Friday, June 1, 2018

June 1st


These are two sections of the story I've been very slowly working on.



*



John had come out of the wilderness at Bethany beyond the Jordan burned brown from the sun and wrapped in the hide of a camel, emerging like a lion out of the thickets of the Jordan river, where tamarask and palm trees, tall reeds and grasses grew up in a verdant, dusty tangle from the crumbling, white clay banks. Across the flooded river lay the buried remains of the walled city of Jericho, for it was here that Joshua first led the faithful generation of Israelites into the Promised Land after the bones of the generation before them had been scattered by forty years wandering in the deserts. The waters still washed over the pile of stones Joshua had left in the riverbed, when the Ark of the Covenant had been carried over on dry ground, causing the waters to pile up as far back as Adam, when the Lord God rolled away from them the reproach of Egypt.

As spring turned to summer, and the roiling waters of the Jordan began to settle, John baptized there, and all of Jerusalem and Judea come out to him. Roman foot soldiers, those who demanded the Roman tax of their own countrymen and ordinary citizens came to be thrust under the fresh water where the Wadi Kharrar ran down from springs in the desert to meet the Jordan.

John’s father had been struck dumb in the temple where he had gone to offer incense before the presence of the Living God in the hidden room of the holy of holies. On the Day of Atonement, it fell to him to sprinkle the blood before the Mercy Seat. Sheltered under the wings of the golden cherubim there was nothing any longer; the ark with the sprouting almond branch, and the manna and the tablets of stone had all been taken when the first temple had fallen many centuries before. All the nation had gone into captivity, the temple destroyed, the holy things lost.

Still, Zechariah stood in the compact cube plated with gold, not lit by any outer light, behind a woven curtain four inches thick and sixty feet in height, his wrinkled hand holding the incense lamp shaking a little at the weight of his sacred office. Never before had he stood so close to the Living God and never again would he.

Behind him the curtain, behind that the holy place with the golden lamp of seven branches and the showbread and the altar of incense, behind that a great golden arched door to the priest’s courtyard where the burnt offerings were laid upon the alter. There lay the carcass of the bullock, the blood shed for the sake of sins. The Azazel waited with the scarlet cloth tied to the horn, the scapegoat to be sent into the waste places, never to be seen again with its hideous, unseen cargo of sins.

Beyond this again lay a whole multitude of fasting people, the chosen people of God, many of them pilgrims from foreign countries where their ancestors had been sent out by force, when their country had been broken and conquered by pagan armies. Many could never come back. Still, the city was full to overflowing with whoever from the dispersion could gather together again and press as close into the temple courts as possible, to have their sins of the year atoned.

When Zechariah returned and stood in the Court of Women, he found a restless crowd which had been kept waiting a long time, wondering. He could not explain. He was tongue tied and by signs attempted to tell them of the presence of the messenger that had met him there at the mercy seat.

He had refused to believe the testimony of the messenger, sent to him from God. There in the glint of gold from every direction, screened by the thick, rising waves of holy incense, he had heard the words of promise spoken in a voice not made by a human throat. He, a son of Abraham, did not see how it was possible for a man of his advanced age, his wife past the time of childbearing, to father a son. He wanted something to prove it was true.

And that sign was his lack of a voice until the time the child was born, squalling and trembling, a loose heap of helpless limbs and a piercing cry that cut his father to the heart as he took the bundle of his son awkwardly in his arms, unaccustomed to the exercise. For eight days still he did not speak, the vigorous voice of his son taking up the whole of the house instead.

Elizabeth knew the name of their son, just as she had known the mother of their Lord when she had come to them, sore from the journey and not yet showing the glory of God that had been given, herself now the ark of the covenant where the Word and the Bread and the budding promise of Heaven were hidden until the time of his birth.


*
Yeshua went up to the roof, his feet soundless. He passed up from the rooms below, where the air was warm and close with the snoring and muttering of sleepers packed in on the dirt floor, to the uncovered roof where the winter chill swept unhindered. There was the sound of this wind, occasionally the sound of an animal stirring below, and there was the sound of his breathing, his warm breath leaving clouds in the air.

Wrapping his cloak around him, Yeshua sat down. He was weary but he could not sleep. Leaning forward, he pressed the heels of his hands against his sore eyes. Now everything was gathering speed and weight, flinging him toward the heart of his terrifying baptism. He felt it pressing hard in on him all the time now.

Closing his eyes, Yeshua began to recite the words of a psalm from memory, rocking gently forward and back with his hands on his knees, his voice a mere whisper in the night.

“Save me, oh, God,” he breathed, “because the waters have come unto the soul. I have sunk into a deep abyss and there was no place to stand in it; I entered the depth of waters and a whirlpool sank me. I am weary by my crying and my throat is dry. My eyes are bereaved as I wait for my God.”

As he spoke, grief not for himself, but for Lazareth, rose up in him. Though he had known the outcome from the beginning, it had not made it any easier to bear, thinking each time of his friend’s face, the hope in it that must surely be fading away as each day passed in the room with the acrid smell of sickness and medicines.

Lazareth, his beloved friend, who had welcomed him and trusted him. He had so few friends, friends willing to face excommunication, to bear his reproach and the burden of the crowds and it was they who were to be put to the test, seasoned with fire and made into a sign of his own death and resurrection.

Earlier in the day he had wept in the face of Mary’s broken heart and the confused and accusing whispers of the crowd, but he was a private person and did not like to show the depth of his emotion before an audience. All afternoon and evening long, he had been holding himself in constraint, turning his attention outward with gentleness, adjusting himself to the needs of those around him. Inwardly, he could hide himself in his Father's love always, and sooner or later, the time would come when he could go out into some quiet place and abandon himself to that sustaining presence. He could set loose now the stress of waiting at a distance for days after receiving word of his friend's illness, the physical exhaustion of the distance traveled and the emotional highs and lows at the end of journey that had taken their toll.

The knowledge of his impending death and the suffering, and loss of faith that his disciples would experience pressed in again on him, how he would be left alone, abandoned, how they would be left like leaves on a stormy sea, scattered to the wind. How many times had he told them, and they were not listening. They couldn’t hear it.

