Clyde Crittenden - Oak Lodge, Oregon - 1974

I would like to read a few verses from Revelation 21, “And I saw a new Heaven and a new earth …Behold I make all things new… these words are true and faithful.. but the fearful and the unbelieving.. second death.” John was able to say he saw a new Heaven and a new earth; he was able to say he saw the new Jerusalem. I was very impressed with that verse where God said, “I make all things new.” Now, that brings this truth home to our hearts if we are ever going to have a place in the new Heaven and the new earth and new Jerusalem, we need also to be made new. We know God has enabled us to be born into this world with the human nature, and it is perfectly fitted for this world. It desires of things around us, it wants its pleasures, its lusts that pertain to the flesh and to this world. That is the way God has constructed us and God understands us. That is the way God has meant to construct us and we could not punish ourselves if we are desiring these things. I did although I had been attending Sunday school and say my prayers and I had been reading the Bible. Later on, I heard the truth of God. I saw my parents accept the right thing, they got the joy of God in their lives, but it did not alter the fact, it did not make any difference to my human nature.

I used to get a little alarmed about it when I saw the people of God enjoying the things of God and reading the Bible and praying. I knew that was not my portion, but as I sat under the sound of the gospel, I began to understand the plan and purpose of God for me. What is the ultimate purpose of life? This thought I had from boyhood and childhood. Was it merely a passing of time? This is the ultimate purpose of life, time to be made like God’s Son. That is our hope as we toil in the strife, at rest when life’s journey is done. That expresses a little of what the ultimate purpose of life is about, to be made like God’s Son. I was not born like God’s Son, I was born like my earthly father's son and I had the desire that every young person has who was born into the flesh. Jesus said that which is flesh is flesh. We cannot make it any better. He also said, “That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit; marvel not that I say unto you, ye must be born again.” You must be born of water and the Spirit before you can see, before you can enter the Kingdom of God. When I sat under the sound of the gospel, I began to understand that God did not expect me with my nature only to live for Godly things and heavenly things. I began to think more kindly of God. I felt He constructed me wrong. I had some desire to live for the better things, to desire the better thing but I was defeated by the power of the flesh and my human nature.

You know when Jesus was born into this world, He had two natures. He was born of Mary, receiving human nature and He was born of God, also receiving the Divine nature which enabled Him to suppress His human desires and to say at the age of 12, “I must be about My Father’s business.” He showed those things were first in His life and that He did right to put them first. God wants us to receive this second nature. I sometimes speak of people trying to serve God with human nature only and they cannot make a success of it.

I mentioned in Wilmington about a couple of boys who were trying to alter the nature of a certain animal, but they were not successful. They had a nice big dog harnessed in a car and they referred to as a horse and they drove it, very proudly down the street once or so, but then one day they went to show off their achievement, to show what they had accomplished, the poor dog forgot he was supposed to be a horse; when he saw the neighbour’s cat across the road, he went into action. You can imagine what happened. I was a little bit like that in Sunday school. When I saw other things, I had a desire to run after them the same as that dog was true to nature. When the test came, it just showed up.

I am glad to say God, in the years of my teens, spoke to me and showed to me, "I can do something for you, I can make your future happier than what it is. I can give you a nature to enable you to have a love for the Heavenly things and to live with desires in your heart that Jesus had in His," and I felt a little hopeful of myself. Up to then, I did not have much hope for myself. I saw my elder sister read the Bible, taking her place in the meetings. Sometimes she wanted to talk to me, sometimes a man that worked for us and wanted to talk to me, I got out of the road when I sat under the sound of the gospel and as the different messages were spoken and when God was applying by His Spirit the words spoken to my heart, I was made conscious, "God is interested in me." He is beginning to apply the word spoken to my own heart. It did not altogether suit me. I had the fear less God would take something out of my life that I did not want removed. I have learned the value of a little verse that goes like this:

God always gives a better thing than that He takes away,

Exceeding joy tomorrow for the tears we shed today.

I have learned the value of that. That gives us a little idea of what God is going to do for us. We all grew up with the idea in our minds, "God will spoil things, God will take away and make life perhaps a little sad and perhaps a little void." I thought that, but I was only devil deceived, my imagination prompted by the devil. God will always give a better thing than that He takes away, exceeding joy tomorrow for the tears we shed today. It costs a little sacrifice to yield to God and I know this and when God knocks at your hearts door we are so reluctant to open. A little verse I read, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” And I was made conscious well and God’s opportunity is at your hearts door and I felt very fearful. Shall I bar the door and shall I say, "No?" But as God continued to deal with me, I began to understand a little better the characteristics of the love of God. I felt I could do nothing better than swing my heart's door gladly open to Him. When I did that, I was amazed. I began immediately to be conscious of the spirit of God in my heart and that brought the sweetest feeling that has ever been my experience.

