Archive for the ‘Intimacy with Jesus’ Tag

Stand And Be Strong   4 comments

I felt it was a good time to re-post this from Feb. 2014.

This will be a great part of our testing in these last days: to overcome the lies of the enemy against God and His goodness.

We are entering times when mans own choices have lifted the restraining hand of God against evil in our nations.  In some cases those choices are bringing His righteous and holy judgment as His Word said.  Some things will be very clear.  When a nation is being judged or disciplined to bring it back to God, everyone in that nation will be affected in some way.

Other things will be far less easy to understand.  Why does disaster strike?  Why do our friends and loved ones die or experience such hard things when we have prayed and believed?  Once when I was questioning the Lord about many of these things He said to me,

“My bride will have to be so in love with Me that she trusts Me even when she does not understand.”

Of course He loves us individually and has our best interest at heart.  But this is not just about us as individuals.  It’s much bigger than that.  It’s about His eternal plan, of which we have a part.

Fundamentally, at heart level, we must believe that God is good and just and righteous at ALL times in ALL He does.  We must stop blaming God for the works of the enemy!  To misunderstand this could be fatal.  Since we are finite creatures, this will require an ever increasing depth of relationship with Him to bond us so closely that we cannot be separated. (Rom.8:38,39)  This will require much more love than we now possess.  We must ask Him for His love which cannot be shaken. ( Rom.8:35-37 )

Once in a vision the Lord encountered me on a seashore.  He pointed toward a beautiful ship and said to me “That’s my ship and I’m the Captain.  I make the decisions.  The question is, can you sail under My command?”

If this sounds hard and contrary to the nature of a loving God, we have only seen a part of the many facets of His character.  He is the lamb and He also is the lion.  In the midst of the battle you’ll want the lion on your side. All of those blog posts under “Intimacy with the Lord” are true.   In fact, it is that very depth of intimacy that will cause us to keep on holding tightly to Him no matter what happens.   You learn to trust the One you love and love the One you trust.  Because of His deep love for us and ours for Him, we know that we can trust Him and His leadership.  Incidentally, in the last part of the vision I spoke of, Jesus looked deeply into my eyes and opened His hand to reveal my name tattooed on His palm! ( Isa.49:16 )  I was undone once again by His love.

There were times in my life many years ago when I was just beginning to learn these lessons.  When things went from difficult to impossible I fell back into immaturity and began to blame God.  I had prayed and fasted and declared and believed but still He did not answer my prayers.  One day when I was literally yelling at Him He stopped me.  I could hear the pain in His voice as He said to me,

“It hurts Me when you publicly disgrace and dishonor Me in this way.”

Silence and shock!  What did He mean by that?  Quietly now He began to explain what I had absolutely no concept of.

“When you rail against Me and blame Me for your trouble it dishonors and disgraces Me.  And yes, it is very public.  You think you are alone here in your room.  But all those in Heaven and the realms below hear what you say.  You disgrace Me before the enemy and all of his hosts.   And you dishonor and accuse Me before all of Heaven, the angels and the great cloud of witnesses.”

That understanding solved something for me and I repented deeply.  When it hits us personally as it has so many times before, when our needs are not met or disaster strikes, the thing of absolute importance is our response to Him.  Will we trust that He loves us and His will is best even when we are hurting, even when we don’t understand?  There are only 2 choices here. The middle ground is running out.

Obviously I am not suggesting that we sit back and receive everything the enemy throws at us, presuming it is God’s will.   We do have authority given to us from the Lord over the evil one.  But what about the delays we don’t understand or the circumstances that we just cannot line up with God’s Word no matter how we try?  We need wisdom to separate these things properly.  However, when it comes down to the bottom line question of “Is God good or has He failed you?” our response must always be in allegiance to Him alone.  Otherwise we find ourselves on very dangerous ground and create much more trouble than we already had.

Help us God!  Give us Your grace to make it!  Strengthen us Oh God!