He lifted up his hands toward the sky, luminous with stars in the dark. “Abba! Abba!” he cried, softly. “My enemies who are without a cause are more than the hairs of my head and they are harder than my bones; I have returned that which I did not defraud to my lying enemies.”

He saw again the faces of Mary and Martha as their brother stepped from the tomb into the strong sunlight, shaky at the knees, blinded by the wrappings of death and bewildered, but obedient to that great cry that had called him forth into life. He had been unable to resist the voice of One he loved, even then.

The look on Maryam and Martha’s faces had been one of terror. They had instinctively drawn back from this sight. Like children, they had pressed in close to Yeshua. How dear they were to him, their dark hair shining in the sun like dark, polished wood, their eyes wide with disbelief.

“Unbind him and let him go!” Yeshua had urged them, bending his head to theirs, his love running like an underground current through his voice. Stumbling, they had run toward their brother, their terror turned to tears of joy.

“Those who hope in you will not be ashamed of me, oh, Lord Jehovah, God of hosts, and those who seek you, oh God of Israel, shall not be ashamed of me!” Yeshua whispered,, remembering that moment and the tumult and cries of joy that had followed it.

His smile faded as he thought of his mother and her hopes. She was small now, worn away on the outside by hard work, inwardly filling with light like a pearl. She always looked at him with love, and she would not look away, he knew, no matter what it cost. The pain and horror of what she would see and feel for him caused Yeshua to cringe, his shoulders bowing inward with grief.

“For your sake I have borne reproach and shame has covered my face. I have been a stranger to my brothers and a foreigner to the children of my mother,” Yeshua whispered. He passed his hand over his forehead, feeling the weight of his exhaustion. “Because the zeal of your house has consumed me and the reproach of those who reproach you has fallen upon me. My soul is humbled by fasting and I have been a reproach to them. I have made my clothes sackcloth and I have been a proverb to them.”

“Why don’t you leave here and go up to Judea so that your disciples can see the works you do?” his brother had demanded carelessly. “No one does these things you do in secret if they want to be known. If you must do these things, then show yourself to the world."

They had thought him insane. They had come to retrieve their poor elder brother, gone out of his head and wandering around the countryside with delusions of grandeur and a few impressionable, uneducated young men who should be at their trade, in their father’s houses.

In Yeshua’s home town, his own neighbors, friends, those that had approved of him, whose favor he had won before, had tried to kill him in a murderous rage. That had not been his hour and he had passed through them, his heart pounding with adrenalin. That had been a terrifying sensation in itself. He had had to steady himself against this driving instinct for flight or fight as though against the rip tide. How the body weighed him down sometimes.
He put one lean hand into the palm of the other, feeling the weight of living muscle and the callouses, the swift response of his trained, willing fingers. This body weighed him down, but it was also an inexpressively precious gift, a seed waiting to be sown. He clenched his hands into fists and opened them again. This harvest he was looking toward was worth everything. He hungered and thirsted for it all the time now.

This mystery could not be explained in words to his disciples. He would have to show it to them through symbols. Those symbols had already been provided for him centuries before and each year his own people had performed the rite of the meal of the slaughtered lamb, the bitter herbs and the broken bread, the red wine.
The hillside city of Jerusalem pressed up against the night sky. It was a dark rising horizon, a few lights even at this hour burning high up on the hill, looking like eyes winking red and faint.

A multitude of thoughts flooded his head. The disciples were not ready. They understood almost nothing. It had only been three years, a bare beginning. If only he had a few more years to be with them. Just a few more years and a larger band of highly trained... And he would be revered... He could do anything... He saw himself striding through the streets, arrayed in dignity and honor, power in his hand, honey on his tongue, nothing to stop him...

Yeshua swept these thoughts away as he had once swept clean the work bench of shavings and dust with one swift movement of his bare arm before laying the new wood on it.

“Those who sit in the gate have schemed against me,” Yeshua whispered, all his attention focused inward, toward his Father's face, “and those who drink liquor have plotted against me. And I have prayed before you, Lord Jehovah, in an acceptable time; oh God, in the abundance of your grace answer me, and in the abundance of your salvation."

“Save me from the mud, that I will not drown, and I shall be saved from my haters and from the deep waters. So that a whirlpool of waters will not sink me neither the mire swallow me, nor a well shut its mouth upon me. Answer me, Lord Jehovah, because your grace is good, and in the multitude of your mercies return to me.”

In the quietness after this, he knew a different kind of sorrow. He did not want to die and it was not easy to let go of his life. Memory after memory returned to him, the goodness of it, and he poured this feeling out as gratitude, letting each one go as they came.

He remained there most of the night, pouring his heart out to Abba and knowing himself cradled close in the arms of His Father. Close to dawn, Yeshua lifted his head. He stretched his arms out side to side, on his face a calm and quiet joy. “See, poor ones, and rejoice, and your hearts will live,” he continued, in a whisper. “Because Lord Jehovah hears the poor and does not despise his prisoners. Heaven and Earth will glorify him, and the seas and everything that swarms in them. Because God saves Zion and builds the cities of Yehuda, for his Servants will dwell in it. And the lovers of his Name will dwell in it.”

Yeshua stood up slowly, his legs and back stiff from sitting so long, but his spirit refreshed. He knew he could sleep now, and there was still time. The eastern sky was not yet light. As soon as he lay his head down, he knew sleep would envelope him in peace. He would have no worries for the morrow, whatever it held, for he knew his Father would give him everything he needed to accomplish His good will.














Friday, May 4, 2018

May 4th

The Lord had me sit down to work on this now, though there are yet three more weeks until it will be posted. He has given me one clear thing to share, and the suggestion of another, which, if I follow it, will surely become more clear over time. That's how it usually works.

The one clear thing is a dream I had in the last month. In this dream, I was visiting the house of someone I know, someone who knows Christ. Their house was dark. I was both in the house, and I could see it from above, as though there were no roof. Many of the rooms were bedrooms. There were hardly any windows. The house was sitting in darkness as though it were in a box.

I knew there were unclean spirits in the house. I had the sense that at any time, anyone might be attacked and that it was not a safe place to be. However, I also knew that I had authority in the name of Jesus Christ over these spirits, and I also knew that the owner of the house, belonging to Jesus, had authority, and so I was intent upon making the situation reflect the truth.

