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The Spirit of the Word: Part 4

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The Spirit of the Word
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”     Jesus
                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


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“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 15

LIVES THAT ARE CENTERED IN THE SPIRIT

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their old nature with all that it loved and lusted for.  If our lives are centered in the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25, Phillips Translation).

        One fact is becoming increasingly clear, God measures everything from the start to the finish by the perfections of HIS SON, Jesus Christ, as it is written: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13).

Phillips reads: “we arrive at real maturity─ that measure of development which is meant by ‘the fulness of Christ.”‘

Arthur S. Way: “nothing less than the standard of Messiah’s own perfection”

        Such a standard is set before us, not to discourage us, but to challenge us to FOLLOW ON─ daily yielding ourselves to Him, that He might finish all of His inworkings.  The end is secure─ we shall BE FOUND IN HIM, for it is His purpose “that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him.” (Ephesians 1:10).  The quality will never be diminished─ He retains His perfections, regardless of how far the outreach of His redemption, until He has reconciled all things unto Himself.  The quantity is “EVERYTHING in heaven, EVERYTHING in earth.” But all is brought up to the same standard─ His righteousness, His holiness, HIS WHOLENESS-­the completeness of His own stature.  This is so beautifully prefigured in reference to the holy city, Revelation 21:16, “The length and the breadth and the height of it ARE EQUAL.” Quality is not sacrificed in any way, for it is “the fulness of Him that fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23).

“Therefore, brethren we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  For if we live after the flesh, we shall die: but if we through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live.” (Romans 8:12-13).

        It is beautiful how the holy Spirit can take a scripture and give it a very practical application for the nitty-gritty of every day living.  We see the value of proper eating habits, etc. and the Lord has dealt with many along this line─ how you eat does not make you spiritual, but it certainly does make for a more healthful state of being.  Yet of many it has been written, “Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them.” (Rom. 11:9).  So they eat all those foods which fill their body with poisons, etc. and wonder why they get sick.  We do well to seek for the guidance of the Spirit along these lines─ that we might truly “glorify God in our body, and in our spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:20) But, He also will help us to maintain a proper balance in all these things, so that we do not get carried away with just natural things.  Thus it was with a surge of divine quickening that the Spirit one day brought to our attention these words─ “We are debtors, NOT TO THE FLESH…” We are not so indebted to our bodies that we have to spend every waking moment giving attention to our food, our exercise, etc.  HE is LORD OVER OUR HOUSE (body) and if our heart is truly centered in the Spirit, to live and walk in the spirit, He can daily be our Guide, and we do not come into bondage to our bodies, but we live out our obedience to Him in all things.  We don’t eat our way into the kingdom!  “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17).  But we do walk out in our physical bodies much of our obedience, etc. that we might LEARN those lessons which then reach into spiritual dimensions.
        WE ARE DEBTORS─ if not to the flesh, then TO THE SPIRIT.  If we derive our life from the Spirit, then we need to WALK by the Spirit.  For “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6).
        MINDING THE FLESH bespeaks of self-centered living, and often this reaches into the realm of feeding upon man-centered ministries which appeal to the flesh─ with emphasis on blessing, prosperity, etc.  This realm does not produce spirituality, nor does it conform us to the image of Christ.
        “Come to Jesus, He will meet your need, etc.” TRUE!  And praise God for such love and mercy to us-ward.  All He did is FOR US, in our behalf, but not to satisfy the lusts of the flesh.  The Bible is not like a “catalog,” where we choose a verse, claim a promise, and God is obligated to send it, irrespective of His will and purpose.  Indeed, a God who can be swayed thus by man to do that which He has not already purposed to do, does not merit our trust and obedience.  Rather, “He works all things after the counsel of His own will,” with our best interests at heart, for He purposes to bring us into UNION with Himself, into the fulness of His life.  But the methods of His working, and the processings of His people are not subject to the whims and lustful desires of man.  His will alone reigns supreme!
        “Because of the savor of Your good ointments your name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love You.” (Song of Solomon 1:3).  How many love Him because of the blessings of the anointing.  He makes us FEEL so good, etc.  And truly we praise God for HIS ANOINTING, and how it enriches our life.  But DO WE LOVE HIM when we are not consciously aware of these anointed moments?  When we feel so empty, barren, stripped and alone?  Ah, more and more, as we derive our life from the Spirit, we LOVE HIM FOR WHO HE IS, not just for what He does to, and for us.  “Because of the savor of Your good ointments …” we rally around, rejoice, praise Him, and get all excited…. “therefore do the virgins love You.” But when He begins to strip away many of the gifts and graces, and we walk out the dark night of the soul─ then if from deep within our heart reaches out after Him─ it is FOR HIMSELF ALONE, and not for His blessings.  It is centered IN HIM!
        It has been well stated that before we pray for mountain-moving faith, we do well to pray for understanding of His will─ does He want it moved?  And when?  And where does He want to put it?  There is so much more to this walk with God than just claiming miracles and demonstrations of His power.  Oh, to know the mind and purpose of God, that we might be one in His will.  “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do.” (John 5:19).  A true SON OF GOD does not minister because he is “need-conscious” but  “WILL-OF-THE-FATHER  -CONSCIOUS.” Needs are everywhere,    and the Father knows all about them─ not even a sparrow can “fall on the ground without your Father. – Fear not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29, 31).  So the issue is not the “needs” around us, but to LIVE OUT THE WILL OF THE FATHER, doing with our might what He leads us to do, and all unto Him, for His glory and praise.
        More and more our heart cries out, “Draw me, we will run after You… we will be glad and rejoice in You, we will remember Your love more than wine: the upright love You.” (Song of Solomon 1:4).  RUNNING AFTER HIM, not just because of His ointments, but because of who He is.  How beautifully this is also expressed in a chorus the Lord gave to a friend:

“I will give thanks to you Lord for Your goodness and Your mercy,
I’ll praise You for the wondrous things You do,
But when I bow down before You, to worship and adore You,
It’s simply, Lord, because YOU ARE YOU.”

        While all of His abundant mercies have been to us-ward, in turn all of our worship and praise and service needs to be directed GOD-WARD.  Truly “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 4:11).  “FOR YOUR PLEASURE ─-” yet God is not self-centered, for so holy and righteous is He, that He receives His pleasure─ delight── satisfaction─ in what He does in us.  His love cannot be satisfied until we are so filled with Him that our love flows back to Him in return.  Love is not a one way street.  It is not just God ever-giving unto us.  For true love must give─ and when we have received and been filled with Him, we must needs return to Him that which He has given to us.  It is in this reciprocal fellowship that God is pleased, because then there is evidence that all that He has done in and for us has been effectual.  The wonder of it all is that He can love us when we are so unlovely, and He continues to love us until this DIVINE LOVE HAS TRANSFORMED US, and brought us into one with its nature, and then joyfully we return that love to Him.  “Created for His pleasure” is actually a promise that embraces us─ because it means that He will not rest until He has brought us into the fulness of this reciprocal free-flowing love, where all He has is ours, and all we are is HIS! Praise God!
        A brief look at the tabernacle gives us a window, an illustration of truth.  The tabernacle measurement was twenty cubits by ten cubits by ten cubits.  Twenty times ten times ten equals two thousand.  With a thousand years as a day, from Christ coming to be THE WAY we have about lived through two thousand years, and have come to the back of the sanctuary.  There has been the blessing of the table of showbread, and the light of the candlestick, and now you come to THE ALTAR OF INCENSE, the place of worship.  More and more the holy Spirit is giving emphasis to our WORSHIP, our PRAISE and DEVOTION TO HIM, preparing for entrance into the holiest of all.
        Coming through the first doorway (hanging, veil), into the courtyard speaks of receiving Him as JESUS, our Saviour.  Progressing on to the Laver for its cleansing, sanctification processes, and then to the brazen altar where the burnt offering was made─ and we partake of the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death, all self to be slain, that it might be “not I, but Christ lives in me.”
        At the entrance into the sanctuary there was another veil, and the priest was specially anointed there before he could go in.  This bespeaks of the enchristed realm, where we are anointed by the Spirit and prepared for the deeper participation of that which is in the holy place.  Here we have the golden candlestick prefiguring the seven spirits of God, the table of showbread with its sustenance for the inner man.  And we come to the ALTAR OF INCENSE, to enter into realms of worship hitherto unknown.  It also brings us to the third veil, hanging─ bespeaking of that third dimension of His total LORDSHIP.  Jesus, Christ, our Lord─ every experience into Him brings us into a new realm of relationship and intimacy.  Salvation, then the infilling of the holy Spirit, bringing us into greater WORSHIP WHICH BRINGS US INTO NEW DEPTHS OF HIS LORDSHIP IN OUR LIFE, preparing us for entrance into the holiest of all, where everything is centered in the Spirit.
        Significant that the measurement of the “holiest of all” was ten cubits by ten cubits by ten cubits, which multiplies into the figure, one thousand.  To enter into the next millennium before us, as His overcomers, to partake of the glory of the “Ark of the covenant” which was contained therein-­then we definitely need this altar of incense─WORSHIP to prepare us for all the glory which lies ahead.  Bowing to His sovereignty, His total Lordship, that HIS WILL ALONE might be fulfilled in us.  Overcoming─ to eat of the hidden manna, to become one in His Word, made joyful at the mercyseat, becoming one in Him, and thus able to impart of His mercy and compassion to all men.  So much awaits us!  But first there are depths of worship to be experienced, till our eyes are single to Him─ and we bow low that He might be our all in all.  Centered in the Spirit, then to walk─ to live a spirit-filled life.
        On the Cross, Jesus said, “I THIRST.” (John 19:28).  We have come to see that this was more than just thirsting for a drink of water.  HE THIRSTED FOR A PEOPLE! But at that time there was none that could satisfy Him, thus we read, Psalm 69:21, “In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” There was no PURE DRINK OFFERING ready to be given to Him, only a sour wine, that which had been fermented with the spirit of the world.
        At this point in time it was still a one way street, God giving to man, but man unable to return the giving to Him.  Jesus had asked the woman at the well for a drink, but she had nothing to offer Him.  He must first impart unto her, even as He said, “Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst:..” (John 4:14), for He promised to BE IN THEM A WELL OF LIVING WATER which would fully satisfy.  Prophetic as all of this was─ for we still thirst after Him, “As the hart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2), yet we know that ultimately we shall be fully satisfied in Him.  But there was none at that time who could make promise to Him that all of His thirst would be quenched─ they could only offer Him a mixed drink.  No wonder He cried out, “I thirst.”
        But, after the day of Pentecost, and the outpouring of the Spirit to come and dwell in man, and transform him from glory to glory─ there came a day when Paul was able to say, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” (2 Timothy 4:6).  This could be paraphrased to read: “I have been poured out, a drink-offering unto God, and the time of my release (loosing up and away) is come.” Paul had poured out his life as a drink offering unto the Lord─ a reciprocal sharing, God into Paul, Paul back into God.  Such is the flow of love that He desires from us!
        How beautifully this is portrayed in type and shadow, 1 Chronicles 11:18.  David had longed for a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem.  So three of his mighty men broke through the hosts of the Philistines, and “drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord.” He realized the cost, the danger the men had put themselves in, as in essence they had secured the water with their own life, and he would not use the water to satisfy natural desires.  Ah, in reality Jesus Christ did pour out His life for us─ and we dare not use it for our own lust and self desires.  Gladly we receive His life, but in turn we POUR OUT OUR LIFE for Him, surrendering all, “created for His pleasure.” Thus, the prayer Jesus prayed must become ours as well.  “Father, the hour is come; glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You.” (John 17:1).  We receive of His life, that we in turn might fully give our life to Him.  Praise His name!
        Your vision is prophetic of your destiny.  No wonder the scripture declares, “Where there is no vision, the people perish (literally, are made naked.)” (Prov. 29:18).  For your vision is your covering until you are brought into its reality.  Furthermore, the verse reads on, “But he that keeps the law, happy is he.” For every vision has a law for its fulfillment.  There are those who envy another of their vision, but they don’t want to pay the price to have such fulfilled in them.  When God imparts a vision of that high and holy realm to which we are called, beloved, there is A WAY─ A LAW to get there, and he that WALKS IN THE SPIRIT shall come into its reality.
        The principle remains, YOU BECOME WHAT YOU SEE.  If you have no vision, there is nought to become.  An unfolding vision bespeaks of a progressive walk in Christ, until we are one in His fulness.
        Psalm 103:7 brings us further insight.  “He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel.” Israel saw THE ACTS of the Lord, and as a people they were always wanting God TO DO THINGS for them.  They had a vision of GOD DOING─ and were always clamoring for more of the same.
        Moses saw His ways, he learned God’s methods and the secret of His purpose.  “Show me Your way,” “Show me Your glory,” he prayed, and God imparted vision to him.  For many years I have been challenged by the difference between what Israel saw, and what Moses saw─ and the desire burned within to KNOW HIS WAYS.  But in these more recent years we are stirred to go even farther, beyond just seeing His acts, and even knowing of HIS WAYS, to where we come TO KNOW HIS PERSON─ to see Him “as He is.”
        Yes, we thank God for His miracles!  Yes, we praise God for revelation of His Word, His ways, His inworkings.  But how we yearn for HIM─ TO KNOW HIM in the power of His resurrection, and become ONE─ in union with our Lord!  “We don’t know what we shall become in the future.  We only know that, IF REALITY WERE TO BREAK THROUGH, we should reflect His likeness, for we should see Him as He really is!” (1 John 3:2, Phillips) Then, and not till then, will 1 John 4:17 be truly fulfilled, “Because as He is, so are we in this world.” Some would like to claim it now, but their state of being does not verify their claim.  When we are CHANGED, totally conformed to His image, one in His nature, we will not have to claim it─ we’ll BE, and our state of being will be the irrefutable witness of what we have become.
        It is a progressive inworking─ past, present, and future.  As Paul wrote, “Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us.” (2 Cor. 1:10).  Has, does, and will yet.  And just because He once delivered us does not mean that we have arrived.  Nor does the fact that you are currently being blessed mean that you have it all.  But praise God every new deliverance propels us onward towards the goal─ and we are assured that HE who has begun in us this good work, will also bring it to a successful conclusion, for we are His workmanship, and our security is in His hand.  Bless His holy name!
        In Psalm 22 we see Him as SAVIOUR.  All the prophetic record of His crucifixion, and then of man’s cry for His help.  “When he cried unto Him, He heard.” In Psalm 23 we see Him as the CHRIST, “You anointed my head with oil.” And then in Psalm 24 we see Him as LORD, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.” And then that triumphant Word, “Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.” With joy we welcome Him in─ LORD OF ALL WITHIN US.
        As Saviour it was His ministry to us-ward.  As the Christ it furthers His work in us.  But when He comes in AS LORD, it is HIS TURN TO RECEIVE FROM US. He begins to receive a return from His investment in mankind.  But of His COMING IN, be assured, it will an awesome experience.  Such was the vision of Isaiah, “I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. – And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried…” (Isaiah 6:1,4).
        We long for Him, we yearn to be FILLED WITH HIM, though methinks that our earthen vessels will also quake before Him.  The earthquakes without in the world about us, are nothing compared to the INTERNAL QUAKE as the last part of our flesh bows low before Him, and His glory fills our temple.  But with all our being we shall cry out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.” Oh, hallelujah, may He who imparts this vision also fulfill it in glorious reality.
        Much of Christendom says, in effect, “God is for your pleasure.” It is all centered in you─ your needs to be met, your body to be healed, finances to be prospered, the showers of blessing are to fall on you.  And we thank the Lord for all that He does on every level.  But such teaching has it all backwards.  WE ARE FOR HIS PLEASURE.  He draws whom He wills.  We might be instrumental in drawing people into man’s kingdom, but HE DRAWS INTO HIS OWN, and if we are privileged to be a part of that working─ it is because Of His grace and love that He uses us as “laborers together with God.” can only share with others of what He has first given to us, thus it is all GOD’S DOING, and not out of ourselves.
        All of our outward expression comes from inward possession─ “Christ in you the hope of glory.” If He dwells not within, we have nought to offer.  So the command, “Be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18), is not just the experience of a moment of crisis, but to be A CONTINUED STATE, ever filled with Him.  It is not just an external or surface experience, as if the oil of anointing was poured on the outside, to drip off the hem of our garment.  But it is INWARDLY─ an anointing that ABIDES.  Our life is to be CENTERED IN THE SPIRIT, and then out of this spirit realm we walk─ daily live.
        It is not a question of gifts and graces, manifestations, precious as these might be, but it is the PERSONAL, INDWELLING PRESENCE of the holy Spirit, working in us to present us perfect unto Him.  God is apprehending a people for this NOW.  “As God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (2 Cor. 6:16).
        The difference between “firstfruits” and the “full harvest” is not one of quality but of TIME, some reaching maturity before others.  “In Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order.” (1 Cor. 15:22-23).  If you are made alive in Christ, you are brought to the standard of His divine perfection─ such is the quality.  But the TIMING of our participation in His ingathering is according to His own will and purpose.  When He does draw us, however, may we be swift to run after Him in joyful obedience.
        It is also written, “For He will finish the work (Greek, logos, word) and cut it short in righteousness.” (Rom. 9:28).  God has spoken─ and it shall come to pass─ every word He utters is guaranteed of fulfillment.  “The Word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness.” (Isaiah 45:23).  Now there is a truth hidden in this, which thrills our being through and through.  For we perceive that HIS WORD becomes PERSONIFIED IN A PEOPLE.  He is producing A WORD COMPANY, a creative word, a living word, the message and the messenger become one─ A CREATIVE WORD PEOPLE.  In turn they shall declare His Word, and it shall come to pass─ “He sent His Word and healed them.” “speak the word only and my child shall be healed.” Oh, the power of the LIVING WORD as it flows through those vessels whose lives are CENTERED IN THE SPIRIT!

  _________________________________________________                              
(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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The Spirit of the Word
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”     Jesus
                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


Return to “Letters of Truth (2)”                                Quick Return Home Page

“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 16

LOSING OUR SELF-LIFE, AND FINDING HIS LIFE

Matthew 10:39, “He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for My sake shall find it.”

        The Greek word used here for “life” is “psuche.” The corresponding Hebrew word is “nephesh,” and means: a breathing one. It bespeaks of the soulish realm, the self-life, embracing the mind and personality, the feelings and desires, affections and aversions, which you, as a breathing one, identify as being you. The emphasis of the world these days is upon “finding one’s self, and nurturing that “self” until it blooms with distinction, to make a name for one’s self, a reputation, and a favorable identity.
        In the natural one needs to move with confidence, feeling good about their self, with a sense of self-worth. A very low sense of self-esteem, self-respect, etc. produces certain attitudes and actions which are detrimental. Negativism destroys! Our youth must be taught that their own bodies are too precious to be destroyed and ruined by smoking, drinking, sex, junk foods, etc. as the list goes on and on. It is because they place so little value upon themselves, that they waste their substance. They need to know that “GOD DOES NOT MAKE JUNK.” As Jesus once said, “You are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:31). Think about it! God has a treasure in these earthen vessels, and we need to glorify God in our body, in our mind, and in our spirit.
        Having set forth these vital FACTS/TRUTHS, which pertain to our living in this world, we would also point out a real need for a balance, even in the natural, lest pride arise, a super-ego is developed, and we become pompous, arrogant, egotistic. And so Paul admonished, “Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3).
        And it is also vital that we remember there is a vast difference in natural things and spiritual things. Well did God speak through the prophet, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
        There are those who give much emphasis upon self-realization with a “do-it-yourself” improvement course. You must convince yourself that you have the power, the greatness, etc. They will use many of the Scriptures which speak of “Christ in you,” and how “In Him we live, and move and have our being,” etc. as they twist the Word of God to their own SELF-USE.
        We find that this MAN-EXALTING teaching is quite at variance with the deep in workings of His cross, until we come to the place where we realize that, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” (John 5:30). And it is only “By the grace of God I am what I am.” (1 Cor. 15:10).For it is “NOT I, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20).
        It is not a SELF-EXERCISE, but the in working of the Holy Spirit. We need to let HIS MINDbe in us. HE will think positively, but not with a carnal SELF-assertiveness. For this we have found− the deep in workings of the Cross do not take away our self-respect, sense of self-value that belongs to the natural realm. It is dealing with an entirely different realm. The cross is used to cancel out any self-effort to become spiritual. All of the natural gifts and graces with which we are endowed in the earthy, which are proper for their sphere, do not qualify us for spiritual glories. It is true that the spiritual will help you to be a better natural person, but the natural can never help you to be a better spiritual person. “It is the Spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing,” regarding spiritual things. (John 6:63).
        And so Jesus clearly taught, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be.” (John 12:24-26).
        To pursue a course of trying to find our TRUE SPIRITUAL LIFE in natural things is an exercise in futility.  To try and find this LIFEin soulish improvement is also heading down a dead-end street. To subject ourselves to a system of religious works proves to accomplish just the opposite of what we set about to obtain. “I know that these regulations look wise with their self-inspired efforts at worship, their policy of self-humbling, and their studied neglect of the body. But in actual practice they do honor, not to God, but to man’s own pride.” (Col. 2:23, Phillips).
        To seek to save our life is only to lose it. But, to offer it up to our Lord, to yield ourselves to Him continually− to daily take up our cross to follow Him, and you will find that HIS LIFE super abounds. And you have not passed from life into death, but just the opposite, you have gone from the realm of death (the carnal mind) into the LIFE OF CHRIST which abides. And it is not just a one time experience, but an ON-GOING REALIZATION, with the greater victories yet before us.
        Some folk are tempted to try and repeat yesterday’s sacrifice and blessing, to find their life in a re-living of what has already been, not realizing that this becomes a barrier to going on, for it stunts spiritual growth and progression. This is not God’s plan. The former things must pass away, they are not sufficient for today.  “Remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; shall you not know it?” (Isa. 43:18-19).
        Remember not− the Hebrew word is “zakar” to imprint, make a memorial. It is more than just a recalling to mind, but has the thought of re-living, to participate in. We are not called to recite and re-live the past over and over. The more you recite the past the more you build it into a structure against the future− it becomes an obstruction. Milking the memory dry of those things which once blessed us in the past, is surely an exercise in futility, it does not birth the new. Too much of this re-living and we miss the light and life that He has for us today. To seek to find our life in that which has already passed, is toLOSE IT. Re-living a bye-gone order is notLIFE. Living in the realm of memories is but a shadow of existence, it does not produce satisfaction and a vibrant life sufficient for the now.
        God is a Fountain of life− pools just stay where they are, and often even become stagnant, but a fountain flows and flows. We need a fresh drink from the Living Fountain! A SPRINGING FORTH of His life to lead us onward.
        We have prayed too long about “doing” the will of God, not realizing that service is secondary− the result of living out His life. It is not what we DO, but what weARE− we become a manifestation of His will. When we are willing to die to self, and yes, all religious programs, then HIS LIFE will flow in. In losing our life, we findHIS! The inner transformation takes place when self-life ends, and His life is released through us. Even the mind is renewed− thoughts and imaginations bow to the supremacy ofHIS MIND− and truly, He says “My thoughts are not your thoughts…”
        Willing to walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. To be led by the guidance and rule of the Spirit. Thus, it is only when we come to know that HE LIVES IN US, that we can say, “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.”For in reality, HE lives and moves and has HIS being in us!
        He is calling a people unto/into Himself, to be ONE IN HIM. Often this will take us away from the field of activity, to wait before Him. People often misunderstand this, and say, “Why aren’t you out in ministry?” How little do men realize that service, out of human effort, outside the will of God, accomplishes nothing. Of what use is “our” ministry unless it is HIS appointment? Of what use is it to go unless He sends?
        How legalistic we become! Professing to have been delivered from the Law, we immediately legalize the New Testament, “If you will do this… if you will do that… if you will give this…” and soon we are in bondage which always comes when we nullify His sacrifice, and try to add to it with our own works. “Sacrifice and offering You would not…”
        It is time to quiet our hearts before Him, that HE might speak within us of those truths which are so essential for these days. To BE STILL− ah, that is a challenge! Regardless of how tumultuous the waves were on the sea of Galilee, He could rise up, and say “Peace, be still,” and they would quiet down again. His creative power ruled over all the forces of His creation. When He gave the command, the creation obeyed. They had no ears to hear, they had no minds to receive Him, but those waves were subject to His Word/power. Likewise God could exact an obedience from our hearts− but He is not coercive, He desires far more from His people, for He would have us to BE WILLING. “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17). He would commune with us. He says to us, “be still andKNOWthat I am God.” To the waves, He said, “Be still…” but to His people He says, “Be still AND KNOW,” for He would not only quiet our stormy hearts, but He would whisper His secrets into us, that we might know− KNOW THAT HE IS GOD, in sovereign control of all our circumstances. Often we give lip service to this truth, but we do not really KNOW ITdeep within. And why do we not know it? Because we have not beenSTILL long enough before Him for Him to communicate to us of these verities of His over-flowing life.
        How desperately we need to know, as the hymn beautifully states, that−

“THE CROSS is not greater than His grace,
The storms cannot hide His blessed face;
I am satisfied to know that with Jesus here below,
I can conquer every foe.”

