Let Us Go On! – Lessons Learned While Searching for the City of God

Dear friends, this article is the testimony of my life and things I have learned over the last 55 years of pursuing God in my life, but most of it has been Him pursuing me! So please bear with me if it is a bit long. I pray that some of the things I share here speak to that longing deep within your hearts placed there by our heavenly Father. My body and eyes are starting to fail, but the eyes of my heart that is in Christ are brighter than ever.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: (Gen 12:1-2, KJ2000 – emphasis added)

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:13-14, KJ2000)

When God puts His call on our lives, like Abram [Abraham], we are called on a journey away from all that the world has used to hold us captive and unto everything God has for us as His sons and daughters. Oh, what a grip that loyalty to country and family traditions can have on us and it gets in the way of obeying His still small voice at every turn. Like Peter said to the Sanhedrin, “Where it is better to obey God or obey man, you be the judge.” As we obey Him even the wills of our close family members will seek preeminence over His will for us.

God uses many things in our lives to teach us and keep us moving on the path He has set before us. For many years I was oblivious to the fact that He was moving in my life or was even interested in me as a person. I figured He was much too busy with more important things to spend time thinking about me. I saw religion as a fixed institution and God was “fixed” in it as well. I was born into Catholicism, spent years in Catholic schools, became an altar boy while in grade school, and got more attention from nuns and priests than I wanted.

My Father came home from WW2 with his lower left leg missing because he stepped on a land mine. He was a Sargent in the army in France and he ran the house like a military boot camp. Showing emotion was not acceptable; my mom was an emotional wreck and so was one of my sisters. Children were to be seen and not heard and his belt was always at the ready. Positive affirmations from him were rare.

I never fit in well with most of my classmates and was often singled out for rejection and even mocked from time to time by my teachers. Does any of this sound familiar? I left home as soon as I graduated from high school (dropping out before I got my diploma was NOT acceptable since my dad was a school teacher). After high school ended I spent four years in the US Navy. I was put on the first aircraft carrier heading to the South China Sea right after “The Gulf of Tonkin Incident” in 1964, the real beginning of the war against North Vietnam though we had a military presence there years before that. I did a record three cruises in the next three years when most men I knew only had one or two. I was totally burned-out by the end from working numerous shifts around the clock because of a lack of people with the technical skills I was trained for. Like many Vietnam War vets, I came home totally disillusioned with the US government and my country as a whole.

Photo of the USS Hancock CVA-19, my home for many months off of North Vietnam

Between cruises I met my dear wife, Dorothy. We figured out that we had three months together in our first year of marriage, and those were interrupted by many separations by the dictates of my service. This is not a good way to start a marriage. When I joined the navy I was all “God and country,” but by the time I got out I was angry at the way that war was being mishandled by politicians back home, bitter about all the misuse of power, and disillusioned with American society at almost every level.

It was in this state of mind that God started to draw me so that I would eventually come to know Him as my Father and Jesus as my Savior. Soon the Holy Spirit was after me like the “Hound of Heaven” that He has often been called. I found out after I surrendered that my wife, her mother and my paternal grandparents were all praying I would come to Christ. I got pretty miserable until I finally released control of my life to God and surrendered to Jesus as my Lord. He just let me stew in my own juices until I was sick and tired of being ME! A year and a half after I got out of the navy, I invited the pastor of a small Bible church in the neighborhood to come over and he explained what the scriptures say about salvation and our status as sinners until we repent and say “the sinner’s prayer.”

He did all that, but it didn’t take because I was still holding back for myself those things in my life that I saw as “good.” I remember telling him I didn’t want to end up in a stew pot on a mission field and I wasn’t sure I could trust God with control of my life, but I prayed with him anyway. During the next 26 months things went from bad to worse. I later found out that God is not satisfied with a partial surrender because He knows that HIS will for us is perfect. During this time I didn’t make life easy for my wife and kids while I “kicked against the goad” of God. He was not about to be bought-off with a half way surrender from me. As my brother George Davis has said many times, “Our heavenly Father has this problem–He thinks HE is God!” Like most war vets, I came home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yet, God was using all these events in my life to get me to let go and to grow me up into one of His sons.

Trying to be a “good Christian” without the Holy Spirit only brought more failure in my life. In the spring of 1970 I came home from work mad, as was normal for me. Each night I sat alone in the living room and stared at the wall as I moldered over what my life had become. One night after I ate alone, Dorothy came in and said, “Michael, I don’t know how much longer I can live with you like this. This hate inside you is killing me and killing the kids.” That got me feeling totally hopeless and helpless. The following three months were the closest I came to committing suicide as the devil whispered in my ear, “Why don’t you do your family and the whole world a favor and just end it!” I wanted to change, but how? Hadn’t I already given God a chance by being a Catholic and trying Protestantism? I tried different things of this world and nothing brought any lasting happiness. God was what I was still missing.

Romans chapter eight says, “If any man has not the Spirit of God he is none of His.” That old pastor that took me through the salvation passages in the New Testament but forgot to tell me that my initial salvation wouldn’t be complete until I was filled with the Spirit of God. We all know John 3:16 but we often miss its meaning for before this Jesus said to Nicodemus,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”(John 3:5&6, KJ2000)

Trying to keep the laws in the Bible and do everything required to be a good church member without the Holy Spirit was futile and so was trying to be a good husband and father! This was no different than when I was trying to be “good Catholic!” It was like running around in my car on an empty tank, never knowing when my car would fail me. But I soon found out that life in the Spirit is like a car with the tank topped off every day. He is the power in our life of salvation (see Acts 1:8 and1 Peter 1:5). Before Jesus was only my “co-pilot.” Now HE is the Driver and His Spirit is like the GPS app on our smart phone giving the directions. This way we can rest in what they are doing and be along for the ride. This is what it means to enter into God’s rest. Yes, we are given certain things to do as obedient His servants and even these are to be done as we rest in Him. Like Jesus told the disciples, “The flesh (that which comes from our minds, self wills and emotions) profits nothing.”