In the dream, I could remember that I had experience in speaking the truth to unclean spirits, and that they had to obey the word of God, because the Lord enforces it. So my faith was quite firm because of this experiential knowledge, and I had no hesitation to go from room to room, ordering the unclean spirits out in the name of Jesus Christ, though I could see nothing but the furniture.

However, this heckling, lingering kind of fear wouldn't leave until I reached the main living area. In fact, once there, the fear rapidly grew in intensity and in the same moment, I was seeing the spirit manifested as a mocking young woman, sitting at her ease in a chair. There was no question about the evil which filled this being. There was no mercy and nothing human but the form.

It was making fun of me because it knew I was afraid, and because it was indicating that it was unmoved and there to stay, and my response, which I tried to hide but could not, was shame at my fear and inability. Underneath all this, I had this blind determination to fight on through the fear and shame, but I had no idea how to begin or what I should do.

I knew also in this wash of realization that I had been taking the entire experience too casually. It wasn't that my faith was wrongly based on the authority of Jesus, or that I was wrong in knowing that I had done such things before. But I should have taken time to seriously prepare for the reality of this battle before entering into it.

The dream ended at that point, and the verse the Lord gave me in order to understand it were His words to the disciples when they asked Him why the unclean spirit of the epileptic boy wouldn't come out for them. He told them, "This kind only come out by prayer and fasting."

The other thing which the Lord wants me to share is that whole passage, and what I have learned lately in considering it. Here is the passage:

A man spoke up out of the crowd. “Teacher,” he said, “I have a son possessed by a demon that makes him mute. I brought him here to you, Jesus. Whenever the demon takes control of him, it knocks him down, and he foams at the mouth and gnashes his teeth, and his body becomes stiff as a board. I brought him to your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they were not strong enough.”
Jesus said to the crowd, “Why are you such a faithless people? How much longer must I remain with you and put up with your unbelief? Now, bring the boy to me.”
So they brought him to Jesus. As soon as the demon saw him, it threw the boy into convulsions. He fell to the ground, rolling around and foaming at the mouth.  Jesus turned to the father and asked, “How long has your son been tormented like this?”
“Since childhood,” he replied. “It tries over and over to kill him by throwing him into fire or water. But please, if you’re able to do something, anything—have compassion on us and help us!”
Jesus said to him, “What do you mean ‘if’? If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.”
When he heard this, the boy’s father cried out with tears, saying, “I do believe, Lord; help my little faith!”
Now when Jesus saw that the crowd was quickly growing larger, he commanded the demon, saying, “Deaf and mute spirit, I command you to come out of him and never enter him again!”
The demon shrieked and threw the boy into terrible seizures and finally came out of him! As the boy lay there, looking like a corpse, everyone thought he was dead. But Jesus stooped down, gently took his hand, and raised him up to his feet, and he stood there completely set free!
Afterwards, when Jesus arrived at the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why couldn’t we cast out the demon?”
He answered them, “This type of powerful spirit can only be cast out by fasting and prayer."
-Mark 9:17-29, TPT

The first thing that Jesus pointed out to me about this passage was to remind me that He, Peter, James and John had been fasting while they were on the mountain together. Jesus did not give this to me by direct revelation; it was something I had learned a long time ago reading something, and Jesus reminded me of it. Of course, Jesus is the Son of God and has absolute authority, but also as Man, He had been fasting and praying. He had been ready to step right into that battle.

The second thing Jesus did was to remind me of an experience I had had in the last year that centered around this passage. At that time, He had pointed out the kind of pervasive doubt and absolute disbelief that are a strong factor of the society in which we live, and then Jesus revealed in me places where I did not have faith in Him, where doubts and hesitations about Him lingered. I had this unconscious idea that I had better not be offering Jesus as a solution to someone's issue, because of doubt that He might not come through for them, or that if I did point them to Jesus, that might be equivalent to judging them, or disrespecting their own journey.

This was last year. To put it another way, even after seven years of spiritual healing through the direct ministration of Jesus, of reading and learning about the word of God, of hearing His voice and seeing Him in a life changing, spiritual way, leading to beautiful revelations based on the truth of His word, and seeing Him move in miraculous power to transform and lead my life, I still harbored these sorts of thoughts and doubts in my mind.

Which would explain why I was wrecked by repentance and sobbing in the car that morning that I had come early to the prayer group. I can still see the spray of green bushes and grass that were what I was physically seeing through the windshield as I was crying out in abject grief as this knowledge was going over me in waves. I was part of the problem, part of the problem had gotten sunk into me in ways I had not even known.

This is because of particular reasons. Coming out of the church I had been raised in, I could see clearly the damage that wrong religious and legalistic attitudes can do. I didn't want to cause that or be caught up in it again, so I went way to the other side in trying to avoid it. In fact, I almost became caught up in a kind of New Age spiritualism until the Lord pulled me back. I will tell how that happened.

When Jesus stepped into my life and I began hearing Him and sensing His presence in a spiritual way, I began looking for others that had experienced this. I found (online) that a lot of people were calling themselves mystics, or learning from mystics, and this was based on a kind of spirituality that had to do with inner peace, nature, and a God that was considered universal without religious specifications. Some of these were loosely Christian, or had been Christian.

I was very drawn to these people and this philosophy, because it was nonthreatening, gentle and inclusive. My original blog entries from that time reflect this, as I hardly ever called Jesus by His name. I started to call Him, "Love," or "Light."

Now, I had no doubt that I was actually with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the same Person that walked in Galilea in the first century, with Him through His Holy Spirit. But, I reasoned, if I called Him these other names, I wouldn't offend anyone and I would fit in. At this time various, very close family members and friends were heading away from the Gospel and toward this other direction, and knowing what they had suffered within churches, and because of how much I loved them and how much I wanted to continue receiving their approval, this sort of New Age gentleness felt both attractive and like a perfect solution.

Jesus was patient and kind with me, and He allowed this for a long time. This is because He sees all our inner motivations and our strengths and weakness, and where we are healing. However, over time it was becoming increasingly difficult to sit on the fence, as it were. It wasn't working; it was making it worse. I could not please everyone.

