Short Accounts – F. Bartleman

“I came to abhor myself. I begged the Lord to drop a curtain so close behind me on my past that it would hit my heels. He told me to forget every good deed as though it had never occured, as soon as it was accomplished, and go forward again as though I had never accomplished anything for Him, lest my good works become a snare to me.”

– Frank Bartleman

Short accounts should be kept with God as much regarding our good works as with our failings.

Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I don’t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, think this way. If in anything you think otherwise, God will also reveal that to you. Nevertheless, to the extent that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule. Let us be of the same mind.
Philippians 3:12-16 (WEB)

Self-Importance – F. Bartleman

“The devil has no conscience, and the flesh has no sense. Many have never learned submission, courtesy, nor anything else, even in the way of common manners. A spirit of self-importance is one of the most disgusting things in the world.”

– Frank Bartleman

Understanding

My son, if you will receive my words, and treasure up my commands with you, so that your ear attends to wisdom, you shall stretch out your heart to understanding.
Proverbs 2:1-2 (Green’s Literal)

Wisdom is a thing easily received in God (though many remain fools); but understanding must be adamantly stretched out for by the wise. For while the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, said wisdom is but the beginning of understanding. The heart which refuses to settle for merely dreaming of what God intends to be a waking reality is the heart which truly understands. Understanding is the revelation within a man that God’s rule must take over his whole being; and it is proven by that man’s active concession to said rulership.

The first thing is wisdom; obtain wisdom; and with all your obtaining, obtain understanding.
Proverbs 4:7 (Green’s Literal)

Most who have obtained some wisdom do not yet function in any understanding; and most desire not to. For much Godly wisdom can be received to some degree through words spoken by men; but very little God-given understanding can be obtained except by the obedience of the one seeking it.

But are you willing to know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?
James 2:20

“…stretch out your heart to understanding.”

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, while their hearts are far from Me, and their fear of Me is a commandment taught by men: therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
Isaiah 29:13-14 (ESV)

Understanding is to seek the Lord while He may yet be found.

More on Reason & Revelation

(Consider this an add-on to the previous post.)

To the lost man, earthly (including demonic) reasoning is his revelation. But to the found man, heavenly revelation must evermore become his reasoning – and not merely his reasoning in the mind; but that upon which he acts in faith, which is the substantiation of things hoped for. Revelation bearing no fruit in action has been received in vain. It is those who honor the gift of God through obedience that continue receiving more of His fullness; for those who truly know Him desire nothing less than that He be glorified in the fruit of His labors within them.

And we are His witnesses of these things, and also the Holy Spirit, whom God gave to those obeying Him.
Acts 5:32 (LITV)

A witness is one who has heard, seen, looked upon and touched the Word of Life.

Man Reasons, but God Reveals

…as it has been written, “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,” nor has it risen up into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those that love Him. But God revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of a man within him? So also no one has known the things of God except the Spirit of God. But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in words taught of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual with spiritual. But a natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know, because they are spiritually discerned. But the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord? Who will teach Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 (LITV)

True divine knowledge is not found merely by the reason of the mind; it must be revealed by God. For the true knowledge of God is to know the person of God Himself; and what He has prepared for those who love Him does not enter into the hearts and minds of men – the scripture indeed testifies that it cannot. Rather, the very mind of Christ must enter into a man so that he may discern the things of God.

Those who suppose to uncover God simply by force of reason despise that His method is revelation. Many to whom something of Him has been truly revealed are tempted to flatter themselves by methodically reasoning out what truly was revealed to them of the Everlasting God. This is a snare; and those who step in it prove that they still gladly wander back to partake of the tree of gnosis. Ever has this been the bane of many a man of God throughout the ages: that a revelation becomes buried in the unending interperative jargon of his vain mind, until little more remains than an empty husk of what once bore real and tangeable fruit. The binding up of revelation into the constraints of human reasoning effectively chalks up the work of the Spirit to a mere human exertion. This is made to appear as humility, but truly it is a theft of God’s glory in how He makes Himself known.

Man in his vanity considers reason the great pillar of objectivity, until God ruins him by revelation. For truly the things of God cannot be revealed by a man’s reasoning faculties, but only to them; and even then, our mere thoughts still cannot contain the very substance of God’s Life: for the true knowledge of God consists in fellowship with His person by the power of His Life guiding our steps and conforming us to His image. Therefore, if we shall reason, let it be by the revelation of His Spirit in accordance with the scriptures, and not by our isolated thoughts in accordance with some great philosopher; for God reasons with men by the revealing of Himself. And if we yet lack in the revelation of His person, why do we continue to reason within ourselves, as though we should find it there?

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask from God, who gives to all freely and with no reproach, and it will be given to Him. But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, being driven by wind and being tossed. For do not let that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord: he is a double-souled man, not dependable in all his ways.
James 1:5-8 (LITV)

Man reasons within himself, but God reveals Himself to men.

The Flock of His Inheritence

As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.
Jeremiah 7:16

In a time of God’s sure wrath upon a nation or people, those among them who seek to ease the swiftness His judgement serve only to join themselves with the condemned. Great deeds and mighty salvation from on high will not be seen by the generation which brought forth the present carnage upon the earth; nor will those escape who partake in their forefather’s sins through fellowship with their empty and evil deeds.

Deliverance is not found by the many through activism, but by the few through repentance. The true flock of God are scattered: they do not gather except as the Lord their Shepherd leads them; and those who accuse them only reveal themselves to be a den of thieves. For it is the day of the scattered and lonely sheep, whose obedience is manifest in their seperation. In silence they bear the weight of rejection until the decree at last goes forth: when the groanings of the righteous are vindicated by cleasing fire from heaven, and the wicked are confounded.

But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their deeds.
Shepherd Your people with Your staff, the flock of Your inheritance, who dwell alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them marvelous things. The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall lay their hands on their mouths; their ears shall be deaf…
Micah 7:13-16

This righteous flock does not arise from what men have called the temple of the Lord; but they are found one-by-one through the mercy of God as He brings them each into His fold. For He has left the ninety-nine for the one, and the ninety-nine have rejected the one; therefore He also has rejected them, saying,
“I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one Shepherd.”

But whom will He find crying out day and night for the restoration of His house through that new and rejected flock? And who knows the groanings of His Spirit over the ones whom He is yet drawing near? Let them not waver in their interceding; and let them not give a thought to the fools, who vainly scoff at their present sorrow.

These are trying times,
Made to break the heart wide.
But we still defy,
We will make the dead rise.
We can’t be silent, we can’t belong,
We have a promise to die upon.
We’ll set the fire into a song,
To burn eternal when we’re all gone.
– Ryan Clark

The Temple & The Gold

Woe to you, blind guides, who say, “If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.” You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?
Matthew 23:16-17

It is the temple which sanctifies the gold adorning it.
A temple full of idols is a temple adorned by fool’s gold.

A wicked and perverse generation seeks after and swears by a sign; but it is those having died with Christ, whose life is hidden with Him and not with idols – these are His true temple, these are His true sign. For within these does the kingdom truly consist: not in talk, but in power unto holiness and righteousness.