The Law and sin consciousness have their place in the plan of God for our lives, but things change after we are born of the Spirit of God. Paul wrote,

Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture has consigned all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Therefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:21-26, KJ2000)

I can now see that all the things in my life, both good and evil, were there to bring me to faith in Jesus Christ and no longer depend on my ability to run it without His leading.

Copenhagen Denmark with its many church steeples – Unsplash

Once I gave Jesus authority to lead me, my search for what pleases Him began in earnest. I attended many different churches and Christian groups in that search, always looking for true fellowship with other believers. It’s not that any of them were lacking in what God was trying to teach me during that time, but they could each only go so far. Each of them became a steppingstone along the way on the path into the Kingdom of God. Many of the exits I had to make were not cordial. Institutions don’t like it when you leave. They all like to think that everything you need is under their roof in their system, so people that you once thought were your friends cut you off when you move on. Sad to say, shunning seems to be one of “sacraments” of Christendom.

After many years in this process, I cried out, “God! I don’t fit! I just don’t FIT!” He replied “YOU aren’t supposed to fit!” I then said, “But God, am I not a Christian?” and He assured me that I was. I then said, “Then what are all these people that I’ve had to leave behind?” SILENCE. The following passage kind of explains the answer to my question. Jesus was talking to Peter about the call of Christ in his life when He said,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, When you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall dress you, and carry you where you would not.” This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said unto him, “Follow me.” Then Peter, turning about, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved [the apostle John] following… Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” Jesus said unto him, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? you follow me.” (John 21:18-22, KJ2000)

Jesus is our Shepherd and HE leads us. As He told Peter in the above passage, there are places and circumstances in our lives we wouldn’t have chosen on our own. When we were young we made our own choices. But we learn that even our best laid plans can blow up in our faces. He lets this happen to get us to the place where we no longer trust our choices without Him leading. He even binds up our natural strengths and abilities so that His Spirit can take us to places in life we would never have gone. This happened to Peter when he saw a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven with all manner of non-kosher animals on it. He heard God say, “Kill and eat,” but He answered “Not so, Lord.” This conflict was because of his Jewish idea of what God would never ask Him to do, but God wanted him to lead a Gentile to Christ and even eat with him! Sooner or later, God will do the same with us if our preconceived religious ideas get in the way. The question is, will we be like the Jews and make the commands of God in our lives of no effect by the keeping of our traditional religious ideas? If we walk by the Spirit, we are no longer under the law. Peter was known even later for “fleeing the very appearance of evil” when it came to eating with the Gentile believes and Paul had to rebuke him to his face, but he finally caught on.

For from his [Jesus’] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17, ESV2011)

Discipleship in the “school of Christ” is not like a cheap ball cap where “one size fits all.” We all have our own walk designed by our Father who knows exactly what we need and what He requires of us. In Romans we read,

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Rom 14:4, ESV2011)

Stage Light CGI Lighting Equipment – Unsplash

I had a dream that foretold what God was doing in my life without me always knowing what it was. He never gives us the full picture ahead of time because we are called to walk by faith not knowledge. This way we have to depend on Him and not run out ahead of Him to try and make it happen in our own strength. In this dream I found myself alone on a darkened stage. Suddenly a spotlight came on and lit up a spot on the floor in front of me. So, not knowing what else to do, I stepped into the light. Then the light went out and it was totally dark again. In a few moments another spot lit up in front of me, so I stepped into it. This went on time and again until I had gone all over ending with me at the back corner of the stage where there was a short flight of stairs down to a big exit door. I pushed on the panic bar that was across the door and it opened to the outside where there was a beautiful golden field of wheat that glowed in the sun and stretched off into the distance as far as I could see. That is where the dream ended.

Faith requires obedience to God and it requires us to follow by taking one step at at a time. There is no “fast track” to becoming His mature sons and daughters. What is He really after? In John chapter 17 we can read Jesus’ final “will and testament” before He laid down His life on the cross. While with the disciples that final night He prayed:

And now come I to you [Father]; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified [set apart from the world] through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on [Grk. eis – into] me through their word; That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. And I have declared unto them your name, and will declare it: that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:13-26, KJ2000 – emphasis added)

Jesus wants us to be where He was then and always IS, in perfect unity with our Father in heaven, so we can enjoy the fellowship He has with our Father. In so doing, we can also have perfect fellowship with others, all of us living as one body in harmony with Christ as its Head.

Which name of God did Jesus give us? “FATHER.” He referred to God as His and our Father constantly! This kind of familiarity with God is rarely found in the Old Testament. Jesus told us to pray, “Our Father…” just as He did while with them. God is His Father and in Christ, He is ours. We are His offspring (see Acts 17:28), and that happens when His Spirit comes into us. The scriptures say that Jesus is the Firstborn of many sons and daughters who are called forth into His glory.

It is in this unity with the Father and the Son that the world can see that Jesus Christ is the Messiah sent down from God to lead the way. We are called into this unity with the Father and the Son as the Holy Spirit draws us out of the world and teaches and everything we need to know for our complete salvation (see John 16-13). We are saved from ourselves and from subjection to the evil in this world. God is not through with that process until we are shining lights in this spiritually dark world as His sons and daughters. We are not called to be candles hiding under a basket, but to me set in strategic places in the house to be lights for all men to see. Without that divine Light in us, no matter how much doctrine and Bible we preach and teach, we are still darkness. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” And He said, “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness — how deep is that darkness!” (Matt 6:23, HCSB). John wrote, “In Him was Life and the Life was the light of men.” And so it is with us as His lights.