I had many joys as a young man growing up with sport and so on. I was a captain of the cricket team and I remember little satisfactions in my school days, little achievements, little joys but to my surprise when I opened my heart’s door to the Spirit of God, I felt this is the most important thing I have ever tasted. I was surprised to realise and I was conscious of a comfort and a presence that exceed any other sweetness I had tasted before and I felt surely this is worthwhile if I can retain this. This is the life for me and you know when I went to bed that night to my surprise, there welled up in my soul the desire to pray to God and I had the consciousness of His child and He was my Father. I did not have to pretend to put on a good old Methodist air. I could say, "Father." I was conscious of being His son. That was very special to me.

The next thing I discovered, I had a desire to read God’s Word. I read the Bible to please my parents because I felt it was a good thing to do, but it was a mighty effort I had to put forth to strive to do it. I did not get much out of it. I had the desire in my heart to read God’s Word and when I read it, I got something out of it. I visited my own home state where these things took place only just before coming to this convention and I went over and visited the family of Thurston’s and I had fellowship with them for many years. I was talking to some of them. Hilda Thurston said, "I suppose your first testimony was in our home.".I I said, "Yes, it was and I can tell you what I said. I said, 'I read that portion where is speaks about John the Baptist where is says now is the axe laid to the root of the tree,' and I said, 'I didn’t want to be a tree that was unfruitful, but I wanted to be a tree that was fruitful.'" I valued what Hilda said, "You have been fruitful." I went over to Clarrie Thurston and we were talking about it. I told him what I said in that first meeting. Clarrie said the exact same words. I am glad to say that through the grace and power and wisdom of God, I have known a little of what it has been to be fruitful in God’s family. I have known other times, but I have known fruitful times because of fruit we have in the kingdom of God today is something for eternity, every other thing by and by leaves us. When I think of some of the glories that could have been mine if I had taken my own way, they would have been pretty useless today. I know this, when I yielded to God’s claim of my life that sacrifice would never be undervalued by God and God has been faithful and has been true.

Another thing I discovered when I made my choice it allowed the spirit of God to come in, when I was born again of His Spirit, I desired to go to the fellowship meetings. I went before but I would rather have gone chasing rabbits. I had a reverence for God for the first time in my life. Now I was going along voluntary gladly and saying in my heart as the Psalmist said, “I was glad when they said, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.'” I found although I feared having a little word, when I spoke it gave me a little joy and a little comfort and gave me a little consolation. Because I spoke a little word of testimony for God which encouraged myself and encouraged others and discouraged the devil. If we are living like that, we are going to know a peaceful life and a happy life and we can understand why God allowed us to be created humanly.

He created us as low as it was possible to create us and then He lifted us up to a higher level, a higher experience and we can have appreciation for it more than the angels in heaven. "Holy, Holy" is what the angels sing and it helps them make the courts of Heaven ring, but when I sing redemption story, they will fold their wings, for angels never felt the joy that our salvation brings. That brings a nice thought to us, it shows us there is a possibility of us enjoying our sweetness and gladness even above those born of angels. That is why God created us humanly and earthly so that when we are born again spiritually, there is a grander life because it brings satisfaction, peace, and consolation. We don’t serve God to be saved, we serve God because we are saved and to keep saved. There is something worthwhile putting something into it, the more we put into it, the more we get out of it, and that makes it worthwhile. I went out the night I made my choice and I wept bitterly. I don’t know why I was crying, I know now. It was because I was broken in spirit and my spirit was broken and yielded to God and therefore I wept. That is why the scripture speaks along those lines, God values a broken and contrite heart. “To this person will I look, are broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” It is not an easy thing to get ourselves to the place where we give in.

I have handled a lot of young colts in the early days and Gary Rohrlach and I often handle them together. Some were pretty wild and pretty determined; the young ones were not quite so bad. There was always a fight for their lives, a fight for liberty, they wanted to get away and when they gave in what a difference. I remember a horse it used to go for us with his front feet. He knocked one or two over and put my father in bed for a couple of days. He only was a young horse. He had a go at me but I just escaped. I thought, "This is no good and I have to do something." I tied him to a rail and I tied it fairly low. I took a grain bag and flipped it over his ears and he gave in. I patted him and he was all right after that, instead of fighting against control, he seemed to enjoy his work and he became valuable because he gave in.

I remember another one we got and a fine looking horse. We had our eyes on him and we thought he was going to be a good one, he was a perfect rebel, he wouldn’t give in and he went on for several days. We had to tie him in the yard and he wouldn’t give into that rope and he fought it for a couple of days. The result was he strained himself and bought about his death. That death had to be it and he was no value. The price had been paid for it and an effort had been made to bring it into usefulness, but because of rebellion that unwillingness to be broken, caused him just to be taken out and buried. He never was any value. I wonder what our end is going to be. What is God going to do with us? Is He to say, "I bought you, I put My love in you, all because you would not yield to My claims, and you have no part in eternity." We were singing, "Where will you dwell eternally?" There is a secret here for everyone. The Scriptures says, “Eye have not seen nor ear heard neither and had the heart of man the things prepared for them that love Him.” It is revealed to you by the spirit and it is not comprehended by human vision, or human wisdom, He can give little visions of it, a little fore taste, no place is comparable to it.