Around this time, I had a dream. I was staring down at my hands in wordless horror because they had been burned, burned so badly that I had no fingers or thumbs remaining. Where my hands had been were nothing but charred, bloody stumps.

I could feel no pain, but I knew that the pain, when I began to feel it, would be worse than anything I had ever endured and I was terrified. I couldn't do anything for myself, to care for my hands, because I had no hands to use. I was completely helpless.

When I woke up, I didn't feel afraid because of this dream, or that Jesus was angry at me. I felt settled because I understood something clearly. This is the same way when you are driving down the road and you don't know which exit to take and the anxiety is bubbling away and then a sign comes up and it says that the exit is in one mile.

The sign doesn't cause any fear; it clarifies things. This dream, once I woke, worked in the same way. I knew I had to make a choice. I was either going to be openly and clearly a disciple of Jesus Christ, come what may, or I was going to have to go fully the other way, and abandon the truths of the Gospel.

This happened around Lent, which I was aware of because I was following various religious blogs. I decided to give up Facebook for Lent and to take that time to come to a decision. It's clear which decision I made. But this explains why, even last year, the Holy Spirit still had some healing, clarifying work to do in order to fix my faith more firmly and fearlessly on Jesus Christ.

To return to the main point, after having the dream of not being able to move the unclean spirit, I saw how bewildered the disciples must have been when they could not cast the deaf and dumb spirit out. Jesus had already sent the disciples out two by two, and they had returned with joy, and Jesus had affirmed that He had given them ability to exercise authority over all the power of the enemy. After all that, this experience would certainly have been a stumbling block for their faith.
It is crucial that we must know what the Lord tells us. That becomes our strategy and we must follow that strategy. In this case, it was prayer and fasting. I know in many of the manuscripts, the word fasting is not included and so some versions of the Bible do not include it. But I chose a transition that did, and I am including it, because, to the best of my human ability to hear the direction of the Holy Spirit, I am directed that this is an important part of this message.
Jesus keeps reminding me of an experience I had with fasting recently. Actually, it was the first time I had fasted from food in almost twenty years- I had been a teenager the last time. 
The reason why I tried it again was because of my prayer partner. We had continued to receive the same prayer request over about a year's time. Over and over again we prayed for the solution to this problem. These were prayers that were infused with the power and direction of the Holy Spirit.
Eventually, my prayer partner suggested we should try fasting and praying. I was eager to try this, because I had just seen the Lord do a massive work in my life and I was on fire to take more ground for Him. The Holy Spirit gave me all sorts of passages out of Scripture (that was the prayer which I have shared in a previous blog) and unknown to me, all sorts of Scripture to a third prayer partner, a lovely lady with whom we meet once a month. We followed the direction of the Lord to fast for three days prior to that monthly meeting.
I had a miserable time fasting. I thought I would feel sublimely spiritual, but mostly I felt exhausted and irritable. By the time the prayer meeting arrived, I was thoroughly humbled. After this prayer meeting, the burden to pray for that area has lifted and the Lord moved in resolution and healing in ways that I couldn't have imagined. Our attention has been shifted towards another direction, and we are now fasting and praying in preparation for what the Holy Spirit will be doing. 

The main lessons must be relevant to others, or Jesus wouldn't have me blog about it. It's a very basic lesson, and we already know it. We want to be prepared, as a disciple of Jesus, to face the battles that are ahead. Let the Holy Spirit reveal any areas where disbelief need to be revealed and healed. We must go to Jesus for directions and follow those directions. Likely, those directions will result in an increase in humility and in reliance upon Jesus Christ, which is exactly where He wants us before He does a work through us.

That is all Jesus has given me to share, but I wish I could give a picture of Him. Maybe next time He will.

May you go in the abiding peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, our risen and victorious Savior.





























Friday, April 6, 2018

April 6th

I never know quite what I will be blogging about now, so I was praying about this a few weeks ago. "People want to see You," I said to Jesus, because it seemed to me that was the best part of anything I've ever written- the things which illuminate Him. So He showed me these two images, which I have written down. 

Here is Jesus in a narrow, shadowed corridor. It's of stone and the stone is whitewashed and rough under it.I know that this is a passage either between separate rooms or separate houses, but I don't know whose house. Jesus is walking down steep, irregular steps with His head bent down and His hand brushing against the wall. This is not because He is unfamiliar with the passage, but because He is lost in thought. His feet find the steps instinctively. The air is damp and cool, full of a musty smell, but Jesus is warmly alive, sun tanned, wearing layers of robes that are homemade and hardy, well kept. He looks healthy and far away from me in place and time. This does not make Him a stranger to me, it just makes it clear that Jesus is a distinct Person.

I see that He is walking toward a closed door. Light is breaking out around the door, making a white, glowing rectangle in the dark. There is a lock to the door, which Jesus opens, and I know that He knows how to make and install such locks, as well as door frames and the doors themselves, as part of His craft. He probably made several locks like it.

He opens the door into blinding sunlight and heat. Directly across from Him is another wall. Everything appears to be orange or yellow or brown and the smells are overpowering- of sheep and dung, dust and things drying in the sun. The road is mud, dried rock hard and dusty. I don't see anyone else, but I can hear the sounds of other people.

Nothing about this startles Jesus. He throws a woven shawl over His head to shield His eyes. The blue thread that has been woven into the hem of it is faded by several years of sun. Jesus walks down the street with a quick step. I don't know where He is going or what He is planning to do.

That's all that I see of that, but then I see Jesus again, in a different place.

Here is Jesus seated in a low room, large enough so that, being all alone, He seems to be in a spacious place, although, if there were others with Him, it would appear close. There is a low wooden table and Jesus is seated on a cushion at the corner of the table. There is a flat sheet on the table and a styla in His hand, but He is not writing. I do not see an inkwell.

Jesus is resting at the center of an outworking of truth. In resting there, He is not thinking in any one human language, because He grasps with perfect knowledge the full understanding of truth. He is understanding this with His whole being. Having without limit the infallible Holy Spirit who authored those words, and being Himself the revelation of those prophesies, He understands the Scriptures from the depths of His Father's heart to their fulfillment, but He reads them as collections of poetry within scrolls.

