THE HOUR COMETH AND NOW IS ~ "Provision in the Midst of Famine"


But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23,24

This morning as I was set to add to this series. speaking to where I believe we are in God's timetable. I thought for sure I had the message He wanted me to share. However as I gathered some material for this post I ran into an old favorite of mine and immediately I knew it was to be posted instead . Over the last three decades I have enjoyed the privilege to read of many astounding and beautiful accounts of visions given to saints from all generations. Of all these there is one that has stood above the others for it's awesome beauty and glorious anointing. I first enjoyed this account of Bill Britton's vision twenty five years ago and I have re-read it many times since and been increasingly struck with it's growing relevance.

The past two weeks have been most extra-ordinary in that I have witnessed as never before many of what I would have once considered mature believers turning back and settling for the frolicking "to and fro" of those that are not ready to suffer the Lord's loving discipline instilled for the "His Coming Day" ........ a day when Christ in His fullness of perfect judgement and mercy will be carried through out all of creation by the Father's perfected sons (Romans 8)

It seems there is a famine of hearing the Pure Word (Christ of Jn.1:1) that engulfs Christendom today and with this we are witnessing much in the way of compromise, confusion and bewilderment. God warns in Amos 8:11-12, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

Brothers and sisters God's Pure Word in Christ is found in surrender to the Father's Hand and with this comes the knowledge that Christ and His Kingdom dwells within which is very far from a place called "to and fro."

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation,nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." Then he said to his disciples, "The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not go running off after them. Matthew 17

May God bless you as you read of this vision and may your heart be stirred to see the glorious provision that comes to those that are chosen today to receive the gift of the King's discipline.


"The Harness of the Lord"
by Bill Britton

There is a terrific operation of the Spirit going on today to bring the Sons of God into an absolute confinement to the perfect will of God. This is the Day of His Preparation, the day in which He is preparing the channel through which He shall pour forth His Glory for all the world to see. This channel is His Body in the earth, that glorious company of people who are being conformed through much tribulation and fiery tests to the Image of the Son of God. This is His "battle axe and weapons of war" with which He shall subdue kingdoms and overcome all His enemies. This is His "mighty and strong One" to whom He shall commit the work of judging this world. This is His Overcomer, His "Great army" with which He shall bring the nations into submission. The weapons of their warfare are not carnal, natural weapons, but they are mighty weapons, mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. These are those who shall "be strong and do exploits."

But before God can commit this great and tremendous ministry into their hands, they must submit themselves to the discipline of the Lord, letting Him truly be the Lord of their entire lives. We have long since dealt with the question of open sin, but now God is dealing with the inward rebellion of our own wills. Some good Christians are not now being so dealt with, for they are not in this Firstfruits Company, but nevertheless there is a real dealing of God going on within those who are called into the High Calling of God. This is a very real thing, and is the work of the Refiner’s Fire. To those who are going through it, some of its aspects are horrible, but very necessary, and the end result thereof is glorious as we are brought into absolute and complete submission to the will of our Lord.

It was in a minister’s conference and convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma that God gave me a vision which I want to share with you concerning this harnessing of our own wills. There were more than 30 ministers present in this particular Thursday morning service, and God, the Father of spirits, was present to deal with His sons, to correct them and discipline them to absolute obedience to His will. There was such a stern dealing in the Spirit that no one could go to the pulpit and minister, there was a reluctance among the ministers to say anything except that which was directly ordered by the Spirit. And as those men of God sat there in the awesome presence of Almighty God, some of them having many years of ministry, some missionaries, all of them capable of getting up and preaching a powerful sermon, I was impressed by the way they responded to the discipline of the Spirit. And in the midst of this terrific dealing of God with out spirits, the Holy Ghost gave me a vision

I Saw the King’s Carriage

On a dirt road in the middle of a wide field stood a beautiful carriage, something on the order of a stagecoach, but all edged in god, and with beautiful carvings. It was pulled by six large chestnut horses, two in the lead, two in the middle and two in the rear. But they were not moving, they were not pulling the carriage, and I wondered why. Then I saw the driver underneath the carriage, on the ground on his back, just behind the last two horses’ heels, working on something between the front wheels of the carriage. I though, "My, he is in a dangerous place; for if one of those horses kicked or stepped back, they could kill him, or if they decided to go forward, or got frightened somehow, they would pull the carriage right over him." But he didn’t seem afraid, for he knew that those horses were disciplined and would not move till he told them to move. The horses were not stamping their feet nor acting restless, and though there were bells on their feet, the bells were not tinkling. There were pom-poms on their harness over their heads, but the pom-poms were not moving. They were simply standing still and quiet, waiting for the voice of the Master.

There were Two Young Colts in the Field

As I watched the harnessed horses, I noticed two young colts coming out of the open field, and they approached the carriage and seemed to say to the horses: "Come and play with us, we have many fine games, we will race with you, come catch us" And with that the colts kicked up their heels, flicked their tails and raced across the open field. But when they looked back and saw the horses were not following, they were puzzled. They knew nothing of harnesses, and could not understand why the horses did not want to play. So they called to them: "Why do you not race with us? Are you tired? Are you too weak? Do you not have strength to run? You are much too solemn, you need more joy in life." But the horses answered not a word, nor did they stamp their feet or toss their heads. But they stood, quiet and still, waiting for the voice of the Master.

Again the colts called to them: "Why do you stand so in the hot sun? Come over here in the shade of this nice tree. See how green the grass is? You must be hungry, come and feed with us, it is so green and so good. You look thirsty, come drink of one of our many streams of cool clear water." But the horses answered them with not so much as a glance, but stood still, waiting for the command to go forward with the King.

Colts in the Master’s Corral

And then the scene changed, and I saw lariat nooses fall around the necks of the two colts, and they were led off to the Master’s corral for training and discipline. How sad they were as the lovely green fields disappeared, and they were put into the confinement of the Corral with its brown dirt and high fence. The colts ran from fence to fence, seeking freedom, but found that they were confined to this place of training. And then the Trainer began to work on them, with his Whip and His Bridle. What a death for those who had been all their lives accustomed to such a freedom! They could not understand the reason for this torture, this terrible discipline. What great crime had they done to deserve this? Little did they know of the responsibility that was to be theirs when they had submitted to the discipline, learned to perfectly obey the Master, and finished their training. All they knew was that this processing was the most horrible thing they had ever known.

Submission and Rebellion

One of the colts rebelled under the training, and said, "This is not for me. I like my freedom, my green hills, my flowing streams of fresh water. I will not take any more of this confinement, this terrible training." So he found a way out, jumped the fence and ran happily back to the meadows of grass. And I was astonished that the Master let him go, and went not after him. But He devoted His attention to the remaining colt. This colt, though he had the same opportunity to escape, decided to submit his own will, and learn the ways of the Master. And the training got harder than ever, but he was rapidly learning more and more how to obey the slightest wish of the Master, and to respond to even the quietness of His voice. And I saw that had there been no training, no testing, there would have been neither submission nor rebellion from either of the colts. For in the field they did not have the choice to rebel or submit, they were sinless in their innocence. But when brought to the place of testing and training and discipline, then was made manifest the obedience of one and the rebellion that lay hidden in the heart of the other. And though it seemed safer not to come to the place of discipline because of the risk of being found rebellious, yet I saw that without this there could be no sharing of His glory, no Sonship.

Into the Harness

Finally this period of training was over. Was he now rewarded with his freedom, and sent back to the fields? Oh no. But a greater confinement than ever now took place, as a harness dropped about his shoulders. Now he found there was not even the freedom to run about the small corral, for in the harness he could only move where and when his Master spoke. And unless the Master spoke, he stood still.

