Friday, August 26, 2016

August 26th

This current blog contains two journal entries and one section from a letter. These describe the way in which the Lord Jesus helped me come to terms with an intense situation that had happened a few days earlier. There are previous journal entries and letters that describe that situation more clearly, but this is how I have been led to share this- the conclusion first.

May 2, 2016

The day after the service at ----, went to the park with Merissa and while she played, was listening very closely to Jesus, asking the Holy Spirit to help me understand everything that had happened, and the first thing that He taught me was about Isaac and Ishmael, which was not a new concept, but He really brought it home- that those that have brought forth an Ishmael, or a promise which is not from God but from their own effort, are going to be in conflict with Isaac, which are promises that are brought forth from God and receive the inheritance.

Both are going to be following God, but if one knows deep down what they have received is the product of their own effort and not a supernatural gift from God, they are going to be insecure in the presence of a heritage born of God and be in conflict with them, possibly even to the extent of trying to destroy the inheritance.

The critical thing to do when this happens, as an Isaac, is never to engage in this conflict at all, because everyone has the promise of receiving a full, spiritual inheritance. Anyone who has given birth to an Ishmael, or who has taken on that identity, can swiftly retract that if only they are willing to lay down the arm of the flesh and begin to rely on the Holy Spirit and to wait on God.

So in this conflict, those that are Isaac must approach those that are Ishmael by following Christ- by turning the other cheek, by forgiving, by going the extra mile and by taking up our cross, and by calling out in Ishmael their full identity as sons and daughters of God. Another words, Isaac must be makers and maintainers of peace, so that they may be called the sons of God.

And when this requires self-sacrifice on the part of the sons and daughters of God, we cannot be trying to cling to or defend what we might think is ours, as it was only given to us from God- as John said, a man can only receive what Heaven has given him, and we must be willing to release it, as did Jesus when He didn’t grasp but humbled Himself, because He knew that what Abba had given Him could never actually be taken away at all.

This isn’t because we don’t value it, but because we know it belongs to God and He will fight for us, especially when we are following in His footsteps so closely. We know this inheritance is kept for us in Heaven, and for the appointed time, and can’t be touched, so we can be tenderhearted with those who attempt to tear it down or diminish it. They can try all they want; they cannot.

Wrote this and many other insights in an e-mail to my friend and sister in Christ, and was carried so much by the Holy Spirit and on the joy of Jesus, that I had no doubt that sending it was correct. However, usually I do wait a bit to re-read and ponder, which I didn’t this time, and so a while later, I found myself needing further reassurance that I hadn’t gotten something wrong.

Heard, you got it. Only it wasn’t Jesus, it was an angel, and I’ve heard them say that phrase before.

Part of my reassurance was the fact that the angel would never be assigned to that message if it wasn’t flowing out of Jesus’ heart, so that was quite reassuring. “Thank you,” I replied, since it was kind of them to reply.

Trust, I was told firmly. So I closed the door on any other doubt and went about my day.

May 6, 2016

After experience at ---, have known and seen the Lord Jesus in a way that is even more profound and more beautiful than I have yet known. His face is strong and tender and gentle and His head heavy and His hair and beard textured, and His hands roughened from work and His shoulders and arms also strong from the work. His eyes are depthless in their gentleness and Jesus rests His heavy head in my arms with the peaceful trust of a lamb, He rests with deep peace and trust in my arms and I can actually feel how heavy His shoulders are- I can feel the weight of Jesus as He rests in my arms. Most of the time, Jesus does not speak, but He does not have to, because love is radiating warmly from Him, pouring out without words, simply in the gentleness of His posture, His eyes, His heart speaking to mine without words.

I treasure all these moments. I treasure the memories. I wish I could put them better into words, but I cannot. In those times, worship and adoration and wonder rise up out of me and my heart melts down into wonder at being so close to Jesus and I whisper to Him how much I adore Him and cherish Him and revere Him and honor Him and worship and admire Him, and I call Him Yeshua, and Redeemer, and my Lord and my God and my Beloved.

What I like to remember and think about, at those times, are His own words about the trustworthiness of Abba- how, when we ask Him for bread, we will never receive a stone.

“Abba would never give me a stone, for His own name’s sake, because He is not like that, that is against His nature,” I whisper to Jesus. “He gives me Bread, Living Bread. Through the Holy Spirit who glorifies You, I hold the Living Bread of heaven in my arms and that is You, Lord Jesus. I hold You, living, in my arms, because that is who the Father is, and how the Holy Spirit is, and how You are, and I worship You and I adore You,” I whisper. “Lord! Lord Jesus! I adore You! You have given me everything that I want and all that I could never dare to ask for, above and beyond, because You give me Yourself and I treasure You, Lord Jesus! You are my treasure, my treasure above all things!”

