Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16th

July 2, 2016

Prayed: “…and the ability to exercise authority over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will in any way harm us…”

Looked up at the angel that was suddenly standing to my right side, bending down toward me, and in my spirit, I pointed to those lines and I said with seriousness, “Those are His words.” Immediately the angel was gone- swiftly I sensed the turning away and then gone off on mission regarding those words, that power that was given the believers from on high- to remind them of it, to clear the way for it to operate in their life according to the words and will of the Lord Jesus Christ, who spoke those words.

July 3, 2016

Prayed: “By You, all will be brought back to the Father…"

Saw the Father joyfully open His arms to receive all creation as though all creation itself were a prodigal son, come back home again.

Prayed: “Your words, Lord Jesus, You are laying up living in our hearts…” Overwhelmed with gratitude to know this is true, that He is doing this, lifted up my heart in worship and adoration to Jesus. “I worship You,” was all that I could say. I felt in particular that I am a physical person and live in a physical world, and just as this has a concrete reality, the truth of Jesus, and His teaching us His word, had an even greater reality, a defining reality, and as I was thinking this, spiritually, I knew Jesus was standing beside me, bending down to me in love and cupping my face in His hand, putting His head close to mine, and I worshiped my Lord.

Praying, as I do on Sundays, for a peaceful end to the conflict in Syria, as usual, poured out my heart as strongly as possible that Jesus return, pulling at Jesus with all my heart for Him to return to earth, to stand on this earth and to bring peace Himself.

I want peace, I insisted.

I heard you, Jesus assured me, quite clearly.

To think that we talk to God Himself and He hears us! He actually hears what I say. This overwhelmed me to the degree that I felt uncertain, as if I were daring to bother God, to disturb Him.

You don’t bother Me, Jesus said.

July 4, 2016

Praying: “You go before us, and You come behind us…” Thinking about the day I had, with sharp ups and downs, and how I had come unexpectedly into a disturbing situation, and how much I had learned, and how the Lord had gone before me into the day, and how He was coming behind me also, tying up and securing any loose ends. When Jesus goes before us, this is not a theory. He truly is going before us, into each and every physical environment and into every spiritual and emotional environment. If He allows warfare, it is for the purpose of training and under His authority, to teach us how to be overcomers in all situations.

July 5, 2016

What Jesus did on the cross, He did in flesh and blood- as a fully human person. Jesus Christ hung on the cross as a Person manifest in the world, and yet what He did had such spiritual power and such spiritual meaning that it caused the whole world to be reborn and undid death and cancelled the consequences of sin- because Jesus did this as the Son of God.

It was an actual event that could be seen and heard, seen and heard in the same way that we can see and hear a piano concert or cars at an intersection or a man selling things door to door. It was a physical event in this world- Jesus was crucified and hung on the cross and died, and because of Who He is, the flawless Son of God, the Prince of Life, the Lord of Glory, the Lamb of God, that physical event, with His resurrection, remade the whole world.

July 7, 2016

Prayed: “In You, everything consists and is held together…” Thought of the multitude of things that Jesus is holding together in His mercy, that must cause Him extreme pain, because of the way we are choosing to use His creation and the way we are choosing to behave toward one another, but Jesus does not cause us to cease to exist because of this.

Prayed the next line: “By You, all will be brought back to the Father…” Understanding dawned on me in relief about how Jesus can sustain us- because He knows the end toward which He is bringing His creation- back toward Eden, toward Heaven on Earth and all things being new. I saw rich, new grass, the grass and the edges of my vision breathing a purity that was completely whole- a wholeness and a rightness, sound all the way through and delightful in the solid rightness of things, and I worshiped the Father for His good plan.

Last night was one of the most miserable prayer experiences that I can remember. It was drier than toast. Word by word and line by line seemed devoid of meaning, let alone spiritual power, and I wanted nothing more than to stop the wretched act of repeating those words, but I forced myself again and again at least to say them, until I actually did stop and my whole body slumped at the computer in weariness and frustration.

What do you want to do? Jesus asked me, with compassion, because following Him must always be a choice of free will.

“I want to lie down on the bed and sleep,” I replied, honestly. I came quite close to quitting my prayers altogether and doing just that, but I remembered, as a mental exercise only, that faithfulness was here the most required- that is, if nothing else, my continuing to say the prayer was a sheer stubborn act of faithful trust, even if I felt as if I were lifting feet shod in metal boots and tramping down a muddy path under a cloudy sky, my whole body filled with weariness. I was constantly moving through the persistent thought that what I was doing was meaningless and powerless and I just kept on doing it in this stubborn act of blind obedience.