The scene changed, and I saw the other colt standing on the side of a hill, nibbling at some grass. Then across the fields, down the road came the King’s carriage, drawn by six horses. With amazement he saw that in the lead, on the right side, was his brother colt, now made strong and mature on the good corn in the Master’s stable. He saw the lovely pom-poms shaking in the wind, noticed the glittering gold bordered harness about his brother, heard the beautiful tinkling of the bells on his feet and envy came into his heart. Thus he complained to himself: "Why has my brother been so honored, and I am neglected? They have not put bells on my feet, nor pom-poms on my head. The Master has not given me the wonderful responsibility of pulling His carriage, nor put about me the golden harness. Why have they chosen my brother instead of me?" And by the Spirit the answer came back to me as I watched. "Because one submitted to the will and discipline of the Master, and one rebelled, thus has one been chosen and the other set aside."

A Famine in the Land

Then I saw a great drought sweep across the countryside, and the green grass became dead, dry, brown and brittle. The little streams of water dried up, stopped flowing, and there was only a small muddy puddle here and there. I saw the little colt (I was amazed that it never seemed to grow or mature) as he ran here and there, across the fields looking for fresh streams and green pastures, finding none. Still he ran, seemingly in circles, always looking for something to feed his famished spirit. But there was a famine in the land, and the rich green pastures and flowing streams of yesterday were not to be had. And one day the colt stood on the hillside on weak and wobbly legs, wondering where to go next to find food, and how to get strength to go. Seemed like there was no use, for good food and flowing streams were a thing of the past, and all the efforts to find more only taxed his waning strength. Suddenly he saw the King’s carriage coming down the road, pulled by six great horses. And he saw his brother, fat and strong, muscles rippling, sleek and beautiful with much grooming. His heart was amazed and perplexed, and he cried out: "My brother, where do you find the food to keep you strong and fat in these days of famine? I have run everywhere in my freedom, searching for food, and I find none. Where do you, in your awful confinement, find food in this time of drought? Tell me, please, for I must know!" And then the answer came back from a voice filled with victory and praise: "In my Master’s House, there is a secret place in the confining limitations of His stables where He feeds me by His own hand, and His granaries never run empty, and His well never runs dry." And with this the Lord made me to know that in the day when people are weak and famished in their spirits in the time of spiritual famine, that those who have lost their own wills, and have come into the secret place of the most High, into the utter confinement of His perfect will, shall have plenty of the corn of Heaven, and a never ending flow of fresh streams of revelation by His Spirit. Thus the vision ended.

Interpretation of the Vision

"Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it (Habakkuk 2:2)." "Harness the horses: and get up, ye horsemen (Jeremiah 46:4)." I’m sure that many of you who can hear what the Spirit saith to the Church, have already seen what God was showing in the vision. But let me make it plain. Being born into the Family of God, feeding in the green pastures and drinking of the many streams of the unfolding revelation of His purposes is fine and wonderful. But it is not enough. While we were children, young, undisciplined, limited only by the outer fence of the Law that ran around the limits of the pastures (that kept us from getting into the dark pastures of poison weeds), He was content to watch us develop and grow into young manhood, spiritually speaking. But the time came to those who fed in His pastures, and drank at His streams, when they were to be brought into discipline or "child-training" for the purpose of making them mature Sons. Many of the children today cannot understand why some of those who have put on the harness of God cannot get excited by the many religious games and the playful antics of the immature. They wonder why the disciplined ones run not after every new revelation or feed on every opportunity to engage in seemingly "good and profitable" religious activities. They wonder why some will not race with them in their frantic efforts to build great works and great and notable ministries. They cannot understand the simple fact that this Company of saints is waiting for the voice of the Master, and they do not hear God in all this outward activity. They will move in their time, when the Master speaks. But not before, though many temptations come from the playful colts. And the colts cannot understand why those who seemingly appear to have great abilities and strength are not putting it to good use. "Get the carriage on the road," they say, but the disciplined ones, those in God’s harness, know better than to move before they hear the voice of the Master. They will move in their time, with great purpose, and great responsibility.

And the Lord made me to know that there were many whom He had brought into training who had rebelled against the discipline, the chastising of the Father. And they could not be trusted with the great responsibility of mature Sonship, so he let them go back to their freedom, back to their religious activities and revelations and gifts. They are still His people, still feeding in His pastures, but He has set them aside from the great purposes for the end of the age. So they revel in their freedom, feeling that they are the Chosen ones with the many streams of living water, not knowing that they have been set aside as unfit for His great work in this end of the Age.

And He showed me that though the chastising seemeth grievous for the time, and the discipline hard to endure, yet the result with all the glory of Sonship is worth it all, and the glory to follow far exceeds the suffering we endure. And though some lose even their lives in this training, yet they will share alike in the glory of His eternal purposes. So faint not, saints of God, for it is the Lord that doth bring thee into confinement, and not thine enemy. It is for thy good, and for His glory, so endure all things with praises and thanksgiving that He hath counted thee worthy to share His glory! Fear thou not the whip in His hand, for it is not to punish thee, but to correct and train thee, that thou mightest come into submission to His will, and be found in His likeness in that Hour. Rejoice thou in thy trials, in all thy tribulations, and glory thou in His cross, and in the confining limitations of His harness, for He hath chosen thee, and He hath taken upon Himself the responsibility of keeping thee strong and well fed, so lean thou upon Him, and trust not in thine own ability and thine own understanding. So shalt thou be fed, and His hand shall be upon thee, and His glory shall overshadow thee and shall flow through thee as it goes forth to cover the earth. Glory to God! Bless the Lord, He’s wonderful! Let Him be Lord of your life, friends, and complain not at that which He bringeth to pass in your life.

Plenty in the Time of Famine

For in the hour when famine sweeps the land, He shall feed by His own hand those who are submitted to His perfect will, and who dwell in the secret place of the Most High. When terror stalks the land, those in His harness hall not be afraid, for they shall feel His bit and bridle and know the guidance of His Spirit. When others are weak and frail and fearful, there shall be those who shall be strong in the power of His might, and shall lack for no good thing. In the hour when the traditions of the religious systems have proven false, and their streams have dried up, then His Chosen ones shall speak forth with the true Word of the Lord. So rejoice, Sons of God, that you have been chosen by His grace for this great work in this last hour.

The fence which kept the colts in their own meadows and their own pastures mean nothing to the team in the harness, for the gates open to them, and they go forth pulling the king’s carriage into many strange and wonderful places. They do not stop to eat the poison weeds of sin, for they feed only in the Master’s stable. These fields they trample under their feet as they go forth on the King’s business. And so to those who are brought into absolute subjection to His will, there is no Law. For they move in the Grace of God, led only by His Spirit where all things are lawful but not all things are expedient. This is a dangerous realm for the undisciplined, and many have perished in sin as they leaped over the fence without His harness and His bridle. Some have thought of themselves as being completely harnessed and submissive to Him, only to find that in some avenue of their life there dwelled rebellion and self-will. Let us wait before Him until He puts His noose around us and draws us to His place of training. And let us learn of the dealings of God and the movings of His Spirit until at last we feel His harness drop about us, and hear His voice guiding us. Then there is safety from the traps and pitfalls of sin, and then shall we abide in His house forever!


THE HOUR COMETH AND NOW IS ~ "The Merchandising of Christ"

.The .

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23,24

This is the first of a series of messages I hope to share concerning my vision of where I believe we are in time, regarding God's purpose and plan for His church. The scripture I quoted above, is I believe key and I pray you can feel the import and currency in the words. What a wonderful time to know and be called of our beloved Christ. The marriage supper has been gloriously set and Christ's bride is now being directed to her appointed seat.

This copied message below speaks to God cleansing the cup both inside and out as the Father is making pure the bride for His Son. There is a corporate work of cleansing being done today that has been birthed first within the hearts of a remnant that hold a single eye for their Beloved Groom. I thrilled today to read this message on a forum this morning. It was comforting to see another, that has been taken even further than I, into the heart of the harlot and counterfeit church, come out and speak of where we are in God's purpose and plan today. I pray you catch wind of the Pure Breath/Holy Spirit of God in this account.