        It is only when we recognize that “all things work together into good for them that love God…” that these events in our life take on their proper perspective. HE is fulfilling HIS PLAN in and for us− and He must needs lead us through these valleys, guide us homeward by the way of His Cross.
        We are not to focus our attention on the storm, but on HIM who is “the Author and the Finisher of our faith.” The more we see Him IN all these things, the more we will lose our fear, and embrace His peace.
        “Fear has torment,” (1 John 4:18). What fears have worked their torment in the children of God. Did what happened happen because I failed? Was it because I did not pray right? Because I did not do right? etc., as if the responsibility for the all these events was upon our own shoulder. Have we never read, “And the government shall be uponHIS shoulder…”? (Isa. 9:6). Truly, He has said, “ALL power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18). “There is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things: and we in Him…” (1 Cor. 8:6). Can we, do we really believe this?
        Fear–  what if I prayed and nothing happened? The prayer is on our part, the answer is on His part. We are not forced to answer our own prayers. We commit the whole unto the Lord, and trust Him to work out whatever is best for us. Unbelief misses the mark! “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23). We must believe that HE is working out that which is GOOD− good for us, and which will redound to His praise.
        Often people will quote Job 3:25, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” This is not a guaranteed happening. FEAR DOES NOT CREATE!How many thousand times have we feared and worried about things, and they never did happen. People are altogether too superstitious, tormented with groundless fears, because they do not KNOW that GOD ALONE IS IN CONTROL. Seems like we need to repeat it often, “The steps of a man are ordered by the Lord; and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Ps. 37:23-24).
        He does not demand of us a series of sacrifices that become some spiritual penance whereby we work our way into the Kingdom. It is the broken and contrite heart that He will not despise. We cannot develop a LIFE like His, no matter how we try, for only Christ can live the Christ-life through us. Surely He would cleanse us of all the unnecessary thoughts and words which are sacrilegious in His holy Place.
        The good in self is to be laid upon the altar just as much as the evil− HE IS COMPLETE, and we cannot add to His completeness. And He will be IN US ALL THAT HE IS− so that “Through union with Him, you, too, are filled with it.” (Col. 2:9-10 Williams).
        There is so much of our “religion” that we need to let go of− all of this soulish, selfish system which repudiates the Presence of the indwelling Christ. Religion fails, but our Lord ever remains the Victor! All human systems might be stripped naked and reveal their appalling helplessness, but CHRIST STILL REIGNS. It is “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6). Often it is a struggle to YIELD UP our “former life of doing,” especially if we were, for a moment, successful in seeing a few miracles because the grace of God went beyond our feeble efforts, to answer the need of an open heart. But the more He opens our eyes to see the futility of a religious soulish life, the more we are convinced of the absolute helplessness of man, unless he is anointed by the Spirit of God, and it is “no more I, but Christ lives in me.”
        Knowing of our human tendencies to exalt self, and enthrone the flesh, Paul laid it out plainly, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;… that no flesh should glory in His Presence.” (1 Cor. 1:27, 29). Even though our creed and doctrine may be true, it cannot convey the manifestation of His power. Therefore, it is “not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor. 3:6). How we desire to move out of that abstract realm in which men take pride in their understanding of the printed Word, and enter into that realm where theSPIRIT OF THE WORD quickens us, and we behold His glory− the glory of our Living Lord!
        This glory is not found in our self-life, no matter how much we embellish it with images of spirituality. There is such futility in trying to lift man’s understanding into higher dimensions of life. You explain it over and over again, draw the charts, list the seven points, etc. but this does not produce a QUICKENED HEART− for only the Spirit can infuse us with His life. It is when we DIE to the realm of types and shadows, images of the real, that He can impart resurrection life that causes us to KNOW AS HE KNOWS, and bring us into greater expressions of His life.
        Ah, yes, “He that loses his life shall find it. But he that seeks to save his life, shall lose it.” Herein is an outworking principle that is found all the way through the Scriptures. It is the remarkable mystery of the divine interplay of good and evil, and how HE sows the seeds of gain in loss itself. What you thought you had lost, you find you have gained, but what you thought you had retained, kept to yourself, you will have lost. To lose and yet to gain− only in the realm of divine economy can this be so.
        “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out.” (Rom. 11:33).
        Often do we read with amazement, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil.” (Isa. 45:7). Interplaying the negative with the positive, to work out a purpose so glorious that “Since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside You, what He has prepared for him that waits for Him. You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, those that remember You in Your ways.” (Isa. 64:4-5).
        With remarkable candor He states, “I kill, and I make alive: I wound, and I heal…” (Deut. 32:39). And again, “He has torn, and He will heal us; He has wounded, and He will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1). Thus, HE CAUSES US TO SUFFER LOSS, that He might ultimately bless us with His ETERNAL GAIN.
        Hannah experienced the depth of sorrow, she was barren, and “Her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.” (1 Sam. 1:6). Talk about losing her life, unfulfilled desires, being torn, wounded, etc. it was a bitter time. BUT GOD
when she poured it all out before Him, He turned her sorrow into joy, and with rejoicing she declared “The Lord kills, and makes alive: He brings down to the grave, and brings up. The Lord makes poor, and makes rich: He brings low, and lifts up. He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory…” (1 Sam. 2:6-8). Yes, Hannah may have thought she had lost her life shamed by her adversary, her pride was demolished, her sense of value to her husband was diminished, but turning to the Lord, to cast herself upon Him, she found her life in a way she could never have imagined. Out of her barrenness God produced a new life life that would glorify God for Samuel would be given to minister to the Lord.
        Experiencing the deep in workings of this principle of “losing and finding,” Paul writes, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.” (2 Cor. 4:10-22).
        Herein is a spiritual in working of grace
note it, A SPIRITUAL IN WORKING, for this is a “heart attitude” not just a physical exhibition. Jesus made, this very clear when He taught His disciples, “But when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; that you appear not unto men to fast, but unto your Father which is in secret…” (Matt. 6:17-18). Men see the outward “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7). Take care on how you APPEAR BEFORE MEN to have a smile upon your face, while you are “dying within.” The laying down of our life is UNTO GOD, not unto men, so do not subject men to the agony. Only God knows how deeply the cross is penetrating into your self-life, to bring an end to that wherein the flesh would boast. The death is inward, it does not have to “appear before men” unless you want them to see it and sympathize with you on how heavy your cross must be, but such a portrayal will only nourish the “suffering self” and prolong the process. But the more we “lay down our life,” then the more HE can unite us with HIS LIFE, and it is IN HIM that we would be found. “Found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil. 3:9-10).
        “He that loses his life for My sake shall find it.” FIND IT
interesting Greek word, “heurisko” meaning: to find, to come upon, find a thing sought, to discover. FINDING OUR LIFE IN HIM “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3). We do nothing to cause that life to BE it is HIS LIFE that He shares with us. The creature contributes nothing, we but RECEIVE what He so freely gives. And it has been well stated that, “Man never discovers God’s strength until he first finds his own weakness.” It is in the losing of our life, that we find His life. As we share with Him His death, we shall also share His resurrection. HE causes us to rise above natural things, above the soulish impulses yes, above the appeal to our carnal reasoning, to where we become one with the moving of His Spirit.
        I know it is one thing to write/speak of these things, and quite another to experientially live them out. It is easy to read the Word, and yet not read it. Though we might nod our heads in approval, it fails to become a daily in working/outliving. But more and more He is revealing to us how “nothing” we are, and how much HE IS EVERYTHING. And once again, in our spirit, we hear Jesus saying, “For with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27). Usually we read it to mean, “all things are possible TO God.” And while this is true, it is not what Jesus said here. He is not talking about the power of God apart from man, but of the power of God working IN and THROUGH man
man working WITH Him. We readily confess that “Only God could do it.” And in a sense that is true, but when we become ONE WITH HIM then we are made partakers of that LIFE and POWER. And what does it take to become one with Him? LOSING OUR LIFE, that we might be enriched with HIS life.
        There is a “togetherness” which needs to become a living reality in us. As Paul said, “If so be that we suffer WITH Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom. 8:17). The Greek prefix “sum, or, sun,” is attached to many words, making them a TOGETHER WITH
we suffer WITH Him, and we’ll also reign WITH  Him. We are “Planted together in the likeness of His death, (and) we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” (Rom. 6:5).
        Unless God does it, we cannot do it, and there is no use in trying. We can shout and carry on, forgetting that the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:26-28) did that very thing but it brought no power, and there was no manifestation of fire. But when we come into UNION WITH GOD, there is a WITH-NESS wherein all things are possible. “The Lord working WITH them, and confirming the Word with signs following.” (Mark 15:20). Praise God, in the losing of our life, we then become partakers of HIS LIFE
all to His glory and praise!

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1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822

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“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 19

New Year’s
(title by web ed. – originally untitled)

“THEY REHEARSED ALL THAT GOD HAD DONE WITH THEM.” (Acts 14:27). 

        Once a year we give this “rehearsal,” as we share a word of personal testimony of the grace of God, and His in workings in our lives over the past months, and then turn our thoughts to the new year before us― believing that our God is progressively leading His people forward, and new victories await us as we keep our eyes single to Him.
        After the Lord had given Israel a great victory over Jabin the king of Canaan, and Sisera the captain of his hosts, Deborah and Barak sang their song of triumph, including this verse, (Judges 5:11), “Far from the noise of archers, in the places of drawing water, there shall they REHEARSE THE RIGHTEOUS ACTS OF THE LORD, even the righteous acts towards His villagers in Israel.” What a picture― the battle was over, they were back home to their normal routines, gathered at the well for the drawing of water, and there they would REHEARSE all that the Lord had done for them.  The Greek word for “rehearse” is “anaggello” and means TO ANNOUNCE (or tell) AGAIN.  While the Hebrew word is “tanah” and means: to attribute honor, to commemorate, as in giving praise to God; TO CELEBRATE.  It is good betimes to recount what the Lord has done for us― “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” (1 Sam. 7:12).  Thus we celebrate HIS RIGHTEOUS ACTS, praise His name!
        There is a particular experience that I had as the new year moved along, that brought a special inworking of God.  I developed in a short period of time quite a hernia, and was determined, so I thought, to trust God and believe that He could heal it.  Daily I quoted much of the Word, sang the songs that kept my eyes on Him, and constantly confessed the truth of His healing power― in every way that I knew to draw nigh to the Lord, and walk in faith.  It was during that time that we wrote the article, THERE IS HEALING FOR US!  How precious are these truths, and we do firmly believe them― yet the condition steadily grew worse.  The Easter weekend came along, and we had 5 very precious services with the dear ones who came together in Calgary, Canada.  The anointing to share was there, and His grace flowed from heart to heart― but the “desired healing touch” did not come.  Then one day the Spirit softly whispered into my heart, “Are you trying to heal yourself?” All the praying, quoting scripture, singing choruses, claiming, confessing, etc. the Spirit made clear to me, was only more “self works.” Not wrong!  Just ineffectual for me, as HE had other plans.  So in due time I knew I was to visit a Doctor.  As I did so, and arranged for surgery, a tremendous joy and peace took over.  No guilt nor condemnation because of going to man for help, but a very positive inner witness that this was THE WILL OF GOD FOR ME.  Then two nights before the surgery, God ministered to me in a dream, wherein we were singing a chorus I had never heard before, and which I still remembered when I woke up.

  “Not my will, Yours be done, dear Father, Is the prayer of every son,
    I am Yours, only Yours for ever, With a life that has only begun.”

        Clearly God assured that this was HIS WILL AND PATH, and to walk with Him was all that was necessary.  Surgery went fine, recovery swift.  Now both my wife and I are doing very well― grateful for His health and keeping.  Yes, we believe in healing, but it is an ACT OF GOD, not just the result of our own self-efforts, however spiritual they might appear to be.  He imparts a quickening of faith, and then He fulfills that believing, and it becomes GOD ALL THE WAY, working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
        Betimes it is difficult to put into words what we see, because it is like trying to describe a picture puzzle with only half the pieces in place.  We do watch our Father work HIS purposes IN and THROUGH His people, events, etc.  And there is an INNER KNOWING that it is GOD― so that just to see His hand in all events, and all events in His hand, causes rejoicing.  His kingdom is being established in the hearts of men and women in this day.  Oh, to learn to find our pleasure IN HIM― not in the things of this world, nor yet in just the spiritual blessings that He imparts, but IN HIM.  Then even the mundane things of every day living seem to take on a positive aspect as we just “glory in Him,” and praise Him continually.
        The summer passed so swiftly, including a brief trip over into Oregon to visit some friends, and family.  And we were blessed with the fellowship of those who passed through our area, and either paused to phone, or came by our home to share.  The earth yielded her fruits with a good little garden, and beautiful flowers.  We thank the Lord for these natural blessings too.  And then in mid-October we were privileged to share five special meetings in Kelowna, B.C., Canada.  Again the Word was quickened, sent forth to accomplish what He purposed, and we praise God for those who shared with US. Truly, the “family of God” is unique and precious, and we are blessed.
        Now, as we look ahead to this new year― we know that changes will continue to unfold, His inworkings will deepen, for He is bringing forth a people that will be ALL HIS― becoming one in His will, image, nature― that they might be the expression, yes, the living message of His grace and victory.  It is a day by day walk, yet knowing that all our times are in His hand, we would keep our eyes single upon Christ, for He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. amen.
        May the new year be bright with HIS LIGHT upon your pathway.  And together we shall “praise God, from Whom all blessings flow,” as He draws us onward and upward.  Amen!
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        For several years we have concluded our personal letter with a sharing of excerpts from the mailbag.  This time we feel impressed to alter this just a little― to share some of the “questions” which have come to us, along with some of the thoughts He has quickened to us in response.  NO WAY do we claim to have all the answer― OUR LORD is the “Yea, and Amen,” and in Him alone will any of us find the answers which satisfy our heart.  But we do share and compare, and let Him quicken as He wills.  We’ll omit all names and personal references, so as not to embarrass anyone, and simply share a brief synopsis of the questions which came to us.

Question: “While I want to believe in the sovereignty of God, and His control over what happens to us, how do I reconcile this truth with what has happened to me, being sexually abused as a small child?”

        May the healing balm of the love of God flow into the heart of everyone who has suffered abuse in one form or another.  And know that God can, even for this, work all things together into good― heal the wounds, and turn the scars into marks of beauty― to shine with His radiance of joy and peace.  We do not have knowledge of all His ways, nor can we answer completely what He is working through it all― but this much we have come to believe, OUR GOD controls the interplay of good and evil.  The subject is vast, we share but a few points.
        In Isaiah 45:7, God says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” The sequence is correct― first God makes the LIGHT, and then creates the darkness, lowers the vibration of light until it is dark.  God can always restore things to their original state.  Because light comes FIRST, no matter how much darkness follows, when God restores He swallows up the darkness into light. it is a fact, light will always dispel darkness, but darkness can never dispel the light.  If a light is brightly shining in the room, there is no amount of darkness that you can bring in to put out the light.  Open the door and window and the dark of the night outside will not come in, but the light within will shine out and illumine some of the outside area― according to the strength of the light’s outshining.  But never will the dark quench the light.  “And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Or, Phillips, “the darkness has never put it out.” (John 1:5)
        Likewise, God says, “I MAKE PEACE, and create evil…” Since PEACE comes first, it is the original state.  You can disrupt the peace, bring evil on the scene, but it is limited, ultimately all evil will self-destruct, while all good will ultimately prevail, and the end will be peace.
        So, what about the evil we suffer?  Did God cause this?  Certainly not in the sense that He would speak a word into a man, saying, “rape this child.” Absolutely not! We will not “charge God foolishly.” (Job 1:22).  However, as Creator, HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS CREATION, so the ultimate charge is laid at His feet.  If He allowed it, in a sense He is responsible for it.  He has, however, given man a limited amount of freedom for self-expression, and it was out of this evilness in the wicked heart of man that the deed was wrought.  An example: you have a man with a dog on a leash, and the dog bites a child.  The man did not deliberately bite the child himself, nor did he command the dog to do so, yet, because the man held the leash, we lay the ultimate charge on him.  Satan is the dog on God’s leash.  God has the power to control him, yet He allows the adversary to cause much havoc.  So what is the answer?  Look past the dog, look past the leash, and SEE THE HAND OF GOD IN ULTIMATE CONTROL!
        Joseph said to his brethren, “As for you, you thought evil against me; (when they sold him to be a slave), BUT GOD MEANT IT UNTO GOOD…” (Gen. 50:20).
        Again, The Psalmist writes (76:10), “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You: the remainder of wrath shall You restrain.” If God cannot ultimately work that evil into good, and to His praise, He does not allow it to happen.  We may not understand how He can work it into good― yet the Word declares, “All things work together for good, to them that love God, and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).  It may well take the ages to come, to see how God has FINALLY and ULTIMATELY worked good out of something so severe which has happened to you― BUT HE WILL!
        Acting out of the wickedness of their own hearts, evil men slew our Lord, hung Him on a cross, etc.  Yet Peter preached that, “HIM (Jesus), being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” (Acts 2:23).  GOD PLANNED IT!  GOD PURPOSED IT as a part of the process to bring us salvation.  That makes those wicked hands of men no less wicked and cruel, but it was within the allowance, yes, the purpose of God.  He judged those men for their evil deed― but He surely worked it into OUR GOOD!
        In no way do we justify what this one did to you― wicked, cruel― but this much we can say, the grace of God is able to help you forgive both the one who has so violated you, and yes, to even forgive God for allowing it to happen.  And then to believe that in some way, some how, in His time, HE can take every tragic happening and cause it to be worked into good.  That is the power of the God we serve!  That is His all-conquering love, to be able to ultimately WIN in every respect.  “Charity never fails!”
        The subject of GOD― and evil― has been wrestled with for centuries, and we have but the barest glimmer into these things, but somehow we are beginning to see that our GOD IS IN CONTROL.  May His presence fill your heart with His peace, give you an outflow of love and forgiveness, and cause the path ahead to reveal much more of HIS HANDIWORK as He brings new blessings into your life. amen.
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Question: “We had earnestly prayed for His will, and knew it was OF GOD to take this route, yet it did not work out at all.  Why did God lead us down this path, when He knew it wouldn’t work?”

        It is true, it is often difficult to understand why God would lead us into situations which HE purposes to end in failure and humiliation.  But it is a FACT that betimes He does, for He is developing us internally, and sometimes it is these reverses which work in us much more of His purpose, than the blessings do.  Yet what love is involved that He would so individually care for us this way.  And it is because HE KNOWS THAT WE, BY HIS GRACE, CAN ENDURE THE TRIAL, and come forth enriched and strengthened in our trust and committal to Him, and so He measures out to us these unusual leadings.
        Job said to his wife, “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Then the verse adds, “In all this did not Job sin with his mouth.” Since Job did not sin, i.e. miss the mark with this statement, obviously we can take it as a true word.  God alone bears the responsibility of measuring out to us both the good and the evil.  Jesus said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” He has a quota of evil to work into each day― sometimes it is such a minute amount that it is not even noticed, but other days, it seems like “all Your waves and Your billows have gone over me.” Yet, through it all, we come to see that it is BECAUSE HE LOVES US SO, that He would use every means necessary to mold and shapen us to His image, and ultimately we praise Him for all His ways.
        There are some lessons that can be best “learned” through failure.  This is not to say that we are so thick-headed that God must clobber us with a very negative situation, nor that we don’t desire to walk the “blessing route.” Rather, we see this as a compliment of God to us-ward, that HE KNOWS that we BY HIS GRACE can come through this hard situation, and overcome; plus, it is a token of HIS INDIVIDUAL LOVE FOR US that He would so sovereignly lead us down such a path― and then into His ultimate glory.  Full well He knows that we could not walk this way alone, and so HE GOES WITH US every step of the way, as the Guarantee that we shall ultimately prevail.  What mercy, what love― and so, “We trust in the Living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10).  HE WORKS-yea, His principles are the same for all men, but particularly we see it effective for those who believe― “who are the called according to His purpose.” BELIEVERS HAVE IT NOW, for the others it will come later, but He IS the Saviour of all men― hence ultimately it works into good for all.

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Question: “It seems I have prayed for so long about certain things with no visible results, that I grow discouraged.  What shall I do?”

        For sure, this is an experience that we all can identify with.  And Peter writes, “Now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations (trial, proving): that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
To pray and receive instant answers certainly is wonderful– and God often graciously does this― yet such does not “try” our faith.  But for God to WAIT a long time, and we still remain committed to Him, believing, trusting― such will deepen and strengthen our faith to His praise.  To believe in spite of appearances, is a real step forward.  To praise Him when there seems to be no answer on the horizon, brings inner growth.  When the fig tree does not blossom, no fruit on the vines, etc. yet to be able to say “Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The Lord is my strength…” (Habakkuk 3:18-19), that brings glory to Him.
        Furthermore, “There has no temptation taken you but such is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.”(1 Cor. 10:13).
        No doubt about it, Abraham was really tested on this score.  God promised him a seed, an heir, and yet the months slipped into years with no sign of an answer.  Still we read of Abraham, that, “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall your seed be.  And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” (Romans 4:18-20).  In spite of the hopeless circumstances, God was working something out in Abraham, developing a faith, a commitment, a trust that would redound to His glory.  Also, Williams, translation gives that he “grew powerful in faith, because he gave the glory to God.” And the Amplified translation concurs, “he grew strong and was empowered by faith AS he gave praise and glory to God.” Don’t worry about having enough faith for the challenge― JUST GIVE PRAISE AND GLORY TO GOD, and as you do, you will find your faith growing, strengthening.  We are not called to fret and worry, we are CALLED TO WORSHIP HIM, and as the praises ascend, we will be quickened within― able to believe and wait till God answers our prayer.
        God knows that HIS LIFE WITHIN YOU is able to sustain you while He works out all of His purposes for you.  We learn to just PRAISE HIM at all times and for all things― and in our WORSHIPPING of Him, we come to that place where we can just “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” (Ps.37:7) Let us all be encouraged― there are many answers to prayer on the horizon, and this new year shall reveal much more of the handiwork of God in/for us.