That is the sort of song that rises up out of my heart when I hold Jesus like that.

May 8, 2016 Excerpt from a letter written to a dear friend and sister in Christ, edited somewhat since then, for clarity of expression:

Eventually, we will stand the full light of the glory of the manifest presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and everything that was hidden will come to light. Jesus increasingly fills me with the fear of the Lord, which is not a dread, but a settled awareness or understanding that when we stand in His presence, no flesh will glory. There will be no glory to the flesh. The victory, the power and the glory will all clearly and manifestly belong to the Lord Jesus Christ alone, as our Creator, our Savior, our Redeemer and our Lord and God. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will be amazed, humbled and on my face before Him when I see how much mercy He extended toward me during the whole course of my life.

When every knee bows before Him, it will not be a struggle. Everyone will fall down before Him immediately; they will not be able to stand. There will be nothing to stand on, so to speak, and this will be a terrible moment for those who do not know Him now and really there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, because how devastating will it be to have pulled away from one, in one blinding moment, all the delusions of this life and face the true Life Himself and know that one's whole life was mostly spent on things that are of no eternal value? I am frequently in prayer that the Lord Jesus prepare our hearts to meet Him and to see Him.

This is not to say that Jesus is not filled with tender mercies and loving kindness- glory to God, He is! Thank God He is! But He is not an illustration in a child's book and He is not just a good teacher who lived a long time ago, and He isn't a modern American and He isn't tame- Jesus Christ is the Living, holy, sovereign God, having the fullness of the Deity in His human frame, holding within Himself all wisdom and being the very wisdom and glory of God, and having all authority and power, and through Whom all things were made, and for Whom all things were made and who has the power and ability to reconcile all things to Himself, because He created them.

And it will not be difficult for Jesus to completely resolve and bring to conclusion everything that He Himself created, originally, for good and for Himself! That is why, in part, Jesus says, "In this world, you will have trouble, but do not be afraid, for I have overcome the world." It was His power and ability that brought everything into creation, and He is perfect in all His ways, so of course He has the victory. That is why our way of overcoming the world is by faith. We believe that Jesus has done it.

We see it by faith, because now we don't see it manifested, but the degree to which we can stand on the words of Jesus by faith now, is the degree, sometimes I think, that we honor Him and exult Him. And what an honor to glorify and exult the Lord Jesus now! I sometimes think all those stands of faith in Him that we take are those treasures in heaven that we are laying up, that nothing can destroy or steal.

I often think of John writing his gospel on the island of Patmos, near the end of his life, having seen all his brothers the apostles, give their lives for the Lord Jesus, and having seeing all the terrible things, and seeing the false prophets come in and waiting so long for the Lord Jesus to return and He still hasn't and through all that, what does John write? Under the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and by faith, John writes:

"And the light shines out in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out."

It brings tears to my eyes, and I say, "Halleluia!" and "Amen!" to that testimony of Jesus Christ. That light will only grow brighter and brighter as Jesus perfects and prepares His church, as we grow in His truth.

I understand much better now, the comfort those words must have held for Jesus' disciples when He said it to them:

"Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves.

Be on guard against men [whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God]; for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues,

And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a witness to bear testimony before them and to the Gentiles (the nations).

But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to say will be given you in that very hour and moment,

For it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child; and children will take a stand against their parents and will have them put to death.

And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake, but he who perseveres and endures to the end will be saved [from spiritual disease and death in the world to come].

When they persecute you in one town [that is, pursue you in a manner that would injure you and cause you to suffer because of your belief], flee to another town; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant or slave above his master.

It is sufficient for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant or slave like his master. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub [master of the dwelling], how much more will they speak evil of those of His household.

So have no fear of them; for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known." Matthew 10:16-26

We never want to be one of those who are speaking evil of the household of the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not want to be accusing our brethren. Instead, we pray earnestly for their deliverance, remain steadfast on the Lord Jesus Christ, and lean on the guidance of the Holy Spirit at all times, putting all our trust in the promise of our Lord, that one day, all that is hidden now will be revealed in His Light. This is, when we are misunderstood, mislabeled or even slandered, we know that the Lord will one day reveal the truth, so we do not need to be anxious or attempt anxiously to defend ourselves.