By the way, there are times when He does just give us strength that we did not possess before … His strength.  However, the #1 way that we gain strength is through testing and training!  Paul talks about exercising to strengthen our mortal bodies to run the race and then compares that to our spiritual life. (1 Cor.9:24-27, Phil. 2:16 )   He also refers to our being soldiers in the army of God.  ( 2 Tim.2:3,4,  2 Thess,1:4, Heb. 12:7 )   A General in the Army started out as a Private.  He became a General through rigorous, hard training and also the battles he fought in.

These last day battles will require God’s people to be high impact and low maintenance.  If we search our hearts and find that is not the case then let us run to the Lord and not away from Him.  Let us repent for our weakness and submit ourselves to Him for His training.  He is the only source of our strength.  He is the goal and He is the reward for those who overcome.

The High Diving Board   5 comments

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.

Invitation to Peace   2 comments

The logs crackled and snapped in the campfire as Jesus unfolded a large wool blanket and draped one end around my shoulders. Then He pulled the other end around His own shoulders and sat down on the log beside me as we faced the fire. The surf pounded on the beach nearby and tiny crabs ran into their holes to hide. Enjoying the beauty of His creation, the Lord breathed in the salty air and watched the night sky with pleasure as one by one the bright stars appeared above us. Soon we were surrounded by His galaxies in the canopy overhead.

Time always seems to be suspended when I am with Him like this. It does not pass, it just is. He is never in a hurry. He has all the time in the world. After all, He created time and it submits to Him. In one instant He can remove me from the cares and stress of life and transfer me into His timeless realm of peace, showing me where reality truly lies. It is as though life in the realm we consider real is only a tragic story in a book. Then we lift our eyes and close the book and are once again in the present reality of His realm of glorious life.

The warmth of Him close beside me dispelled the chill of the night air. Quietly now He sharpened the end of a long stick with a pocket knife. Then He reached into a bag of marshmallows and placed one on the end of the stick. Grinning at me, He held the stick over the fire. When the marshmallow was golden He pulled off the outer layer, as I had done as a child, and popped it into my mouth.

What detailed care He takes to surprise us with such small, yet wonderful encouragements of His love. The cares of many days rolled away as I sat on the beach, eating marshmallows with my friend, the Creator.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Recently I read a posting on Elijahlist by Kathi Pelton regarding revelation the Lord had given her about peace. It seemed such vital information that I wanted to share it with you. She said:

Peace creates an atmosphere of blessing, but fear creates an atmosphere of warfare. The Holy Spirit spoke to me one day and said, “Fear is like bait for demons. They smell it and they gather to it in order to feast of its many delights. It gives strength to demons and leaves its victim weak and vulnerable.”

Then He went on to say, “Peace is absolute confusion to the enemy. He doesn’t recognize it; he cannot work within the atmosphere of peace because chaos and peace cannot coexist. Peace is the pathway to the banqueting table that I’ve prepared for you in the presence of your enemies. Peace is to fear like light is to darkness; it dispels it.”

This was one of the greatest revelations that I have ever received. Honestly, the majority of the warfare that I’ve faced in my life has come from lack of peace. The loss of peace increased my warfare, because fear came in and the enemy had an atmosphere that he could breathe and work in. As I have allowed the Holy Spirit to take me into deeper levels of peace I have found that it is an atmosphere of breakthrough. It is as if peace creates a portal that bypasses the enemy’s opposition on some level.  As I have come into greater peace, I have also discovered that I can more clearly hear the voice of wisdom. Peace calms the storm and the noise produced by fear, allowing us to hear the counsel and wisdom of the Lord.

* Elijahlist article posted by Kathi Pelton, May 9,’15 (www.elijahlist.com)

The Mountain at the Edge of Eternity   7 comments

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

The Measure of Success and the Rhythm of Life   1 comment

We have been discussing success from Heaven’s viewpoint, in contrast to an earthly perspective.  (See previous post ‘What is the measure of success’.)   How can we have a secret, hidden life in God and also be about building the Father’s Kingdom on this earth?