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Question: “Does a true son of God fall?  I believed and witnessed to the message of sonship, yet I have slipped up in a certain way.”

        To begin with, infallibility is not on our part, it is on GOD’S.  He does not, He cannot fail, He is incorruptible.  “The God of all grace, who has called us (YOU) unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.” So writes Peter, (1 Peter 5:10), after he had recovered from denying the Lord so heartbreakingly at the time that Jesus was on trial and crucified.
        Jesus had warned Peter, “Behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32).  He knew what was about to happen, but Jesus did not pray that Peter would not fall, nor did He build an hedge around him, but He did pray that his faith would “not fail,” (Greek, “would not go into an eclipse”). So the time came when his flesh caved in, and the denial was bitter and dark, but FAITH DID NOT FAIL, and all it took was the reminder of the cock’s crowing, and there was instant repentance, change of mind, and turning around, and then Peter was able to help strengthen his brethren― to share of the grace of God for all, because he had just experienced much of its working in his own life.  It will be when we are fully “born of God” spirit, soul, and body, that we cannot sin. (1 John 3:9).  This shall be realized in the fulness to come!
        David also wrote of this, for though he had fallen, and it cost him dearly in pain and suffering, mental anguish, and heartbreak, yet he declared, “The steps of a man are ordered by the Lord: and He (God) delights in his (man’s) way.  THOUGH HE FALL, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24).  THERE IS NO UTTERLY CASTING DOWN because God has purposed to delight in ordering our steps.  We may falter, stumble, trip, and even fall, but He still has purposed to SET US UP AND ESTABLISH US― that we might be to His glory.  So the wise man wrote, “For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again.” (Proverbs 24:16).  That is the goodness of our God― and the security of every one of US. Therefore, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I SHALL ARISE; when I sit in darkness (even the dark night of the soul), the Lord shall be a light unto me.” (Micah 7:8).  What victory we have in Him!  AMEN!
    The new year is before us ― whatever our times might be, they are undergirded by the GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD, and together, forgetting those things which are behind, we shall press onward to lay hold of the prize which is set before us.  HE IS working in us―to will and to do of His good pleasure and we shall be found to His praise.  May the Light of His Presence shine brightly upon our pathways, and together let us worship Him continually

  _________________________________________________                              
(
1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822

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The Spirit of the Word
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”     Jesus
                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


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“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 20

OUR GOD REMEMBERS YOU!
 

“O you seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob His chosen.  He is the Lord our God: His judgments are in all the earth.  HE HAS REMEMBERED HIS COVENANT FOR EVER, the Word which He commanded to a thousand generations.” (Psalm 105:6-8).

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He has visited and redeemed His people… to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and TO REMEMBER HIS HOLY COVENANT; the oath which He swore to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our lives.” (Luke 1:68, 72-75).
        The very phrase “and God remembered,” is almost startling when we consider that God does not need a reminder.  We speak of God as Omnipotent, meaning: ALL-POWERFUL; and that He is Omnipresent, meaning: PRESENT EVERYWHERE; and He is Omniscient, meaning: ALL-KNOWING, which speaks of His total knowledge at all times.  Why then does He need to remember something, when He never forgets, and all knowledge is ever before Him?  Thus we understand that the term “AND GOD REMEMBERED” is used for our encouragement, being accommodated to our understanding and need.  He graciously condescends to our low estate, to meet us where we are, that He might bring us to where HE IS.  So we have these terms which use our language to convey to us the assurances we need.
        We also note that the Hebrew word for “remember” is “zakar” meaning: to mark, (so as to be recognized), to imprint; thus it signifies a retaining in mind, so as to continually be mindful of that one, or thing.
        Through Isaiah the prophet, (49:16), God spoke to Israel, “Behold, I have graven you upon the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.” Again emphasizing that HE IS EVER MINDFUL OF US, of our needs, of our pathway, of our limitations, and to where He is bringing us.
        The Psalmist also understood this, (139:2-4), and said, “You know my down-sitting and mine uprising, You understand my thought afar off. You compass my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, You know it altogether.” We are IN CONSTANT REMEMBRANCE before Him.  No wonder the Psalmist also went on to state, “Such knowledge is to wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” (v. 6).  All of our ways, goings, needs, are continually before Him─ because HE REMEMBERS US, in the most individual, Personal way─ HE is continually cognizant of everything about us.
        The first time it speaks of God “remembering,” is found in Genesis 8:1. “And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged.”
        That God remembered Noah we can somewhat understand, for he had some very good credentials─ “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Gen. 6:9).  There was a communion and fellowship between God and Noah, and God was MINDFUL of him─ having given him all the instructions for the building of the ark, etc.  But the Word goes on to say that God remembered “every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark.” There is not a creature in all of His creation that God does not remember.  Jesus said that a sparrow “shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” (Matt. 10:29).  All these creatures were cramped in together in the ark─ and kept there day after day─ yearning for freedom to run and move about.  Surely creation was groaning its way through the flood.  Yet GOD WAS MINDFUL of every living thing, as well as of Noah.
        Genesis 2:5-6 tells us that there was a time in Eden when “The Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth. – But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” At what time in history the rains began, we do not know.  But certainly this was a phenomenon in creation, when the fountains of the deep were opened, and the rains from heaven were unrestrained, and the flood was on.  Yet frightening as all of this would be, surely what added to the stress and testing was the “time” factor.  For forty days and nights it kept on raining─ would it ever end?  And then when the rain stopped, “after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.” (Gen. 8:3).  And it took even longer before “the face of the ground was dry.” I dare say, time often seems to be the greatest processor of all.  We wait and we wait─ the trial seems to go on endlessly.  And because we know not the “time factor,” we are tested much.  If we knew we have only so many days to go, we’d grit our teeth, and by our own efforts seek to endure until.  But when we know not “how long?” then we have to moment by moment commit ourselves to HIM who holds all our times in His hand─ and be assured that GOD REMEMBERS US even when the time is long.
        God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters were assuaged.  Wind often serves in type of the moving of God’s Spirit.  “There came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and if filled all the house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:2).  Let it be clear, though the time has often seemed very long, and while the vision tarries we have to hold steady and just WAIT FOR IT─ things which the Spirit spoke into our heart that He would do IN and THROUGH a people─ yet He knows the hour when the SPIRIT OF GOD SHALL BLOW ACROSS OUR LAND, a tremendous move of victory in Christ.
        When the time seems long, people will often drift off into other things, as they find other involvements because they cannot wait and walk out the time span which God has appointed.  But I assure you that GOD HAS NEVER FORGOTTEN the truths which He quickened in your Spirit, they’re as a covenant between God and you.  He has never erased, disannulled, set aside the revelation He has imparted to you of what you are to BECOME IN HIM, and what He purposes to fulfill in your life. OUR GOD REMEMBERS YOU, and He will yet cause His Spirit (wind) to pass over the waters (people), and all shall be fulfilled.
        I know that we have our “doom-casters” in this day, and they rehearse only the darkness of the night.  “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” “In the last days perilous times shall come.” They know every verse which speaks of negative conditions.  But we would declare with all our heart─ while these things are here, shall come, etc. yet they are but A MEANS TO AN END, they are not an end in themselves.  They are but the travail, the birthpangs for the bringing forth of a NEW ORDER IN CHRIST.
        He will pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh─ “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:6).  For He has promised, “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14).  Full well God knows all about the DARK WATERS, every negative flood.  He has promised, (Isa. 59:19), “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”
        But, it can also be rightly translated, “When the enemy comes in, LIKE A FLOOD THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” HE can produce HIS POSITIVE FLOOD which swallows up all negatives, even as Aaron’s rod swallowed up all the rods of the magicians of Egypt. (see Exodus 7:12).
        Praise God for His WORD─ “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.” (Isa.43:2)
        Finally the waters were gone, the ark emptied out, and Noah built an altar unto the Lord, and offered his offerings.  The Lord was mindful of this also, and He gave promise both to Noah, and to every living creature, that never again would the earth be destroyed by a flood such as this, for “I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. ─ And I WILL REMEMBER My covenant …. the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Gen. 9:13, 15-16).
        Obviously God does not have to see a rainbow in the cloud to be reminded not to flood all the earth again.  All of this is for our benefit─ we see the rainbow, and however severe the storm might have been, we are reminded that it does not last─ the sun shines again.  But God accommodates man’s need for constant reminders of His grace.  God makes His covenant, and HE KEEPS IT.  Yet so often we think of Him in terms of our own frailty and weakness.  “You thought that I was altogether such an one as thyself.” (Psalm 50:21).  So, mindful of our thoughts─ HE REMINDS US with a bow in the cloud, that He is ALWAYS IN CONTROL, and remembers our every need even as we pass through our times of trial, purging, and development.
        Second time the word “remembered” is used is in Gen. 19:29.  “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that GOD REMEMBERED Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.”
        Just prior to this occasion God had revealed to Abraham what He purposed to do with the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  And then Abraham made his intercession─ would God destroy them if there were fifty righteous in the city?  And God said He would spare the city for their sakes.  But Abraham was not sure there were fifty, so he worked his way down to ten, and then he left off praying.  Much could be said regarding intercession, and how we do not change the mind of God concerning a matter, but we bring ourselves into harmony with His will, but that would be another message in itself.  We do see that God stopped Abraham’s praying before it would have been contrary to His plan.  But we also see a positive truth in this record, for as it came time to execute judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, GOD REMEMBERED ABRAHAM─ God remembered the prayers of Abraham, and He brought Abraham’s kinfolk out of the city, before the judgments were wrought on those cities.
        Betimes God gives insight to some of the chaos before us─ the judgments He will send, so that “the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isa. 26:9).  It is not the whole of our vision, it is only a part thereof, because we now see beyond the judgments, “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 21).  We know HIS SPIRIT (Wind) will yet blow upon the waters, bringing the fulness of salvation to all mankind. And so we earnestly pray for our loved ones, and for a time nothing seems to happen.  There was no revival down on the plain.  Lot was not raptured out of the city.  Everything seemed to carry on, getting worse.  Yet, in the hour of crisis GOD REMEMBERED─ He remembered Abraham, remembered the deep heart-felt prayer, then at the last critical moment, GOD brought Lot and his family out of the city─ sparing them from the destruction.  Ah, we will not tell God HOW to do it, WHEN to do it, WHERE to do it, etc. but we will hold these names of our loved ones before Him, assured that “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25), as Abraham prayed.
        Revelation 5:8, speaks of the “Golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints.” And the Psalmist prayed, “Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense …” (Ps. 141:2).  When those vials are poured out, and the incense arises before Him─ HE REMEMBERS─ and He gives answer in ways that will far supersede all that we can ask or think.  The prayers might be bottled up for some time, held as it were until the appointed hour of worship─ when all of our heart is truly poured out before Him in spirit and in truth─ and then there is a REMEMBRANCE─ and a working of God that is far beyond what we might have asked, and in ways far different than we are capable of thinking─ but which causes us to magnify Him all the more.
        The next time the phrase “And God remembered” is used, is in Genesis 30:22. “AND GOD REMEMBERED Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.”
        Rachel had been barren, and suffered a lot of persecution and distress from her sister because of this, but all was WITHIN THE KNOWING OF GOD, He was remembering her all the while.  Likewise Hannah shared in the experience, as we read in 1 Samuel 1:19, “And the LORD REMEMBERED HER.” Rachel had her two sons, Joseph and Benjamin.  Hannah had her Samuel.  All in God’s time!
        How does that apply to us today?  Ah, how often have we felt so barren, so unproductive, so empty and useless.  Your prayer was to be fruitful for Him but it all seemed to be of no avail.  You read about the vine being purged, “that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:2).  But it seems you only become more barren with all the pruning, purging within.  How we long for the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT to be in evidence, to His glory and praise.  Truly, there shall come a day when GOD REMEMBERS─ and He will open the womb as it were, HE will cause us to become FRUITFUL UNTO HIM.  We cannot bring forth this desired fruit by our own self-efforts.  It is the fruit of THE SPIRIT that we desire, that it might be of enduring quality.  “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” (John 15:16).  It is His Word, HIS COVENANT WITH YOU, and HE SHALL REMEMBER YOU in this matter.
        How often we feel like Isaiah, “O Lord, We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.” (Isaiah 26:18).  We have our gatherings, sing and worship, hear a good Word, and praise God for the privilege of confirming one to another of His inworkings─ but we are NOT bringing deliverance to the world.  These tremendous changes which we desire can only be wrought by God.  So we continue to cry out before Him concerning our barrenness.  And then deep in your heart He whispers, “I am remembering all this.” And so He continues the processings, but with a view to when HIS LIFE will flow out of us to bring the deliverances so desperately needed.  And in moments of quietness before Him, His Spirit quickens again, “Sing, O barren, you that did not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you that did not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate, than the children of the married wife, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:1)
        One thing is sure, while we wait before Him, He is teaching us not to yield to any other spirit, to bring forth of its kind.  All these many kingdoms and programs of man, if they are gendered by the spirit of Babylon, they are producing Babylon’s children.  And as one godly leader once said, “God forbid that we birth any more babes in Babylon.” Yet constantly new ones rise up with their organizational efforts, and infuse their spirit into men around them, and continue to reproduce after their own kind.  And because they appear so fruitful, you question your own barrenness all the more.  But He says again, that we need to “Take heed to your spirit,” for “He seeks a godly seed.” (Malachi 2:15).  Thus we would be cleansed from every spirit of the world, and every religious spirit of Babylon, until only the Spirit of God implants within us HIS SEED OF LIFE, that we might bring forth of His kind─ a godly seed to His glory and praise.  And desolate as we might appear now, yet He promises that “MORE are the children of the desolate,” than the children of the married wife─ those who are married to the many systems of man.  Strange words?  There is a spiritual truth here that only HE can reveal, and we trust it becomes life and encouragement for you.
        Another prophecy of Isaiah takes on tremendous meaning for us, for while we have been stripped of all past fruitfulness, He promises much blessing, and “Then shall you say in your heart, Who has begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who has brought up these?  Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?  Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up Mine hand to the nations, and set up My standard to the people: and they shall bring your sons in their arms, your daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.  And kings shall be your nursing fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers: … and you shall know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.” (Isaiah 49:21-23)
        Truly, all of this time, while you have been feeling so desolate and empty, stripped of all the works of the flesh, UN-joined from the systems of man, while your prayers, crying, groaning, has been ascending upward, He has been gathering all these prayers in a golden vial.  And the Word declares, “He makes small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof.” (Job 36:27).  All this time, while we felt we were doing nothing for God’s kingdom, just WAITING BEFORE HIM, daily yearning for the fulness of His reality─ cut off from all else, so that we minister only to the Lord Himself, to worship Him, praise Him, offer all that we are to Him, all of this AS A VAPOR ASCENDS, and in His own time He will POUR OUT OF THE GOLDEN VIAL all of this prayer, INCENSE, and it will distill into rain to bring forth LIFE in the far corners of the earth─ and then they shall come─ multitudes which are reckoned as your sons and daughters, born out of the travail which you have experienced so deeply.  Who has begotten me these, seeing I am desolate?  It is GOD IS WORKING, turning the vapours into showers of blessing─ producing a harvest to His glory and praise.
        Christendom has taught us to think horizontally─ “Go out to WORK, WORK, WORK, according to the many programs of their design.” But the challenge is vertical─ to worship HIM, and let the vapours ascend.  To follow the principle our Lord gave when He said, “I do only what I see my Father do.” To hear His voice, and live out His revealed will each day.  He comes FIRST as we seek His face, to pour ourselves out before Him.  Then He can move those clouds of vapour anywhere He wills, and distill the showers of blessing to bring life to the desert─ salvation to the nations.  GOD REMEMBERS our barren womb, and the fruitfulness He has purposed is beyond all that we can ask or think.  How shall it all come about?  By the power of His grace!
        Israel was travailing in Egyptian bondage, “And God heard their groaning, and GOD REMEMBERED HIS COVENANT with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.” (Exodus 2:24-25).  Note the word “respect” for it literally reads, HE KNEW THEM.  All this time God knew where they were, their walls were continually before Him.  He heard every sigh and groan.  He knew what they were going through because He had purposed this time of sojourn in Egypt.  But He also HAD RESPECT UNTO THEM─ He had knowledge of all that was taking place, and HE REMEMBERED HIS COVENANT with Abraham that He would bring them out again.
        Romans 8:22-23 tells us that “The whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now,” and “even we ourselves grown within ourselves.” But it is also written, “From heaven did the Lord behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death.” (Psalm 102:19-20).  GOD HEARS and HE KNOWS all about the weeping, groaning, and HE has purposed an hour of LOOSING─ a redemption which will set every captive free, impart LIFE to every one appointed to death.  HE HAS RESPECT for His creation, and therefore all creation “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21).  God has a covenant with all creation for total redemption.
        Leviticus 26, speaks of the dispersal of Israel because of sin─ how they would be scattered among the heathen, for their discipline and correction.  But He promised, “I WILL REMEMBER My covenant,”  “I WILL REMEMBER the land.”
        Praise the Lord!  With all of God’s remembering, He has not forgotten THE LAND.  “The earth mourns and fades away, – the earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof …” (Isaiah 24:4-5).  God knows all about the environmental concerns of our day.  And He has purposed a time when earth itself shall be purified and cleansed.  But beyond this literal working, we have the symbolical application.  Our “earthen vessels” are in need of HIS REDEMPTION.  “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14).  And He has promised that “HE will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body…” (Phil. 3:20), for HE REMEMBERS OUR LAND.  God has made a covenant with our land, and HE will REDEEM OUR BODIES (land) just like He said.  Your very physical being has not been forgotten─ HE HOLDS YOU IN REMEMBRANCE, and you shall be loosed from the bondage of corruption, into His more abundant life.  There are so many curses upon our land (bodies).  Besides the prevalence of cancer, and the growing epidemic of aids, one of the greatest plagues in our nation is that of allergies.  People are suffering with allergies for everything that can be mentioned─ and the discomfort, distress, illness resulting from all these allergies, etc. is causing the LAND TO MOURN.  But God is MINDFUL of all this, and He has planned redemption for every earthen vessel, therefore “This corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality.” (1 Cor. 15:53).  Beloved friend, OUR GOD REMEMBERS YOU, holding in mind all your present processing, and all the victory He’s purposed.

Yes, God doth remember His cov’nant with man,
Our walls are before Him, engraved in His hand.
And though He has purposed our time of travail,
The vict’ry is certain, His grace shall prevail.
How wondrous the promise, this Word of our hope,
That God doth remember the way we must cope─
The trials and testings that come like a flood,
Shall never overpower His cov’ring of Blood.

Full well He remembers how barren we feel,
The pruning and purging can only reveal
That of our own selves there is nothing to claim,
‘Tis only in Him that we’ve hope of a Name.
But He doth remember the bow in our cloud,
As we wait before Him, so humbled and bowed,
And He sends His Spirit to blow upon men,
Transforming and gathering us to Him again. AMEN!

  _________________________________________________                              
(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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The Spirit of the Word
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”     Jesus
                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


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“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 21

OVERCOMING RELIGION
 

“My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; which knew me from the beginning, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” (Acts 26:4-50).

        To say that as a young man Saul/Paul was RELIGIOUS would be understating the case, and there is no need to establish this fact by quoting many verses of Scripture, for he stated it plainly, “after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” But one day he experienced a direct encounter with the Lord, when “suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice (saying) I am Jesus…” (Acts 9:3-5). From that moment on his “religion” began to fade away, and an ON-GOING ENCOUNTER, A RELATIONSHIP filled his life. A purging out of the old, to embrace the new and living way.
        Well could Paul declare, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may WIN Christ, and BE FOUND IN HIM.” (Phil. 3:7-9). How forcefully he repudiated his past “religious” attainments. His assessment of it all was “but dung” and something to be discarded, as he forfeited the earthly, to receive of the heavenly. He gave up a religion that trusted in human attainments, in the works of man, that he might enter into a relationship with the Divine. The Amplified reads, “The over-whelming preciousness, the surpassing worth and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, and progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly.” Bless His name!
        The Pharisees did not have a supernatural system in which salvation was a work of God in/for man, but theirs was a natural system in which salvation was a work of man for God, as they sought by their works to have a religion that gave them a sense of self-satisfaction, trusting themselves to measure up to a standard which they formulated and approved.
         Paul had a new goal, a new focus before him, and cried out from the depths of his being, “That I may WIN CHRIST, and BE FOUND IN HIM.” To win, from the Greek word “kerdaino” meaning: TO GAIN, with that sense of acquiring a true knowledge of Christ. Also, interesting to find that our English word GAIN comes from the Old High German word “weidanen” meaning: to pasture; and it literally means: a pasture without fences. How marvelous! For when God brings us into the fulness of our union with Christ, it is truly into a realm with no fences― unlimited pasture. Or, we could change the metaphor for a moment, to find in Christ “waters to swim in.” (Ezekiel 47:5). There is a going on, to enter into Christ, to plunge into the depth, into a union with Him where there are no barriers or limitations. And we are challenged by the words of the beautiful old hymn, written over a hundred years ago:

                                          “The mercy of God is an ocean divine,
                                            A bottomless and fathomless flood;
                                            Launch out in the deep, cut away the shoreline,
                                            And be lost in the fulness of God.”

