Archive for the ‘Heaven’ Tag
Worship had begun in the small home group meeting and the presence of Jesus was filling the room. I closed my eyes to focus on Him and He immediately surprised me by saying, “So, where shall we go?” Then He grinned and said, “Why don’t we just jump off the high diving board?”
I hardly had time to think. Instantly I saw myself climbing up a very high ladder and walking carefully out to the end of a diving board. By now I knew I was in the Spirit since I never would have done that in the natural. I stood there for a moment trying to get up the nerve to jump. Suddenly, from behind me, Jesus came running down the board, grabbed me in His arms, launching us into the air and we landed in the ocean below! It was so surprising and wild that I almost laughed out loud and had to cover my face with my hands! Laughing, He took my hand and we began to swim deeper and further out until the shoreline disappeared. I looked at Him and said, “You know I really can’t swim!” and He just laughed and said, “It’s o.k., you don’t need to. You’re with Me.” On and on we swam, further out and deeper still. The deeper we went, the lighter it became, not darker as I would have thought. And as the light increased, so did the glory.
At that point in the vision, the natural realm and the Heavenly realm began to overlap. I started to feel a great concern for Kevin, a young man in the group who was experiencing a great deal of trouble. I really wanted to just take him with me, out here in the ocean and let Jesus minister to him. I didn’t want to seem inappropriate but we were all close friends, so finally I got up and went to the other end of the room where he was sitting. I whispered to him, “I just want to lay my hand on your shoulder and try to be a sort of channel between you and Heaven. Is that o.k.?”
“Oh yes, that’s fine.” he said, ” I trust you.”
So I knelt behind his chair and just put my hand on his shoulder. I really wasn’t even praying for his needs but only asking Jesus to take him away and minister to him. At the same time, Jesus and I were still swimming in the ocean. The glory was so very deep.
Suddenly we began to swim upward to the surface. When we broke through the water, we were in the Throne Room, standing on the Sapphire Sea! There was so much light and so much glory that tears were pouring down my face. Jesus was so beautiful and bright with light streaming from Him in every direction.
When the light began to subside, I noticed that we had brought Kevin with us as well! He was lying nearby on the “sea” in a fetal position with his head down like a sleeping infant. Jesus looked at him with so much compassion. But it was interesting. There was compassion but not concern. He knew what He would do and that Kevin would be all right. He motioned to a large angel nearby who picked Kevin up like a baby and carried him right to the Father on the Throne. As Father saw him coming He had the same compassion in His voice as He said, “Come here, my son!” Then He took Kevin in His big arms like a baby and just held him close.
Jesus turned His attention back to me now as we began to dance on the Sapphire Sea. It was wonderful ball room dancing, on the sea and up in the air, turning and twirling and landing again. Then I heard the worship leader from our home group and I knew he must be there somewhere dancing as well. He was breathlessly laughing, playing his guitar and singing, “dancing with You, twirling and spinning”!
There are times when the 2 realms overlap. Since we were created from the dust of this earth and the very breath of God, we have the ability to walk in both realms, sometimes even simultaneously. There are also times when we can take others with us or when the Lord chooses to take a whole group away together in His presence as He did in Exodus 24: 9-11. He’s very creative!
Always remember – there are no limitations in the Spirit. And in the Spirit, you can fly. (Isa.40:31, 2 Cor.12: 2-4)
* For more on this subject, see the category Creatures Of Both Realms on this blog.
Out of the swirling water colors a white horse appeared and the smiling face of Jesus locked gazes with me. When He reached for my hand and pulled me up onto the horse with Him, it was one fluid motion like color being swished onto a canvas. We rode off into the heavens, landing gently on the Sea of Glass in the Throne Room.
There was a host of saints and angels there and immediately all the attention was on Him. He dismounted, nodded His head gracefully to them with a slight bow and turned to help me down from the horse. Then He took my hand and presented me to them. Though I have been there many times, the beauty of Heaven and purity of those there is still a shock to the human system. I felt like Cinderella at the ball with the Prince at my side. He was affirming His relationship with me in front of them all. It is easy to be overcome and terribly insecure in those moments except for all of Rick Joyner’s teaching experiences from Heavenly realms. The Lord told him so many times that he was not to look at himself or compare himself to those who had been purified by the judgments, but to look at Him alone.