I got through the prayer and reached the Lord’s Prayer, and here I really threw myself into faith. I was determined that my Heavenly Daddy was good- I knew I knew this! It’s amazing to me how faint the memory of this was, at that time, even more astonishing, how faint the memory of Jesus’ ardent, self-giving love and the extent and the power and the depth of the way He has shown Himself to me. But at that time, it was a vague memory, standing like a faint, unfocused horizon to the dreariness of the present spiritual landscape that seemed to engulf me.

But I persisted, and I said those prayers by faith that Abba would answer, and that He would answer in reality, because answering that prayer is His will, and His will shapes reality and directs destiny and leads us to His good ending.

So I prayed that way. I threw each line out like throwing down border stones on the foundation of the Father’s goodness and faithfulness- this is going to happen, and that is going to happen, and He will give us our daily bread of the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. He will deliver us from evil. He will do this because He said He would! And so on and so forth, and then the spiritual flow of life and meaning was trickling down through me.

Then I set myself to read through Colossians 1, knowing I needed this. The truths flowed through me and upheld me, opening up in greater meaning through the previous prayer- especially the prayer asking to be strengthened according to the might of His glory, to all endurance and forbearance, fortitude and patience with joy- and so my prayer for the Syrian refugees was infused by the illumination of this flowing.

Then I set myself to work on the blog, by faith alone that Jesus would indeed help me to do it- that He has always done this and will always do this and to doubt Him now would be absurd and hardly forgivable. Of course, Jesus would forgive, but how could I forgive myself, if I let my faith lapse in such a way after everything?

But such was the depth of my frustration and feelings of ineptitude and the lack of vision regarding the blog that I was quite close, emotionally speaking, to doubting Jesus involvement in the blog at all, ever. It all seemed almost to be as small as a wishful silly dream. But I refused to entertain this notion, because to do so would be to deny five years’ worth of the faithfulness and presence of the Lord Jesus, and I insisted that Jesus was leading me and that He would lead me, and of course, He did and the blog did take shape and form.

The evening continued with this kind of almost relentless feeling of futility, exhaustion and despair, and I realized that we were moving through a cloud of dismal spiritual attack, the worst that I can ever remember. At the worst part of this, when we were not yet through, I was reading in the Gospels, and when I opened up the Bible, I found I was at the part where Jesus was asleep in the boat, and the waves will beating in, and the boat was filling with water.

Reading this, I understood exactly what Jesus was saying to me. I determined that I was going to sleep as well, as Jesus was asleep, and ignore the water, no matter how heavily it beat against the boat. If Jesus wasn’t afraid, I would not be. If Jesus was confident, I would be. We would reach our destination. The waves only lead to the greater glory of God. If He calms the waves, glory to God. If the waves beat the boat all the way to the further shore, glory to God for bringing us through.

“Straight through,” I declared to Jesus after we prayed, seeing a way cutting through the dark, a straight and narrow way, the way of the Lord’s will. This seemed to be more than just something I was seeing, but also something we were doing, through what the Lord Jesus was doing for us. He has cut the way through, all the way through to the throne. The way is open, regardless of what it looks like. If it looks closed, it’s a lie. Straight through, straight on through.

July 8, 2016

So exhausted. Prayed the Lord is my Shepherd, wept as I prayed. So weary of pulling on through, of going onward despite unceasing, escalating bombardment on us- from every side. Dire financial consequences threatening, all of our plans blocked and no way to go forward, nothing to do but wait here, being triggered by my sexual abuse history in a way that I have not experienced in years- anxiety and shame flooding through me leaving me hardly able to retain a coherent thought, not being able to sleep and all happening in this apartment where there is no quiet space, smelling like cat urine and dog hair.

Wading through this while retaining faith, hope, love, compassion and peace has drained me down to the dregs. Sat drooping on the chair where normally I pray, and thought about abandoning the whole thing, to give up belief and obedience, to abandon the whole idea that there is spiritual meaning behind and above my life that illuminates the hardship with purpose. Thought fleetingly about how I would live, what would I live for, if I gave up obedience and faith? I barely remember who I used to be, what motivated me, what I hoped for. I saw a glimpse of what that would look like and I knew it would be a small, withered life.

“I want to give up,” I confessed to Jesus. It was not a beautiful prayer. It was just honesty.

The Holy Spirit reminded me clearly this was my cross, and that changed my perspective immediately. I told Jesus to help me carry my cross and to love it for His sake, because I want to love Jesus in reality, and not in theory, but to actually love Him in truth, in my actual life, and here is my cross to bear, and here I can obey Jesus and follow Him in this life, in my actual life by bearing it.

