Category: Practicing His Presence


This is actually a pretty straightforward deal, but it stuck out enough today that I just wanted to put it down.  Listening to Neville Johnson again, and as he was talking about getting into the Spirit, he jumped on the heart for a minute.  The heart is sort of the bridge between the soul and spirit.  It’s a little of both when you see the heart mentioned in scriptures.  Interesting thought, but one of the side comments he mentioned was “when your conscious is clear, there is a bridge opened in the spirit”.

Makes perfect sense to me.  When I’m unrepentant, I can’t seem to be with God.  I’ve noticed this a bit.  You’ve probably heard me mention that when I get off away from God, it’s like I don’t try, cause I don’t really play the “quiet time” game.  Need to clarify, nothing wrong with quiet time, I’m speaking of the routine that we’re supposed to do this set of things everyday.  When I’m off in sin, it just doesn’t work.  When I come to God and repent, suddenly it’s clearer.  I can feel His presence, I can hear Him speak.

So I guess I should make sure that early in this process you need to repent of everything.  That’s really part of the openness/honesty, and even bond servant.  If you’re not clear before God, you can’t hear.

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Something that’s been on my mind about myself lately and thought I’d just write it out.  You can hear God.  Seriously.  Not the “I feel like God may be opening this door to take this new job”, but hearing the words of God in your heart.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” – John 10:27

It’s right there.  The sheep are those that follow Jesus, and the sheep hear His voice.  You can hear God.

But I don’t hear Him.  I thought the same thing for a while.  These last couple years that I’ve been up and down a lot and basically waffling on how much I really hear him.  I like how Bobby Conner said ( I think it was him, might have been Andrew Womack ).  The Holy Spirit sounds like you.  From what I understand of Sadhu, if God or Jesus talk directly to you, you know.  But the Holy Spirit, He just sounds like a thought in your head.  Except it wasn’t from you.  The trick for me was recognizing this voice.

First lets stop and say, you can be “deaf”.  Think hardness of heart.  That comes by ignoring God.  If you feel this way, and you’ll probably have an idea as you felt God has been telling you something and you ignored it in the past, then repent and tell Him you’re ready to listen and obey.  That part is sort of key.

Getting past that though, we mainly don’t hear God because we won’t take the time to listen.  I can tell you this so much in my life.  When you say your 5 minute prayer, say Amen, then get on to your TV show, God can’t do much.  If you’re working too much, doing things with your family and barely sleeping(like I was doing) and not giving any time to God, then you’re in trouble.  Here’s a couple things I’ve found.

  1. You have to be quiet – Car rides, great, spend time just talking to God and letting your mind flow free.  Sadhu is big about Waiting on God and emptying your mind of all thought.  I often find that a quiet focused mind and letting it just wander works better for me.  I suspect the completely quiet mind leads to a clearer voice, I’ll let you know as I get better at that.  Today I dropped by a prayer room nearby.  I just sat, picked out a topic, spoke to the Lord about it, and then just slowly pondered in my head.  That led to the next, then the next.  I didn’t have a list, I didn’t have a timeframe.  Funny thing is, i got an idea for a cover of my book(hadn’t thought about that in a bit), more thoughts on intro, chapter for a different book I’ve thought about writing, validation on some things myself, some intercession.  I felt like I was in His presence.  Nothing big and heavy, just a light calm presence.  Then I looked down at my watch and over 45 minutes had just passed.  It felt like 10-15.  Let me tell you, a couple years ago, praying for 45 minutes would’ve been a chore, now it’s relaxing.  But!!!  It only works when I have the time and can completely separate myself.  Nothing I need to get to quickly, no other concerns on my mind, I have to completely set aside the time for God.  This is harder than you realize, but something you can figure out.
  2. Believe you hear Him – Like I mentioned, I go back and forth sometimes about what I think I hear from God, as I said, it sounds like my own thoughts.  So I’ve had a lot of things for this book I’m writing but I wouldn’t really even tell people, as I’m afraid it’s just me coming up with something silly.  Then I went to that meeting with the prophet nearby.  I thought again today about one fo the comments he made.  “You hear God clearly”.  I think God was trying to reinforce that I do hear Him.  I just need the have faith in what He’s saying and go with it.  Oh sure, I’ll get some wrong, but that’s why you measure the words you get.  I had just put too much on doubt.
  3. Recognize His voice – This is the hardest.  Time is all I can say.  Messages from the spiritual realm will typically be like spontaneous thought.  It can be on the topic you’re thinking about(harder to pick out), or something you didn’t even have in your mind.  Those are the easier ones to know.  Something you hadn’t specifically thought about pops into your head, there’s a good chance that’s from a spirit.  Now measure it.  Is it edifying.  What’s the emotion/feeling you get behind it.  That’s a strange thing to say, but you’ll begin to notice that over time.  A word has a feeling to it.  Does it glorify God or yourself.  Neville says put it through the filters.  “Whatever is pure, whatever is just….”(Phillipians 4:8)
  4. Imagine yourself with Jesus – You can go for God to, but put your imagination there.  Think of him sitting next to you, or in a garden. I actually have a specific “Garden” that I feel God often meets me at.  I can typically picture that and walk in, and find myself in His presence.
  5. Don’t stress about a schedule – Discipline is great, but I got so caught up on certain times for a quiet time, how much to worship, read, intercession, that I started not getting enough sleep, and I think just bothering God with my checklist rather than my heart.  If you have a scheduled quiet time every day, that is awesome, good job.  Make sure you find time to just sit with Him though.