Where does Jesus lead us after we initially receive Him? The Letter to the Hebrews was written to Jews who believed in Jesus and claimed Him as their Messiah. They had started their journey following Him, but they became stagnate in their faith. They were falling back under Sabbath and law keeping instead of the freedom purchased for them on the cross. The common theme throughout this letter that they should keep going on into a greater spiritual maturity in Christ and so it is with us. Consider these verses:

Let us therefore fear, lest, although a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Heb 4:1, KJ2000)

Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief [Law keeping instead of depending totally on the righteousness of Christ who abides in us is not abiding in God’s rest called “faith”] (Heb 4:11, KJ2000)

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. [We are saved by His grace, not our works] (Heb 4:16, KJ2000)

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto maturity; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (Heb 6:1, KJ2000 – emphasis added)

And having a high priest [Jesus] over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…(Heb 10:21-22, KJ2000)

Therefore seeing we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily ensnare us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith… (Heb 12:1-2, KJ2000)

Let us go forth therefore unto him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Heb 13:13-14, KJ2000)

These all are exhortations to keep moving toward that perfect will that God has for us! We are to keep pressing in, following Jesus wherever His Spirit is leading us! It speaks of this oneness in the Book of Revelation. “…These are they who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.”(Rev 14:4, KJ2000). This can’t happen unless we allow God to pour us out from one “vessel” to another until all that dead yeast we collect along the way is removed. Jesus said, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees…” This is what the Feast of the Unleavened Bread is all about! The Jews were instructed to search the whole house and make sure no yeast was to be found.

Dear saints, let us beware of becoming like ancient Moab in our Christian complacency. I know many Christians that are content with being “in the right denomination” instead of all that God has for them.

Moab has been at ease from his youth and has settled on his dregs [that sludge at the bottom of bottle of cheap wine much of which is dead yeast]; he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile; so his taste remains in him, and his scent is not changed. “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I shall send to him pourers who will pour him, and empty his vessels and break his jars in pieces.” (Jer 48:11-12, ESV2011)

Winery workers treading red wine – Unsplash

After the yeast has done its job on the grape juice and converted the sugars into alcohol the wine maker lets the wine settle out so that the dead yeast and impurities settle to the bottom of the container. Then he pours the clear wine off into another container. This is done two or three times until he can see clearly through it. God does this with us if we are content to “settle on our dregs.” If we refuse to be poured from vessel to vessel, God will brake our old containers that we might get on track again with Him.

What a journey we who believe in Jesus are on! As the saying goes, “The sky is the limit!” We are called to the very throne of God to rule and reign with Christ. Yes, it is an uphill battle. The Spirit keeps drawing us forth in our spirits, showing us the next step in our journey toward full son-ship IN Christ. Like the tribes of Rubin and Gad, the flesh in us wants to settle down, camp and be happy with what is still on the east side of the Jordan, the world and all it has to offer. But we must cross over the Jordan in full flood stage with the help of God to possess all that Father has for us. HE will make a way for that happen if only we obey.

Lot and his family leaving Sodom

Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man.” Some of us are like Lot and want to turn aside to that little city on our way out of Sodom as the fire falls on our old lifestyle. We escape the judgment, but never go on to that higher ground that Abraham chose as he looked for that city that has its foundations in heaven, whose Builder and Maker is God. It is so sad to see Christians sell God short in their lives. But this is the nature of the “on high calling” in the lives of so many. “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.”

If Satan can’t keep us from taking the first step in our calling to forsake this world system in which he rules, then he tries to get us to settle on some other step along the way instead of going on as Jesus leads. He wants us to “fall short of the glory of God” and in the economy of God this is called sin (see Romans 3:23). Our salvation is not complete until we share in the glory of God as His spiritual sons and daughters IN Christ. Yes, the place we are now may have been given us by God, but not to be our permanent dwelling place. It is only a step along the way in the eyes of our Father. If we decide to camp and build ourselves a new habitation around a doctrine or teaching or experience, we still have fallen short of the glory of the Father that is ours IN Jesus Christ. Like Moab our taste will remain in us instead of the taste of our Savior.

Have you ever wondered why, after finding a fellowship or church that God uses to teach and grow you closer to Him, for a season there’s suddenly a “church split” or the people become disillusioned with the leadership that is taken captive by some sin? We have had it happened time and again over the last fifty years. Or have you thought you found the right place for you, only to discover that you have matured beyond those leading and teaching the same old stuff that you experienced long ago (see Hebrews 6:1-3)? Dear saints, we are not called to be “happy campers!” We are called to be pilgrims and sojourners like Abraham, who we call “the father of faith.”

In that great “faith chapter,” Hebrews chapter eleven we read this:

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Heb 11:13-16, ESV2011)

It’s a heavenly city and throne we are called to, “the city of the great King,” not those made by the hands of religious men.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (Heb 11:8-10, ESV2011)

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. (Heb 13:12-14, ESV2011)

If you keep following Jesus, don’t be surprised that you become a reproach, just as Jesus was to those who presided over that Jewish system 2000 years ago. Jesus was a reproach to the leaders of the Jews because He didn’t point to them and their system as having “arrived.” In fact He said that one stone would not be left upon another until it was all torn down! Instead He said, “You Follow Me!” The Old Covenant of Moses had its purpose. All the writings of Moses and the prophets pointed to Jesus as their coming Messiah, the spotless Lamb of God that would be offered up to take away the sins of the world so that they might trust in Him when that day came. In the economy of God “when that which is perfect has come, that which is imperfect is done away with.” The New and lasting Covenant has taken the place of the Old Covenant, because all things required in the law are fulfilled in Christ (read Hebrews chapter eight).

Jesus spent most of His earthly ministry outside the city of Jerusalem in obedience to the Father, healing and ministering to the people. He went to those who were counted unworthy to worship in that temple hierarchic system. He was a friend of harlots, sinners and the tax collectors and, horror of horrors, He actually went into their homes and ate with them! This was totally forbidden under the Jewish law. Judaism had ceased to be a shining light. That city on a hill that had once been called to be a light to the Gentile world and the temple, God’s house of prayer, had become a den of thieves. The week before He was killed, Jesus went into the temple and turned over the tables of those who sold doves and livestock and those who changed Roman coins for the temple currency so it could be put in their “holy coffers.” He rebuked all of them before the people and this was the last straw! He had to go, so they plotted to have Him killed. As Jesus said, those who love Mammon cannot serve God. All this led up to Jesus’ trial and execution which Jesus foretold in the following parable.