Merchandising the anointing
By Terry Somerville

Once again I turn on the TV and come to a Christian program. They are Spirit filled believers, sharing what God is doing. They seem to be sincere. Everything they say is true and scriptural. Yet, like every other time I watch, I'm bothered. My spirit is disturbed. Over the years I've asked God about this. This time it just hit me. They are merchandising the anointing! WE are merchandising the anointing! We don't even realize it.

Money Changers In The Temple
The religious leaders of Jesus day made merchandise of the most Holy place in Israel. The temple. The selling of animals started as a way to provide worshipers with a sacrifice. But it became corrupt as animals were resold and not actually sacrificed by the priests.

And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. And He taught daily in the temple....
Luke 19:45-47

Mixed Motives
Could it be we are doing exactly the same thing as these priests, only in the temple of our hearts? I know what it is like to start with heart to bless and minister and end up merchandising. I produced and hosted over 350 Total Change television programs. Television is expensive and we couldn't keep up. The Christian station urged me to be aggressive in fund raising and stay on. I tried "incentives" - offering books and DVD's if donors gave a certain amount. It felt wrong in my spirit, and I didn't know why so I stopped doing it. I began to "merchandise the anointing" to attract viewers. I didn't see it at the time, but I knew people were attracted to spectacular anointings, and so focused on that.

Making merchandise of the anointing is not just problem for Christian television. The whole church and worship industry is being defiled by the "manure of merchandise".

1. Adopting the practices of the world.
God warned Israel not to adopt the practices of the people around them, but they did. We too have mixed faith with the worlds business. Many "spirit filled" ministries employ secular firms to fund raise using proven social methods. We could have used them for our TV program. Even at the local church level, leadership has become mostly about management. Study the methods and employ them, Follow the successful methods of the leaders. What happened to prayer and hearing God?

Even worship has become an industry. Believe me, these "Christian" companies would love to make us pay every time we sing a worship song! A few years ago I interviewed a famous Christian music artist. Everything was great until I asked her about the "music business". She became sooo upset! She said "It's not about ministry, it's about money. All they care about is how I look, They don't care about me. " Her husband tried to dial her down, but I had hit a real "hot button."

2. Idols In The Temple
Strange as it may seem, western Christians have brought the worlds "idols into their hearts" (Ezekiel 14:3) Jesus said to "seek first the Kingdom, and His righteousness", but we seek after success, fame, youth, wealth, (church) size and (anointing) power. These are all idols of our culture, but we take them into our hearts in a religious guise. - A "holy" livestock market!

Much of my prayer life as a pastor was ....(wait for it) "build a successful ministry". Our inner temple is to be a "house of prayer", but even our prayer life turns to these selfish idols. I prayed for more people, more money, more power (anointing) All this was idolatry in the temple of my heart. Oh how we need a purification of our motives as Christians

3. Need for Kingdom Mindedness
The question is where is our trust in God? Where is His Kingdom at work? Inwardly we know God wants all the glory. God writes his own desires on our hearts. God will lead in His ways and provide for His work. If the temple was free of merchandise, the Lord could teach us. Then our own ambitions would fade away as we learn the Kings own agenda.

Cleansing The Temple Of The Holy Spirit
Jesus is about to cleanse His temple. He will not have mixture in His house any longer. There is time to repent, or be driven out! The Holy Spirit will not share the temple of our hearts with Christian merchandise. He's taking away the pleasure of mixture. Look what is happening in worship for instance. A few years ago Christians went from place to place looking for the best worship band. Now they are tired of it. GOOD! It's about worshiping Jesus, not the band!

In my city the Christians always were seeking the anointing. They would run from one anointed meeting to another, now they are getting tired of it. Why? Because they sought the anointing, not God's heart, and it's not pleasurable any more. Yes the Lord poured out His anointing to woo our hearts. But now He will not share the temple with the merchandise of the anointing. The Lord WILL have a holy people, who are after HIM.

Get ready. The whips are coming out. The tables will be upset and the livestock will disappear. On that day Christianity will smell different and sound different.


Terry Somerville

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." John 3:8




I used to think we could choose to live a crucified life. Today I believe we are drafted. There will be no flesh that will find glory before God. It is all Him and only He can open our eyes to see and realize our total futility. Surrender is the operative word and even this is forced through Grace.

At fifty nine years of age and thirty five years into this walk I finally saw that I could not add one cubit to my stature. I can add nothing to my salvation in Christ. He chose me and it is His to finish the work He started in me. The humility of His cross must become more desirable than all the glory the world has to offer ........... then the resurrection.

Carry me in thy bosom O Lord and enlarge my vision of heaven on earth,


"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46ff).

Death by crucifixion cannot be accomplished by suicide. We cannot crucify ourselves. The instrument of our death is chosen for us, as well as the manner in which it is carried out, the timing and the duration of the execution - all is controlled by Another. There is nothing to be done, for we must submit to the
Unseen Hand and cast ourselves completely upon Him.

Chip Brogden




I receive a daily meditation from this man of God every morning via E-mail and his thoughts often bless me as they speak to where my heart is with regard to my walk with Christ. This first part below is typical of his daily mailings which are excerpts taken from fuller messages he has written. I received this yesterday and it certainly confirmed what I am seeing.

A link to the fuller message is always included with the daily meditation. The second part of this post is an example of the length and content of the fuller message. I thought this writing quite powerful and full of wisdom. I pray you are changed by this which I share today from Chip Brogden. If you feel so led I have included a link to Chip's site where you can E-mail Chip for a free subscription to his daily sharings. Blessings in Christ, Jack

(yesterday's daily meditation)

by Chip Brogden


"Whoever wants to become the greatest must become the servant of all"
(Mark 10:44).

When anyone comes to me now and wants my advice about "going" into the ministry, the first thing I seek to do is upset all their ideas about ministry and talk to them about being a servant, taking the back seat, being hidden from view, lowering yourself, and practicing the art of One-Anothering.

The ministry of One-Anothering doesn't require a platform, a pulpit, a building, a budget, or a Board. You can start immediately, with no training and with no experience, and you don't have to quit your job or do anything dramatic. You cannot be voted in, and you cannot be voted out. The Life you possess qualifies you to be in the full-time ministry of One-Anothering. Your
wounds are your credentials. You can go to your brothers and sisters right now and say, "The Lord has called me to the ministry, and I am beginning it today." Love, pray for, encourage, and serve the saints. So many times we have observed individuals who claim to be called to some great work but they neglect the basic principles of One-Anothering. There is no competition for the lowest position, so let all who love the Lord go there first and become a servant.

Subscribe to these daily messages:

(typical fuller message from which shorter daily meditations are taken)

Back To The Cross
by Chip Brogden

"For I determined to not know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (I Corinthians 2:2)."

Though Paul had quite a bit of knowledge and many things to say and teach the Corinthians, he determined to become a man of one subject: Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

We must become foolish in order to be wise.

We must give up everything in order to get back everything.

We must become weak in order to be strong.

We must die in order to live.

We can quote these teachings of Jesus, seek to imitate Him as our Example, strive to walk the narrow Way, and even accomplish many good deeds in His Name. But apart from the Cross these activities are wood, hay and stubble. The moment we are challenged or confronted by the opposition we will fall away. Perhaps we can appear to be patient, but a day comes when we lose our patience. Perhaps we can appear to be gentle, but a day comes when our roughness is revealed. Perhaps we can appear to be humble, but a day comes when pride is discovered in us and we fall. Perhaps we can obey the letter of the law and appear outwardly to others as being righteous, but when alone and faced with the secrets of our heart and mind we discover that the inside of the cup is full of uncleanness.

In calling us to come back to the Cross, God is asking us lay down our lives and embrace the Wisdom of death, burial, resurrection, and ascension in order to live as sons and daughters within the Kingdom of God. Apart from the Cross we can neither enter the Kingdom nor live in the Spirit, no matter how great the desire. For apart from the Cross, we do not know what it is to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile, to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us. Apart from the Cross, we do not know what it is to submit to the will of God, accept suffering, and cast ourselves upon Him.