The clearest I’ve been hearing God lately was:

  1. 1.5 hour car ride to a funeral by myself – I could just sit and worship, think about things, and basically just quietly contemplate the Lord.  I wasn’t headed to work, there was no other people around, and I purposed in my heart to just spend the time with God.  So I could turn off the music and just chat.
  2. Hour or so in the prayer room – Quiet music playing, no distractions.  I just sat on a couch and closed my eyes and didn’t worry about any time limit.

I’ve had to ease up on feeling shame.  My schedule has made it very hard to get a certain time of the day to find this sort of time.  First of all, who said I needed to have prayer, intercession, worship, praise, bible reading, meditation, etc all in one day at one time.  Right now I’m just trying to make God my joy, my first, and putting the time in I have.  So the last couple days I dropped out a bunch of things that were a complete waste of time and unfruitful.  I’ve tried to just start with things like family, work, writing, scriptural books, listening to pastors, Bible(of course), etc.  I try not to think on tv shows, movies, facebook, etc.   Why waste the time.  Think of it sort of like a fast.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Ok, so let’s start with an initial review of the book.

Basically, I thought it was great.  So far I’ve listened to a lot from Sadhu Sundar Selvaray and Neville Johnson about topics like this.  I’m personally not as focused on seeing in the Spirit as just walking with God.  To do so, I need to see Him, I need to hear Him, I need to be in His presence.  So this topic sort of fits into the goal, but not as much that I may see as I may know Him.  That’s one thing I do know through this.  You do not pursue spiritual encounters, or gifts, or events.  You pursue God.  If in your pursuit you look for encounters, great.  If in your pursuit a gift will make you more useful, awesome.  But you pursue God.  “One thing I ask of the Lord, and this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.  To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple”.  ( Psalm somewhere )

So, what I found great about this book was having more practical examples of someone on the journey.  It’s great to hear about the experiences people have, that will motivate and push us on, but if those people cannot convey the path, it’s hard to follow.  Michael broke this down into a bit more practical pieces.  His examples on how he began to see in the Spirit were especially good, as he gave us some “on the way” moments.  He also gave a lot of good basics for the journey, things you need to avoid and watch for.  What I had hoped more for was his own journey.  I really love to hear about someone when they decided this is possible, the path they took, and how it happened.  I know we don’t follow the same path, but it’s like a lot of these guys gloss over the process, probably because it took a while and so many little steps and other things.  Who knows.  Still, it gave me a bit of new material and as always a bit more motivation to get going.

 I’ve pasted in all the sections I marked in the book below, it’s a bit, so read if you want.

 

Seems like everyone says “you are as close to god as you want to be”. Must be right on if pretty much everyone says so variation of it. And it’s true in my life I’m sure. If I wanted more in the past I would’ve tried harder and focused more. Instead I like things as they are.

Breaking through your soul to the spirit

By reading and studying and meditating on the Word of God, the Word breaks those ties between your spirit and soul.

The more you meditate on the Word, the greater the separation becomes and the more your spirit becomes unencumbered with the soul and the flesh. And at this point, actual spiritual veils that cover your eyes begin to be removed.
Practical comments about starting to see in the spirit. Spoke to me as I have some of these things happen, little things you want to dismiss even though you know it was there. This just helped give me confidence that something is happening. It’s a process

They were things that most people would dismiss as a “trick of the light”, or as “your eyes playing tricks on you”. (It is something you need to keep in mind from here forward.) There would be a small flash of light on my left, a movement of some sort on my right and various shifting colors in front of me that I couldn’t quite see clearly.

Always back to practicing the presence



We can focus our attention on natural things and be fully engaged spiritually. We do this by meditating on the Word, or by “Practicing the presence of God.” (Brother Lawrence 1614-1691)

And waiting on God. Again everyone speaks of that.

One of the things I heard early on from everyone who had any degree of spiritual sight, was, you have to “wait on the Lord.” As you wait on the Lord, you position yourself to receive from God.
is your mentor, you will not be spinning your wheels on this journey and wasting your time.

What i liked here was his version. He basically likes to pick nights times to wait, often staying. Up late or getting up in the night, not so much focused on every day.