        RELIGION does not lead one into this expansive realm in Christ, but rather fences you in with its many creeds and doctrines which all become an end in themselves. Our English word “religion” comes from the Latin “religion,” and means: a taboo, a restraint, and bespeaks of a system exercised by the will of the carnal man, designed to supposedly gain favor with his God. The word dissects asRE―return, LIGARE―to bond. And bluntly spoken, it means― a return to bondage, into a realm of “do this, don’t do that.”
        Paul writes, “‘For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.” (Romans 10:2-4).<
        Submitting requires a special relationship that is not found when we go about seeking to establish our own self-righteousness. It is when we walk with Him, talk with Him, and have an intimate oneness with Him, that there develops a joyful surrender to Him, laying down our life, to receive His life. But in just “having religion” this in working cannot be. Thank God, He would lead us far out and away from the confines of man.
        There is a common expression these days, people say they are “going to bond” with their children, etc. as they share a special experience together while on a vacation, or even just a weekend centered on mutual enjoyment― and there is a positive blessing in this betimes in human relationships. But when our “bonding” is a return to the religious rules and regulations of men, and we but have a bonding to a system, which then is substituted for a relationship with our Redeemer, it’s a negative thing, and we need to be loosed from all such religious attachments. When our bonding has become bondage, then we have a matter that needs overcoming.
        It is significant that the Hebrew word for “HOLY” is “qodesh” and means: AN OBJECT SET APART, a devoted thing, for it was/is SEPARATED UNTO, devoted to God; but negatively it is called a taboo, for God’s holiness, if touched by man, brought forth a FIRE FOR CLEANSING. This produced a dark fear in man, “DON’T TOUCH IT,” and so, as a law this became a negative thing― a don’t religion. Whereas, just the opposite when Christ dwells within our heart by faith― for HEexpresses, LIVES OUT HIS LIFE― and it becomes a positive manifestation, to His glory. His fire cleanses and then our relationship is enhanced and we desire to embrace Him more and more. Then judgment is not feared, but welcomed, for it corrects and brings us into His life.
        The Greek word for ‘”religion” is “threskeia,” meaning: outward ceremonial observance. It traces back to the base of “throeo,” which means: to wail. I have known some very religious people that could really wail, moan and groan; and others quite mistakenly thought them very spiritual because of their ability to wail, for they judged by the outward appearance of some ceremonial expression. And it is interesting to note that when the Spirit “helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: (then) the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26). There is a spirit dimension that goes beyond the wailing, into a realm that cannot be uttered. At best you can only cry out “Oh, God,'” as your spirit reaches out to embrace Him who is invisible. It’s not the noise that counts, it is the Spirit’s groaning, for HE knows our need, and He knows the mind of God concerning that need. In ways that reach far beyond our limitations, His unuttered groaning will bring us to the throne, and into the victory of our God.
        In their book “Theomatics,” by Jerry Lucas and Del Washburn, they point out that the words “satan” and “‘religion” both have the same theomatic value. And they state, “Religion is of Satan, but Christianity is a new life and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a religion. Praise God for this fact!” unquote.
        Perhaps it is a little strong to say that ALL religion is of Satan for that glorifies Satan too much, giving him credit that he does not deserve. But I dare say, an awful lot of religion gives too much emphasis to Satan, and his so-called power, almost making him omnipresent, though he is not. IF people would WORSHIP GOD as much as they talk about the devil, they might soon break out of their mode of religion, and come into a new dimension of LIFE. Yet even Christianity can become a religion just as soon as we infect it with self-effort and self-will, turning it into some form of enterprise which becomes self-serving for the interests of the flesh.
        In the side notes of The Companion Bible, by Bullinger, he points out that in Genesis 3, Satan is introduced to us in his special sphere― denying the Word of God. He comments that Satan is the god of this world’s religion, not of its crimes and immoralities. His sphere is the corruption of the truth rather than the degradation of the flesh. (This thought bears some real pondering by open hearts, as God quickens its truth to us).<
        How man is enticed and seduced to bow down to the gods of this world― to take any other way, but GOD’S WAY― when we should be GOD’S WORSHIPER, to serve Him! Yet if we know Him not, how then can we serve Him? Hence Paul’s desire toKNOW HIM in a deeply intimate and personal way.
        Revelation 22:3 reads, “His servants shall serve Him.” And Paul uses the same word “latreuo” (serve) in Philippians 3:3, “Which worship God in the spirit.” SERVEWORSHIP― but not in rituals that appeal to the flesh― it is IN THE SPIRIT.  Jesus taught this very plainly in conversation with the woman at the well. She said, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said unto her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:20-21,23-24).
        In commenting on this, Origen wrote: “He who would follow the Lord must lay aside all preference for particular places. He called God SPIRIT, that He might distinguish Him from bodies (i.e. mankind); and He named Him the TRUTH, to distinguish Him from a shadow or an image. They who worshiped in Jerusalem worshiped God NEITHER in truth or spirit, being in subjection to the shadow or image of heavenly things.” unquote.
        A worship that requires an atmosphere to stimulate an attitude and a mood for our ceremonial observances, with robed choirs, stained glass windows, attention focused “front and center upon a leader,” is not a spontaneous outflow from our spirit― rather it is a religious expression generated by the will of man. This has long time been the way it is for body-conscious people, who require something to be seen and felt. The prophet cried out, “Verily You are a God that hides Yourself, O God of Israel.” (Is. 45:15). And again, “There was the hiding of His power.” (Hab. 3:4).
        Paul plainly stated, “The creature was made subject to vanity.” (Rom. 8:20).
        In our frailty we reach out for something stronger than ourselves―yet we fear any greater power as if it were a threat to us, for we would be self-sufficient gods in our own right. Religion allows us to retain this little domain for self― perverting the truth of true godship. It is in the realm of self-promotion that the error of man being a free moral agent finds its more ardent following. But in a relationship with Christ, where we give all glory and honor to Him, we also share in the in working of His cross until self has been fully dealt with, and He becomes ALL IN ALL in all in us. It was in sensing this great need, that the Psalmist cried out, “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” (Psa. 61:2). It was in his relationship with the Lord that he found peace and victory. Self cannot bring us into the fulness of His life/reality. It is God working in us― totally by His grace. “Lord, You will ordain peace for us: for You also have wrought all our works in us (margin, for us).” (Isa. 25:12). And it is not just what He did/does, but HOW HE DOES IT― which far exceeds the imagination of man― as we daily present ourselves to Him.
        How Israel struggled with their serving an INVISIBLE GOD. Again and again they had to be reminded― “Take therefore good heed unto yourselves; for you saw no manner of form on the day that the Lord spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the form of any figure.” (Deut. 4:15-16). Don’t make any graven image― male, female, animal, or of the heavenly hosts.
        We walk by faith, not by sight, though man wants the visible. Often people live in chronic frustration and guilt, because they do not see any visible results which others claim to have. And so they proceed to concoct mental images, ideas about God, limited to the intellectual, rational explanation. These mental images BECOME AS IDOLS, a product of our own making. This also means that you are bigger than your god. The CREATOR is bigger than the creature formed. It is no wonder men have little or no respect for the Lord when they have down-graded Him to their own size, or less, and end up with nothing to worship, and thus are easily disillusioned. As Paul points out, in Gal. 4:8, if you serve them “which by nature are no gods,” what good?
        I dare say, religion and true Christianity are at opposite poles.
        Religion is man-centered, with faith in man, in his own works as he seeks to appease his god. Religion would like to just refine human nature by an exercise of good works― ceremonies, programs, rituals, formalities, any thing which entices man to “DO,”rather than to “BECOME.”And thus….

                                               Man is the subject― God is the object.
                                               Man is the doer― God is the one done for.
                                               Man is the giver― God is the receiver.

        In Christianity God is Central. Faith in Jesus Christ, with regeneration producing a new creature, one who is a partaker of His divine nature. So, while religion is man seeking God, Christianity is GOD SEEKING MAN, God revealing Himself to man, and working in man. “We are His workmanship!”

                                               Thus, God is the subject― man is the object.
                                               God is the Doer― man is the one done for.
                                               God is the Giver― man is the receiver.

        “For since the world began no one has seen or heard of such a God as ours, who works f or those who wait for Him.” ( Isa. 64:4, Living Bible). God SERVES HIS CREATURES, His worshipers. All other nations serve gods that do nothing for them. And now, sadly, Christendom’s religion took hold of this, and devised a system of works to appease this god formed in their imagination. We must overcome this IDOLATRY, and believe in the living God. Truly, we are unable to save ourselves, so HE COMES TO US. We are unable to heal ourselves, and so HE BECOMES OUR GREAT PHYSICIAN. We are unable to solve our perplexities, and “HE IS MADE UNTO US WISDOM, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30).
        Again the message is clear, “You shall have no other gods before Me – you shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” (Ex. 20:3, 5). There shall be no other gods, no graven image, no building an idol and calling it a festival of the Lord― placing His name on this fabrication of men.
        In John 4:22, Jesus told the woman, “You worship you don’t know.” And the Phillips translation reads, “Nowadays you are worshiping with your eyes shut.” BLIND WORSHIP, obscured by form and ritual, with no idea of TO WHOM it was directed. God gives a revelation and people are drawn to Him, but soon others come and ADD THEIR CONCEPTS, interpretations, etc. and soon the vision is distorted, and its life-force is depleted.
         “See, said He, that you make all things according to the pattern showed to you in the mount.” (Heb. 8:5). The pattern was given, and then it was RE-built, changed, modified, restructured, and now we have those who teach for THE EARLY CHURCH in the END TIME, which is as much out of order, as if they tried to have the END TIME in the early church. Truth out of time is error. No wonder the Father keeps the times and seasons in His own power, (see Acts 1:7), man is so prone to want to change all times and seasons. And how soon worship is turned to idols― images that are a caricature of our God.
        We find it most interesting, that the beloved apostle John, who had such depths to write about, warning them not to love the world, nor be ensnared by ANTI-christs, yet he summarizes his brief epistle with the cautionary word, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. amen.” (1 John 5:21).
        Profound revelation and deeper truth has its place. If we are going to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), we need more than just the milk of the Word― we need its meat. Yet John didn’t deal with this fact. His deep concern was that the church would gradually turn to idols. One shares a God- given message but this does not make one “god of the message.” God might use you in working a miracle, as He did the apostles, but this does not make you some miracle worker. Barnabas and Paul cried out, “We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that you should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven and earth.” (Acts 14:15). In harmony with this, we read that Peter said to the people, “Why look so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” (Acts 3:12). Yet people want visible gods to idolize, and forget that GOD IS THE DOER! Often men stroke their ego, as being God’s great man of the hour, when we all need to decrease, while He increases.
        One of the main Hebrew words for “idol'” is “gillullm” meaning: what are rolled about, large idols. Ahab “did very abominably in FOLLOWING IDOLS, according to all things as did the Anmorites.” (1 Kings 44:10). The big idols could not be carried about so they just rolled them along, down the street, and the people followed and worshiped them. It is not easy to be an over comer and forsake the religious crowd which follows the ROLLING ONES and are having a PARTY TIME. To leave all of this, and walk on ALONE WITH GOD, is a challenge. Yet an idol is anything that captures the attention of your heart― be it a person, a position, a possession, etc. For Christ alone must be the Centre of our life. Materialism, humanism, places man at the centre and makes them an idol. People struggle so hard, and PAY SO MUCH to be a part of this religious caravan that goes rolling along. But when religion has uttered its last word, performed its last ceremony, and stands benumbed and empty, then we will find that GOD HIMSELF is all we need. Not God AND― God AND works, God AND creed, God AND ritual, etc. but GOD ALONE!
        Yes!  By His enablement we can OVERCOMEall these things. Don’t be afraid of  idols, they cannot hurt you. “We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but ONE.” (1 Cor. 8:4).
 It is a FACTthat you cannot be redeemed or lifted any higher than the GOD you serve. So we read that ” They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eats grass. They forgot God their Saviour.” (Psalm 106:19-20). God cannot be corrupted. You cannot make Him anything less than He is! You cannot change Him in His state of being. But it does say that they changed their glory into the image of the corruptible. Man was created for the purpose of being an expression of the glory of God, yet this man, rather than coming into that place where he could glorify God, changed his glory into the similitude of an ox that eats grass. When they chose an OX to be their god, they chose to emulate the image/glory of the bestial. Whatever God you worship, venerate, put first in your life, it is into that image that you will be changed. If you join the religious crowd that worships idols, then you will take on that image. But when you fix your gaze firmly upon the Lord Jesus Christ, then you will be changed from glory to glory into the very same image, to be as He is.
        You become what you see and worship. If your religion centers in the bestial, then you will be dumb like an ox, stubborn as a mule, sly as a fox, wise as a serpent, silly as an old hen, etc. as men share these traits with the world around them. IF your God can only save a small portion of mankind, then you likewise will end up with a partial salvation. If your God is angry― you become angry. If your God is vindictive, and always demanding vengeance, then you likewise will find yourself manifesting those characteristics. But if your God is MERCIFUL then the challenge, therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36). We definitely need a strong daily relationship with our Lord, to become as He is. “As we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”  (1 Cor. 15:49).
        Thank God for the in workings of His grace― “Your graven images also will I cut off, and your standing images out of the midst of you; and you shall NO MORE worship the work of your hands.” (Micah 5:13).
        Scorned by the too easily satisfied religionist, men have been snared by a spurious logic― accept Christ and you need seek no farther, just maintain a tie with some religious system and wait  for a rapture. Oh, how our heart cries out for that reality that is found only in a relationship, a deep and intimate communion with our Lord―on-going and precious. Then time and place matter not, for the things of the world grow strangely dim, and we have but one desire, “to be present with the Lord.”  (2 Cor. 5:8).
        “The Lord spoke unto Aaron,― I am your part and your inheritance. . .”  (Num. 18:20). While the Psalmist said, “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup.” (Psa. 16:25). And again, “God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (Psa 73:26). IN HIS PRESENCE is fulness of joy! Truly, “THE LORD IS MY PORTION, says my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.” (Lam. 3:24). Not in religion, BUT IN CHRIST, is all we need.

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(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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The Spirit of the Word
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”     Jesus
                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


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“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 22

PARTAKERS OF THE HIGHER CALL―
BUILT BY GOD, BEFORE WE BUILD FOR GOD
 

“You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy
priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5).

Amplified:
“Come, and as living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house …”

How beautifully the words of a little chorus express this precious truth:

“Lord, build me, and I shall be built,
That I may be a temple approved,
Establish me upon Thy Word,
and I shall never be moved.”

In harmony with this thought, we read in Paul’s writings, “You are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And ARE BUILT upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom you also are BUILT TOGETHER for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22).

        Christendom has long laid emphasis upon being “called to do.” Called to be a missionary, called to teach a Sunday school class, called to sing, or to preach, or to hand out tracts, or to a life of intercessory prayer, etc. all of which they relate to the task of “building for God,” though it often translates into works for the building of some kingdom for man.  But there is ANOTHER CALL, seldom mentioned, and that is the CALL TO BE BUILT BY GOD, to BECOME His dwelling place, where the anointing of BEING swallows up the anointing of “doing,” the anointing of KNOWING swallows up the anointing of “feeling,” so that all subsequent action flows out of a state of being, to His glory and praise.
       “We give thanks to God always for you all― knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” (I Thessalonians 1:2,4).  The Greek word for “election” literally means: laid out, chosen out of, and bespeaks of that specific act of God when He chooses one, draws that one to Himself, and works in them of His purpose and plan.  It is God, and God alone, Who determines the time, and the outworking of His purpose.  But the Scriptures are very clear that there are those of whom it can be said, “whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate (to mark off first or beforehand)…” (Romans 8:29).  It is a specific act of God, that He chose, laid out, marked out for a certain purpose, a people for Himself.  “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God.” (1 Peter 1:2).  It is a human characteristic that we would like to choose the time of awareness of people’s election.  But we cannot cause another to be awakened to the fact that God has a calling for them.  Jesus clearly stated, “No man can come unto Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw him.” (John 6:44).  And later, when Peter would enquire of the Lord about another disciple, “And what shall this man do?  Jesus said unto him, … what is that to you? follow   Me.” (John 21:21-22).  Therefore this becomes a very personal thing, “KNOWING, brethren beloved, YOUR election of God.”  O, my friend, Do you know that you know the call He has upon you?
        It is essential, as a part of the foundation of our inner understanding, that we KNOW that GOD has elected us.  “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you (to put, set, place).” (John 15:16).  He has a place for every man in His plan and purpose.  And as He draws us, we come to Him, and truly “We love Him, BECAUSE HE FIRST loved us.” (1 John 4:19).  There is an inworking response in us to the initiative which is always HIS!
        “Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9).  This is not a happenstance, nor a quickly devised scheme to try and rescue a plan that was upset by the devil.  Far too many see Satan as causing all of their testings and hard times, and then they have God, the Divine Fireman, rushing about putting out all of the fires, saving us out of all our trials.  But God never reacts― HE INITIATES!  He is ALWAYS IN CONTROL!  And He is working out a purpose which He planned before the world began.  The truth of the matter is― GOD PURPOSED YOUR FIERY TRIALS, because He has chosen you for a PLACE IN HIM― and it is necessary to cleanse and purify every one whom He receives.
        We take great comfort in KNOWING that long before sin existed, God already had grace waiting― grace that would bring salvation.  For truly, the cure was provided before there was a disease.  Christ Jesus is that “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8).  Inasmuch as HE PROVIDES THE VICTORY before He brings on the trial, we are assured that the end is secure.  He is the Author and the Finisher, bless His name.
        “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7).  Do observe the sequence, it is a Biblical sequence, God does not mix up His terminology when He speaks.  First He “FORMS THE LIGHT,” and then He “creates the darkness” for the outworking of His plan.  But LIGHT is already there, ready to swallow up the darkness at any time He so purposes it.  PEACE is already present, before He uses the stress, chaos, upheaval, etc. to work its purpose.  Since all evil is but perverted good, when He restores all things to their original estate, it is self-evident you have only LIGHT and PEACE.  How wonderful is this higher calling― with VICTORY waiting for us “before the world began.”
        “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling…”  (Heb. 3:1)
        The heavenly realm signifies the HIGHER REALM. Our Lord has called us to “Come up here.” He “has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:6).  Andrew Jukes points out that the Hebrew word for “heaven” means “the placer or arranger,” coming from a root word “to set or place,” because the heavens are the agents in arranging things on earth, with their gravitational pull, the heat, light, etc.  While the Greeks derived their word Theos (God) from the word meaning: to set, or place, for the same reason― GOD being the DIVINE PLACER, DIVINE ARRANGER.  He exercises His influences upon us, and we are DRAWN to Him.  He places obstacles in our path for us to COME OVER.  Indeed, “the steps of a man are ordered by the Lord.” But even more― He would raise us up to be with Him in the HEAVENLY REALM, sharing His throne with His overcomers, so that we, in Him, might be a part of that vast company that PLACE His life and blessing among all nations.  The building, the restoration will be done from the HEAVENLY PERSPECTIVE, and not connived out of imaginations of those who are controlled by the carnal mind.  How we long to be a Part of that “placer company”― so that we might place HIS PEACE in situations of strife and turmoil.  Place HIS LIGHT in the areas of darkness. Place HIS JOY where there is sorrow and mourning.  Praise God, He is making “known unto (into) us the mystery of His will,” so that we can be a part of the outworking purpose “in the dispensation (stewardship) of the fulness of times ― to gather together in one all things in Christ.” (Eph. 1:9-10).  The HEAVENLY REALM shall see the drawing unto Christ till all is reconciled unto Him.  To be built up, raised up into this― what a glorious vision!
        Isaiah spoke of these things, “I have put My words in your mouth, and I have covered you in the shadow of Mine hand, THAT I MAY PLANT THE HEAVENS…” (Isaiah 51:16).  This is of first priority― to plant the heavens― raise up unto Himself this firstfruits company, and then He can lay the foundations of the earth― and in successive orders draw all men unto Himself.
        While positionally this is the purpose and plan of God for His people, we find that experientially we are STILL ASCENDING.  But if you claim to have arrived in the heavenlies, and yet you cannot PLACE AND ARRANGE into order for righteousness, with manifested authority over all realms beneath you, then you have not arrived into the fulness of this vision before us.  To know in part, and to prophesy in part, makes it self-evident that the realm of the prefect has not yet come.  We find that God is dealing with many about not bearing a false witness, about pretending that we have already arrived into a state of being, when we are only in the process of becoming.
        Yes, there is a positive confession of the vision, but self must not lay any claims thereto.  “He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory.” (John 7:18).  But with Paul we can declare that we “press toward the mark.” And by the enablement of the grace of God, we will “Set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:2).
        Jesus came upon James and John, they were “In a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.  And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.” (Matt. 4:21-22).  Many would rather stay, “mending nets,” than to leave and follow on in a higher calling.  They love being with the fellowship (fellows-in-the-ship, if we could make a play on words).  They feel if the nets get mended, they will catch more fish, i.e. save more souls.
        “We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reaches unto heaven, and is lifted up to the skies.” (Jeremiah 51:9).
        “Every one into his own country” is not an easy way― as each is led by the Spirit into their own “backside of the desert,” their own corner which God has appointed for them.  But it is essential― for not only does God call us out of Babylon, but then He must needs purge Babylon out of us.  Yet it is a HOLY calling― and “holy” means “to be set apart.” And as we repeat so often, not only set apart from― but also SET APART UNTO― unto Christ.
        Being of THE HEAVENLY, it is much more invisible than visible.  Religious Babylon, and the carnal (flesh) realm, have much more to show here.  And you say, I see all their activity, and I am doing nothing, and you feel so useless and empty.  Ah, they are busy building, but GOD HAS A PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING BUILT.  “Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What are You making? or your handiwork say He has no hands?” (Isa. 45:9).  We would not accuse God of not having any hands, i.e. of not doing anything.  Rather, we would confess that HE is even now “WORKING all things after the counsel of His own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1:11-12).
        “In the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.  And Abel, he also himself brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.  And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect.” (Genesis 4:3-4).
        Now, with the thought of CAIN AND ABEL, connect Paul’s statement, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.” (Galatians 5:15).
        “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7).  THIS IS CAIN!  Cain bespeaks of carnality and the flesh realm, Abel answers to the realm of the spirit.  The one would BUILD, but the other would BE BUILT!
        In both cases the worship-offering is to the Lord.  Cain sought acceptance, but as he was, not changed, without death to self.  He brought of the earth that which is earthly, just as it was.  Abel brought a sacrifice that would require a death process, as he offered his lamb.  All of which was symbolic of the need for death to self, which can only come to us as we are made conformable to the death of the greater Lamb of God.  We see in Cain that the carnal appreciates “good fruits,” what is beautiful in religion, BUT THEY SPARE THE FLESH.  The cross, death to self, is rejected as if it were treason.  They would rather cultivate the ground, trying to improve the creature.  Ignoring sin and the fall, they would seek to improve through self-effort the fallen creature; offer the fruit and cultivation of the cursed earth to God, as though such things would please Him.
        While many seemingly reject the blood of the Lamb, do not want to find their identification in the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death, yet they are quick to stain their hands with their own brother’s blood, for “whosoever hate his brother is a murderer.” (1 John 3:15).  Even on the natural level, it is appalling in this day, to find there are those who have no interest in the BLOOD OF CHRIST for cleansing, they will not follow in the steps of Abel leading to The Lamb, but they are willing to follow in the steps of Cain, and “they make haste to shed innocent blood,” (Isa. 59:7), even the blood of the unborn as they clamor for the rights for abortion.
        “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod… and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.” (Genesis 4:16-17).
        Names reveal their nature and calling.  The name CAIN means: possession, or acquisition.  It is a name pointing to his life, to hopes fixed on earthly things.  He would go OUT from the presence of the Lord, and build for self.  It is certain, there is no way that you can build for self, as long as you remain IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD.  In a deep awareness of His presence you can only bow low and worship.  But without a daily consciousness of His ABIDING presence, men begin to build for self, and then how swift they are to place their name upon their endeavours.  People readily follow the name of a man.  As Jesus stated, “I am come in My Father’s name, and you receive Me not: if another come in his own name, him you will receive.” (John 5:43).
        Though we see the many kingdom building programs of man, we will not rail against them.  Even Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord.  But we would warn that if God has apprehended you for His HIGHER CALL, then do not sacrifice that call for the sake of being mixed up with the lesser.
        What becomes hard for many, is to see how the efforts of these men will flourish, while God continues to personally strip them of all gifts an graces.  Jeremiah had to reckon with this, and said, “Lord … let me talk with You of Your judgments: … You have planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: You are near in their mouth, and far from their reins.  But You, O Lord, know me: You have seen me, and TRIED MINE HEART toward You…” (Jeremiah 12:1-3).  Thus we have two workings― ONE IS BUSY BUILDING, and being blessed by God on that level, while the other is BEING BUILT BY GOD― with all of His processings which both wound and make whole.  Jeremiah knew that he was being TRIED.
        David also had to face up to this dichotomy, and acknowledged, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” But when it comes to my own life, what is happening to me?  “All the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.” The contrast between the two realms is amazing.  So he goes on, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.” (Psalm 73:23, 14, 16-17).
        God is most merciful― He causes His sun to shine, and the rain to fall, on both the just and the unjust.  He knows full well that these proper growing conditions will help the weeds to grow too.  But the earth that brings forth thorns and briers will ultimately be rejected, “whose end is to be burned.” (Heb. 6:8).  Their day of purging will come at His appointed time.  Then He will cleanse the earth, and bring forth a new life under the sweet influence of the HEAVENLIES.
        Now, we note that the name ABEL means: transitoriness, or, a vapour, thus it speaks of a soon passing from here, of mounting up into another higher atmosphere.  While Cain bespeaks of those who would accumulate earthy things and fix their affection on things below, Abel bespeaks of those who see the temporalness of this earth realm, and they already desire to ascend into the permanency of the spiritual.  “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18).
        While the names reveal the nature and calling, the acts of their seed speak more.  Tracing through the Cain-line, we come to “Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of cattle.  And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. ― Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron.” (Gen. 4:20-22).
        They would produce the arts, and civilize the world with their culture.  They would make natural life easier with their inventions, and the world would become a safer dwelling place.  All of these can become very enticing to the flesh, and easy to become involved, if we do not have an eye single to the HIGHER CALL.  The needs in the earth are many, and the religious institutions have always tried to fill these needs.  We do not condemn such for God has blessed many of these efforts― building hospitals, colleges, retirement homes, etc.  And for whatever good they do, we praise God.  Yet we also see how much CONFUSION has pervaded all these institutions, and man has corrupted them― greed, power, money have all borne their influence.  As the occasion arises, with God directing our steps, when it is necessary for us to use these things, or become involved with their operation, we would remember the words of Paul, “And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passes away.” (I Cor. 7:31).  Our trust is not in men, nor in our works, but in the Lord our God!
        The challenge is to not become so involved with the Cain/builders, that we neglect the Abel/ascenders.  The call of the HEAVENLY is becoming stronger all the while, and truly, “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” You go out from the presence of the Lord to build for the flesh, you come into the presence of the Lord to be BUILT BY GOD!
        Symbolically, metals all figure for truths.  Gold and silver speak of that which is more precious, spiritual.  Brass and iron, inferior class, speaks of natural things.  And in this hard world, iron is more useful.  But God, foreseeing better days and advanced truth, has promised, “For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make your officers PEACE, and your exactors righteousness.” (Isaiah 60:17).  Every level raised to a higher dimension!
        For the present, the lesser realms have the most to show on earth with all their impressive programs.  But the END of their cities and music have also been foretold.  “Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.  The voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpters, shall be heard no more at all in you: and no craftsman, of whatever craft he be, shall be found any more in you …” (Revelation 18:21-22).
        Significant that Cain, and his seed, would call the names of the cities by their name, or their son’s name.  But SETH, whom God raised up in Abel’s place, after Cain had slain Abel, “To him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.”, (Gen. 4:26).  Enos means “mortal,” and having acknowledged that anything they could produce was mortal, to have the ENDURING, they turned from their own names, and doings, and called upon the name of the Lord. The margin reads, “They called themselves by the name of the Lord.” How marvelous, for to turn from the earthy to the spiritual, and to find our identity in Christ alone― we would take on His nature and character.
        There are those who would go everywhere writing their own name on their buildings, their ministries, whatever they produce― it finds its identity in them.  But there is another people who would take on a NEW NAME― to be identified in the Lord.  Yes, with Abraham, they “look for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb. 11:10).  They do not have to build this city, it is ALREADY BUILT― God is the Builder, and into this realm they shall ascend, to share the life and glory of Christ.
        “Him that overcomes WILL I MAKE A PILLAR in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out:…” Cain went OUT and built for self.  But here we find that the overcomer GOES NO MORE OUT.  Why?  Because GOD HAS BUILT HIM INTO A PILLAR― an integral part of the very structure of the temple, and so they share with Him the glorious MINISTRY OF THE TEMPLE― or as we have previously worded it, they become part of the HEAVENS― His placers and arrangers for the establishment of His kingdom in the earth.
        “And I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.” (Revelation 3:12).
        Having become totally purified and ONE IN HIS NATURE and character, raised up into the heavenlies to become a part of that spiritual dimension, THEN, there is a ministry FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH, which comes down out of heaven, to bring His blessings to the ends of the earth.  “And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, says the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil.” (Hosea 2:21-22).  How marvelous!  God shall HEAR THE HEAVENS, freely communicate and share with His overcomers, those that are with Him in His throne.  The heavens shall hear the earth, with all the groaning of creation― and being one in the Father’s will, they shall meet the need of mankind as GOD would have it met, freely giving His salvation to all men.

