Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11th

February 22, 2017

“All it is, is a learning curve,” I said, thinking of my prayers.

Yes, Jenny, I am teaching you, Jesus said. I had put my face against His and let the peace sink into me, releasing anxieties.

Coming to Jesus this morning has been a slow unfolding of this image and that image, none lasting long. I saw His hand, and His eyes, burning through to me, as soon as spiritually I looked up at Him. I saw Him seated in glory in the midst of the temple, His robe filling the rooms. The rooms were too small for Him and there was no ceiling to the temple, so that He was seated almost above it rather than in it. When I went running to Jesus, He opened His arms to me. Then I saw a corner of the tufted golden nest and Him and that is where I remained, settled in.

Sunk down into Jesus, seeing Him as though for the first time, drowning in the weight and substance of His presence, the tangible reality of Him, the relief and peace of reaching Him at the end and nothing to do but know Him and love Him and let my heart ease more and more into the knowledge that I am with Jesus fully and I will never leave Him. I know that I am just practicing this knowledge, but Jesus participates in it with me, so that, even though it isn’t the moment itself, Jesus gives Himself so much to me that I almost think it is. For long and longer moments, I forget that it isn’t.

Jesus hardly speaks at all, all His love is given through the warmth of His presence, His loving, gentle gestures, the fact that I can nestle down so deeply into His embrace. I hardly look at His face, but when I do, often I see His eyes open, without depth, full of gentleness and love. Such gentleness! I cannot image anyone wanting to hurt Him.

Fear went through me as I grasped the reality of appearing before the Father. It will happen. What if my harvest of fruits is very poor? I held Jesus tightly. No fear, Jesus said, so quietly and that verse lit into my head, perfect love casts out fear, for fear has to do with punishment.

“Somehow it is done,” I agreed, releasing the fear that I hadn’t been able to do it. “Because of You, because of You,” I realized, clinging to Jesus in relief.

“And you show yourselves to be true followers of Mine,” the verse goes on, I remembering, still holding tightly Jesus. “All glory to You, all glory to You,” I said to Jesus- for, if I have showed myself to be a true disciple of Him, that is all His glory, for He is the One who gave me all I needed to do so.

“The taste of the wine,” I whispered to Jesus, thinking of the Last Supper, and I was with Jesus, who drank that wine in that room.

You are the wine.

February 28, 2017

Heard, Father, the time has come. Now is the time and now is the hour. Saw Jesus turn and look at me out of His eyes of deep gentleness, His face somber, and I went to rest with Him. Saw the tall grasses of a hillside in Nazareth waving in the breeze, went to Jesus there. Saw in particular His crucified hand lying palm up against the ground, picked it up and kissed His hand and curled up in His arms in the nest of the grass.

“Lord,” I breathed, resting against His chest, letting all of myself come to rest in His authority.

Jenny, He said, in His voice peaceful, quiet and still.

Who do you say I am? was echoing in my mind as I was nestled into His arms, and seeing the humanity and reality of Jesus, and also His divinity, the elect One, the anointed One, the Son of God.

“You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God,” I told Him, the wonder of those words striking me anew.

"Let Your Spirit flow, Lord,” I was asking Him as He was pouring love into me. “But I don’t want to ask at an importune time,” wondering if maybe at this time I should focus on myself on adoring Him and not on requests.

This is no importune time, Jesus replied, smiling.

Returned to Jesus in Nazareth, noticed in particular how strong Jesus is. “But You are strong for the work,” I acknowledged. What I cannot lift, He can easily, tipping it right over. It can never be in my strength, but His.

Jesus has laid the way out straight and clear for me to walk down, and there is simply no need for anxiety or stress. Those are useless, needless expenses of emotion that are going nowhere, are no help and actually hinder the perfect work the Lord is already doing.

How Jesus woke in the morning to the darkness before dawn, His eyes flying open, knowing Who and Whose He was and where He was and the work before Him that day, each day.

Oh My heart, Jesus whispered to me. Caught up so much in the drunken ecstasy of love that it was almost too much for my faith. Don’t stumble. My delicate one, Jesus said, turning my face back to His by His hand. Caught up in layers of amber light.

Cast aside the shame of annoying thoughts interrupted the fellowship. "It is finished," I stated, remembering that. Something like rapture washed right over His face like a wave of light, followed by the love and joy deeper, fiercer.

“You will give me all the direction I need, and I am willing to put in the work.”

Perfect arrangement, Jesus said, smiling at me.

