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Friday, September 16, 2016

Forever Ecstasy

I believe that our loving Daddy deeply longs for us to understand His heart on the subject of testing and trials. In my last post, we talked about how Abraham stole God’s heart away and became His eternal friend, by allowing God to KNOW love in an experiential way. This was the life-changing meaning behind the introductory verse, “God tested Abraham” (Gen. 22:1) I promised you another post about the tests that we go through. Let’s explore this difficult subject further together today.

I am vividly remembering a time that I looked up into Jesus’ beautiful face to ask for His help. My heart wanted to understand more deeply why He allows me sometimes to suffer. I looked right into His eyes and asked, “I know to my very core that You love me. How can I reconcile Your intense love for me, with the pain You have allowed me to walk through? How can Your fiercely devoted, tender heart be okay with me aching? Please help me to understand.”

Yes, I know pretty much all the Bible verses there are to know about suffering. Here’s one of the most quoted, and most apt:

“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” (James 1:2-3).

So we learn that the painful circumstances of our lives will ultimately be for our good. Holy Spirit is developing character in us. But still! My heart cried out, not in rebellion against His management of my life, but in yearning to fathom what seemed contradictory. “How can You be at peace with using this affliction as the tool for my refining? If my pain hurts Your heart so much, why is this the way?”

As soon as I asked, He was answering me.

He explained my pain by telling me about His pain. I felt Him moving around inside my spirit to expand from within my understanding of this matter. He breathed revelation into me of what it means for Him to be Immanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23). He shared with me that He personally experiences the pain of every human being on the planet, all the time. He steps directly into it.

He told His disciples, “Whoever rejects you rejects Me” (Luke 10:16). He was making clear to them that when they went through the sting of rejection, He felt it personally, to the very inmost chamber of His being. Those angry looks they internalized, those powerfully hurtful words piercing their hearts – each and every one went into His own depths. “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me” (Rom. 15:3, NIV), He said.

This truth did not just go for these twelve men that walked closely with Him – He told them that it was also true for every starving, naked, forsaken, sick, and imprisoned soul – in short, everyone who is hurting on the Earth. That when these downtrodden ones are cast away and shunned, He Himself is the recipient of their abuse:

“Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was Me—you did it to Me’ (Matt. 25:40, MSG).

Jesus Himself experiences the ultimate depths of human pain, every single day. He is Immanuel. He is involved. Profoundly, intensely involved. He is here. He is walking among us. The tiniest sigh of your discomfort sweeps through His entire being. Your pain is His pain. When you weep, His chest heaves with your sobs. Not just in sympathy, but because He is feeling what you feel even deeper and more keenly than what you feel it.

Multiply that by seven billion. That’s a tremendous load of pain. Not to mention six thousand years of human history in which He has been making a pattern out of owning our agony. Not to mention the place where He carried it all to the supreme degree of internalization – Calvary’s hill. Isaiah the prophet looked forward through time to the unbearable emotional and spiritual anguish Jesus would take into Himself when He died for the world:

“He was despised and rejected—
 a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. (NLT)
He was hated, and we didn't even notice him.
But he took our suffering on him and felt our pain for us” (NCV). (Is. 53:3-4a)

The Lord told me that before anything existed, He was brooding deeply over the creation of the world. He looked into the future, and He saw all of it. He saw every single heart wrenching, agonizing scene. He saw Himself completely submerged in, wrapped up in, living inside of, each one.

He saw the enraged husbands beating the wives. He saw the demonized soldiers raping the villagers. He saw the burning buildings. He saw the ashes and the scattered, broken bricks. He heard the terrified babies screaming. His heart took in the wrenching cries. And He saw you. He gazed upon your own face and whispered your name. He saw every occurrence of heartbreak you would face in your short lifetime here. He saw Himself weeping, grieving, in the midst of each and every one of them. Beforehand, He already tasted the raw ache His soul would carry day after day, year after year, millennium after millennium, as Immanuel. He fully anticipated the cup that He would drink – your pain, my pain, everybody’s pain. It would be fully His own.

And then He looked beyond it all. He gazed forward into eternity. He drank in, ahead of time, the absolute bliss of being entwined with you forever and ever. He saw the joy set before Him. YOU are the joy set before Him. He closed His eyes and was captivated by the picture of ecstasy that He saw: you and Him as one, swirling in a forever sea of intimacy and rapturous, unspeakable delight. And in His infinite wisdom, He knew that no matter how immeasurable the pain He would bear, it would be exceedingly worth it. To be with you. Endlessly lost in love.

He is looking right at you in this moment. Look up into His eyes. They have born the pain of the ages. In them is an indescribable depths of love for you. He gestures with a movement of His head at all of His suffering. And, gazing deep, deep into your inmost being, He says in the most tender of tones, “My love, you are worth it all! All of this, to have you in My arms!”

Jesus measured all of the pain to come. He knew that birthing the Creation would come at an extraordinarily great personal cost. And He chose to create the world anyway because He KNEW that the euphoria of having you for all eternity would far outweigh what it would cost Him.

In the same moment, He drew from His unsearchable wisdom, and He knew something else: it would also be worth it for you. “Consider it pure joy” is no cruel joke, no exaggeration, and no hyperbole. Even the most piercing, penetrating pain fits into the biblical category of “our light and momentary troubles” (2 Cor. 4:17) when shifted into the perspective of the everlasting elation that is up ahead. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” He isn’t lying, dearly beloved treasure of His heart! Far outweighs! That eternal glory of oneness with Him really, really does. It far, far, FAR outweighs every single tear!!!

When we get there, all of this will look like nothing at all compared to the bliss. “Not even worth comparing” to the ineffable glorious reality that will surround and overwhelm us forever (Rom. 8:18)! Not even worthy of being placed on the scale together.

He said to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” about the reward of your suffering (Matt. 5:12). When the moment comes to stand face to face with the One who loves you more than His life, with Him who has walked through every sorrow you face and made it His own – when He marries you and wraps you up forever in His embrace of breathtaking intimacy, you will know  – all that pain is now gone forever. You’ll sink into His arms and exclaim in exultation from your deepest heart… that none of it was anything at all compared to the unending ecstasy that is about to begin!

My sweet, sweet Lord Jesus, Lover of my soul, thank You for choosing to create me! You knew that making me, making us, making this world, would pierce you through and through. It would wound you in the worst way that anyone can be wounded. But You decided that I was worth it. That the immeasurable joy of being one with me forever was so much more than the hurt. I come into agreement with Your infinite, unsearchable wisdom! Whatever I am going through today, is worth it, that I could revel in Your heart, in Your closeness, in Your union, in Your love glory, for all of eternity. Please open the eyes of my spirit more and more to see this present moment in the light of Your eternal perspective. And thank You that today, right now, You are the Healer of my inmost being. You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever!

