Friday, January 6, 2017

January 6th

September 13, 2016

I have to record something while I’m remembering it. It happened when we were in the apartment, but whether it was June or July I cannot remember and I lost the recording of it when my old phone completely died.

It was at night, and I went to Jesus and I saw Him in the inner rooms, which doesn’t happen so much anymore, mainly because when I am with Him, I'm usually not looking around. But for some reason, especially during that inbetween time at the apartment, I was sometimes wanting to look around and to see everything there, I’ll bet because everything else was in transition and so I wanted to be sure that the spiritual place Jesus had made for me was still there, just like always.

Of course it was and during this time, we were in the further room and the center of the room was hidden in an incandescent light. I could see nothing in it. I reached my hand out and put it into the blaze. I remember seeing my hand appear thin and translucent, and the light shining between my fingers. I realized that what was in the room was hidden by this light, which was more intense than fire.

Then my vision was drawn back and I saw the whole house, and then the rooms were swallowed by distance and then I saw the house disappear into the heart of the Lord Jesus seated on the throne, poised there with unquestioned authority and with incipient strength, His head up in a commanding way. His face was intent and focused, fire burning in His eyes.

When I opened my physical eyes, I could still see this image of Jesus’ face with the fire burning in His eyes and the fearless, bold set of His head, the way He sat on that throne immoveable and yet about to leap. In fact, I was almost afraid of Him, and no matter whether I opened or closed my eyes, I still saw His face that way, impressed on my visual memory for a long time.

Then I knew that the rooms where I am with Jesus are not only hidden in His heart, but completely hidden in the light that burns brighter than flame within- the secret place, the place that is hidden under His wings, protected like the apple of His eye.

If one is in the heart of this flame, the Light is the Lord and so the Lord is welcomed without fear and with loving surrender. But if one is outside and looking outward toward the Lord, the fire will be burning in His eyes and will appear frightening and overwhelming, if one has not already surrendered to Him.

That’s what I learned when I pondered this, and what Jesus has affirmed as my understanding opened up over time.

Written in my phone:

No matter how intense the battle, all it proves is that Heaven and Jesus are just as manifest in my life and He is sovereign, and He has won, and I serve Him and He is my Lord and I belong to Him, and I may rejoice in it.

September 16, 2016

I am up at five o’clock for the first time, with the sliding glass doors open and the sounds of early morning pouring through like a solid block of sound. It was a full moon last night, I believe. I saw it blurry through the condensation on the window late last night, hidden in a cloud of luminescence. Now on the other side of the sky, I see pieces of it through the thinning canopy of leaves in the grove.

Last night, still could not rest with Jesus in the way that I crave, or not for very long- just long enough to know His joy and love and to melt boneless in His presence. “I can do nothing good on my own, You know this,” I confessed to Him. “My own righteousness is as filthy rags. If You do anything, it must be for Your own name’s sake. It’s the only perfect reason. I have no righteousness to move You on my own.”

But Jesus is good and there is no shadow of turning away from His goodness, I reminded myself, and turned to Him again. Precious Jenny! He cried, gathering me up in His arms, and I melted down all over again, immediately giving all of myself over to Him without recourse, without one plea, but in perfect trust of His authority and His goodness.

But I could not rest there long, because my thoughts were racing, bump bump bump, from one subject to another, and no matter how many times I became aware and pulled them back to Him, away they went again as soon as I had managed to quiet them.

Sleep, Jenny, sleep, I heard Him say tenderly. My thoughts do tend to fragment more when I am tired. I get tired and can’t hold my soul as still as usual.

But then I thought about my insight I had gotten as I had worked on the blog- that there was nowhere for the multitudes to buy food nearby, which meant that home was a long, long way away.

This meant that those men and women and children had walked a long, tiring way to meet Jesus and be with Him, and going home would be just as long. It seemed likely they would arrive back home late at night, having walked for miles, having gotten nothing done at their trade or in their home, with exhausted children, and everything at that time in history such a work of labor to do, even to light a fire and boil water.

