I sat down to pray again for the first time yesterday since the move, and today, prayed for the first time specifically for the town, and it was like putting the plow to the field. There was joy in digging in, because this is my town and this is my field. I have put my hand to the plow, and by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, I am going to plow this field for a harvest and never look back. I love these people already.
I prayed specifically for forgiveness. The Holy Spirit let me know that this is the first step- forgiveness- especially generational and family forgiveness.
I realized all this earlier, as I was seeing the fields go by outside the car window, field after field, one farm running into the next, shaping the land that is the rolling, wooded hills. The lines of corn were just rising, some risen to knee height, jewel green with bladed leaves bent. The houses were old and clean, well kept in the center of tidy lawns and corn fields. It kept grieving me, how the farmers are getting older. How can they carry on? I wished that Keith was a farmer, or that I was a farmer’s daughter, so I could take up the load and carry on, so the fields wouldn’t go fallow and the beauty wouldn’t be lost.
I kept praying to Jesus to please take care of those farms, please not to let them turn fallow and scrub brushy. Jesus reminded me not to hold on so anxiously to a material thing, so I loosened my tight grip and opened my spiritual hands and took His hands and held His hands instead. Jesus is the only thing I can hold onto so tightly and I did, His fingers and hands warm and familiar, and the ache of holding on to something else tightly eased away. But I really didn’t want to let go of those farms, of caring for those farms.
The Holy Spirit nudged me to consider why I might be caring so much- that it might mean something more than the material, that it might be a symbol of something. I thought about all the generations before me that how worked for the Kingdom of God, having put their whole strength to the plow, to the harvest, and have reached the end of their journey here.
I can take up some of that weight, I can walk steadily along with all my strength for the course determined to me. It might only be for a few decades, but for the time allotted to me, I will take up some weight and go forward with the work of God, with the portion He’s given me.
So I have to grow up and stop living with this much anxiety. I must lose that chaff. The way I must do it is to more cheerfully die to myself, and the way I must do that is to be grateful all the time, for everything. I must learn to be grateful all the time. That is how I will craft a beautiful life.
Beautiful life. That’s the phrase the Holy Spirit has given me often lately, when I get crabby or anxious and short tempered or resentful, which happens far more often than I would ever want to admit to. Create a beautiful life, live beautifully.
And that means, take a deep breath, and be grateful for what is helping me lay my life down. Open my arms to the refinement as a gift, and accept it as my life and be within my life with a grateful, open heart. There is nothing to be rushing toward. There is nothing more important than service to others. There is nothing to be anxious about. There are only gifts from God, an abundance of gifts from God that make up a beautiful life.
Now I have to learn how to live this, and I will, with as much strength as I have, counting on the Holy Spirit to both convict me when I forget and to give me the strength to choose the better portion when I realize my attitude. Because I want to grow up quickly. I feel like there isn’t much time to waste in grumbling, or being distracted, or with bad attitudes. I’ll be turning forty next year. I need to be moving on from that, by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
June 20, 2016
The last of the wine, and the resonance of His voice as He sang a hymn in that room made up mostly of shadows and lamp light like dull gold and the light of the fire, and knowing what is coming, coming soon now. The echo of their voices in the room as though they were still singing there, but they were not, they were passed out into the night, the chill air, down the narrow city streets to the gate and into the open and back toward Bethany, to sleep in the garden, but there would be hardly any sleep that night, a short, heavy sleep of regret and grief and exhaustion. But for Jesus, no sleep at all.
I clung to Him at the doorway, at the doorway from the house, where I could still feel the warmth of the building from the fire and the company of people in close quarters, the warmth and the chill air of the night meeting at the threshold. I clung to Jesus, feeling the layers of His robes heavy and thick, finely woven. He let me pause there a long time, because time doesn’t matter. What is happening is happening outside of time.
Almost, I missed this, because I wanted very much to read a novel. My soul was longing to sink myself into the narrative and escape into that novel, and so I was going to put the Bible down and immediately take up the novel, but then my eyes focused on the line that, unseeing, they had been resting on. The line was, “Could you not wait and watch with Me one hour?”
Almost, I wanted to push this aside as a coincidence, but I am not quite so cowardly as that. I put down the Bible and put out the light and went to Jesus and begged His forgiveness, but I never need to beg, because He gives it with such generosity. But I feel as if I must beg, because I feel as if I should prolong my contrition.
Then He opened that scene to me and let me within it, and to hear His voice singing, to know His heart, and to know the outpouring of His love. None of which I deserved.
June 21, 2016
For it pleased the Father, I remembered, and saw suddenly, the whole universe of glory, the Lord Jesus in the center and outward around Him, the saints raying outward, and thrones, and authorities and myriads of angels in further out rays of glory. I saw this not literally, but as an outburst of celestial bodies filling the universal in rapid expansion, glowing with the glory of the Father, each according to His will- because it pleased the Father!