We cannot and must not pursue the gifts as an end to themselves. No matter how good our reasons might be. Yes, I want to lay hands on the sick and see them healed. Yes I love to see and experience the miraculous things of God. And I love being in the spirit. And I love seeing angels. But all those things have to flow out of our relationship with Him.
It is crucial that you honor the little things, the little strides you make as you go along. You will then be in position to receive greater. As we begin to move into practical application, be very aware of every improvement, everything that your senses pick up helps you develop greater capacity.

Removing veils



What removes the veils? What puts all those holes and cuts and tears in them? Well, there is quite a list that is covered in an upcoming chapter but for starters I will tell you that it’s things like repentance, forgiveness, sanctification and warfare. It really isn’t difficult, it’s just hard. To remove the veils when we’ve spent years, allowing them to cover us through sin, doubt, ignorance and other things, takes a commitment of our time.

Random comment from Bob Jones that just stood out to me

I walked over to Bob and asked him, “How long do you have to wait for prophetic revelation?” And his answer to me was, “Until it comes.”

More focus on repentance. I know holiness is key to relationship, but he had some more practical things to say in this book.



The first thing about repentance is the obvious thing. If you have any sin in your life you have to repent. Turn and go the other way. Get extreme. Repent for yourself, your family, your household, and your ancestors. Leave no stone, as they say.
The Lord loves it when we repent. And He is not sitting off in the sky somewhere disinterested in our lives. He isn’t waiting to punish us when we get it wrong. He gave me a lesson in repentance I will never forget and I never felt one iota of condemnation from Him. He is a good God.

In addition to reading the word and in addition to praying and asking God to sanctify me, I ask the Lord for His holy fire to cleanse and sanctify me.
Personally, I minister deliverance to myself every day.
Prophetess Ana Mendez Ferrell has a book on iniquity that lays it all out as to what it is and how to deal with it. I highly recommend that you read it. It will change your life.
leave the other half undone. To give you an idea of the scope and thoroughness that I’m talking about, when I did this it took me three weeks of constantly asking the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of my life or acts that I needed to repent over. And to be completely honest, I don’t think I’m done yet. When you have done this, you then command all of the garbage, and all of the physical substance formed by iniquity to leave you in Jesus’ name. I prayed and commanded this for my spirit, soul and body. Be prepared to possibly be sick for a couple of days as this stuff leaves you. I personally wasn’t sick but I just kept spitting stuff up for a few days.
Practices to do



Engaging the Kingdom Revelation –Ask the Lord to give you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation. Find a quiet time that you won’t be disturbed and spend some time with the Lord. I plan on at least forty-five minutes to an hour and a half. Repentance –I know it’s hard but ask the Lord to bring to mind every sin. Anything you could possibly repent for and do it. Do it just before you go to bed and then ask the Lord to give you further revelation about it as you sleep. Sanctification –Find a quiet place and a quiet time to do this. Sit very, very still in a comfortable chair and close your eyes and ask the Lord to sanctify you. At first ask aloud, but after a few minutes, ask in your mind and picture the lord pouring fire on your head every time you ask. Again, spend at least forty-five minutes doing this. I mentioned earlier that I spent two hours and the result is pure joy. Deliverance –Invest in a book such as “Pigs in the Parlor” by Frank Hammond, or another book that lists groupings of evil spirits. Read through the list and command anything that has invaded your life to leave in Jesus’ name. Even if this sounds distasteful to you, just do it at least once to cover all the bases, so to speak. Iniquity –Get Ana Mendez Ferrell’s book and follow the full instructions laid out for removing iniquity.
We already have it



All we are doing is enforcing a victory that Christ has already won for us. His authority and power are on display in our lives, not our own. As we speak His word, angelic armies are set in motion. The more your eyes open, the more you will see the reality of this. …The joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8: 10)
Do not strive for your spiritual sight. Know that the Lord wants you to see. Know that the Lord will not withhold any good thing from you. And do your warfare from that place of confidence in God that He has already won the victory. Do it with joy!

Focused prayer. I’ve been realizing this is important more lately and it’s always good to get some validation.

When you pray, try to be focused on what you are praying about. In general, that is a good rule. Specific to our journey, as you pray for your eyes to open, pray with your entire being. Pray with your voice, your desire, your soul, your consciousness and with your thoughts.

Praying for others

as we pray for others to get the blessings they need from the Lord, He also blesses us.
Pressing through in prayer is praying until you have a sense that something has been done. Something has been accomplished.

