Friday, July 3, 2015

July 3rd

Written four years ago, on December 22, 2011

And now the days grow longer.

In the night, Jesus  held me very close. He told me that He made me for that purpose- so that He could hold me very close. I was His own, His little dove, and that His own desire was the same as mine- that we should be bound up together and close always.

It is a perfect symmetry of design and purpose. Jesus kept telling me that He satisfies perfectly the true and eternal desires of the heart, for everyone. Each time He said this, joy like a flame just filled my soul. I all but clapped my hands from the delight of it.

Everyone is unique and for each person, He fulfills their yearning desire for Him, in a way which is perfectly suited to them, to the way He made them.

He caused me to remember my fears that our best times were behind us, and the joy again burned like a flame all through me. I saw and knew that my fears were groundless. He took fierce joy in my joy -my understanding- and it was as though for a moment, we were consumed by joy.

Again, my desperate desire to be with Jesus all the time, each day in eternity, burned up and I tried to stifle it because I keep thinking it's selfish of me. But Jesus urged me to pour my heart out to Him, so I did. I cried out to Him, from the depths of my heart that I should have Him always, always! And never be parted from Him, not for any reason, nor for any moment in eternity.

And Jesus told me, again and again, that His desire was the same as mine- He also desired that I should be with Him and close to Him, always, each moment- that He created me both to want that and to fulfill that for me.

How could anyone know Him and not want to be curled up right at His heart? I want to follow Him around, all day long, listening when He talks, watching what He does and lean against Him and see everything only from where I am, which is always right next to Him.

Anyway, I have no idea how it will all work out, but I know it will all work out perfectly and my poor little mind can't conceive how, because that reality is far too large for my mind to contain or encompass it.

I just remember that He is the one that is preparing the place of us, and that for Him, it is a labor of love and deeply personal for each person. It is a gift He is lovingly preparing, and as He prepares it, He thinks with love of each of His children, and how they are and who they are and what they like and His relationship with them, which is so precious to Him.

Written on May 13, 2015

The whole of Merissa’s nap time was spent searching back through my journals for the entry that I knew I had to share- the last strong meat experience that Jesus asked me to give up. The Holy Spirit told me to find it in order to read it again and to get used to the idea of giving it away. I knew there was more to the experience than what I was able to recall, and the Holy Spirit was telling me that it would all be included in the blog, and I wanted to find out what it was.

An hour later, I had skimmed through three years worth of files and hadn't found it. I was getting frustrated, because Merissa would wake up any time when I realized I hadn’t read through the file for the fall and winter entries of 2013 together. I was reading along, caught up in it, and as I read, it opened up into the exact experience I had been looking for. Everything clicked into place.

The rest of the day, I kept thinking of all the old entries. It was bittersweet. My trust, faith and understanding of Jesus have grown, but the early fire that had burned bright, dancing up in white edges of joy- intoxicating, consuming, unstoppable- eating up my time and focus so that I went through the whole day in a fire of longing for Him- that wasn’t quite the same any more and I missed it.

I went to bed early and immediately was talking with Jesus, but the seeing was thin and I was torn between focusing my attention on Him or letting it wander away to other avenues. Jesus told me that if I wanted to focus on other things, I could.

“I know, I know,” I cried, almost frustrated at Jesus. “Your grace toward me that way is great. Your grace toward me when I wish to ponder and consider other things reaches to the heavens, it is so great, and I know that I could. I do have that freedom. But I don’t want to! I want to be with You!”

But the anointing was not strong, and I couldn’t see very well at all in the inner room. “What about pressing in?” I asked Jesus, hesitant. “What if I pressed in somehow, in order to come to You?”

I’d been reading about that earlier. I think now I was misunderstanding. At the time, I was assuming that to press in was to force oneself into spiritual experiences by dint of sheer emotional or spiritual determination, and I’m not sure what that would look like. I tried that once early on, and quickly, as though cutting that right off, Jesus taught me I could not make something spiritual happen by force of my will.

