Sojourning Up the Mountain Along Crystal River

There is a river that flows down a large mountain, and it is called Crystal River.  The reason it is called Crystal River is because it is believed that at the source, at the top of the mountain, the water is absolutely pure and somehow mystically vibrant, if that is possible for water.  In fact, they say that if you drink the water at the source, you’ll never is the real fountain of youth.  People from all over the world can read about this river in a certain book.  But most people are not interested in the Subject of the book, so its Subject remains unknown by the vast majority of people.  Those individuals who do read the book and who take the Subject of the book seriously – for there are many who read the book as a fairly tale – at some point in their lives they venture out on a pilgrimage to find the source of Crystal River.  For the book tells them that if they are to find Life, they need to partake of Crystal River’s waters and forge up the Crystal River in order to find what they are searching for.

At the base of the mountain down which Crystal River flows, there is a large flat area, where the river spreads out in a grand, sweeping fashion.  It looks very beautiful from all visual accounts – grassy meadows and quiet woods surround the city that has been built there.  And yet there is an insidious invisible problem.  Due to all the people who stopped in the flats and settled in that area, the water is seriously polluted.  Oh, the water looks clear and refreshing, but it is contaminated and will kill those who drink it regularly.  For many who read the book that tells them about Crystal River - and who take the book seriously - never get any farther than the flats.  For them, it was inconvenient to start out to Crystal River to start with, so when they see the pretty looks of the flats, and peer at the difficult way up the mountain, they decide to stay in the flats.  They say in their hearts, ‘well, we are drinking from the Crystal River, and we did go through a few hassles to come here in the first place, so here we will stay.  Surely the Subject of the book will accept our settling here.  Surely we cannot be expected to forge up that mountain along Crystal River?’ 

So the vast multitudes of those who take the book seriously, yet who don’t seek it’s Subject with all their heart, stay at the base of the mountain and drink from the polluted waters at the bottom of Crystal River.  Sadly, these deceived people are not abiding in Life and are in fact perishing just like the other people around them.  These people typically take the label “christians” – those who started out with sincere intent to sojourn for the source of Crystal River, yet who stopped in the flats.  Those people who heard the Good News, yet were quickly turned aside to follow men and their organizations instead of the Son, because their heart's soil was not good.

Since the christians are not sojourning further, they begin to build all types of things in the flats that they had before they even read the book or moved to the flats.  Soon after they stop sojourning, they begin to miss all the conveniences and pleasures and entertainments of their original cities, towns and villages.  Soon after that, they convince themselves that they can both please the Subject of the book while yet indulging in the things He warns against.  They are sure that just by being near Crystal River and drinking its water, they are in good stead with the Subject of the book.

Due to this phenomenon, quite a popular and large kingdom or city has grown up at the base of the mountain.  The city’s proper name is “Christian Religious Traditions of Men”, yet it has many sections known by many other names.  Names such as “Catholic” and “Protestant”, "Jehovah's Witnesses" and "Mormons", “Orthodox” and “Eastern”, “Methodist” and “Lutheran”, “Episcopalian” and “Anglican”, “Charismatic” and “Pentecostal”, “Baptist” and “Fundamentalist”, “Evangelical” and “Reformed”, “Messianic” and “Messianic Judaism”, “Non-Denominational” and “Independent”, ”Anabaptist” and “Mennonite”, ”Amish” and “Hutterite”.  New names have been popping up for many years, and it is difficult to keep up with all the labels, for there are many thousands.  And yet the Shepherd they claim to be following says, "...and their will be ONE flock and ONE Shepherd" (John 10:16). 

Yet for all the labels, physical separation, division and petty disagreements which keep the members of the groups/organizations apart, the groups in Religious Traditions of Men are all pretty much the same and have certain essential things in common.  They all have the book and they all say their lives are based on the book (John 5:39-40).  They have left the supposed object of their First Love, and now they try to seek God with their mind (instead of heart) and have thus substituted the book (which they call "The Word of God") for the Subject and His Son (who is "the Word of God", Rev. 19:13).

