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A Personal Testimony

by John W. Follette

I am spiritually minded; my feet are upon the earth, but my heart is in heaven.  It is good to be in both realms, and to adjust myself.  This is really living.

When I teach, I am teaching out of my heart; not out of a book, but out of my life.  This gives me authority to preach and teach things I could not otherwise – “Out of the abundance of my heart.”  I dare to say and do things that I couldn’t if I were teaching theory, or teaching something that I read about in someone else’s pattern.

He has given me vision, illumination, and discernment in the Word.  I cannot tell you how I know Truth; I just know.  The Holy Spirit in me knows.  I can tell Truth the minute I hear it.  It took me fifty years to dig it all out, and to organize it.  I can only hope to get you intrigued and hungry so that you will venture in.  All I hope to do is try to open the Word.

Teachers are a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.  I am a disciplined spirit; discipline is my middle name.  The Lord had to put me through a lot of schooling.  He had to let me go through a lot of things, so that now I know what I am talking about.  I do not tell about the tragedies; that is nobody’s business.  You should never publish your sufferings; but mask them.  This is scriptural: “You anoint your head” (Matthew 6:17-18).

The revelation of God and Truth is very delicate, fleeting, and sensitive; I can discern it in a person, or a church, or anywhere.

Truth that I give you is not mine; Rather, I have discovered it.  I am not original in these things at all.  I have had training, but I do not use that; it is all right in its field – but Truth, you see, does not always come that way.  Truth is a matter of spiritual revelation, and the process for becoming receptive for the Truth is very terrible.  But I must not tell you that, because that is so negative.  Truth is not mine in its originality.  Truth has come to me in these many, long years by patient waiting upon God, and looking, observing, studying, praying, surrendering, dying.

A thousand things are united to bring about the technique required for receiving the revelation.  So what I have would be Truth which has become possessive in the sense of my own life being held under its power.  Truth is never yours; never mine, until it is personalized in our hearts and lives.

I have lived a little longer than some of you, and God has seen good to discipline me, and take me on into the realm of the Spirit, with revelation of light and help.  Out of that field, I have made my discoveries, and I desire to share them with people – those who are open and desire help.  So keep your heart open, and very likely God will drop in a portion of Truth.

I remember the quotation of an old mystic: “The way to heaven is through hell.”  I believe it.  Yes, it is true.  God gives us the taste of it – not in all its fullness – the horror of it; the feeling of it, before we are released into the light.  We have to go through the darkness in order to appreciate the light.  The first reaction to Truth is negative – it will slay us.  The second reaction is that it is the only thing God has to quicken us; we have to be slain before we are quickened.

There is no Easter morning, with a resurrection, unless there has been a Friday of crucifixion.  We all want the Easter morning, but we cannot have our Easter morning in our hearts until we have the tragedy of a Friday.  No one wants the ordeal, but that is God’s order.  I found that even though it was most penetrating, most disastrous, and I suffered tremendously through it, still I said, “Lord, I see that.  It is so tremendous that I do not want it any other way.”

Can you see how this can be possible?  It becomes possible for me, because I begin to sense the fruitage of it, and, though it means going through hell, what I am getting on this side is so tremendous, I’ll go through two hells!  I do not want to surrender the process, and get it by any other way – that is not legitimate.

Heaven, to me, is to have that strange thing He has awakened in my heart, and has left wounded, tired, and sick, completed in Him.

The power of the Word of God, and the cross of Jesus Christ have been the two instruments that have released me more than anything on God’s earth.  The revelation of that Word, and the ministry of the cross of Christ, canceling, slaying, but resurrecting into life, have been the most liberating agencies I can give as a testimony of anything that has touched me.

Much of the time, I do not live in time, here.  It is too terrible, but I do live in God; in His Word, which is the Truth.  If it were not for the Truth to hold me, I would not be here.  That Truth has gripped my heart and life, and has unveiled the Christ to me; unveiled God to me, and helped me to see a little bit of who I am.  I do not know yet who I am; but I will find out in some other age.

I find all these strange things in and about me that I do not know anything about.  How many of us know who we are?  How many think we know anything of the essence of what we are; or its light; or its illumination?  Very little.  We have contact with the Infinite in God through the Holy Spirit, but, as to finding out the essence of this new creature, we are just babes, just little babes coming along, and He wants us to grow.

Are you thankful for all these people, like Jacob and Peter, that lived before us?  They got through, so now I can go through too.  I am a normal, natural, human being, but I am a new creature and my emphasis is upon this new creation.

The definition of the word “believe” is: “to adhere to; cleave to Truth; to have faith in an Absolute Person – reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  He will bring us into a place where no one else can help us.

In a crisis, one time, everybody was trying to tell me what to do, and not one ever helped me.  I said, “Lord, why?”  He said, “I did not want them to.  They never have the answer.”  I am glad sometimes God gets us into a place where nobody can counsel us; then we will get to God where we belong!  The Word He gave me was in Song of Songs 2:3: “I sat down under His Shadow, (the apple tree) with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.”  He told me, “I AM your apple tree.”

I think sometimes the reason why I love Him is, because I am conscious of such a reduction of this thing called “Follette.”  I am the most helpless creature who walks the earth; the most dependent creature; that is why I love Him so tremendously.  It is because I have nothing to offer Him, but the desperate need in the depths of my being, and I expose it to Him like that.  I have nothing to offer.  I am silenced.

I am learning how to lean.