In this style of poetry, the important aspect of the message was placed in the center of the poems, enhanced by outward layers of parallel context. Jesus composes His poetry in this same way, and He is thinking of one as He sits. He composes it entirely in His thoughts before He writes it. Jesus frames His thoughts in Aramaic and Hebrew words, and it gives Him pleasure to consider the meaning of each, the unique way in which each one presents the truth with particular phrases and tones of meaning. These words and phrases are drawn from the Scriptures, all of which Jesus has memorized and call recall easily and swiftly.

The room where He sits is on the ground floor and communicates through an open door into an inner courtyard. Midmorning sunlight slants into this courtyard and is reflected into the room where Jesus is, so that He does not need a lamp.

In the courtyard is a stone oven, as well as a few women and some very young children. The women are kneeling close to the oven, the children ranging slightly abroad in play. They talk in low, comfortable tones. Some are grinding grain for tomorrow and some are baking bread for today. They toss the loaves into the mouth of the hot oven with expert flicks of the wrist.

The companionable peace of the courtyard is broken when a voice is heard calling through the outside door. It is the voice of a stranger calling for Jesus. The women look toward the room where He has lifted His head. They intend to rise and open the door, but before they can, Jesus has already entered the courtyard. With kind authority, He motions for them to remain where they are, though by rights, He should have waited and let the person be brought to Him. They settle back obediently, on their faces a mix of concern, curiosity and anticipation.

As Jesus is walking across the courtyard, I realize that Peter is also home. I see him sitting up in haste, still half asleep, in another room on the second floor, the voice of the stranger having woken him up. I realize he had been sleeping because he had been fishing the night before. I realize this is because Jesus and His disciples are not on one of their mission trips around Galilee, but are home for a period of time.

When Jesus opens the door, a man speaks to Him. The man is under an urgent strain that comes from bearing up under a distress that he is trying to hide. When he speaks to Jesus, he tries to keep his voice low, but the desperation breaks through it. Behind him is another figure that is pulling away and hiding their head. I know this person has an unclean spirit.

This person is trying to avoid Jesus. I cannot see the face clearly, but I see that Jesus does not wait even to bring the two into the courtyard, but simply speaks to the cringing person in a tone of voice that is quiet and absolute. There is no fuss or frills to Jesus' voice, no doubt and no hesitation. The result is immediate, but I can't see it clearly. I'm beginning to see nothing very well, except that I see that Jesus is bringing the pair into the house with warm welcome.

*

This is something else which I have been seeing of Jesus. I see it when I listen to a particular song. I see Jesus coming down out of the sky, which is all white behind Him. Jesus' arms are open and everything has changed immediately upon His appearance. He is robed in white and gold light. His feet touch the earth, and His authority is absolute, immediately recognized and responded to. Darkness is rolling away from Him in billows. In the darkness is violence, oppression, agony, sorrow, despair, blight.

As it rolls off the ground and away in all directions away from Jesus, Christians who were oppressed and suffering under this spring up, their faces turned toward the light of Jesus, tears of joy and relief pouring down their faces. These are Christians who are alive now, but also they are rising up out of the earth itself, generations of them.

Their joy is not just in seeing Jesus, though that is so great as to be inexpressible, but also because the whole family of God is coming together, and no one is missing. They are realizing that all their agony which they were suffering because of His name, is going to be forgotten in the joy of seeing their Savior face to face and being forever in the family of God, their brothers and sisters who love with pure, open hearts.

I usually end of crying myself, because of the intensity of this relief, as well as knowing that all suffering is completely at an end, even the suffering of the earth itself. I end up praying that the Lord encourage His people and help them to stand strong in His name, knowing the hope of their redemption, the fullness of their salvation, that we know how the story ends and the end is not far off now.

The last time I saw this, it was the beginning of this week. At that time, as I was listening to this song, I was caught up in some great agony of grief, a very human agony. It was of mothers, older women who were crushed in spirit because of the suffering of their children. Because of the intensity of their grief, and because of the length and extent of their suffering and their children's suffering, their faith was sinking further and further down and they were ashamed. They felt that they were failing Jesus and that He was ashamed of them and that they could no longer turn to Him, because they had lost all strength under the weight of the burden that was crushing them.

I was feeling all this and at the same time, I was caught up in something like a great force of wind, except that I knew it was from Jesus, and it was His own Spirit, and it carried all His great, unbroken love and compassion toward these crushed ones and I knew absolutely that Jesus was not ashamed of them, but that He fiercely treasured them and that there was some great spiritual vitality that was coming from Him toward them as a result of the suffering and weakness, and that they did not need even to try and pick themselves up off the floor, but in their weakness, Jesus' strength was being perfected in them, in a spiritual way which makes no sense to us.

I also see a line of other people trying to stand up obediently in response to what they know Jesus is asking them to do. These people have been battered and broken and they have suffered a lot through their own mistakes and they have no confidence in themselves at all, in fact, they are outright frightened. I can see them trembling, and some have trouble getting up from their knees in order to stand upright, because they know, in their own strength, they will fall.

But they are trying to stand because they love Jesus so much, and they long to be obedient and so they are willing to face incredible amounts of fear in order to rise up and stand. I know something about them that they don't- I know that Jesus will take ground for His Kingdom through them in great spiritual power. They may never realize this themselves, because they will not be able to take their eyes off Jesus even to look around them. I end up praying a great deal for these people, often in tears, praying that the Holy Spirit help lift them out of the oppression that has held them down, and to give them strength to obey Jesus' voice.

Here is a lesson I have been learning, which is along the same lines- that obedience is necessary above everything, even good intentions. I have been unable to wake up every morning at five in order to have devotions, and when I am unable to do so, I struggle with guilt most of the day, because I think I should have sacrificed my sleep in order to meet with Him, even though He told me to sleep. It has sometimes taken me almost the whole day to be grateful for the gift.

Sometimes Jesus has been waking me in the middle of the night. I wake up peacefully, wide awake, and unable to go back to sleep. I'm beginning to realize that's when Jesus wants to spend time with me, and when I do my devotions at that time, Jesus meets me in heady ways. His presence is enveloping, there is hardly any distraction and I don't fall back asleep, which happens a lot if I try and force myself up at the same time each morning to be with Him.

There are times when Jesus calls us into a disciplined routine in order to grow us in that, but right now, Jesus has been teaching me to be peacefully obedient, and not to rely on a schedule, which is quite hard for me to do.

