WE SHALL BE CHANGED… Tares into Wheat

Betty’s experience and teaching on the subject of being born again.

Please remember that nothing I say is personal to anyone, and when I use the word ‘you’ I am referring to all of us, and not to ‘you’ in particular. Sometimes it is difficult to define what we need to say with mere words.

Many of us who come together here at this time and place are lifetime students of the Bible, and we have come to honor it and revere it’s very appearance. There is an old song we remember: “Get the Dust off the Bible and redeem your poor soul.”

Many of us, as small children, slept on pallets around an old wood stove while our parents and neighbors gathered together to worship the Lord and give their hearts to God. These meetings were the highlights of their existence. They sang, prayed, danced, shouted, wept, laughed, and stayed until they were totally spent in body. Then they would tote us home in an old Model T and we were angelically rocked to sleep along the old bumpy dirt roads of the hills and hollows of Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

What a legacy we have received from those pioneers who paved the way for our generation. They did their job, and they did it well. They brought light into darkness; joy into realms of sadness; and made the path straighter than it had been in hundreds of years. I give all thanks for the Charismatic showers of blessings that paved the way for us. I thank God for my roots, and I would not take away one iota of glory from all those who put their hearts and souls into unveiling truth from types and shadows. Their reward is laid up for them.

My father (Paul Youngblood), my grandfather (George Washington Youngblood), and my great-grandfather (Powell Youngblood), were all charismatic preachers. There was another one before them called Ambrose Youngblood, but that was before my time. They came from Kentucky in the late 1800s and early 1900s preaching the anointing of the Holy Ghost. My mother’s family, being Baptist, had never heard of such a thing, but many of her family, friends, and neighbors received the Holy Ghost. They were changed by it. They finished the work that was given them to do. They brought us as far as they could go.

Of course, nobody in my family believed “once saved-always saved” and lots of folks backslid often. When I was a kid, I found myself at the altar just about every Sunday getting saved again and promising God that I would never sin again. Then I would. It was a roller coaster ride for me up and down the ladder of God’s grace or disfavor, because, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t be good all the time, and I had five brothers who knew exactly how to trigger my wrath and get me all fired up. I would be just freshly saved and doing right well and feeling like I had finally arrived at pleasing God, when one of those rascals would sneak up behind me while I was washing dishes (with lye soap) and flip me on the rear with a tea towel. Then I would backslide all over again. I developed an underlying sense of guilt and inadequacy because I could not DO what I thought I had to do.

When I was fifteen years old, I was gifted with an unexpected visit from the Holy Spirit while I was on my knees, just yielding everything to God, just wanting to do His will. The power of God filled me, and without any volition of my own, I was on my feet dancing all over the place and singing in tongues. I knew what had happened to me, but I did not cause it and I was totally surprised when it came. It transformed me for a brief time into heavenly places. I have sung and spoken in tongues many times since then, but have never repeated that same experience. I was changed. I thought I had achieved the ULTIMATE in God. That was the maximum of my teaching up to that time.

I believed everything. I thought authority figures were perfect, respectable, honorable in all things, and never said anything wrong. Being good in their eyes was sort of like being good in God’s eyes, I thought. I looked up to every professional person as somebody very important and to be modeled after. I developed the driving need to prove my worth by over-achieving. Any perfectionist knows what I mean. I have shared that story with you.

By the time I was in my mid 20’s and had three kids, I thought I was a “good Christian.” I thought I had faith. I thought I was living a good life. I thought all I had to do was be good and wait till Jesus came back to carry me off to a geological location in the sky where the sun always shines and angels always sing and the lions don’t eat the lambs.

But, when my 8-year-old firstborn son, Joey, was hit and killed instantly by a car, it pulled the religious rug out from under me. I disassociated myself from the whole thing for days. I couldn’t cry at his funeral. I couldn’t BELIEVE it was true. It was not REAL to me. It took me a year to just accept the reality of it. Day after day, I would wake up in the mornings with a sense that something was wrong, and then it would wash over me again and again that my little boy was dead.

I did not blame anyone. It was nobody else’s fault. But I was haunted by my past sins. I felt I must be responsible – and this was the payback. My self ‘punishment’ was literally more than I could bear.