Forgot why I marked this, I think good verses to pray over your family



… As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24: 15) No weapon formed against us shall prosper…. (Isaiah 54: 17) He has given His angels charge over us… (Psalms 91: 11) Angels listen for God’s word to perform it. And they do. The Bible says Thou shalt also decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee, and light shall shine upon thy ways. (Job 22: 28) There is power in your decree and in your agreement with this word of the Lord. If you decree on the authority of the Word that your eyes will open and see clearly, it will come to pass. The Lord is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. If He said it, will He not do it? (Numbers 23: 19)

More practice

Engaging the Kingdom Prayer –Pick something that you really need or you really want to pray about. Pray exactly the way I described it to you. See the prayer coming to pass in your mind and imagination. Keep your whole being engaged and of one accord. Do this at first for at least ten minutes and try to add more time as you continue. It becomes easier. Intercession –There is someone in your life who you really have no desire to pray for. Think for a few minutes on where this person may spend eternity. Ask the Lord to give you a burden for this person. Give them one hour of the best blessing and prayer that anyone has ever prayed over them. Afterward, sit very quiet and still and ask the Lord if He wants to tell you anything, and then listen for his voice. Or, if there is someone with a great need, intercede the same way for two hours. Decree, Declare and Prophesy! –Consider any problem or situation you have going on in your life. Decree every day ten times a day what you desire to come to pass. Do this for a week and watch God move. Declare every morning and every night just before sleep that the eyes of your heart are being enlightened. And finally, prophesy over your home. “Home, you are a Bethel and a gateway to Heaven. You are a habitation of angels. You are a place to reveal the Lord’s glory!” As you do these things, be sensitive to the spiritual atmosphere around you and in your home. See how the atmosphere changes. In all these “exercises” be aware of what is going on around you.
Journaling. Interesting how he talked about putting value to what god shows by writing it down. I noticed if I don’t write things down, I will forgot no matter what impression it made on me.

One of the very first things you should do is buy a journal or a notebook of some kind.
Workouts and waiting – good practical stuff if you’re not sure how to wait on God

Being aware is the first step. You know the spiritual reality is right there where you can reach out and touch it. It’s closer than that. Stillness is a key. You can’t sense or feel or see anything if you are preoccupied with anything in the natural. You have to take some time to do your “workout.” Five minutes here and two minutes there will do nicely because it will keep you engaged more so than spending an hour and then forgetting about it.
When you wait on the Lord, you are making yourself available to Him. Whatever you want Lord, is what you are saying. My time is your time.
After everyone goes to bed and I’m pretty sure they are asleep, I go to my prayer chair downstairs. My prayer chair is a big comfortable, overstuffed chair in the living room. Sometimes I will kneel first, just to acknowledge Jesus’ lordship over my life. Sometime I will stay there for a while and sometimes for only a few minutes. Then I sit in my chair and purposely try to get as comfortable as possible. It can be very distracting if you are in an uncomfortable position while you are trying to pray. I repent of any known or unknown sins in my life. I ask the Lord to remove anything that defiles me and anything that offends Him. Sometimes I ask the Lord to send His Seraphim with coals to sanctify me. And then I sit very, very still. I stress this because if you are thinking about all the movements that you are making, scratching your nose, adjusting your glasses or just moving too much, your focus will be divided. You are trying to engage the spirit realm and your focus will be on the natural. You don’t want to divide your focus. So now I’m comfortable and I’m sitting very still with my eyes closed. Sometimes I will picture the Lord Jesus in my mind. This is very much like if I asked you to close your eyes and “see” what your house looks like. Or, sometimes I will think about a scripture or even a previous vision that the Lord has shown me. Now I wait. I wait with the expectation that the Lord will speak to me or manifest Himself to me in some way. I “listen” as if I am on guard and I have to be diligent to hear any strange sounds no matter how faint they may be. In other words I actively listen. 
I just want to take a minute to remind you that as believers we have a right to seek and expect for the Lord to visit with us or appear to us or embrace anything else He wants to do. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me, and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him (John 14: 21

Imagination

Use your imagination in every part of your Christian walk. Use it in prayer, and in worship. Use it while waiting on the Lord, or when praying for the sick. Practice using your imagination by putting yourself into biblical scenes or imagine the visions that John or Ezekiel describe as if they are happening to you. What will happen is that you will find yourself being “pulled” into these visionary experiences. The doorway is your imagination.

Another practice session
Engaging the Kingdom Journaling –Get your journal started. Let your first entry be a prayer to the Lord that He Himself would fill that journal with mighty exploits that give Him glory! Exercise your Senses –Pick the hour that will best work for you, morning or night, and spend ten to fifteen minutes looking on the unseen. Also, take a few minutes to also do this as you wait on the Lord. Waiting on God –This one is your key to supernatural adventures in God. Do not neglect this. You will not be disappointed. Do the things I described for you and try to wait on the Lord for forty-five minutes to an hour and a half. If you are able to spend more time with the Lord, maybe on a day when you don’t have to get up early the next day, go a little longer! Imagination –Pick out some scriptures that you really love, and imagine yourself as being there. Imagine the sights, sounds, smells, feelings and emotions. Try to make a promise to yourself that you will do this at least twice a week until it starts to transport into the experience.

I’ve seen this verse a lot, it hasn’t hit home with me like other things by it’s mentioned by a lot of people

God is no respecter of persons, what He does for another He will do for you.
can honestly say that watching and participating with this program has taken our family into the most incredible things we have ever experienced! Again, it’s the power of a testimony!