That’s not the way you come to Me, Jesus reminded me, and He reminded me that the way He wants me to come to Him is by faith that I’m already there. I step out in faith that I am seated with Him, that my life is hidden with Him in God. I accept this in joy and delight in it. I rejoice in this when I see Him and I rejoice in this when I don’t.

Now when I consider the phrase “pressing in,” I think it more likely that it refers to following and leaning into one’s longing and hunger for Jesus. I do that sort of pressing in all the time. Whatever I am doing, I want to remain in a spiritual posture of gratitude, expectation and wakefulness, to be ready to receive any gift of Himself and His presence that He gives me.

I asked Jesus recently, what should the balance be between my faith that I am already with Him and my continual longing for more and His reply was, I will show you. That is similar to Jesus saying to the two disciples, “Come and see,” when they asked Him where He lived. Often when I want a direct answer, Jesus instead directs my attention toward the unfolding of my relationship with Him.

“No, that’s not the way for me,” I admitted, resigned. “I cannot press in to where I already am.” I flopped down on the couch with Him, but the seeing was thin, unsatisfying. I hungered for the greater fire that I remembered before, so I stood back up.

“But I miss it, I miss it!” I cried. I was standing and Jesus was standing also, looking down at me with His love and attention. “I miss the way we were! I know we can’t go back to that time, we must go forward together, but I wish we could go back. Maybe we can go back…”

We can’t go back, Jesus replied, kindly. This is something He’s already taught me. We cherish the memories, but we cannot live in the past. We remember and continue to do the acts of first love, but we can’t go back to the former time, nor should we, as we have grown, and He has given us new tasks and new lessons. Jesus asks us to follow Him, this means we keep pace with Him.

“No, we can’t go back,” I repeated, resigned again. “At that time, we were caught up in love. But now it is different, because all the fire of energy is going toward a work of love, not just the being in love, so it's not the same.”

Yes, that is a good way of understanding it, Jesus affirmed.

“But at that time, I was so certain! I was moving forward with such clarity. It was easy then!”

That's far from the truth, Jesus reminded me, firmly. It only appears that way to you when you look back. I was stretching your faith then just as much, and it was not easy for you and you were only beginning to trust in and rely on Me. Many times you doubted.

Of course, when He pointed this out, I remembered that was true- how much it was true! I struggled at every point and at every transition, and I will never cease to be grateful to Jesus for His continuing grace toward me.

Despite all this, through the rosy glow of nostalgia, I longed for the hours of free time that I had had just to be with Him, intoxicated by His love, able to write down everything in peace and quiet. It still seemed better. While I was thinking this, Jesus reminded me of something else in those by gone journals.

Remember? Jesus pointed out. You felt like this before, and how wrong were you then? This is just the same. There is more ahead of us- more than you could ever know right now.

That was eye opening. I did remembering feeing that way, and it was before I was able to see Jesus or to be with Him in the inner room. I was putting Jesus in a very small box indeed, to think that our best times were behind us at that time.

(I wrote this in my journal on a Wednesday. Nine days later, I posted the section of my journal that I had searched for and found, and that day and for days afterward, was caught up into some of the most intoxicating, heady experience with Jesus I've yet known, and despite how precious that is to me, it is small compared to the joy that is ahead of us.)

“This is like that- yes, I see.” I sighed and leaned against Jesus. “Still, my emotions remain the same,” I confessed.

Let them be, Jesus said, compassionately- because faith is not the rigid controlling of emotions, but the steady looking toward and resting in Jesus regardless of their rise and fall.

I settled down with Jesus on the couch, but I couldn’t ignore my hunger for more of Him- it was still there, and suddenly I had an idea.

“If I can’t press in,” I said, jumping up again, “I can go upward, that is open to me!”