They all have fairly large buildings or “campuses” they call “churches” or “church complex” where they meet regularly.  Their organizations which they also call “churches”, have lot’s of programs the people can involve themselves with, which programs have this in common – they ignore, explain-away and reject the Subject’s Son’s core teachings.  And so, “the church” is defined by the people as the building in which they meet, and the organization which is based in the building, meaning its clergy, programs, philosophies ('doctrine') and functions.  Their label “christian” is supposed to mean ‘like the Son’, but has come to mean nothing except not-another-religion.  How the Subject of the book grieves at this, for instead of men’s traditions and all the religious rituals which characterize the christians, He simply wants His Family to follow after His Son and act like they are His Family.  How sad it is that men attempt to substitute an religious organization for a Family (Matt. 12:46; John 13:34-35; Acts 2:42-47).

The groups in the city all have leaders whom they call by a myriad of titles – clergymen, ministers, pastors, father, priests, reverends, bible teachers, bishops, elders, apostles, prophets, evangelists, scholars, rabbi, anointed ones, presidents, superintendents and the like – whom the people look to in order to understand the God they say they worship and the book which they really worship.  The Subject’s Son says that he is to be their only leader and teacher and thus those who follow him are not to take titles of spiritual authority, for all sojourners are brothers and sisters (Matt. 23:8-12).  Yet the Son is ignored on this critical teaching and instead you have all the men vying for influence and power as they take various labels of spiritual authority. 

You might ask how they could ignore the Son's Words which are so clear in Matt. 23:8-12 and John 10:16.  It is first because their hearts are unwilling to love God supremely.  Because they don't want to love God supremely, they allow themselves to be deceived by believing that the book is the source of life and not the Son.  They thus reject the Son's Words and live according to the other authors in the book or their esteemed religious leaders.   The Son clearly warns against this but the people ignore the warning (John 5:39-40).  And so the people follow the human authors of the book, or their current leaders, instead of the One the book reveals and his beloved Son.  One man in particular did much to nullify the Words of the Son who said, "My Words will last forever".  That man's name was Paul and the vast majority follow Paul instead of the Son.  In fact, the christians are really characterized by their devotion to Paul and would be better called Paulians.  The Son says, "there shall be One shepherd", and then this Paul fellow comes along and says, "there shall be many shepherds" (Eph. 4:11), and then Paul's writings get included in the book (for all religious leaders have much to gain from Paul's words and example) and the religious leaders say that Paul's words carry the same authority as the Son's Words.  The religious leaders tell the people that Paul's words will last forever and will judge them, thus replacing the Words of the Son.

While the people say they live by the book, what they really do is live by their own rules and the words in the book which allow them to continue to love the world.  Thus they sadly ignore the Way, the Truth and the Life.  It is only too easy to substitute the words of Paul and other bible authors as well as the doctrines of their present religious leaders, instead of following the Son and living by his Words.  It is much easier to substitute their spiritual shepherds and teachers for the Good Shepherd, for the Good Shepherds teachings look impossible if one is not willing to hate their life in this world.  Ironically, the book itself says that the Subject’s children have no need for human teachers – Matt. 23:8; John 14:26 - but these teachings are ignored as well in favor of Paul's words.  Most christians openly profess that their religious leaders are their spiritual shepherds in spite of what the Son says (John 10:16; Matt. 23:8-12) because they continue to love their lives in the world and thus allow themselves to be deceived by Paul's words [link to Was Paul Sent by Jesus?].

There is a bright side to this mess, for most sojourners that come out of the city, are prodded along to do so because they see the book’s Subject teaching them to do or not do something, while the religious leaders tell them they need not follow those commands saying, ‘oh, that passage does not really mean that…’ (Mark 7:1-13)  And so the faithful sojourner leaves the city because he can see that the group is not following after the Subject’s Son and His core teachings in the book.  Instead, the people do only those things in the book which they can somehow fit into their current lifestyle which lifestyle has not changed much since they first tried to set out to the source of Crystal River.  However, once the faithful sojourner leaves the christians he starts to be taught by the book’s Subject, and thus leaves the teachings of men and can thus see the Subject and His Kingdom much more clearly (Matt. 15:14).