Be hungry

If you are hungry for God, go wherever you have to. If you are hungry to see, get around the people who already do. I like how Pastor Bill Johnson addresses this subject. “Everyone says you shouldn’t follow after signs and wonders. I say follow them until they start following you!”
He wants us to be hungry. He wants us to contend for His presence. He wants us to draw from Him and drink from His provision.
If you want your home to be a place where you see angels and even strangers feel the presence of God, you have to make it so.

Fasting

Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen and confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what

I mentioned that sometimes I’m led by the Lord before I fast. You cannot live a fasted life that way though. Fast even without being led, even if it’s only a meal, or a day.
There is extreme power in extreme actions when they are born of God.
The power of prayer and fasting together cannot be over emphasized. Giving up the desire of your body to eat and then also giving up the desires of your soul (your agenda) so that you can pray, will overcome any and every obstacle.

Another practice round

Fasting –Make a commitment to fast at least one meal, twice a week. Also, pick a day when you won’t be expected to eat, and fast the day. If that seems daunting at all, then fast from desserts or breads for a day. God will honor that. He is training us. He is our helper. As your experience with fasting deepens, then you can fast a full day, then three days, then seven. If you have medical issues, be smart and don’t make yourself ill. As your eyes are opened to the supernatural, your fasting will be motivated by the incredible experiences the lord gives you. Extreme Prayer –Pick something or someone you are passionate about, and go double the distance you have prayed before. If you’ve prayed an hour, go two, if two, go four. Get up and pray during the watch of the night. The supernatural realm seems to be more accessible during the night watch. If you have a day or can take a day and focus on prayer, try praying in tongues for eight hours. Don’t strain for it. Pray all day but don’t let it be work. Work gets tedious too fast. Keep joy in your prayer front and center. At the end of your prayer, always try to sit in stillness for at least ten minutes to really feel God’s presence and let Him speak to you. • Make sure and keep journal entries for your times of prayer and fasting. It will be a great benefit as you look and see what works for you and what doesn’t.
no longer focus on “not” committing sins. That is one thing the Lord showed me early on. If you focus on not committing the sin, you are still focused on the sin. If I feel tempted in any type of sin, or even if I don’t, my focus turns to Christ. Any thought that would offend the Lord is driven out and I imagine Him standing right there with me as if He can see my thoughts, because He can.
I try to practice the presence of the Lord in an ongoing manner, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

Time is important

A great benefit of spending a lot of time in God’s presence a, is that His presence also surrounds your atmosphere,
Going back over my journal entries, I’ve discovered that if I spend at least a couple of hours a day in prayer, my eyes are open. If I spend less, it’s kind of hit and miss. If I spend much less, my eyes being opened seem to be completely a sovereign thing.

This was actually intended to be more of a humorous post, but a little bit of truth jumped into it today while listening to Neville.  I believe his statement from a message I heard today was something like, “If you are really searching for truth, then the Holy Spirit will be more than happy to teach you”.  The point being, that if you are open to the truth, willing to put what you believe aside in search of truth itself, then God will teach you.  It seems like an obvious thing, until it happens and you realize this isn’t so hard.  How do I describe this…

The person in an addiction who says it isn’t hurting anyone.

The wife who reads about being kind and submissive, but berates her husband because he cannot remember everything she expects him to.

The evangelical who reads of the baptism of the spirit and decides it’s not that important.

On and on and on

Those words from the Lord that speak to us, but go against what we believe is right.  Often it’s not even sin, but our own theology that stops us.

So back to me.  I’m a little bitter lately.  I am.  Hate to say it, but there it is.  Part of the reason I haven’t posted much at all is because I’m just that busy.  If you read this, it should be pretty obvious I don’t exactly go proofreading what I right, it’s pretty much stream of consciousness.  So it moved to a new level lately.  I’ve spoken of my average days, well lately I’ve become known as the guy who writes 1am emails for work.  Why, because that’s my first time to get free to make up some work time I missed earlier in the day for other reasons.  I stay busy.  And not necessarily for great reasons.

So yesterday I’m going along, cleaning the house.  Worked all day, got home, ate dinner, started cleaning, for a while.  In the middle of this, I’m trying to talk to the Lord.  I’m trying to not be bitter here, but bitterness is a sneaky little booger.  So I found myself asking, “Lord, how am I supposed to keep a good attitude when I’m just constantly working?”.

Well, should’ve known better than to ask.

“What’s your motive?  Do you do this work because you have to or because you want to?”

Ouch.

There’s some feeling behind the words, they hit directly home to me, but written it may not be as obvious.  Basically the Spirit was saying if my motive was to work hard to bless my family by doing all I could, I wouldn’t have an attitude issue”.  Let me tell you, that’s not what the bitter guy wants to hear.  So here I am, the Holy Spirit just nonchalantly smacks me down, and I’m thinking to myself, why did I ask.

Moral of the story, make sure you want to know the truth before you ask.

Real moral, the truth is always worth it.