March 7, 2017

“Here I am,” through the press of grocery shopping and thoughts on family, house cleaning, writing, guilt of imperfect motherhood, urgent questions. It’s the first time I’ve settled down to meet with Jesus in the midday. Precious Jenny, He says, His voice much quieter and still than these thoughts, and yet heard through them, or despite them.

Rising up like a scent, the memory of Nazareth in the sun, in the workshop of strong sun and shadow, Yeshua just returned with His first few disciples from Capernaum. On the Sabbath day, He will be rejected, but right now, He is welcomed home to His family with rejoicing and cooking and loud, cheerful, familiar voices.

Yeshua, seen in those times, is rough and shaggy looking, with a wind burned and sun darkened face, His beard thick and unkempt, His eyes clear and lit all the way through. They are lit with joy, with anticipation, but steady as still waters. He is still girded for travel and smells like sun and dust and sweat. His disciples are exuberant and starving. His family doesn’t know what to make of Him, but Mary is luminous with quiet joy and she goes on cooking, each movement a graceful dance of thanksgiving, a humming of contentment.

He says hardly anything, each word a living jewel, the quiet tones of His voice strikingly familiar to my ear. Sometimes I cannot even look at Him. Sometimes Jesus comes through the door and only glances at me and that one look is all that is needed. His certain, strong love cuts down to my heart like a blade, and I could not rise from the floor even if I wished. He is my Lord and I am belong entirely to Him. Sometimes He comes through the door dazzling with joy, the delight on His face sparkling like the sunlit spray, and He spreads His hands and looks at me with His dancing eyes and says, “Well?” That’s all He says, but He means, “Well, what do you think, beloved, aren’t you coming to greet Me? Here I am!"

Remembered the inner sanctuary, where He always waits. Saw my bare feet as I ran quickly to meet Him there. Turned inward again, felt His hand resting lightly on my physical shoulders, steadying and comforting. Saw the smoke from in the incense in the inner room rising up, because I am come to be with Him; I light them to tell Him so, before passing into the inmost chamber, but I see Jesus come through the curtain to meet me. Turned inward again, found myself breathing quietly with Jesus in the golden peace.

“Ah, cut down through, cut down through,” I breathed, soaking in both His peace and the fear of God that cuts down through every lesser thing and thought and distraction, leaving me only the Lord and all that is His, and eternal and true.

“What if it’s too much?” I asked, because of the torrent of my grateful, abandoned love.

You cannot be too much for Me, Jesus replied, firmly because He wants no second guessing to hinder the torrent of love that belongs to Him. He wants it all.

“Lord, may it be! May it be on earth as it is in Heaven!” I was praying passionately, my love for Jesus going up in holy flames of awe and adoration, remembering His prayer, and that I was with the One who had prayed it.

My heart.

Again, His longing, the intent of that prayer, the fact that those words were what He spoke aloud on the night of His Passion, filled my understanding and left me with an intense desire that those words should be seen, should be manifest, His prayer answered. “Lord, may it be so! Bring it to pass!”

Jesus should have His prayer answered! He deserves to have it answered! It is extremely important to Him. Jesus could have prayed about or for anything, but those were the words He spoke, those were the requests that filled His heart and directed His attention toward His Father.

March 12, 2017

Jesus showed me a glimpse of Himself before Pilot- laying out the truth before Pilot as an invitation and the man brushes it by in an impervious manner, too sophisticated, too arrogant, to consider the implications. Jesus gave even Pilot an invitation to believe in Him.

There is the otherworldly Son of God, seemingly as helpless as a Lamb, devout, flawless, wholly given over to God with a tested obedience that is leading Him to the cross, declaring the truth whatever the cost, the other is accomplished at the game of politics, playing with truth with a deck of cards, because to him, the main thing is to get the job done, and to get ahead in the process, because that to him is intelligent, is worth doing.

But Pilot was rattled. “Where are You from?” he asked Jesus. Jesus is a profoundly unsettling Person, even to an urbane Roman, who refuses to recognize the truth when he sees Him.

My Kingdom is not of this world- it has no such source or origin, Jesus had already told him.

While Jesus is still wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, he puts Jesus on display before the crowd. I had not realized that, the degree of shame and humiliation that Jesus was put through, to stand recently flogged and displayed in mocking array before an entire crowd of people- His people, and in that place of pain and vulnerability and humiliation, to the hear the crowd call out for His death. He looked for some to have pity, but He found none, neither found He any, as the verse reads. At the cross, there was His mother and John and the women to pity Him, but before Pilot, there was the crowd. They did not say, as Pilot was hoping, oh well, you have flogged Him, I suppose that is punishment enough, let the innocent One go, now that we see His pitiful estate.