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(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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The Spirit of the Word
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”     Jesus
                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


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“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 23

PEACE― In the Midst Of the Storm
 

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, do You not care that we perish?  And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.  The wind ceased, there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:37-39)

Words of a beautiful hymn by Mary A. Baker expresses this, and so we share:

“Master, the tempest is raging, The billows are tossing high.
The sky is overshadowed with blackness.  No shelter or help is nigh.  Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep When each moment
so madly is threatening a grave in the angry deep?

Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today;
The depths of my sad heart are troubled. Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish sweep o’er my sinking soul!
And I perish, I perish, dear Master!
Oh, hasten, and take control!

Master, the terror is over; The elements sweetly rest;
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer; Leave me alone no more;
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
And rest on the blissful shore.

“The winds and the waves shall obey My will,
Peace, be still!”
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,
 Or demons, or men, or whatever it be,
 No water can swallow the ship where lies
 The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
“They all shall sweetly obey My will;
Peace, be still!
Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey My will;
Peace, peace, be still.” Amen!

        How awesome is this demonstration of the creation (wind and waves) bowing to the will of the Creator.  The power of the wind in tornado, hurricane, etc. can be astonishing and dreadful.  The power/energy force contained in the raging billows is hard to comprehend.  As creatures of earth we are often subjected to stormy seasons― and we cry out for the Creator’s help, to come to our rescue, lest we perish along the way.  Yet we know that He is mindful of every storm, and just as a raging storm can sweep clean the beach, so He uses the storms in our life to cleanse, to remove the debris, and to loose us from the things which would hinder us from walking on with Him.  Yes, He orchestrates every storm that comes our way.  And so we sing,

“I’ve seen the lightning flashing, and heard the thunder roll;
I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul;
I’ve heard the voice of my Saviour telling me still to fight on;
He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.

The world’s fierce winds are blowing, temptations sharp and keen,
I feel a peace in knowing My Saviour stands between;
He stands to shield me from danger when earthly friends are gone;
He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.”

        One thing every child of God needs to learn― learn it until it becomes a solid truth in our understanding― and that is concerning the sovereignty of God, and HIS CONTROL of the interplay of good and evil― and though the “earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2). The storms may rage, darkness be upon the face of the deep, and yet HE MOVES UPON US.  Moved― literally, the Hebrew is, “brooded,” as His Spirit hovers over us, drawing us to Himself, changing us, recreating us into a new man, into His likeness and image.  The brooding presence of God not only changes us from glory to glory, but also imparts PEACE to hold us steady through all the processings.  What a manifestation of His love and care.
        Praise God, the time will come when there will be no more need for storms.  He will conquer all the tempests within and without, until it is written, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Rev, 21:1).  But in the meantime, until we come to the time when He makes all things new, we must needs be tested and tried― yet nevertheless to find that HE BECOMES OUR PEACE IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM.
        The Master was―- in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow.  HE WAS WITH THEM, right there in the boat with them, when this great storm arose.  Having Him in the boat did not preclude them from facing a storm.  And His presence does not guarantee there will be no trial― but it does guarantee that He is with us to bring us through triumphantly, and develop our faith in the happening.  How often have we been guilty of failing to remember that a storm in not an indication that He has forsaken us― when in reality He is right there with us.  Indeed, processings are actually solid evidence that HE is there to personally attend our way.  Yet it often seems when the unexpected happens, we forget that He is right in the midst of it all with US. When abruptly a storm arises, and it seems that we are left alone, to paddle our own canoe all by ourself, just because we cannot see or feel Him― just because we are not always conscious of His manifest presence-­we develop the idea that maybe, for the moment, we are all alone.  Not true!  Not true!  He has promised “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5).  It is a sure Word that abides the passing of time.
        The MAN, Jesus, took a nap in the hinder part of the boat, but HE WAS THERE WITH THEM.  And now victory is even more certain, for we read that “He that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Ps. 121:4).  “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary. (Therefore He is able at all times, to) give power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increases strength.” (Isa. 40:28­29).  Praise Him!  What a mighty God we serve!  Our daily present help!
        Betimes David found himself with various conflicting emotions in his life.  On one occasion he earnestly cries― “The deer is panting for the stream, and, O God, I pant for You.  I am athirst for God, the living God; when shall I reach God’s presence?” (Ps. 42:1-2, Moffatt Trans.). This desire to be much more aware of God’s presence― surely we can readily identify with this cry.  Yet the Psalmist also said, “Where shall I go from Your Spirit? or where shall I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7).  The omnipresence of God is a fact!  HE is everywhere!  Yet there often is a need for something more than just a general knowledge of His omnipresence-­we need to INTIMATELY KNOW HIM in the midst of our storms.  David learned much more of an intimacy with God as he walked out the storms in his life, and the Lord became his peace, until he was able to say, “I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Ps. 34:1)
        The disciples did know that “the MAN Jesus” was there, and so they woke Him.  They required that He be actively, manifestedly involved in their storm.  It was not enough that He be there with them, asleep, they wanted Him awake and involved.  How this speaks to our own heart these days― we want to see Him― to have an on-going revelation; we want to hear Him― to have His voice ringing in our ears; we want to feel Him― till we have some goose-bumps on our arms, with our hair standing on end.  The flesh realm is not content to just have Him with us “in Spirit,” we want much more natural manifestation.  But God is Spirit, and we worship Him in Spirit and truth.
        So they woke Him, and “He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” To have instant calm as pertained to the sea, was wonderful, but even more essential was the PEACE which He had to speak into them.  It is significant that when Jesus spoke to the earth elements, He simply said “Be still.” But when He speaks to us, He said, “BE STILL, AND KNOW.” (Ps. 46:10).  All the foaming, raging waves were made quiet.  They had no ears to hear.  The waves had no minds which could bow in obedience to His Word.  They were but the inanimate creatures of His creation, and He had authority over them.  Yes, the waves are subject to His command, but what do they KNOW?  But God uses all of these storms, without and within, to teach us― that He might reveal Himself in a new and deeper way, so that we KNOW THAT HE IS GOD!  “This is life eternal, that they might KNOW YOU the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3).
        We have experienced the pleasure of sunshine on a clear day, when all is bright and beautiful.  And betimes we have faced the dark gathering storm clouds, and the rainy tears of sorrow.  We know the times of the fierce blowing winds of adversity.  All of these things are purposed and used by our God, and held in balance.  “He’s the Master of the sea; billows His will obey.” To be sure, there is nothing too hard for Him, No difficulty that He cannot solve.  No question too profound, for HE has the answer.  True, we may not understand His purposes at the time the storm breaks over us, but always, in the ultimate, we will praise Him for the trial He has led us through, as He works it all together for our good― and we come to KNOW HIM as He uses all these things to draw us unto Himself.
        “O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto You? or to Your faithfulness round about You?  You rule the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, YOU STILL THEM.” (Psalm 89:8-9).
        Not only does He still the raging thoughts and imaginations, but He also quiets our emotions.  Surgings of fear, rumblings of doubt, raging anger, or pangs of envy, dark moods of depression, loneliness, emptiness, billows of soulish emotion that make it difficult, if not almost impossible, to hear His “still small voice” within.  Yet through it all He exercises His control, and brings us into a realm of true inner peace.
        Yet storms, beloved friend, are just as necessary as the calms.  Were all our days quiet― calm― we would never know the power of our God to meet every emergency, and we would never understand and experience an absolute reliance upon Him.  How storms reveal us to ourselves.  And how blessed is that peace which He imparts in the midst of the storm.  Storms without, and peace within, is a unique combination that works wonders in God’s people.
        So the Master stood up and said “PEACE, be still.” Immediately the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  It is awesome how suddenly the winds of adversity can cease, when His peace fills our being.  Note the word, a great “CALM,” from the Greek “galene.” We find it is only used three times, in three different Gospels, and always with reference to the same happening.  Thayer’s Lexicon gives the meaning to be “calm, cheerful.” What a contrast of emotion― that which was filled with terror, doubt, unbelief, dismay, a sense of calamity, is now quiet and still, with an inner sense of joy and peace.  Borrow the words from Psalm 126:2, “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing.” Raging billows are now replaced with a deep inner cheerfulness, a serenity of spirit that puts a smile on your face, and a melody of praise within.  Thus we read, “That IN ME you might have peace.  In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).  Tribulation― or, shall we say, storms of adversity, and yet HE works an inner calm, emanating a divine cheerfulness.  How marvelous!  Peace and good cheer go together!  A divine inworking that redounds to His glory and praise.
        “Peace, be still―” it is not the usual Greek word used for peace, for it is “siopao” and means― to be quiet, hushed, silent; used metaphorically of a calm, quiet sea.  The tranquility, the absence of the roar, the silence that is all the more pronounced because of the cessation of the inner noisy clamor.  So many voices jabbering within, as thoughts go in a whirl, and the imaginations run wild.  Yet Paul experienced, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation, – Our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.” (2 Cor. 7:4-5).
        We may have our moments when “at midnight” we “sing praises unto God,” (Acts 16:25), and we are joyful in our tribulation, and we experience the explosion of earthquakes which loose us from all our bands, but we find that such triumphant moments do not exempt us from the times when we have “fears within” and we need the Lord to rise up within us and say “Peace, be still.” Overcomers are developed by many cycles of storms.
        “Be still.” Here the Greek word is “phimoo” meaning: to muzzle, gag.  It was as if Jesus stood up, and said, “PUT A MUZZLE ON IT,” and immediately the creation obeyed― the wind ceased and there was a great calm, for a divine “gag order” was placed on it.  The shrieking winds of doubt and despair are silenced when He speaks His word “be still.” How awesome is the silence of the Lord, in contrast to the babble of the carnal mind.  Yet little by little we are learning to become quiet before Him, and when the mind is silenced before Him, we share in His peace, in the midst of the storm.  What love, what grace, as He muzzles the carnal pandemonium within.
        It has also been pointed out by one, “Jesus did not say, ‘Let us go down to the sea and be drowned,’ but, ‘Let us pass over to the other side.'” This was an expression of the divine will, had their faith been resting on this WORD from the Master they would not have gotten so disturbed.  Consider how our Lord faced it all― the noise of the storm, the violent pitching of the boat, and the sting of the cold water as it came into the boat, did not awake Him― He knew they were not going down, because Father’s will was to go over to the other side.  A clear knowledge of the Father’s will does much to give us PEACE in the midst of the storm― if we believe His Word!         The noise of the storm as it roars, howls, whistles, thunders along; with the pitching of the boat that has me almost seasick contemplating it; and then with the boat rapidly filling with water― with our eyes on all these conditions, I can readily identify with the cold dark fear of the disciples that “we will perish.” The storm without has entered into my being and now rages within.  Fear lays hold until I am almost too immobilized to try and bail out some of the water.  Besides, it all looks utterly hopeless.  Have we not all had stormy sessions so terrifying that we cannot describe them?  And then the MASTER stands up and puts a muzzle on the storm.  The wind is silenced, and though I strain to hear a sound, not quite believing that the storm is over, yet the divine gag order holds, and there is scarcely a murmur as the gentle waves lap against the sides of the boat.  These evidences that the storm has passed gradually work a tranquility, a change within.
        Nothing is mentioned in the Scripture of how they emptied the boat that was “now full.” Methinks it was a task reserved for the disciples, so that as they bent their back to the physical task, a task that needed no miracle, just a submission to the work at hand, they could muse/ponder on how Christ can still the raging waters, and also STILL ALL THE STORM WITHIN.  If we can see it to be so, I find that often times some good physical labor is quite therapeutic, appointed by God for the body, while the mind gradually quiets before Him.  All of the outward happening was/is but an allegory for His inworkings as He works in us both to will and to do of His pleasure.
        Peace― the Hebrew word is “shalom,” meaning: peace, completeness.  Here is a word that cannot be defined with just a simple sentence― for not only is peace the cessation from trouble, etc. but it speaks of an inner realm of tranquility because the victory is COMPLETE― no clamoring of desire, no nagging yearning left unfulfilled, but with a sense of completeness, there is no inner agitation, no restlessness because of any lack, but we are made COMPLETE IN CHRIST.  HE is the Source of all our peace, and He but “speaks the word” and victory is manifested.
        In the midst of the raging storm, He stood up, and said these three little words― “Peace, be still.” No long discourse blaming the devil for the storm, no words of condemnation and negativity, just a positive word that silenced all the storm.  Truly, as He says in another place, “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17).  Therefore, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
(John 6:63).  What a revelation of the grace and mercy of the Lord!
        The Psalmist also expresses this in a beautiful way― “I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly.” (Ps. 85:8).
        Folly― an interesting word, for it comes from the Hebrew word “kislah”
meaning: self-confident.  Any turning to our own self-confidence, and away from the Lord is certainly folly― utterly foolish― for in Christ alone do we find wisdom and understanding that leads us into life.  Trusting in our selves simply sets us up for another storm, until He has purged out all of our self-confidence, turning our hearts to Him, to be anchored only in Him.
        Knox translation reads, “Let me listen, now, to the voice of the Lord God; it is a message of peace He sends to His people; to His loyal servants, that come back, now, with all their heart to Him.”
         Turning with all of our heart to the Lord, to listen to the message― OF PEACE.  For as we quote so often, Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
        Or, as the Amplified gives― “to give you hope in your final outcome.”
        “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20).
        No light―literally, the Hebrew reads, no dawn, no morning.  There is a law and testimony, a message from the Lord.  He speaks it within and it becomes a “lamp unto our feet, and a light upon our pathway.” It shines as the dawn announcing the new day of the Lord― it is a message of PEACE.  This is not a law written in stone, but upon the tables of our heart as we listen to Him.  In God’s disciplined ones the message of peace shines― a light to lighten our darkness, and guide our steps in His way.  But those who have not heard Him say “Peace, be still,” will not be able to share this word with another.  There may be some who have heard it with their mental realm and give it a mental assent for a time, but when the storms come lashing their way, whatever measure of peace that they had is swept away.  How we need the quickened word of truth to fill our being until we know that we know that HE IS OUR PEACE!
        The Psalmist gives us a vivid description― as of men on a ship in a storm, battling the waves, “They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.  Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.” (Ps. 107:26-2)
        We note the phrase, “are at their wit’s end.” The Hebrew literally reads, “All their wisdom is swallowed up.” In their self-confidence they have tried everything they know to do, and have exhausted their skill and their wisdom, until they are staggering around like fools, not knowing what to do― only God can rescue them out of such dire straits.  Then they cry to the Lord― that we can understand― but the wonder of His grace is such that He does not charge them for all their wicked ways, but in mercy “HE BRINGS THEM OUT.” Herein do we see the working of reconciliation, “not imputing their trespasses unto them,” but with His everlasting love, “we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:19-20).
        The disciples were sorely tried by the storm, and their fears which they readily ignored when the sun was shining, were now exposed for the unbelief that eclipsed their faith.  Yet the noise of the storm did not hinder the message from the Master― His compassions failed not, and He spoke peace.  When the agitations around us increase, the winds blow and howl, though the storm rages on, He brings us into a divine inner calm, and we find that “Great peace have they that love Your law, and nothing shall offend them.” (Ps. 119:165).  Herein is one of the purposes for a storm, to learn to just accept all things from His hand and to not be offended because a storm came our way.  There are many applications for the Word, and Matthew 11:6 seems to fit right here.  “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me.” For betimes in spite of our daily praying “not my will, but Yours be done,” yet we become perturbed, offended that He would arrange such a storm trial for us.  After all, have we not surrendered our life to Him again and again?  We cry out, It is not fair!  As if this carnal realm of flesh knows what is right.  But after we have been, by His grace, brought through many a storm we learn to hold our peace, muzzle the cries of the flesh, and just let Him have His way within.  And do remember, as goes a line from a hymn…
        “It takes a storm cloud to form a rainbow.” It comes not at the beginning of the storm, when the dark, angry clouds appear, but after the storm is over, and His light shines though, that we see the beauty of the Lord.  No chastening (shall we say, storm?) for the present seems to be joyous, it is AFTERWARDS that we see the peaceable fruit of His righteousness.  Then it matters not how long and fierce the storm, within, or without, once God has stilled the tempest, quieted our hearts before Him, and reveals Himself to us in a new and blessed way, we will bow low to worship Him for all His ways.  Truly He is God!  And through all the tempestuous happenings comes a revelation of His love and power, and all earth shall be blessed.  Amen!

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(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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The Spirit of the Word
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                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


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by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 24

RECONCILIATION

        A THOROUGH CHANGE! THAT, my dear friend, is what we mean by … RECONCILIATION! We have possessed “in part” the life of God, and we have thrilled to its surgings within us, and the transformations wrought, but we must have the WHOLE, being thoroughly changed into His same image. What a tremendous process, for man is not a noble ruin, but he is an utter ruin of what was once a noble nature. God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion…” But, alas, how the glory has grown dim, how the fine gold has tarnished! The crown has fallen from man’s head. His kingly nature is deformed, and the image of God is destroyed. Thus we see that so little remains in the unregenerated man of that copious flow of love and life and light and righteousness and power which at first poured forth from man to the creation.
        How can it be restored? “And, having made peace through the blood Of His cross, by Him to RECONCILE (THOROUGHLY CHANGE) all things unto Himself.” With the climax of the cross bringing final death to the carnal mind, mankind will emerge out of the barren tomb as a NEW CREATION. If man is to be restored to the image of the all-loving God, reconciled, thoroughly changed and unified INTO HIM, it will only be done by God Himself. A little child can take an egg in his hand and crush it. All of the skill of all of the men in all of the world, all of their wisdom and all of the power that can split the atom, and all of the technology that can place men on the moon, all these combined CANNOT RESTORE THAT EGG TO WHAT IT WAS BEFORE. How much less can man, by his own strength or wisdom, restore the destroyed image of God in his being unto that which God originally made him to be? Nothing will suffice but a thorough change, a new creation, a reconciliation wrought by God Himself. “Therefore if any man be in Christ He is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who HAS RECONCILED US to Himself” (II Cor. 5:17-18).
        If such be not the end of God’s great plan of the ages then Calvary is a failure and redemption a farce. Current so-called “orthodox” theology incorporates into its system belief in the superior power of satan, the deathlessness of sin, the indestructibility of error, and the permanence of evil. The doctrines of the harlot church system teach that since sin and death have entered upon the scene in God’s universe, they have come never to go out again, unconquerable, ineradicable, endless. Charles Schmitt has asked the burning question: “Is God, who is sovereign Lord, destined to possess about 3% of all the billions who have sprung from His creative hand? Shall the absolute majority of all these created beings perpetuate hate and blasphemy against their blessed Creator throughout an endless eternity? Is Jesus, who died effecting the death blow to all sin and to all the works of satan (I Jn.3:8) destined to reign in a universe where sin shall exist in staggering proportions, and even as some purport, in increasing proportions throughout all eternity? The counsels of God, according to Sacred Scripture, have declared an emphatic NO! Through the consuming fires of God’s holy Love (Heb. 12:29) God has deigned to cause all men everywhere eventually to drop the sword of proud rebellion and willingly acclaim the Lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that to the glory of God (Phil. 2:10-11)! Have we hereby done despite to the justice and holiness of God? No, unlike those who hold the opposing view, we have rather fully satisfied it against all sin and rebellion! Have we hereby maligned the sovereign love and the mercy of God? No, we have rather upheld it in its infinite scope!”