 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4

It’s easy to write this when things are going well.  When you’re walking in what I consider is the typical american lifestyle where your biggest problem is making sure you can get everywhere you’re supposed to, how to buy all the gifts.  Where you are worn out not from work, but work, friends, family, activities, sports, and everything else.  When your problems aren’t bad, it’s easy to consider a trial a blessing.  But when you’re in the muck, when you look around and hope is far off, that’s where the joy is hard.

That’s where I have been.  The Spirit brought this back to my memory and opened it up (just a little) for me.  You see, our life is full of opportunities.  We have a chance to become close to the Lord.  To know Him, see Him, walk with Him.  But the choice is on our side, not His.  We choose how close to God we are.  How do we choose, but every little action we take.  By the time we spend, by what we do, by how we handle problems.  I’ve long thought you can see what’s inside a person when you see them during the heavy trials.  Well, there’s not much in me to be proud about.  Except for who I belong to.

So here I am, and the Holy Spirit is telling me that every trial that arises is a chance for me to grow.  It’s a chance to make myself more like Jesus, to draw closer.  Think about that verse, consider it joy in trails, because trials bring perservance, and “let perseverance finish its work”.  The work, to make you complete.  So here I am these last couple years knowing that I fall short, knowing that God has set soooo much more before us on the table, and i’m partaking of so little, and this really sinks down.  Suddenly I see it, and accept this trial, I embrace it.  This is one of the hardest times for me, yet, it has such opportunity.  If I will take each trail, humble myself, and dig farther into Jesus.  Respond from the grace He’s giving, it will shape me.  It will dig out the rotten in my soul and cleanse me.  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.

Whenever despair hits because I’m helpless in the face of my challenges, I look at that challenge in the face and say to myself, “Awesome, here’s a chance to perfect myself, here’s a chance to make a big jump toward God is a short time-frame.”  So I find joy there.  Joy that this deep trail may also be a deep grace to give me opportunity.  If I can find joy and strength in each trial, if I choose each moment to focus upon Jesus, upon the “hope of His calling”, then just perhaps I may find my Lord in a new way at the end.

I really am sick of living the “normal Christian life”.  Of taking the steps, but not really having that relationship that I know it’s possible.  To walk with God as some of those in the Bible have.

Ok I feel like I’ve lost that inspiration that I have sometimes when I’m writing these things, and now I’m just rambling.  I think I’ll just stop here.

So sorry everyone.  We’ve been through a rough time here.  My wife has some medical problems going on and it has consumed much and thrown everything off.  The good news is that it’s not looking to be any sort of life-threatening sort of issue ( though that was up in the air up until an ER trip we finally took ), but it is a short-term sort of life-altering thing.  Lots of stuff she can’t do for now.  On top of that we had some other things pop up, and I’ve had a hard enough time just keeping going here, helping, work, child, etc.  So, if you’ve wondered about the lack of posts, there you go.

So about two days ago, I pull back up my list of scriptures.  I have a short list that I’m memorizing/meditating on always.  I hadn’t pulled it up in a while, so I pull it up and hit the first scripture.  Before I even stick it on here, let me say that I don’t remember even adding this one to the top of the list, and i think God somehow ordained this to happen.  Probably I saw it and added it, but it didn’t really sink in at the time, because He was waiting for the right time to sync it in, which was a day or two ago.

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. – Colossians 3:1-4

What am I on but a journey to seek those things.  It’s funny to look at this verse, knowing that in the past I always pushed this off as looking for things the fruit of the spirit, or a deeper faith, rather than the literal thing I sure believe it is.

What is there to seek up above where Christ is seated but the Kingdom of Heaven itself.  Since we’re raised up already, we should seek that.  It’s not saying since you’re raised up go do this or that work, but to seek God, Christ, Heaven, etc.  I really don’t see any other explanation here than to be seeking the very things these men like Neville and Sadhu are preaching.  That we can be in the Spirit with the Lord.  That we can know Him there and walk there.

Set your mind upon the things above, not on the earth.  So though I walk through this world, I work, I have a family, I do things for others, yet my mind must be SET on that which is above.  As it says, we’ve died and our life is in Christ.  I think perhaps this is one of the hardest areas for me.  When I get really honest, I have to see in my feelings and mind that I’m ok with God.  Now don’t jump ahead of me here, let me try to explain.  I’ve grown up being taken care of, went to school, college, got a job.  I’ve worked hard and always had everything I needed.  Until I got my own family, I really had very few worries.  I get sick, I go to the doctor.  Hurt myself, it heals. Things have always worked out.  Of course I’ve always believe in God, I’ve tried to follow Him well, but to be honest, it always seemed like I could take care of things.  That’s why it’s hard for me to understand sometimes these people in scriptures.  For example the apostles and those who were converted in Acts.  How excited, over-joyed, devoted they were.  The apostles I can understand because they had known Jesus intimately.  They’ve seen some of the secrets of the Kingdom, but the others.  I think part of it was that they understood the fleetingness of life.  They understood how little peace they had, what insecurity there was, those sorts of things.  Here in America, many of us don’t.  Many of us have so much going for us, we can live in a world of delusion thinking things are ok.  It’s hard to break out..