Apart from the Cross, we do not know what Resurrection is.

Religion seeks to reform a man; the Cross seeks to crucify him. Religion may fail to bring about the desired result, but the Cross never fails to achieve its end. Mankind will pursue morality, virtue, spirituality, even perform religious works and good deeds, in order to avoid death on a Cross. But there are no wounds, no scars, no evidence of having ever died and been made alive unto God. Either a man has never died, or he has died and been raised again. You cannot fake a resurrection.

The Cross is the means by which God reduces us to Christ, that we may be raised to new Life. What cannot be accomplished in a lifetime of self-effort is easily accomplished in God through the Cross. We may take many shortcuts along the way and attempt to escape the inevitable, but the day we cease striving and meekly accept the Cross we find everything is done for us. In fact, death by crucifixion cannot be accomplished by suicide. We cannot crucify ourselves. The instrument of our death is chosen for us, as well as the manner in which it is carried out, the timing and the duration of the execution - all is controlled by Another. There is nothing to be done, for we must submit to the Unseen Hand and cast ourselves completely upon Him.

If we will follow Jesus, we must take up the cross daily, deny ourselves, and follow Him (Luke 9:23).

The Cross Is Wisdom Through Foolishness

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness (I Cor.1:18a)." There is a wisdom which comes from above. This wisdom is counter to the wisdom which is earthly. Our thoughts, reasonings, arguments, rationales, and opinions are worthless in God's sight. We are commanded to have the mind of Christ and seek the Wisdom which comes from God.

Humanly speaking, the Cross makes no sense. If we approach God with our minds only, we will never know Him. If we study the Cross in order to gain a new teaching or doctrine it will make no impression on us. Indeed, we may memorize the appropriate verses of Scripture, even teach others what we have learned, and never experience the reality of it. How easily and freely we may talk about dying to self, taking up the cross, and living the crucified life. But knowledge without experience is nothing. Indeed, knowledge without experience only deceives us into thinking we are living something just because we are able to rehearse a few facts mentally. This counts for nothing in spiritual matters.

We must ask God to empty us of our preconceived ideas and notions and fill us instead with His Mind. We must relinquish our wisdom and receive His Wisdom. His Wisdom is how He sees things. How we see things is irrelevant, and will mislead us. His Ways and His Mind are higher than our ways and our mind. The Cross is the means by which God seeks to destroy the earthly wisdom and the carnal mind. The Cross, then, is wisdom through foolishness.

The Cross Is Gaining Through Losing

In order to accumulate more, we usually think that we must add to that which we have already. The Wisdom of God teaches us that in order to gain, you must first lose. Think of a child who refuses to let go of his old, broken toy in order to receive new ones from his father. To his mind he is losing something. But by letting go, by giving up, he gains.

Like the child, we stubbornly refuse to relinquish our grip on our spiritual possessions. We tenaciously cling to things as a child would cling to a collection of broken toys. We collect teachings, experiences, and good deeds, pointing to these as proof that we are spiritually endowed. Until we are willing to part with our "riches" we will not be able to receive the true Riches of Christ in us. The Cross demonstrates that we do not gain by trying to get, but by losing in order to gain. We cannot really receive from God until we have learned to give up unto God. It is the spirit which cries, "Not my will, but Thine be done" and "Father, into Thine Hand I commit my spirit."

These words are easily uttered, but we cannot appreciate them or really experience them until we have been through our Gethsemene experiences and our Golgotha experiences. Until that time we are merely reciting some words, but we do not truly know what it means to give ourselves up to God, to be completely consecrated and submitted to Him. The Cross prepares us to receive by first forcing us to give up. Therefore, the Cross is gaining through losing.

The Cross Is Power Through Weakness

"God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty (I Cor. 1:27b)." To the natural way of thinking, power and weakness are opposites. That is, in order to have power, we must eliminate weakness. The Wisdom of God teaches us differently. This Wisdom tells us that the weak things are chosen to overcome the mighty things, and power works concurrently with weakness.

The Cross is meant to inflict pain, weaken, and slowly kill. It is the ultimate expression of weakness. The victim is stripped naked and nailed to the wood through their hands and feet. Their weight is supported by their legs until they are too tired to stand. When their legs give way their entire weight is supported by their outstretched arms (to speed this process along the legs are sometimes broken). The chest cavity is eventually pulled apart from this stress and the helpless victim slowly dies of suffocation as the lungs collapse.

The crucified one can hardly move, much less struggle. Once the nails are in place there is no way to remove them. You carry nothing with you, and have nothing remaining. You can neither speed up nor slow down your death. The shame of your nakedness is open for all to see. Besides the physical suffering, the soul is stripped of its dignity and pride. There is no escape.

God desires to give you power, but that power only comes through weakness. Any power not obtained through weakness is illegitimate, no matter how spiritual it appears. The only legitimate power is granted to those who have been made weak. Power is birthed in weakness. Many exude a certain "power", but there is not the corresponding weakness. Hence, the power only gives them an occasion for boasting. To remedy this, God has ordained that all who would have His power must first be weakened and made empty - we refer to this as being "broken". The purpose of weakness and suffering is to open the way for His Power. The instrument God uses to weaken us is the Cross. Therefore, the Cross is power through weakness.

The Cross Is Life Through Death

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me (Gal.2:20a)." There can be no Resurrection Life without a Crucified Death. Naturally we expect that in order to live we must avoid death at all costs. Yet, the Wisdom of God teaches us that Life is found by embracing Death - that is, as we die to ourselves we are made alive unto Christ.

There is a principle of death that works in us. When we are born, we begin to age and die. For the one in Christ, physical death is not the end, but the beginning. Likewise, a God-ordained death on the Cross is not the end, but the beginning. The Cross works death in us that the Spirit may work life in us. The Cross kills that which needs to be killed in us, whereas the Spirit gives Life to that which has been killed. The Cross beats and tears down, while the Spirit rebuilds that which has been destroyed. Only those who have experienced Death can truly minister Life and speak to dead men.

Now if we have not learned what it is to die daily, we will not experience the life of God daily. In a word, I am dead, yet I am living. I am crucified, yet I am alive. On the one hand I am weakened to the point of death and powerless; on the other hand, I live by the power of God and am strengthened with all might by His Spirit which indwells me. The moment I cease to experience death, however, at that precise moment I cease to experience life, for the cross is life through death.

The Aim of God's Dealings

"Verily, verily I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdest thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not (John 21:18)." Though our heart attutude should be childlike, God desires us to be men and women of maturity. He desires us to grow spiritually. In order to accomplish this He allows us to meet with many disagreeable circumstances and trials.

When we are young in the Lord we do as we please. We find much pleasure in serving the Lord according to our own thought, and everything is light and gay. We live a life of feeling and sensation. We are easily moved by how we feel. If we are happy we gladly deny ourselves and pour ourselves out in service. But when we are sad or troubled by our circumstances we feel as though we have been deserted. The Lord must then reach forth and draw the little sheep back to Himself again, whereupon our feeling is restored and we renew our devotion with the same vigor as before. This is the way of those who are young: they dress themselves and go where they wish.

But when we are older in the Lord, the life of faith commences as we stretch forth our hands in surrender and allow Another to dress us and carry us where we do not wish to go. We no longer dress ourselves and go our own way. We no longer walk, but we are carried. We may no longer consider our own wishes. We may no longer act according to a will of our own apart from God's will. Instead, we have finally submitted to God's dealings with us. We recognize at last how we have until now been full of ourselves, speaking many words in addition to what God had given us, and performing many acts apart from the ones that God was calling us to perform. Likewise, we see how often we have failed to speak and act on many occasions because we simply loved ourselves more than we loved God.

