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Sorry for the title, but it’s a reuse of one of my favorite lines from the show “Fringe”.  Fun show, not really that edifying, just fun.

I want to just make a short and honest post.

I get bitter.

There can be several reasons, some recurring, some new ones.  It’s a sneaky little devil.  One day I’m doing great, then my mind runs off onto one of these topics, and poof, 10 minutes later bitterness has poisoned my attitude.  And poison it is.  Bitterness allowed to fester will ruin your soul.  Seriously.  I suspect most of you have someone close to you where you’ve seen this happen.

Well today’s story was with my wife.  I’m going to leave things vague, as there’s no need for particulars.  But today was one of the reoccurring topics.  I was having a bit of a rough morning, she made some comments, I commented back, couple “barely” heated words, then I go off mumbling.  I mumbling because I feel like I am not being treated as I deserve ( strike one ), and that she does this a lot ( strike two ), and I think back about those other times she’s done stuff like this ( strike three, I’m out. ).

So the holy spirit managed to sneak a word in ( I’m pretty impressed in fact, because I didn’t want to listen ), and got me to stop and think about how Jesus would handle that.  Well, you know what happens when you’re grump and bitter.

“Well, Jesus picked out people that would listen to him”

“Jesus was respected for who He was”

and the best one:

“Jesus never had a wife to deal with”.

Obviously, this is the brutally honest part of the quote.  I did not say this out, in fact, this is the type of thing I wouldn’t ever repeat to someone as it exposes just how stupid I can be.  Honey, if you happen to read this, you are amazing.  I suspect you’ve already learned to not listen to me, just keep at it.

At this point God had enough, and pointed out that we are the bride of Christ.  Oops.  Guess Jesus does have to deal with “that”.  In fact, what really came to mind was that God chose Israel, and how horrible of a “spouse” they were.  Remember the life of Hosea who was led to marry a harlot as a testimony of Israel.  Ouch.

Needless to say, I started rearranging my thoughts after this.  When my wife got back ( she had gone to run ) I apologized.  Was I right in what I said at first?  It doesn’t matter.  if I got bigger I’m wrong.  If I got angry, I’m wrong.  I care much less for the actually truth than how I handle the situation.

So, the reason for this post.  I guess humility.  I want anyone reading to see other do ( or think ) their own stupid and silly things, and to encourage you to not give in to bitterness.  Instead, suck it up, set it aside, and make Jesus all you need.

James 4:7 would be that verse.  Resist and he will flee.   Guess what.  I’ve tried it, a lot, and it often doesn’t work.  Of course it doesn’t work in those areas I’ve allowed myself to get farther into.  I can think of a couple areas where the devil loves to come at me, and I resist to a point, and then get pushed over the edge.

I had a new twist on this I wanted to share, so as part of that, I went and did my typical “look at the greek” for the verse above.  Oh, I’m no greek scholar.  I actually did take a Biblical Hebrew class at my university.  I think I can still say the alphabet there, but I’m no scholar.  Instead, I use Bible Hub.  Here’s the link for James 4:7

http://biblehub.com/text/james/4-7.htm

Fun stuff, you won’t catch all the forms of the verbs and nouns, etc of Greek.  Gotta take classes for that, but it did give me one thing.  I followed the definition back for the word “resit” and found one of the definitions as:

take a complete stand against, i.e. a “180 degree, contrary position”; (figuratively) to establish one’s position publicly by conspicuously “holding one’s ground,” i.e. refusing to be moved (“pushed back”).

Well, that explains a little.  This isn’t just resist, this is like “take it to war’ resist.  So on that note, my new method.

Don’t just say no, don’t just run away, don’t just say a scripture.  All good things.  But take the opportunity afforded by the temptation to react to it.  Take action.  Preferably, find the base reason for that temptation that leads you to sin, and then turn to God in a way that counter acts it.  How to explain.  For example, lets say I have a sin which at root is that I’m lacking intimacy.  So I take that temptation, and when it comes strongly, I step aside, turn my heart to God, and find intimicy with my Lord.  I wait upon the Lord, looking to Him, praising and worshiping Him.  Not only does that counter-balance the desires for that sin, but it leads me to seek Him when I hadn’t planned.  Basically, I use the enemy’s attacks to draw me deeper into relationship.

Another way to describe this is through one of my favorite songs from Shane and Shane.  It’s called embracing accusation.  Here’s the lyrics.

The father of lies
Coming to steal
Kill and destroy
All my hopes of being good enough
I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can’t abide
He’s right
Alleluia he’s right!