So this scripture hits me here.  I am dead and my life is hidden in Christ.  I need to seek those things above, to set my mind upon them, to reach and strive for those things above all else.  Everything else needs to fall aside or fall in line.  My goal is heaven.

It brings to mind the Ephesians prayer.. “to know the hope of his calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power toward those who believe.”  Can you imagine if you actually knew these things, what would it do to your life.  You’d never be the same.

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-unless you repent. (‭Revelation‬ ‭2‬:‭1-5‬ NASB)

I was curious about this so I went out and read a number of posts and websites talking about this scripture. I found them all to be lacking what I was feeling. Especially one in particular. He interpreted the above as a church which had gotten so religious that they focused mainly upon their own rituals and activities and lost track of Jesus. I just don’t see that. God told them that they “endured for His names sake and did not grow weary.” This isnt a church that lost sight of God at all.

I tend to fall upon the revelations of William Branham here. I believe his revelations were proved by his ministry, by the signs and wonders performed. Don’t believe all that you read. In the revelation the Lord gave him, the Ephesians were the first church age, basically from Pentacost through about 235 AD(Nicean council) if I remember correctly. This seems right to me as it speaks of apostles and a vibrant church that did many things. Apostles really haven’t been in place much since the beginning. Some call themselves apostles but not many walk it. So we are talking about the church back then, the kind where peters “shadow” healed people, where Paul put a whole church city in turmoil just by witnessing not of Christ. A time when the power of God was manifest. And this, one of the most powerful churches, God said they lost their love.

Instead of a the previous writer I mentioned who tried to apply this scripture to the current church, you need that context. So what was the problem. That they were seeing such a successful ministry, that they were bringing all these people to Christ, changing the world, but they forgot something.

In the end, what were we made for? To be sons of God, to be friends, to be a bride. Our first role is that of a priest, to minister to God, then to take that to a world. If that relationship begins to suffer, we can cover it over with more effort, but God knows.

No, our initial purpose is to love God. This does not involve mission trips, or bible studies, or even witnessing. This is not the message I tend to hear among many of the evangelical churches I’ve know, even the pentacostal ones.  They focus on your participation, your giving, your sacrifice.  What they cannot see is your heart.  No, this involves coming alone in your room, and loving Him. Talking with Him, meditating upon all His words(Bible or rema words), waiting upon Him, setting your heart upon Him. When you make your love service to Him, you have left your love. You love is him. You can be the bride of Christ.

Do you remember what it was like to first be in love with your spouse. How you could just watch them, stare into their eyes, talk about the dumbest things. How everything they did was wonderful. Now, apply that to Jesus. Do the same things. Treat Him them same way. Make your love real and vibrant, not a show of what services you can provide but what love you can express. Woo Him. Sing love songs to Him. Touch His heart.

Draw near… for you know what the result of that is.

This was from Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj’s series, A Rose For Jesus, where he was speaking about steps to coming to know Jesus, the bridegroom.  One of the last steps he gave, but said was one of the most important, was “Nakedness of your heart”.  He actually likened it to marriage and how, well, you get the picture.  We come before each other and there’s nothing hidden, nothing we can cover up.

This is key to our relationship with the Lord.  When we come before Him in prayer, in worship, we must bare our hearts.  We must open up completely to Him, we are who we are, there’s no hiding, no holding back.

So I heard him saying this, and I just wasn’t getting it.  I knew that this was very important, but its the sort of thing that as you talk about it you kind of think “duh, of course you are open before God”. I knew I didn’t really get it, so I continued to think on this, to ponder it.  Over the next few days it began to sink more and more in.

During this period, when I would come in prayer, I would first stop and try to open myself up.  Try to reveal all of my soul.  There’s no pretense, no memorized prayers, just me opening up, telling the Lord this is who I am, here are my faults, we both know they are there.  I want more of you, but I keep doing this.  Thank you for your mercy as always.  Know what I found?  When there’s honesty, it leads to holiness.  You see, when I’m honest with myself and with God, I can’t continue in my sin.  As long as I can pretend to myself that I am not in sin, and just not mention it, I’ll stay there.  But to be honest before the Lord, is to also be honest with myself.  When I get there, I repent.  I mean seriously, how can you come before the living God, say, look at my sin, but I think I’ll keep doing it.

As I write this, I was stopping of a period of not being open.  For years I could have my quiet times, and not be honest with God.  I could read my Bible, sometimes getting something out of it.  I could go through my list of prayers, things I need, others need, without really coming in humility  before God.  But now I know.  So for the last several days, I couldn’t pray, because I can’t come before the Lord that way anymore.  In my heart I knew I wasn’t ready to face Him, to face my sins and move away.  I wanted my things.  Isn’t so horrible how much we can turn against a God who loves us so much.