Ironically, the christian’s clergymen live lives which are almost identical to the leaders of the other large kingdoms of the earth – the kingdoms of Islam Religious Traditions of Men, and Judaism Religious Traditions of Men, and Buddhist Religious Traditions of Men, and all the others.  The christian clergymen try to turn the people to a God they don’t really know, while ensuring the people actually stay dependant on them so they can be supported in their religious vocation.  They lead the people to do various good moral works like building hospitals and feeding the poor and such (while ignoring the Son’s Words and denying the Son in the process).  As a result, the people feel good that they are somehow serving this God they don’t know, and the clergymen have a job for life!  It is a mutually beneficial system, and it is essentially identical no matter which kingdom one is a part of – whether Christian or Islam or Judaism or Buddhist or Humanist or one of the many others.

Yet another thing that the people in the Christian Religious Traditions of Men and its sections have in common, is they look very moral outwardly, yet in truth refuse to come to the One who gave them the moral rules by which they seek to live their lives.  Thus their life and morality is based primarily on their religious traditions and not the Spirit empowering them to live as the Son and thus by ONLY the words of the Son.  They are a moral and religious people, but not a spiritual people in love with the Subject’s Son.  As the book says about Israel's people in another time, “They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.” (2Ki 17:33)  The christian leaders in particular are so “godly” looking and sounding in their religious words, traditions and behaviors, that is it quite easy for one who does not seek the book's Subject with all their heart to mistake them for those sojourning towards the source of Crystal River. 

Something interesting has been happening in the city of late.  The christians who identify with their section’s name are increasingly mixing with christians from other sections in the city of Religious Traditions of Men.  They think that this is a good thing i.e. that the section’s unique beliefs/traditions are becoming less of an obstacle to socializing.  The christians say that they are “loving each other more” due to their increased socializing.  Unfortunately, the christians of Religious Traditions of Men can’t see that they are merely less proud of their own peculiar traditions of men, and thus more willing to socialize with folks from other sections.  They are embracing religious relativism and are thus choosing the broader way.  What they can’t see is that they are further and further from loving the Truth, and even more set against forging up Crystal River.  They are talking about eliminating the section barriers and walls altogether and creating a great ‘doctrine-of-togetherness’ that will rule all of the people in the sections in Religious Traditions of Men – and in fact extend to the other great kingdoms of the world as well.

This doctrine-of-togetherness is based on religious-relativism, meaning that even the words of the book they hold so highly in their minds are only ‘truth’ to the person reading them, and not for any other person.  This doctrine states that there are very few absolute truths in the book that apply to everybody.  The few absolute truths they say exist in the book are typically things like, “don’t murder” (unless you are justified in doing so), “never judge”, “God is a loving God”, "to love is to be tolerant of all people" and “we are all going to heaven”.  They are so smart in their own eyes that they are building higher and higher buildings.  In fact, one might reasonably observe that they are trying to build their city to heaven, as they are so sure they have such excellent religious knowledge and spiritual insight especially as they join together and grant degrees from their esteemed educational institutions (Luke 16:15).  The city of Religious Traditions of Men is growing bigger all the time, as more and more join its swelling ranks from all over the earth, whether in person or virtually/vicariously via the Internet.  As tragic as this appears at first glance to the understanding sojourner, in fact it is all part of book’s Subject’s climax to His-Story.  God, in His loving patience, is allowing the people of the earth to choose their own way before He finally must implement His justice at the end (Matt. 24:21-22).

Quite regularly a sojourner comes to the flatlands who wants to continue forging up Crystal River, for almost all sojourners must pass through this city on their way up the mountain.  Some sojourners even come out of their section of the city to press on past the walls of this city.  In fact some sections of the city produce more sojourners than others.  However, usually the most zealous and faithful sojourners were not raised in the city, but rather found the Subject of the book on their own.  One such fellow, whose name was “Disciple” was such a sojourner.  Disciple heard the Subject tell him to sojourn up the mountain and forge up the river to find what he is searching for, so when he came to pass through the flats, he tried not to tarry in Religious Traditions of Men.  However, Disciple’s efforts not to tarry were unsuccessful and as a result, he faces the greatest test of his journey.  Indeed, trying to pass through Religious Traditions of Men is usually the end of most sojourners.  For many deceitful alternatives, counterfeits, compromises, lies and temptations are brought to bear on them. 