Jesus was regal and calm as always and seemed to be enjoying the moment. Still, He saw that I was clinging to His hand. Looking at me quietly, as if He was doing something just for me, He squeezed my hand and said,
“Come with Me. I want to show you something.”
Immediately we were on a high mountain, a familiar place I’ve come to call ‘the mountain at the edge of eternity’. I love this place where anything can happen. It’s full of possibility and destiny with that wild wind of the Spirit blowing our hair and garments. Up on that mountain we started to walk in the green meadow and suddenly came upon a high hill. I had never noticed it in the times I had been there before.
Jesus became serious and quietly said to me, “This is the hill of sacrifice. Your sacrifice. It’s all you have sacrificed for My sake and the Gospel over the years.”
I was stunned! As soon as my vision cleared, for I was sobbing, I looked closer at the hill. Now I could see it was made up of houses and land and gardens and things – many fine things that would go in a house, even beautiful cats! It was also made up of people … so many, many people. There were friends and co-workers and people who we could network with to spread the Gospel. There were also schools and training centers and churches, good churches full of good, faithful people who were mature in spirit and had single eyed devotion for Him alone.
As I gazed at this in awe, Jesus continued to speak to me.
“All the things you have sacrificed for Me have come up to Me and I have used them to build this memorial. But more than just a memorial here in Heaven of your sacrifice, I have multiplied them a hundred fold and I have glorified each one of them and now I am bringing them back to you! Some will stay here to be a blessing to you in your future life here. But much of this will be coming back to you on earth now to bless you and help you fulfill your destiny there.”
I thought of all that I had sacrificed … houses and lands and things. And of all the things that we could not do or be involved in because we were being called out of one place and into another. All the years that I desperately clung to His promises and fought to stay free and not be tied down to anything, even things and places and people that I loved, to just try to stay in line for the ministry that I believed was coming, so that when the doors finally opened I’d be ready to go. And I wept and remembered the joy when the doors finally opened.
Much of what I saw in that hill was people, a vast number of people. I thought about the many times when the enemy stole opportunities from us to go and minister to groups of people. Or times when we actually went but then things prevented people from coming or receiving what we had brought for them. And there they all were in that hill. There were not only the things I had sacrificed but also all that the enemy had stolen from me! I thought about the scriptures that I had prayed so often:
And Jesus replied, “Let me assure you that no one has ever given up anything—homes, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or property—for love of me and to tell others the Good News, who won’t be given back, a hundred times over, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—with persecutions! All these will be his here on earth, and in the world to come he shall have eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30 Living Bible (TLB)
Have you grown weary from all the loss? Take heart! Nothing of value in your life is ever lost. It goes on into eternity and is multiplied a hundred times to bless you and so many others. Much of it will be showered back on you in this life and much more than you can imagine is waiting for you there in your Heavenly home with Him.
I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed to Him (to guard my deposit) against that day. 2 Tim. 1:12
Our definition of success and Heaven’s definition of success are two very different things. Too much of the world’s mindset has made its way into Christian thinking and we have adopted it as our own without even realizing it. How do we judge success?
From a business perspective, success is usually the amount of money being made. It also would have to do with the number of sales, contacts, how far reaching our influence is etc. It’s about how wealthy we are, who we know and what we do. It’s about us. This same concept applies in other areas of our lives and largely focuses on how much we seem to be accomplishing and what other people think of us. Sadly, there is far too much of this in ministry as well.
But from Heaven’s perspective we usually have it upside down. It’s not about the ‘secret of the successful life’. It’s about the ‘success of the secret life’. The life that is hidden in God, where our goal is to make His name famous instead of our own, carries far more weight in Heaven. It’s a life where He is seen and we are not … where much of what we do is behind the scenes, to advance His Kingdom instead of our own.