I’m sure this does much, much else.  How can you deepen a relationship with honesty and trust.  Same thing with God.  It’s always a little weird because we know that He knows it all anyway, but I think it’s best to not treat Him that way.  You come there, you tell Him all anyway.  Speak to Him as a person.  That’s always a big thing to me, God is a person, not a box or computer.  Talk to Him that way.

Always listen, stay humble, be open, cry often, and hunger.

There’s something about humility.  Just starting I have these verses that come immediately to mind:

Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. – James 4:6

That verse has stuck out more and more to me lately.  God resists the proud.  Can you imagine that?  It’s not a person, but God himself resisting you. If it’s God resisting you, who do you think is going to win?  Seriously, it’s a bit terrifying to think of God resisting me.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3

Humility is one of the base requirements for the kingdom  You want in, you need humility.

We can keep talking verses, or we can talk experience, of those you see with humility. Not the false humility of the Pharisee who proclaim their love of God for all to see and think highly of them. It’s not the humility of the “low self-esteem” who are scared to even do anything. This false humility is really an excess of pride, of not looking bad before me.

No, this is the humility you find in those who understand who they are.  The humility you find in yourself after you’ve fallen. The humility that I found in myself after a day in self-pity; when I finally brought myself low to come before the Lord the next day, knowing I’ve messed up. I didn’t make excuses, I just sat there in my filth and said “I’m sorry”. And guess what, suddenly I felt myself in His presence and I couldn’t imagine why.  Why after I’ve spent so much time looking at myself would I feel Him?  So I asked, and I felt like He told me that He draws near to the humble.

It was at this point that I realized something new.  I often shy away from coming to god when in sin, but I can rarely if ever come before him in purity, because I tend to mess up too much.  But that’s what Jesus blood is for. He covers my sin.  What I bring is humility to know that I am a sinner, that I am saved by grace and be completely open and honest about it. That’s what let’s me in the presence. This is not a freedom to sin, in fact, it’s a drive to cleanse myself from sin.  Because if I’m not humble and honest, then I’m not repentant of my sin and cannot be covered by grace to come before him.  The times that keep me away are not the small acts of sins, but the sins I don’t want to repent of, the ones I keep repeating and don’t come in true repentance.

We have no excuse , there is nothing in us which is worthy; we are who we are only because the Lord has chosen us. Only because he had mercy on us.

There’s another part to humility.  I tend to only look at it as freedom from sin, but that’s just a part.  Why do I say this, because Jesus was humble.  Not sure if you’ve ever read “The Final Quest”, if not, there’s a section that speaks of a mantle of humility that Jesus wore while He was on the earth.  Funny to think that Jesus was humble, He was God, so why be humble, but there it is.  So humility is not a by-product of sin, but of knowing who we are.  Look at this passage from the last supper.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. – John 13:3-4

There’s a section from Final Quest that speaks of humility. It speaks of the covering of humility that Jesus wore. Obviously his humility was not the effect of sin, but of knowing who he is and where he came from

Humility comes from knowing where we came from and where we are going.  Knowing that gives us our place.  We came from God, we are going back to God.  We are His. This frees us to not worry about ourselves.

When I come in humility, I leave changed.  How many times have I come before the Lord, open my heart, to find that I’m holding a grudge and must let it go.  Forgiveness will keep us away.  Pride of course.  Selfishness.  We must be willing to be nothing before Him, to follow, to listen, to obey.  His way is better than ours.

I’ve found that God seems to sometimes speak to me more not when I’m along and praying, but when I’m out and just internally dialoging with Him.  I’ve found that to be some of the closest times I have.  Where I’m driving, walking in to work, etc, and I’m just having a sort of internal dialog with Him.  I try to do this more, but I also like to think through lots of other things.  My mind is a bit too active.

So today I was headed into work when I had an interesting thing happen.  As I’m walking in from the parking lot I just happened to glance to my left and catch the sky.  It was breath taking actually.  I think if I were to pick my favorite color, it’s that burning orange color of the Sun as it lights up the sky in the morning and night sometimes.  I still don’t know what causes it to happen, but I love seeing the clouds looking almost on fire.  Today was one of the better ones I’ve seen and I nearly missed it.  So I just stopped for a second and asked,

“Lord, what are you trying to say?”

Basically I’m asking that to have created something so beautiful, what would God want to say to us from that.  Why is it there?  As I ask this I’m expecting either no response, or something like how He just wants us to see the love He lavishes on us that even something like the sunrise he can make so beautiful.  Imagine my surprise when I hear:

“Booya”

My immediate reaction is to laugh.  I’m like seriously, I think God just told me booya.  The feeling behind it had an impression like, “just showing you how awesome I am, nailed it!” kind of thing.  This is how the Lord talks to me sometimes.  I was laughing for about 15 minutes after that just saying “booya” to myself over and over.  Really.  Wow.

Guess the moral is to not be too serious about everything.  Or more importantly, just chat with God through the day, you never know what He might say.