This transition between a life of feeling and a life of faith, from being self-ruled to being Spirit-ruled, does not happen in a few days. What stands between the experience of the young and the experience of the old? What is it that brings about this maturity? How is this growth achieved? By what means does God accomplish this work of transformation? In speaking to Peter, the Lord is telling him by what death he will die to glorify God (v.19). We know that Peter was eventually crucified upside-down and died a martyr's death. But, the daily cross of self-denial that Peter bore was the means by which God was able to subdue his wild nature and transform him into a man of faith. His was a living sacrifice. The physical cross upon which he died was a testimony to his having already laid down his life a million times prior to that final act.

The death God really seeks in us is not the future laying down of our physical life, but the moment -by-moment laying down of our self. It is not the once-and-for-all martyr's death but the daily dying and living unto God that brings Him the most glory. In fact, those who have not denied themselves in the seemingly insignificant matters of daily life will find it difficult, if not impossible, to lay down their physical lives should that be required of them.

God is calling us to become foolish in order to be wise; to give up everything in order to get back everything; to become weak in order to become strong; to come back to the cross and die that we may live. In these pages we hope to communicate this urgent call. Today, let us ask God to quicken this to our hearts, and grant that we may become People of the Cross, experiencing the Death of the Lord that we may have the Life of the Lord. Let us determine henceforth to know nothing, but Christ and Him crucified: for the disciple is not above the Master, but the disciple shall be as his Master (Luke 6:40).



I was shocked, confused, bewildered as I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all, by the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven who made me sputter and gasp--
the thieves, the liars, the sinners, the alcoholics, the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought was rotting away in hell,
was sitting pretty on cloud nine, looking incredibly well.

I nudged the angel, "What's the deal? I would love to hear your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here? God must've made a mistake.

And why's everyone so quiet, so somber? Give me a clue."
"Hush, child," said he. "They're all in shock. No one thought they'd see you."





"God is love"

Oh my! how far the organized churches have fallen with their perverted views of "Agape." This why there is a command given, to come out of her and be not partakers of her sin. Today as we glimpse the dawning brightness of His coming I pray we heed the call.

"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Rev 18:4"

Delusion is not on the horizon my friends. Delusion sits now in the pews and and it stands behind the pulpits of the great majority of the harlot churches that fill Christendom today. Love has been perverted into a blasphemous evil as the concept of eternal torment is taught and accepted as part and parcel of God's purpose. The absurdity of it breaks our hearts as millions upon millions are held captive by this single lie .......... that a Loving Father would ever even consider such a notion as to sentence even one to such an evil outcome. This is the "strong delusion" that encompasses most in Christendom today ......... we need not look any further nor to the future ..... it is here.

"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" 2Th 2:11

This writing I discovered earlier speaks to the absurdity of what is being taught and accepted by most Christians today. After reading this I do hope you, that are still caught in this false paradigm, will partake of the other material and links to other writings here at "Sonshine" to know more fully the "true nature of our Loving God" God bless, Jack

The Gobbledygook Gospel

By Charles Slagle

Why has the world increasingly adopted a secular and even atheistic or agnostic mindset - especially over the last few centuries since more and more nations have cast off the iron grip of medieval Roman Catholicism? Why is Christianity - in even its most attractive and well-articulated versions, neatly packaged in modern language and culture - regarded as "irrelevant nonsense!" by billions of people?

Why is the world going secular, despite all earnest and costly efforts of Christians to evangelize? Have you ever wondered about this?

If so, I hope you may gain more insight from what I'm about to share. I am persuaded that people are NOT rejecting the REAL Jesus Christ. What they are rejecting is an irrational gospel of gobbledygook that imparts no real hope to their searching and aching hearts. Now. Are you ready to smile? Or maybe to cry? Or perhaps to get mad - before you get glad? If so, then get ready for an exciting trip! The message that follows will take you on a roller coaster ride that will definitely make your head reel and your guts churn. So if riding theological roller coasters upsets your digestion, don't say I didn't warn you...

Okay, all aboard then! And off we go?

Here is what I was taught to be "the gospel" during my evangelical upbringing - Bible college included:

*God is Love... but more than that... He is Holy. And holiness is a quality in Him that, in a way, is opposite to love. This means (in a very real sense somehow) that He is also eternally vindictive and unforgiving toward those who are less than holy. So one day you will be conformed to His likeness, and you shall be holy just as He is, and not very loving toward imperfect people. BUT? you must be loving NOW, even if that means you are being less than holy, or you won't make it to heaven. On the other hand, without holiness NO ONE shall see the Lord! (Yes, it's a... er... paradox, but just accept it in childlike faith, and stop intellectualizing so much!)

*God passionately and deeply loves everyone, but He plans to burn almost everyone alive for eternity simply because they failed to seek Him and find Him and love Him before it was forever too late. That is because the way is narrow and only a few "ever will" find it.

*As Christians we believe that the Lord is kind, gracious and merciful, and His love never fails. Nevertheless, He created human beings because He is a Great Gambler that delights in chancing the lives of His human offspring in His grand cosmic game of "Winners and Losers". Yes, He is also omniscient - but that is beside the point. Stop asking so many questions! Just realize that His purpose for calling people into being was to give them a chance to choose to learn to pronounce His name ("Lord Jesus Christ") correctly ? and - to love and trust Him Unconditionally and wholeheartedly before He burns billions of them for eternity for having failed to do so by a given deadline.

*On the other hand, we Christians believe that God is SOVEREIGN and He can do whatever He pleases! If He has wanted to create billions of human beings and elected to love and save a few of them and trash and burn the rest forever, that is His business. He is not just "love" - He is HOLY. You had better worship and love Him anyway, if you know what is good for you! People who have been TRULY predestined for heaven and born again don't question God's sovereignty! On the other hand, we predestined ones are saved ONLY by grace APART from works. So if some people who are truly saved question God's sovereignty they will be forgiven, of course. Yes, this means that you may be "damned if you do, and damned if you don't" as the old saying goes. But don't worry about it much. Only a few will EVER be chosen (Hezekiah 13:13) but after all, this means that there's a remote possibility that you may be in the elect!

*Then again, we Christians are also "Semi-pelagian" in our understanding of the gospel. And what does this mean? This simply means that we believe that we cannot save ourselves, since the original sin of Adam and Eve renders us utterly depraved and powerless. Yet on the other hand, God has given us a free will so we can choose to rise above our depraved and evil state - and submit to him in obedient faith before it is forever too late. In other words, we've blended nicely together the theology of both Augustine and Pelagius. See how much more balanced our glad tidings are than the teaching of those more extreme theologians?

*Worry is a form of fear, and "perfect love casts out fear", and "those who fear have not been perfected in love." Bear in mind also that "he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." So watch your step, buddy! JESUS said, "You shall be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." And John's first epistle states that he/she that sinneth is of the devil, and Revelation warns us that nothing unclean shall enter that city. (With streets of gold etc.) On the other hand, don't be nervous and worried. But do bear in mind that the fearful and unbelieving will have their part in the lake of fire for all eternity. Yes, we realize that this fate suggests that a God of love inflicts infinite pain on his cherished and finite creatures. But, it will probably be inflicted with "spiritual" fire, not literal. Isn't this comforting?

*Jesus loves all the children of the world, but after they reach the age of accountability (which may be anywhere from 7 to 13) they too will be punished "forever" - with infinite pain - for not having made wise and timely choices.

*The church has been "called out" by God to go to heaven, and He has (er... reluctantly) destined the world for hell.

*Justice, like holiness is also the opposite quality to Love, and we must remember that God is not only love, He is also just. Therefore when He acts justly He behaves unlovingly, and when He behaves lovingly He behaves unjustly. That is why he MUST punish people for all eternity.

*Nevertheless, God is far better than any earthly father. He is far more loving and wise and compassionate than any mortal dad could ever be. And He is also more JUST than earthly fathers. He punishes HIS offspring for all eternity whereas earthy fathers do not, because they fall short of being as just as God is.