The first and main compromise that the christians from Religious Traditions of Men are continually offering to Disciple is that he needn’t go up that difficult mountain, nor forge up the Crystal River, for all the benefits of the river can be had right there in the city.  They offer Disciple the many comforts and conveniences they have come to trust in, while assuring him he will be in the Subject’s will if he does stay.  They tell sojourners like Disciple that they can drink from the Crystal River right there in the city, for they have dug channels and tunnels and other clever means to get the water into the city for the christians to drink (John 4:23-24).  This is a great temptation since the Way is difficult and the ease of the city so alluring.  This temptation is rejected only with the utmost strength of a sojourner - in fact it takes a striving of spirit to resist.

Another very popular method to get sojourners like Disciple to stay in the city is to tell them that the book says that they must become a member in their organization.  So the christians of the city try very hard to get the sojourner to stay in the city and become a permanent resident by becoming a “formal member” of one of their religious organizations.  In fact, they say that if one does not become a member of their organization - or another one like theirs - then that individual is rejecting the will of the Subject.  Of course the book does not say this, but the christian’s leaders are skilled in twisting some passages of the book to justify this lie.  They prefer Disciple take the name of their own section, but they are content with ‘christian’ as well.  They compete for the new body to add to the member roles of their organizations, for their leaders reward them for increasing the organization’s size and thus the leader;s influence. The leaders tell the people that they are good evangelists for leading people to their organization, or their peculiar set of beliefs.  For the larger the group, the more power, influence and money the men who lead it yield.  Ultimately, however, the christians will be happy as long as the sojourner stays in the city - for this will still justify their city-based lifestyle - and thus they try hard to bring this to pass. 

Perhaps the most effective method is telling sojourners like Disciple that the book says that he must love the christians, and how could he do that if he leaves them and ventures out of the city.  This strikes to the heart of all those sojourners who do have the love of the Subject and His Son in their heart, for His second greatest command does say to love one's neighbor.  For the true sojourner, this method does not last long however, for he comes to see that these people want him to ignore the greatest command in order to allegedly follow the second greatest command.  The faithful sojourner who continues to seek the Subject of the book with all his heart, finds out that he must ignore and disobey the Subject and His Son in order to be a part of their groups.  When a sojourner tries to share the passages in the book which speak of the love that the Subject says we ought to express towards on another, the christians get quite defensive, since they are not exhibiting this love in their lives (John 15:13; Acts 2:42-47).  So, Disciple could see that not only were they insisting he ignore many of the Subject’s most important commands, but they were also substituting an inferior love for the true love the Subject commanded.

This can all be very confusing to the sojourner, for the christians are often quoting from their beloved book in a very sincere manner.  Most sojourners are still confused about the book and thus still hold it in too high regard, and thus are easily influenced by it rather than the Subject Himself.  And the christian's leaders, whom they call by different titles of authority, are very convincing in their claims to expertise and special insight into the book.  These religious leaders can make white seem like black in but a minute or so of many words.  These religious leaders cite all their years of education at the city’s universities, seminaries, bible colleges and other ‘higher institutions of learning’ (of course none of these things are commanded by the Son, except to say DON’T go down that road – Matt. 11:25).   And not only that, but other important members of their ranks have given them titles of special honor, like Doctor or Professor or Scholar, and have given them pieces of paper verifying such.  They use such big words with such confidence, it is very difficult for the simple sojourner to stick to the plain truths spoken by the Son – which truths contradict the religious leader’s teachings (Mark 7:2-13; Matt. 18:3).

Furthermore, the christians tell Disciple that the city is so large and growing because the book’s Subject is blessing the work of their hands (Jer. 12:1).  This is a compelling argument that sways many sojourners to stay.  Yet Disciple can see the error of their words and tries to share some of the simple truths spoken by the Way which contradict the christian’s claims (Luke 12:32; Matt. 7:13-14; John 15:19; Luke 13:23-24).  Yet the christians reply, ‘surely you’re not saying that our large church’s and the large numbers of people who attend our worship services, are not following the book?  No one but God could bring such large numbers of people into our churches?  Our worship leaders are the most anointed on the planet.  Surely the fine bible preaching and godly ways taught are in harmony with what the book teaches.  We have some of the finest clergy in the world here in our city, whose godly ways are apparent to everybody for at least the six hours a week they make themselves available.  And not only that, we send more ‘missionaries’ to more nations than any other group (of course what these missionaries really are, are people who seek to raise up religious organizations similar to the one’s that pay them to be ‘missionaries’).  Who are you to question all of these facts and good works?’