July 9, 2016

Was praying: “Cause us to inquire for You and about You and to yearn for You…”

And simply made this a prayer- a request to Jesus, and not a declaration for the angels to be sent out, because I couldn’t think of any written word that would send them out, and Jesus touched my heart with loving reproach, and I saw Him standing and pointing with authority out, to stir the waters of our hearts with longing for Him in answer to my prayer, and Jesus reminded me that, for Him, He need not search for a written word, because He is the Word, and He simply commands them.

Rested warmly and closely with Jesus today, sank down into the golden light that surrounds Him and was nurtured by His closeness and His peaceful breathing and the warmth of Him. It was like being incubated.

July 10, 2016

(The set prayer I had been praying nearly every night was the result of at least a year's worth of time, as the Holy Spirit would add to it, both in material and with insight. It had become six pages long. For two years, Jesus directed me to pray in that way, which each year beginning a new prayer that grew over time, but at this point, I was hearing Jesus tell me to change my prayer and start again. I was really wanting confirmation to be sure, because I was so much in the mode of pushing through, when I read this, which was posted on this day at the Quickened Word website. I obeyed and changed my prayer.)

July 12, 2016

Prayed my new simple prayer of the Good Shepherd, and overswept repeatedly by the holiness of Jesus and also by His mercy, a combination that bent my head down again and again in reverent adoration and relief, to kiss His hand and to press my cheek to His hand in a gesture of submission and gratitude. That He is the way He is! The Lord Jesus is perfect and perfectly beautiful and holy and full of perfect love and mercy.

“Forgive me my sins, forgive me my sins,” I prayed to Jesus, until He said so tenderly that He had already and there weren’t any more to confess, and I said, “Yes, but I feel overwhelmed in Your presence, inadequate…” But Jesus impressed on me again His overflowing mercy and His love of us, a love that is not theoretical, but caused Him to take on flesh and blood, to become tangible, visible, crucified, and to bring us up into His life, because He loves us in reality.

Then Jesus reminded me that this is one of those times when the Holy Spirit is running and flowing through my prayer in a way I can perceive, and I should record it, so I have. Was thinking of how powerful my prayer was the first time I prayed here in Jasper, how I lifted my hands to the celling, feeling a powerful, flowing current of the Holy Spirit coming down from heaven and through me, and through me out to those around me, and how dry and difficult it has since become, and I realized that it doesn’t matter, either way, the Lord’s will is always done and everything is worked out for good for those who love Him, and I heard Jesus laugh in such a triumphant, fearless, joyful way- because even when my prayers are challenging, persevering through such things only gains me strength through His grace and training. The Lord Jesus Christ is unstoppable.

July 13, 2016

Prayed again the Lord is my Shepherd, lost in the profound meaning of the prayer, each time asking myself, “Who is the Lord? Who is the God I love and serve? This is who He is: He restores our soul.” And worship and adoration and reverence would well up in me like a flood and my breath would come in deep gasps, not of panic, but of some intensely released energy or feeling that must come out as breath.

“I worship You, Lord Jesus,” I whispered to Him in profound relief and reverence. “I worship You, Lord, I praise Your name, Your holy name!”

Was waiting, feeling exhausted, each time after an intense wave of the Holy Spirit poured through me at the first two lines of the Lord’s Prayer, remembered with relief and joy that I do not pray out of myself, but through the Holy Spirit, so it does not matter how exhausted I am or what resources I have, and Jesus reminded me that He prays through me, and that this was His prayer, and He was speaking to His Daddy, and joy filled me, and my eyes filled with tears at the extraordinary beauty of His nature and how Jesus takes care of everything, and so I let Jesus pray the line: “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” which caused me to gasp and to stop breathing as my diaphragm constricted, my whole body gripped in the force of the Holy Spirit, my arms going up, and then filled with tears and crying because of Daddy! Daddy!

“You are good, You are good, Daddy!” I cried, bent over the keyboard, in tears. “You are good and Your will is perfect and true in every way and I worship You, Daddy!” I looked up at the sky outside the window, to pull myself together for the next line, and lightning struck from the gathering storm clouds into the distance. As I have been praying, it has been striking in the same place, as a massive storm is gathering. Now the wind is whistling through the window, which must not have been closed all the way. Now, returning from resettling Merissa, the room is filled with a delicately tinted amber light from the sunset that is shining through a break in the clouds on the western horizon.

(This is the last of my journal entries for that month, and for several weeks, as Jesus told me to stop even writing in my journal as we prepared to move from the apartment to the new house. I have already shared my first journal entries in the new house, and this here is one of those.)