The devil is preaching
The song of the redeemed
That I am cursed and gone astray
I cannot gain salvation
Embracing accusation

Could the father of lies
Be telling the truth
Of God to me tonight?
If the penalty of sin is death
Then death is mine
I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can’t abide
He’s right
Alleluia he’s right!

Oh the devil’s singing over me
An age old song
That I am cursed and gone astray
Singing the first verse so conveniently over me
He’s forgotten the refrain
Jesus saves!

So the devil likes to come and accuse us, and guess what, he’s right.  We have sinned.  He loves to tell us that, but leaves off the “oh year, Jesus saved you from that” part.  So when he condemns, you take that condemnation, shove it aside, and say, “Good thing God’s grace is sufficient. He is awesome”.

What you’ll find is that when you build the habit of taking the attack against you into something positive with the Lord, the devil is going to stop.  As soon as it’s clear that his attacks are driving you closer, he’ll learn and move on.  Oh, he’ll be back with something else I’m sure, but like the verse says, “resist him and he’ll flee”.

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.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. – John 15:7

This is where it began.  I heard this in a sermon recently and had been thinking about this off and on.  This is one of those verses where we try to spiritualize it, otherwise, it’s hard to explain.  “Ask and it will be done”?  That’s not something we see, so we can’t take this at face value.  Instead it must mean that when we really get into God, when He is our desire(“I will give you the desire of your heart”), then we will ask what He wants, and it will get answered.  Tell me, have you seen that either?  No, no.  This is more.  When the Word says something, you should believe it.  So that tells me there’s something to abiding and the Word.

Read Psalm 119 and see what David said of God’s commandments.  Go to Proverbs and find Soloman’s thoughts on wisdom

For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her – Proverbs 8:11

We know from Rick Joyner’s book, true wisdom is Jesus.  Oh, I’m sure I could track down plenty of scripture, but the Final Quest made it so personal.  Revelation is like wisdom, as revelation is the revealing of truth to your heart, and who is truth, that’s right, Jesus.  He is the Word in flesh.  He is truth.  He is wisdom.  When you were young, did you ever mix all the drinks at the soda fountain together.  Yeah, Jesus is sort of like that, all this amazing stuff in one, without upsetting your stomach.

Ok, so this is one of those train of thought messages.  I start by thinking of Jesus abiding, and even more the word abiding in us.  That led me to revelation, truth.  Next came the parable of the sower.  When you get truth, it can become revelation ( seeds that sprout ) or just die on the road (eaten by the birds).  The devil wants to steal truth from you before it roots in.  Even if it starts to grow, he’ll make you busy with the worries of the world, or keep you shallow so it can’t go big.  For us to keep hold of truth and have it grow, we need to protect it and nurture it.  Treat it like the gold it is.  You can’t just go “oh that’s cool” then get back to your life.  Spend time with it

Why is this so important?  Well it’s like the Holy Spirit plugged the pieces together, and much better than I am right now.  As I meditated upon the word dwelling in me, it made me think of it living there.  As a plant, it needs room to grow, nourishment, time, attention.  If I think of it like a person, and I want it to abide, then I need to draw it in, make space for it, love it, protect it.  Basically make a home for it.  I don’t just want it hidden in my heart, or planted, or just held; I want it rooted in, growing, expanding.  I want it to paint the walls, decorate a room, plant a garden.  That’s the sort of abiding we need.  We need it so entrenched in our hearts that we can be transformed by it.  For when the word abides in you, you can ask what you wish and it’ll be done.  So is the main thing that we can ask and get what we want?  No.  That’s just a side-effect of relationship.  What we’re talking about here is authority and relationship.  There are privileges and expectations that come with those.  That is what I want.  I want the relationship itself, not the perks.

And to get there, I need the word to abide.  So when revelation comes, when you see that truth in the scripture leap into your heart and teach you something new, don’t let it go.  Don’t just say “cool” and move back to your life.  Cherish it.  Hold on and fight for it.  Keep thinking over it, write it down, whatever it takes so that it can take root in your heart.  For me, writing seems to be part of it.  I just realized how much I need to hold on, as I have lost so much.  And if there’s somewhere really good to start on making sure I hold onto it, it’s the realization that I need to hold onto truths to be transformed.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.  – (Matthew 7:16)

What fruit are we looking for?

I went through a men’s discipleship course lately that was very big on John 15.  You know the chapter, abide in God.  Those that abide will bear fruit, those that bear fruit God prunes so they bear more fruit.  One of the questions we asked the group was “what kind of fruit are we talking about”.  I of course started with the fruit of the Spirit, but we went on and came up with a number of other fruits.  People being saved, chruches started, lives touched, etc.  It’s hard to measure something like joy, but easy the measure something like the number of people joining a church.  That’s not wrong…. is it?