When I look back on what happened last Sunday, the most significant thing is the peace that was insulating me through it. Things were happening all around me, but I was so deeply saturated in the Holy Spirit that it was as though I were insulated by several feet of cushioning of peace. Sometimes when I have been thinking back, I have had some moments of soulish outrage that I was physically pushed over- not just pushed over, but thrust out and pushed down. But at the time, I had no alarm, outrage or fear, just bewilderment, and when I sank down into the arms of the church ladies, I knew the Holy Spirit was continuing to hold me.

When it says that after we have done all, to stand in the face of the enemy, of course this is a metaphor and the metaphor is revealing our depth of faith in Jesus Christ regardless of what is happening. It is speaking of a spiritual posture, not a physical posture. That is why I feel certain that lying on my back on the church, I was standing firm in faith. That is, to a lesser degree, the same kind of faith as Jesus Christ, who gave up His Spirit into the hands of His Father even from the cross.

I understand much better now, how Paul says:

"For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God.

For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing.

Where is the wise man (the philosopher)? Where is the scribe (the scholar)? Where is the investigator (the logician, the debater) of this present time and age? Has not God shown up the nonsense and the folly of this world’s wisdom?

For when the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy, God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching [salvation, procured by Christ and to be had through Him], to save those who believed (who clung to and trusted in and relied on Him).

For while Jews [demandingly] ask for signs and miracles and Greeks pursue philosophy and wisdom,

We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense.

But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.

[This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men."
-I Corinthians 1:18-25

But it is as the Lamb of God that Jesus Christ receives all power, dominion, authority, blessing, honor, wisdom and riches, and it is as the Lamb of God that He receives the kingdoms of this world as His own and His Father's Kingdom, and it is as the Lamb of God that He marries His bride. And how can she receive Him and how can He receive her if she is not made into His image and brought up into the fullness of His stature? And Jesus did not receive the fullness of His stature until He passed through the cross and ascended to heaven.

That is why we must cling to the cross, and bear it each day, and bear His reproach with Him and conquer the world by faith in our sovereign Lord Jesus, who lives ever to intercede for us, so that when He is revealed in the fullness of His grace and glory, with all His angels, we will not be among those who cringe back, but will be revealed with Him, as vessels of His glory, grace and manifold wisdom on open display before heaven, to the eternal glory of our Father, who rightly should and always is glorified. It is the meek who will inherit the earth; it is the merciful who will receive mercy.

That is why Paul can say, "But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us":

"He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?]

Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?

Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?

Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
-Romans 8:32-39

It is not in soulishly attempting to avoid suffering, nor is it in foolishly rushing in where angels fear to tread, but it is in the course of following our Lord Jesus Christ, and amid all these things, that we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loves us. Our faith will certainly be made perfect through suffering, just as the Lord Jesus' was.

We do not need to be afraid! There is nothing to fear but the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that is a profoundly reverent fear before our Creator, our Redeemer and our Lord. When we, through His will, enter into a situation that will stretch our faith through suffering of whatever kind, we do not need to be afraid, for the Lord Jesus keeps us in His hand and no one can snatch us out of His hand. This does not mean that we rush around foolishly, but steadily following His will as He aligns us, we can trust that when we enter that environment, that anything not of the Lord Jesus Christ is going to be the ones trembling, and rightly so.

Our eternal lives are forever held and hidden with Jesus Christ in God and those unseen things are forever, while the things we are seeing now are passing away. We can actually see them passing away as we watch! The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life visibly pass away with age and time, and what is left? Nothing but sand, and a life that could have been spent in the service of the One who loves us and gave Himself for us, but instead was spent on nothing at all.

Since going through last Sunday, I have been receiving the Lord Jesus in a much more profound way than ever I have been able to see and know Him before, but I honestly cannot describe this, in the same way that if I had described to you a picture of a landscape I was seeing in a picture, and then trying again also to describe the landscape to you once I was standing on the ground, I would have to use the same descriptive words in both cases.

I can only use the same words, and say that the Lord Jesus is gentle, holy and pure, that He is selfless and strong and tender, that He is in human flesh, that He is the Lamb of God and that He is full of self giving love and that He is the deepest delight of Abba and that He delights in us, and that He must be the deepest delight of every other person and in fact, the delight of all creation, which was brought into being by Him and for His service and to His glory.

May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to fill you with the full, deep and clear knowledge and acquaintance of Him, filling you to overflowing with delight in His presence, in His person and in His love as He leads you, day by day, to that day and that time when He brings you home to Him and you never leave again, but delight in Him and in the precious family of God that have gone on before. May His Holy Spirit go on before us continually, preparing us to meet Him, growing us all up in the Lord Jesus Christ, so that we might receive Him with joy unspeakable and innocence and a gratitude so overwhelming that it will take an eternity to express that gratitude to Him, the expression of which will forever be our bliss.