Many of you will have read Rick Joyner’s book The Final Quest years ago. Since that time he has completed that trilogy and started another. (See my Recommended Reading list) But if you haven’t read that book for a long time, I’d highly recommend reading it again. It’s one of those things that only gets better and more relevant as time goes by. Here are some quotes from that book regarding success from people who lived their lives on this earth then died and went to Heaven. Here is the truth they found there:
“What looks good on earth looks very different here. What will make you a king on earth will often be a stumbling block to keep you from being a king here. What will make you a king here is lowly and not esteemed on earth.”
“The more influence that you gain by your own self promotion, the more striving you must do to keep your influence, and the more dark and cruel your life will become. Anything you do because of political pressures or opportunities, will only lead you to the end of your true ministry. If you do not live what you preach to others you disqualify yourself from the high calling of God. Love the Savior and seek His glory alone. Everything that you do to exalt yourself will one day bring you the most terrible humiliation. Everything that you do out of true love for the Savior, to glorify His name, will extend the limits of His eternal Kingdom and ultimately result in a much higher place for yourself.”
Doesn’t God use people to build His Kingdom? Yes, of course. We get to help. God is not afraid of heroes. He builds them Himself. But up to this point in time, too many of those who are called to large public ministries have fallen prey to the power, the prestige and the occasional wealth that may bring. This has largely been due to spiritual immaturity. However, there is a new breed arising on the scene now. They cut across all levels of society. Age and gender are not an issue. These have been tried in the fire and are coming forth as gold. They are like David, with the courage of a lion and a heart of intimacy with the Lord. They care neither for the criticism or the praise of men but seek only the approval of the King. They stand for His truth, even under threat of death. ( Rev.12:11) T hese are going forth to build His Kingdom, an unshakable Kingdom that will never be stopped. Will you be one of them?
There may seem to be a conflict between the hidden life and a truly successful (from His perspective) ministry in building His Kingdom. But they are really 2 sides of the same coin. Fruitfulness flows out of a deep intimate relationship with Him. We will discuss this aspect further as it relates to success in the next posting.
True success in this life depends largely on how much of Christ is formed within us. This is what the Father is looking for. (Rom.8:29, 2 Cor.3:18, Gal.4:19, Rom.12:2 ) Everything that we ‘do’ here will only be an outflow of that foundational relationship. Christ in us. ( Gal.2:20, Col.1:27)
There is such a wide variety of creative intercession that the Lord allows us to enter when we ask Him to share His heart with us. If we are open, He will show us things we’ve never imagined. Such was the case with a prophetic experience I was taken into a few weeks ago.
Recently at our House of Prayer there was a wonderful presence of the Lord during the worship. I found myself entering deeply into His presence and dancing with Him for a long time. At last I heard the leader urging us to pray for the persecuted church in specific countries. There are times when the presence of Jesus is so sweet that I really don’t want to change gears and come out of that to do something else. So I made a conscious decision to stay in the Heavenly realms and pray ‘with Him’ from that place.
As we separated into smaller groups I saw, in the Spirit, a large group of people who were under attack for their faith. Jesus invited me to ‘stand in the gap’ with Him. He offered me His hand, also taking the hand of another person and many of us formed a circle around these people, facing outward to protect them.
As He called us deeper into intercession, I maintained my position in the Heavens and was now in the Throne Room. The phrase ‘souls under the altar’ keep running through my mind and I knew He was drawing my attention to them. Rev.6:9-11 says these are the ones who have been martyred for their faith in God. As if from far away I could faintly hear their cries. Then my eyes were opened to see a vast host of people from every tribe and nation who had all been slain for their faith in God.
Suddenly, perhaps because we were now praying for the persecuted church in Nigeria, another group began to rise out of the first one. These were Nigerians – tall, black skinned men in white flowing robes with their women in colorful dresses and head coverings, and their children … hundreds of children. Tears were flowing like rivers from their eyes as they cried out from the depths of their passion, “How long Oh God, will you not judge and avenge our blood from them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev.6:10)
But then as I listened, I began to hear other cries as well and prayers that were mixed with our own prayers for their nation. They were joining their voices with ours to pray for the persecuted church in Nigeria! They were crying out for those who were suffering for their faith and for those who will be martyred! They were praying for courage and strength for their brothers and sisters. They were bringing hope to them! I was undone.