Blogger’s note: My husband, children, and I will be heading to the U.S. for three months of itinerating in just over a week. Our schedule will be extremely full during that time, so I anticipate having significantly less time available for blogging. Once the trip is over, I should be able to resume my regular posting schedule. Thank you for following my blog, and be richly blessed today!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Stealing God's Heart -- This is a Test, This Is So Much More than a Test

Have you ever wondered why God would need to test us? I have. I think back to school, when the teacher would give us tests as a device to measure our progress in the subject matter. Why would God need to measure where I’m at? Doesn’t He know everything already? Isn’t He omniscient?

His word does comment on this:

“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” (Deut. 8:2, NKJV).

Still, why? Why would He need to come up with a test to find out what’s in our hearts? Can’t He just use His X-ray vision, look inside of us, and instantly come up with an answer? Tests are grueling! Often even painful! Why do we have to go through this stuff?

In this post and the next, I want to look into two specific examples of Biblical testing and see what we can pull out of them to help alleviate these questions that sometimes weigh on our minds.

Holy Spirit was talking to me about the first example I will share very recently. I was in the middle of an intense workout, and He chose that moment to drop into my spirit something that amazed me. (Yes, He likes to speak to me while I’m exercising to Jillian Michaels videos. He’ll communicate with us Spirit-to-spirit ANY TIME if we are tuned in and looking for it!)

As He so often does, He whispered a verse to me and began to explain it. This time the Scripture I heard clearly on the inside of me was, “Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Gen. 22:12, NKJV).

He was initiating a conversation with me about Abraham’s ultimate test, and what it meant to Him.

The familiar tale unfolds like this: God asks Abraham for his heart’s treasure, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Abraham immediately obeys. The opening line of the story lets you know right off that the narrative that follows is about a test. “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham…” (v. 1a)

But again, why? Did God need “test results” to figure out if Abraham was devout? The Supreme Creator exclaimed when the deed was done, “Now I know that you fear Me!”

Lord, did You not know before that moment, that Abraham feared You? In Your majestic omniscience, had You not already gathered that he loved and reverenced You? Don’t You already know that we love You, without testing us in such extreme ways?

Yes. God knew. And He knows. But foreknowledge is never the same as experiential knowledge. God wanted to experience Abraham’s passion in the deepest way possible. Head knowledge was not enough. He, too, longed for heart knowledge of His covenant partner’s love.

Abraham could have said no. God would have respected his no. He respects our no, each and every time we are not willing to go all the way there with Him. Our free will is completely intact, and He will never, ever violate it. But Abraham said YES, and that stole God’s heart away completely!

Here is something to consider, as you listen in to understand God’s thoughts and emotions on this matter. Is it enough for you to know in your head that God loves you, if that knowledge never reaches your heart? I looked back at some of my teenage journal entries recently. They are overflowing with prayers, longings, even begging God to know His love beyond my head and into my heart. Head knowledge never satisfied anyone. Each of us can profoundly, sometimes achingly identify with the lyric,

“I want to know what love is, I want you to show me
I want to feel what love is, I know you can show me…
Show me love is real, yeah, I want to know what love is”
                                                               - Foreigner

To know love. To feel love. To experience love. To drink of it exquisitely, to be consumed by it. To know that it is REAL. You and I and every human being on the planet long for that. Guess what? He does too. You were created in His image. That yearning in your heart directly reflects the Original Edition and His own longings. He made you just like Him. So you would long for Him too.

Even the words, “I love You,” out of our lips do not satisfy His burning desire, if He has not yet actually experienced our love. Listen to His heart when He expresses,

“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8, NKJV).

Can you hear the pain in His voice?

And again, “Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me…’” (Matt. 7:23, NKJV).

How will Jesus be able say that He never knew someone, when they stand before Him at the end of their life – if He knows everything and everyone? Here too, He is talking about experiential knowledge. This is the deeply personal knowing that comes through intimacy. The verb in Matthew 7:23 that is translated “knew” is the Greek ginosko. It means “to know…through personal experience” (HELPS Word-studies). The Lord will tell these people, “I never walked intimately with you. I was never allowed to experientially know your devotion. I never got to drink in heart knowledge of your love. You decided not to be Mine.”

Abraham gave Him the opposite. Abraham fulfilled the deepest longings of Daddy God. In this son’s ultimate act of devotion, God tasted a love that infinitely surpassed anything that He simply knew via foreknowledge.

It’s time to listen to these words again, with your deepest soul: “Now I really, really know! You have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me! Oh Abraham, how exquisite is your adoration! How it conquers My heart! How it causes My inner being to bubble up and spill over profusely with joy and pleasure! You have ravished Me with your worship!”

X-ray vision doesn’t cut it, folks. Daddy God craves our passionate love.

This is what the testing is for. It’s not about measuring progress or gathering data or awarding brownie points. God longs to know you the way He came to know Abraham. He is ablaze with desire to ginosko you. Holy Spirit is inviting you to understand -- when He asks for your own personal Isaac, it’s not because He’s mean and demanding. On the contrary – He is achingly yearning for you. He wants to take His relationship with you so much deeper. He wants to experience for Himself, to the very depths of His burning soul, how much you love Him. He wants to live out love with you.

Close your eyes and lean in. Listen -- He is singing to you: “I want to know what love is, I want you to show Me…”

Daddy God, You craved Abraham’s tangible love, and he gave You the experience You longed for. He conquered Your heart in actuality and became Your friend permanently. You yearn for my love, my fiery affection, my fierce devotion too. You desire to be my most intense passion, to be the One that I love the most. You are inviting me to let You feel the deepest depths of human love possible. I want to give You this experience too. I want to give You what You long for. I want to fulfill Your yearnings. Take me! Take all that I am! Take all that I long for, and make me wholly and completely Yours!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Releasing Righteous Retribution through Reverential Regard

The devil was whispering all sorts of ugly promises to me during a painful season of my life. The future seemed to loom over me with a sinister heaviness. Impending scenes of catastrophe and heartache fought for space on the platform of my mind’s eye.

As I struggled to reach out for God in the middle of the overwhelming circumstances confronting me, I heard Him speak. “Do not fear what they fear; do not dread…” came His breath inside of me. He often drops fractions of Bible verses into my spirit to initiate a conversation. Sometimes He’ll even murmur just a couple words, such that I can barely hear Him. He does this so that I’ll lean in to listen extra carefully. Then He knows He has my attention. When I take the time to search for the verse He’s quoting, often time brand new revelation is birthed in my heart. This occasion was no exception.