I slowly realized down in the depths of my being that everything I had ever heard preached, or read for myself, or thought I understood, was not enough to make me ‘good’ or to give me the consolation that I had been promised. I remember going down by the creek and lying on my face in the moss and clawing into the earth with my nails, screaming out to God to show me the truth. I determined on the bank of that creek that I would find the truth, or I would turn my back on all of it. A religion that did not deliver what it promised was of no use to me.

From that day, I set out to find truth. Wherever the path meandered, I followed. The closest church I found was a little Baptist church, and I started going and taking my kids. Soon I was teaching Bible School, and, as I taught, I began to read and study for myself what the Bible said. I learned the letter of the word. I memorized all 77 names of the O.T. and the N.T. and taught them to the kids.

From there, I moved on to a Pentecostal “outward appearance” church and conformed to all the modifications of dress and appearance. After a couple of years of that, I hadn’t changed a bit.

Then I studied with “Jehovah’s Witnesses” for over two years. I couldn’t take anything at face value. Everything these people told me, I would check it out for myself. I spent hours in the library studying ancient religions and civilizations; and I was devastated to find out that the Egyptian priests built temples and practiced circumcision before Abraham or Moses ever went down there. I read about the Laws of Hammurabi (including an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth) that were written in stone long before Moses was born. I learned a lot of things that were wrong, but not much about what was right.

I found out that most of the things the Hebrews taught were things they had picked up in other places where they ‘sojourned’ and where they had been in captivity, etc. I found out they had adopted hero myths from other cultures and applied them to their own people. The statement I’m making here is not whether any of those stories were true or false, but that they did not originate straight from the mouth of God to the Hebrew people. Just about everyone who did anything in the Bible went down to Egypt first. Moses was claimed to have been born there and raised up in the Pharaoh’s house. (Exodus 2) Surely he learned their religious practices and ways of government and law. Abraham sojourned in Egypt. That’s where he learned about circumcision. Pictures of these priestly rites are carved in stone in Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Coming to grips with these facts was almost as bad as losing Joey. I came to the place where I thought I might as well throw the Bible into the trash and just forget the whole thing. I came to the valley of decision again: I said to myself, “Well, I am not a Jew, so I cannot be saved through that route—but I KNOW the Holy Ghost is REAL because it HAPPENED to ME. I make a choice, here and now, to trust Jesus by faith, because it’s all I have.”

Shortly afterward, I was sitting at my kitchen table just thinking about all the stuff I had taken in. I felt like I had a big burlap sack on my back filled with scraps of this doctrine and that doctrine and this priesthood and that priesthood, and nothing made sense to me. It was like having a basket full of quilt scraps and not knowing how to put it together. As I sat there at my kitchen table that morning, I closed my eyes and mentally visualized myself taking that sack out to the burn barrel and dropping every scrap, piece by piece into the fire to be burned. As it burned, I began to feel the load lighten off my shoulders and it got lighter and lighter, until all at once, I was on my feet with my arms in the air and I felt like something actually sprouted right up out of my heart and through the top of my head, speaking these words, “I am he that lives, and was dead, and I am alive forever more.” At that split second, that twinkling of an eye, my very being merged with that inner witness. I was one with it. I was changed forever in that second. It was me and I was it. I was infused with it.

“I” was spiritually reborn. My face was the same, my clothes were the same, my house was the same, but my very essence of life had merged with the Holy Seed that I had received when I was fifteen. That seed sprouted from my innermost being as my new self and witnessed to me of itself. This was not another personality. I was fully in my right mind. This was the second phenomenon (witness) that happened to me totally unexpected and not of my own doing.

Receiving the Holy Spirit IS a conception. I don’t know why everyone who receives the Holy Ghost does not experience the new birth of their being, their true identity. There are many who have, and many who will, and many who may not. Jesus spoke about a sower who went out to sow:

Matthew 13:3-9 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

[4] And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

[5] Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

[6] And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

[7] And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

[8] But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

[9] Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Who does have ears to hear? The natural mind thinks of thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and hundredfold as QUANTITIES, and lots and lots of numbers; but the mind of Christ thinks of it as dimensions in us. QUALITY of Spirit, Soul and Body. Jesus talked about three dimensions of unfolding of the seed:

Mark 4:28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; 1) first the blade, 2) then the ear, 3) after that the full corn in the ear.

Mark 4:30-31 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or WITH WHAT COMPARISON SHALL WE COMPARE IT?