These 2 things – the hidden life or the public life, may seem so far apart they contradict each other. I have struggled with this concept many times as well. I am so in love with Jesus that I desire and need to spend much time alone with Him, just sitting at His feet and gazing into His wonderful eyes.  Then there also comes a point where I desire and need to be out ministering to people and drawing them closer to Him as well, building His Kingdom.

One day in the middle of my confusion about this, the Lord showed me the Bride in the Song of Solomon.  A careful reading of this short book will reveal that she lives there with Him in the mountains in an intimate relationship.  Then she comes ‘with Him’, leaning on His arm, as they go down into the villages to check on the fruit and into the vineyards to bring in the harvest!  I was stunned at their lovely and natural rhythm.  It was like a dance that came out of intimacy and obedience.  We are “in Him” (1 John 5:20) and He abides in us. (Gal.2:20) Intimacy produces fruitfulness.  As we stay in this love relationship with Him, He flows out through us to accomplish whatever He calls us to do.  It is always Him actually accomplishing anything through us.  We just obey by walking through the doors He opens, going where He calls us to go or responding to His call of intimacy to come away with Him.

Recently I heard someone sharing a vision he had of the Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem coming down to earth. (Rev. 21:2) There he saw the Lamb of God upon His throne and His Bride beside Him.
He said, “I looked at the throne of the Lamb. The Bride was with Him on the throne but I could not see a distinction between the two! They are one. She is with Him wherever He goes. ”

 

Consider the rhythm of Jesus earthly ministry.  With the job description the Father gave Him, He could have been the most frustrated man on the planet!  He had such a short space of time to accomplish the Father’s will.  Yet, He was never in a hurry, He stopped for individuals who needed Him, He was full of peace and patience … How did He do this?  Bear in mind that at this point He had laid aside His Divinity and chosen to live this life as a man filled with the Holy Spirit as an example for us to follow. (Phil.2:5-8)  His method was part of that example. He only did what He saw the Father doing and heard the Father saying.  He spent large amounts of time alone with His Father in prayer.  Then He simply listened and obeyed whatever the Father told Him.  Was He successful?  In the eyes of the world and many of His followers His death looked like failure.  At least for 3 days!  They did not understand that He had defeated death, hell and the grave. (Rev. 1:18)  Successful?  Absolutely.  For eternity.

True success in this life depends largely on our relationship with Him and how much of the image 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)

What is the Measure of Success?   Leave a comment

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)

I Will Not Forget   4 comments

The rain had finally ended and the sun was shining.  The woodland behind the house was a dozen shades of green and the trees were still dripping as I crossed the bridge.  I had spent so much time here with Jesus that stepping onto the path brought a tangible sense of His Presence. I expected Him to meet me here.

 
Soon the awareness of Him was so strong that I could smell His fragrance.  When I rounded the bend in the path, there He was, sitting on that same magnificent white stallion that I’d ridden with Him before.  His dark hair was slightly tousled by the breeze but it still radiated as always with what looked like living sparkling lights from within. I have come to understand this as the oil of anointing.

 
He was dressed all in white, from the shirt left casually open at the neck, to the white pants tucked into the softest, white leather boots which folded down into high cuffs just below the knee.  Under His left arm was a small, white leather pouch or satchel that hung from a long strap going across His chest, over His right shoulder and down across His back.  I wondered what that might be.  The spicy sandalwood scent of His own fragrance mingled with the smells of leather and of the horse and the damp earth.

 
He seemed so completely at home and comfortable in the midst of the natural realm He had created.  He sat for a long moment just gazing on me with so much love.  Then He casually jumped down from the horse and came to meet me.  Time stood still once again as we walked together there in the green woods of this earthly realm.

 
Several months later, on Remembrance Day, I was reading my old journals and pondering this experience again. When I came to the description of His clothes and the leather satchel or pouch, He stopped me.  It had been an item I didn’t understand but I hadn’t questioned it at the time. Now He said,

 
“Shall I tell you what that is?”