From a mother’s perspective, I thought of the next day, what that would feel like, humanly speaking- everyone, especially the children, still tired and or worked up, and all that work to get caught up on.

That was the cost of following Jesus out into the wilderness. It was not like a pleasant afternoon jaunt in story book. It was an all-day into the night, sometimes three days on end marathon, while everything at home waited and grew cold and business suffered. It had to be a significant choice to make, to gather up some food and the kids and try to find Him, to follow the edge of the shore toward the place where they heard He’s going.

I thought about that and I thought about fasting. So I thought, who am I to sleep? Finding Jesus requires effort, the willingness to give up something. I’m going to go on trying to quiet my thoughts and search Him out.

Sleep, Jenny, Jesus repeated when I turned to Him, spoken with that indescribable tenderness of His, the love that is unending.

So I tried to do that. But I was still in awe of the way the Holy Spirit had helped me pull the whole blog together, the delicate way in which He had woven Scripture in, how perfectly He had placed the song of Zacharias where it ended up going, and the psalm at the end, which I never would have guessed about. All my questions concerning the blog had been answered and all my concerns addressed, with a quiet, steady illumination of ideas, one after the other. And not an impersonal illumination of ideas, but almost a conversation, except the Holy Spirit wasn’t discussing it with me, He was telling me. But the way He was telling me was personal and comforting. I felt acknowledged, upheld and directed all at the same time.

All the trust in Jesus one can muster is amply justified. Always. There can be no such thing as too much trust, when one’s whole desire is to follow Him and honor Him. You can never have too much faith or too much love, I have learned.

I tried taking that awe that I felt toward the direct involvement of the Holy Spirit, and turning it toward Jesus being with me- another words, the Holy Spirit just helped me finish the blog! Jesus Himself is with me! I know where Jesus is! Let me go to Him at once!

Only the awe immediately made the presence of Jesus overwhelming to a near paralyzing degree. All I could do was make my whole self a confession to Him, to confess my smallness and imperfection and my love and to say, “Lord, have mercy!” And then to remember that He is merciful. And then to realize that I am at the End, I am with the End! All of the fear of God then turns to relief, the relief being praise and worship to Jesus, who clearly and openly is worthy of all the glory, because it is obvious that He is the One who did it.

Which is why I would say to Jesus, ““I can do nothing good on my own, You know this,” I confessed to Him. “My own righteousness is as filthy rags. If You do anything, it must be for Your own name’s sake. It’s the only perfect reason. I have no righteousness to move You on my own.”

Precious Jenny! is what He said, in a joyful cry of love, taking me in His arms.

One minute melting into His love, the peace filling me, and then bump bump bump, my thoughts are walking with loud feet like horses who don’t know how to stay when you let down the reins. That’s what it was like last night, until I fell asleep, and slept straight through until five. Then I got up, although I was tempted to just go back to sleep. But I am glad that I got up. This hour is far more valuable to me for writing than it would be for sleeping.

September 17, 2016

I saw His face streaked with tears as He approached Jerusalem on His last pilgrimage there, after a lifetime of taking that trip- when He was a boy, with friends and family.

That’s what was in my phone.

I had finished the Gospel of Mark, and knew that I was soon going to be reading the Gospel of Luke. For a few days, Jesus had held off on my beginning that Gospel, and I had continued on with Kenneth Bailey’s work, the Poet and the Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes, which I love and have reread many times, because of the way his careful, respectful study of Jesus’ parables in the original language brings Jesus’ brilliance and courage to light.

Eventually Jesus had me begin Luke, and the prophesy of Zacharias jumped out at me. I was at the point in my current blog where I was looking for Scripture that would be woven right in, and I knew this was an important Scripture for it. At the time, I had supposed it would go at the end, but the Holy Spirit switched it around at the last minute.

Over the next day or so, I continued to read slowly, with the happy expectation that I would see Jesus and gain insights, and that is just what happened.