So I hunted for the Scripture over which He was brooding. This is what I found:

"Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary…” (Isa. 8:12-14a, NIV)

Conspiracy. What is a conspiracy theory? It’s the mindset that says, “Powers greater than me are out to get me. Circumstances treacherously beyond my control are in a position to steal my wellbeing and happiness.” In this passage, Holy Spirit is communicating to us that He earnestly desires us free from living under that kind of fear and dread. Dread doesn’t just refer to a strong aversion to an unpleasant situation. Dread is the Biblical term for the apprehension that sits on your emotions and makes you feel heavy, unsettled, and fearful when you are imagining the future. It is one of the enemy’s very favorite tactics.

And at that juncture in my life, it was the one with which he was bombarding my soul in a thick, relentless, daily onslaught. There were many moments during that time in which I felt so downtrodden that I could barely take another step forward.

Holy Spirit came to rescue me. He truly does not waste anything. He used those difficult circumstances as a training ground for me. He revealed to me that the time had come to learn, in depth, what it really meant to fear Him and Him alone. “The LORD ALMIGHTY is the ONLY one you are to fear!” was His crucial message to me.

When I was a child growing up in church, the phrase “the fear of the Lord” seemed strange and hard to grasp. Wasn’t God a loving Daddy? Why fear? The Sunday School teachers would attempt to clear this up by asserting that it didn’t mean to be afraid of Him, but to be respectful of Him. I accepted this explanation, but the idea still felt remote.

Fast forward back to this distressing period of my life as an adult. Over and over again, my Comforter took me back to Isaiah 8:12-14. He faithfully, repeatedly insisted, “Don’t be afraid, My love. I am right here with you. Don’t let dread rule. Don’t give credence to the demonic mutterings of conspiracy sent into your ears. No one can snatch you out of My hand. I’ve got you, and I AM your sanctuary!”

I needed a specific battle strategy with which to fight the attack that was lambasting me. He gave me one, as I continued to meditate on these verses. What is the opposite of giving weight and attention to the enemy’s threats and imaginary scenarios of chaos and sadness? Filling up your inner space instead with praise for the Holy One!

He went on to illuminate for me the words, “He is the One you are to fear.” With His help, this is what I began to fathom:

To fear Him is…
  • to be impressed with Him to the very core of who you are… 
  • to see Him for who He is in all of His splendor and glory and ENORMOUSNESS… 
  • to be in awe of how infinitely powerful He is… 
  • to understand deep in your being that He really did already vanquish whatever enemy you are facing at the cross… 
  • to SEE with the eyes of your heart Him sitting on His throne, reigning in indestructible might and ultimate supremacy over every force that exists in all of creation… 
  • to be stunned by His majesty… 
  • and to worship Him with absolutely everything that’s inside of you.
“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom…” (Prov. 9:10, AMP). The truly wise will tell you -- you can actually exercise your fear of the Lord. Put it to work on your behalf. War with it! Chase the enemy off with it, along with his sorry conspiracy theories about your future!

How? What to do when the devil starts aggressively blowing his noxious smoke into your mind? It’s time to get your fight on. It’s time to shift your focus intentionally onto the grandeur of the I AM who will never let you go.

The best way to do this is to purposefully begin to exalt Him as you simultaneously look right into His face. Use your heart’s eyes. Lift up your gaze to Him where He is peacefully occupying His unshakable victorious position in the heavenlies. If you look closely, you’ll become aware of Him looking directly back at you. See? You’ve got His undivided attention and all of the immeasurable depths of His loyal love that comes with it. Now begin to magnify Him!

In order to get your whole being in alignment with this exercise, find some anointed music that moves your spirit in His presence. Turn it on and SING. Lift up your voice! Don’t hold back! Forget about how you sound and concentrate intensely on looking at Him. Remember, when you use your imagination (mind’s eye), guided by Holy Spirit, to see Jesus on His throne, it is not pretend – on the contrary, it’s the most real thing in the entire universe. He is truly there, and you are engaging your inner eyes through His empowering, to gaze on His beauty as He has invited us to do (Ps. 27: 4).

Lift up your face toward the heavenly realm. Lock eyes with Him. Belt out that praise!

As you do this, I want to share with you some lyrics that have powerfully aided me in getting my focus on the Lord and off the enemy:

“To the One who’s seated on the throne above all thrones…
To the One who was, the One who is, and is to come…
Highest Praises!”
                                  -- Amanda Cook

As I’m singing these words to Him at the top of my voice, I’m seeing Him exalted to the highest place! I am sending all the energy of my being into extoling Him over my circumstances. As I do so, I feel His power being released on my behalf. He literally is enthroned on my praises, and on your praises too – you and I are partnering with Him in establishing His throne over our adversities, as we work out our spirits this way. Through our worship, His government is dynamically exerting dominion in our daily realities. Even as we lift Him up with all that is within us, His kingdom is actively coming on earth as it is in heaven (Ps. 22:3, Mat. 6:10, NKJV).

When you have completely let yourself go in this exertion of magnifying him, you will notice something afterwards. That voice of dread has been silenced. The enemy of your soul cannot bear watching the Holy One receive the glory that he tried so hard to steal! He has run away shrieking with his hands over his ears. YOU have won! You have pulled heaven’s victory to your here and now!

Get militant about this one:

My Lord Jesus, YOU have the name above every name! YOU are the Holy One! You are set apart and far above all else that exists in this universe, in heaven and on earth and under the earth! YOU are enthroned in my praises! I exalt YOU far above these circumstances facing me! I will not be afraid of my enemies’ threats, for YOU are the One I praise! I stomp on dread because YOU are the Author and Owner and Establisher of my hope and future! YOU are the One I reverence! YOU are the One I worship! YOU are the One I stand in awe of! I fear YOU ALONE!!!! I praise You that You created me to OVERCOME!!!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Victory Outside the Box: A Duct Tape Sword and an Oil Drenched Warrior

While I was in the midst of writing up my recent posts about prophetic acts, a living example of these principles was unfolding right under my nose. I want to introduce to you my friend Christina, who is about to let you in on the story. Christina is a missionary who moved here to Iquitos a year ago to work with our ministry. She has quickly become an integral part of what God is doing in our midst.