 
“Yes Lord,” I replied.

 
His voice became very serious as He continued softly.

 
“That bag is filled with My promises to you.”

 
His words shocked me and cut deeply into my heart.  I had received so many prophetic words and promises over the years which were still unfulfilled, that by now I had a bad case of hope deferred. (Prov.13:12)   This was so deeply entrenched that when another word came, I could only remember all of those still pending and I began to say,
“Oh, just put it in the bag with all the others.”

 
There was no condemnation in His eyes as they searched my own. There was only deep, wounded love. Slowly now He continued.

 
“Every prophecy and every promise I have made to you, past, present and future, is in that bag and I will fulfill every word I have spoken. They are so precious to Me that I keep them there under my arm, close to My heart. I will not forget.”

 

[ In the next post we will return to the subject of prophetic intercession. But I felt the Lord nudging me to share this now since tomorrow, Nov. 11 is Remembrance Day.]

The Dance   3 comments

The large hall was set and ready for the meeting to begin.  The musicians were tuning their instruments.  People were arriving and greeting each other before taking their seats and there was already a sense of His presence and an air of expectancy.

 
Suddenly Jesus appeared in front of me, smiling broadly.  Manifested in this form as the Man, Christ Jesus, He always takes my breath away.  Opening His arms to me, He invited me to dance. My weak knees led me to Him as I accepted His invitation.  Being in His arms is to be surrounded by a cloud of His fragrance, a cloud of His protection, a cloud of His love.

 
Music came from somewhere as He whisked me out into the open area.  Then all else disappeared – the people, the instruments, the chairs and even the carpet which had covered the wood floor we were now dancing on.  In the light of His presence, gazing into His wonderful eyes I see nothing else but Him.  I want nothing else but Him.  To be held in His embrace, learning how to move as one with Him is my only desire.

 
For a long time we followed the music around the room and I revelled in the sweetness of His presence.  But then without warning Jesus also disappeared, at least from my natural vision.  Startled, I realized that nothing else had changed.  The music continued in the empty room and I could still feel His strong arms guiding me in the dance and the warmth of His hand holding mine.

 
There was, however, one thing that changed.  In the moment He disappeared from my sight His presence magnified greatly, causing what had been a blissful, sweet experience to now become so intense it was overpowering.  I rested my head on His shoulder and wept.  Now I was no longer moving on my own for He was carrying me.

 
So often when I am wrapped in His embrace, I find that words are unnecessary.  There is a language that communicates on a much deeper level, Spirit to spirit.  Now He was teaching me that sight is sometimes as unnecessary as words.  The reality of the Spirit realm goes as far beyond physical sight as it goes beyond earthly physical language.

 
Here, for these moments suspended in time, in this new realm of the Spirit where I had entered with Him, spiritual sight had overcome the natural.

 
II Cor. 4:18 Amp. – “We consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen: for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting) but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.”

What Really Happens When We Are Angry At God   5 comments

Many years ago I was going through a very dark time in my life and not dealing with it very well.  I was only in the beginning stages of intimacy with the Lord and there were (and are) still many lessons to learn.  I was about to experience one of those lessons very forcefully.

In my search for answers to the impossible circumstances I was in I had finally blamed God for it.  Oh, of course it was an attack of the enemy but God could have stopped it and protected me.  What about all He promised me?  What about all I had sacrificed?  Where was He when I needed Him?

On and on I went, venting my anger at Him until suddenly He stopped me.  Everything was quiet for a brief second and then I could hear the hurt in His voice as He said to me, “It grieves My heart the way you publicly disgrace and dishonor Me!”

Shocked, I wondered what He could mean.  Publicly?  I thought I was alone in my room and no-one was home but me.  And what did He mean by disgrace and dishonor?