Mark 4:31-32 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: [32] But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

We GROW and acclimate dimensionally into the kingdom of heaven. The first requisite is that we hear or read the letter of the word of reconciliation with our physical eyes and/or ears. This is the first dimension of the senses. We accept it and believe it with our natural mind; and some people are satisfied with that. But that’s not enough for us, for though we may believe it, we don’t KNOW it.

The second dimension involves our emotional, subconscious dimension, when that seed we have believed is stirred up and our soul receives and acknowledges it and the seed is planted there. This is accompanied by an ecstasy of the soul that is expressed in a rapture of speaking in heavenly tongues and or dancing or both, or some emotional joy beyond the perception of the natural mind. A lot of people (including myself once) believe that this is the ULTIMATE and they have to go no further; they are sealed and just have to sit back and wait for Jesus to come. But, for some of us, that is not enough. There is still a hunger for more.

Then the day comes when that seed has finished its gestation in the soul and bursts forth into the being dimension. Here it witnesses of its presence by identifying itself as the Son of God within you, and as your new self. This is an ecstasy unspeakable. It is the most profound silence imaginable as you are caught up in a holy instant of pure light and recognition of that which was lost, that which you have sought for so long. You and your heavenly Father are ONE, as you were before the world was.

And here is the stickler: The whole world laughs at you, scorns you, spits on you. Just exactly like they did Jesus. John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

At the time this rebirth happened within me, I had been teaching an adult Bible class every Wednesday night. These were people who had the Holy Ghost and loved to praise God and study the letter of the word. I was on cloud 9 and I was walking in heavenly places. I could not WAIT to get to church and tell this wonderful news (gospel) to my brothers and sisters in Christ. I said, “They can put my body in the grave tomorrow, but “I” will never die.” Boy! I’m telling you, I could almost see the wall that went up between them and me. I could FEEL the chill that vibrated from these souls as I witnessed of this birth. Born again after fifteen years of having the Holy Ghost???? I was out of order. And I was out of their church. As far as I know, they’re still sitting there every Wednesday night going over the same old words and waiting for Jesus to ‘redeem his bride.’

They made me want to crawl under a rock, and I grew more and more silent about this Holy Child within. I realize now that I spoke too soon. I had not yet WALKED in this truth and I had not yet experienced the wilderness of temptation when everyone I knew or came in contact with would tempt me to deny that I and my Father are one. But my time was coming.

A dear friend and I were discussing this three-fold harvest long ago, and she said, “Do you realize that between the sixty and hundred… there are forty?” Forty: the time of wilderness, the time of testing, the time of temptation. We must finish one lap before we are strong enough to start the next.

When you look at the life Jesus demonstrated as the ‘Pattern Son’ or ‘fore runner’ or ‘Head of the Body,’ you can see a big picture of the three dimensions he experienced. The Bible says that when he was twelve years old, he knew who he was by the letter of the word and by the prophets. He knew a lot about the word, and he amazed the teachers in the synagogue by how much he knew. He said, “I must be about my Father’s business.” He was not yet finished.

The next we hear of Jesus, he yielded himself to be baptized by John as an act of obedience to the law. This was a sign of going down into death and rising up in newness of life. He was doing this for all mankind. When he had fulfilled this: Matthew 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: [17] And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

There was a second witness. Not just the letter of the word and the prophecies, but a VOICE, a PRESENCE, an acknowledgement that God was his true Father. They were ONE is Spirit and Being. Now, his soul knew that.

But, guess what! Did Jesus run out and start preaching and healing, and raising people from the dead???? NO. Not yet.

Matthew 4:1-11 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. [3] And when the tempter came to him, he said, IF THOU BE THE SON OF GOD, command that these stones be made bread. [4] But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, [6] And saith unto him, IF THOU BE THE SON OF GOD, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD, and the glory of them; [9] And saith unto him, All these things will I GIVE THEE, IF THOU WILT FALL DOWN and WORSHIP [10] Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. [11] Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Jesus showed us the WAY. He showed us the TEMPTATION. He showed us the WAY OF ESCAPE out of temptation.

Hebrews 4:14-15 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. [15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

“in all points tempted” means in every dimension that man can be tempted: body, soul and spirit. The mother of temptations is: “IF YOU BE THE SON OF GOD.” The way out of every temptation is: “I AM, I AM, I AM, I AM!”

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (experienced);

We are tempted in whatever dimension we happen to find our ‘self.’ Some never overcome the first dimension-- physical problems, money problems, health problems, fear of physical death. Many do overcome almost impossible physical hardships to preach and teach the word. They start out ‘on fire’ for God and you think nothing in the world can ever go wrong. Wrong!!!

