Archive for December 2012

Faith is simply trusting the One you love   Leave a comment

The desert wind was whipping the sand up into small tornadoes around the large encampment.  Scores of camels were grumbling loudly.  As the wind increased, Abraham appeared at the door of his tent and came out to check the ropes.  He was a tall man with brown leathery skin and a long beard. Though he was old he was fine featured and stood tall and straight.

Then the scene changed. The sky was a deep velvet black and countless constellations were laid out above like diamonds.  I could almost feel the soft breeze and smell the camels.

Abraham was in his tent but awake and restless.  He was talking to the Lord, saying things like, “See, I am an old man now and still I do not have my promised son. You’ve called me a father of nations but I can’t even get started here.”

Then the voice of the Lord whispered to him, “Abraham, come outside.  I want to show you something.”

So Abraham got up and went outside the tent into the moonlight. Suddenly the night was alive and vibrating with the presence of God.  “Look at the stars, Abraham. Can you count them?  So shall your descendents be! ”

For a long while Abraham stood in stunned silence while deep called unto deep and the words of God found a permanent resting place inside his spirit.  Then tears filled his eyes and rolled down his weathered face.  The questions in his heart had been silenced by the great peace and security of the voice of God once more.

The above experience was a vision I had recently that I wanted to share with you at the beginning of this new year. It’s a year that we need to remember God’s promises, call them up once again and keep believing.  Faith is simply trusting the One who loves you to do what He said, no matter how long that takes. Never give up.  Never! Your faith is counted to you for righteousness, just as it was for Abraham. (Rom. 4:3.)

 
As the people of God, we are still in the beginning of Isaiah chapter 60. “Darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people.”  But that one verse (v. 2) is only a backdrop meant to provide a time frame for all the glory and blessings that will happen at the same time.  It could actually read more like this: When darkness covers the earth and the people, then you shall arise and shine and the glory of the Lord will literally appear upon you. The nations will come to that light and I’ll bring your sons and daughters back to Me and back to your arms. The wealth of the nations shall come to you and the camels will come, bringing your supply.

I realize these scriptures ultimately refer to Israel and her restoration to God.  But it is not for them alone.  We are now Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promises. (Gal. 3:29)  It’s a time of conflict and warfare – that will lead to victory.  You were created for these times and trained to be an over-comer.  This is your time.  (Only) in Christ, you can do all things. (Phil 4:13)

I also wanted to comment on the last 2 posts about learning to quiet your spirit.  There were comments left on the Dec. 17  post that I realized may reflect many peoples thoughts.  Sometimes when you try to spend quiet time with the Lord it’s difficult to stay awake.  Some people fall asleep and then feel guilty. There are times He puts us to sleep for the purpose of rest and dreams. But once again, this is not a formula.  It’s a relationship. Try different ways of being with Him.  Stand or walk if it helps you stay awake. Have tea with Him or go for a walk with Him.  Find something that works for you and be aware the same thing may not work every time.  It’s a relationship …   Some people need to enter in by praise or praying the Word first until they begin to feel His presence.  But at some point it needs to switch to our listening and Him speaking, our simply receiving what He is giving of Himself.  When He comes and manifests Himself to you strongly, staying awake is not a problem.  In the meantime, remember that He is pleased with You and every attempt you make to draw near to Him is rewarded by more of Him. Those who hunger and thirst shall be filled. (Mat. 5:6)

In the next posts we will return to more on-ramps into heavenly realms. May the Lord reveal Himself clearly to you in this new year.

On-ramps into Heavenly Realms – #1 Learning to Quiet Your Spirit, continued   5 comments

Continuing from last week’s post, we are learning how to quiet ourselves and really enter into the presence of God.

In our busyness we miss many important things.  But how do we learn to quiet ourselves?  I do not wish to imply that this is a simple matter and those who don’t know how are somehow inferior.  On the contrary, even people who are fairly quiet to begin with find it challenging to still their thoughts and focus only on the Lord.  There are many reasons for this.  The biggest reason is because we have an enemy who tries to block our communication with God.  Since his time is shorter now, he has stepped up his attack.  You’ve probably noticed this in the last several months.  But the good news is that God, who is in us, is greater than the enemy who opposes us. ( 1 John 4:4 )

Let’s look at some practical things that may also help.

One of the first things we should do when our thoughts are disquieted is to go through a short mental checklist.  What have we been watching on t.v. or the internet?  What have we been reading?  What have we been listening to, even in our choice of music?  Sometimes we are subjected to these things not by our own choosing.  However, they have negative effects regardless of how they entered.  If there are things we need to repent of, that’s the first step.  Repentence means being sorry enough to turn away from wrong and ask for the Lord’s help to keep us from repeating our sin.  In this way we close the doors that have been opened to the enemy and we deny him access.

Our spiritual garments can become stained just because we live and walk in this world.  Make it a practice daily to ask for cleansing from all that would come between you and the One you love.

Sometimes it’s a simple matter of displacement.  If there is more of the world and its thoughts and ways in us than there is of God’s thoughts and ways, we will find ourselves in a dangerous position.  We are in this world to change it, not to become like it.  The solution is in God’s Word.  Simply reading it on a regular basis will begin to change how you think and feel.   Ask Him to show you how He feels about things and to align your thoughts with His.