The worship of a soft guitar floated through the air. I closed my eyes and was suddenly taken away.
Standing on an open spiral staircase, I gazed around me. I seemed to be in a huge century home with rich woods and sunlight streaming through every window. From where I stood I could look up to the higher floors and down to the lower floors of this magnificent house. The stairway was open to reveal people coming and going in the large rooms it passed through. I could hear the sounds of laughter and singing. This house was so full of life and joy.
Suddenly a group of laughing, barefoot children came running down the stairs. Some were sliding down the banister. A couple of large dogs trotted among them, joining in their games. As their happy laughter echoed back up the stairs I began to realize where I was. This place was symbolic of my Father’s house.
This is how our Heavenly Father wants us to be in His house, carefree and joyful. These children had no fear of falling off the high railing. They were completely safe in Father’s house where nothing could hurt them. They had no concern about whether there would be food for dinner or who was going to pay the mortgage on the house. They had a simple basic trust in their Father that freed them from all worry and care.
Jesus said “unless you become as little children you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt. 18:3) Have you lost your peace somewhere? Or have troubles overtaken you and caused your heart to fear? Come back into Father’s house. Sit on His lap and let Him take you in His arms and tell you how much He loves you.
I know I have posted this music video before but it seems so appropriate that I am sharing it once again. Be blessed as you enter back into the security of Father’s arms.
This entire company of people is relying upon us to become everything God called us to be so that they are made perfect. That is a huge responsibility!
We have been studying the great cloud of witnesses spoken about in Hebrews chapters 11 and 12. (See the previous 2 postings for more on this subject.) This group is composed of all the over-comers who died in the faith from Adam to the present time. They fought and ran the race but did not receive the promises. They only saw and embraced them from afar. (Heb.11:13) The last 2 verses of chapter 11 always puzzled me. It says they “received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (complete).” While I don’t pretend to fully understand this, recent prophetic experiences along with study and revelation have begun to shine some light on it. Let’s look at some other scripture passages referring to this group.
Dan. 7:21,22 says that the horn of the adversary will wage war with the saints and overcome them … until … the Ancient of Days comes and renders a verdict in favor of the saints and they take possession of the Kingdom. For thousands of years our enemy has been waging war against us. Millions of our brothers and sisters in Christ have been martyred along with all their gifts and callings. All that they would have done for the rest of their earthly lives was stolen from them and those acts of injustice by the enemy were recorded in the God’s books.
Rev. 8:3-5 ( the vision of John for a future time) talks about a great angel who has a golden censor in his hand. Much incense was given to him so that he might add it to “all the prayers of all the saints.” And the smoke of the incense, which is the prayers of the saints, went up before God. Then the angel took the censor with the fire from the altar and threw it to the earth and there followed peals of thunder, flashes of lightening and an earthquake. All the prayers of All the saints – this cloud of witnesses that prayed and prayed and did not see it in their time. All their prayers have been captured in Heaven along with their tears and God will repay. He will render a verdict in favor of the saints and they will take possession of the Kingdom forever. (Dan. 7:21,22)
This is the eternal perspective of the cloud of witnesses. The enemy will be judged and they will be rewarded. But how do you and I fit into that picture now? How do we help to make them perfect or complete?
What God is in the process of doing in these days is amazing! We are going to be the beneficiaries of things we haven’t even sown, of centuries of prayers of martyred saints and those who didn’t see the fulfillment. God is pouring out all the gifts and anointings and commissionings that have ever been stolen from the Body of Christ back into this generation! Jesus said in John 4, those who sow and those who reap rejoice together. Millions of our brothers were sown like a seed and now that’s coming to harvest and we will reap the very things that the enemy stole from them.