And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not! ”But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? (Luke 20:9-17, ESV2011)

Religious men can be very treacherous, especially when they take possession of God’s vineyard as if it is their own. Jesus said that as these religious zealots did to Him, so they would do to those who followed in His footsteps.

Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (John 15:20, ESV2011)

What it comes down to is, “who are we making our shepherd?” David, who was surrounded by temple priests and often conversed with the high priest and God’s prophets, said, “The LORD is my Shepherd.” He got it! He prophesied about Jesus over and over in the Psalms he wrote, showing that He knew Jesus as His Shepherd. Never forget that Jesus is your Shepherd and the rest of them who preach for a living are only hirelings at best. He does allow men to be His “under-shepherds” when we are so spiritually weak that we can’t hear His voice, but the good ones soon teach themselves out of any need for their services as they strengthen the flock of God. As John the Baptist said,

He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]” (John 3:30, AMP)

Dear saints, LET US GO ON! Let us follow Jesus, even outside the camp if need be to that City whose Builder and Maker is God and its only Foundation is Jesus Christ. Amen

Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone of sure foundation; he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way… (Isa 28:16, AMP)

In His love for you all,

Michael

33 comments on “Let Us Go On! – Lessons Learned While Searching for the City of God

  1. This is an excellent piece of writing, Michael! 🕊️👌🏼 The pictures you chose go very well with your flow of thoughts.

    Although I have been familiar with your life and religious history, it has been a touching read for me. 💟

    Thank you also for sharing a summary of what God has taught you through personal trials and of what He from Himself has wrought in you so that you have become the man of God with whom fellowshipping in the Spirit can be such a heavenly experience! 😇🙏🏼🕊️🙏🏼😇

    Your sister in Christ who has been blessed by God – through you,

    Susanne 💖

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Wow, Susanne. This is the most edifying thing that anyone has ever said to me! Fellowshiping with you has been the same. God has had to level a lot of old rocky ground over the last eight years in us to get us to this point where we can honestly say,

      “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1John 1:3-4, ESV2011)
      Michael ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • I was glad to hear you were encouraged, Michael. 😊 Instead of a long response by me, I only want to share with you the Scripture I awoke with today.

        “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps 16:11 ESV)

        I had to look it up as I only heard repetitively, “Before you there is abundance of joy…” in my mind. 😇

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, what a wonderful scripture to awaken to, both bodily and in the Spirit! Pursuing Jesus and our Father is truly an awakening experience. 🙂

        “You make known to me the path of life;” – Surely He has done that in our lives, even moment by moment

        “in your presence there is fullness of joy;” – Lately I have felt this tremendous joy when the Spirit speaks through you the way He does!

        “at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – I believe that once we get past feeling the pain here, those feelings of His pleasure He has with and for us become more evident and we can share in that with Him, too, in the Spirit. I am sure that we will know this pleasure very strongly for all of eternity.

        Thanks for sharing this with us,
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael, I recall when I read TAS in the midst of suffering without end during the last years (i.e., in my ‘Dark Night of th Spirit’), he wrote something like we need to get a new perspective on our circumstances, on pain, on trials, and on suffering. I had been wondering what he was talking about as that experience had been unknown to me (at least on a regular basis). He also said that we need to see all things from above, from God’s perspective, so to say. If Jesus had not pulled me out of my miry pit this year, I would have doubted that such a miracle could truly be possible.

        You wrote,

        ““in your presence there is fullness of joy;” – Lately I have felt this tremendous joy when the Spirit speaks through you the way He does!”

        It touches me when you say such a thing, Michael. But I am not sure how to react here, though, as pride is always a big danger. Although I sense it when the Spirit speaks as His messages flow somehow effortlessly out of me, I know the words have not come out of my own logical reasonings. God is simply ‘other’ and ‘higher’ than we are in our own limited human nature.

        You are welcome as to the sharing, my brother.
        Susanne

        Liked by 3 people

  2. dimple says:

    Dear Brother,
    Thank you for sharing this.
    Knowing you is a help and encouragement.
    Love,
    Louise

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Louise, It gives me great joy to hear that the things He gives me to write encourage you in your walk with Jesus. You are a woman of few words, so I do not take these words lightly. I often think of and pray for you, knowing that you are my sister in northern Idaho.

      Yesterday, I was on your blog and found that section where you posted those old letters from your family. That one from “Uncle Frank” who lost his eye in the war reminded me of my own father who came home from France in 1945 without his lower left leg. I wish mom had kept any letters she got from Him back then.

      So, “Dimple” is your Hobit name? Cute. Being tall like me has a lot of pain that goes with it. Things tend to compress over the years. I hope you are doing well there in the Shire, dear sister,

      Love in the Son,
      Gandolf, the not so gray 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. yellowyarrow says:

    Thank you for this post. It has encouraged me since I have not always known if or how i have got things wrong. Had I outgrown some things, did I need to move on..or was it that I was perhaps unwilling to accept certain things as being ‘quite right’, or not right for me?
    My life has been quite tumultuous and for many reasons, for a long time, I haven’t been a regular attender or member of a church (have moved house a few times too). It often feels quite lonely since I haven’t for ages had any regular contact with Christians. Many Christians would be shocked and say ‘You HAVE to be part of a church’. However, I do think that God had been teaching me things through it all and I do wonder if He is preparing me for something. I do not know for sure if this is true. However, because I was shy and un-confident and introverted through my life (although am no longer shy and do have more confidence since becoming a Christian). I have always tended to be on the edge or ‘outside’ of things. Even in a church service I used to long to be get outside and bring people in… not necessarily to the church building, but to Christ. I always thought about going into the highways and byways to bring people in. So perhaps God may be able to use me because of not necessarily ‘fitting’ and tending to feel on the outside. Well, I shall see. Who knows what God can do through a person, even if seemingly unsuitable. I think of Moses who said he couldn’t lead the Israelites into the promised land, yet God chose him to do so.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Y. Y.,

      I know your struggle. In my testimony (this blog article) the Lord directed me to “stay out of the weeds” and not get into all the bloody details of what I have gone through in “churches.” To do so would only be rehearsing something that pulls me down into the barrow ditch alongside of the road. Jesus in the parable of the sower said, “And some fell by the wayside…” I spent decades in those ditches because I refused to forgive and obey His voice that said, “Let us go on!”