That thought crossed my mind the other day when I was reminded of another passage from Jesus.

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:22-23

So, here we find a group of people who were expressing several of the gifts of the spirit: prophecy, miracles, casting out demons(not sure that’s a “gift” but it’s an expression).  Very visible things.  Imaging a man who came to your church, prayed for some sick and they got well.  We would look up to that man.  Yet, this verse says that Jesus may have never known him.

Neville Johnson said these last couple years that we have focused on the gifts of the spirit rather than the fruit.  If Jesus said you should know them by their fruit, then let’s combine that with another verse.  Sadly, I went looking and I can’t find it.  Hmm… it’s something like we should no longer look at each other from the flesh, but know each other from the spirit.  Sigh.  If someone knows the verse i’m looking for leave a comment.   Possibly it’s just a logical part of 2 Corinthians 5:16.  Oh well.  Sorry for that dead-end.

Anyway, if we’re to judge by the fruit, and we know long judge according to the flesh(2 Cor 5:16), then perhaps we judge by the spirit.  And if the Bible just happens to tell us the fruit of the spirit, well, maybe that’s what we judge.  Is that harder, yes, but I bet not for those who are more open to the Spirit.  For those of us not there, we must be more open, observant, and listen for the voice in us.  But don’t judge by the world, you’ll miss it.

If you haven’t caught on, silly church traditions sometimes bug me.  For example, one of the denominations I’ve been to a bit likes to count up baptisms.  It seems like a decent thing to count as people who pray the prayer, often pray it and wander off.  Those that are baptized are more likely the ones that were touched and will move on.  So we count it.  As we like to count all things.  And sadly we go on to stuff like baptizing those from another denomination “just to make sure”.  They weren’t “baptized” like we are.  I can’t help but wonder if that’s really the concern, or if that adds to the count.  Silly Christians we all are.

So, I went into this, because I wonder how many people live in discouragement that are exhibiting many of the fruits of the spirit, but not the “fruits of the church”.  So they are growing, but from the external view they aren’t on mission trips, and leading small groups, and witnessing to people enough to look good, so they get discouraged.  They come to think of themselves as not as good and lose that desire to draw closer to God.  I’ve been there.  If you are, remember, what God believes is what matters.  Draw closer to Him.

The fruit is the test.  Are you showing more fruit of the spirit.  Love, joy, peace, patience….

If you’re not, the answer isn’t to try hard, it’s to abide more deeply.  Spend more time with the Lord, listen to Him, meditate upon the word, desire God.  Keep your mind on the Lord more and His love, and the fruits will grow.  When you’re being fed by the vine, the fruit will grow on it’s own.  If you try to force it, you’ll just get discouraged.

The last couple years ( maybe last 1 or 2 ) have seen a distinct change in how I read from my Bible.  The first, and probably most ironic part, is that I read less.  I am most definitely not saying this is better, but how my life has gone the last 2 years.  It’s so weird to look back and realize just how much time I had and how little is free now.  There is still enough, there is always enough, but just from a sheer time standpoint.  But that’s really beside the point.

What I’ve found is how far I go until I stop.  I heard this story once, I believe it was from Andrew Womack.  Interesting preacher.  I listened to a bit of his teachings for a while and he’s got some really interesting ( and good ) views on things, especially healing.  I tend to stick with these other guys more and haven’t looked at any of this stuff in a while, but I remember this story he told.  He was on one of those read the Bible through in a year ( or month ) plans.  As always happens, he got a little behind, so he sat down with his Bible and began to read through his chapters.  On the very first first, he felt the Spirit speak to Him.  So He stopped for a second to ponder that, but quickly realized he’s going to be in trouble here.  If he stops like this, he’ll never get through it all.  So he found himself telling God “God, don’t start talking to me, I’ve got to read through your Word.”  ( don’t quote that last part, but it’s close enough ).  That was when he realized he had an issue here.

I don’t read far.  In fact, this last week, I’ve been going a couple verses through the Sermon on the Mount.  It’s actually rather convenient as I memorized the thing years back ( I can’t quote it now ), so I remember it well enough to keep a couple verses in my head for the day.  For example, today I read on down to the part that said something like:

Therefore, if you are presenting your offering before the alter, and there remember your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the alter and go.  First be reconciled to your brother, then come and present your offering before the Lord.  – Matthew 5:something ( MBV – My Brain’s version )

That alone kept my occupied for about 5-10 minutes of quiet time this morning, at least two 10-15 minutes rides, and a little other time.  Why, because there’s so much there if you just read.  Forget that you know the Word and read.