When she related the following incident to me, suddenly it clicked. I knew that the Holy Spirit was illustrating His own sermon. He led Christina into a series of fascinating prophetic acts right as I was writing on the subject. I asked her to share them with you. She cheerfully did so; what follows is that account in her own words.

“The past two posts from Jennifer have been highlighting prophetic acts in the natural and their connection to the spiritual realm. This past week I had an incredible experience with exactly what she has been writing about, and I would like to tell you about it here.

First, I would like to say that this world is entirely new to me. I did not grow up in the prophetic, and I have been on quite the learning curve since I moved here to Peru. If anyone had told me three years ago that I would be doing some of the things the Lord has had me do lately, I would have thought the one telling me was absolutely crazy. But here I am, and this is the latest in His intense training of me.

About a week ago I felt called very strongly to an afternoon of intercessory prayer. During that time, I saw a vivid picture of a sword that the Lord was giving me. The sword had a double edged blade. It was made perfectly for my hands… With the point touching the ground, it came almost to my waist in height. Scripture references were written on the blade that were promises of God that He wanted me to remember and use to fight. The blade was silver and the grip was gold, with a ruby pommel, and the cross guard had TRUTH written on it. The blade was also burning with a brilliantly bright fire. The Lord told me He wanted me to fight.

A few days later, the sword was so very much on my mind. I was sitting in my bed looking around the room, and my eyes fell on a tent stored there. My mind immediately went to the tent poles in it. Before I even really realized what I was doing, I had gone and taken one of the tent poles out and folded it to where I felt was right. I held it up to my side, and it was exactly the same length as the sword in my vision. I knew He wanted me to make a physical representation of that sword. The Lord had me cover it with duct tape and mark off the handle with a sharpie. He then instructed me to write on the blade I had fashioned, Scriptures that had been on the blade in the vision. One of them that He led me to me write out was: 'Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance…' (Ps 149:6-7a)

Then the Lord told me, 'It is time for you to fight for what I have promised you. As you take up the sword I just had you make in the physical, you are picking up the sword I gave you in the spiritual realm. It is the sword of Truth, covered in My Word and the Fire of My Spirit. Anoint it with oil, and consecrate it for Me and My service.'

I had long felt that He wanted me to pray over the upstairs area of the house where I stay. The second floor is currently under construction, and no one lives up there. It has so many spider webs, it is difficult to walk through without running into them. The Lord summoned me up there. I took my sword, some praise music (Kari Jobe’s 'Majestic'), my Bible, and a bottle of oil.

His next words were, 'I want you to begin with the oil. It represents my Spirit that I am pouring out on you to do this task. Pour it out on your head.' I poured out a little on top of me. As I felt it dripping down my scalp, I could feel His presence falling on me. Seven times He had me pour the oil on my head until half of the bottle was gone, and the oil was dripping down my head and down my neck and back.

He continued, 'Now, take up your sword and work your way through this floor. I want you to pray over this house. As you enter each room, I want you to cut away at the webs in the physical realm. While you are cutting the webs in the physical, you are also cutting away at the webs the enemy has tried to spin in an attempt to block you and others from their destinies. I will give you what to pray as you cut through each one. Now… sing and worship as you fight!'

I began to sing, and in each room He had me cut away at the things the enemy had tried to use to block the Lord’s moves in my life and in others’. At one point I found myself with my sword positioned in front of me and declaring, 'I am the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and heir with Him in the heavenly realms. The Lord my God will reign in this place. With this sword lit with Holy Fire, I cut down the cords you, my enemy, have attempted to tie the people of God down with!'

When I finished all of this, I collapsed on the floor utterly drained from what He had poured through me, overcome with His powerful presence. I can say with absolute certainty that I felt something break in the spiritual realm while carrying all of it out. A little while later I was sitting down in the patio area downstairs and looked up to take in one of the clearest and most complete rainbows I have ever seen in person. I believe it was a sign of His promise of the victory.

The Lord may lead us to do things that do not make earthly sense, but the Bible shows us that He never has made ‘logical’ requests of those He has great things for. I believe that so very often skepticism and doubt greatly hinder what He wants to pour out on and through us. We think we can’t be important enough, or that He just doesn’t do those kind of things anymore. But He DOES! It takes simply laying ourselves down as living sacrifices to be used mightily by the Lord… He is so kind and loving… He beckons us to yield ourselves to His Will and Way – especially when it doesn’t make sense to our natural minds. The more I lay myself down, the more I long to lay myself down again and again to see what else He will unfold in and through me. Such a magnificent adventure!!!”

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lessons from an Ex-Fisherman on Making Your Every Day Prophetic

Did you know that simple aspects of daily life can become prophetic if you let them? Did you know that the Holy Spirit can come upon something as mundane as drinking a glass of water or unlocking your front door?

Ponder this question for a moment: Is there any limit to what our infinite God can do with the ordinary and humdrum elements of our earthly existence?

As promised, I want to continue sharing my thoughts about prophetic acts in this post. My main goal here is to emphasize how Holy Spirit yearns to get into the practicalities of our day in and day out living and make them extraordinary. If we will let Him, He will insert Himself into our banalities, and turn them into prophetic acts.

On a hot and humid day not long ago, I was pouring myself a big serving of thirst quenching water. Holy Spirit nudged me to tune in with my spiritual senses to His nearness. “You could receive a drink of My living water as you down that glass,” His soft voice suggested. He was pointing out once again to me the intimate connection between the physical and spiritual realms. If we will lean into Him each day, He will teach us how to bring Heaven into our daily activities. You might even try this exercise later today. If you feel Him leading you to do so, get a cup of water and invite Him to pour into your spirit as you savor each sip. Make your afternoon refresher into a spiritual activity. Make it into a prophetic act. I assure you, you are not overspiritualizing things. The more you invite Holy Spirit into your day, the more He will come.

Not only is He longing for your invitation, but He is also eager to surprise you with His innovative initiatives. I am truly convinced that He delights in taking our boxes labeled “Everyday” and “Normal” and intentionally transforming them into unexpected and remarkable shapes. Actually, He often prefers to do away with our boxes entirely. I have learned that He is rather fond of being unpredictable.

God decided to heal a spring of undrinkable water by instructing His servant to toss a dirty old stick into it. He decided to provide a needed temple tax through the mouth of a random fish pulled out of the sea. He decided to heal a grievously ill woman by having her grasp at the edge of His Son’s robe. I could fill many paragraphs with lists of all of the unanticipated, unconventional things that God decided to do historically with everyday objects to accomplish His ends. We find an unceasing supply of them recorded on the pages of Scripture.