If all these words and offers don’t convince a sojourner to stay in the city, then the christian’s final effort to make the sojourner stay is to try to instill fear by warning him about what will happen to him if he goes by himself out of the safety of the city walls and up that mountain along that river.  Oh, the tales of horror are many and dreadful about what happens to those who continue to forge up the mountain after the Source of Crystal River.  Tales of death, torture and maiming are offered with great conviction, even though none of those christians telling the tales have ever seen it happen, for they are afraid to venture outside the walls of their city (of course instilling a fear they have in themselves in others is a bit ironic since their book says that they should not have fear about such things to start with – 2 Tim. 1:7, 1 John 4:18). 

As part of this last ploy to get Disciple to cease his sojourning and stay in the city, they warn him that if he does not stay, he is sure to end up as a "heretic" or part of a “cult”…usually “the cult of Forging Crystal River”.  Oh, this sounds fearful to Disciple, and of course which good sojourner would want to become a 'heretic' or part of a ‘cult’, whatever that is.  When Disciple respectfully asks the christians to please show him in the book where it defines what a cult is so he can avoid it, there are no answers or references from the book – only more fearful, emotive warnings about ‘cults’.  Among the many words of fear, what is usually proffered as the definition of a cult is, ‘people following a man who doesn’t go by the book’.  And yet when the discerning sojourner sees that the groups in Religious Traditions of Men seem to fit that description THEMSELVES and says such to them, he is quickly rebuked.  The people say, ‘oh, no we don’t follow reverend wonderful, he is just our God appointed shepherd/pastor, our covering…and he has his ThD from divine seminary, so how could he be wrong…”  Even in their rebuke, the christians confirm the truth of the sojourner’s discernment (John 10:16; Matt. 23:8-12).

The christians warn all sojourners about these horrible groups of people they label as cults, for they can see their camps just up the mountain close to Crystal River.  They say to Disciple with fearful conviction in their voices, ‘you see those camps up there…there have been many sojourners who refused to stay in our city, and who perished in those camps’.  The truth was that the christians had no idea what happened to the sojourners who left their city, and it was wrongly assumed that the camps up the mountain contained the same type of people that their trusted world’s mass-media labeled as ‘cults’.  From their trusted world-boxes, the christians could plainly see these “cults” do terrible things.  And so the fear stories continued, ‘yes, these cults are all wrong in their religious doctrine, and they are lead by head-strong heretics that eventually end up killing those who follow then by making the people drink poison or by arrogantly defying the good government of our land which then justly destroys them with it’s fearful weapons’.  Ironically, the christian’s final proof offered was, ‘just as one small example of how brain washed these people are, can you imagine not watching the world-box…’  Of course, the vast majority of sojourners had walked away from the world-box (television) some time ago, seeing it was a tool of the enemy of their souls.  The sojourners were quite surprised that not only could the christians not see this, but that the christians actually relied on it for truth.

Indeed, it takes courage, a clear vision of the Son and his promises, and faith in its Subject for the sojourner to continue on through the city and start up the mountain.  The few who do manage to withstand the on-slaught of half-truths and lies by the christians, and who cling to the Subject of the book and His Son, do eventually find themselves outside of the city of Religious Traditions of Men and heading up the mountain along Crystal River.  This was the case with Disciple.  The last experience he had in the city before leaving was the shouting of the city’s religious people assuring him of his error of leaving the city and their kingdoms.  Eventually the shouting faded away as Disciple closed the door of the city wall behind him and started up the mountain.  There was not a little relief for Disciple to be out of the confusion of the city.  But now, he must pass through those camps the christians warned him about, and it was very difficult for a sojourner not to have some fear in his heart after all the tales told by the christians about them.  Yet, Disciple knew that the Subject of the book was with him, and he remembered the Subject’s Son’s promises, and so he pressed on up the mountain.