We read the Revelation 21 and you will find it is above everything you can ever think or imagine. The streets there are gold, solid gold. There was a great wall around it and each gate was one whole pearl. Can you imagine it and can you get it into your mind? It was 1500 miles long and wide and the height was the same as the length and breadth. Can you imagine such a thing and that is what God has prepared for those that please Him. He has prepared that city for those that love Him and that is your future and that is my future. When we are born again of God’s spirit, this is what takes place, we receive our love for God, we received a love for heavenly things. It is not in us by human birth. We might try to cultivate it, might grow to some extent, but that is not the answer.

We read in Romans 5:5, “And hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” That is not love for God, that is love of God and when God puts it there it makes our affections so different, instead of loving ourselves, loving selfish things, worldly things, fleshly things, we will discover our love that overwhelms, we reach out to things eternal and that makes life altogether different. We have been hearing love is the strongest burning power.

The Scriptures says, "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it." An Irish lady was telling us her experience and she said, "A young man came to visit me," and she said, "He seemed to have that desire towards me but I was not attracted. I had other things on my mind and God was trying to keep me from the side of life, but this night he came along nicely dressed." She lived in a two storied home in Ireland and she said, "I looked out of the window and I saw, here is this young man." Without much consideration I took a jug full of water and tipped it over him and he went home. When her parents discovered what she had done, they said, "That was a terrible thing to do and you are professing and so is the lad," and she didn’t feel good. The next day a letter came and she took it up to her bedroom wondering what he was going to say. She opened the letter and it said, "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it." That is true. Love is a flame and you know something about falling in love humanly, as one chap told me who love the person outside and he was trying to get over it, it’s a terrible thing and you can’t scratch it out. It is a good thing we can’t because it is a flame even in the human side. When you think of the divine side wasn’t it the Psalmist who said, "The Lord will light my candle," and that is true.

I am glad the time came when God did light that candle and the flame drew me. When it started to burn within my heart, I realised there is a flame, there is a desire burning in my heart which God has put there and I felt I was responsible to keep that flame alive. We know the deepest darkness cannot put out the smallest light. Lack of fuel will cause it to go out and once the love of God is kindled in our hearts, we are responsible to keep it burning.

We sing in the hymn, "May Thy perfect love O Lord, burn strong within my heart." I know this and we all would like to get to eternity and there is no greater place and it says there will be no more parting, no more sorrow and no more pain and no more sickness and God Himself shall be there. If there was anything that could be made greater, God would have made it, but God gave John a little of it that we might read it and aim at it and be ready for it and then the opposite was given. He that is fearful and unbelieving the reverse is given, they shall be cast into the lake of fire and what a contrast. Which one are you going to choose and which one are you aiming at?

I like what God said, "I am Alpha and Omega," and He said, "He that overcometh." We have something to overcome and we have to overcome the powers of the world flesh and devil to inherit eternal life. Jesus said earlier in Revelations to him that overcomes, "I will grant to sit with Me as I have overcome." Now this is a wonderful opportunity one day to sit down with Him in His throne enjoying the splendours of eternity forever. Which are you going to be or are we going to be listed with the fearful and unbelieving? I am glad God gave me the grace and strength to make the choice for the right thing and the better thing. I would like to continue to do this so that I can be listed in with the overcomers and enter in through the gates into the city and to that place where there is perfect bliss. This is where we won’t be able to cease to praise God day and night for all that He has done. That is what we read of earlier in Revelations and they that were around the throne could not cease to praise Him because of the gladness of heart and the comfort that was their portion.

I have sometimes mentioned a little piece that is perhaps a good thing to apply to our lives, because we need to qualify for this place in the eternity and how do we qualify? If you find yourself loving any pleasure more than your prayer, take alarm. That should be the greatest pleasure of our life because we are communing with the Lord of the whole universe. There is no greater pleasure than that to speak with God and He with us. There is no greater comfort, consolation, there is nothing that could be prized higher than that. If you find yourself loving any book than the Bible, take alarm, if you find yourself loving any house more than the house of God, take alarm, if you find yourself indulging in any greater hope that the hope of salvation, take alarm. I am sure of this, there is no greater hope we can have and hold on than the hope of heaven and to dwell with God for all eternity. I pray that will be the greatest indulgent in of our life, that we will get our eyes on it and sacrifice to obtain it. Self-choosing is eternal losing. If we live for ourselves, we live in vain and if we live for Christ, we live again. I hope we will be wise in the choices that we make so we would choose the best, not only the best in this life, but we will go on to enjoy those things that God has prepared all those that love Him.