It pleased the Father that the whole fullness of the divine attributes should dwell permanently in Jesus the Son, and Jesus is pleased that His Church should reflect His glory, so the whole glory is bursting outward in joyous display from the Father, who is pleased. It pleased the Father to make Jesus the visible representation of Himself, to make Jesus the outward radiating glory, the visible glory, the manifestation of His name.
The Father was pleased to do this! Was pleased to give Himself away to the Son! The heart stopping beauty of the Father struck me. His humility. That God should be humble! God is humble. I put my hand over my mouth in wonder and tears filled my eyes.
The beauty of my Father filled my eyes with tears. That behind everything else, is the Father, the giver of life, the giver of all, the Begetter and giver of Life Himself. He is forever pleased to have the visible expression of Himself held within His Son. Jesus is forever taking endlessly of this giving, and giving Himself back again in complete submission and delight and trust, and the Father is endlessly receiving Him with delight, the Son with Whom He is well pleased. Their Spirit must be the most Holy of all. But how could One be more holy than the Other? They are an ecstasy of perfect, selfless Love. God is Love.
Not a theoretical love, but a real love, a love that does not love theoretically, but loves actual Persons, because They are Persons, even though They are giving away and receiving Their Personhood so completely, and yet being found in the Other.
Each time I received an insight, it swept over me in such a way, that in my spirit, I went down on my face before the Living God in utter worship of the perfection of His Being, to bow down and yield myself utterly to Him in love, in rightful worship of His goodness. Several times I was on my face before Him, the only gesture that could begin to contain my worship of Him, my gratitude simply that He is God and He alone is God and that He is as He is, and my acknowledgement that without Him I have nothing, not even my own being, and certainly no life and no goodness and no direction and no light, but from Him, I receive all these things, as He is the giver of every good thing and there is no shadow of turning in Him, the Father of Lights, and He is my Daddy.
Prayed: Cause us to inquire for You and about You and to yearn for You…
My heart rose up out of me like a lark for the sky, leaping up toward Jesus in yearning. Yet in the reach, also I remembered, I would see Him in the flesh, as He is, and know Him as He is, and I was caught up in a shyness which is difficult to express, because it is made up so much of passionate longing and the humility of knowing that what one loves is completely above one, and yet one will receive it. It will be given, because it delights Jesus to be given, and He will bring me to Himself, that I might be where He is, for His own sake, for the praise of His glory, as an expression of His grace.
And in just as swift a moment, I remembered that I knew Him now. I am often with Jesus, and that He was with me then. And Jesus was with me, and I took His robe in my hand and put it to my mouth, because I could not dare to touch His hand or His face, so caught up in the understanding of the glory and holiness of Jesus, even though I felt the warmth of His tender and personal love glowing down at me, from His face that was bent toward me. I had seen His smile, the tender smile of One who loves with whole, pure heart.
When I prayed the Lord’s Prayer, reached my hands up to my Father of Lights, the Lord of the universe, the pure and humble hearted Forever Living One, the Ancient of Days, the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ. I reached up to Him my open hands and I said, “Our Father, who art in heaven,” and the glory of that phrase filled my heart with awe and love.
I said, “Hallowed be Thy name,” and I poured out to Him in prayer my earnest desire that He should do just that, here in this place, with these people- that He should make Himself known to them through His Son, should reveal His heart to them through His Holy Spirit, so that they might be drawn to Him, into His Kingdom, to take their rightful places.
They were not made for death. They were not made for corruption. They were not made for meaningless lives. They were not made for death.
They were made to reflect the glory of God. People, flesh and blood people, were made in the image of the Living God, as His own children, and they are meant for the glory of God, for the glory of their good, good Father, who gave His Son that they might be reconciled to Him. They are made for glory.
This whole creation, this whole place, these fields and hills and trees and sky, this particular place and these actual people, were made to contain and express the glory and delight and love of God, each in a unique and living way. It was meant to be heaven on earth- actual, tangible Heaven. Tears were rolling down my face as this knowledge grew in me.
So I prayed the whole prayer that way, I prayed toward that purpose, that end, and I remembered Jesus walking through the locked door and saying, Peace be unto you, and I remembered the stone rolled away from the tomb, death undone, death trampled down by death.
Jesus doesn’t ask permission to deliver. He commands and death flees. He commands and corruption flees. Jesus breaks from the tomb and He walks through the locked door and He brings peace. That is what Jesus does. So I pointed to those words and I said, according to that- go and do according to those words of His. Make those words of His manifest- Peace be unto you!
June 22, 2016
You have been trained, carried and raised to dispatch something very precious to those who would listen. What could be so strong, so durable, so lasting that it could carry you through tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, death, principalities, and demonic powers? Three things remain dear one. Faith, hope and love. And when you are done, you will know everything said, everything done, everything believed, everything hoped for was all about the most precious. There is one thing you can be sure of, and that is My love. So let it be said of you, that it was all because of My love.