I read this:

“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year to the Passover Feast.”
-Luke 2:41

Every year! Every year, from His youngest memories, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem with His parents, family and friends:

“And when He was twelve years [old], they went up, as was their custom.

And when the Feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. Now His parents did not know this,

But, supposing Him to be in the caravan, they traveled on a day’s journey; and [then] they sought Him [diligently, looking up and down for Him] among their kinsfolk and acquaintances.”
-Luke 2:42-44

Every bit of that road would have been known to Jesus, known in a joyful, expectant way- a happy way. Only for Jesus it was not only a break from the typical tasks of His life, but the trip of Jerusalem was filled with sacred meaning and ancient, living hope, with their greater identity. Each landmark would have been known to Jesus, and laced over with memories of His mother Mary, of Joseph, of cousins year by year growing older, children being born, some passing away and their absence felt.

On that final journey with His disciples and the crowd, how could Jesus not recall the memories of earlier times? How heart rending it would have been for Him. Now He is going up and His cousin John the Baptist has been beheaded and friends have gone and He is walking toward His execution by the Romans. He will be betrayed into their hands by one of those closest to Him right then, walking beside Him, one of His specially chosen sent ones, the one who is carrying the money bag and taking from it.

The crowds are surrounding Jesus and swelling in size, but how many of them see Him? Their roar fills the ears, but how many are listening? They trail for a great distance behind Him and before Him on the route, the road He passed over when He was five years old and eleven and eighteen.

Now Jesus is heading up toward that city, but He knows they will reject Him. They have not chosen the way of peace. They will choose Barabbas. They will choose a rebel son of a human father and the bitter fruit of that decision will come crushing down, throwing down stone after stone until not one stands upon another, until there is desolation- not for imaginary people, not for theoretical people, but for real, living persons, alive right then, alive and going about their life in a roar of sound and not hearing the meaning. The sky above them is red, but they see only weather.

When the city of Jerusalem comes into view, His grief cannot be contained and He must cry out: “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

But that has already happened. The next time they see Jesus, they themselves will be living stones built up into a Temple not made with human hands, and they will cry out, “Hosanna! Blessed be the One who comes in the name of the Lord!” And they will be His treasured possession forever, for He has a burning, zealous love, an unfailing love, and there will be no more waste places and all the fallen places will be restored.

September 19, 2016

Thinking of the agony of His breathing on the cross.

“You are safe in heaven with the Father.”

And with you, Jesus reminded me.

That’s what is written in my phone from last night, when I went to Jesus and rested closely with Him. For some reason, when I was resting, I thought of when I’d had my wisdom teeth pulled, and the dentist had made a terrible job of it, because the roots of the teeth had gone down and fused to my jaw bone, which I guess they weren’t expecting. The dentist hacked and sawed and hacked away back there, trying to get them out.

They only got out one side, and then they cleaned me up as best they could, which wasn’t very well, as I still had bits of shattered and stubborn bone in the wound and permanent nerve damage, and sent me home with pain medication. I remember lying on my bed as hour after hour passed slowly by. The pain was all I was aware of, that and time. The pain would rise to an unbearable pitch, and remain filling my entire mouth and jaw and throat. However, I learned also that this unbearable pitch wouldn’t remain always, it would slowly ebb. It was the slow ebb that I held on for.

Especially when enough hours had passed that I could take a pain pill. Having got the pill down, I would wait with anticipation for the slow retreat of the pain. The level of pain would drop slowly, like the waves of a retreating tide. They become shorter, they could not reach as far, they would reach up, fall back, fall back further, and then I would have a few hours of a decent level of pain until it would return to tighten in my bones and tense my whole body and I would have to wait again.

I was thinking of this, and I was wondering about Jesus’ own experience and I remembered that on the cross, in order to breathe, He had had to push Himself up on His nailed feet, which would have increased the level of pain to an indescribable level. (I read this in the book, I think it was Jesus: A Theography, by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola.)