For those of us that have been reading the Bible for years, these stories sometimes lose their surprise element. How enriching it is to pause and jump freshly into the narratives with our imagination! When we let God’s spontaneity displayed in each account strike our senses anew, we are refreshed. His sheer creativity and unbounded willingness to tackle each circumstance with a brand new approach is both staggering and life giving.

There’s one such story that the Lord keeps bringing me back to repeatedly over the last few months. I’m going to share it with you here because it’s a brilliant example of how Jesus gets into our daily activities to make them prophetic.

In Luke 5, we read about Jesus walking into Peter’s everyday life for the first time. Peter the fisherman is in his little world doing his regular thing – going through his unremarkable, mundane routine – wrapping up a night of fishing. Jesus strolls into his boat and transfigures what Peter has been doing all night into a powerful prophetic act. This prophetic act is so momentous, in fact, that it turns out to be this unlikely disciple’s commissioning. "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch,” Jesus says to him, looking penetratingly into Peter’s soul with His eyes.

Jesus was a brand new figure to Peter at this point. He must have had an intensely compelling presence about Him to inspire this seasoned expert in all things aquatic to follow His instructions. After all, we are talking about a team of men under Peter’s leadership exhausted after a long night of coming up empty handed at the fishing nets. They knew very well, at a very personal level, that there were no fish whatsoever hanging about those parts at that time.

However, something stirred deep inside of Peter. His spirit was responding to the Holy Spirit.

As usual with God’s plans, bodily action was required. "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." Peter set his physical frame into forward movement. Immediately, the prophetic unction on Jesus’ directive activated the spiritual realm when Peter obeyed. Fish were supernaturally gathered by the masses from only God knows where and deposited in an instant into those nets! Maybe there were angels assigned to move those fish into place. Maybe the Spirit just moved them Himself. Either way, power from heaven was released when Peter engaged with the prophetic mandate through a physical action.

Peter’s unquestioning obedience also set into motion a prophetic picture of the calling that opened up over his life through that encounter. As he gazed in wonder at the copious amount of shiny fish flopping around in his now overloaded and sinking boat, the Holy Spirit whispered to his heart, “Just as I sovereignly filled this net full of fish, I will from here out extravagantly fill your ministry boat with souls, as day by day you learn to act upon the surprising and sometimes seemingly irrational things that I tell you to do. Never forget this moment, the spiritual power released through physical obedience, or this picture of the supernatural abundance in which I am now calling you to walk. From now on you will catch men!”

You never know what will happen when you let the Holy Spirit mess with your day to day activities…but you can count on the results being “exceedingly, abundantly” better than anything you could come up with yourself.

Here’s something to experiment with as you chew on these principles. Try standing in the shower and asking Him to wash over you with His cleansing love. Concentrate on His presence bathing you as you feel the water running down over your skin. Then as you get dressed afterwards, picture yourself “clothing” your whole being with the garments of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love (Col 3:12, 14) – with every item of clothing that you put on your body. “Thank You, Holy Spirit, for this t-shirt of Your love that is covering me. I am now wearing Your glory and ready for the day.” As you spray on your perfume, declare, “Everywhere I go today, I will carry the fragrance of Your genuine care for everyone I encounter!”

See, you just did it! You just made your morning routine into a series of powerful prophetic acts. I would truly love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments section below. Holy Spirit is so eager to transform our mundane into mighty! Let’s make room for Him in every big and little thing we do with the hours He has given us today.

Our brother Peter can tell you, there’s nothing better than this. When you look at your weather worn boat and see it hardly able to support the weight of the biggest catch of fish you’ve ever seen… When the same old thing you’ve been doing every day is suddenly transformed into a dazzling picture of your destiny… When you look up into the Savior’s eyes and see He is beckoning you to follow Him into ever greater and more exciting adventures, you know. Activating the spiritual realm through physical obedience is the lifestyle you want to run after with abandon. I’m with this fisherman-turned-apostle. My heart cries out with his, “At Your word, Lord, let’s do this thing!”

Daddy God, I am so thankful that You want to breathe life into my daily routine! I lift up to You what to me is mundane, and ask You to make it sacred. Let the soft breeze of Your closeness, Your holiness, blow into and over my chores and scheduled activities for today. Come in, Holy Spirit. Turn my banalities into prophetic acts. I welcome You into what I am doing right here and now. Fill my movements with Your vitality, with Your power, with Your love, with Your energy, with Your joy. Show me the way You want to direct each of my steps today. Take over completely! I trust You with all that I am.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Naaman's Unexpected Prophetic Act and How It Relates to You

I used to almost unconsciously think that the people in my world who were into all things prophetic could get a little loony or exaggerated in their behavior. Especially when it came to what they called prophetic acts. In 1999, I took a class while I was a student at Fuller Seminary on engaging in spiritual warfare. Peter Wagner showed us a video depicting a team of intercessors climbing one of the highest mountains in the world to stake out spiritual territory there. They performed a number of prophetic acts that bordered on quite eccentric. I watched with fascination, not sure what to think. I have always been open to the Lord teaching me new things, but I was being stretched.

Over the years, my understanding and appreciation of prophetic acts has increased dramatically. In this post and the next, I would like to share with you some of the insights I have absorbed on the topic. I am hoping to remove for you some of the mystery perhaps shrouding the subject and help you see how straightforward and practical such matters actually are.

My Teacher has intensified my awareness of how intimately interwoven the spiritual and physical realms are. The Western mindset tends to want to separate and compartmentalize them. However, this tendency is actually a departure from reality. The two flow naturally in and out of one another. This is why Jesus explained to us, “What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” This truth is so important that the Holy Spirit inserted it twice in the book of Matthew (16:19 and 18:18).

A prophetic act works on this principle. The prophetic act is a way of engaging with the spiritual realm through a physical action, as the Holy Spirit initiates, leads, and empowers. As the child of God receives His instruction and begins to step into obedience in the material realm, he or she is partnering with His Spirit to set into motion a corresponding movement in the heavenly realm. Let’s jump into a biblical example to illustrate.

2 Kings 5 narrates for us the story of Naaman’s healing from leprosy. Naaman arrives in Israel from Syria with all his pomp and glory, expecting a grandiose reception appropriate to his level of honor and status. Instead, Elisha won’t even come out to personally acknowledge him. He sends his servant out instead with a simple message: “Go dip in the Jordan seven times.” Naaman is furious and almost misses his opportunity to be liberated from misery and early death. These orders seem absurd and insulting. Thankfully, his servants are able to gently reason some sense into him. He humbles himself and decides to obey the word of the Lord. He carries through with the physical action of getting his sick body into the waters of the Jordan and submerging himself in the water seven times.