Saul of Tarsus and the stoning of Stephen is a good example of this principle. Stephen was a member of the early church who was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit and did great wonders and miracles among the people. (Acts 6 and 7) He was falsely accused and stoned to death. Saul, who was holding the coats of the people who were throwing the stones, was wrecking havoc in the church at that time, persecuting them and casting them into prison. So as he was consenting to the death of Stephen, God picked him out for an object lesson. It was as if the Lord said to the enemy, “You took one of my best men so I’m going to take one of your best men – and turn him into the Apostle Paul.” When Saul was converted he began to make 10 times more trouble for the enemy than Stephen had. If satan had understood that principle he might have left Stephen alone. Can you imagine Stephen, who had now joined that great cloud of witnesses, watching Paul do great exploits for the Kingdom of God and cheering him on? Paul was now operating under the same anointing that Stephen carried and finishing what Stephen began to do when his life was cut short. Now Stephen would be ‘made perfect or complete’ by what Paul was able to accomplish. Stephen would reap the reward along with Paul. “Those who sow and those who reap rejoice together.” (John 4:35-38)
Of course we also have our own callings to fulfill, not just to finish what someone else began. But the point is that it’s pay-back time now and God is freely giving us all that we need to finish this great task. Ask and you shall receive! He can take the anointings of the great men and women of old and multiply them and then pour them out on a body of people so that when they achieve the fullness of that mandate the cloud of witnesses will share in the fruit of it.
Remember that they surround us and have a vested interest in what we do. (Heb. 12:1) May we run this race and finish well, accomplishing all He put us here to do … for them, for our children and grand-children, but most of all for Him.
* Much of this weeks posting has come from the studies of Paul Keith Davis. I am including the link to his archived webinars where you will find more on this topic and many others as well. http://www.whitedoveministries.org/index.cfm?zone=Docs/WebinarArchive/WebinarArchivePage.htm&page=LiveStream
In the previous post we began to look at the cloud of witnesses that Paul describes in Hebrews 11 and 12. Let’s take a closer look to see who they are, who they are not and what role they play in the times we are in and the times to come.
The first thing necessary to understand is this … it is God alone that we are to seek. While He often chooses to minister to us in many different ways through people or angels, our focus is to be on Him and not them. Just as we do not pray to angels or worship them, the same applies to the cloud of witnesses. 1 Tim. 2:5 tells us that there is only one mediator between God and man and that is Christ Jesus. He is the only one worthy of our worship and He is the only one to whom we pray. But this does not mean that there is no interaction with them. There are times when we are permitted to see angels, to receive the messages or the help they come to bring us. The same is true of those in the cloud of witnesses. They can be used as messengers as well. These are not people you are apt to see on a regular basis even though Paul tells that we are ‘compassed about’ or ‘encircled’ by them. But there are times when the Lord chooses to just let us have a glimpse of them as I did in the experience I related in the last post. This was crucial to my understanding at the time and very precious to me. It gave me courage to know I had made the right decision.
Who is this cloud of witnesses? Paul describes them in the previous chapter. In fact, if you read Hebrews chapter 11 and keep going into the first few verses of chapter 12 it will be self explanatory. They are those who overcame and died before us. They are from every generation from Adam up to the present. Paul only listed and referred to those up until his own generation but the books were not closed and have been added to in every generation since. They are not angels or other forms of Heavenly beings. They are men and women, flesh and blood who were born and lived on the earth, became over-comers, died in the faith and have now gone to Heaven.
They have been given the right to watch us and see how we are running this race. (Heb. 12:1) It’s like a relay race and it’s now our turn to run. They are cheering us on toward the end but much more than that. They are also messengers whom God will use on occasion. The whole book, The Final Quest by Rick Joyner, is basically about experiences that Rick had with these people in Heaven. They told him about their own failures and cautioned him to avoid the same traps. Many of them explained that they should have had a higher rank in Heaven and why they failed to achieve it. Their messages to him were crucial to help keep him on the right path. And his writings of those experiences have been instrumental in helping us stay on the path as well.
There is a call going out now to “rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way and of the sin which holds onto us so tightly, and to run with determination the race that lies before us” so that we will not be ashamed at the end. (Heb. 12:1 Good News Bible)
This subject will be continued in the next posting.