-How to Raise up a Courier of Faith, Sandy Warner, 6/22/2016, The Quickened Word
June 27, 2016
Was praying, “…and You, Lord Jesus, are the Resurrection and the Life.” Was lost in wonder about how the Resurrection and the Life is a Person, the Person of Jesus Christ, who is in flesh and blood, manifest, incarnate, and the wonder and mystery and beauty of God was filling my spirit.
As this was happening, I saw the Lord- His smiling face, glowing like a lamp of love, radiating golden light, and I looked away shyly, but He held out His hands to me in invitation, so I took them, but I could hardly look up, because my heart was swelling with the joy of being with Jesus, who is Himself the Resurrection and the Life! The wonder of seeing Him fills me with love past holding. He fills me so full, I am a cup overflowing and I myself marvel at it and find it impossible to explain.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne! The very foundation!
And unfailing love and truth go before His face, stream out before Him like advance guards, like banners flying before Him, making the way straight. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, and go before Him, and His authority and dominion is founded upon righteousness and justice. This is our God. That must be in part why the angels worship Him always.
When I was in the laundromat, I was thinking of this, aware of how many Hispanic people there were with me in the room, and the difficulties they face continually. The Holy Spirit reminded me that righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne, and peace and relief filled my spirit. Justice and righteousness will be established in all the earth. Those that have been unjustly trampled down will be lifted up; what was unjustly taken away will be returned. Every tongue and tribe and nation will worship with joy before the throne of Heaven. Justice will flow like a river, and righteousness will fill the land and uphold us, and I prayed that it might begin right then and now.
When I prayed this, the Holy Spirit opened my mind to understand that everyone is a gift to each other- gifts from God. That’s what we are meant to be, and I should behave in this way toward everyone I meet. Whoever they are, they are a gift to everyone else, and they are meant for the glory of God.
Prayed: “You, Lord Jesus, are teaching us Your way, that we may walk and live increasingly in Your truth alone…” and was filled with relief that this is true for myself, and then expanded my prayer outward not just for myself, but for all His children, and even sinners, because He teaches sinners in His way, and as I prayed this, I saw Jesus walking toward the light, holding the hand of a person I couldn’t see clearly, leading them forward, and Jesus turned His head, and looked directly me, His face shining with love, with joy- in me, and in the person He was faithfully leading into His truth.
Prayed: “You are lifted up, Lord Jesus, and are drawing all to Yourself.” Realized for the first time that this didn’t mean only lifted up on the cross, but also lifted up to the Father’s presence, to the right hand of His throne, and from there, Jesus is drawing all to Himself. Jesus draws us with His sacrifice on the cross openly displayed, and from His seat on the throne- He draws us with unconditional, sacrificial love, giving Himself for us, and He draws us with His Holy Spirit poured out, as He is now risen and glorified. Jesus draws us with the Blood of the cross and the Living Waters of His Holy Spirit.
Prayed: “for we are now a slave to righteousness through Christ our Lord…” and pondered that- that we are slaves to righteousness through Jesus Christ, and saw Him above me, as though I were a child walking beside Him, and He with all the strength and sight, and me only looking to Him, and as I looked at Him, Jesus turned and looked down at me, His whole face glowing with compassion, His eyes full of tender, unfailing love and sparkling with good humor- as one would look at a child, a beloved, small child.
Prayed: “but You, Lord Jesus, have brought them all to ruin…” Realized suddenly that this is true for all of us! He has done it, only some of us haven’t realized it yet, but He has done it. A specific person leap to mind and to realize that for this person, Jesus has brought every other dominion and force against them to ruin already through His cross, that He has already won their freedom and redeemed them to God- filled me with so much joy that I lifted my hands and clapped them over my head and cried out, “halleluiah!” Heard the angels also cry out in great joy, “Halleluiah!” and heard them laugh with joy when I set myself to again write this down, even though I am going back and forth between my prayer document and my journal it seems every two minutes and I wish sometimes that I could simply pray and let these things go unrecorded so my prayer wouldn’t be so broken up, but this is His will, so I am writing it down as I go along.
Was praying: “All that were incensed against us are as nothing, as a nonexistent thing- even the memory of them is gone from us, because You have won the victory for us, Lord Jesus, triumphing over them through the cross.”
Found myself lost in thought about these last few months, how I have been hammered again and again on a specific weak place in my soul, where I have carried deep scars, some of them it seemed still open, and the hammering on them has been at times nearly devastating, the pain and shame potentially crippling, but I have kept all my focus on the Lord Jesus Christ like a laser beam- on one specific thing, and that is that He is allowing this in order to heal the scar and to close up those places. That is, the beating is bringing the weakness to my awareness, in order that it might heal for once and for all, because when the shame comes up by the beating, I replace the shame with the truth, again and again and again and again, I pronounce the truth.