Spirit of The Word footnote: we present scripture 2 Corin. 5:18-19, “….God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himselfnot imputing their trespasses (sin) unto them.

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(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


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by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 25

Religion, or Following the Lamb

“My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straightest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” (Acts 26:4-5).

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Phil. 3:7-8).

        Paul knew what it-was to be RELIGIOUS, he also came to know what it meant to count all of that realm as DUNG, that he might come into an intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ― TO WIN CHRIST.  Win― the Greek word “kerdaino” meaning: gain, with the sense of acquiring Christ’s favor and blessing.  Our English word “gain” comes from the Old High German word “weidenen” meaning: to pasture.  Furthermore, it signifies a pasture without fences.  There is a going on― to enter into Christ, to plunge into the depths― a union with Him where there are no barriers or limitations.  RELIGION does not lead you into this expansive realm in Christ, but rather fences you in with its many creeds and doctrines which become an end in themselves.
        Our English word “religion” comes from the Latin “religion meaning: taboo, or restraint.  It bespeaks of a system of faith and worship, with all of its “do, and don’t,” exercised by the will of man to gain favor with his God.
        The Greek word is “threskeiall meaning: outward ceremonial observance.  And it is interesting to note that it traces back to the base of “throeo” which means: to wail.  I have known some very religious people, they could really wail, moan, groan; and others, quite mistakenly thought them very spiritual because of it, judging only by the outward appearance of a ceremonial wail.
        Thayer’s Lexicon, gives the meaning of the word as: “primarily, fear of the gods,” a religious worship, especially external― that which consists in ceremonies.  So again we have the thought of appeasing the gods, out of a fear of their supposed power to do us harm, and so we do service to them.
        The Amplified Translation rightly defines the word― “External religious worship (religion as it is expressed in outward acts)….” (James 1:27).  And in its footnote, it gives a quotation from the Commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, that “Religion in its rise interests us about ourselves; in its progress, about our fellow-creatures; in its highest stage, about the honor of God.” Thus they are saying that in its lowest form, man’s religion is very self-centered.  Then it may progress into many good works for others― deeds that make the doer feel very religious, pious, and, I dare say, quite self-righteous.  While in its highest stage religion it is concerned about God― but in particular how we stand with our God.  So the interests of self are very involved in man’s religious worship ceremonies-toward God, perhaps, but with self in mind, as to what will I get out of this?  More of God’s blessing?  I hope so!  Thus man will follow Him so long as He multiplies the loaves and fishes, but if the blessings give way to the inworking of the cross, many are ready to draw back.
        Scholars well know that each letter in the Hebrew and Greek alphabets has its own numerical value.  And in their book, “Theomatics,” by Jerry Lucas and Del Washburn, they mention that the words “satan” and “religion” both have the same theomatic value.  And they state, “Religion is of Satan, but Christianity is a new life and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Christianity is not a religion.  Praise God for this fact!” unquote.
        Perhaps it might be a little strong to say that ALL religion is of Satan, for that glorifies Satan too much, giving him credit he does not deserve.  But I dare say, an awful lot of religion gives much emphasis to Satan, of his so-called power, and they make him almost omnipresent, though he is not.  And if they would WORSHIP CHRIST as much as they talk about the devil, they might soon break out of their mode of religion, and come into a new dimension of LIFE.  Yet, even Christianity can become a religion just as soon as we infect it with self-effort and self-will, turn it into some form of enterprise which becomes self-serving for the interests of the flesh.
        In the conversation of Jesus with the woman at the well, she said, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  Jesus said unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him.” (John 4:23).
        In commenting on this, Origin wrote: “He who would follow the Lord must lay aside all preference for particular places.  He called God SPIRIT, that He might distinguish Him from bodies (i.e. mankind); and He named Him the TRUTH, to distinguish Him from a shadow or an image.  They who worshipped in Jerusalem worshipped God NEITHER in truth or spirit, being in subjection to the shadow or image of heavenly things.”
        Men have constantly thought of God in terms of a man, attributing to Him all the base emotions of man.  Long ago the word was given, “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent…” (Numbers 23:19).  HE IS SPIRIT, and He must be worshipped “in spirit,” that is, out of our heart, out of our innermost being― as our spirit reaches out to magnify and exalt Him.  This is not an external doing, it is a lifeflow from within.  Furthermore, real spirit worship cannot be in subjection to types and shadows, it reaches out for REALITY― “deep calling unto deep” unrestrained by religious forms.  A worship that requires an atmosphere to stimulate an attitude and a mood for our ceremonial observances, with robed choirs, stained glass windows, attention focused “front and center upon a leader,” etc. is not a spontaneous outflow from our spirit― rather, it is a generated worship by the will of man.
        Thus we have come to the conclusion that what is SPIRITUAL in its inception can become mere religion by nothing more than adding the extra ingredient of self-effort and self-will, till it deteriorates into works of the flesh.
        Religion can be, and may well be, the greatest enemy of the Spirit, for it was religious belief that crucified Jesus, and it was religious belief that hindered the entry of men into the Kingdom of God.  And even in this day it is religious belief that continues to crucify Christ anew and afresh, as Paul wrote: “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you.” (Gal. 3:1).  Having begun in the spirit, they were ready to revert back to the works of the flesh, to observe days, and months, and times, and years― back in bondage to form and ceremony, rather than the free flow of His life through them by the Spirit.  TURNING BACK TO LEGALISM IS IN EFFECT CRUCIFYING CHRIST AFRESH― for it is a turning away from the LIFE OF THE SPIRIT, to man’s own works and self-effort.
        A friend has shared the thought with us that “God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac so that He could KEEP SPIRITUAL what had been spiritual.  Had Abraham been so wrapped up in protecting his well-founded belief in Isaac as the beginning of the promised New Nation (seed), he might have found himself on the outside of the will of God just by standing on the very Word that had given him the son in the first place.”
        Indeed, had Abraham sought to hold on to Isaac, reminding God that this very son was the fulfillment of God’s promise to him― he would have tried to KEEP BY THE FLESH what had begun by the spirit.  God’s promise, and even God’s fulfillment thereof, must remain at God’s disposal.
        And so we now understand that it is possible that just by standing on the promises, without moving an inch, holding the same position that God asked us to hold yesterday, we can step outside of the will of God for today, and so “change the truth of God into a lie and worship and serve the created thing (the doctrine, the promise) rather than the Creator. (Rom. 1:25).
        The secret of staying in the will of God is to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” (Rev. 14:4).  Even if it does not make sense to us in the light of what we have always known as “revealed truth.” It must have seemed most incomprehensible to Abraham, at least at first, that God would ask him to sacrifice that for which he had waited so long, and in whom all his confidence rested.  Especially since this was clearly that which had been given by God in such a miraculous manner, as the fulfillment of so long-standing a promise.  Yet God’s purpose continued to unfold, and Abraham must follow.
        To follow the Lamb wherever He goes requires great flexibility. it is possible that when we adhere rigidly to a promise, as we understand that promise, without taking a step in any direction, we could suddenly find ourselves outside the will of God.  And not only outside the will of God, BUT INSIDE THE RIGID WALLS OF LEGALISM, and in danger of crucifying our Lord afresh.  We might claim it and stand on it, and insist that God honor His Word “on the level we understand it,” when He has a far greater meaning for that promise, if we are willing to LET GO OUR OWN SELF-CLAIMING-WORKS, and just let the Spirit lead us as He wills.  Hence we often find a prayer in our heart, “Lord, I do not understand what all this Word means, but, whatever You mean by it, that is what I desire.” Why limit Him to our own understanding?  Why not yield ourselves to Him― and follow wherever HE goes?  There are such heights and depths to be experienced in Him.
        Self-will is at the root of self-effort, and self-effort constitutes the works of the law, and the works of the law take us outside of the realm of faith― becoming A RELIGION, rather than the free flow of His life.
        Once Jesus pointed His hearers back to those who followed Moses through the wilderness and partook of the miraculous provision of manna day by day.  For sure, God did a wonder for them, but it seems that He did for them in a way that was FAR BELOW the realm toward which we reach as we press on for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Jesus revealed this, when He said, “Your fathers did eat manna (miraculous provision) in the wilderness, AND ARE DEAD. – I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever.” (John 6:49, 51).
        Likewise we can insist on a literal fulfillment of the “letter of the Word” and while God may meet us on that level― yet, “He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:15).  And we need to be very careful, lest in our insisting that God answer every promise our way, we find ourselves in a death realm, and much leanness of soul.
        In the wilderness we can expect to call for God to keep certain kinds of promises.  But when we begin to move in another dimension, it may well be possible that IN DEMANDING, even getting, the miraculous provision of the wilderness, we would deprive ourselves of a higher experience with God.
        When we loose our hold on the “sacred thing” in earth, will we not also have simultaneously loosed something of even greater importance and with more far-reaching consequences than are presently made visible.  For what we loose on earth, is also “loosed in heaven.” There are truths here which go far beyond our present comprehension― to be loosed into His reality.
        He has not called us to religion, BUT TO HIMSELF.  Not to the outward form, but to inner substance.  Often the outward form will become our adversary, keeping us from going on into that which He has prepared for them that love Him.  We need to take a leap of faith beyond doctrine, into a higher realm of trust.  May God deliver us from our “religions” and bring us into a LIVING RELATIONSHIP with Himself, as He dwells within us, and we IN HIM.
        We are reminded of what Richard Halverson once said about Christianity.  He said it started with Jesus and the twelve disciples.  Jesus declared the message of God’s love, forgiveness, etc. as a message to be preached TO THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE.  Then this message of Jesus went to Greece and became a philosophy (Origen, Augustine, etc.). Then it went to Rome and became an institution, the Roman Catholic Church.  Then it went to Europe and became a culture, the British Christian culture.  And then it came to America and became an enterprise― just a religion for merchandising.
        How we need for the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST to be the clear message of God’s love, God’s forgiveness― God’s power to transform― God’s restorative plan to be shared with the hungry hearts that fill our churches and our nation.  We are living in a very privileged age, an age in which this message can be shared.  However, it needs to go beyond “words” and become a LIFE THAT IS LIVED― a state of being that expresses the reality of His life.  We cannot live this out of ourselves― only Christ can live the Christ-life through us, therefore the necessity of a relationship with Him.
        A relationship with Christ requires that WE FOLLOW HIM WHEREVER HE GOES.  The Greek word for “follow” is “akoloutheo” meaning” to be in the same way with, i.e. to accompany (as a disciple).  He has given “us an example, that you should follow in His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21).  This is not just an historical way of life, trying to be imitators of Him as He lived two thousand years ago― we are not called to be imitators, but PARTAKERS of Christ.  It is BEING IN HIS WAY TODAY, as the Spirit leads us onward step by step.  Eliezer said it so well, “I being in the way, the Lord led me…” (Gen. 24:27).  We’re going the same direction HE is going, following Him!
        In contrast to religion, which is hung up on some particular doctrine, or a personality, infused with self-will and self-effort, there is an intimate walk with Christ, seeking only to live out HIS WILL, and fulfill HIS plan.
        It requires that total surrender, “not my will, but Yours, be done.” And it is a daily challenge to maintain our eyes single to Him alone, that we might be filled with His light, and that He might fulfill His promises in HIS WAY, rather than our trying to circumscribe Him to our interpretations.
        “A certain scribe came to Jesus, and said unto Him, Master, I will follow You wherever You go.” (Matthew 8:19).  On the surface this sounds like a sincere committal, but Jesus immediately put it to the test, as He answered, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has not where to lay His head.” Jesus didn’t even get into the SPIRITUAL DIMENSIONS of following Him, for just the “natural aspects” would be enough to cause the scribe to take a second look at what it might mean to follow Jesus.  Certainly we have proven by experience over many years that HE IS FAITHFUL TO PROVIDE FOR OUR NATURAL NEEDS, but there also have been times of real stripping, laying all on the altar, facing poverty and not going into panic, willing to count all things as loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ― just to have MORE OF HIM WITHIN.
        “And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.  But Jesus said unto him, FOLLOW ME; and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22).  The issue was not about “funerals,” it was about PRIORITIES.  Who comes first?  Religion is filled with various GOOD WORKS which become “first priority,” and an end in themselves.  In our FOLLOWING HIM WHEREVER HE GOES, we are not to be “need conscious,” but “the will of God conscious.” What is FIRST in His purpose for us?  Yet how quick we are to think, “But what will the people say?” Religion has a standard to be maintained, they will think I am uncaring, unconcerned, just “too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” So we set about to gather up all the loose ends of good works, putting FIRST these many things, and then if any time is left, we’ll let the Lord know we are trying to follow Him.
        Breaking out of the “mode of religion,” into the free flow of His life, and our following Him, requires a deep inworking of His cross.  “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25).

“Let me lose my life, and find it, Lord, in Thee,
May all self be slain, my friends see only Thee,
Though it cost me grief and pain, I will find my life again,
If I lose my life, and find it, Lord, in Thee.”  (Ross Minkler)

        Following the Lord is more than “loaves and fishes,” it is self-denial, and taking up our cross, bearing it in the midst of misunderstanding by all the people that are around you, and knowing that HE ALONE IS OUR RESTING PLACE.
        This is indeed an on-going process worked out in the nitty-gritty of every day living― in the home, at work, in our multi-relationships with people.  It would be easier to have it wrought in one climactic crucifixion, even if on a cross in full view of the world, where they all could see that we were being “crucified with Christ.” But this LAYING DOWN OUR LIFE reaches into avenues that we never dreamed would be touched.  It means we surrender our children to Him, for God to work in their lives as He pleases, even if it is far different than what we, in ourselves, had hoped it would be.  It means that in our humiliation, as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so we do not try to defend ourselves when falsely accused or justify ourselves when misunderstood.  It means we do not wrap our “religious garments” about ourselves and wear a martyr’s smile, so that others see how sweetly we are bearing our burdens for the Lord. Oh, how deeply the cross works into each attitude and inner feeling― till all is laid out before Him.
        One writer of years ago expressed it well, and we share the paragraph. “So let us scorn earthly things, TO BE WHOLLY GOD’S.  I am not saying that we should leave them absolutely, because, when we are already living an honest and regulated life, WE ONLY NEED TO CHANGE OUR HEARTS DEPTH IN LOVING, and we shall do nearly the same things we were doing. For God does not reverse the conditions of men, nor the responsibilities which He Himself has given them, but we, to serve God, do what we were doing to serve and please the world, and to satisfy ourselves.  There would be only this difference, that instead of being devoured by our pride, by our overbearing passions and by malicious criticism of the world, WE SHALL ACT INSTEAD WITH LIBERTY, COURAGE, AND HOPE IN GOD.”
        Following the Lamb wherever He goes does not mean that we dash across the country, escaping all of our responsibilities.  MUCH OF THIS FOLLOWING IS INWARD!  We continue with the normal duties which He has given us to do, but with an attitude of constant surrender to His will, that HE be first and foremost in us at all times.  We do not take our religious stance and insist that God do things in our way, in our timetable, according as to how we feel His Word should be fulfilled.  But unreservedly we remain in a state of WILLINGNESS for His purpose to be consummated in us, through us, according to His wisdom’s rare design, and all to His glory and praise.
        “Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed You.  And He said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that has left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Luke 18:28-30).
        It is true, there are times when He will test us as to our commitment to Him, and there is a literal forsaking― yielding up our all.  But most of the time this is INWARD― upon the altar of our heart everything remains OFFERED UP, so that whatever possessions we have, they do not possess us.  Paul wrote, “As having nothing, yet possessing all things.” (2 Cor. 6:10).  And when INWARDLY all is surrendered, it matters little if He requires an outward expression of this, or not.  Relinquishment is an attitude of the heart, and when all is LOOSED WITHIN there will be no exterior grasping.
        “And when he (the shepherd) puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice .of strangers.” (John 10:4-5).
        Now we have an allegory, with the shepherd, and the stranger.  In a sense we have them both within.  The Shepherd is THE VOICE OF THE CHRIST WITHIN.  The stranger is the voice of the carnal mind― and by extension, could be called the voice of “religion.” I dare say, our spiritual maturity is evidenced by the “voice” to which we hearken and follow.  God is Spirit and “There is a spirit He contacts us through our spirit.  Job 32:8 tells us, in man: and the inspiration (in-breathing) of the Almighty gives them understanding.” How we yearn for more and more of that DIVINE IN-BREATHING.  Far too long we have relied on the proper religious atmosphere for our inspiration.  And, being influenced by these exterior conditions, we were often vulnerable to the voice of the stranger― religious creed and dogma, traditions of men, reasonings of the carnal mind― and we followed them into bondage, fenced in dry pastures of type and shadow― without His life.
        But, praise God, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and THEY FOLLOW ME.” (John 10:27).  Wheverver He goes― into “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that they might be filled with all the fulness of God.,, (Eph. 3:19).  How precious are His leadings!  By His grace let us go on to perfection!

  _________________________________________________                              
(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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The Spirit of the Word
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”     Jesus
                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


Return to “Letters of Truth (2)”                                Quick Return Home Page

“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 26

Reserved─By the Grace of God

“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. If by grace, then it is no more of works.” (Rom. 11:5-6)

        One of the precious truths which shines its light upon our pathway, is that God has a firstfruits─ a remnant─ a called out election of grace.  While ultimately, “IN Christ shall all be made alive,” yet it is “Every man in his own order,” (I Cor. 15:22-23), and right now He says “Fear not, LITTLE FLOCK; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32).  While men seek to fill large stadiums, great auditoriums, and revel in their numbers, (and we do thank the Lord for whatever good that is accomplished), yet God is sovereignly fulfilling His own purpose of drawing to Himself His special remnant, saying, “I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jer. 3:14).  And in these apprehended ones, He is working a profound work of grace─ changing us from glory to glory into His own likeness and image.  And for all our separatedness, each of us standing in our own place, we find that there is a unique oneness because the work He is doing within is being wrought in us all.  It is spoken of in Rev. 14:4, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  These were redeemed from among men, being THE FIRSTFRUITS unto God and to the Lamb.”

        “It was nothing you could or did achieve, it was GOD’S GIFT OF GRACE which saved you.  No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God.  The fact is that what we are we owe to the HAND OF GOD UPON US.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do.” (Eph. 2:8-10, Phillips).

        The subject is GRACE─ the grace of God which works in us effectively to bring us into the fulness of our redemption.  It is grace which is totally opposite of all self-effort.  It is an amazing thing to see how God, in His unfathomable mercy and love, is able to lead on, imparting a deeper understanding of truths which we never dreamed possible before He shed His light upon them.  Grace means you are not doing it, but it is God all the way.
        Paul taught more about the grace of God than any others recorded, making it clear that there is no mixture, if it is grace, it is no more works; if it is works, then it is not grace; it is one or the other, but not both.  Then, to delve right into the heart of the matter, we find it most interesting that he uses the record of Elijah for AN EXAMPLE OF GRACE.  He tells us of how Elijah prayed, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, and digged down Your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” (Rom. 11:3).
        Let us tell it in today’s scenario: We have heard the call to come out of the world─ “Come out from among them, and be separate says the Lord, and touch not the unclean: and I will receive you.” (2 Cor. 6:17). Yet while the crowd was surging one way, God was drawing you in a far different way, causing you to be totally misunderstood by the world, and even by many in the religious crowd.  They are involved in what to you is UNCLEAN, on a sub-Christ level, not anointed by the Spirit, it is a projection out of the soulish realm, a personality massaging, building a kingdom for man.  And so you identify with Elijah in all of this─ it is religious confusion, it is devoid of life, filled with flesh works, and I/we are left ALONE, a misfit.
        Then Paul speaks of an appraisal of God’s answer to all of this.  HERE IS THE BOTTOM LINE, this is how things really stand─ verse 4, “But what says the answer of God unto him?  I HAVE RESERVED TO MYSELF SEVEN THOUSAND MEN who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.”
        First of all, note that God says, “I have reserved unto Myself…” All of this is UNTO HIM, for His purpose, fulfilling His sovereign plan.  When God reserves UNTO HIMSELF it is because He has a vital interest in those whom He has reserved to Himself.  It is not a work to build a great name for some man, but that His own name might be exalted.  We are being gathered together UNTO HIM.  It is a re-focusing of attention, away from the world, away from evil, away from the slain prophets, away from the broken altars, that we might SEE and be joined unto Him.  One could easily describe all of this in present day religious involvements.  We know how they slay the prophets with their character assassinations, if you do not believe as they say, they dub you as being part of a false cult.  We see the altars of consecration broken down, and worship is replaced with rock-and-roll music with a jazz beat.  It appeals to the flesh, but does little to bring one into an awareness of His presence.  You desire to glorify the Lord, and they parade the flesh, and stroke one another’s ego with their self-centered accolades.
        But God answers back to Elijah, and to us of today, “I know all about these ways of men, but I do not want you to think upon slain prophets, the broken altars, etc. not even upon your own aloneness.  Let there be a re-focusing of attention, and be reminded, I am still in control.  I have done something that reveals MY GRACE in a manner you have not even considered─ SEE ME!”
        “WHAT SAYS THE ANSWER OF GOD?” Consolations from men have their place, and sharing fellowship with others of like precious faith can be very stimulating.  What we hear from others can confirm to us what He is saying, or, it may be that they plant a seed-thought which in due time God quickens to you.  But there are times when we need A DIRECT ANSWER FROM THE THRONE.  We want more than religious cliches, and trite phrases, we want far more than just some man’s interpretation of doctrinal issues.  We sincerely want THE ANSWER OF GOD─ what does HE say about all of today’s processings?  How does He respond to the deep inner cry of the heart?
        Elijah’s complaint: “I am left alone, and they seek my life.” But God’s answer comes ringing back to him, “NO WAY, you are not alone, BECAUSE I HAVE RESERVED UNTO MYSELF SEVEN THOUSAND.” In another place Paul clearly states, “The foundation of the Lord stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are His.” (2 Tim. 2:19).
        It was GOD’S DECISION to favor, TO GRACE seven thousand, thus excluding them from the evil of idolatry of that day.  It had nothing to do with their faith, or that they were more devout, etc.  God did not say that He went through the camp and found a godly man here, and another over there, and He counted out to Himself seven thousand worthies.  It does not say that!  Rather, by His sovereign grace He apprehends unto Himself by divine selection, drawing to Himself those whom HE KEPT from bowing their knee to Baal.  You see, beloved friend, we are not any better than all those around US. We all are of the same lump─ same raw material, same humanity realm.  “Has not the Potter power over the clay, OF THE SAME LUMP to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” (Rom. 9:21).  “We also are men of like passions.” (Acts 14:15).  In fact, Paul also writes, “God has concluded them ALL IN UNBELIEF, that He might have mercy upon all.” (Rom. 11:32).  God shuts them all up together─ Israel, and all the nations among whom they were scattered.  Nothing left for anyone to brag about─ all are in unbelief, and then in His time He reveals HIS GRACE to each one.
        “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” (Isa. 53:6).  Yet HE RESERVES SOME from being swallowed up in these iniquities of man.  He reserves some from being given over to idolatry, not by virtue of their piety, but because of HIS GRACE.  “But Noah found GRACE in the eyes of the Lord.” (Gen. 6:8).  It was grace that gave Noah the know­how to build an ark.  There was no way for Noah to have known, apart from God, that there would even be a need for an ark.  There was no previous act to follow─ no precedent for such an undertaking.  But GOD GRACED HIM!