The second dimension in which man can be tempted is emotional, mental, social problems, relationship problems, family problems. It’s a cryin’ shame he is married to a woman who is not cut out to be a preacher’s wife. It’s a shame she just don’t understand why he can’t hold down a regular job like other people. But… there’s that darling young thing in the congregation whose eyes just light up when he gets onstage. She runs to him for advice, respects him, admires him, needs his attention to solve all her problems, and surely nobody will know if they have a little liaison. He needs the comfort. God understands. She invigorates him and, actually, he feels more ‘anointed’ than ever. Right here, he is denying the Christ that bought him. But, of course, he is blind to that. But, just wait till he is caught in the act. His wife leaves him and takes the kids, he loses the church he has worked so hard to establish, and oh my, can’t these people forgive? Can’t they remember all the good things he has taught them? No. They can’t. He was preaching a word in which he had not exercised his senses by reason of use. He couldn’t ‘walk the talk.’

He despairs and resigns himself to grinding at the mill, blind like Samson, going round and round and round in cycles. These dimensions of temptation, if he listens to the tempter, will bring him into depths of self-pity, needing comfort, needing something to dull the pain of the grueling wiles of the devil.

But, there are some who withstand the physical and emotional temptations and stand lily white in the eyes of the multitudes. They have a spotless record. They need to ‘go on the air’ so they can reach more people. God ‘tells’ them to go on the air. It is my experience that God never tells us to do one single solitary thing for which He has not equipped us. How come God tells this guy to go on the air, and every time he preaches he testifies that if the people don’t send him the money, he is going to be shut down?

So people start ‘giving till it hurts’ so they won’t ‘rob God.’ For some reason, it’s never enough. As the money grows, so do the needs. Then they have to start making up little booklets they can send you for a donation. They show you pictures of starving children in India that make you weep and lament and want to apply the sackcloth and ashes on your head. And we know the rest of those stories. They more money they get, the more they need.

Television ministries have made a science out of knowing how and when people respond to their pleas for money. A lot of emotion works. People naturally want to help others less fortunate than themselves, so they allow these ministries to be the funnels through which they help others. I’ve noticed these foreign recipients are still on the same pictures a year later. Didn’t I use my social security check to help them? POWER to persuade others, to manipulate the multitudes. What a rush!

The third dimension is Spiritual.

Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is IMPOSSIBLE for those who were ONCE ENLIGHTENED, and have TASTED of the heavenly GIFT, and were MADE PARTAKERS of the HOLY GHOST, [5] And have TASTED THE GOOD WORD OF GOD, and the POWERS OF THE WORLD TO COME, [6] If they SHALL FALL AWAY, to RENEW them AGAIN unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

This man falls from the pyramid he has built up of the people under him. When he comes down, they go with him… because they had their trust in him. These men do not come to this terrible catastrophe by themselves. The people who buy into this farce are part of that destruction and help put Christ to an open shame.

1 Tim. 6:9-11 But they that will be rich fall into TEMPTATION and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which DROWN men in destruction and perdition. [10] For the LOVE of money is the ROOT of ALL EVIL: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. [11] But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

The very sorrowful fact is that the same power to do good is the same power that is used to do evil. Money of itself is just paper made from the trees that God created. But the lust for money is addictive; the more you get the more you want, the more you need. Money talks louder than anything in our world today. (I don’t even anticipate any argument over that.) Power, prestige, recognition. Emptiness inside. Fear that people will find out who you are behind the mask.

This is one of the most enlightening scriptures I have ever read:

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were RECONCILED to God by the DEATH of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be SAVED by his LIFE.

Our ‘CHANGE’ is three-dimensional. Our CHANGE is our salvation. Only when we are changed in Spirit do we really have the ability to make an informed choice of whom we are going to serve and how we are going to USE the power of God that indwells us.

1 Peter 4:10-11 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good STEWARDS OF the manifold GRACE of God. [11] If any man speak, let him SPEAK AS THE ORACLES OF GOD; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Never in my life have I been more mindful of the power of our words to influence our personal world. Whatever ‘word’ we confess with our mouth is impregnated with the power to fulfill itself and come to fruition in our experience. Whether we realize it or not, POWER comes with the Holy Ghost. It is WE who determine what the quality of that power will produce.