*Jesus prayed on the cross for His torturers "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." But the Father knew His Son was wrong about that! After all, He remembered that they were "without excuse" (according to Romans 1). Therefore He ignored Jesus' prayer since it apparently was uttered in ignorance and motivated by a false sense of mercy. Ahem! Er, we won't go so far as to say that Jesus SINNED by praying contrary to His Father's will... Nevertheless, only those people who ASK for forgiveness in a wise and timely fashion (as we have done) will receive it!

*Jesus loves you sooooo much, but you'd better walk softly before the FATHER!!!

*Jesus is the nice and merciful Second Person of the Trinity, and the Father is First Person of the Trinity and the STERN and HOLY One.

*God was sooooo furious with Adam and Eve for sinning that He had to get blood out of someone! Therefore, in order to appease His righteous indignation He sent His Son to earth to be beaten to a pulp and mutilated instead of getting even with Adam and Eve and all their hopelessly sin-impaired posterity.

*God feels very offended because His delicate dignity has been insulted by all the human race who fail to worship Him because they are dead in trespasses and sins and utterly unable to seek or worship Him or to save themselves.

*At the same time, our Heavenly Father is so grand of heart and spirit that you can be sure that He UNDERSTANDS even your worst frailties. And He is the meekest and most gentle and sensible Person in the universe.

*God also has a rollicking good sense of humor! On the other hand, He disapproves of foolish talk and jokes and is watching you to see whether or not you will REPENT and start giving Him thanks! For it is also true that the Lord loves to be praised, encouraged, extolled, and worshipped, and He is VERY angry with people who ignore Him or worship Him in the incorrect manner. So you can forget about Hindus and Buddhists and Moslems and people outside of OUR correct NON-denomination going to heaven!!! Well, a few others might be there, and that is because perhaps IN THEIR HEARTS they were among the Lord's chosen. But it is probably best not to preach this publicly, because it weakens the gospel.

*Also the Father's wrath is not really yet appeased by Jesus' death on the cross. And that is because He is still sooooo MAD because people who are "dead in trespasses and sins" have kept on sinning rather than turn to him because He has CLEARLY revealed Himself in the rocks and trees and birds and bees and sun, moon and stars!!! So at long last, 2000 years ago, He had to send His Son to die on the cross to save the world - although it was far too late to REALLY save it because myriad numbers of its inhabitants had already gone to hell. And all because they refused to respond to the rocks and trees etc. when they were fully capable of doing so, even though original sin had rendered them totally depraved and unable to seek God (necessitating that Christ come into the world? Aw, it's just another paradox that must be accepted in childlike faith. But that's no problem for us diligent and stouthearted... and... "humble" ones! Right?)

*Salvation is totally a gift; you cannot earn or produce it by good works. On the other hand, my aunt Suzie died and went home to her "heavenly reward." And you will never receive your "heavenly reward" and will spend eternity in hell - unless you show GENUINE faith, as is validated by works of obedience. For faith without works is dead. Therefore, dying in sin is also dying in unbelief. However, God may be merciful to some people who die in sin, but DON'T count on it - especially with YOUR kind of sin!

*The Lord loves everyone unconditionally - even those whom He burns in hell for eternity for not having met certain conditions (as we did! ) before it was too late.

*Salvation means gift. Actually it means reward. On the other hand, it means gift. Yet in a real sense it also means reward. On the other hand salvation means rescue - not reward. But then again, YOU must... etc. etc. etc... or God is out of here forever, and your free gift is forfeit! REAL faith is shown by obedience! (Oh well, ahem! It is a great mystery. But try not to worry about it much. Just keep coming to the meetings and paying tithes faithfully and do as we say, and you'll probably be all right!)

*If we ask anything that is according to God's will, the Bible says that He hears us and that we have the petitions we have desired of Him. On the other hand, although the Bible says it is God's will that all people be saved and that we are to pray for their salvation, we also know that THIS prayer will NOT be granted. Not ever. After all, God is a Great Gambler at heart (even though He knows the future with absolute certainty) and He gave people "free will" so that they could seek Him and find Him before it's forever too late. Just as we ourselves have so wisely done? Well, no. That would mean that our wisdom has saved us, and that is unscriptural. Ahem! Er... well... uh... Actually, free will is another great mystery. Just accept this deep paradox in childlike faith and be glad that YOU are going to heaven. Once you are there, God will pull the plug on your memories of your dear grandmother who nurtured you sacrificially. Thus you can freely worship Him as He burns her alive with "spiritual" fire for eternity. And all because she failed do as we did - that is, to properly exercise her free will to choose Christ before it was too late.

*You shouldn't say "Good luck!" to people. That dishonors God. There's no such thing as chance or luck, for HE IS SOVEREIGN AND RULES OVER ALL AFFAIRS. On the other hand, many people will be lost for all eternity because they failed to recognize their "chance" to receive Jesus before it was forever too late. Come to Jesus while there is still a "chance!" Keep showing faith by your works of obedience, while there is a "chance!"

*People who commit suicide go to hell because they die before they have a "chance" to repent of their sin before their spirit leaves their body. So are you despairing to the point of wanting to take your own life? Don't risk it, buddy! (or sis!) If you commit suicide YOUR LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER WILL TEACH YOU WHAT *REAL* DESPAIR IS FOR ALL ETERNITY. (But of course, He will always love you.)

*Because people have a free will, there is the "chance" that many will fail to choose Christ before it is too late.

*So you think you have been "once saved always saved", do you? People who have been TRULY saved don't... etc. etc. etc... Also, don't forget that backsliders are showing good evidence that they have not been truly saved, and if they DIE in that state, it doesn't look very hopeful. Don't you remember the Scripture that says, "They went out from us that it might be manifest that they were not of us"? (And according to most church tradition that means "they NEVER WILL be of us.")

*Our church is er... grace-oriented, and NOT legalistic. Therefore we don't preach publicly about hell, even though billions of eternal destinies are at stake. LEGALISTS thunder the "hell fire and brimstone" message. But we grace-oriented Christians keep it on "back file" and gently teach and explain it in our new converts classes. Nowadays these are conducted in a "nonreligious manner" - even on hikes and fun outings as we fellowship around a cozy campfire.

*Yes, I believe in an endless hell that awaits billions of people, and if you are committed to sound doctrine YOU will believe it too. On the other hand, if you come thundering hell fire and brimstone messages, you will NOT be welcome in our church. We believe in LOVE!

- - - - - - - - - - - -

So there it is, folks. You have just read a brief summary of the gobbledygook gospel that I was taught over the years - and had the roller coaster ride of your life. And sad to say, this is the utter nonsense that much of organized/agonized churchianity is still proclaiming as "gospel" to a pain-wracked and needy world. Is it any wonder that people by the billions are avoiding riding this religious roller coaster?

After all, gospel means GOOD NEWS. Do the above gross contradictions sound like heart-ravishing good news to you? Uh oh! Have I left out any deep and mysterious paradoxes that would help nurture anyone's faith?

Hmmm... Let's see now... What others might we add for the edification of those readers who are looking for yet more "chances" to believe all the right doctrines and do all the right stuff in order to receive the "free gift" of their "Heavenly reward" ?

Closing out... Dear reader, the message above is simply a good humored expos of the mangled message that I once confused for the authentic good news of Jesus Christ. It isn't intended to be a slam against folks that sincerely proclaim it, for I myself embraced that hope-destroying ideology for many years. I sincerely believed it too. Or rather, I earnestly tried to believe it. And I fully realize that I cannot credit myself for having seen the errors in that incomplete and contradictory message and for coming into the wonderful revelation God's Unfailing love. It was HIS doing, not mine. Jesus Himself tells us that a person has only that which Heaven has given to him or her.

However, having been set free by His grace, my prayer is that somehow the Lord will empower me to expose the satanic lies that alienate many hurting - and thinking - people from hoping in Him. Have you grown weary to the bone of all the religious double-speak and abuse that masquerades as "love" and "good news"?

