Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31st

Two years ago, May 21, 2013

Last night, I was talking to Jesus about prayer. I was feeling, as I so often do, my complete inability to do very much for others- as if I am having no impact on this life.

You prayed for them, Jesus reminded me. He was standing in front me, watching me with gentle love as I was working through my thoughts.

"Yes, that's true," I answered, remembering what that prayer felt like. It had felt like I was opening myself up to a rush of winged love that was not originating in me, but flowing through me and out to its mysterious and beautiful purpose.

You should pray for Me, Jesus suggested, His eyes twinkling with humor.

When He suggested I pray for Him, I gave Him a look that was something between shy love and fond exasperation. Jesus knows that I know that He needs nothing and will accomplish everything perfectly through Himself. (Two years later, now I understand what He meant- He meant to direct that love, winged by the Holy Spirit, to Him in a loving prayer of worship and adoration that belongs only to Him- that is, to pour back to Him what He has given to me.)

However, I considered the possibility that one might minister to God, which is a phrase that is sometimes in my head lately, but I'm not sure what it means. It occurs to me that this phrase might be in my head lately because it contains part of the answer as to why I'm so often in the inner place with Him- which is a question I've been asking Him.

"I suppose I minister to You in some way..." I said to Jesus, uncertainly, having, at that time, only the foggiest idea what that meant.

You do; your place in Me is unique.

Immediately, I misunderstood Him. Jesus is often talking about uniqueness and my first incorrect assumption is that uniqueness implies favorite, not irreplaceable. I didn't accept what Jesus was saying; I deflected Him. "But everyone else is, too," I replied.

Your place is unique, He insisted.

"You can't have favorite people!" I cried, angrily. I stepped close to Him and took His robe in my two hands, as though they were the lapels of His suitcoat, if He has been wearing one. "If You have favorite people, then You're not really Jesus and I... I won't believe in You," I finished, with breathless daring and anger.

There was this one moment where I waited, frozen in horror at what I had just said and then Jesus burst out laughing; I mean, He was bent forward, shoulders shaking, eyes closed, laughing.

His laughter is delicious and irresistible. It broke up all my anxiety and I couldn't help laughing with Him. I realized then that I'd been misunderstanding Him all along but that He found me delightful. I leaned against Him in relief and I was caught up in His warm and close embrace.

“I suppose You did tell John and James that there were quite specific places in You already assigned, though also, I suppose that still doesn’t mean that You loved them any more or less,” I said, thinking this through, and out loud. “Anyway, there’s really no point even to worry about comparing places, because at any time, the person who feels as though they're last might find that they're first and vise versa. So it’s best to accept with joy that place that is made for one.”

Just so, Jesus agreed.

“And everyone has a place in You, a cherished place, a beloved place, even if they don’t know it yet.”

Everyone? He replied- He was still filled with overflowing good humor, and was not so much questioning my statement as He was prompting me to think through the practical implications of it. In fact, Jesus went on to name actual people whose names I will not include here. (They were public people; anyone would know them.) Even such and such?

“Yes, they have a place.”

How about so and so?

“Yes, they especially need to find their place in Your love.”

Jesus did this for a while, went down the list of people and each time He brought them to mind, I wanted very much that each one should know the love of God for them. Of course, Jesus is working toward this all the time, Himself.

"I see now," I admitted. "Yes. No one else could fit into my place and I could never fit into anyone else’s. I must fill the place in You that is made for me. Everyone that is Yours ministers to You in their own unique and irreplaceable way, and so are favored and loved."

I remembered all this, as I leaned against Him. I let go of my self-judgments and rested in Him, the place in Him that is not earned, that always waits for me and cannot be lost, only found again and again.

I stood on tiptoe and whispered into His ear for the pleasure of saying it; I said, "You are the Son of the Living God. You are Life itself."

The pleasure of affirming this shivered down my spine. He smiled, the corners of His eyes crinkling up. He looked at me. His eyes are beautiful, luminous, clear. I could receive His loving gaze and look loving back at Him, having nothing to hide.

A month later, June 21, 2013

What do You want me to do? Jesus asked.

“Break it open,” I said.