      I struggled with many churches (and their leadership) that I attended. I would find one and think, “Maybe THIS one is the ‘right church,’ only to find out later all that glittered was not gold. I think what the Lord was trying to teach me the difference. Seeking institutions made by men are not the same as “seeking first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness. Like Abraham, we are to seek that “city whose builder and maker is God which has [its] foundations [in heaven].” Not all that is called “church” is THE Church. Were their Christians in them that He had there? I think He puts His lamps wherever they are needed and that was not what He called me to do. He had something more for me than to warm a pew once a week and put money in the plate (which we did a lot of over the years).

      l can look back now and remember His voice telling me “Let us go on!” many times, but my “moving on” was only a rehashing of what I didn’t learn in the last one. For instance, in one of the last churches we attended (we met in a grade school gym) everything pivoted on the pastor and the “vision” he had for his “church plant” he was building. We came to find out that he was following the teachings of a man who wrote a book about how to build pyramids of people (small home meetings with an assigned leader in each) with them all answering to him as they taught from one of the booklets that came from the home office in Houston written by this man from Singapore that was at the top. The “pastor” was the local head of the pyramids he was building under himself and each small group leader assigned by him was building his own pyramid with twelve people under him (some of you reading this might have experienced this in one form or another).

      My oldest son and I were also on the “worship team” and the pastor would assign all the songs to be played and sang each Sunday and there was absolutely no room for the Holy Spirit to inspire the worship much less for Jesus to lead us our ONE Shepherd. I have been in Spirit led worship and it ruined me for anything less! The whole thing was a dead institution and Jesus did not call us to be confined in institutions! He came to set the captives free! We are called as members of HIS body with HIM as the Head only HE decides what the gift to the body each member is.

      So, dear sister, it is no wonder that He was calling you to do what HE has for you, but the clatter of noise coming from these OTHER voices with their own agenda only causes us confusion. As for what that might be? Well, we truly have a PERSONAL Savior and “one size does not fit all” for each of us in the economy of God. Only HE knows what we are each called to do in this life and that plan is rarely revealed in one shot, least we run out in our per-conceived ideas that come from immaturity and try to fulfill it with the strength of our souls. Many of us end up Moses. He knew that God wanted him to set the Hebrew slaves free, but NOT by killing one Egyptian task master at a time! So God set him on the back burner for another 40 years tending sheep for his father-in-law.

      How do we go about fulfilling His calling in our lives? Simply by obeying Him one step (or sheep) at a time and the first step might be to serve our own families in an unseen way as far as churches are concerned. I know it was with me. God kept telling me to “go home” when I thought that “my ministry” was “out there” somewhere so I could be seen by men, like a “pulpit ministry” as they are called. I found out that this lust to being seen up front was driven by my pride and God will not ruin us by feeding what makes us proud for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The problem with the American church Christians is their idea of “ministry” is really self-serving like so much of church leadership is today. God put me on the back side of the wilderness for 14 years, isolate from church going, to scrub that “vision” out of my mind.

      When God called Paul, did he hit the missionary trail as soon as he got his sight back? NO! He went off into isolation for a number of years, three of which were in the Damascus Wilderness and then back home to Tarsus making tents. It was only when the church brought him up to Antioch and then he sat there until the Spirit spoke telling him to do otherwise…

      “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Separate now for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying, they put their hands on them and sent them away.” (Acts 13:2-3, AMP)

      In the church systems of today a young man thinks he has the call of God on his life so he goes around and panhandles churches and his relatives for support and then goes off to Bible school and seminary and after four years of learning the traditions of men. SHAZAM! Instant pastor! Off he goes to do his “pulpit tryouts” until some church hires him. THIS IS NOT THE CHURCH that we read about in the New Testament!

      I know that you do not have your eyes set on great things as I did, but I would ask, “How do you go on a long journey? One step at a time just like my dream of the spotlight on the stage and it can get awful dark between steps when the light comes on again. It is worth it to wait and obey as HE leads. God will only show you each tiny step one at a time when you are ready for the next one. Be faithful to His leading and you will get there.

      It was good to hear from you again, dear sister. Praying for you,
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • yellowyarrow says:

        Thank you for your reply. This really resonates with me and is very encouraging. And it can be difficult to step back from what one thinks one OUGHT to be doing and what God actually intends for one. Also, it may very well be that one does things, however small, without even realising, that are completely in line for how God wants us to BE.
        It reminds me of something I read once about some church leader to whom it had been prophesied (if I recall aright) that he would do a great work for God. As he was nearing death he said, I haven’t achieved anything great. But someone said to him that he’d been instrumental in bringing many people to Christ. THAT was his great work.
        How does one know if a chance remark to a stranger at a bus stop might just set them thinking, or even a smile might help get someone through their day? I know that I myself gradually sought God and came to Jesus through lots of small things..I am sure the people responsible never knew. Even that chap years ago, Terry Waite, who was improsoned for months and months in some country (can’t remember details) made me start to consider God, since he was someone high up in the Church of England. It was reported every day in the paper ‘Day 291 of Terry Waite’s inprisonment’ or something like that.
        Thank you again.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Y. Y., It is good to hear that the Spirit was encouraging you in what I shared. God is all about the “little things” in life. He said, “What you have done to the LEAST of these, my brethren, you have done unto me.” Take His own life of living in a spirit of meekness. He was born to a humble family in a stable, not a kings palace as the wise men discovered. He grew up on seclusion and served His family as an apprentice to His adoptive father. He had no home to call His own, only one set of clothes, was followed by the rabble of that day and rejected by the mighty and powerful. When finally made His “triumphal entrance” into Jerusalem, the seat of power, He was seated on a donkey and not a great white stallion as a triumphant king would. He ministered to the lowly and the outcasts, not the ones accepted by the Jewish establishment.