GRACE ALWAYS INITIATES, NEVER FOLLOWS.  Grace is not a result, but a CAUSE!

        God is not obligated to bless us.  Grace is not obligated, but freely gives because it is the nature, THE CHARACTER OF GRACE, to unconditionally give.  Furthermore, grace is not partial, it is PURPOSEFUL.  Ultimately grace will favor every man, but grace does so according to the purpose of God.  If we understood more of God’s purpose, we would not get so up-tight about many things.  All is being wrought “according to HIS PURPOSE, as He works all things after the counsel of His own will.” (Eph. 1:11).
        So, in the outworking of His plan, God says, “I HAVE RESERVED.” The Greek word used here is “kataleipo.” Kata─ down; and leipo─ to leave.  Combined we have “to leave down, or behind, thus, to reserve unto oneself.” All of mankind is rushing headlong into the pursuit of self, BUT HE HOLDS OUT A REMNANT, HE LEAVES BEHIND AN ELECTION OF GRACE, a people that are reserved to walk His way.  Only as God awakens in us a desire for Him, can we respond to follow His leading.  Truly it is the miracle-working of His grace that while others dash headlong into the things of the world, yet HE HOLDS SOME OUT─ for He reserves to Himself a people in whom He will work the wonders of transformation─ firstfruits of a new creation species that will be to His glory and praise.
        The Old Testament record gives: “I HAVE LEFT Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18).
        “I have left…”  “I have reserved…” I have retained a people who have not gone after the idols of the heathen, they remain separated unto Me.  The prophet said it well, “Except the Lord of hosts HAD LEFT US a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isa. 1:9).  Why weren’t we all wiped out?  Because GOD CHOSE TO GRACE A REMNANT.  Not because of any merits found in man, but because of His own sovereign working and plan.  “It is OF THE LORD’S MERCIES that we are not consumed, because HIS COMPASSIONS FAIL NOT.  They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23).
        When Abraham and Sarah were dwelling in Gerar for a time, Abraham conspired with Sarah to say that she was his sister, hoping that this would prevent the men of Gerar from killing him, so they could have Sarah.  And with this misrepresentation, the king sent for her.  That night in a dream God came to Abimelech, and said, “You are but a dead man, for the woman which you have taken; for she is a man’s wife.” Immediately Abimelech began to plead his cause with the Lord, that he was innocent of any deliberate wrongdoing.  “And God said unto him in a dream, Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart; FOR I ALSO WITHHELD YOU FROM SINNING AGAINST ME: THEREFORE I DID NOT LET (suffered) YOU TOUCH HER.” (Gen. 20:3, 6).  Absolutely amazing!  Here is God’s grace in action!  God withheld the king from sinning.  “I did not let you touch her.” Suffered (let)─ the Hebrew word here is “nathan” meaning─ TO GIVE.  Thus God said to the king, I didn’t give you over to the deed, I GAVE YOU TO THE KEEPING─ kept by the grace of God.
        How little do we know of the countless times we have been GRACED BY GOD, kept from doing wrong because HE WAS RESERVING US UNTO HIMSELF.  For sure, when desire and opportunity meet, man certainly is in a precarious place-­and were it not for the grace of God, giving us over to THE KEEPING, who knows what we might have done.  How awesome are the words, “I WITHHELD YOU FROM SINNING AGAINST ME.”
        Jacob was discussing things, and said to Rachel and Leah, his wives, “You know that with all my power I have served your father.  And your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; BUT GOD SUFFERED HIM NOT TO HURT ME.” (Gen. 31:6-7).  The processing was in God’s control, and God did not GIVE Jacob over to be hurt by Laban.  All the restraints were HIS hand, and into the situation comes the GRACE OF GOD, for only as it furthered the plan of God, could things happen to those whom God had apprehended.  “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You: the remainder of wrath shall You restrain.” (Psalm 76:10).  GRACE orchestrates the events so that they bring, glory to God, and are ultimately used for the good of mankind.
        Take Job for an example: “The Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not put forth your hand on him. – Behold, he is in your hand, BUT SAVE HIS LIFE.” (Job 1:12, 2:6).  Thus far, and no farther, because God has marked out the boundaries, and all must proceed as He has PURPOSED.

When God opens a door, none can close it.
When God closes a door, none can open it.

        “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: But GOD IS FAITHFUL, who will not suffer you to be tempted (tested) above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13).
        GOD IS FAITHFUL, His grace does much more abound, and He will not give you over to suffering beyond the point where you can bear it.  In mercy He will (Amplified says) “also provide a way out – the means of escape to a landing place – that you may be capable and strong and powerful patiently to bear up under it.” That is the marvelous working of the grace of God, for “I HAVE RESERVED UNTO MYSELF,” all these that are graced by My special care.
        God had spoken to Jacob to “go up to Bethel,” and so Jacob promptly set out to do so.  “And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.” (Gen. 35:5).  It was not some reputation of how fiercesome these sons of Jacob were, nor how valiantly they could fight─ but it was THE TERROR OF GOD which held them in restraint─ Jacob and all his family were BEING GRACED BY GOD, thus their adversaries were held in check.  Likewise in this day, we can be KEPT from pursuit, because we are kept by GOD.
    David, and his band of men, had served as a protecting wall for Nabal, so that the marauding bands could not steal Nabal’s sheep, and so one day David sent ten of his young men to Nabal to see what he would give them as a thank you gift for their kindness toward him.  Nabal refused to offer any thing.  Then David was ready to avenge himself, until Nabal’s wife, Abigail, came with a special present, and some Godly counsel.  And after his temper cooled, David said to Abigail, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, which has kept me back FROM HURTING YOU.” (1 Sam. 25:34).  Yes, God used the wife of Nabal, but IT WAS GOD CONTROLLING the situation─ it was GRACE IN ACTION, reserving, keeping, lest David would do things he later regretted.
        “I the Lord have called you in righteousness, and WILL HOLD YOUR HAND, AND WILL KEEP YOU.” (Isa. 42:6).  The reservations are on─ they are presently holding your hand, keeping you, strengthening you, protecting you, and with great love working all things together into your good, and for His praise.
        “Except the Lord KEEP the city, the watchman stays awakes in vain.” (Ps.127:1)
        “He will not suffer your foot to be moved: He that keeps you will not slumber.” (Ps. 121:3).  The watchman may fall asleep, and awaken too late to sound a warning, but our KEEPER will not slumber.  Situations come along and by the time we are aware of what is happening, it is too late to change or modify the events.  So we cry out for God’s mercy, and discover that HIS GRACE WAS RESERVING US right through all the circumstances
        Our prayer is surely expressed by the Psalmist, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.  Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.” (Ps. 141:3-4).  Thank God for His grace that keeps us from saying what we ought not to say.  Thank God that HE HOLDS US from becoming involved with the men that work iniquity.  We would not eat of their dainties, i.e. not experience their evil involvements.  Thank God that HE IS RESERVING HIS FIRSTFRUITS, no matter how much sin abounds.
        I dare say, the prayer─ “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” (Matt. 6:13), is a prayer which emphasizes our weakness, and we are telling God that without His grace, we fall.  For, I dare say, IF He removes the restraints, we do what comes naturally─ “the flesh lusts against the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:17).  Whether prompted by the carnal mind, or by the oppressive spirits of the world that solicit us to do evil.  Thank God, therefore, for the promise of God, that we shall be “KEPT by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed…”(1 Peter 1:5).
        Truly, “The Lord KNOWS HOW to deliver the godly out of temptation, and (THE LORD KNOWS HOW) to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” (2 Peter 2:9).
        Punished─ kolazo─ to restrain, TO PRUNE, so as to bring about a change, correction in behavior.  Grace is overwhelmingly evidenced in His judgments.  Praise God, HE KNOWS HOW to keep us out of trouble, and reserve us unto His day of glory.  But, I dare say, He also knows how to keep certain people up to their necks in trouble, while He chastens and subdues the will that is so strongly set to do its own thing.  THE PRUNINGS OF GOD are also used to reveal more of His grace, for even in all of this, people are upheld by His mercy, else they would not be able to survive the process that He appoints for them.  What a mighty God, a GOD OF GRACE, we serve!
        The TRIUMPH OF GRACE is certainly revealed in Jeremiah 50:20.  “In those days, and in that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and for the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: FOR I WILL PARDON WHOM I RESERVE.” How marvelous!
        The iniquity of Israel, and the sins of Judah, almost defy our imagination.  God once told them, “Sodom your sister has not done, she nor her daughters as you have done.” (Ezekiel 16:48).  Yet God promises a day of restoration for all Israel, as well as for Sodom and Gomorrah.  Yes, the judgments will be severe─ but GRACE WILL FORGIVE, and out of every vessel that is marred in the hand of the Potter, He will make of it again a vessel as pleases Him.  Every one reserved unto the day of judgment will also be pardoned by God, as His grace reaches out to every man, and Calvary’s triumph is fully revealed.  GRACE does not keep man for an ultimate eternal torment, nor for a day of annihilation, but grace holds till the day of correction into His righteousness.  RESERVED UNTO SALVATION─ ONLY GRACE CAN DO THAT!
        “They shall all know Me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:3).  So all-inclusive is this working, that we let it stand on its own promise.  ALL FORGIVEN─ so declares His grace.
        Now, men often try to contrast grace and law, forgetting that it was GRACE THAT GAVE THE LAW to help preserve until the better, the Saviour, came to bring life.  The law “was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come.” (Gal. 3:19).  “The law was given by Moses, but Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17).  The law established the death penalty, and served as a restraint.  But GRACE establishes the LIFE PRINCIPLE, and transforms and makes us into a new creation species which cannot sin.
        This, too, we have observed, that we each have our own special GRACES from God.  “What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did receive it, why do you glory (or boast), as if you had not received it?” (I Cor. 4:7). If you have any gift, ability, blessing, you received it not because of any, merit, but simply because GOD GRACED YOU.  So, Paul writes, why do you act as if it was always yours, and not something given to you?  We acknowledge that we are what we are by the grace of God and without Him we are nothing.
        So, Paul writes, “For I would that all men were even as I myself (single).  But every man has his PROPER GIFT (charisma, GRACE) of God, one after this manner, another after that.” (1 Cor. 4:7).  Paul received grace to live his life, AND SO DO WE ALSO.  If I do not have your gift of grace, I cannot do what you do.  We all have our individual graces from Him, that we might do what HE calls us to do.  But we are not to compare our gifts and graces, to glory in what we have, and another does not have.  TO OUR OWN MASTER we are accountable, and we do all to His glory and praise.  We learn to be at peace with our calling in Him, for we realize it is uniquely ours by His grace.  Thus grace brings us into rest─ no more striving to emulate another, but we would yield to His inworking, to become what He purposes us to become.
        “I do not frustrate (belittle, think down, disannul) the grace of God.” (Gal. 2:21).  Whatever He has done in your life, do not think it “small” because of what you have seen Him do in another.  There is no great, or small, in the operations of His grace, but we are being fitted into His body in just the right proportion as He has purposed for us, and HE looks upon His handiwork in us, and says, “a vessel in Whom I am well-pleased.”
        WE ARE GRACED, we are RESERVED, not to run the way of the world, nor to bow down to Baal (religious icons of our day), nor are we graced to yet remain entangled in religious Babylon. (Though in His sovereign working some are led to remain in the religious systems of our day, for reasons of His purpose.) But we are reserved, graced, to become expressions of His life.  We are called to follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  HE has A REMNANT, AN ELECTION, A FIRSTFRUITS, which are graced to be conformed to His image.

An election of grace.  What a statement is this?
He reserves to Himself, lest the idols you kiss.
There’s no merit in man, but we glory in Him,
Were it not for His grace, hope, and vision, would dim.
But you’re kept by His power, and reserved for His day,
‘Tis the marvel of grace that you walk in His way. Amen.

____________________________________________                              
(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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The Spirit of the Word
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”     Jesus
                                                                    “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”     Paul


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“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 27

Responsibility of the Vision

“O Timothy, KEEP that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith.”
(1 Timothy 6:20-21).

“That good thing which was committed unto you KEEP by the holy Spirit which dwells in us.” (2 Timothy 1:14).

        It is precious to ponder the truths of His grace, to know that it is “GOD which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” – “Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” And we know it is GOD ALL THE WAY!  Yet there is another side to all this─ once we have truly given pre-eminence to our Lord and Saviour─ and it is the fact that there is a responsibility on our part.  Our action does not precede His working, nor does it disannul God’s working, but it is our obedient following, once He has laid hold of us, having apprehended us for His kingdom.
        We are admonished: “GIVE DILIGENCE to make your calling and election sure.” (2 Peter 1:10).  You do not call yourself.  “No man takes this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God.” (Heb.5:4). Neither do you elect yourself.  “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen (elected) you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit…” (John 15:16).  It is all the sovereign mercy and grace of God that He reaches out and places His hand upon your life, to say, “I take you NOW…” And, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw him.” (John 6:44) You may drag your heels and resist, and like Saul find that “it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.” (Acts 9:5).  Or, you may say with Song of Solomon 1:4, “Draw me, we will run after You.” But in either case, YOU WILL COME!
        Methinks it is wise to say, “Lord, You draw me, and I WILL RUN AFTER YOU.  As fast as you reveal Your will unto me, I shall accept the responsibility to give obedience, and not my will, but Yours, be done.” For we are fully persuaded that our God is such a GOD OF LOVE that He does not add one more stripe to your chastening than is essential for your growth and development in Him.  He is bringing you the fastest and easiest way possible for you, and still accomplish the intense, quality work that must be done within, in order to produce the character which He would bring forth in you.
        Now, that good thing which He has imparted to you, that specific revelation which only God can give, though He may have confirmed it through other men, must be KEPT by the same Spirit which imparted it to you.  Truly, it is only by His enablement that we are able to remain steadfast in the faith of God.
        KEEP─ the Greek word is “phulasso”, it is a military term, TO KEEP GUARD, watch, to keep from being snatched away, TO KEEP FROM BEING VIOLATED, thus, to preserve safe and unimpaired.
        Obviously this becomes quite a responsibility.  I fear that far too often the seed has been planted, but “the fowls of the air devoured it.” (Luke 8:5).  Of course there is a positive side to this also, for NO WORD OF GOD IS VOID OF POWER, and if some “fowl of the air” devours that Word, it will work in that “fowl”, and still accomplish a change.  The LIFE is in the SEED, and thus a victory is assured, regardless of where that seed is.  But the challenge is, when HE PLACED A WORD WITHIN, keep it─ guard it, lest it be snatched away, or lest it be smothered by the cares of this life, and is not free to bring its fruit to perfection.
        Particularly also, we note the definition, KEEP FROM BEING VIOLATED.  There is much in the news these days of “violation.” We need to keep our vision pure, lest it be raped by all the doctrines and teachings of man.  A strong delusion of psychic aberration these days would snare us into the soulish realm of human mentality, rather than that flowing of the pure water of the Spirit of His life from the Christ within.  We are not to be living out of the vision of our mind, but out of the VISION OF OUR SPIRIT.  We would cast down imaginations, and every high thing that EXALTS ITSELF against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.  You may call the “old delusion” by any new name that man wants to place on it─ new age, new revelation, new concepts for a modern day, or whatever─ but it is not true, it is a violation─ a raping of the truth of God, and with all our being we need to BE ON GUARD.  Any time we approach the truth through the MENTAL REALM alone, and NOT BY THE SPIRIT, we are in danger of violating that truth─ and sin lies at the door.
        “KEEP THAT (the vision, deposit of truth) WHICH IS COMMITTED TO TRY TRUST.”
        The Greek word is “parakatatheke” meaning─ to put down alongside of some one, give a deposit, or a sacred trust.  In essence, God is saying, “I am going to place within your heart a deposit of truth and it is your personal responsibility to KEEP IT.  This takes us right back to the very beginning, when “The Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and TO KEEP IT.” (Genesis 2:15).  But he failed to be on guard, to WATCH against an intrusion.  So the adversary came in and VIOLATED it.  And so the end returns to the beginning, and we are back to the original charge to keep that which has been committed to our trust.  Hold the vision in its pristine purity until God brings it to fulfillment!  For do remember, He is seeking “─a godly seed.  Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.” (Malachi 2:15).
        One of the saddest statements is in John 2:24-25, “But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.” They were not prepared to receive Him, He dare not give Himself to them at that time, lest they would pervert and violate the truth.  What a commentary on the natural man.
        But in his writing to Timothy, Paul says, “Something has been committed to you, NOW KEEP IT.” God has been apprehending a people, processing them by the disciplines and vicissitudes of earthly living, and then placing within them a vision─ a deposit of truth─ and now He says, “KEEP IT, hold it as a sacred trust, let it grow and develop and come to its fruition to My glory and praise.” HE HAS GIVEN US (you) SO MUCH, guard it very carefully.
        Avoiding profane and vain babblings.  Avoid, “ektrepo” meaning: to turn off from, disassociate; indicating a deliberate-action to avoid a meeting so that no contact is made.
        Here an explanation is required.  It is NOT, I repeat, NOT, as written in Jude 19, “They who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” Paul is not writing to Timothy about a self-induced separation as people split and divide and form sects and factions of their own choosing.  True, there are God-wrought separations, when GOD sets you apart from the world, from religious Babylon, that He might SET YOU APART UNTO HIMSELF, to become His peculiar treasure.  This is a dual separation, from the world, and then UNTO HIM, heavy emphasis upon the UNTO, for He calls us unto Himself.  But this AVOIDANCE─ this disassociation of which Paul writes, is NOT FROM OUR BRETHREN, but is qualified as AVOIDING PROFANE AND VAIN BABBLINGS.  There giving no place to the vain babblings is to be a conscious turning from which are all about us these days.  We must be separated unto the vision!

Profane─ bebelos, meaning: unhallowed, common, thus, devoid of godliness.
Vain babblings─ kenophonia, literally, EMPTY SOUNDS, fruitless discussion,
rambling chatter and speaking that does not edify.

        How we are wearied of the “religious EMPTY SOUNDS” these days, that do not edify or nourish the vision within us, but only turn one’s attention away from God, to be placed upon man, his ministry, his program, his personal kingdom.  Repetitive sermonizing that repeats tradition and commandments of men over and over again.  Vain speculations on things they know not, giving forth platitudes and cliches which appeal to the lusts of the flesh.  AVOID THESE EMPTY SOUNDS lest they begin to defile your vision.  This gives a new meaning to the proverb, “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” (Prov. 27:15).  The strange woman, known as the harlot Babylon, will condemn and nag and drip away until you are weary and agitated, distressed in your spirit, and so befuddled you might even find yourself questioning if the vision you received from God is true. it is time that we gather our garments about us, gird up the loins of our mind and set our affection on things above, and hold fast to the vision of God.
        Also, avoid “opposition of science falsely so called.” The Greek word used here for “science” is “gnosis” meaning: knowledge.  There was a particular knowledge to which Paul made reference.  Gnosis was the characteristic word of the Gnostic school.  They claimed a superior knowledge peculiar to an intellectual caste.  Philosophic insight, as opposed to faith.  They would argue their propositions only from an intellectual standpoint, out of the carnal mind, being devoid of revelation, and a God-given insight into the truth which springs out of the Spirit.  And so Paul writes, “which some professing have erred concerning the faith.”
        Professing─ the Greek word literally means: to announce, to assert some thing respecting oneself.  Far too much of this INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE is given over to SELF-EXALTATION, and has nothing to do with THE FAITH/VISION.  With a superior attitude, they preach “themselves,” I said, I did, I think, I, I, I. “He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory.” (John 7:18).  How we need to AVOID THIS SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE APPROACH.  “I have a vision far beyond all you people, let ME teach you, let ME show you the way, you just attend all MY classes and follow ME, and I will bring you into deep truth.” Beloved, flee that realm like it was the plague, else it will defile your vision, and pollute the truth deposited within you.  It produces an elitism that mars the vision, and turns into a self-centered cult of egoism.
        So the challenge: “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” (1 Timothy 3:9).  “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:14).  And all of this HOLDING─ KEEPING─ is done by the power of the indwelling Christ. May the Lord truly help us to learn to live out of His indwelling Spirit, not just out of the intellectual reasonings of the mind.  A beautiful way to illustrate this is found in the record of Noah and the dove.  “He sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground.  But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark.” (Gen. 8:8-9).  So also we allow our spirit to DISCERN FOR US, and if there is REST to be found, well and good, but if there is NO PEACE IN OUR SPIRIT, then as the dove returned into the ark, so also we withdraw into ourselves, to wait for His guidance.  There is nothing to be said, nothing to be done, without the PEACE OF HIS SPIRIT.  You will not share your vision with others, when you sense they are not ready to receive it.  You will not receive what another tries to tell you, if there is no inner witness of life to your spirit.  It is when there is a sense of rest─ peace─ oneness of spirit, that you find you can freely share, and there is a refreshing flow of His life heart to heart.
        “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may BE OF GOD, and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7).  How completely He is stripping us, so that we realize that “I can of mine own self do nothing.” There will be tremendous manifestations of HIS POWER in the days to come, but let it be through purified vessels, so that all glory and praise is given to our God.  How dare we take the vision and write it out in a book, and SELL IT, as if it were “our vision” and “to be sold.” When it is God’s truth imparted into your heart, don’t place your stamp on it, as if it were your possession to be dispensed with as you please, to profit your flesh, build your kingdom.  It is not yours!  We are what we are by the grace of God, there is no credit to be given to the flesh.  So Paul writes, “I am not a peddler of God’s message, like the most of them, but like a man of sincerity, like a man that is sent from God and living in His presence, in union with Christ I speak His message.” (2 Cor. 2:17, Williams Trans.)
        HIS IS THE POWER!  THE LIFE IS IN THE SEED!  It will fulfill itself when the time is ripe for it.  Many God-given visions have been violated when some man wanted to fulfill the vision prematurely.  They try to claim some fulfillment that is not there─ so they devise doctrines of “claiming it by faith,” “positive confessions,” etc.  And they announce their arrival, when actually they are but IN THE PROCESS of its growing and have a long way to go. Manipulations of speech do not fulfill visions.  “That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life,” (1 John 1:1) is the true witness.  Share out of the measure of reality that you have, and then KEEP─ GUARD IN YOUR HEART the vision He has given you of that which is yet to be.
        “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knows not how.  For the earth brings forth of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.  But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” (Mark 4:26-29).
        What a beautiful parable.  The life is in the seed, yet it draws forth from the ground.  There is an on-going relinquishment of the soil, that the new life may develop.  We are the EARTHEN vessel, the vision is IN US, and in the measure that we “die daily,” He increases to become our everything.  So the “good ground did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.” (Mark 4:8).  Now, we could rightly say that THE SEED OF LIFE IS HIS, and we’re the earth that receives Him.  Only in the measure that we yield ourselves up to Him─ our self-life decreasing, counted as nothing but dung (fertilizer), shall we find an increase in the expression of His new life.  You cannot force His growth within, but you can YIELD TO HIM─ and discover that “We are God’s husbandry,” (1 Cor. 3:9), and He arranges for the processings, seasons of cold, seasons of heat, cycles of rain, and cycles of dryness─ yet somehow there is a growth taking place which redounds to His praise.  What a work of grace! Significant that this is the one parable that also teaches for quantity.  Mostly the Word emphasizes QUALITY─ but the quality is assured in this parable, because it is in the SEED.  Whether it is reproduced in but one kernel, or in a hundred bushel, the quality is the same, ALL OF HIS LIFE.  Yet there will be those who have so relinquished themselves to Him, in such utter abandonment that they will bring forth to the maximum potential of an hundredfold.
        We have seen those who certainly had the life of Christ in them, and there was the potential for great manifestations of HIS LIFE, but the quantity was limited because there was much self that yet remained to be crucified.  So there is the challenge, in keeping the vision, in holding in trust the SEED which He has placed within, to surrender ourselves so completely to Him that He might bring forth the fullest expression which He has purposed for our life.  For truly, in divine restoration, every creature is to be brought into the fullest potential for which he was created.  When God is ALL IN ALL, there can be no lack─ no diminished quantity.  But what a deep inworking of His judgments might be required in us, until we do surrender totally to Him, that He might fill us with Himself.
        “We dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Cor. 10:12).  The only Standard we have is CHRIST.  We measure to Him!  There is no competing of vessel against vessel, for we all are to be filled to overflowing with Him.  A thimble, a gallon bucket, or a huge barrel, when all are submerged into the ocean they all can hold no more─ thus is it all HIS LIFE!  When we are totally immersed into Christ, we’ll be brought to the maximum for which we were created.  Thus we sing the beautiful chorus:

“O to be filled with His fulness, O to be lost in His love,
 O to know Jesus my Saviour, O to be found in God.” Amen!