  1. Presenting your offering – Well, we don’t do that anymore, but had you read just a bit before, you’d know that the Old Law isn’t gone, just fulfilled.  So we still present offerings, but what they should be now and not an animal.  So we offer ourselves to God, our will(my thoughts). Do we still make offerings before Him?  Not just prayer, as that didn’t require a sacrifice to pray, no giving something up.  We should.
  2. remember your brother has something against you – I pulled up BibleHub.  I switched it over to Parrallel and Greek versions just to see.  Was this talking about a specific complaint, a reasonable offence.  It seemed kind of vague but sometimes that’s a translation.  Guess what, it is very vague.  I found nothing unique.  Every way I looked at it, it said “has anything against you”.  This could be a valid complaint or not.  This could be a sin you did, or something that just bothered them.  It really didn’t matter.  If they were upset with you for a reason, you better take care of that.
  3. Brother – Does this mean we’re just talking about Christians here.  I think so.  Hadn’t gotten a good though here.
  4. Leave your offering – Don’t gather it up and go.  No, make haste, take care of it, come right back.  That speaks to me of how important the offering is, that you will not leave it, you will back.  In fact, you might affect others with that.  Not sure there.  And it’s obvious.  You just dropped your stuff and took off.
  5. God doesn’t want your offering if it’s tainted. This is perhaps the hardest one.  So if I have been selfish or prideful enough to not deal correctly with my “family”, then the Lord doesn’t want my offering.  Yikes.  Luckily, I tend to keep a short leash on these things.  Oh, I’m definitely proud, but I can also suck it up and apologize, admit my fault, etc.  The Lord has done a bit of teaching here.  I see others who just can’t apologize if their life depended upon them.  I wonder what they expect from God.  Still, this made at least one part clear to me I need to resolve before making any other commitments to the Lord.

And there you are.  Two verses, and about two pages full of thoughts.  Just read the word and believe.  Not what you’ve been told, not what you want to believe, but what it says.  Then meditate upon it, give it time, consider the sides of it, the possibilities.  Stay open.  This is our daily bread.

 

So, I’ve thought a bit about this over time.  Trying to be open to God.  I remember hearing people say this, especially one of the messages from Sadhu about being completely open to God.  At one point he likened it to being married and naked in front of your spouse.  Basically, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  That analogy made some sense, but not as good for me.  Then the other day there was a connection put together for me.

What I realized is that there’s been a lot of times where I went off into sin, and when I came back and repented before the Lord, I would feel His presence.  I always thought it odd that so soon after being sinful I could feel closer to Him.  Finally I made the connection to openness.  It’s like when you’ve been hiding something from a friend or family member.  Something you’ve done that’s wrong, you tried to cover it up, but finally had to come clean.  Think back to some time you’ve done this.  Maybe it’s a spouse, parent, friend.  Doesn’t matter.

So hear you are, confessing that one secret to them.  You have opened yourself up.  You’re letting them see not only how you feel now, but those things you didn’t want to show.  In essence, you’re bearing your soul before them and waiting on their judgement.  Have you also noticed the freedom you feel in that moment.  Typically only if they forgive you, but that freedom to know that you’re accepted, all of you, not just the face you put before them.  Well, it’s the same thing.

So when you stand before the Lord, you have to realize that He sees all of you.  Not just the words you bring in your prayer.  Not how you’re dressed up for church.  He sees the thoughts you had in the dark, the sins you commit in secret, all that.  We know this intellectually, but don’t put it together in our … heart?  So I’ve found when I come before God know, I come “just as I am”.  Even I say it, it’s like cliche after cliche, so I hope you get the idea.  I come before Him knowing that I’m a mess.  I don’t hide anything, I can’t anymore.  In fact, lately I’ve had more trouble coming before Him for the exact reason.  I know I cannot play the game anymore where I pretend I’m something that I’m not.  Where I act one way in front of others, then bring out my true side in front of family ( sorry, little pet peeve of mine there ).  No, when I come, I bear it all.  I often mentally walk through all my weaknesses before the Lord, and admit them.  I am a sinner.  I am not very bright.  I am lazy.  But I am Yours.  Lord, if you’re willing to accept what I have, what I am, then I am Yours.  I mess up, I take bad turns, but I come back to You.  There’s no where else I want to be.