Lastly, Jesus has been impressing on me the power and truth of the Gospel. He has been highlighting this in particular against the back ground of the society in which I live, which is, among other things, post modern, Western and humanistic. I had absorbed more of these attitudes and philosophies than I had realized, and they had become a mostly unconscious part of my worldview. They have needed to come off in order for me to understand what it means to repent and believe the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Here are some of the things that Jesus had made quite real to me, in terms of the Gospel-

We did not create ourselves. We cannot save ourselves. We are not our own lords. The future is not in our hands. Things are not getting better because of our efforts. There is a God. There is one, particular, true God. He is not found in all religions. There is only one name by which we might be saved, and that is through Jesus Christ.

No other religion or beliefs will take one to God. It is not kind to say so, because it is not true. Because we did not create ourselves, we do not create the rules by which we live. We live in an order created by the God who created us. We can live opposed to Him, or we can live in harmony with Him, but we cannot recreate ourselves or the world.

If we say there is no God, it does not make it true, and it puts us on a collision course with Reality, which we will meet face to face at the end of our lives, when there will be no more time to pretend.

We do not want to meet with God at the end of a lifetime of denying Him out of pride or fear or rebellion. Every excuse and justification which was told to us, or that we told ourselves, that kept us away from God, that kept us from bowing before Him in sorrowful and humble acknowledgement of the things we did that were wrong, none of those philosophies or thoughts or beliefs will hold any weight in the light of the presence of God. We will look into the eyes of Jesus and those things will melt away like mist.

There will be unbearable regret, grief and sorrow to realize those things when one's whole life has already passed by, and everything meaningful that could have been done for God and with God is no longer a possibility.

There is no need for this to happen- that is what it means to repent and believe the good news. The good news is that God is offering us forgiveness and release from sins, and that He has reconciled Himself to us and He is holding out His hand, wanting us to reconcile with Him.

Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
-Matthew 7:13-14

It's not easy to hear these things, but it's not kindness and it's not compassion to refrain from speaking the truth for fear of hurting someone's feelings. Life is too short and fleeting.

There is not a broad road that leads to Life. That is a lie, and it is a lie that leads to spiritual death. The way to life is through Jesus Christ alone. He accepts any who come to Him. He will not turn aside any.

He knows you by name. He knows your whole life. He has felt with you all your sufferings and every single terrible thought, word and deed that you have ever done towards Himself and towards others and towards yourself. He knows all this, because He took it upon Himself on the cross, and paid the price of those things, in order to offer you freely forgiveness and fellowship with Him. This is a free gift. He did this out of love, because He created you. He knew you in His thoughts before He created the world. You are irreplaceable to Him.

To repent is to lay down the pride that prevents us from acknowledging pride, rebellion, selfishness and all the wrongs that would haunt us otherwise- to repent is to let go of trying to justify or hide or to deny, but instead, to acknowledge these things in the sight of God, with the natural upwelling of grief that comes as a result of this vulnerability and honesty of soul.

To believe the Good News is to put your whole trust in Jesus to forgive you and to give you new and lasting life, an eternal life in the presence of God, which is the relationship with us that He longed for when He first brought this world into existence. Jesus has, can and will save you because He is Himself God, because saving us is His deepest desire and His joy, because He accomplished all that was needed for our coming to life and coming to God and become new again through His death on the cross and through His resurrection from the dead. We trust Him completely because He has become our Lord, and we belong to Him. To do this is to become like a little child, which feels awkward or embarrassing or risky.

However, it is possible for pride- intellectual pride, pride of accomplishments, pride of place in this world, to become a spiritual burial shroud, if it is not cast off. Cast off anything that would keep you from Jesus. Cast them off now, because they will dissolve away in a moment at the end of this life when there is no more time.

I don't know who I am writing this for, because I would guess that whoever is reading my blog already has a deep and enduring relationship with Jesus Christ. However, this is the last thing I was shown to include in this post, so I have written it out as best I can.

But for whomever I am writing, please do not turn aside from this to whatever is already pulling you away. Don't turn away into the broad and pleasing path that seems to offend no one, have no consequences and that promises fulfillment and goodness and freedom. None of those things are truly and lastingly possible except through Jesus. If we choose to go with the flow of this world and all it says and all it thinks right, we will end up far from God, lonely and bewildered.

Right now, all over the world, people who call Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior, are choosing to suffer and die rather than disown Him. They cry out His name before being beheaded on beaches. They are killed one by one on the steps of a bus, as each refuses to deny Him. They are blown to pieces in churches where they have gone to worship Him. They are mown down by machine guns, by blades and beaten to death. They are imprisoned without hope of release. They die of starvation and exposure. They are raped and forced into arranged marriages or sold as sex slaves. They are hated and abandoned by their own family members. Instead of retaliating, they ask Jesus to help them forgive their enemies. Instead of the number of Christians shrinking, the number is growing. More and more people are following Him. They come to Him through dreams, through reading the Bible, through the Gospel given to them at great risk. This is happening in India, Nigeria, Syria, Iran, China, North Korea, and many other places. This is happening right now, in our lifetime.

If they were to deny Him, if they were to take up another religion, this suffering would end. But they don't.

Why?

There is a God. You may know Him and come to Him through Jesus Christ, who is a real Person, living and active, who is guiding history to a time where all this suffering will come to an end and even the memory of it will be taken away. God has not left us alone.

Repent and believe the Good News.










































Friday, March 2, 2018

March 2nd

This is a slightly different sort of blog post- it's not a journal entry or a section of writing. I had an experience in the last month or so that has led to a change in the way I have been praying, and what I will do is share that experience and then share a prayer that has come about because of it.

About a month ago, the Lord led me through one of the most intense battles I have ever had with fear of the future, over things that I cherish most. I had to be willing to face a worst case scenario in order to walk steadily toward the best possible ending.

I did not do very well in this battle. Countless times I succumbed to fear, sometimes all night long I was oppressed by the fears of what might occur. Jesus was very kind to me in my weakness and each time, His mercy was new every morning.

As time went by, fear and anxiety was slowly burned off of me, as I had to trust Jesus no matter what terrible prospect I was facing. Eventually, I was able to surrender to Jesus things that I had not even known that I was trying to hold on to.