The seventh time, he comes up out of the water completely restored. His skin is now enviably as beautiful as a child’s. (I want to go dip in the Jordan!) His heart is indelibly altered through this experience and he requests permission to take earth from Israel home to Syria to set up permanent worship to the one and only true God.

We could get into the meaning of the number seven and the symbolic implications of being submerged in water, all intriguing angles to this story. But my main point is that, Naaman’s bath that day was a prophetic act, even though he didn’t initially understand its significance. A physical action was required of him to activate the spiritual power of healing on his behalf. As he moved his body (flesh and bones) through the steps of the instructions God laid out, he tapped into the heavenly realm. Power began to flow into him. And since Daddy God is never halfhearted about anything He does, he got better skin out of the deal than any of his peers. (I bet he was excited to go to his next high school reunion after that.) This story makes me eager to follow through when God doles out strange instructions!

Actually, I’m convinced God is fond of handing out perplexing directives. Each time He does, He is giving us the opportunity to go deeper into the realm of leaning not on our own understanding. How about these fine specimens entrusted to some of His better known public servants?

Turn your staff into a venomous snake and then grab it as it slithers around
Make a regular diet out of insects
Marry a sexually promiscuous woman who will not be faithful to you
Cook your food over feces
Lie on your side for months. Don’t move!
Spit in the dirt, make some slimy mud, and slather it on the poor unsuspecting blind man’s eyes
Eat what is unclean from a sheet hanging down out of heaven in front of your face
Lie on top of a dead body
Walk around stark naked for three years

As you might notice, these are taken from both Old Testament and New. Yes, they are extreme examples. Thankfully, I bet He will never request that you to replicate any of the items on that list. But what if He does ask you to do something that makes no sense at all? And what if that something is tailor made by His design to activate the power of heaven on your behalf? What if it’s a prophetic act in disguise?

For Naaman, the prophetic mandate received carried an unction for the supernatural manifestation that God wanted to bring forth in his life. Hidden away, enclosed in disconcerting instructions, was raw power that could only be unlocked by following them. The path to heaven’s Answer was humility. Naaman wisely chose to sacrifice his own notions of how things should be done on the altar of obedience. Complete restoration was his reward.

Have you been sensing any nudges from God recently that don’t seem to reconcile with logic? Maybe, just maybe, He is offering you a key that will unlock and pull down to the earth untold treasures currently stored in heavenly places for you…

Daddy God, I hold out my hand to You. Please take it and lead me onwards in Your paths of righteousness laid out for me. Teach me to partner with You in activating heaven’s movement on earth’s behalf. Train me to tune into Your nudges, and to obey them quickly as they come, even when they often don’t seem to make sense. I want to lean completely and wholly on Your understanding and not my own. I acknowledge that You reserve the right to be sovereign, immensely immeasurable in Your wisdom and glory, and mysterious! I surrender my desire to have everything figured out and neatly ordered, under my control. I lay myself in Your hands. I am Yours.

Friday, June 24, 2016

What Is the Ancient Key?

I promised to tell you about The Ancient Key. Understanding this Key has added beautiful depths to my relationship with Jesus. I want you to know about it too! (If you haven’t already, check out last week’s post in order to learn the beginning of this story). Today I am going to share with you the download that He gave me when I asked Him what He meant by the phrase “Ancient Key” in the prophetic word I had read by Chuck Pierce.

Holy Spirit took me to the book of Proverbs in order to answer my question. He highlighted for me a passage that draws us back to the earliest of times: the very beginning. The first word in the mysterious phrase needing explanation was Ancient. What could be more ancient on our timeline than His creation of the planet? Proverbs 8 provides us with an exquisite window into the birthing of our temporal home. In the following words from that chapter, I hear Jesus expressing His heart. I hear Him describing, with uncontained wonder, the experience of sharing with His Daddy the bringing forth of the Earth: “When He established the heavens, I was there;…I was constantly at His side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence (Prov. 8:27a, 30, NET).”

The Ancient Key is woven into those sacred words. The perpetual delight shared between Daddy and Jesus is the Key that unlocks endless possibility. From before even time began, our Abba and His Firstborn have been basking in the indescribable bliss of their oneness. Human language fails at every attempt it makes to portray with words how profoundly They enjoy each other. “Day after day” They drink deeply of the intimate fellowship that flows unceasingly between Them. They are inseparable, “constantly” at the side of the Other. “Rejoicing always” in each Other’s nearness, tenderness, and fiery passion of reciprocated love.

Out of this union, Earth was born. Creation was the product of ultimate intimacy. We find this life-producing togetherness of Daddy, Jesus, and Holy Spirit from the very first verse of the Bible, on. “In the beginning, God…” The Hebrew word translated God there is Elohim. Elohim is plural! One God, three Persons loving each other in perfection. So we lean in, and we hear, “In the beginning, Daddy, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, basking in perfect Oneness, created the heavens and the earth.” Not much farther into the narrative, Elohim says, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Gen. 1:26). Do you hear the sheer, inexpressible delight of co-creating going on there? They then sat down to rest, to drink in, to love gaze at the masterpiece to which They had given birth. What an incredible understatement it was when Elohim uttered the pronouncement that “…indeed it was very good!” (Gen. 1:31, NKJV)

At the center of the universe is God. Elohim. Daddy, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Delight. Bliss. Burning. Drinking. Unrestrained, unbounded reveling in Togetherness. Everything else flows from this center. Together, they loved the creation into existence. There was so much love bursting up and out of Them, They longed for more beings to draw into Their circle of glorious intimacy. “Let Us make man…” They couldn’t contain it any longer! Earth was born, and as its centerpiece, Their magnum opus: daughters and sons made just like Them, created to delight as They do in love, intimacy, passion, and oneness. You and I literally were fashioned for Love. This is why you ache for it!

Holy Spirit also eagerly pointed my attention to John 1:18. “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (NKJV). This verse contains amazing insight into the unchangeable location of Jesus the Son. He was, is, and forevermore will be, in the bosom of the Father. In Daddy’s embrace. He has learned the secret of endless contentment and feasting for His soul: never leave Daddy’s lap. Never untangle the Oneness. “In Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore,” the Spirit of Jesus exclaims to His Daddy (Ps. 16:11).