Does it nauseate you to hear God spoken of as though He were a pompous being of delicate dignity that DEMANDS worship "or else!" - and at the same time - spoken of as being a gentle and gracious Heavenly Father? If so - wonderful! That is evidence that you're on the brink of a life-changing breakthrough. I pray that my own testimony will be of encouragement to you. It is found on this webpage, primarily under the titles, "Daddy, What If?" and "Heavenly Dog" and "Absolute Assurance in Jesus Christ."

God loves you with total and unconditional commitment, and He will NEVER give up on you. Not ever. Nor will He ever give up on your loved ones! Once this authentic and Biblical Good News "comes home" to your weary heart - I can promise you - that you will never be the same again.

May our Gracious Father God of infinite kindness lead you into ever-expanding dimensions of the height, depth, width, and length of His never-failing love... (Eph.3:14-21)

Yours prayerfully and by His Amazing Mercy, Charles Slagle




Joian and I had a wonderful phone conversation last night in celebration of our one year anniversary of our first and only face to face meeting in Coronado. As we were about to finish our typical hour and a half visit I kept feeling an urge to ask Joian to pray for my Uncle Donald who is by the way only two years older than me. I had not heard from him in some time ......... as a matter of fact I had not received any correspondence from him since I posted this message about his mother, a number of weeks ago. As the Lord would have it Joian asked that we pray together for Donald, mentioning that in our innumerable phone visits we had never prayed together. After a long pause where it seemed we were each waiting for the other to start our prayer Joian finally began and we entered into an anointed intercession for Donald. God is so faithful as demonstrated by the fact that as soon as we finished praying I went to my computer to see that Uncle Don had just E-mailed me as we were praying. In this letter he told me how touched he was with this tribute and mentioned that the photos were not showing up with the post. So this morning I edited the post and got the pics up and felt like this old message should stay at the top today. Such is the way of the Spirit.
God bless you Uncle Donald and may you have a wonderful Fourth of July!
So how do you know when it's time to post an old story .......the one you've held back on because it's your very favorite. It's the inclination to do so, when you awake and the confirmation comes with the tears that fall and the heart being made tender as you gather the parts and put them together an hour later.

So it is this morning with this. I pray this little story I wrote a couple years ago along with the added attachment of my dear uncle's comments brings to you a tear or two and little tenderness of heart.


I hope upon reading this short testimony you might catch a glimpse of just how far our God will go to meet the needs of the young ones in Christ. The "young ones" in this amazing story are my grandma and a seasoned convict named Preston.

As I stood before the two large jail cells my eye caught the appearance of one who's likes I had never seen before during my five years of jail and prison ministry. This man had a presence unlike the others and everyone about him seemed to pay an unspoken homage to him. His face was scarred and hard, yet his deep set blue eyes held a mysteriously soft quality within them. He was a large man with a body made powerful through years of fighting and prison yard weight lifting.

The place in which I stood, between two sets of cold steel bars, had become familiar and Holy ground for me. From this anointed spot, every Sunday afternoon at three o'clock for over five years now I had been sharing the Life freeing Gospel of Jesus Christ with hardened men that had been cast away as the dregs of society. My heart had been so captured by the needs of this oft battered and forgotten group that not once did I ever missed a Sunday in over seven years of ministry. This is what I did and who I was back thirty years ago; a jail house preacher ......... and in my mind the highest appointment of all God's callings.

Now, getting back to the story, this unique man was sitting at the large gray cement table, in the middle of one of the two large holding cells, along with many of the other twenty or so men that were housed back there. I introduced my self and as he stood I shook his hand while learning he went by the name of Preston. I proceeded to ask him a few questions about himself, as was my custom with the new inmates. Preston was friendly enough and as I preached he paid a quiet respectful attention. After my message I prayed with and for a number of the men and then bid them good bye as I continued with my rounds to visit the men in the other smaller cells.

During my next Sunday visit I took the time to find out more about this unique character that received so much respect from the other inmates. It seems Preston was what you would classify as a career criminal and had spent most his thirty five years behind bars. He had done some pretty nasty stuff and even alluded to a possible murder in his past. From the information garnered it seemed Preston would be incarcerated in this Oklahoma jail cell for a number of weeks until the paper work was processed for his extradition back to California. Cali was home and this is where he was facing new charges. Along with the charges there was also the possibility of a sentence of life imprisonment under the "Habitual Criminal Act" also know as the "Three Strikes Your Out Statute."

For the next few weeks I noticed Preston paying steadfast attention as I spoke of God's love and a greater purpose in life. I ended up spending much time in giving him individual attention and sharing conversation before and after my messages. He repaid me on my fourth visit by rousing every single soul out of their bunks with a suggestion that every one should sit down at the tables and give ear to what I was going to preach this day. In the seven years I never had a more attentive audience in that dark smoke laden back area of this jail. As I preached a seemingly more anointed message of God's love that Sunday I noticed a single tear roll down the cheek of Preston's scarred face. I knew then that this bad man was soon to be God's chosen child. I was thrilled even though Preston declined my offer to pray with him at the conclusion of the service.

The next meeting would be Preston's last and God was faithful to have Preston finally pray with me after the service. He acknowledge Christ as his Saviour and asked for my prayers with regard to his upcoming court case in California. I gave him my mailing address and told him to stay in touch before we shook hands for the last time. I noticed his soft blue eyes were raining tears as I parted.

God was so very good in the couple of months following Preston's departure. This new found brother was faithful to send at least one letter a week and the pages of these were full of wonderful testimony of God's love and goodness toward this once bad man. His marriage which had been in two heaps of bitter separation was restored and his wife had come to know God through Preston's sharing and his changed nature. In addition, instead of receiving a life sentence he was given only a year in a prisoner fire camp in the mountains of southern California. This was truly a great miracle as this sentence was not only phenomenal in it's lack of length but a "fire camp sentence" was coveted by all convicts as the very best in the California penal system. Preston was beside himself with joy and he was also growing strong in his love of God through his personal Bible study and prayer life........... but things were about to change.

It had been a few weeks since I had received any communication from Preston when I received a collect call. I had earlier, in a letter, given him my phone number and encouraged him to call me if he ever felt the need. It seems out of the hundred prisoners at the fire camp there was not a Christian among them and Preston was discouraged and lonely. Living a Godly life among such hardened and oft cruel men was taking it's toll and Preston asked me to pray that he would find the strength to hang on to his new life in Christ ............. I could never have dreamed of how God would almost immediately and miraculously minister to this situation.

A few days after Preston's call for help I received another unexpected phone call. It was from my grandma whom I hadn't heard from in years. She was bubbling over and hardly able to talk as she reported to me that she had just "found the Lord". She apologized for all the times she amusingly had addressed me as her "Jesus freak" grandson. She wanted to know what I was doing in regards to my service toward God and I told her about my jail and prison ministry. She was thrilled and said she had always had a soft spot in her heart for those men in the prisons. Grandma asked me to pray that God would open up such a ministry as I had, for her............ a light went off in my head.

Preston had mentioned the area where his fire camp was situated and having been raised in California I knew it was not too far from where my grandmother lived. I thought, "Wow! maybe Grandma could visit Preston sometime." I shared my thought with her on the phone and she said the camp couldn't be but an hours drive away and she would love to visit with my friend. I told her I would write Preston immediately and try to set something up ........... Glory Be! a new ministry was being birthed.

Grandma would make the drive up to the mountain fire camp on a Sunday a few weeks following our phone conversation. In this first visit, she and Preston would hit it off like a mother finding her long lost son. She would continue her visitations each following Sunday and soon other men in the camp joined Preston as he and Grandma shared God's love. Preston soon found his loneliness dispelled by a new and fulfilling fellowship as many of his camp mates came into God's grace. A small chapel would even be erected on the prison camp grounds before Preston would leave and grandma would continue to visit the men in that camp for over a decade. She would also start ministries in two other fire camps as this became her life's work. Can you imagine a seventy five year old woman driving all those treacherous mountain roads each week to visit and share God's love with multitudes of convicts. She once told me how she always addressed these hardened men as "sons" and they always called her "grandma."