At a critical point, after this surrender to Him, Jesus stepped in and simply turned the whole battle on a dime. First, that giant was stunned, then it fell and it was helpless. I have no idea how Jesus did this. I just watched it happen.

For a day or so afterward, I was too shy to speak directly to Jesus in prayer, because of the knowledge of His power and sovereignty, and the fact that He is the Living God. After this, Jesus set to work refining me further, cutting down through things that had become dull around my heart. Then He set my heart on fire.

One day during this time, I was working out downstairs, as I was in the habit of doing almost every day. I was getting stronger and able to run for longer distances, but on this particular day, I was falling short and reaching a point of exhaustion.

I was listening to music to help motivate me to continue on, but the music itself was not compelling. I desperately wanted to hear different kind of song, one that would help me go on, but the right songs weren't coming.

I began to be certain that I was going to end up failing, and as this feeling grew in me, Jesus began speaking to me through two Scriptures- "For lack of a vision, my people fail," He was repeating to me with urgency, and, "If they do not sound the trumpet clearly, how will they know to assemble?"

I was strongly convicted and moved by this message because of the strength of Jesus' voice, the intensity with which He conveyed it to me, and because I was feeling this message in myself, exhausted and ready to give up when I knew I should continue on. I was in tears. Then I stopped and changed the music. The change was swift. I was able to continue and to go on farther than before.

Since that time, I have returned to the discipline of praying the Scriptures. The word of God is an unmistakable call. It provides a clear vision. This has had a powerful, immediate effect upon my prayers, both on my own and with my prayer partners.

The Holy Spirit has been helping me put together several prayers, but this one that I am being asked to share here is one particularly for spiritual warfare. I have written this as though praying in a group, but I have also, when led by the Holy Spirit, prayed it while during my private prayers.

I have placed brackets where specific things may be named, and if, being led by the Holy Spirit, you use this prayer, I would recommend naming things specifically. This is about seven pages long, but not all of the prayer needs to be said at one time, though it can be.

There is one other thing. Around this time, I was working outside in the woods. My husband and I have been clearing them out of overgrown bushes since we bought the property. It has been slow work. At first, I was able only to reach the outer branches of brambles and bushes. That done, I was able to cut all the branches down to the trunk. The trunks themselves were too thick to cut, and I had to leave them until my husband could cut them down with a tool that I wasn't strong enough to use.

The next summer, the bushes grew back from the stumps. I was amazed at how quickly they grew. I tried to uproot a few of them, but I could not get down through the hard ground easily. I was thrilled that I managed to get rid of four or five.

Lately, it is been very rainy here and the ground has grown soft. I went out a week or so ago and began working on the stumps again. This time, I pulled out over ten in about one hour. Some of the roots I was able to pull up with only my hands. Some required the sharp edge of a shovel, but after the roots were cut, I was able to lift the whole mass up, shake the loose dirt off, and toss the thing into the trailer, to be hauled away.

Between this and the giant that the Lord laid out for my family, I wonder if it might be time for taking ground for the Kingdom of God after a long season of perseverance. The Holy Spirit will make it clear, if it is.

*

Lord Jesus, here are Your servants who have gathered obediently to do Your will. Before we take up Your holy work, we humbly ask that You send down Your Holy Spirit now to search our hearts and convict us of any sin, and take from us any hidden faults or crooked ways- Lord Jesus, if there be anything in us that is lifted above You or Your will, in Your mercy, Savior, show us so and humble us and restore to us a clean heart and a steadfast spirit. Lord, wash us and cleanse us in the blood of the Lamb, that we might have pure hearts of gratitude, faith and trust, and clean hands to take up Your work.

Lord Jesus, we fully acknowledge that apart from You, we can do nothing. But we are not here to do anything of ourselves, we are here because You have called us. You have granted us the privilege of doing Your work on this earth- as You were sent, so You have sent us, and we love You, Lord Jesus, precious Savior and King, and our hearts burn that You should be glorified on earth as You are in Heaven, and that truth prevail in Your church and that You receive everything that You deserve because of Your great sacrifice on the cross.

Lord Jesus, we acknowledge that You are our Lord and Master, and we are Your loving bondservants. We have given You our entire lives and we gladly and trustingly submit entirely to You, Lord Jesus. You have bought us with Your precious blood, and we are not our own. You have redeemed us and taken us out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Heaven.

You have given us the very Spirit of the Living God, Your own Spirit, to indwell us, and we put our whole dependence on Him now to guide us in Your work, to give us eyes to see in the dark, and to give us the sword of Your word and to show us how to direct and strike with that sword, knowing that the life and the power and the glory are Yours, Lord Jesus.

We are Your Body here on earth and when Your Father and our Father raised You, Lord Jesus from the dead, He seated You at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, all power and dominion, and above every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And the Eternal and Living God placed all things under Your feet, Lord Jesus, and appointed You to be head over everything for the church, which is Your body, the fullness of You who fills everything in every way. We recognize that we are a part of that Body, called by Your name, connected to You as a branch to the Living Vine.

Because of this, we are resolved to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. We put on the full armor of God, taking our stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood. We stand with the belt of truth buckled around our waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. We take up the shield of faith, with which we will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. We take on the helmet of salvation and with reverent love and trust, we take up the sword of the Holy Spirit, which is the word of God.

We declare that we have been crucified with Christ, and no longer do we live, but Christ lives in us, and the life we live, we live to Christ Jesus our Lord. Our Lord Jesus said to us, Do not be afraid, for I have overcome the world.

And we declare right now, that we are not afraid. In anything, any trial or tribulation, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. We have been chosen by God according to His purpose, and anything that comes against us will only be used by God to conform us to the image of His dear Son, and will in the end, give glory to God. Every day of our life has been written by the hand of the Living God and we trust Him with our whole hearts. All that we have belongs to our Lord and is under His authority.

We stand on this truth- our Lord Jesus has disarmed the rulers and authorities, those supernatural forces of evil operating against us, and Jesus Christ made a public example of them- exhibiting them as captives in His victory procession, having triumphed over them through the cross.