What open?

“Their hearts of stone- so they can have a new heart, given by the Father and which has His laws written right into it and full of His spirit. But You have to break open the heart of stone first- break it, like pottery.”

Where do you want Me to do this?

“All over the earth- for everyone- everyone’s hearts should be opened to You, to begin to reach out to You, like a little growing plant, reaching for the sun and the light and the rain. Anyway, You are doing this- You are just getting me all caught up in what You’re already doing.”

I like company, He said, smiling.

“Then do it,” I whispered into His ear and releasing all my intense longing. “Let it be done. Amen, amen, amen.”

This year and this month, July 22, 2015

Last night spent a lot of time with Jesus. I had been caught up in praise and thanksgiving in response to some fear that had been lingering, and this praise took me way up past the fear and set my spirit on fire. “May I be with You? I would like to be with You now,” I said to Him. Immediately, I was with Jesus, and I rested there.

I was seeing Jesus' profile quite clearly. He was looking past me and His face was peaceful and still. My thoughts were drifting through the peace and then I remembered something He had said years ago, something about how He made me.

“It is very true, what You said,” I began, but I couldn’t continue because Jesus turned His head and looked right at me. His eyes were beautiful, clear, and direct. There was no anger in Jesus, only love and authority perfectly focused. His gaze went straight through me.

He didn't have to say a word. I threw my arms around His shoulders and buried my face into His neck and I cried out, “All that You say is right! All that You say is right and true! You are true and holy and all Your judgments are perfect and all that You say is true! Thank God for Your mercy! Your loving kindness toward me is new every morning…”

“It’s silly of me to think of giving You anything,” I remarked to Him later, as He bundled me up and tucked me into the curve of His arm.

You can; you can love Me, Jesus replied, smiling down at me.

July 24, 2015

I was resting with Jesus, sunk into His presence in such a way that all my conscious attention was on nothing but Him and my thoughts flowed peacefully through my mind as though I were half asleep, which I might have been, when one thought in particular lit in my mind and focused my attention- I wondered if Jesus had what we consider to be a self-image.

“Do You know how glorious You are?” I asked Him.

Without words, Jesus reminded me that He was meek and humble of heart, and that sort of person doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about themselves. Then He brought to my mind the fact that everything that is His belongs to the Father and that He only does what He sees the Father doing. Jesus receives His identity fully and with complete faith and acceptance from His Father.

The purity and humility of Jesus broke my heart open in worship and adoration, and I realized with joy that I could tell Jesus how wonderful He is, and how delightful and marvelous beyond words it was that I could.

I sat straight up with excitement and put my hands on His shoulders and I said, “Let me tell You how You are beautiful! First of all, You are utterly and perfectly pure of heart and have nothing ever to hide and are the whole and living Truth and there is no shadow of turning in You, so that You are faithful in everything You say and do and are.

“Therefore, You are completely and whole heartedly dependable and Your obedience to Abba is flawless and breathtakingly beautiful and goes all the way through You and took You all the way to the cross and the grave and up to life again and to His right hand, and so everyone may give up their whole selves to You and will always be safe in Your hands because You are flawless and tried and true.

“And also You are meek! You do not strive or grasp or get anxious or anxiously insist or fret, but wait with perfect faith in Abba and His plan and move in perfect accord with Him and Your Holy Spirit.

"And also You are full of courage! You are brave hearted and passionate and fierce and without fear and You give Yourself away completely in love. Your words are sharp and brilliant and unexpected and full of tenderness and full of authority.

“And You are human! You are a human being!” I stared at Jesus in wonder. “You are the whole fullness of God and His perfect and manifest image and You are human. You are the first born of a whole new creation! You are unique in all of creation! There is nothing else like You, ever. You are the most extraordinary Person.

“And You suffered! You lived a human life, as a human being and You suffered horrible, unthinkable things and You died. You gave up Your life in trust to Abba and He raised You from the dead, and You still bear the scars.

“You have all the authority on heaven and on earth and Your name is above all names that can be spoken and You are incorruptible and Your judgments are perfect and perfectly righteous and they lead to peace and righteousness.