        In the matter, however, of positions and callings to be filled, these are given according to the purpose of God for each life.  Not all are called to be apostles, or prophets, or teachers, etc.  But even our callings are not of a competitive nature, each one is to express Him.  There are callings upon individuals, purposes for nations, plans for races, and we all do well to respond to His calling for our life, not try to fill another man’s walk.
        Truly, we are to find our life and identity in Christ. “We are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). – “That they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.”
(2 Cor. 5:15).
        In newness of life, to LIVE UNTO HIM, this is highly essential if we are to KEEP that which is committed to our trust.  Furthermore, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear unto all.  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save thyself, and them that hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:14-16).
        Meditate─ literally, to attend to carefully, to practice and ponder upon.  Let THE VISION fill your thoughts.  You cannot spend hours filling your mind with the trash of this world, and still be meditating on these things.  Once God told Israel, “Therefore shall you lay up these words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.  And you shall teach your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deut. 11:18-19).  THAT IS MEDITATING UPON THESE THINGS!  For you keep Him always before you.  “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:25).  It becomes a LIFESTYLE that will set you apart from the world, and unto Him.
        “Give thyself wholly to them.” These five words are contained in two Greek words─ “en eimi” meaning: TO BE IN.  Be constantly in His truth till it becomes your lifestyle.  It’s the same word used in Luke 1:38, where Mary said unto the messenger, “BE it unto me according to Your word.” Let it just BE. Doesn’t say strive in them, or work to get in─ but give yourself into a STATE OF BEING─ to live and breathe the vision He has imparted to you.
        “That your profiting may appear unto all.” Profiting─ “prokopen” meaning: TO CUT FORWARD, literally, to blaze a trail, make a pioneer advance.  When you GIVE YOURSELF TOTALLY TO THE WAY OF THE LORD, you will be blazing out a trail for others to follow─ being an EXAMPLE before them.  That is part of the responsibility of receiving the vision.  People wonder why our younger generation seems to be so lost─ aimlessly wandering without any goals, it is because their parents have not BLAZED A “WALK WITH GOD” TRAIL before them, to set the example of a lifestyle that is both pleasing unto God, and a blessing to those who walk therein.  What a challenge before us today!
        “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine.” Note the sequence, our own individual state of being comes first, before our teaching of it. It must be an INWORKING REVELATION.  Our LIVING OF TRUTH serves well for our basis of teaching these things.  Ah, to say, “do as I LIVE,” is a lot more convincing than “do as I say.” No wonder we are to be “buried with Him,” and then to rise and WALK IN THE NEWNESS OF LIFE─ that in Him we might BE.
        “For in doing this you shall both save thyself, and them that hear you.” This “save thyself” is not in reference to the salvation of the sinner, for this we have BY HIS GRACE.  Nor does it mean our preservation in salvation, for we are KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD.  But the context reveals that we will be saved from the teaching of those who “depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Tim. 4:1).
        The PURITY OF OUR VISION in its wholesomeness is part of our responsibility in receiving the vision.  We are not to try and sew the new cloth (vision) into the old garment of tradition and doctrines of men.  We are not to try and pour the new wine into the old bottles. (see Luke 5:36-38).  Beloved, it is a solemn charge that we are not to take our “deposit of truth” which God has placed in us, and try to sew it into the Babylonish garment of the harlot religious systems of man.  If you do, you will have VIOLATED that holy thing which was committed unto you by the Lord.  To keep that which is committed to our trust means that we GUARD IT, protect it from being defiled by the world, and by the kingdom building programs of man─ but we hold it PURE BEFORE GOD, THAT HE MIGHT FULFILL THE VISION IN HIS TIME, HIS WAY.
        Paul adds a good thought in Acts 26:19, saying, “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” Disobedient, from a Greek word that literally means: not persuaded.  Ah, we need a vision that we have confidence in, are fully persuaded of, till we can also say “I KNOW WHOM I have believed, and am persuaded…” (2 Tim. 1:12) The anointing of knowing brings steadfastness.  “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:9).  And know this─ we are not called to be imitators of Christ, but TO BE PARTAKERS.  We do not fulfill the vision, HE FULFILLS US!  By bringing us into one with Himself.  The revelation─ the vision is OF HIM, and of our becoming one in Him.  Keep that which is committed unto your trust.  Amen.

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(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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“Letters of Truth” (2)

by Ray and Doris Prinzing


No. 28

THE LORD OF HOSTS IS WITH US

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.  Selah!  THE LORD OF HOSTS IS WITH US; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Ps. 46:1-3, 7).

        Paul wrote of how creation was made subject to “the bondage of corruption,” which, in his translation, J. B. Phillips descriptively refers to as, “the tyranny of change and decay.” (Rom. 8:21).  Cycle follows cycle, summer and winter, springtime and harvest, times of peace, and times of turmoil.  With every new crisis and upheaval and change, we all hasten back to the Word to quote again Hebrews 12:26-27, “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also the heaven.  And this Word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” Truly we draw much comfort from this, even as we apply it to our individual life, to know that God has for us a realm which cannot be shaken, a place of stability and victory in Him.
        There are many who feel that every SHAKING DAY AND EVENT must be a precursor to the “end time,” and we had best make sure we are prepared for the “doom day” which is upon us.  Yet as the crisis seems to pass and they have another quiet time before they are plunged again into more CHANGE, they begin to realize in spite of the changes “the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6)
        There are also a few who view all changes as the birth pangs of a new move of God, and are eager to rise up and be foremost among those who lead the way into new realms of glory.  Methinks this latter view is better than the former.  To see positively the advance of the purposes of God, rather than the doom and despair of negativity.  Yet, let every man be persuaded of his own vision, and walk in the light which is shed upon his path.
        God has always raised up His key men and women to help spearhead new moves of His working─ and I am sure there are those in this generation that are so used of Him.  For years we have held high that banner, and prayed to be among those who pioneer the way into fresh truth, and the tremendous moves of His Spirit.  And while that desire has not actually diminished, it has been tempered over these past few years with an ever stronger desire to just WORSHIP THE LORD, to minister unto Him, and then to just comfort and encourage His people through all their present processings and shakings.
        We find that the term “end time” doesn’t witness much to us any more.  That we are ending one age and merging into a new age, is certain, and all the signs clearly point to this.  But that God could continue many of these workings for a long time is also possible─ therefore we would seek to keep our eyes more ON HIM, than on trying to “read the signs,” many of which man seems to have misinterpreted over the years anyway.  Religious Babylon’s preachers and teachers have certainly been scrambling these past months to bolster up their doctrines and theories, with respect to present changing events, not even taking time to apologize for all their past mistakes and erroneous conclusions.  But one fact we are thoroughly convinced of is that WHATEVER GOD PURPOSES SHALL BE FULFILLED, and so we simply desire to become ONE IN HIS WILL, then however He uses us in His great design, may it be to His glory and praise.
        Surely we need not fear “though the earth be removed…” Note the word “removed,” from the Hebrew word “mur” and literally means: to be changed.  Cold and heat, drought and floods, wind and fire, stormy seasons of all kinds sweep over the earth, constantly changing─ yet there is One who is with us through it all, and in Him we trust.  Even in our own little world, our earthen vessel, we face the tyranny of change and decay─ yet knowing that our times are in His hands, He can help us face it all with serenity.
        “Though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…” Volcanos, and earthquakes give a very literal illustration, as things erupt, and the mountain (lava) slides into the sea.  But figuratively mountains symbolize kingdoms, and the sea bespeaks the vast sea of humanity.  Amid all the disruption and upheaval we watch the kingdoms of man slip into the sea-with new kingdoms rising, and the sea surging─ and yet we need not fear.  “That the living may know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will, and sets up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17).  The more we come to know the sovereignty of God, and that HE is OVER all the nations, the less we fear the mountains falling.
        “Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled…” – “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” (Isa. 57:20).  Even the Psalmist questions, “Why do the heathen rage (riot, or tumultuously assemble), and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Ps. 2:1) There is turmoil and unrest, the masses surge together in revolt, protest, and demonstration─ sometimes positively, sometimes negatively─ yet we need not be over-anxious because of these roarings.  God continues to set the boundaries which they cannot pass over.  “He has compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.” (Job 26:10).  Thus far, and no farther!  He speaks, and the waters subside.  So also the Lord is able to work in our own lives, when it seems that “All Your waves and Your billows have gone over me.” (Psalm 42:7).  When He speaks peace within, all the turmoil and agitation quiets down, and we find our tranquility in Him.
        So the Psalmist goes on, “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered His voice, the earth melted.” (Psalm 46:6).  Stormy seasons, yes, but when HE SPEAKS it all melts right down before Him.  All the resistance, the self-hood rebellion, the hardness of heart, the carnal ego, the will of the flesh, the agitated emotions, the proud intellect, etc. it all melts as HE speaks the Word of truth, of life, of light, of eternal rightness.  So the contrast is made─ utter chaos, everything being shaken, and then we HEAR HIS VOICE, and all must come into submission before Him.
            Then we come to the next verse (7), “THE LORD OF HOSTS IS WITH US, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Hallelujah!
        Lord─ Yahweh, Jehovah, the I AM THAT I AM.  Of HOSTS─ the Hebrew word is “tsaba”, and the New Testament gives it as “Lord of Sabbath.” In the progressive revelation of the Lord, this NAME was not spoken of while Israel was in bondage in Egypt.  Nor was this name revealed while they were in the wilderness.  Not even when first coming across Jordan and being victors in Canaan.  But as the processings continue to deepen, we realize how very desperately we need a further revelation of God in our lives.  So when Israel failed in the land of promise, became divided, and in peril of being led into captivity, then does this become the Name to which the prophets instinctively turn for comfort and deliverance.
        In a word, not until we see the religious systems fail, and that the hosts of Israel can no longer help us, for they are bitterly divided and destroying one another, then do we turn to the Lord Himself, who is our HELPER.
        God has indeed led us through some very unique processings through the years, and when I say “us” I am not just referring to myself, but all of you, though perhaps I do not know you personally, and I do not know your story─ but I know you have a story─ having lived out some of this intense processing, and were we permitted to share face to face, we’d find out that though we were thousands of miles apart geographically, yet the principles He is working into us are the same, and there would be many parallels to share.  But through it all, we are being brought to the end of depending upon these religious systems of man, for they cannot supply what our inner man was searching.  Sure, we tried to live on “camp-meeting joy,” and found ourselves high and dry, for reality wasn’t in riding the crest of revival ecstasy─ indeed, the eye is not filled with the seeing of miracles, nor is the ear filled with the hearing of the testimonies of deliverance which men have experienced.  We weep with intensity of desire for His reality, “My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:2).  Thus God strips away the religious systems, and our dependency upon them, so that we might learn to find in GOD ALONE all that our heart desires.
        We read of “All the hosts of the Lord (i.e. people of Israel) went out from the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:41).  And in time they were marshaled into order.  “And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts.” (Numbers 1:52).  But for all their hosts, great numbers, (today we have our mega-churches); and for all of their prescribed order, (now some clamor for ‘early church patterns’ or designated elders, etc.); yet such does not make anyone more spiritual or righteous.  Carnality brought strife among the Israelites, and it continues to bring strife, debate, clamoring, divisions, among us today.  HOWEVER, let it be remembered, GOD IS, and must ever be sufficient for a ruined religious system, as for a ruined world, and in His time we shall see a tremendous purging, purifying, and then a restoration into the life of God.  Not to revitalize the system, but to bring life to the people.  There is need to be very careful that as God calls us out of Babylon, we do not develop an animosity towards those we came out from, but rather we pray and trust for the day when they, too, shall “hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25).  Amen!
        Note the setting and conditions that prevailed in the land of Israel, when for the first time we read the phrase “THE LORD OF HOSTS.” Israel had lived in “the promised land” for some time, with God as their Ruler through the administration of various judges that were raised up.  While the priesthood was responsible for their spiritual welfare.  But, the priests, the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas “were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord,” and did “make the Lord’s people to transgress.” (1 Sam. 2:12, 24).  Conditions had so deteriorated that these priests were a total disgrace.  In due time the Philistines came against Israel in battle, the Ark of God was taken, and both Hophni and Phinehas were slain.  When Eli heard the news he fell off his seat and broke his neck and died.  When Phinehas’ wife heard all this, she immediately went into labor and gave birth to a son, whom she named “Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel.”
        It was in the midst of all this corruption and heartache, that we find there was a man, Elkanah, that “went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto THE LORD OF HOSTS in Shiloh.” His wife, Hannah, who was barren, also went up to the house of the Lord, and in earnest prayer “She vowed a vow, and said, O LORD OF HOSTS, if You will indeed look upon the affliction of Your handmaiden, and remember me, and not forget Your handmaid, but will give unto Your handmaid a man child, then will I give him unto the Lord all the days of his life…” (I Sam. 1:11).
        There was no need to reproach her husband, “for he loved Hannah: BUT THE LORD had shut up her womb.” There was no need to ask for help, prayer, encouragement from the priests─ for that ministry was utterly corrupt.  But she prayed unto THE LORD OF HOSTS.  It was a deep heart cry, “she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard.” Poor old Eli, sitting over yonder, saw it and understood not, for he thought she was drunk.  But she answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.” It was “deep calling unto deep.” (Psalm 42:7).  The deep of her misery was calling unto the deep of God’s mercy.  The deep of her emptiness was calling unto the deep of His grace to fill the void.  The deep of her sorrow and mourning was calling to the joy of His victory.  And THE LORD OF HOSTS answered the cry of her heart, and her son Samuel was born.
        Sometime later, the elders of Israel came to Samuel, 1 Samuel 8:1-22, “Make us a king to judge us like all the other nations,” and Samuel prayed unto the Lord about it, “And the Lord said unto Samuel, – They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” Then Samuel showed them “the manner of the king that should reign over them.” It was a vivid account of how they, and their children, would become SERVANTS TO THE SYSTEM.  Especially would the king take from them “THE TENTH of your seed… THE TENTH of your sheep…” etc.  Ah, sounds much like the constant demand of the religious systems of our day TAKING THE TENTH (tithe) as they require more and more finances for their kingdom.  Yet the people insisted upon having a king, so they could be like all the other nations.  Then Saul was anointed king, “And when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.” (1 Sam. 14:52).  For their wish was to have someone strong before their eyes─ to do for them the things which God Himself had covenanted to do for them, if they would believe Him, trust in Him with all their heart.  So the people had their king, and their army, but when again the Philistines came against them, led by their champion, Goliath, they all were ready to panic.  We need not recount all of the record, but when David went out against him, he said to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to you IN THE NAME OF THE LORD OF HOSTS, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45).  What a victory resulted! it is vain to trust in men, but it is glorious to trust in Him who is THE LORD OF HOSTS.
        Who knows how much the people themselves understood what the name, THE LORD OF HOSTS, really meant.  For it has often been that man, by the Word, by the Anointing, utters a truth far beyond his own imperfect comprehension.  In fact he may even later deny the very truth he uttered, for his mind and his doctrine have not been able to keep pace with the anointing upon his spirit.  We note that Peter preached one day, “I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh…”
(Acts 2:17).  There was a mighty outpouring of the holy Spirit, and that day over three thousand people were drawn in, to believe.  Yet when we come to Acts 10: God must needs give Peter a special vision, to prepare him to go to the house of Cornelius.  He argued with God about it, and defended his stand, until the Voice came, “What God has cleansed, that call not common.” So later he tells Cornelius, “BUT GOD HAS SHOWED ME…” (verse 28) Then the truth he preached on the day of Pentecost was life within his own being─ and he understood a depth which was heretofore very hidden from his understanding.  He who declared that God would pour out His Spirit upon ALL FLESH found it hard to believe that very Word.  And we see much the same today─ we quote GOD’S WORD, and then qualify it by our own limited concepts and traditions, etc.  UNTIL God sovereignly imparts a revelation to us─ quickens us by His Spirit to believe what HE SAID!
        When first the name “THE LORD OF HOSTS” was revealed, it is well possible that Israel linked, in their minds, thoughts of earthly hosts, of the hosts of Israel.  They would number themselves, number the enemy, and pit earthly numbers against each other.  It often took some deep waters of testing and trial to turn their eyes upwards to know that HE WAS LORD OF THE HEAVENLY HOSTS that were waiting in attendance upon them.
        We note that this “name” is used but twice in the New Testament.  We read James 5:4, “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the LORD OF SABBATH.” While there was no earthly recourse, justice was perverted, corruption prevailed, no one to turn to─ yet THEIR CRY REACHED UNTO THE HIGHER COURT.
        How often has God caused circumstances to engulf people until there was no earthly recourse, none they could turn to for help.  Betimes He even strips away our dearest brothers and sisters in the Lord, so that when we get between a rock and a hard place, we cannot cry out to them to PRAY US OUT of our pain and sorrow.  How often have we asked people to BAIL US OUT of our trial─ pray us out, prophesy us out, sing and shout us out─ and while we called it a “faith and deliverance” message, much of it was simply ESCAPISM to keep from depending solely upon THE LORD OF HOSTS to help us OVERCOME.
        God arranges our testings and we need to keep our eyes on Him.  He says, “O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I WILL BE WITH YOU; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:1-3).  Note, He did not say “IF” you pass through, as though you might escape these things, but “WHEN”, for in His time we all must be tried and purged.  But there is a promise built right into the trial, WHEN YOU PASS THROUGH!  He does not mean for us to take up residence in the trial and not go on─ we are to PASS THROUGH, knowing that THE LORD OF HOSTS IS WITH US, and He will surely be our victory.
        The other reference in the New Testament is in Romans 9:27-29, “A remnant shall be saved: for He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.  As Esaias said before, Except the LORD OF SABBATH had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.”
        This quote was taken from Isaiah 1:8-9, where it says that “The daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.” Isolated, alone, cut off, but THE LORD OF HOSTS knows and He preserves “a very small remnant.” For sure we are seeing this fulfilled again in this day, as He takes them “One of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jer. 3:14).  Isolated, cut off, all alone in your corner─ but you belong to THE LORD OF HOSTS.  You are called to be a part of that remnant, the election of grace, and for all of your aloneness, you are part of a mystical corporate body─ HIS HOSTS.  He who is your LORD is not “God of a straggled few.” He is THE LORD OF HOSTS, and when He purposes to bring you through, you are ENCOMPASSED ABOUT by His heavenly array that waits in attendance upon His Word for you.
        We read about King Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:1-15, how that he sought the Lord and prospered, built towers, digged wells, had a vast host of fighting men, till his name spread far abroad, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong.  Surely we have seen men whom God has blessed this way, and their very name brings to mind the multiplied blessings of God that rest on them.  But the problem is that far too often we begin to get our eyes upon these men.  Let them counsel us, let them pray for us, let them preach the sermon, etc. for they truly are mighty men.  Isaiah lived in Uzziah’s time, which makes it very significant when we read, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw also the, Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (And the seraphims cried), Holy, holy, holy, is THE LORD OF HOSTS: the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:1,3).
        When did this vision engulf Isaiah?  When king Uzziah, and all his hosts, were no longer foremost in his view.  As long as we are prospering, digging wells, building towers, impressive exploits in our service for the Lord, we seem to get caught up in the program, and often almost forget the Lord.  But when “the king” dies─ when all the programs cease─ when our eye becomes SINGLE UNTO THE LORD, then will He reveal Himself as the LORD OF HOSTS, and we shall find IN HIM our sufficiency for every need and care.
        The king of Syria was come up against Ahaz King of Judah, “And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.” (Isaiah 7:2).  They were afraid!  A confederacy had been made against them, Syria joining with Israel, conspiring against Ahaz.  Then the Lord sent Isaiah the prophet to them with a special word and promises, and finally we come to this admonition, “Say not, a Confederacy (or, as the Hebrew reads, a conspiracy), to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear their fear, nor be afraid.  Sanctify THE LORD OF HOSTS Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.  And He shall be for a sanctuary…” (Isaiah 8:12-14).
        What a Word for this day, when we hear of all negative talk of conspiracy, and speculation on what the enemy might do.  Sanctify─ SET APART, put GOD FIRST AND FOREMOST IN YOUR THOUGHTS, and let your awe and reverence be toward Him, let Him be your SANCTUARY.  Kingdoms will rise and fall, men will scheme and plot and make their alliances against one another, BUT GOD RULES OVER IT ALL, and we need to see Him in sovereign control of all nations.

“The Lord breaks the plans of the pagans,
And frustrates mere human designs;
But the plans of the Lord last forever,
The designs of His heart for all times.”
(Ps. 33:10-11, Ferrar Fenton)

        How timeless is that precious word which Zechariah gave unto Zerubbabel, “Saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, says THE LORD OF HOSTS.” (Zech. 4:6).
        The world will boast in its might, its MASS-POWER, for they equate strength with numbers.  And many religious movements fall into this same concept, so that they use that standard to measure their success.  But God has chosen to reveal Himself in a far different equation, it is the union of A REMNANT and THE LORD OF HOSTS.  The number of His hosts remains unknown, for we are not to concentrate on “the hosts” but upon “THE LORD” who is Captain of the hosts.  Yet again we can say, as Elisha did to his servant, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” (2 Kings 6:16).
        “By My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” May we live and walk in union with Him, and then we need not fear any change that comes our way. Amen

  _________________________________________________                              
(1) Prinzing, Ray and Doris “Letters of Truth”  Boise, Idaho 83705, P.O. Box 5822


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