Answering my thoughts as always, He began to explain.  “Yes,” He answered quietly.  “You disgrace and dishonor me by casting doubt on my abilty to protect you.  You accuse Me of not even loving you when it was My love for you that sent Me to the cross.  I died for you.”

He paused for a moment to let His words sink into my heart.  There was still great pain in His voice as He continued.  “And yes, it is very public.  Are you still so unaware of the spirit world around you?  Everything you have said was heard by all of My angels and the great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before you.  The whole demonic host of the enemy is also listening.  Your words have disgraced and dishonored Me in front of them all.”  After another brief pause He continued simply, “I love you.  Please don’t do this again.”

Face to carpet, sobs and groanings of deep repentance.  Forgiveness granted.  Grace extended.  Relationship restored.  Lesson learned.

Relationship In The Kingdom of God   1 comment

I don’t usually re-post other things on this blog but this newsletter from Rolland and Heidi Baker in Mozambique addresses some vital issues. They mentored me in intimacy with the Lord for several years, especially during our time in Africa with them. I realize this is lengthy but if you read it to the end you will find some stunningly simple answers to many difficult questions.

From Rolland and Heidi Baker, Iris Global, Pemba, Mozambique
16 June, 2014

“Our years in Pemba, Mozambique have been tumultuous, intense, filled with demonic attacks, violence, threats, opposition from the government, discouragement, theft, loss, disappointments, failures, staff turnover, and the constant, unrelenting demands of extreme poverty and disease all around us. It almost always seemed that our capabilities and resources were no match for the challenges we faced every day, resulting in a level of chaos and stress that literally threatened our health and lives. Intense witchcraft and a lack of exposure to familiar standards of right and wrong made our work in this very remote part of the world seem all the more impossible. Heidi and I remember many times when we did not know how we could continue, often wondering if we really had good, lasting fruit that was worth the sacrifice.

We are often asked what the overcoming key to our ministry and growth is. We don’t think in terms of keys or secrets, but of the simplest truths of the gospel. We have learned by experience that there is no way forward when pressed to our extremities but to sacrifice ourselves at every turn for His sake, knowing nothing but Jesus and Him crucified. We must die to live. It is better to give than to receive, and better to love than to be loved. We cannot lose, because we have a perfect Savior who is able to finish what He began in us, if we do not give up and throw away our faith.

In years past we did not think we could identify with Paul like this, but now we understand more of what he meant: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Cor. 1:8–9).

Heidi and I get overwhelmed by our awareness that we are only jars of clay, very fragile and finite, capable of only giving out so much, and with very limited understanding and strength. But we have come to be encouraged by this very state of affairs, because God’s power and glory will become obvious in our weakness: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Cor. 4:7–10).

In Pemba we just started another three-month Bible school session with new student pastors from the bush, many of whom are barely aware of any Christian doctrine and still confused about so much. But three of them have already raised the dead and given their testimonies in class! The Holy Spirit is opening hearts and bringing in the harvest more than ever, in spite of our weaknesses. Our churches are monuments to the grace of God. We are asked how we keep them all together, organized and feeling like a unified family, but we can offer no adequate human explanation, in spite of all our efforts. We have learned that He is able to melt hearts and keep people connected in spirit by His own power, and build a hunger for the Savior that conquers every obstacle. This is His revival, His church, His display of glory, and He qualifies us to do His work.

What motivates us to keep going? What puts energy into our spirits when we run out of answers and resources? How do we stay patient and upbeat when the outlook seems bleak, yet again? Where does our power to live, serve and give come from? The question is important, because missionaries do get tired, discouraged and down. Christians of all kinds run out of motivation, no matter how much they have. Leaders with huge responsibilities lose their peace and joy. Ministries become more like businesses, and preachers more like sales managers. But what makes the Kingdom run? What is the fuel that fires us effortlessly? What is the real thing?

Every day we find out more of the answers to these most fundamental questions, and every day we learn that what used to motivate us is no longer enough. We are going higher, pressing on to what lies ahead. We keep learning what Jesus is interested in, and lose interest in what we used to pursue. And we learn that unless Jesus is interested in what we are pursuing, the going gets tougher than we can bear.