"You are the best thing in life and all that I want and the heart of all that is good. Any good thing cannot be good without You and gets its essential goodness from You and without You, even a good thing is just dust and ashes. You are the Life and the Light and held in the arms of Abba at the center and the Life that flows outward holding everything together. You are all that is good to me.”

When I was speaking, Jesus did not say anything, but I could see the expressions passing over His face and in His eyes and that was better than words and so intoxicating that I would have gone right on speaking, except I had to pause to think of the next thing, or to start all over again at the beginning.

Before I could speak, Jesus looked down at me and said, with ardent generosity, Now I will tell you what you look like.

I was not expecting that at all, not in the least bit, and my reply was horrible. What I did was throw myself face first down before Him and cry out, “No, don’t! Don’t tell me! I can’t carry it, it will crush me!”

This was a horribly faithless thing to say to Jesus, as He can only give good gifts, and to reject His gift as if it were something that would harm me is just an awful response on many levels. I realized this all in one moment- as soon as I had spoken, so I threw my arms around Jesus and begged Him to forgive me, though I felt as if it were unforgiveable.

Of course, Jesus’ forgiveness was immediate and full of compassion, not only because He is like that, but also because He knows my whole history. When I was a teenager, I was able to live up to all the standards of the legalistic church in which I was raised and this produced in me a dense mass of spiritual pride, arrogance and judgment toward others. My heart was cold and lacking in compassion.

Outwardly, I looked righteous but I was what Jesus often refers to as a play actor or a hypocrite. I knew exactly how to present myself, but inwardly, I was a sad mess and when I faced my first test in the outside world, I absolutely failed it. Since that time, I prefer to have no idea what I look like and I am deathly afraid of spiritual pride. Jesus has poured out His grace on me in ways that are astounding. I feel certain that if I began to appropriate that grace as though I earned it, I would be heading down a very bad road indeed.

However, all along Jesus has been explaining to me that if I don't let the light that He has placed in me shine out, than no one can give Him the glory that is due Him for all that work. Also, if Jesus wishes to tell me what He sees in me, the best and frankly only response should be to look at Him steadily and shine all that right back to Him in grateful and trusting praise.

I realized this later, when I was pondering everything. At the time, I wanted to do something to make it up to Him, if possible, so I gathered all my courage to do the hardest thing, which would be the most meaningful. I sat up and said resolutely, “I know what I am to You, because You tell me often and I remember them all, and I will tell them all back to You, because I have been listening…”

Then I went down a whole list of endearments and statements of approbation that Jesus has given me over the years, and at each one, Jesus immediately and whole heartedly agreed again to the thing He had said before, and finally, I said, “And I am beginning to look like You, because You do such good work and that is Your work.”

Beloved, you do look like Me- more than you know, Jesus said tenderly.

“Even more than I know?” I asked, thoughtfully trying to see it, but then I gave up, because if it's more than I know, than it must be past my perception. So I spread my hands out in acceptance. “Well, that's good! I must be coming along well then and that is all the more glory to You!” I said, cheerfully.

July 29, 2015

“Anyway, that all comes from You and goes to You and belongs to You,” I said, handing all my work back to Jesus- I had been thinking about my writing.

“Don’t you want to keep anything for yourself? You always give everything away and keep nothing for yourself. Aren’t you going to keep anything?” I heard this thought; I’m not sure from where.

I did feel badly, thinking about that, because after all, I am writer and can’t I keep even my writing, my creative outlet, for myself- just a piece of it? Isn’t anything for myself or from myself? Wasn’t I going to keep something?

Then the Holy Spirit lit something up in my understanding and I realized that there was something I was going to keep, and I turned toward Jesus, full of laughter, and threw my arms around Him in joy and I declared, “I get to keep You! I will give up everything and the whole world and all I own to have You and consider it the best bargain I ever made, You pearl beyond all price! I get to keep You for eternity! You are all that I want and all that I long for, and I get to keep You!”

I saw Jesus; He was laughing and His face was radiant with joy.




And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through
[separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God];
and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete
[and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy,
and He will also do it-
[fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].

I Thessalonians 5:23-24, AMP