        Sometimes I think He has the greatest impact through me when I least expect it. I have had others say to me from time to time, “You probably have no idea of the positive impact you are having on the lives of others.” This is true and it is His grace that keeps me ignorant of all that least it take hold in me and result in pride. I am a voice in the wilderness of Idaho, unknown to those who live here. When He sees any pride rising up in me, I immediately get humbled by some event that pops my bubble and forces me go running back to Him again.

        No, dear sister it is not about the BIG things we are doing for God. It is his grace moving through us to others in “the little things.” It is His grace that puts men like Terry Waite in prison and takes them out of the limelight. Look what He did with Paul, the greatest evangelist and teacher of the early church! He put him in prison, but it was there that he wrote all those wonderful letters that God uses to enlighten and bless us today. At the end he wrote Timothy and said, “All have left me.” But his hope remained steadfast in Jesus who saved him that day on the road to Damascus not in anything he had accomplished. Like John the Baptist said before he was imprisoned and martyred, “I must decrease and He must increase.” This is how it all happens in God’s kingdom.

        Bless you as you obey Him in the “little things.”
        Michael

        Liked by 3 people

      • yellowyarrow says:

        Michael, thank you for your last reply to me and for putting things in an excellent way. You have given me some reassurance when I needed it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Breaking every yoke and letting the captives go free is what Jesus is all about. Be free in His Spirit and no longer bound by the traditions o men, dear sister. Praying for you,
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  4. wanda says:

    Hi Michael,

    Once again you share something personal from your life and it helps and heals me. My marriage began the same way and I have often felt bad about it thinking that we were doomed because of the long separation we endured as newlyweds. I thought we were the only ones who were so unfortunate. I do not believe that anymore. I have been praying for us for over 20 years and now I see what God has been accomplishing in our lives. I agree that he only leads us one step at a time and we must trust what He is doing. It did not feel like He was working but He was and now I clearly see it. My husband trained as a child soldier from Sudan and suffered a head injury when he was 14. His mother died when was around 18. I met him on the mission field and he became an American citizen a few years ago. I see the transformation that our Father has done in him. God has given my husband Peace. Our future is bright and I am excited to find out what God will do next!

    Your friend in Christ,

    Wanda

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Wanda, I can only imagine how a childhood like your husband went through had messed up his mind and heart. What a wonderful testimony of the power of God and answered prayers, dear sister. I am glad my story was an encouragement to you.

      “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8, ESV2011)

      “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—” (Eph 2:4-5, ESV2011)

      Never forget these two words when it looks like the devil is having his way in this world, “BUT GOD…”

      Your brother IN the Son by His grace,
      Michael

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Patricia Lelión says:

    Thank you Michael for this writing, once again the Lord confirms to my life what He is speaking in the secret of my heart.

    A few years ago I wrote this, in a time of great affliction and although old adversities are replaced by new ones, I learned this lesson and I no longer resist his dealings, He will see what he does with me and in me.

    “He takes us out of the status quo of our nature, trials are the work of the cross in our lives, God needs to dig and deepen, and for this he passes His shovel to get rid of ourselves. God opposes our flesh, that’s why he makes us go from circumstance to circumstance to take away that aftertaste. Just as it is done with wine, which is racked from the barrel in barrel so that it does not take the taste of the feces that they deposit in the fund; However, as long as we are happy sitting on our stool, like Moab, we will not feel repulsion of ourselves; Moab got used to it so much the smell of his feces that he did not care, that tells us a lot. Wine feces due to their tendency to shrink, take a smell of hydrogen sulfide, which resembles rotten eggs or stagnant waters; that is why God must open our noses so that we smell our sin, our humanity and let the Lord do His work in us. ”

    A big hug from a distance, wishing that the Lord continues to do his work in you and sustain you as He has always done.

    With love, Patricia

    Gracias Michael por este escrito, una vez más el Señor confirma a mi vida lo que Él está hablando en el secreto de mi corazón.

    Hace unos años yo escribí esto, en una época de mucha aflicción y aunque las viejas adversidades son reemplazadas por nuevas, aprendí esta lección y ya no me resisto a su tratos, Él verá que hace conmigo y en mí.

    “Él nos saca del status quo de nuestra naturaleza, las
    pruebas son la obra de la cruz en nuestra vida, Dios necesita cavar y profundizar, y por esto pasa Su pala para librarnos de nosotros mismos. Dios se opone a nuestra carne, por eso nos hace trasegar de circunstancia en circunstancia para quitarnos ese regusto. Así como se hace con el vino, que se trasiega de barrica en barrica para que no tome el gusto de las heces que se
    depositan en el fondo; sin embargo, mientras estemos felices sentados en nuestras heces, como Moab, no sentiremos repulsión de nosotros mismos; tanto se acostumbró Moab al olor de sus heces que no le importó, eso nos dice mucho. Las heces del vino por su tendencia a reducirse, toman un olor a sulfhídrico, que se parece al huevo podrido o a las aguas estancadas; por eso Dios debe abrir nuestros olfatos para que olamos nuestro pecado, nuestra humanidad y dejemos al Señor hacer Su obra en nosotros”.

    Un fuerte abrazo desde la distancia, deseando que el Señor siga haciendo su obra en ti y te sostenga como Él siempre lo ha hecho.

    Con amor, Patricia

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Dear Patricia, it is good to hear from you again. I recently shared a parody of my life in Christ on another blog that you might be able to relate to. I think that most of us have released our lives to Jesus in stages (like the making of wine).