“And that’s when You spoke,” I said to Jesus, remembering this. “You spoke on the exhale.” I was resting close in the arms of Jesus, held in love, and I was also seeing the way He would have spoken, the words slurring softly because of His pain and the dryness of His mouth, the words shaped and sent out on a breath of air that had caused Him an agony to get.

That’s when I held Him close in my arms, and whispered to Jesus that He was now safe in Heaven with the Father.

And with you, He said.

September 27, 2016

I preserve you!

I count on You with all that I am and have, to keep me for You only!

I know My sweet.


The rich depth of His voice, so close and expressive, it seemed almost to break into audible sound beside my ear. Shockingly human in accent, fully divine in resonance and power, one particular voice, of individual tone and sound, deep and living, incipient with creative, vibrant, unexpected expression- what else would Jesus say! What expression, what endearment, what clear, inescapable truth would be colorfully, unforgettably revealed through the words He would say next in that deep and living voice.


Because I am with Jesus Christ who rose from the tomb, walked through door and ascended into heaven. I'm where He lives.

In the night, such annoying thoughts coming up! Also, deeply embarrassing judgments I had made not so long ago, that in the light of Christ now are shown to be truly terrible. Jesus was not showing me this to make me feel bad, but because I continually ask Him to bring me to completion, and the brighter His light shines, the more I see things differently, even what appeared to me to be small things before, or things that I had not been aware of.

“Preserve me from sin!” I cried to Jesus. “But I don’t have to implore You, I don’t have to implore You…” I repeated in relief, falling into His open arms of love. “It’s in Your hands,” I said.

The best hands in the world, Jesus assured me.

September 30, 2016

You never tire (of me)...

No, never.


He will complete His work, He will, He will, I was saying in fierce hope.

He's doing it now, I was told.

He's doing it now, He's doing it now! I cried out in joy, realizing that the conviction has been His work, and that is a clear sign that Jesus is actively perfecting me.


The bride trembles with ecstasy just to be on the doorstep. She can hardly step in the house at all, and just to know that this is where she lives now, that this is her home, is enough.  This unspeakable joy is real; I have felt that trembling joy, but the wife fills the whole house with her song and labor, and every room is hung with memories and filled with light and knows the sound of her footstep.


I was hanging high in the air, seeing the landscape around me in twilight, but in particular, the shorn field stretching out under an evening sky, and a light far in the distance, at the far edge of the field. Come up, come up, I was hearing, with excitement, and then woke and realized it was a dream. I went back to sleep a moment later and was seeing the same field stretched out and was swung with exhilaration back up into the air. Come high, come high, I was hearing. I couldn’t tell if I was standing on a platform, or if I was just in the air. If it was a platform, it was hard to see it in the twilight. If it was, it was about three or four stories in the air. It felt like I was flying in place.

I remembered of course, just that very evening walking up the slow incline of that hill with Abby. At first, I wanted to complain about having to walk the dog, but now I realize it’s a gift and I look forward to it.

At the top of the road, the clouds were massed up in rising, curving towers, and the evening sunlight was finding places through the cloud to shine down through in golden shafts, turning the clouds gold and white. I felt like I was going to an appointment and I didn’t want to miss it, but Abby was sometimes ambling along, sniffing this and sniffing that, and Jesus told me in good humor that there was time for her to enjoy the good smell of the earth and the grass and the crickets. So I didn’t hurry, but I kept looking up at the sky as I walked. When she wasn’t sniffing about, we were walking swiftly along in the cool air, with our heads up.

At the top of the road, where the slight incline levels out, there is a larger road, but still without much traffic. Just across this road is the corn field. All summer long the corn has been standing there, blocking the view, and I had no idea how much until it came down.

I felt exhilarated standing there, and didn’t know why, until I focused on the field. With the corn cut down, the stumps form perfectly straight lines running away and away and away straight to the distance, and also, running all that distance straight toward me, with nothing to stop it. Now the field is revealed in its length, which to my uninformed eye appears as long as a commercial runway.

Make straight the paths of the Lord,” I thought in wonder, seeing all that open space of straight lines, and almost shivered in reverent, breathless anticipation.