Been off for a bit.  Partially it’s because of my other project, and partially because of some life changes that have been going on.  The biggest one that affects me is a possible job change.  I’ve been at my current job for a long time, over a decade.  I’m well established, I’ve done well, worked my way up, and have been taken care of, but it’s hard.  That’s another story for another day, but leads me up to this.  As with any change going on, what’s the thing you do, you pray and ask God what to do.  Add it to your prayer list.  You pray each day about it.  I can see the prayers now

“God should I take this job”

“God, show me the path”

“God, if this is your will, open up the door”

“God, if this isn’t your will, close the door”

“God I trust you, I know you’ll let me know”

And we pray.  And we pray.  Then we post a message on facebook asking for our friends to pray for our “unmentioned request”.  And then we look at all the goods and bads, ask advice of our family and friends, and make the best choice knowing that God has directed us.

..

Except, I can’t do it.

This is our start.  We start with our prayers to God.  We make our list, kneel down, and pray through them each day.  If we’re really Godly, we make our list of prayers for the week, because it’s just too much for one day.  We ask others to pray thinking that the more people that make a request to God, the more likely an answer.  Then we tweak the variables.  Maybe the combination of enough people and fasting will do it.  Maybe I need to give God more time.  If we’re not careful, it because a recipe for getting something from God.

As you become a Christian, you may have to start here.  Look at the Lord’s prayer.  It’s a pretty simple run through. Praise, adoration, repentence, asking, etc.  But then we try to apply that.  I think it’s a good model, but only as a model.  If it becomes an outline, you risk losing the relationship and making a transaction.

So no, I have trouble with this now.  I can’t just sit and run through a list, ask God to do things, and then move on.  My relationship is more precious.  So, let me think, what did I do this last time…

Funny thing is, I didn’t go praying every day during my quiet time.  I didn’t right it down or go broadcasting to others.  Family knew, but I didn’t ask others.  I trusted God.  I brought it to Him a couple times in passing, until it was getting close and I knew I really needed to hear His heart.  So one day I found myself home alone, which doesn’t happen that often and realized, now’s the time.  Now I hope I can convey this somehow, I really don’t have a handle on it myself in my mind, but here goes.  I was alone, and not rushed.  Both are still very important for me.  I need my mind to be quiet.  Then I sit, kneel, whatever.  Basically get into a position that I can be comfortable and not think about it.  Often if it’s “shorter” I’ll kneal.  If I’m waiting on God for a possibly longer time, I try to sit somewhere, just what I do.

Then I go to Him.  I don’t ask God to come, I don’t just start talking, but I lower myself.  I’m not important.  What I actually do is imagine myself first in my garden.  It’s a place I feel like the Lord has taken me before (only in my imagination, but isn’t that as real as anything). I come in, basically I imagine myself walking into the scene, and then I heard over to where I can picture Jesus.  For me it’s normally over in a certain spot, often I’ll imagine myself sitting by Him.  This is the first part that is hard to explain.  I don’t force it.  I open up the picture in my mind and what I’m going for, but then I sort of wait and see.  What it’s really doing inside is I’m opening myself up to the Lord.  I’m setting aside all my physical things, my worries, etc, and coming to just sit before Jesus.  Typically I’ll find some spot where I feel like I’m sitting before, next to, near,  the Lord.  Then I just sit for a minute and love Him.

Then we chat.  No, I’m not giving you a formula, I’m trying to give you a relationship. Sometimes I have to start with forgiveness.  I like it better when I can just come and talk.  In this case I worship him for a minute, and then I ask Him if I can come before the throne.  Remember the verse “come boldly before the throne of grace”.  The answer is always yes(at least the times I get an answer), but some reason reason I ask.  Maybe because I want Jesus to be with me.  I don’t feel like I should come before the throne on my own, something I do.  Then again I tend to have to imagine it.  I can only do that, because I’ve felt once before the Lord took me there in my imagination, so I just remember it the way it was.  Very unclear..  Let’s get that straight.  These are mostly fuzzy pictures with sort of a general direction and something up there.  I am not in a vision, I haven’t been caught up, I just feel like in my Spirit I go there, but using my imagination.  Think what you wish.

Then I bring my requests before God, and I wait.  Sometimes there’s nothing, sometimes there’s a lot.  Often in this sort of setting I’ve had a lot of back and forth with the Lord, jumped topics etc.  In this case, I brought it before Him and waited.  As I did, there were a lot of things that came to mind.  Some of them were things like my “other project” that requires more time.  Me having time to wait on Him.  Being available.  What I realized is I felt the Lord was showing me all the things I would have available if I were to take the new job. It frees me up for the things that He’s been leading me.  It lined up with some prophecy I had.  It lined up with some of the things I’ve felt God was personally leading me.

And so the decision was made.  I didn’t have any actual words this time, just the aligning of vision, and the peace that comes with the spirit speaking to you.

Since then there’s been a lot of doubts come on, a lot of questions, and yet, i haven’t wavered in the end.  The basic vision is clear and there I go.

 

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.