Before going too far, Disciple notices something quite interesting while forging up the Crystal River.  He noticed how the water would get clearer and less polluted as he moved up the river.  In fact, just outside of the city of Religious Traditions of Men, at the beginning of the rise of the mountain, the river’s pollution level was so much lower that he could drink of the water there and not die.  It was only in the flats and in the city of the Religious Traditions of Men that the water was so dreadfully polluted that it would kill those drinking it.  Now there was still pollution in the river even as a sojourner pressed up the mountain a bit, and that pollution was caused by other sojourners using the river further up.  Yet one of the motivations the Subject of the book gives for sojourners to press up the river is that they will experience purer and purer water, and all the benefits that come with increased purity. 

Disciple, enjoying the rest at a spot along Crystal River just up the mountain a bit, decided to press on, as all faithful sojourners do.  As he stood up, he could see the camps the christians warned him about, and off he went forging the river in the Subject’s courage.

Soon enough, Disciple was a ways up the mountain and at the outskirts of the larger camps.  He could hear people singing and he could hear quite a bit of joyful noise coming from the camps.  This was a relief as he was expecting bad things due to the christian’s stories in Religious Traditions of Men.  As he came into the camp, people were dancing in a beautiful manner and singing songs to God!  Oh, how excited in his heart was Disciple, thinking that he had reached a large number of fellow sojourners that would now join him as he pressed up the River.  He was welcomed warmly, and given a place to stay and food to eat, something no one in the city of the Religious Traditions of Men had offered – for down in the city, all he was given was directions to the nearest motel and a brochure telling about the next meeting. 

So Disciple stayed for quite some time amongst the lower camps as they were known by the people on the mountain.  He was very blessed as he moved from camp to camp, as these brethren were all pretty much the same in how they lived out their faith.  They had rid themselves of most of the traditions of men which kept people in bondage below in the city.  They were truly willing to give their resources away to bless other brethren and to reach out to others who might be responding to the Subject’s mercy and love.  They would go to the cities beyond the one at the base of the mountain to try and tell those people about the Subject and His Son.  They were making a sincere effort to live by the book, and doing much better than the christians.  They were even sharing all that each had with one another, and thus living more like God’s Family, and less like a religious organization (Acts 2:42-47). They were doing so much better living and expressing the “love” that the book spoke about.  They were drinking from the Crystal River, and were enjoying Life much more as the Subject promised.  Oh how Disciple was blessed during this time of visitation and fellowship with the people of the lower camps.

While so many things were good and right, there were some problems, which stemmed from two major problems.  Disciple wondered why they had ceased sojourning up Crystal River like the book says we must.  The answer he usually got back was that they were sojourning up the river.  This seemed peculiar to Disciple, as he didn’t see them move up the river since he was there.  In addition, the camps seem to have been established for quite some time.  What Disciple discovered, was that many in the camps spent a good deal of time talking about the foolishness of those in the city of the Religious Traditions of Men.  They would frequently point down the mountain at the flatlanders and say, in effect, ‘aren’t you glad that we are moving further and further away from those poor wretches’.  So, in their minds, they were sojourning further away from the city of Religious Traditions of Men, and by deduction, that meant they were forging up Crystal River.  This was quite a sad, yet common phenomenon among the people of the lower camps.  And so, many in the lower camps ended up just like those folks down in the city of Religious Traditions of Men, full of pride and self-righteousness.

The main error, Disciple discovered, was the tradition that they were to live by the book instead of by the Words of the Son.  This great error led to the second, which was that those in the lower camps had not broken away from was submission to human leadership - they were still so confused as to not receive the Shepherd's voice that he was to be their ONLY leader.  Several camps had what they considered their “anointed leaders”, “teachers”, or "apostles".  When Disciple pointed out the Subject’s Son’s words that say, “we are all brothers” and that He “is our Leader, Shepherd and Teacher”, most people in the camps would give answers similar to the people in the city.  They would say things like, ‘yes, we are all brothers, but with different gifts’, using Paul's words to nullify the Son's Words.  When again pointing out the Subject’s Son’s words about being the least servant, and not lording it over brethren, they would answer, ‘your interpretation is not correct.  We have been out of the city for many years, and our leaders have proven their anointing from God, so who are you to say our interpretation is wrong’.  Further, they would say to Disciple, ‘you have only been sojourning for a short time…so you should listen to us who have been sojourning for much longer than yourself’.  And so, just like in the city below on the issue of the book and leadership, the people of the lower camps were not living by the words of the Son only, but by Paul's words and thus their leader’s words.  The Subject longs for His Son to be His children’s only Leader, but this seems a near impossible feat for even His received children – for our ears are too dull and hearts too cold to allow this to happen in fullness.  And yet true sojourners cannot turn away from the commands of the Son, our only Shepherd, and the only Good Shepherd.