I am 80 years old now. When one comes up to this part, one can naturally see he does not  have a terrific future – fifteen or twenty years ahead of him. I can remember when I used to look 5, 10, 15, 20 years – even 50 years ahead of me, but when one gets to be 80 years old, he does not look 20 years ahead.  That is past.  That does not disturb me, because I am now more conscious of the things which are pushing ahead of me into my new age.  That is why the things of time do not bother me as they do other people.

I am not blaming you if you are disturbed over things of time; you are still related to time; you are thinking of your houses, lands, property, and work.  When you have exhausted those things, and you feel your projection is moving into this other realm, you cannot come back and be all taken up with this.

I am living now more and more with the idea of projection in my praying.  How many times l have said, “Lord, I will never see here what I am praying about.”  Last year I was very much in intercession and prayer.  Sometimes I would stop and say, “Lord, this is terrific praying; I’ll never live to see its fulfillment.”  He said, “You do not need to.”  The power of prayer penetrates, and pushes on ahead.

I said, “How could I be praying for people and conditions that I will never see?”  Do you know what He said to me?  He said something sweet.  He said, “You look into the 17th chapter of John.”  There you will find the Lord praying: “Father, I pray not only for these (that is the immediate); I pray for those whom Thou wilt yet (that is in the future) give Me.”

And God said to me, “The Lord Jesus prayed for you two thousand years before you were born.”  Did you ever stop to think of that?  Jesus prayed for you and me two thousand years before we were born. Then I said, “You can pray, and intercede through me whatever You want, because I am only an instrument.”  Isn’t it nice to be in touch with an infinite God like this.

I keep living all the time in a projection.  I am more concerned with it – its relation to what lies ahead -than with the immediate.  That’s why it will be wonderful to be released.  I have nothing here that I would hang on to ten minutes; not at all. I am not morbid, but I sense things, and see through things. My!  To be released!

I have a freedom in God – I live detached; free from bondages.  If He wants the house – fine!  It was His to begin with.  I am detached.  Paul said he not only counted the loss of all things, but suffered it.  First: Consent. Second: Actual experience.

I am praying all the time; I sing to Him, and Pray to Him.  Why?  Because my heart has found that attitude while I am going about my work.  “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).  Prayer is going on all the time in me.  Then when I sit at my table, do I say, “Excuse me, Lord, I have to say grace now?”  No, that is a religious habit.  How many know I am saying grace by the hour!

I do not stay on my knees just to be religious.  When the Spirit is on me, I pray; if not, I get up and go.

I live all the time by faith, but l am not conscious it is faith.

I have a God who tells me an awful lot of good things, just lots of them, which I never read in a book.  The Lord and I do not live in a push-button age – it will not work.

I am a realist; there is nothing artificial about me.  I live in the Spirit, but my feet are on the earth.  I can tell beans from buttons, but at the same time I live with the Lord.  I live in the world, but I am not of it.  We are to learn to do that – we have to learn a detached life.  I live here, but all the time my heart is quite detached.

The Lord saw to it that I have a picture window looking into the mountains.  He caters to our weaknesses, idiosyncrasies, and to our temperaments.  He knows I am a poet, and an artist, and I do all that business in the aesthetic, or philosophic world.  There I am at home, but don’t give me an automobile!  I would be crazy with it, and mechanical things, and figures.  There is something in the realm of art and philosophy, and the aesthetic realm that give me a second youth.  I am eighty years old, and I feel as though I were thirty-five.  It seems like a hundred years ago since I was a Hebrew and Greek student.

I enjoy the trees and the mountains.  I am in love with God’s out-of-doors.  The whole display of His creative mood in nature is like a holy sacrament.  When we are still, the Holy Spirit gives us some interpretation, and intimation of its message.

Those who know me can read between the lines, and sense the basic Truth in all my songs and poetry that God gives me, about life, joy, sorrow, hopes, tragedy, pain, and ecstasy – all make my material.

My poems have plenty of gospel; only served in a little different form.

The poetic urge is heavy in me.  I didn’t make it; I discovered it.

I can feel with a brokenhearted mother; God has made me that way – I can feel with an aged person, or a retarded one.  I suffer with them; I feel it all through me.

To me, heaven is a consummation, a sublimation, and a satisfaction of this eternal, terrific urge in my heart for the love of God eternal.  And you can have all your heaven and harps etc….that is good, but that will never satisfy me.

There is something in my heart that is broken, and it will be satisfied only in Him. When I touch that; that is it.  He has wounded my heart, and has broken it.  There is just no mending, so let it be.  He is the Answer, and He has purposely wounded some of us.  If He has taken the time to wound your heart, even though it is a distressing thing, love Him anyway, because the sequel to that will be revealed in heaven.

I have nothing in which I am original.  I have discovered Truth.  I have found it, and have dedicated my life to it.  I asked God to make me one who is receptive.  I discover the Truth; it is not mine.  I do not sit down and make up Truth. When I discover it, then I ask God to give me the power of transmitting it, releasing it, and giving it out. Then there must be receptivity.

The teaching ministry is unique, and different from any other.  The Holy Spirit will witness to Truth in us whenever we find it.  Build a shelf in your heart for Truth you cannot at present fit into things; don’t discard it; in time you will need it.

I have made fresh, little discoveries of Truth; discoveries of how God does things; discoveries of how a human being will act, and react when God does this, and when He does that, and by and by I find out how God works.