My sisters and I admonish each other (in love) about the words of our mouth. Some people had rather have the pity and sympathy of others and be babied and petted than to change their testimony. When someone (who I know has the Holy Spirit) starts crying on my shoulder over and over and over, I start trying to look beneath all that and call forth the Christ from the innermost being of that person. I begin to witness to them that their NEW self cannot be sick; their NEW self is in heavenly places and cannot die; their NEW self is holy and pure and beautiful and perfect. Some agree, and some get mad at me. But that is MY job… to edify and to build up the Christ in others, not to continue to look at the outward appearance that is manifesting.

We have the right of choice in everything we do and in everything we confess. I may feel I have the right to be angry; but I also have the right to forgive. (Did you know that true forgiveness is the ultimate revenge?) I may feel I have the right to be ill; but I also have the right to be well. It depends on who “I” am identifying with—my old man or my new man. I tell you one thing for sure, that new man in you can do things the old man never dreamed of—when you start exercising HIS rights.

Jesus spoke in parables to the masses because of the incredible power involved in his teachings. He knew that only those who are born again of God can handle power of speech and action according to God’s will. There are those in our world today who take natural laws and use them for evil. Laws that are given to bless the world, feed it, nurture it, are used to make bombs to kill millions. It’s the SAME power, but it’s how we use it. Only God has power. We are the vessel through which it flows. The ‘devil’ has NO POWER BUT A LIE.

What we profess with the carnal mind APPEARS to be true to those who are not reborn of God; but we need to stop professing lies when we are walking in Christ. If you have been born again, the new you IS Christ. You can speak the truth of your NEW self, even when the old self is still kicking and trying to survive. He WILL be DISPLACED by the Christ day by day if you exercise your right to RECKON HIM ALREADY DEAD. The more you confess the truth, the more the old codger has to flee.

Every addiction is dimensional. It is like a three-fold cord, not easily broken. First the physical, then the emotional, then the will. Addiction is a hunger that cannot be filled with natural substances; but, we grab on to whatever lies to the brain and makes it feel better. Addiction is a substitute and a copout from developing the power and strength of the living Christ within.

When a natural child is first born, he doesn’t have much physical strength. He just lives from one moment to the next, aware only of his need for creature comforts. He has to learn to walk according to ability. If you carry a child forever, he will never learn to walk. If he has no falls, he will never learn to stand up. He has to get pretty confident with his crawling before he will begin to pull himself up. Then he walks around holding onto things because he does not have the confidence to let go. Even when he walks alone, he falls often. The wonderful thing is that he TRIES and TRIES until it happens. Our love knows WHEN he is ready to walk, and we let him hold our finger as he lets go of the table. Then we back off and let him walk toward us, with our arms stretched out ready to catch him and set him back on his feet. Nobody can walk FOR him.

1 Cor. 15:49-54 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. [50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be CHANGED, [52] In a MOMENT, in the TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and WE SHALL BE CHANGED. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And BE NOT CONFORMED to this world: but be ye TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what is that GOOD (thirtyfold), and ACCEPTABLE (sixtyfold), and PERFECT (hundredfold) will of God.

Matthew 10:38-39 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is NOT WORTHY of me. [39] He that findeth HIS LIFE shall LOSE it: and he that LOSETH HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE shall FIND it.

The natural mind sees everything in individual form. It sees Jesus in individual form. It sees God in individual form, and it sees itself in individual form. The natural mind (soul) identifies itself with the flesh or outward appearance. THIS IS ERROR AND IT IS SIN. The soul, in this error, IS dead to the knowledge of God and of Spirit.

What would you do in heaven today, with your present state of mind and body? If flesh and blood cannot enter that kingdom, what would you do without it? Who would you BE? What if there were no other bodies. Who would you KNOW?

Do you think we might need some adaptation and changing to be prepared to live in such a dimension as this? Does anybody WANT to be changed? What kind of changes do we think are going to occur at that last trump?

Everybody knows the kingdom of God is within us, but is that just a vague shadow that haunts the deepest part of us? Is it real? Are we growing up as children in the kingdom of heaven? Are we learning about the Spiritual Laws of God? Are we learning how to use our faith by testing it and trying it and experimenting with it every day?