Disciple spent quite a while in the larger lower camps.  Over time, however, the book’s Subject moved Disciple up the mountain as Disciple was starting to be negatively affected by their error.  As he left the lower camps, the camps he encountered on the way up the mountain became smaller and smaller.  There were fewer and fewer traditions of men clouding the words of the Son, and thus the fellowship with the Subject and His Son was sweeter.  There was less and less formality of religion and shallowness of relationship, and more and more deep relationship in the Son as His Family.  How glorious this was, and Disciple savored each sojourner and every little flock of followers he encountered on his way up the mountain.  In fact, as he moved up the mountain, he encountered more and more individuals and groups actually moving up the mountain!  Some moving slower and some faster, but all continuing to move up the mountain along Crystal River.  As the purity of the Crystal River increased, it brought living waters out of the sojourners, and thus the desire for the perfectly pure Source increased.  This also had the benefit of producing people with a living faith in the book’s Subject and His Son.  And so, while the number of people was very few compared to all the multitudes living in the cities (or even the numbers inhabiting the lower camps), those who were seeking the Source were increasing.  While the quantity decreased, the quality increased.

However, a common problem that sojourner’s faced on their journey up the mountain was Family loneliness.  The little flocks and groups that were moving up the mountain were few and far in between, and thus difficult to locate.  In addition to this logistical problem, many of the sojourners who had made it this far up the mountain did so by clinging to the Subject’s holiness and righteousness, for without those things most sojourners will not make it out of the city of the Religious Traditions of Men.  However, in clinging to holiness and righteousness, most sojourners had neglected the Subject’s mercy, compassion and love.  Thus, they were somewhat unwilling to try to love the other sojourners.  Their level of trust was very low in others due to the lies, half-truths, deceptions, betrayals and other such things they encountered in the citizens of the city of Religious Traditions of Men.  Some also had a few rough scrapes in the lower camps.  And so, their hearts were a bit hardened and afraid to love and trust other brethren again.  Due to this, many sojourners stayed alone on their way up the mountain, and thus experienced Family loneliness.  This is not the Subject’s will, however, for He wants His children to come together as His Family and love each other as they journey up the mountain, partaking of Crystal River.  It is a large mountain, and there is plenty of room for more little flocks and larger Families on the mountain.

In Disciple’s case, the Subject, in His great love, gave Disciple a faithful sojourner to travel with, who was a great comfort all the way.  Her name was Hopeful, and she was a true companion, friend and helper to Disciple.  The only persons he was more grateful to was the Subject and His Son.

Yet there was a yearning to see the fullness of the Subject’s Families flourish and be a bright, collective lights – as the Subject’s Son says, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under the grain-measure, but on a lamp stand. And it gives light to all who are in the house” (Mat 5:14-15).  Truly, the Subject and His Son are ultimately all the fellowship any sojourner needs, and Their comfort is great as one travels up the mountain along Crystal River.  And yet the Subject, in His wisdom, gives as His second greatest command that His children love each other.  In fact, it is through their love for one another that the Subject intends to show to others that He is real.  The Subject’s Son says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another” (John 13:34-35)  It is not the Subject’s desire that sojourners who meet each other on the mountain travel alone.  No, the Subject desires those traveling up the mountain gather together into substantial extended Families, who are truly the called out ones of the Son.  In this way, they can be the light of the world – the city on the mountain - that the Subject wills to use to bring others to Himself.

At times, the sojourning got quite difficult for Disciple as he moved up the mountain.  The battles he faced were not so much from the outside, but from the inside.  The war within him between the flesh and the Subject’s Spirit was exhausting and wearying.  There were so many days that Disciple just wanted to give up sojourning on the earth go Home to be with the Father.  Yet he understood at some level that even that motivation was not right, for it was not yet an all consuming love for his Father that made him want to be with Him.

And so, by the Father's mercy, he continued up the mountain.

To be continued…

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