In closing let me report that Preston along with his wife kept in close contact with my grandmother for many years following their introduction. Of all the many men this woman ministered to, Preston was always counted as her favorite. This tireless saint of a woman passed away a half decade ago and is buried in the mountains she came to love. I have lost contact with Preston but I will always remember him as the toughest convict I ever met changed into a glorious child of God.

Such are the ways of God and isn't He good.

A year after writing this account and after decades of unintended separation my uncle Donald (grandma's son) and I would get re-acquainted last July. I asked him not long ago if he had some old photos of grandma I might use to put a face with this story. In addition to the photos he sent me, which I have posted below, I thought to add this touching excerpt from an E-mail I received from Donald as he searched and gathered the pictures of his mother for me. I hope you can feel his words, to know the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and sensitivity of heart is oft a family trait passed from generation to generation.

dear Jack,
i found these and they have lots of meaning to me. first one was when mom and another lady were being ordained...and NOT in the finery of some magnificent church with lots of pomp and circumstances! it happened directly in the midst of prison walls with all prisoners participating, laying on hands, including the guy officiating. hard to believe, but Rev. Ray Gauger was a felon on death row and in solitary, where nary a ray of sunshine penetrated. for some reason or another, they released him on parole. to this day he cannot figure out why. he was a super person, but he's passed on now.

the other lady also ministers to prisoners all over, and she travels extensively. she's a genuine person too Jack. so being that the only two there were not convicts, they were each awarded a certificate certifying them to be "honorary convicts." LOL...kinda neat, huh! believe me, no self respecting church could ever come up with something that twisted...why.....they'd be shocked!! but not grandma or the other lady. they were honored by that!

.....hard to go thru all this touches me emotionally .......... she was so wonderful...such a genuine and transparent

uncle donald

Grandma is the little dark haired woman in the
center of the photo. She is with her beloved boys,
being ordained as an "Honorary Convict"



Dare say, I found another that writes as one that discovered the mystical relationship of God to man and man to God. I had in the past read a little of this one that I know many of you are familiar with. My heart thrilled tonight as I pondered these anointed words by Andrew Murray, describing Moses' tabernacle as a type of the temple of God's glory in Christ we be. This is an excerpt from this message and I have provided the links to the full writing below and also a site containing a number of Murray's writings.
(I must also note that as I posted this excerpt below,
Brother Don that visits occasionally kept coming to mind)

The Holiest of all within me, too, is unseen and hidden, a thing for faith alone to know and deal with. Let me, as I approach to the Holy One, bow before Him in deep and lowly reverence. Let me there say that I believe what He says, that His Holy Spirit, God, one with the Father and the Son, even now has His abode within me. I will meditate, and be still, until something of the overwhelming glory of the truth fall upon me, and faith begin to realize it: I am His temple, and in the secret place He sits upon His throne. As I yield myself in silent meditation and worship day by day, surrendering and setting open my whole being to Him, He will in His divine, loving, living power, shine into my consciousness the light of His presence.

As this thought fills the heart, the faith of the indwelling though hidden presence will influence; the Holy Place will be ruled from the Most Holy. The world of consciousness in the soul, with all its thoughts and feelings, its affections and purposes, will come and surrender themselves to the Holy Power that sits within on the throne. Amid the terrible experience of failure and sin a new hope will dawn. Though long I most earnestly strove, I could not keep the Holy Place for God, because I knew not that He kept the Most Holy for Himself. If I give Him there the glory due to His name, in the holy worship of the inner temple, He will send forth His light and His truth through my whole being,and through mind and will reveal His power to sanctify and to bless. And through the soul, thus coming ever more mightily under His rule, His power will work out even into the body. With passions and appetites within, yea, with every thought brought into subjection, the hidden Holy Spirit will through the soul penetrate ever deeper into the body. Through the Spirit the deeds of the body will be made dead, and the river of water, that flows from under 'the throne of God and the Lamb, will go through all the outer nature, with its cleansing and quickening power.

0 Brother, do believe that you are the temple of the living God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ! You have been sealed with the Holy Spirit; He is the mark, the living assurance of your sonship and your Father's love. If this have hitherto been a thought that has brought you but little comfort, see if the reason is not here. You sought for Him in the Holy Place, amid the powers and services of your inner life which come within your vision, And you could hardly discern Him there. And so you could not appropriate the comfort and strength the Comforter was meant to bring. No, my brother, not there, not there. Deeper down, in the secret place of the Most High, there you will find Him. Within you! in your inmost part! there faith will find Him. And as faith worships in holy reverence before the Father, and the heart trembles at the thought of what it has found, wait in holy stillness on God to grant you the mighty working of His Spirit; wait in holy stillness for the Spirit, and be assured He will, as God, arise and fill His temple with His glory.

And then remember, the veil was but for a time. When the preparation was complete, the veil of the flesh was rent. As you yield your soul's inner life to the inmost life of the Spirit, as the traffic between the Most Holy and the Holy becomes more true and unbroken, the fulness of the time will come in your soul. In the power of Him,in whom the veil was rent that the Spirit might stream forth from His glorified body, there will come to you, too, an experience in which the veil shall be taken away, and the Most Holy and the Holy be thrown into one. The hidden glory of the Secret Place will stream into your conscious daily life: the service of the Holy Place will all be in the power of the Eternal Spirit.

Brother, let us fall down and worship! 'Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for he is waked up out of His holy habitation.'

Most Holy God! in adoring wonder I bow before Thee in presence of this wondrous mystery of grace: my spirit, soul, and body Thy temple.

In deep silence and worship I accept the blessed revelation, that in me too there is a Holiest of all, and that there Thy hidden Glory has its abode.



PS. As I read this I could say with no doubt that this Andrew Murray was a man of prayer. You shall not write nor share such anointed revelation save you have spent much time still, before God.

"Ah, how rare is it to find a soul still enough to hear God speak!"


It is so great to be free to follow the Spirit where ever it blows. There was a day in my Christian walk that I would have felt bound to contribute often and regularly to such a ministry as this site. My life used to be filled up with the things of Christ but not filled with Christ Himself.

I received this short writing (below) in my mail box some time ago and it so simply explains the difference in the things about Jesus and Jesus himself. Oh, how many of us have been caught up in and filled with the "things about Christ" rather than "caught up in Christ and filled with His Life." Yes, we need to be "caught up" not as the organized church teaches with it's fairy tale "rapture" but "caught up" in the progressive resurrection of Life we experience while abiding in Him.

Is Jesus Enough?
by Chip Brogden

"After they had eaten, Jesus asked Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these other things?'" (John 21:15).

When the saints gather together most of the activity is focused on "one another". This is important, but it is not the most important thing. Fellowship is good: but is Jesus enough? Gatherings are good: but is Jesus enough? Meetings are good: but is Jesus enough? Special speakers and special music are good: but is Jesus enough?

Even with praise and worship it is possible to sing "about" Jesus and not truly worship Jesus. With preaching and teaching it is possible to talk "about" Jesus and not truly meet Jesus in what is shared. In prayer it is possible to talk "about" our needs and never actually commune with Jesus Himself.

Among Christians I have discovered something. There is Jesus, and then there are all the things ABOUT Jesus that are NOT Jesus. Jesus Himself occupies only a small portion of what is said and done in Christian circles. Most of what is said and done is merely ABOUT Jesus, but it is NOT Jesus.

I have learned that stress, strife, disillusionment, dissatisfaction, bitterness, anger, hurt, misunderstanding, and confusion comes from everything said and done by religious people ABOUT the Lord, and IN THE NAME of the Lord, that does not, in fact, have anything to do with Jesus Himself.

How much of your focus is directed to the things of God, and not to God Himself?