Archive for the ‘Intimacy with the Lord’ Tag
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)
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
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)
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 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 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.”