The Apostle John is the one Elohim chose as His mouthpiece for this truth. The revelation of Jesus wrapped up in Daddy’s embrace was so fundamental to him that it made the very first chapter of his gospel (Look again at John 1:18). This was the man who got to live out the same bosom experience personally. He learned for himself the wordless bliss of physically leaning into Jesus. No doubt that with this one simple line of his writing, he was describing the moment that defined the rest of his earthly sojourn: “Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples…” (John 13:23, NKJV)

John got to actually press his ear into his Master’s chest and hear His beautiful heart beating out the strong, steady rhythm of perfect love for him. He got to feel the most loving human arms that ever embraced anyone, wrapped around him. No wonder he came to identify himself in his descriptions of their times together as the disciple that Jesus loved!

Later this Apostle of love again penned insight into Elohim’s unending Togetherness. Upon having the astonishing vision described in the book of Revelation, John recorded for us the following words from Jesus’ mouth: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:20-21, NKJV).

Remember everything we have been discussing about feeding on Jesus? Here is yet another summons to the feast. Can you hear Him? “I am knocking! Will you let Me in? Will you commune with Me? Will you drink in My closeness? Will you revel in oneness with Me? I have the most profoundly satisfying banquet prepared and ready to feed your spirit!”

“To him who overcomes…” How do we overcome? By responding to the invitation. By coming to the table. By feeding on His nearness, on His fellowship, on His love. “I will grant to sit with Me on My throne…” Do you hear it? You are beckoned into His lap! I’m pretty sure that in His immensity, He takes up all the space on the seat of His throne. Where will you fit? In His bosom. Just like He is on Daddy’s throne with Him, in His bosom…

The Ancient Key is oneness. It is the ecstasy of eternal, mutual delighting. It is joining in the love circle with Daddy, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. This is the Key that will unlock any and every door of impossibility. Is some seemingly immovable mountain staring you down? For now, ignore it. Turn your back to it and look up into Elohim’s waiting eyes. Take in the everlasting Arms reaching out for you. Melt into them and listen to Their heart beating with unending pleasure in your closeness. When you are filled to overflowing with this bliss, that mountain is going to look like nothing before Them. Satiated with Their love glory, you will be brimming over with readiness to order it into the heart of the sea!

Daddy God, from eternity past You have been rejoicing over Jesus and Holy Spirit with singing. Your hearts have been bursting with love, burning with passion, elated with togetherness, dancing with reciprocal delight! There is no end to the expression of the uncontained joy in Your consuming fire. I feel, see, hear you beckoning to me. Draw me in! Take me! Overcome me too with the reality of what is within You. Teach me to abide with You, to be ever more aware of my oneness with You. You created me for this. I was born to love You with the very depths of my being. I exist to glorify You and enjoy You forever!

Friday, June 17, 2016

"Come Up Here!" -- Learning to Climb God's Lookout Tower

“What is the ancient key, Lord?”

I had read a prophetic word Chuck Pierce posted, about God bringing us into victory through an ancient key. However, the text of his word had no explanation of what that ancient key was. I knew in my spirit that there was something Holy Spirit wanted to tell me through my brother Chuck. So I did what I always do when I can sense He is initiating communication with me. I inquired of His heart, and then I leaned in to listen.

I am voraciously hungry for the words that come from the mouth of God. Out of the overflow of His heart, His mouth speaks. I have come to habitually posture my spirit in an attentive, listening position. I don’t want to miss His whispers! Like the prophet Habakkuk, “I…stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I…look to see what he will say to me” (Hab. 2:1, NIV). Habakkuk intentionally arranged his whole being -- body, soul, and spirit -- in such a way that would best facilitate hearing his Creator’s voice. “Stand at my watch…station myself…look…see.” All of these verbs portray a man watching and listening with eager, rapt, focused attention. He had purposefully closed out the rest of the world to meet with the Lord.

Habakkuk understood that prayer was so much more than a monologue pointed vaguely towards the heavens. He needed to get God’s perspective about the matters pressing on his heart. He needed an ANSWER. He knew his Master well enough to know that He would indeed respond. He would show up! He always does. He would come to the meeting. He would eagerly and lovingly enter into the dialogue. He would satisfy Habakkuk’s longing to hear His words.

I love the Message’s rendering of this verse: “What's God going to say to my questions?...I'll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I'll wait to see what God says, how he'll answer…” Climbing the watchtower is a spiritual picture of true prayer: Habakkuk was moving up into the realm of the Spirit. To effectively connect with Heaven, we need to act on His invitation to “Come up here” (Rev. 4:1). Far too often, we stay on the earthly plane in our attempts to pray. This happens when our inner eyes are more focused on our circumstance than on the reality of God. One of the most important elements for growth in prayer is learning to climb the lookout tower in spirit. This happens as He teaches us to quiet our busy minds and move our focus onto Him. As we learn to gaze on Him, we naturally begin to move up into the realm of His Spirit. We transition into the place where we can stand on our watch to receive His personal rhema, or message to us.

One of the best ways to train your mind and heart to focus in on the Lord’s nearness is to start out your quiet time with praise and worship. Make sure your phone is off and your door is closed, and that you have carved out enough time to not be in a rush. Put on one of your favorite worship albums, close your eyes, and really listen to the words. Then begin to use the eyes of your heart to actively look at the Lord.

How does one look at the Lord? I explain this to my children as using their imagination under the anointing. I tell them that what we are doing is not pretend; on the contrary! This exercise is more real even than what you can take in with your five physical senses. However, “imagining” is one of the best terms we have in English for using the faculty of your inner sight.  You know that screen you have on the inside of you? The one where all of a sudden you see a pink elephant because I just used the phrase pink elephant? The one where you can easily call up the facial expressions of the ones you love? The one where you remember your most delicious moments and imagine more to come? That one. On that screen, picture the Lord smiling at you. This is not pretend! He really is so very, very glad to see you. Now you are tuning into His love and the warmth of His welcome.

Continue to listen to the lyrics as you look at Him. Now begin to sing them, directly to Him, as you lock eyes with Him. Don’t worry if you encounter some inner resistance to this activity. As is the case with getting in shape at the gym, the movements don’t necessarily come naturally at first. The more “reps” you push through, the more you will find your stride. Encourage yourself with this truth. It truly will pay off! It will be incredibly worth the price you are paying to grow in Him. You will overflow with joy when you find that your eyes have learned to stop focusing on your problems and have truly begun to gaze on the beauty of the Lord! He is breathtaking. Then suddenly you will glance down and realize you have ascended. You are soaring on wings as eagles! You are up in His realm!