Two years ago, my three sisters and I, and two other friends made an agreement (commitment, covenant) to make an online pilgrimage to seek the kingdom of God within. This came about because of a dream I had. (March 14, 2000)

[I dreamed I was riding down the highway with a man who was acting like my husband, but was not my husband. For some reason, he got angry at me and dumped me on the highway. I knew I had to get back to my own vehicle, but I noticed I was totally naked. I didn't want anyone passing by to see me, so I got down in the grassy ditch and started swimming through the grass. A few people stopped and gawked at me, but I just kept swimming and telling them I knew where I was going and I was okay. Soon I got to my car and had reached through the window to get some clothes. I pulled out a white robe and put it on, nothing else. Suddenly the man who had dropped me off was there on the scene and was grabbing for me. The thought was going through my head, "Nothing can hold me, nothing can hold me, nothing can hold me." Just as he reached for me, I was in the air lifting off like a feather. Then I joined a group of people who were headed for the desert. They were going on a pilgrimage to a holy city. I knew I would spend ten years on that pilgrimage, and then return back to my home for ten years. Kind of alternating back and forth. It was time for me to go, and nothing could stop me.]

Although I did not know what all this meant at the time, the Spirit began to reveal many things to us as we shared with one another day by day, pouring out Christ and drawing Christ from one another. We began to see that there are gifts, armor and equipment provided for our journey, as we need it. Like in the dream, when I needed to get someplace, I could swim through grass. When I needed to get away from my ‘old man’, I could fly. I don’t mean that I will sprout wings or grow fins, but I mean that we will be changed and adapted to function as citizens in a Spiritual dimension. During that pilgrimage, we learned how to pray; we learned how to share; how to see beyond the outward form and see the anointed life within. We began to refer to our source as the “Fin & Feather Factory.”

We are given TOOLS to master every dimension of our journey within. The first thing we have been provided are gifts. This is for the first dimension:

Ephes. 4:11-16 (NIV) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, [12] to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up [13] until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the WHOLE MEASURE of the FULLNESS of CHRIST. (or until we are wholly filled with Christ)

[14] Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

[15] Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things (dimensions) GROW UP INTO HIM WHO IS THE HEAD, that is, Christ. [16] From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and BUILDS ITSELF UP in LOVE, as EACH PART does its work.

When do we plan to start DOING this?

Then there is the armor. This is for the second dimension, the temptation in the wilderness that makes you doubt WHO you ARE in Christ:

Ephes. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephes. 6:14-17 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

[15] And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

[16] Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

[17] And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

When we wake up in the morning, and have worries on our mind, we can mentally visualize literally putting on this armor. We can start with the feet, putting on the gospel of peace. Move on up until we get totally covered with the armor of Christ. By that time, believe me, we won’t be worried any more.

AFTER we have learned how to use the gifts we have received of edifying one another (have we learned that yet?), we are exercised enough to go on to face the tempter. We vanquish the tempter with the word of faith, and we are ready to go on to complete the perfect will of God, the overcoming process of DISPLACING our old self with the Christ self. This is done by faith. Faith is seeing those things that are NOT… as though they ARE. Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things not seen, but are hoped for.

When we read in Revelation about the things that are given to the overcomer, the natural mind thinks of those things are REWARDS for somebody who has already run the race and made it into the pearly gates. But the Spiritual mind knows that these wonderful things are given to us to ENABLE us in our OVERCOMING process.

Here is the overcomer’s equipment; here is when the armor is changed into a robe of God’s righteousness; here is where the helmet of salvation becomes a crown of glory; here is when the two-edged sword becomes a scepter of anointing; here is when the shield of faith becomes a catapult against the gates of hell and the forces of darkness:

1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is BORN OF GOD overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

(If we are born of God, then we are a new creation. We RECKON our old self DEAD to SIN and ALIVE in Christ. We don’t try to change ourselves to be somebody we are not, we just acknowledge that we are COMPLETE IN HIM. We acknowledge that our brother is complete in Him. We see that as an accomplished fact in the Spirit and call that perfection out of him, instead of commiserating with his woes and shortcomings and fears and weaknesses. Let the strong lift up the weak. Call the Christ out of one another. )

There is an insurmountable chasm between the natural mind and the spiritual mind. They cannot agree. Ever. There is an enmity. If you have received that Holy Seed, it is the Son of God within you, growing up, leading you back to the heavenly Father. You NEVER have to defend that man child.

Remember this? John 8:19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had KNOWN ME, ye should have KNOWN MY FATHER ALSO.