      When I came to Christ and He set up His abode in me, but at first in my immaturity and lack of scriptural understanding, I thought of Him as my “house guest”. He had His room and the rest of the house was mine. But He kept drawing me with His great love and even cleaned up my messes for I was a sloppy housekeeper. As time went on I started to yield a greater place to Him in “my house” (a good house cleaning brings us a lot of freedom from all that accumulated junk). But the flesh wars against the Spirit and treats Him like an invader because it likes living in a dirty house. At some point I saw that everything He had been doing in my house was for the better even though all this cleaning hurt at the time. I started to allow His kingdom (the place where He has dominion) to increase without kicking against it because I saw Him no longer as a house guest because I realized that He was not just a house guest, but He was my Husband and I was His beloved bride and he was no longer confined to “His room” (Sunday services, Bible studies, 10% of my earnings, a half hour devotional and prayer each morning, etc), because because of His great love, I finally invited surrendered what was my house totally over to Him

      Like any marriage, the fun of the initial honeymoon has to end and the real work begins and it takes many years to truly become ONE and harmoniously in love and that is still going on in me (I think where we are in our earthly marriages might be a barometer of where we really are in our Christian maturity). This is what Isiah was prophesying about when he said that “the increase of His government there would be no end.” I think that we will continue to grow into an ever increasing love bound relationship with Jesus, the Father and the saints for all eternity. What an adventure! The heavens and the earth will pass away, but His government will continue to grow in us as we dwell in the Father’s house because of His irresistible love. And I know that the unity of the living stones (His body) will continue to grow in His great love as well for this is the will of the Father and the Son who prayed:

      “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one,

      so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.Father,

      I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am

      , to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known,

      that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

      (John 17:22-26, ESV2011)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patricia Lelión says:

        Antes de responderte, quiero felicitarte por tu cumpleaños, espero hayas pasado un gran día, en compañía de tus hijitos y esposa, también espero que hayas comido mucho pastel. Que el Señor siga haciendo su obra en ti, que el Señor te guarde y te proteja siempre y cumpla su voluntad en ti cada día. Un abrazo desde la distancia.

        Y hasta ahora pude volver a comunicarme, los días pasan rápido y a veces solo tengo tiempo de leer los artículos, pero no puedo dejar ningún comentario, también mi salud estuvo regular, lo mismo la de mi madre y la de mi perra Tita, en fin, cada día son varias cosas, pero siempre trato de leer las publicaciones, así no sea el mismo día que la envías, la semana pasada me desatrasé y leí varias tuyas y de Susanne.

        Esa figura del matrimonio y nuestra madurez me pareció genial, no lo había visto de esa manera, gracias Michael por dar siempre en el blanco, el Señor siempre sabe cómo guiarte. Y lo que dices es verdad, pasan años para convertirnos en uno con el Señor y amarlo de la manera que el Señor desea. Creo que a medida que el día se acerca y está amaneciendo sobre nosotros, su amor va intensificándose y sus tratos también para llevarnos a esa medida del Señor Jesús, como dice proverbios 4:18.

        Te mando un fuerte abrazo y gracias por cada escrito, que el Señor siga usándote según su voluntad.

        En el amor de Señor.

        Patricia.

        Patricia wrote (according to Google Translate):

        Before answering you, I want to congratulate you on your birthday, I hope you had a great day, in the company of your children and wife, I also hope you have eaten a lot of cake. May the Lord continue to do his work in you, may the Lord keep and protect you always and fulfill his will in you every day. A hug from a distance.

        And until now I have been able to communicate again, the days go by quickly and sometimes I only have time to read the articles, but I cannot leave any comment, my health was also regular, the same as that of my mother and that of my dog ​​Tita, anyway Every day there are several things, but I always try to read the publications, even if it is not the same day you send it, last week I got off the hook and read several of yours and Susanne’s.

        That figure of marriage and our maturity seemed great to me, I had not seen it that way, thank you Michael for always hitting the target, the Lord always knows how to guide you. And what you say is true, it takes years to become one with the Lord and love him the way the Lord desires. I believe that as the day approaches and it is dawning on us, his love is intensifying and his dealings also to lead us to that measure of the Lord Jesus, as Proverbs 4:18 says.

        I send you a big hug and thank you for every letter, may the Lord continue to use you according to his will.

        In the love of the Lord.

        Patricia.

        Like

      • Michael says:

        Dear Patricia, Thank you for your best wishes on my birthday. Dorothy made me her favorite chocolate cake (very rich with lots of chocolate) and I washed it down with chocolate chip mint ice cream. 🙂 It was a good day and I got a phone call three of our four children as well as John, our son-in-law wishing me the best. It is always good to hear from John because He came to Christ about five years ago and he wants to talk about Jesus and what He has been reading in the Bible.

        You wrote, “I believe that as the day approaches and it is dawning on us, his love is intensifying and his dealings also to lead us to that measure of the Lord Jesus.” I hope you read Susanne’s latest blog article and our comments, for it is about this very thing. https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2021/12/07/conformed-into-the-likeness-of-the-image-of-gods-son/comment-page-1/?unapproved=344564&moderation-hash=188d92c1a3e2541e15dc111b46e057fe#comment-344564

        But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. (Prov 4:18, ESV2011)

        I am glad to hear that what I write has touched you. I will be praying for the health of you your household.

        Holy hugs back to you, my sister,
        Michael

        Like

  6. fgsjr2015 says:

    I, a believer in Christ’s miracles, sometimes wonder whether the general human need for retributive justice can be intrinsically linked to the same terribly flawed aspect of humankind that enables the most horrible acts of violent cruelty to readily occur on this planet, perhaps not all of which we learn about.)

    From my understanding, Judaism’s messiah is reflective of the unambiguously fire-and-brimstone angry-God Almighty of the Torah, Old Testament and Quran. The Judaic messiah is essentially one who will come liberate his people from their enemies, which logically consists of some form of violence, before ruling over every nation on Earth. This left even John the Baptist, who believed in Jesus as the savior, troubled by Jesus’ apparently contradictory version of Messiah, notably his revolutionary teaching of non-violently offering the other cheek as the proper response to being physically assaulted by one’s enemy.

    Maybe Jesus was viciously killed because he did not in the least behave in accordance to corrupted human conduct and expectation — and in particular because he was nowhere near to being the vengeful, wrathful behemoth so many people seemingly wanted or needed their savior to be and therefore believed he’d have to be.

    Perhaps needless to say, I believe that Christ was/is intended in large part to show humankind what Messiah ought to and needs to be; to prove to people that there really was/is hope for the many — especially for young people living in today’s physical, mental and spiritual turmoil — perceiving hopelessness in an otherwise fire-and-brimstone angry-God-condemnation creator. Fundamentally, of course, that definitely includes resurrection.

