said, "Now you have the idea. There are no works you can do that could please me. I just want you - all of you - to use as I please." How exciting! I had heard such thoughts before, but now I knew it.
I woke up my husband and shared and shared. My husband has recently had both eyes removed. The Lord had told us that all that happened and will happen pre to bring glory to Him. Each day we look forward to what He will do next.
Chuck and Bev., Downers Grove, IL.
Dearest Chuck and Bev,
What a wonderful and surprise letter from you, Bev dear, and thus from you both. What you saw at the video taping was "the truth set free, "because all I do at such times is to verbalize Him in the reality He is to me! I'm not deliberately "trying" to teach anybody. He just picks up words and turns them into His Spirit witnessing to other spirits!
What He showed you is not your precious redeemed you which is joined to Him as the new You- -one spirit; but the sight of the illusion of you still being an independent you (the illusory "I" of Rom. 7), which struggle how it may, is "carnal, sold under sin. "And He has shown you, and Chuck with you, that that independent I (which you were under the illusion of being the real you) was crucified with Christ. Now He is welcoming the you that you really are, your precious, redeemed sell' (soul and body), as His means of Self-manifestation.
You are His asset, not His liability. We no longer anxiously and accusingly look at ourselves as dangerous, dirty flesh, with our eyes and self-condemnation on our easily deviating selves. No, we see ourselves boldly as His precious, perfect, body-temple-HE in our human form. We are tempted often, because our privilege is to shine as lights in a flesh-tempting world, even as perfect Jesus was "tempted in all points. "But we are not condemned just because we are tempted. Rather we see temptations as springboards for continual fresh recognitions of Him in our union. When we occasionally slip into the act of sin, immediately it isn't there, for it all disappeared long ago in the Blood.
So we are free indeed, in this positive new seeing of HIM ONLY, and we HE in our human. forms. What a light shines thru you two dear ones to the watching. folks around you, as they see that you are not inhibited by the loss of Chuck's outer seeming light, because you are the eternal light. True light is not outward seeing, but inner knowing. Outer folks sense the light, or what they call light; inner folks know the light, for they are the light, .for God is light!
Ever with my love,
NOT GOD FIRST BUT GOD ONLY