How do you think the natural mind would have responded to this statement? “Of course we know you, Jesus. We have walked with you every day. We know what you eat, where you sleep, what you drink, what you think….” But what they saw was a form, an outward appearance. They could not see the hidden spirit life within the man. The outward appearance does not reveal who anyone IS.

If we saw Jesus in form today, we still would not KNOW him, unless the same spirit that dwells in HIM, dwells in US. WHO we are can only be revealed to those who have the same spirit within.

If you are looking at me in the flesh, in the form, there’s no telling what you’ll see. But you won’t see ME out there. There is a NEW me that is one with Christ in God. That me is already perfect. That me is the righteousness of God. You can say anything you want about the form that you see as my outward appearance; I reckon that old man dead to sin. “I am” a new creation in him, and you may not speak against that manchild who dwells within.

There is no way for a natural mind and a spiritual mind to agree. That is what is referred to as the “foolishness of preaching.” When Jesus preached, he had to tell little stories and give little parables and show little examples because those whom he taught could NOT SEE. When Paul came along, he had to refer to types and shadows, pictures of the truth. People are still going through the motions of the types and shadows in their religion.

It’s a process… a progress. From a child to a man, we learn how to walk, how to think, how to experience, experiment, exercise our senses by reason of use.

We are in a covenant relationship with God when we yield ourselves to him to receive the Holy Spirit. Our union with God is reciprocal. It’s a two-way union. We are the BODY that God manifests himself through as our very life. We are told to “speak as the oracles of God.” Did we think he sealed us with his promise so we could just sit and wait 2000 years for Jesus to come back?

Are we using the tools, armor and equipment that is given to us? What do we profess with the words of our mouth. Are we sowing to the Spirit within, or to the flesh without? KNOWING God is UNION with him. Having the same spiritual essence, the same being. Knowing that, acknowledging that. The way we live now, who would have any desire to persecute us for the gospel? What threat are we to the evil one?

The GRACE of God covers us while we are on this journey. We are invited to test the Word and SEE if it is good. The WORDS Jesus spoke are what he heard from God. If it doesn’t work, drop it. If it is good, cultivate it.

You start telling people you and God are ONE, and see what happens. All hell is going to break loose. But THAT is our way out of temptation. The temptations ‘common to man’ are those three dimensions that Jesus demonstrated in the wilderness, when every part of him was challenged: “IF YOU BE….” The son of God.

1 Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

We think we aren’t good enough to say that? We are NOT good enough- in the old man. But, thank God, in the new man we have inherited the righteousness of God, and have made our calling and election sure.

Here are elements of the new kingdom we have inherited and enjoy in the Spirit: We who are in the process of overcoming; here is our equipment for change:

[5] Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Rev. 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Rev. 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Rev. 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a NEW NAME (identity) written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Rev. 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

Rev. 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Rev. 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I WILL WRITE UPON HIM MY NEW NAME.

Rev. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even AS I ALSO OVERCAME, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Rev. 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

All this equipment is not given to us as rewards AFTER we overcome; but, they are given to us to make it possible for us to overcome. The new name of Christ replaces our old identity; the white robe of God’s righteousness replaces our old rusty armor; the scepter replaces the sword. But these are things we confess NOW.

The natural mind defines ‘perfection’ as something we DO. The Spirit mind defines perfection as our total self, all our dimensions, changed into the self we had in God before the flesh came into view.

Man is not made to build a church; the church that Jesus builds is designed to build US. 1, 2, 3. Body, soul, Spirit COMPLETE IN HIM. We begin to live from the inside out, and not the outside in.

My job as a member of the great undelineated Body of Christ is to share my part. I have no inclination to argue, distort, challenge, make light of, or deride any child of God. God KNOWS them that are His. My job is to edify and build up, just as yours is. My job is not to see you outwardly, but to look past the mask and see the real you in Christ. If I agree with your misery, then I have failed you.

It is hard to separate religion and politics because the Bible is full of both. All I want to do is define the rock we stand on. If our faith is in a certain set of tenets or some sect, then it’s going to rock for sure. Our rock must be the solid granite of Christ within us, and we must be rooted and grounded in LOVE. The things I thought were secure in me proved to be sand when I had to face the realities of life and death. The TRUTH is what is still standing when everything else is gone.

We have come to the consummation of the ages, and we are given ample time, tools, armor and equipment to stand. We need to find our rock and get on it. It’s time. CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY!

Love in Christ, Betty Edmondson