It has in fact been transforming me, and I confess that the Lord Jesus always knows what He is doing. This week, the pounding has been especially vicious, but I am walking straight through, keeping my eyes on the face of the Lord Jesus Christ and nowhere else.
As I was thinking this, saw the wound on my arm and the beating on it, and I saw it heal and close up, and I saw how strong and flexible my arm was. You couldn’t even tell there had ever been a scar at all.
Remembered again that passage from Acts, which is the commissioning that Jesus gave to Paul during his conversion on the road to Damascus. For the long time, I knew I needed to write those words down, so I could pray them out with authority, and finally, this time I remembered and put them into the prayer, because they are full of the power and authority and purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This led to one of the most powerful prayers that I have yet prayed, when I went on to pray the Lord’s Prayer. My arms kept reaching up. The Kingdom of Heaven is real, and it is shatteringly powerful place- all of the power belongs to Abba, and He is the One who has sent the Son, that we might have forgiveness of sins- sins which are real and terrible and heinous and a marring, a grievous marring of His divine image in which we were made- but He has forgiveness us through the blood of the cross! That was Abba’s purpose! It wasn’t begrudging, it was His gift of love, to reconcile us to Himself-
“Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints, God’s holy people, in the Light.
The Father has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
In Whom we have our redemption through His blood, which means the forgiveness of our sins.”
Sins are terribly real, and so is the forgiveness. We are meant for life- the human race is meant for the life of God, for the glory of God, for the eternal love of God. We have been reconciled to our Father. We have been reconciled from death to everlasting Life.
June 29, 2016
(Wrote the first paragraph originally at the end of this entry, but I've moved it to the top.)
I really did not want to write this down, because I did not know how to put any of this into words, but I have tried and that is the best I can do. What I am trying to capture in words happens with an intense combination of swift interrelated images and wordless understanding, and it is cumbersome, sometimes, to switch my thoughts back into words to write them down, and usually I don’t want to do this. I want to absorb the experience, accept it, and move forward in the prayer.
Praying: You will give us the strength to keep Your way and commandments all the way to the end!
Sent the angels out with strength for my brothers and sisters, challenged as to what words of God they were flying to accomplish, was immediately reminded of the verse:
Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength,
they shall mount up on wings like eagles,
they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not grow faint.
Pointed jubilantly to that, and Jesus swung me up in His arms of strength, tossing me in the air for joy and catching me.
Earlier, was praying from this:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You have given us authority 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 us-
so that the lost may receive forgiveness and release from their sins,
and receive an inheritance among those who have been set apart
and made holy by faith in You, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Lord of lords.
(Luke 10:19, Acts 26:16-18)
Sent them out on those words, to remind my brothers and sisters of these words of Jesus, and to release this authority given to them by the Lord, and as I did, the face of that angel appeared for one moment quite close to me, his holy face fierce and focused, intent on looking at me. It would have unnerved me, except that it has happened before, but not so close. For a moment, wondered why such intensity this time, and was enlightened to know that it was eagerness for victory for the Lord and His purpose.
In understanding this, I saw for a moment how prayer opened a way through conflict like a tunnel, and the angels are fierce and joyful to pass right through that tunnel to their purpose, and to fly right into conflict if sent that way by the Lord. It seemed, as I saw this, that they fight with an unshakably, unstoppable joy, and as I was writing this down, I realized that of course this joy must be because they know the victory is already won by the Lord Jesus Christ. Angels don’t have fear or despair or doubt. Their Lord Jesus Christ has already won and they know it.
As I was praying, worried that I wasn’t doing this enough- pausing to send the angels out at each word of the Lord, but Jesus told me without words that they go out immediately, as the word is given. Already sent, He assured me, with words. But still, when my attention is drawn particularly to something, I pause to send out deliberately, assuming that my attention being drawn to it is a sign that this is of particular importance. I point to these words of His and look to the angels.
This is not a physical look- it’s just that I turn my inward attention to the fact that I know they are there. I hardly say anything anymore, I just point to His words, with a strong desire to see them manifested, and as they share this desire to a degree that is more clear and more determined than mine, and as we are working together for His glory, this all happens smoothly.
Prayed: You will open our ears to hear and our eyes to see You!
Remembered Jesus saying, “Ephphatha!” and how He had come to open the eyes of the blind, and how He healed the deaf and dumb. Was filled with extraordinary joy to realize that the Word I was sending out this time was the Lord Himself. He Himself was the Word! I saw His face full of joy and laughter as I realized this, and I opened my arms wide, pouring out this joy in Himself, in what He does, and I felt streams of water pouring out of my belly.
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
-John 7:37-38, NKJV
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
-John 7:37-38, NKJV