But there is a secret place, a hiding place, a lower place, a holy place that exceeds our dreams. It is not found in anything external and impersonal. It is not found simply in activity, sacrifice and dedication. It is not found in goals, projects, productions and progress. It is not found in finances and growth. It may be missed entirely even when preaching, teaching, training and discipling. It may be forgotten completely when evangelizing and praying for the sick. The greatest and most powerful gifts don’t necessarily contain it. Even ministry to the poor may become an impersonal effort that misses that greatest and most intensely motivating creation of God, that supreme display of His glory: relationship!

Love is a gift of relationship, not just self-sacrifice. The secret place is not necessarily found in a prayer closet or a posture of soaking, or in battling for a just cause, or in a massive prayer and fasting effort. Even the most amazing miracles can leave us lonely and without relationship. We can run out of motivation advancing the most noble ideals and working at all levels to transform society. We can minister until we have no more strength, and still go home and lie in bed without the relationship for which our hearts are made.

Everything is okay with relationship. It is all that Jesus cares about, all that motivates Him. He could do many more amazing miracles and dazzle the world with His powers, but He is interested only in relationship. The entire creation, all the grandeur of the physical world, and all His works are designed to serve one thing: relationship. Revival has no content without it. Renewal and manifestations are pointless apart from it. Miracles only find their meaning in it. Joy is shallow and groundless unless rooted in it. Without relationship we are the living dead.

There is no pressure in genuine relationship. When it turns into work, it is gone and finished. It is effortless to maintain. It is not the goal of struggle, but the fire of life. It brings the utmost peace, and washes away all tension. It is the point of living, the substance of existence, the atmosphere of heaven. It motivates to heroic heights, bringing out our best. In relationship we know we are alive, we have arrived, we are satisfied. When we turn away from relationship to pursue anything else, we lose. We have no strength to give and love without it. It is a haven, a rock, a river of living water, the perfect source of motivation to keep going.

As our Perfect Savior, Jesus provides us with relationship. For this He died and rose again on our behalf. He provides not only His Word, His promises and His gifts, but also freely fills our lives with relationship in response to the desire He has put in our hearts. No guilt and condemnation can keep us from drinking in all the relationship with Him that we desire. Nothing in our past can block us. No attitudes in others can prevent us from tasting and seeing that He is good. And from this tree of life that is our Savior, we can branch out into more and more relationship with those all around us. He takes away our loneliness. In Him we end our search and find our destination.

So in this experience of revival in Africa, our values have been refined in the fires of pressure, opposition and disappointment. Thousands of churches and testimonies of supernatural power do not keep us motivated. Huge feeding projects are not enough for us. We need more of a goal than to target people groups and disciple followers. Education and development don’t keep our hearts alive. Mobilizing world-wide support still falls short. Academic missiology lacks the energy that Africa needs.

No, our hearts must have perfect relationship, a perfect union between us and our Savior, in the Holy Spirit. We were never meant to be alone for a moment. Our whole motive is to live life and do everything together with our God, to take pleasure in His company always. Our power to live comes entirely from our satisfying relationship with Him, and to stay there is to stay in our own private revival that cannot be disturbed by anything else. Only when that relationship is golden, incandescent and pure enough do we have the power to delight in all that God has richly provided for us to enjoy.

Therefore in Him we do not pursue revival, but rather revival pursues us! Church growth and miracles pursue us. His presence pursues us. He Himself follows us, responds to us, and takes pleasure in making us happy, for we make Him happy. We care how He feels. We satisfy His longing. To stay close to Him is no effort, but a relief, a release, a door to freedom.
To get a miracle is never the point, but in our relationship with Him miracles are a delight for Him to perform on our behalf. In fact, we cannot live without miracles, and in the normal Christian life we recognize that everything is a miracle, “for in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Love in Jesus, Rolland and Heidi”