    (Meanwhile, it seems that when a public person openly fantasizes about a guaranteed minimum income and/or a clean global environment, many self-professed Christians reactively presume that person must therefore be Godless thus evil or, far worse, a socialist. This, despite a big chunk of Christ’s own teachings epitomizing the primary component of socialism — do not hoard morbidly superfluous wealth in the midst of poverty.)

    When I say all of the above to my mother, she almost starts to panic just hearing it from me. I tell her that maybe the Almighty is not as bad or scary as believed by her and so many other monotheists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      FGS, Thanks for writing. The further the Jews got away from the simplicity of the ten commandments, the more they got in the weeds of religion. The people that left Egypt were a bunch of idol worshiping heathens and their murderous ways became clear more and more as time went on (read Stephen’s final words to them in Acts ch. 7 and 8). He told them the truth and they killed him for it. The same thing happened to Jesus. Religion does that. “The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life.” He told the Jewish leaders that they were of their father the devil who was a liar and a murder from the beginning and thousands were listening to His words so these evil religious men had to kill Him to shut Him up. Their idea of the Messiah was the one who would come and kick the Romans out and set their leaders up as the administrators in His new government, but He blasted them for their hypocrisy instead.

      One of the most important prophesies in the Old Testament regarding their rebellious ways and the hope that is ours in Christ and His NEW covenant is found in Jeremiah,

      “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer 31:31-34, ESV2011)

      The Apostle John wrote about that contrast between the old and new covenants saying,

      And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.( John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:14-17, ESV2011)

      The problem is, my friend, most Christians do not know what covenant they are of, thus the mixture and confusing witness that billows up in their wake.

      May Christ’s love consume and abide in your heart as you seek the one who IS the Truth,
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  7. errollmulder says:

    A wonderful, wonderful story. By God’s grace alone. I could identify with so much of it, too many things to mention. God bless you for your honesty, authenticity and humility.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Allan Halton says:

    Thanks for this, Michael. Encouraging testimony! I too have been a slow learner– and am very thankful for a patient Teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, Allan. I think it must be different for Him in that He knows the will of the Father and our end from the beginning. 🙂

      “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,​ declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” (Isa 46:8-10, ESV2011)

      WHAT A GREAT SALVATION! ⭐

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Jim says:

    I enjoyed what you shared here very much Mike. So refreshing to hear the word of your testimony, and about your relationship with our precious Lord Jesus,and God our Father. Very encouraging. And so transparent! We all must be so transparent. God bless you and your family. Love you dearly in Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      I am glad to hear you were encouraged in your walk, dear brother. Yes, transparency is something rare these days among Christians, yet John made it clear that “If we walk in the Light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” Yet, “Men prefer darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.” The Light of the Spirit IN Christ as well as His blood is what cleanses us so that we can walk in the unity of the Spirit together.

      God ruined me for just “playing church.” I was born into a in-gathering of His saints that were also given life by His Spirit in 1970 and our unity in HIS love was phenomenal and it all happened outside the camps of Christendom! In fact we were a reproach to those in that religious system because we had the Life that they were missing. So, ever since then (it ended when men rose up and took control) I have been on a quest to find that “city not made with hands which has foundations whose builder and Maker is God.” What I am finding is God’s living stones, like yourself, scattered all over this world, yet we are together in the unity of the Spirit anytime we meet. Thanks again for writing,
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Patricia Lelión says:

    Wow mucho chocolate, a mí también me fascina, aunque me engorde, amo el chocolate y el helado es fenomenal. Me alegra que tu día haya sido especial, me gusta celebrar mi cumpleaños, después de que murió Manolo no quería cumplir años, pero a medida que el Señor sanaba mi corazón, volvió mi deseo por cumplir años y el pastel para celebrar.

    Voy a leer el artículo, no había podido antes, pero ya mismo me pongo en la tarea. Siempre lo que escribes toca profundamente mi vida, el Señor te usa grandemente y siempre el Señor le da al blanco con lo que Él te guía a escribir.

    Gracias por tus oraciones, han sido días duros, de ataques por allí y por allá, los hermanos en Cristo a veces pueden llegar a ser piedras en nuestros zapatos, pero usados por el Señor para forjar su carácter en nosotros. La salud también se afecta, situaciones por aquí y por allá, pero bueno, el Señor está en cada circunstancia, no solo hemos de recibir lo bueno, sino también lo malo, pues todas las cosas obran para bien.

    Esperemos que nos depara el 2022, el Señor tiene todo bajo control y nos llevará también de su mano en este nuevo año, venga lo que venga.

    Agradecida siempre contigo y con Susanne por sus enseñanzas y su amistad, abrazos mil.

    Patricia

    Wow a lot of chocolate, it fascinates me too, although it makes me fat, I love chocolate and ice cream is phenomenal. I am glad that your day was special, I like to celebrate my birthday. After Manolo died I did not want to have a birthday, but as the Lord healed my heart, my wish to have a birthday returned and the cake to celebrate.

    I’m going to read the article, I hadn’t been able to before, but right now I get to work. Always what you write deeply touches my life, the Lord uses you greatly and always the Lord hits the mark with what He guides you to write.

    Thank you for your prayers, they have been hard days, of attacks here and there. The brothers in Christ can sometimes become stones in our shoes, but used by the Lord to forge his character in us. Health is also affected, situations here and there, but hey, the Lord is in every circumstance, we must not only receive the good, but also the bad, because all things work for the good.

    Let’s hope that 2022 brings us, the Lord has everything under control and will also take us by his hand in this new year, whatever may come.

    Always grateful to you and Susanne for her teachings and her friendship, hugs a thousand.

    Patricia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Patricia, we who love the Lord and have His call on our lives have this promise,

      “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.​The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.​When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” (Ps 34:15-19, ESV2011)

      It is good to hear that Jesus is prevailing in your life. He loves you very much,
      Michael

      Like

  11. Powerful and moving. (Unfortunately, my browser would not allow me to “like” your comments for which I apologize.)

    Liked by 1 person

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