September 21, 2016

Last night, Jesus stirred up the waters. He stirred up and awakened love by giving me a quite vivid glimpse of His humility, strength and faithfulness, and then He reminded me, also quite vividly, that I was entirely His own, and hidden not just by Him, but for Him. That is, Jesus has hidden me away for Himself. This caused me to melt down into uncontainable love, thanksgiving, worship and delight, because that is the best thing in life and the best and only reason to exist.

I was caught up in His outpouring love for a long time, delighting to pour out love and adoration to Jesus, who suffered so much and is worthy of all, but is meek and humble of heart, whose gentle face is beautiful and luminous with love, His expression often quietly intent, searching my face and looking into my eyes. He searches my face in the same way I search His and that is not to find the answer to a question, but to see the one whom the soul loves, to see their face and to see the beauty of love reflected back in kind. The best part about being with Jesus and adoring Him is to see by His face and eyes how much it means to Him and how much it impacts Him.

One of the best ways of loving Jesus is to remember His agony on the cross, and then, in response, to adore Him, treasure, cherish, honor and worship Him with tenderness, with reverence, with overflowing abundance of gratitude and wonder, to hold Him close in love. He was rejected- now He is cherished and adored! He was in agony, now He is cradled in my arms of love, in my spirit as a place to rest. He is Lord of all my life, but my spirit is the best and highest and most beautiful thing I have to give Him of myself.

At some point, I was thinking with wonder that I was with Jesus, and how many layers of heavenly spiritual beings there are that He created for His glory, and the thought occurred to me that one day, I might get to know some of these other heavenly beings that also are close to Him. I saw a glimpse of this, but the thought of ever being comfortable with that level of His heavenly servants was too much to seriously consider for long, and I went right back to assuming that I would never leave the hidden place of heaven, and only be hidden with Jesus always, and never venture out into wider places.

“No way!” I said to Jesus, wide eyed, and Jesus laughed. His laughter was full of love. He looked at me, His eyes full of a kind of dancing tenderness, and I knew from the way He was looking at me that there was a way I would get to know those creatures of His and probably would, and it would please Him and that is the way of Heaven- that those who love and serve the Lord also love and help one another.

“But it’s real,” I confessed to Him, meaning about my first reaction of overwhelmed awe. The thought really does terrify me and it is almost impossible for me to assume it.

You really are this way, Jesus agreed, with love.

Had been reading about His being in the wilderness. It says, when He returned from the Jordan… That is, He was heading back. He was heading back from baptism when He went into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, but there was no anxiety to do this, because Jesus and the Holy Spirit both knew He would have all that He needed to pass with flying colors and that He would do so. The Holy Spirit leads to victory, to wisdom, to maturity. This doesn’t mean there isn’t suffering along the way, but if one is willing to suffer for God, the wisdom and the victory are straight ahead on an open course. It doesn’t look open to us, but it’s open to Him. He sees the straight way ahead, while we see the wilderness. We see the test, but He sees the victory. We see the temptation, but He sees past it to the maturity. We are fasting, faint with hunger, but just ahead on the clear course that the Holy Spirit has laid out, there is His power to do good.

When, in response to being tested, Jesus said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God,” I suddenly remembered the rest of that passage, and I saw, for the first time, a deeper part of what Jesus was saying and how critical it was.

The rest of the passage that Jesus was quoting is this:

“And you shall [earnestly] remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

“And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you recognize and personally know that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”

-Deuteronomy 8:2-3

When Jesus answered with this passage, He was saying in essence, “As the Son of Man, I also submit to this humbling, to this proving. I will let the Father humble Me and I will live by faith in the fasting as the Son of Man, because My delight is to do His will and to keep His commandments, so I’m here to take this test. Although I am the King of Heaven, as the Son of Man, I’m going to live by every word of God, even when it is difficult, even when I am faint with hunger, even when it is humbling.”

Jesus had a pure heart, so when He was in the wilderness to test His heart, nothing but love and obedience and humility and faithfulness and wisdom was revealed. It was revealed in great beauty and intensity. When we could not, Jesus passed this testing for us, so we could pass through it with Him.

Later, when I was resting with Jesus, He caused me understand something in that way that only Jesus can cause. Almost always, I know things by varying degrees of faith, but sometimes I see clearly, brilliantly. Jesus alone can do this for me, and I don't know how He does it, but it leads to ecstasy. “When I see You, I will already know You, because You have been with me and I with You all this time,” I said to Jesus in wonder.

Receive it, Jesus stated. You will not be ashamed.

When I left the room, I reached for Jesus, because I wanted to remain aware of Him all the rest of the day. Carrying Me with you like a lamp, Jesus assured me.