I went to the throne room immediately. The floor was smooth as glass and gleaming with reflected light and it took my breath to realize I was there, what I had done on impulse. I went right back to Jesus. He was still sitting on the couch and I stood before Him.

“May I go there?” I asked, humbly.

Go on, He said, full of love.

We were there together. The room appeared empty except for the pillars and the gleaming floor. There were large windows on each side and the windows looked out to flowers, which I saw at first up close and then in bunches under the windows in white and purple.

There was a fountain to one side of the front doors. The fountain was set into the wall and the water flowed into the basin from an ordinary faucet. I saw it quite clear, the water flowing out strong and steady into the fountain and down into the floor. I saw the floor of the fountain- it was paved with pale blue tiles and shadows and lights from the water moved over the tiles.

Then I saw the fountain as though now in the center of the room, right before the doors. It stood square in the sunlight that was pouring through a paned window. The light was falling down in visible, golden beams and flooding the tiles, the water and the fountain with golden light. I stood under the window and put my hands in the light, but I could see nothing through the window except for gold haze, as though the window were opaque.

“This is the temple in me,” I said to Jesus. "Which explains why it is so full of greenery."

I articulated it to Jesus that way, but what I meant was that it was a personal and spiritual illustration of this:

Jesus answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.
-John 14:23

And the Temple above, Jesus said to me. That was what He spoke, but with His speaking came a kind of understanding that was not words. The understanding was that, even though this was not the place of the full and manifested presence of Abba, it was connected in a living way. Abba’s presence is in our heart and He is in heaven, and the two are not experienced in the same way of course, but they are not disconnected. There is a spiritual unity of relationship.

“And this is somehow also vitally connected in a living way to Abba’s presence above, but how I don’t understand,” I repeated to Jesus, attempting to say back to Him what He had explained to me.

I stood in the middle of the room with my back to the fountain, looking toward the part of the room where the throne would be if I were seeing it, which I was not, and where I have seen other things which symbolize Abba’s authority- such as a raised dais, or a set of stairs upward to a white light that I could not see into, or a set of stairs that went all the way to the open roof.

This time, I could see only the pillars, light and space, the room quiet. If peace were an ocean, the room would have been sunk down leagues into it. I knew that Abba was there and that it was holy.

I turned and threw my arms around Jesus for reassurance, to ground myself in Him. “I could never be here except through Your life,” I said to Him earnestly. “It’s only by You. If not for You, I could never be here!”

Yes, Jenny, He said, with the reassuring love of a parent.

Released, I turned and ran joyfully outside, curious to see it again. The first thing I saw where the two large, sturdy watchtowers that rose high from each corner of the front wall. This sight filled me with joy and stability.

I stood at the top of the stairs and looked into the courtyard and it was busy with movement and figures, almost as though it were full of animals that remained just outside of my focus.

A menagerie, the Holy Spirit said.

“Oh beautiful, it’s like a zoo!” I exclaimed, charmed by this, because unlike a zoo, none of them had cages and none were compelled to remain. They loved to be there and were there by choice.

I went running down the stairs to the courtyard and was surrounded by animals, most of which I could not see clearly enough to identify, but I was not afraid, because they were each full of their own friendly exuberant affection. Out of the unfocused movement, I saw an elegant looking reddish grey hound whose small ears were flat against her head in eager affection.

As I began walking with Jesus through the courtyard, I saw the courtyard was set with stone pavers, grass growing between them, and that there were various buildings and structures inside the walls. I saw most of these buildings as though they were at some distance or as if seeing them through a drifting white haze.

We were walking along the side of the Temple, toward the back. It appeared to be two stories tall, so that the place where I had been, with the fountain and pillars, was above our heads. There was a wooden porch build against the side of that story, and I could see the cool, shadowy place underneath, because we were walking alongside it on our left hand side.