We take up the weapons Jesus has given us- they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We will demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

The keys of absolute control and victory over death and of Hades is in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has broken through our enemies before us, like a breakthrough of water- He is our Master of Breakthroughs. The Messiah has opened the way and goes up before us, liberating His own, and we break out after Him, passing through the gate and going out, as our King goes on before us- The Lord Jesus is at our head! We follow Him wherever He goes.


“Is not My word like fire that consumes all that cannot endure the test?” says the Lord God, “and like a hammer that breaks the most stubborn rock in pieces?”

And we declare, Yes, Lord Jesus Christ, Your word is a fire that consumers all that cannot endure the test, and Your word is a hammer that breaks the most stubborn rock in pieces.

“Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel;
I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

“In fact, I have made of you a new threshing implement with sharp edges;
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
And make the hills like chaff.

“You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away,
And a high wind will scatter them;
But you will rejoice in the Lord,
You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.”
(Isaiah 41:14-16)

And we glory in You, Lord Jesus Christ! We shout Your praise! We cry out, we cry out, Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest, You mighty to save! Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior! He saves to the uttermost! Nothing withstands Him! He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings and we glory in Him!

Worthy is the Lamb! Worthy is the Lamb who sits on the throne, to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.

When our Lord Jesus was walking on this earth, He said to us, "Listen carefully: I have given you authority that you now possess to tread on serpents and scorpions, and the ability to exercise authority over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will in any way harm you. Nevertheless do not rejoice at this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

And we do rejoice!

Hallelujah! Yes, praise the Lord! Sing him a new song. Sing his praises, all his people.

O Israel, rejoice in your Maker. O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King.

Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by drums and lyre.

For Jehovah enjoys his people; he will save the humble. Let his people rejoice in this honor. Let them sing for joy as they lie upon their beds.

Adore him, O his people!

And take a double-edged sword to execute his punishment upon the nations.

Bind their kings and leaders with iron chains,

and execute their sentences.

He is the glory of his people. Hallelujah! Praise him!

(Psalm 149, TLT)

Right now we declare the truth that what is bound on earth is bound in Heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in Heaven. Your Kingdom come, Lord Jesus; Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

(----), the Lord Jesus Christ rebukes you through His Body, the Church. The Lord Jesus Christ has disarmed you through the cross and thrown you down from the places where you thought to exalt yourself against His name. The holy light of heaven shines down right into the midst of your tangle of darkness. The word of the Lord Jesus falls on this stronghold, tearing down and breaking it in pieces, this stronghold breaks into chaff before the Lord Jesus Christ and the winds of the Holy Spirit blow it away. We declare in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that you are bound in chains on earth and in heaven, for the power and the glory and the Kingdom belong to Christ Jesus.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command (---), to withdraw entirely from this (place). Judgment has been passed on you and you have been rendered null and void by the cross. We command you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to go out into the dry places and there await the final judgment of the Living God. This battle is already won.

Let the heavens join in praising the wonderful works of the Eternal.
    The holy ones have gathered, singing of Your faithfulness.

For there is no one above who compares to the Eternal,
    not one of heaven’s creatures is like Him in the least.

In the council of holy ones, God is lifted high and feared;
    His presence overwhelms all who are near Him.

O Eternal God, Commander of heaven’s armies,
    who is mighty like You?
You are completely faithful; that’s why we trust You.

The ocean waters are at Your command.
    When violent waves rise up, You still them.

You defeated Rahab, that ancient monster of chaos,
    and left it lifeless.
    You routed Your enemies and scattered them by Your great arm of power.

Everything in the sky above and the earth below are Yours.
    The world and all it contains are Yours, for You created them all.

Everything was created by You—the north, the south—
    the mountains of Tabor and Hermon echo joyously the song of Your name.

Your arm is strong.
    Your grip is powerful.
    Your right hand is raised up high.

Your rule is rooted deeply in justice and righteousness—
    unfailing love and truth lead from the way ahead of You.

How happy are those who have learned how to praise You;
    those who journey through life by the light of Your face.

Every hour of the day, they rejoice at the sound of Your name.
    They are lifted up and encouraged by Your righteousness.

For You are the beauty of their strength.
    On account of Your favor, our strength, our horn, is increased.

For our shield of protection comes from the Eternal,
    and the Holy One of Israel has given us our King.
(Psalm 89:5-18)

Now we with these delivered we will a new song to You, Lord Jesus-

We will sing to You-

Others had ruled over us,
You, Lord Jesus, have brought them all to ruin.
They lie helpless in the dust, lifeless, without hands or feet or mouth.
Just as the idol fell on its face before the ark of the Lord,
so anything that exalts itself against the Living God
must fall down under the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The mountain that was lifted up against the Lord Jesus
has been made chaff before His face, which shines brighter than the sun.

All that were incensed against us are as nothing,
as a nonexistent thing.
Even the memory of them is taken from us,
because You have won the victory for us, Lord Jesus.

Lord Jesus, You will not let us be put to shame!

No one who looks to You will ever be ashamed:

Everyone who looks to You, Lord Jesus, will be radiant with joy
because of the perfect beauty of Your faithfulness and redemption.
All thanks to You, Heavenly Father, for sending the Son!

We are looking to You with no shadow of shame and radiant with joy,
because You have sat down at the right hand of Abba.
All authority and dominion to You, Lamb of God!

We are looking to You with no shadow of shame and radiant with joy,
because of the glory of God radiating from Your face.
All honor and praise to You, Incarnate Light of God!

We are looking to You with no shadow of shame and radiant with joy,
Because Your face is shining in our hearts, unveiled, as we behold You there.
All trust and adoration to You, indwelling Holy Spirit of God!

Beholding You, we are passing from glory to glory, growing into Your likeness.
Praise and honor and glory be to the Living God-
because You have sent Your Son that we might be redeemed by His blood,
brought back into the image of His Father and our Father, His God and our God.

Your words, Lord Jesus, You are laying up living in our hearts,
because You are writing them there Yourself,
building up and hallowing Your holy dwelling place within us.
Beloved Jesus, You live in us and we in You,
that we might be with You now
and always,
that we might reverence and adore and obey You,
together made a living city for Your dwelling place, made for Your glory.

Receive the glory, Lord, receive the praise, receive all that You are worth.

In Your name we pray, Lord Jesus. So be it.