Given for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO, 1/23/05
"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (II Cor. 4:6).
We had many e-mails in response to last week's writing, "Fixin' the Flesh" (Link at end), and I was struck by how many people reported that they are in a spiritual "dry season" right now. It reminded me of Isaiah's observation, "Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel" (Isa. 45:15). It's a sad fact that many Christians still think God ignores them, and doesn't talk to them, but maybe more difficult to bear than that are those who have enjoyed a rich time of fellowship with God, only to come to a place where He is silent; the gates of heaven are closed tight; the phone lines cut off, and the Internet Server down and out. Been there, done that, and it's not a nice place to be if we judge it after the flesh. At times like that, my prayer is, "Catch me up to the throne, Father, and let me see what You see." This poignant imagery comes from Revelation, Chapter 12, where in symbolic language, we see a pregnant woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head (Vs. 1). John the Beloved says of this account that it is "a great and wondrous sign" in heaven (in Spirit), meaning it is NOT factual, but rather spiritual in nature. He goes on to recount that the woman "gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter" (Vs. 5). Another symbol, "an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads" (Vs. 3), appeared and was preparing to devour the child. God provided him a thrilling rescue from man's ancient foe: "And her child was snatched up to God and to His throne" (Vs. 5).
These verses were quickened to me by the Spirit some time ago and I realized that this is the only way to escape the feelings of abandonment which come upon us when God hides Himself for a season. There are many ways to interpret scripture, of course, and far be it for me to say this is the only way to look at this verse. I can only testify that when I'm in the spiritual doldrums, it comforts me to know that with every temptation (like wondering if God still cares) He provides a way of escape.
"Touching the divine" is the title that came to me and since there are many parts of the body, many personality types represented, it occurred to me also that there are countless ways to touch God or more importantly, to feel His touch on us. An important way I touch the divine is with these writings. Time after time, I have sat down at the computer with only a title and a graphic, and no clue what He wanted me to say. Inevitably, He flows out at just the right time and in just the right way, which is affirmed by the response we get, sometimes immediately, sometimes much later. We had an e-mail this week from a man who had recently read, "The Other Side of the Lake of Fire" (Link at end), written in March, 2003. He asked permission to use it in his Bible study. I had completely forgotten about it, but his request demonstrated again the fact that what God does through us has no time limit on it.
Touching the Divine involves being in the sweet presence of the Lord, however it happens. In addition to writing, I sometimes am caught up in Spirit when I am playing the piano at Medicalodge; Lenny enters the presence of the the Father when walking and meditating; other people are raptured (caught up) when hearing His voice, or reading an anointed passage, or singing praises to God. My sister told me that she heard the angels join in with her choir at a concert they were doing in Europe. Gifted preachers speak under the anointing and intercessors spend hours interceding at the throne of grace for whatever the Spirit puts on their hearts. I've but touched the hem of the garment of how God makes His presence known to us, but we all agree that it is life and breath to us.
We can only touch the Divine by the Spirit. Jesus told His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go away so that the Counselor would come. "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you" (John 16:13-14). This belies the notion that we can do anything on our own to get closer to God. I heard a preacher recently confess that he had no test to determine who in his church was a faithful disciple of Christ, but he said he felt that some of his congregation should just leave now, because they weren't "the real deal." His judgment rankled me like nails on a black board. Clearly, he lacked discernment and wisdom, available only in the Spirit. I thought of Paul's declaration that it is the Spirit which searches the deep things of God: "This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor. 2:10; 13-14).
Along these same lines, Alan McSavage e-mailed us a question asked him about followup to the altar call. The man wrote, "After the altar call is made and new believers have received Christ as Savior and Lord we (the counseling team) take them in a back room to explain again the meaning of Salvation and other things. Then they fill out forms for us to secure a follow up..." He went on to ask Alan if he had any advice on the subject. If it weren't so sad, I would have laughed out loud imagining the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost, trying to find someplace where the three thousand souls who came forward for baptism could fill out forms. The Apostle Peter might have said, "Men and brethren, you who have tasted the powers of the age to come, please don't leave until you have completed the paperwork. Thank you for your cooperation. We have to keep track of you." Alan's response to the man was very kind and to the point. Among other things, he wrote, "Remember one thing, we do not accept Christ, He has accepted us and the father draws us to Himself through Christ and we can only respond to His voice, not the voice of man." In this short statement, he has captured the difference between life in the Spirit, which is of the Father, and religion, which is following a set of man's rules to try to be pleasing to God.
I woke up one day, asking, "Lord, what do you want me to put in the writing?" It didn't take long to find out. Lenny has been getting outpourings of the Spirit for the Baptist men in the Sunday School class. Though he continues to endure pain, made worse by the cold, damp winter weather, in Spirit, he enjoys wonderful fellowship with the Lord. This time, God allowed him to tape record what he was getting, which fits this writing like a hand in a glove. Here it is:
"We keep saying that Jesus is coming at a certain period of time, but I want to tell you one thing. He has come; He is coming continuously, and He will come. When God said "time shall be no more," what He's saying is that we have entered into the eternal where time doesn't mean anything anymore. In the eternal, both the past, the present and the future are all the same. There is no difference. For us here on Earth in the physical realm, there is a difference between the past, the present and the future, but in the eternal, there is no difference and I know that from experience. God has taken me into the eternal; He has given me visions and different things like that, and the interesting thing is, when you're there, you think you're there for hours, but actually, when you come back into the natural, it is the same second that it was when you left it.