In this place under the porch there was a strange sight. It appeared to be a leopard running in a straight line from the front of the Temple to the back and it was running over a ball. That is, there was a large ball under it, between the front and back legs and as the leopard ran, the ball rolled with it. Naturally speaking, it should have run over the ball and gone on without it, the ball shooting out the back and rolling away, but the ball and the leopard were moving forward together, like one piece, only they weren’t one thing, they were two things smoothly running together.

I felt afraid when I saw this, because the symbols I was seeing were intense and strange looking, and I didn't know what it meant.

“Well, that is strange,” I remarked to Jesus, with deliberate calmness.

What do you see? Jesus asked. It was reassuring to hear Him say this, because He doesn’t ask this question often. When Jesus asked me this, I knew I must be seeing something significant in itself, even if I couldn’t understand it and also, in describing it to Jesus, it’s like handing it over to Him.

“I see a ball rolling under the porch and there is a leopard running along over the ball,” I replied. Jesus did not explain to me what it meant, but I left it in His hands and looked away and focused my attention elsewhere.

On the other side of us, on the right hand side, was a shallow rectangular pool. The pool of Bethsaida, the Holy Spirit explained to me. I could see a colonnade raising up behind it- a short section of tall pillars with arches over it.

We passed this and walked all the way to the back gate and opened it- it appeared to be a small door, but outside I could see nothing but blue sky and clouds. I know that this means I have reached the limit of my sight. The first time Jesus took me to the Temple, I stood beside the outer wall and looked around at the sky, and said to Jesus in puzzlement, “There must be more than this," and Jesus had told me that it was all I could see right then.

Knowing this, I closed that door and turned back into the courtyard. As we went, I grabbed Jesus’ hand tightly in my own and said to Him, “Jesus, Son of David!” to ground myself in Him and He smiled down at me with love, so I went onward.

Suddenly we were on a structure that was clearly an alter- the base was wide, but it grew narrower with each step and the alter was lifted up high on this ascending structure. When I realized we were standing at the top of this, I was terrified and immediately placed myself on the ground.

I have made you to be a chosen people, a royal and holy priesthood, Jesus reminded me, gently.

“Yes,” I acknowledged, because how could I have forgotten? It was obvious when He pointed it out. Even so, I remained standing with Jesus on the lowest step while He spoke to me.

What are the sacrifices that you offer? Jesus asked. The emphases in His question was on “you,” as in, since Jesus Himself has offered the final and perfect offering of His own life, what then do we sacrifice?

I searched around in my memory and said, “A sacrifice of praise… a sacrifice of thanksgiving… and the sacrifice of one’s self kept holy, which is one’s honorable duty,” I finished, having reached the end of what I could remember and not sure if I was remembering those correctly.

Welcome to the priesthood, Jesus said, and I saw a dark blue shirt, filling my vision, and then I saw nothing else and sat up, and His last words were echoing again and again in my mind, and I wrote this down.

Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger or Angel of the covenant, Whom you desire, behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts.

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings in righteousness.

Then will the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in ancient years.

-Malachi 3:1-4, AMP

When the Anointed One arrived as High Priest of the good things that are to come, He entered through a greater and more perfect sanctuary that was not part of the earthly creation or made by human hands. He entered once for all time into the most holy place—entering, not with the blood of goats or calves or some other prescribed animal, but offering His own blood and thus obtaining redemption for us for all time. Think about it: if the blood of bulls or of goats, or the sprinkling of ashes from a heifer, restores the defiled to bodily cleanliness and wholeness; then how much more powerful is the blood of the Anointed One, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself as a spotless sacrifice to God, purifying your conscience from the dead things of the world to the service of the living God?

This is why Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant: through His death, He delivered us from the sins that we had built up under the first covenant, and His death has made it possible for all who are called to receive God’s promised inheritance.

-Hebrews 9:11-15, Voice

“The priests are to have only one inheritance: Me.
I am their inheritance.
You are to allot them only one possession in Israel: Me.
I am their possession."

-Ezekiel 44:28, Voice