Also, Jesus, knowing that all was accomplished, said in fulfillment of the Scriptures, I thirst. I never heard that verse in the same way before. John writes that Jesus was thirsty twice- once at the well and now here. Every detail of John's Gospel has great meaning. Jesus is the well of Living Water, and yet He thirsts.

With fervent desire have I desired to eat this supper with you, Jesus had said, because I tell you the truth, I will not eat of it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of Heaven, and of the wine, He said,  I will not drink of it again until it is new in the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Kingdom of Heaven, for the Lord, the new wine is us in Him. It's a living, endless communion.

Jesus was longing even then, and was thirsting on the cross, fervently desiring to eat the Wedding supper, for the new wine of His Kingdom, but they gave Him vinegar- sour wine. They have it to Him on a sponge with a hyssop branch- that was all they could give Him and as close as they could come.

From the phone:

I'm holding You accountable to Your words!

I know you are, and I love it, Jesus replied.

I danced and sang for Him during the worship service. I remembered Pilot and my Lord standing there with such tattered dignity, such vulnerability but regardless, truth immovable, undisguised, though scorned, and I danced all the more for Him, willing also to be scorned with Him, to bear with Him His reproach, to adore Him in the press of His trial, before He ascends to the throne. My tongue was filled with rising notes of some other language trilling from my throat, my hands kept lifting like birds to take flight, joy poured out to Him.

March 18, 2017

Found Jesus resting within me- I remembered this was true, and I saw it with my inner eyes, He was resting quietly but turned to me with a quiet joy when I reached out to Him. “And lo, I am with you always,” I remembered.

“You are very generous,” I said, as He let me see Him bending tenderly over my chair, leaning down toward me. “And yet strict, because You never let me come to You without at least some measure of faith…” He never bends those rules entirely, always I must believe Jesus to be trustworthy and to be there and to be reliable.

Not yet, Jesus reminded me, because in heaven, no faith will be necessary. It will be open and full and complete.

“Not putting Him to the test, but worshiping Him,” I thought to myself, remembering how it was.

Yes, Jesus whispered.

March 27, 2017

“I want to drink from that cup in Your hand,” I had sung aloud to Jesus in the words of the song they had sung at the last of the Sunday service. It was a beautiful song, and I directed that line right at Jesus, with all my heart, with all my longing.

Then this morning He gave me to drink from it; I did not understand the intensity and insistence of His love until I remembered how I had sung to Him.

May Jesus Christ, by faith, actually settle down and dwell in your hearts through faith. When He dwells in our heart, He does not dwell at the far edges or in some corner or in some uncomfortable, formal chair. He dwells right in the warm, living heart, in the closest relationship to us.

I love you.

"You love me! You love me!" I repeated in wonder. Jesus who gave the Sermon on the Mount loves me. He holds me in His arms and loves me. “Your love does not make allowances for wrong doing, but it brings me up into right alignment with Your holiness and righteousness. Your love lifts me into right standing, Your right standing, which is perfect,” I said, realizing this. As I was saying this, Jesus tightened His arms and drew me against His heart.

“This is what He wanted,” I said to myself in contentment, held so close in His arms, my cheek against His beating heart, meaning in the ages past, before we ever came into being, when He was only thinking of us, it was the warm, living closeness, the intimacy of mutually chosen, pure and faithful love given, and receiving His love in return with joy and delight and gratitude. It was that which Jesus longed for and gave everything He had for, that was what Jesus wanted all along.

So much, Jesus said, His voice clear and certain, from above my head, because mine was tucked under His chin, and unexpected, because sometimes I forget that He reads all my thoughts.

March 29, 2017

Yesterday was the woman’s prayer meeting. We wrote down prayer needs on slips of paper, which I thought we would hand in to the leader, but we found a person to exchange them with and keep the other’s to pray over. The woman in front of me turned around and it was that lovely sister who also is in the prayer ministry, to whom I feel a strong and good connection. I was delighted and asked her if she would like to pray with me, and she said yes, she had been thinking of me as well.

Her prayer request hit me strongly, because Jesus has put a desire to pray for that deep within my heart, and so when it came time to pray, the prayer was taking hold of me even while she was still speaking and I said, “Can we get down on our knees?” Because I couldn't really dig in and follow the prayer until I was in that posture. We did and I put my hand on my head, which I can’t help doing somehow, and I began to pray. I realized that my voice was getting louder and louder, but I couldn’t help it, and I said Jesus' words that He had said in Nazareth- that the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon Him to break out the prisoners from captivity and to bind up the broken hearted and that this person we were praying for was His, His own creation and that He had a destiny for them and that even as He was right then seated at the right hand of God, His name above every other name that can be named, that He break them free and heal them in every way and exalt His name of life in their life and show forth His glory in the world and that He was arranging a pathway of light (which I could see as I was praying) a straight path of healing and that He was arranging people to come and to speak life and healing to them, to heal them in every way- emotionally, spiritually, physically- that He would restore their soul.