"We have to understand that Jesus has already come into us. We know that He lives in and through us. Paul put it this way: "I have been crucified in Christ, yet I live, but it is not I who lives. It is Christ living in and through me" (Gal. 2:20, paraphrased). He has been living in us in the past. He is living in us now in the present, and He will be living in us in the future. The only difference with that is that He will allow us to recognize His presence more and more to a greater extent. He will allow us to know His presence in us, until finally, our minds will be completely changed by the total presence of Christ in us.
"We will not increase more and more in the natural to understand Christ in us, but He will increase in us. He will be doing it. We will never be able to say, "Boy, this is what I did." It will not happen that way. The more He allows Himself to be seen in us, that He is doing it, the more we will enjoy the eternal. You see, this has nothing to do with our self, our ego, and our pride. That part decreases continually, and Christ and the eternal increases so we cannot say that we did anything. Just like Jesus said, "In and of myself, I can do nothing. I do what the Father does; I say what the Father says; I am what the Father is" (John 5:19; 12:49-50; 14:9-10).
"As long as YOU keep trying to become more like Christ, more like the Spirit of God, more like the Father, you will feel miserable; you will feel shameful; you will feel guilty; you will feel condemned, because you cannot do it. But when you give that up, when your self, your ego and your pride stops doing, and you wait for God to do through you, and you expect God to do it, rather than doing it yourself, you will feel totally different. You will feel alive in the spiritual, in the eternal, but again, you have to realize that it is not you who can do that very thing. It takes God to do it in you, because the minute you accomplish something in the natural, you are going to take all the glory; you are going to take it as proof that "I did it," and live on it and it will cause you to be further back than you were before.
"God is speaking in and through me, showing me this so that I can put it on tape. I have nothing to do with it whatsoever. All I can say right now is 'Thank you, Father; thank you, Father. You are doing it.' Right now, He has allowed me to put on tape what I just said, but there were a half a dozen times before this where He was giving me things and He did not encourage me to put it on tape, but this time He did. We have to be very, very sensitive to what God is really, really doing in our lives, and only He controls that. He has total authority over us, total control over us, total charge over us, total rule over us. He has total dominion over us and causes us to do only what He wants us to do. Everything else we do is only the natural and has no meaning toward the eternal at all. He's not killing the natural because He knows we are natural as well as spiritual, so He allows us to live in the natural and do in the natural, but He also causes us to do in the spiritual and understand the spiritual.
"It's a matter of our getting used to recognizing the difference. It has nothing to do with the natural whatsoever; it is all spiritual. We cannot understand the spiritual. Only God understands it. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Truth and He will lead us into all truth. What does that mean? Truth is a person. Christ said, "I am the truth, the way and the life" (John 14:6). His Spirit is leading us more and more and more into Christ.
"We have to realize that whatever God does to us, in us and through us is life. Whatever we do with our natural flesh is death. Many people call the Bible the word of God. If the Spirit of God comes and uses the Bible to teach us something, that is the Word of God. That is life, but if we take it on our own to try to learn something from the Bible, it becomes death. The Bible says the letter killeth; the natural kills, but the Spirit gives life (II Cor. 3:6). The actual living word is what comes directly from the trinity to us, and is implanted in us by the trinity. Anything else is just death. It has no value whatsoever in the eternal. We have to understand that the Word which came and became flesh was Christ (John 1:14); He was the Word; and He came to us and became flesh and lived among us and He is still living the same way among us. When Christ imparts something to us, that is the living Word. That is the true Word. Anything at all that we think of in the natural is not the living Word. Yes, we memorize something from the Bible, and the scripture is anointed by God, but only when He wants to use it, not when we in the natural decide to do something with it.
Paul the Apostle said, "I come to you NOT in man's wisdom, but in the power of the Holy Spirit" (I Cor. 2:4). There is a great difference between the two. One causes death because it is the Law being given out, and the other causes life in you, pure eternal life." End Quote.
These are not just idle words, but the way we live our lives. If God calls us to do something, then He empowers us to do it, and gives us the resources to finance the project, whatever it might be. I always tell this to people who write asking us to send them Bibles or a Strong's Concordance, or other materials which mostly, we haven't had the funds to purchase. We don't feel guilty or sorry about what we cannot do, for we know from personal experience, that if we are supposed to do something, God will provide the wherewithal to do it. If He does not, then He didn't intend for us to do it and we move on. To run ahead of the Spirit is risky, sure to fail. It's wonderfully freeing to depend totally on our Father for everything, knowing that He always meets our needs. That's a different thing from meeting all our wants, but we have learned to be content with whatever He gives us. That doesn't mean that we don't tell Him how we feel. We do, but being caught up to the throne also means that we get a glimpse into His eternal purpose in the matter. He who works ALL THINGS after the counsel of His own will; He who knows the end from the beginning has it all in hand. When He tells us to do something, we wait until He shows us WHEN. It is living in the rest of the Father.
Because no man can be His counselor or His advisor, we must depend upon Him for insight into His marching orders. We have the confidence in His mercy and loving kindness, rejoicing that "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" (I Cor. 2:9).
Father, we thank You that we can rest in Your perfect will being done in our lives, that we do not have to struggle or fight to do, to be, and to perform, but can rest in Your ability to flow through us. We await Your pleasure, Father, and praise Your Holy name for the way You planned it all out before the foundation of the world. Make us ambassadors of Your peace and Your reconciliation of all to all men, who are hungering and thirsting to touch the Divine. Amen. Jan Antonsson
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
"Fixin' the flesh"
"The Other Side of the Lake of Fire"
"The Eternal Now"
Eternal life, now or later?
The Glory Road
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister, on 1/20/05
and last edited on 10/11/08