Archive for the ‘saints in Heaven’ Tag
Have you ever felt meaningless and wondered why you were ever born? God’s love for every person is vastly beyond our wildest dreams. He calls each of us not only from the womb but from the foundation of the earth. We are loved, cherished and planned for. Then it’s for us to receive His love, agree with His plans and say yes to Him.
Ps. 139:16 (Amp) – Your eyes saw my unformed substance and in Your book all the days of my life were written before they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.
My parents were Believers who loved the Lord. In the early stages of my mother’s pregnancy with me, she was very ill. At 3 months the Dr. was so concerned that he recommended abortion if her health did not improve quickly. In those days this would only have been done to save the mother’s life. Much prayer was offered for her and her health improved enough to carry me safely. The day before I was born she weighed only 98 pounds. There was concern once more at the time of delivery but with much prayer she and I were both safe and healthy.
Several years ago the Lord took me back to those days in a vision. I saw my little mother on her bed during her pregnancy. There were angels surrounding her with such tender care. They were stroking her fevered brow and singing softly to her. Others were laying their hands of healing on her (and on me in the womb). Then the scene changed to the delivery room in the hospital. There was my mother with the Dr. and nurses and among them stood Jesus in a white robe. He was the One who drew me out of my Mother’s womb with such joy. He held me up before the Father and the saints and angels to see, as they rejoiced at my safe delivery. Then He held me close to His chest, looked into my eyes and bonded with me. His were the first eyes I looked into. I have always loved Him and I always will.
Although this is my personal story, I pray that you will read this with the understanding that Jesus loves you in the same way. He watched over you in the womb and attended your birth as well, whether you are aware of it or not. And with this understanding may there also come the sure knowledge that He will take care of the things which concern you and bring to pass all that He has written for you in His book. (Ps.139:16 Amp.) You are loved!
Ps. 22:9,10 (Amp) The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. Your mercy and loving kindness Oh Lord, endure forever. Forsake not the works of Your own hands.
Phil. 1:6 (Amp) And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ (right up to the time of His return), developing that good work and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.
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.
Recently I had another encounter with the Cloud of Witnesses. (Heb.11,12) This brought more understanding while (as always) bringing even more questions at the same time. This is one of the Lord’s ways of nudging us along the path, gently luring us into the deeper things of God. The more we discover of Him, the more we want to know. The more we know Him, the more we love Him.
Jesus took my hand and immediately we were flying. He carried me away to a place I’ve come to call ‘the great high mountain at the edge of eternity’. The wind of the Spirit is always moving in this place, blowing our hair and our garments. It is a fresh wild wind filled with creative purpose and destiny. At times one can look down from here and view eagles soaring. Gazing even further, far away below, there may be a glimpse of tiny forests and mountains and oceans. At other times the view reveals another realm, quite unknown. It seems to be a place where He can reveal whatever He chooses, whether past, present or future, in this realm or beyond.
This time there was a large crowd of people assembled that I immediately knew was the cloud of witnesses – my witnesses. My Mother was there along with an old friend of hers that I remembered from decades ago. I also saw Rev. and Mrs. Shumway, missionaries in Nigeria that the Lord brought back to the U.S. to pastor a small church in Oklahoma. This was not even their home State but God brought them there to plant the seeds of Africa and missions in my little 6 year old heart. Others watered and tended those seeds and they grew.
In this large crowd were some I recognized and some I did not, but all played a part in my life somehow. There were writers whose works had mentored me and others whose prayers still affect me. They were individually speaking to me but not with words. This was spirit to spirit communication. As I looked in their eyes I saw all they had endured and overcome in this life and I felt a great deal of shame at my laziness and discouragement. I saw what my Mother had endured and overcome. I always felt that one day in Heaven she would have a chest full of medals. But here, the medals and battle scars were internal and worn with grace and humility for all to see.
Looking at all of them now I had a very strong sense that they were depending on me! The way I finish will add to their “perfection” there (that without us they would not be made perfect … Heb. 11:40). I felt I had let all these people down and I was ashamed.
But they were not condescending. They were encouraging me and also warning me. “Get up, don’t stop, don’t be lazy… you must fight and win and overcome the things in your own life that need to be overcome. Pick up the torch and finish what we began.” Then each of them laid their hands on me to impart things to me. As they filed past, Jesus was standing beside me with His hands on my head. I was humbled and overwhelmed.
In an effort to understand this experience further, I found this in Rick Joyner’s book Torch and the Sword (p. 139). Jesus led Rick into a great hall with a line of people on either side as they passed. They were all dressed in various clothes from different eras. The Lord said “These are the ones who helped to prepare you for your purpose. You have received from their teachings or stories. They are your witnesses. You are representing them as you are Me, just as those you have a part in preparing will also represent you. We are all one in the great purpose of the Father – the restoration of man and the earth to their purpose. They are not complete without you. Neither are you complete without them. This is also true of those who are to be called through you and the messengers in your time.”
And one more quote from Rick’s new book The Path, which I highly recommend. On page 60, Rick is being challenged by one from the cloud of witnesses who says to him, “I am but one of the ‘great company of witnesses’ who have been watching these times unfold and watching those of you who have been given the honor to live in them. The righteous and prophets of old desired to see these days and they are now seeing them. You live before an audience far greater than you can imagine. If your eyes were open as they should be, you would see the great host of Heaven that is with you. Right now you could not bear the gravity of these times, but you will grow in stature and vision until you can.”
May God strengthen us and give us wisdom to be the over-comers He has destined us to be in this age.
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.