Spending time with Jesus, really with Him, is the goal.  More often than not, this will require much discipline of our mind, will and emotions.  But this is not a religious exercise.  It’s a desperate need to be with the One we love.  When we try to sit quietly and focus on the Lord we will usually have to keep throwing out the parade of other things that comes trickling or flooding into our thoughts.  Those thoughts may range from what we should be doing instead of sitting there, to the trouble we are in at the moment, to random things we haven’t thought of in years.  We have to take authority over it all and command our thoughts to be silent and centered on the Lord.   And we have to keep on doing it till we are finally quieted as David said in Psalm 131:2.  “Surely I have behaved [adjusted, yielded] and quieted [silenced] myself as a child that is weaned of his mother.” (KJV with Hebrew meanings in brackets)

Is this really possible?  Can we really reach a place where we can tune out or escape all the things that bombard us?  There is a secret place in the Spirit realm where it is so quiet that every other voice is stilled.   And in that place you can also hear the Lord’s voice.  The distractions of the world are far away.  When we are seated with Christ in the Heavens (Eph.2:6), wrapped in His loving embrace,  we are above the reach of the enemy.  Our perspective changes and we see things from above.  He prepares us to bring Heaven to earth, to see His Kingdom come and His will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven. (Mt. 6:10)

On-Ramps Into Heavenly Realms – #1. Learning to Quiet Your Spirit   Leave a comment

The purpose of this blog is two-fold.  It is to help restore the Bride of Christ to intimacy with Him and to teach her to fly.  After laying a foundation of intimacy with the Lord for several months we have also spent time on the fact that we are created to be creatures of both the natural and the spiritual realms.  We are meant to ascend into Heavenly realms.  The next few posts will deal with some ways to actually do that – how to get there.  After that we will talk much more about Heavenly realms

Keep in mind that this is a relationship, not a formula.  Still, there are some things I have found helpful on the journey that I’d like to share with you.  The first, and one of the most important is:

Learning to quiet your spirit

Have you ever felt like you were standing in an electronics shop where there were 15 televisions all turned on and set to different channels?  You are being asaulted with a barage of visual and sensory information constantly that you didn’t ask for and usually don’t even want.  This makes it very difficult to hear the still, small voice of the Lord.

Oh certainly, God can make Himself heard with thunder in His voice when He chooses to.  But most of the time He chooses not to because He wants such a close relationship with us that we can hear and respond when He whispers.  That requires our head quietly resting on His shoulder.  It is crucial that we spend quality time alone with Him daily.  This is beyond our times of intercession, Bible reading and devotion.  This is intimacy with the Lord.

When I first began doing this it was out of sheer desperation for Him.  Jesus was drawing me and I was falling more in love with Him.  But I was nervous and fidgety, always needing to be doing something.  Sitting quietly was not on my list of favorites.  Still, I longed for Him so much that I was willing to try.  I would wait till I was alone and the house was quiet.  Sometimes I put on quiet worship music but sometimes even that distracted me and I found myself singing along instead of focusing on Him.  Eventually I found that worship music with no words, with an unfamiliar melody, worked best for me.  I could not hum the tune or sing the words. This left my mind more free to ascend with Him and eventually let Him turn the music into a sound track for the vision He was giving me.  Amazing!

In those waiting times I would have my Bible and journal close by.  But this was not a time for reading or writing or even praying.  He specifically told me to put the prayer list away during those times.  It was His time. Time to really be with Him.  To come into His presence and sit with my head on His chest.  Sometimes we talked and sometimes we didn’t.  Love is like that.

Many times it was so difficult to really get there.  I’d keep pushing out all the other thoughts and they would keep barging back in.  If thoughts came about things I needed to remember, I’d quickly write them down and put them aside to think about later.  Sometimes I’d sit there for an hour and never even really feel His presence.  Sometimes I’d get frustrated and just get up and try again later.  Usually my initial prayer was “Jesus, I’m here and I just want to be with You. Please help me focus on You.  Help me to feel You, see You, hear You.”   When I began to feel His presence it was worth it all and I could just stay there with Him and lose track of time.

Eventually, over the months, I began to realize that the time it took to quiet myself and really feel His presence was becoming shorter.  It decreased from an hour, to half an hour, to a matter of minutes.  I began to pray “Lord, make me so aware of Your presence with me all the time.”   Finally, at any point during the day, I could close my eyes and immediately sense and know His presence all around me and sometimes even see His face.  He wants this to be normal for us!

I also found that staying in that place required the same discipline.  If my schedule became cluttered, even with good things, and the routine was broken I had to apologize for neglecting Him and begin the same discipline once again. This is a romance.  He desires to be with us more than we long to be with Him.

Yes, there are times we experience great spiritual warfare, when it becomes more and more difficult to actually feel His presence.  But even in those times when we seem to be required to walk in the dark, He is there watching our trust in Him grow stronger.  Even the angels are in awe when we persevere.  They dwell in the midst of such glory that worship is a natural response.  But when we who live in such darkness, keep worshipping and trying when we cannot see or even feel Him, it brings tears to their eyes and makes them even more glad to be sent here as ministering spirits to help us. (Heb. 1:14)

We will continue this theme in the next post.  But for now, let me pray for you.

Jesus, I pray for everyone reading these words.  I ask you to bring peace to their troubled souls.  I take authority over scattered thoughts, confusion and lack of focus and I declare that Your peace pours over them and into them now like oil.  I decree quietness over them and in the quietness they will hear your voice.  In Jesus name, Amen.