“So you’re gifted in warfare,” said my sister, as she was getting up from kneeling down. Her eyes were shining.

I was delighted to hear this, because I didn’t think that I was. “I don’t know,” I said honestly, spreading out my hands, palm up. “That’s just the way I pray.” But I treasured this confirmation, because it is rare that I receive this type, as I rarely ever speak aloud about my inner life, including my prayers, I only write about them. (I'm her prayer partner now.)

When I came home, I lifted the prayer requests up to God. Each time, the Holy Spirit came down over me so that I was gasping for air, and after each prayer, I went down on my face before my Lord Jesus in gratitude that He heard the prayer, that He answers, for His faithfulness, His love, His mercy, His attention to us.

“But now I want to love on You,” I confessed to Jesus, after recording the above, knowing myself to be in His arms as He rests in me. “I don’t want to be constantly barraging You with requests…”

“Lord, unstop the wells of their hearts, Lord and let their love for You gush up freely! Let their love flow up sweetly and freely for You…” I was standing in His arms on the upper court, when we had come to, after I had met Him at the one even above that. I had met Him on my knees, and He had dropped also to His knees and for a long time, I rested my head against His heart and delighted myself just in being close to Jesus. Then we dropped down a floor, because that higher place felt too formal to speak to Him very easily in.

“Lord, You are so good to let us love you, because we love to! It is so good of You to let us come close to you! Lord, if it is Your will, open the doors and let those who are consecrated to You come close to You and minister to You,” I was saying, and Jesus lifted one arm and pointed to something behind me, His face lit up. “If it is Your will, I don’t want to interfere in things of Heaven.”

Felt a great sense of weariness pass over me, tempted to think of everything that I must do as overwhelming, and pushed it aside, as I have been learning to do, and instead, accepting those things as good gifts, and saw Jesus sweep me up in His arms, so I wouldn’t have to walk, He would carry me.

"I will do all that I can, because this rest is coming,” I reaffirmed, my head resting back against the arms of Jesus, knowing that soon I will see Him and I will never afterward be parted from Him, but have Him and be with Him forever. All the work will be finished.

Ah, My Jenny, little offshoot, Jesus murmured in love. I saw myself, a tender little living branch, attached to and growing from the vine with great delight and rest and closeness.

"Ah, flawless Branch of Heaven,” I sighed, putting my cheek against His heart, knowing Jesus Himself lives in me and waits for my love, and I do not want to leave Him waiting, and as I said this, I saw a huge vine grow right up out of His heart, which I have seen several times before, but I still don’t know what it means.

I don’t think I’ve been recording this, but I have learned something really important and that is, that it is really true that we may flee at once to the Mercy Seat to ask for help in times of trouble- this is a specific kind of trouble that I've been learning about. It’s when we are being tempted. If at that time, we remember that we may go right into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as He sits on the throne, and throw oneself at His feet and beg for help to escape the temptation, Jesus moves and He moves with great power and immediately.

Sometimes, I throw myself at His feet and cry out, "Your holy work of long suffering love in Your own is being threatened, my Lord and they are too great for me! Don't let Your work be destroyed or hurt!" And I point backwards and pour out my heart without words against the corrupting influence, whether it is of atmosphere or thoughts, which can sometimes be like a cloud of awfulness through which I am passing. At those times, when I cry out to Jesus for His help, I know that I am most fiercely loved, most deeply treasured and that whatever troubles me, causes thunder of righteous indignation in my Lord and a lightening flash of fierce, swift answer.

It is very true that the Lord does not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle, but He provides a way of escape so that we do not fall into sin. We can ask for this and expect the answer. This does not mean an escape from suffering or trials, but escape from that which would cause us to sin against God.

"Who is My mother and my sister and my brother? They are those that do the will of My Father,” I remembered Jesus saying.

“I like to please You so much, so much,” I was confessing, with burning heart, as I went back to Jesus, because it is true! I love to please the Lord, I love to fill His heart to overflowing, I love to delight Him, and He was pulling me strongly into His arms and into the torrent of His love as I was speaking.

And then after writing this, I felt tired and wondered when the music would end, letting me know an hour has passed! Such is my humanity. But Jesus is so faithful, so tender, so forgiving. He must be, for the flesh is weak. But Jesus reminds me that in weakness His strength is made perfect, and so that makes me a excellent vessel for Him.