Again, the Message version words God’s invitation so beautifully: “Ascend and enter” (Rev 4:1). Habakkuk responded. He climbed. He entered. He then scanned the horizon and waited. This was an active, alert waiting, engaged with the nearness of the Lord. It was in that place that His word came to him. No, you don’t have to be a prophet for this same principle to work for you. As you climb up into His presence, you will encounter His voice. He cannot resist those that draw near to Him. Your desire for Him undoes Him completely. Enraptured by your eager heart, He will draw near to you. His words will begin to flow. Be ready to write them down.

Returning my attention now to the question I asked Him -- what was the ancient key He was referring to, in the prophetic word I read? I was zapped with an electric charge of excitement when I heard His answer. But I am out of space! You will have to tune in next time to hear more about that…

A prayer for today:

Daddy God, my spirit hears Your invitation to “Come up here,” to “Ascend and enter.” I am stirred to respond. Teach me to move up into the realm of Your Spirit. Train my inner eyes to focus intently on You, my sweet Lord. Right now, I look up into Your eyes of love. You are Love, and You are gazing at me. I drink deeply of the devotion in Your eyes. I am beginning to climb!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Tapping Into the Yearnings of Daddy God

Have you ever seen a young mother searching her baby’s face with an aching heart because he’s sick and won’t eat? She keeps offering nourishment, and each time he refuses, it hurts her soul. Multiply that by infinity and you will start to get a picture of our Daddy God’s longing to feed you when you are languishing. This goes for not only when you are in a weakened state – He is intensely eager to nourish you at all times.

He sincerely yearns to pour His goodness into you! “The Lord longs to be gracious to you” (Is. 30:18, italics mine). He deeply aches with the desire to see you nurtured and strengthened by His very real spiritual nutrition. Your flourishing is His longing. It hurts His loving heart to see His beloved ones undernourished. He knows what abundant provision He has available for you. With all that is within Him, He burns with a passion to see you feasting on what He is offering!

We have been talking at length about feeding on Jesus. The Holy Spirit is continuing to hover over this subject. He really, really, really wants you to take this truth into the depths of you. Is your inner tank on low or empty today? Jesus is earnestly beckoning to you. He is patting the space next to Him at His table and looking at you with eyes full of invitation. He is bidding you to sit with Him and partake. As you respond even now, His presence wraps around you in profoundly affectionate welcome. Do you see His smile?

“For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink,” He explains, joyfully enjoying your nearness (John 6:55). REAL food. True, authentic sustenance for the most important part of who you are – your spirit.

Paul remarks on this subject, in reference to the children of Israel, “They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:3-4, NIV). I’m struck by that. The people he is speaking of here did not have the breathtaking privilege that is ours, of hosting God Himself inside our bodies. They only knew Him from a distance. They could only hear His words when Moses His spokesman reported what He had proclaimed. You and I have His words whispering on the inside of us. His Spirit communicates to our spirit. Every day. Every hour. Every minute, if we lean in to listen.

And yet, they had spiritual food and drink too. I believe this speaks of their direct experience of His supernatural provision. Imagine: “Closed in between an army and an ocean? No worries – check out this dry path right through the middle of the waters. Oh yeah, and I’ll neatly eliminate the problem of the irate, bloodthirsty men in hot pursuit of you while I’m at it.” “Not sure where to go next? Here’s a cloud to guide you.” “Hungry? Have some manna to fill your bellies.” “Still hungry? I’ve got some quail for you.” “Wandering in an arid desert and thirsty? Not a problem – to your left you will find a spring of cool water gushing from an old rock that’s been lying here for thousands of years as dry as a bone.”

And on and on. “You got a need? I got a provision,” was the daily, hourly script. The Israelites ate the spiritual food of His constant, creative, attentive generosity. His desire was for them to get to know His goodness as He supplied each and every need along the way. (Sadly, they missed it.)

If those ancient ones with an inferior covenant had access to spiritual food and drink on their journey, how much more so do we! They had to get to know their God indirectly. But you and I – we have Him on the very inside of ourselves! That is the whole point of our new, superior covenant.

Daddy God waited with yearning for the right time to come to introduce the covenant we now walk in. On the edge of His seat, He announced its approach through the prophet Jeremiah, with excitement He could hardly contain: “‘The time is coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel…It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers…No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest’” (Jer. 31:31-34, NIV, italics mine).

No longer would we need a Moses or a Samuel or a Nathan to learn what God was thinking, saying, and feeling. The new covenant would mean that each and every one of us got to be intimate with Him. You get to become one with His Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). Christ in you. His voice inside you. His thoughts in your head. His energy in your body. His emotions in your heart. His passion in your soul. Is this not astounding?

So what does this have to do with food? Well, in the Old Testament story, they got to eat supernatural food. In this New Testament reality, our spiritual food is SO.MUCH.BETTER!!! The old covenant food was manna. Even it was so sacred that it earned a permanent place in the Ark of the Covenant. The reason for this is that it was pointing to what was to come: the feeding on Jesus our Bread from Heaven that was to come with the new covenant. Just as the Ark sat in the Holiest of Holies and housed supernatural food, now we ourselves can freely abide in the Most Holy Place of intimacy and feast on fresh revelation from His heart perpetually!

The food now available to us through the new covenant, is an actual partaking of the divine nature. As we feed on Him, His very being floods us. His promise through Jeremiah comes more and more true every day that we eat by communing with Him: we get to KNOW Him. In the deepest possible sense of the word, know.

This was the longing Paul also expressed in his writing to the Philippians: “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…I want to know Christ…” (Phil. 3:8-10, NIV).

The more we feed on Jesus, the more intimately we get to know Him. The more we feed on Him, the more we experience true life. He told those gathered around to listen, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53, NIV). In other words, unless you learn to feed on Him, you are not really living. The converse is also wonderfully true. The more you feast on the spiritual food He provides, the more you come alive!

Jesus modeled for us the lifestyle of nourishing His inner being with spiritual food, during His life on the earth. He described it like this: “I have food to eat of which you do not know…My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:32, 34, NKJV).

As I meditated on this Scripture, Holy Spirit opened it up further for me. I understood that Jesus was talking about the intimacy that He was constantly sharing with His Daddy. This was about being so wrapped up as One that they shared one heartbeat. As a result, Jesus’ activities consisted in doing what He was seeing, feeling, hearing, and perceiving His Daddy doing.

In this chapter, His Daddy was ministering to a broken, rejected Samaritan woman at the side of a well. So Jesus was too. And then when she responded by opening her heart, Jesus experienced His Daddy’s exultant rejoicing over her, leaping up in His spirit. His Daddy’s joy fed His own joy as this precious daughter tasted of Their love for the first time in her life and was absolutely undone and transformed by it. (So much so that she immediately won many of her city over to Him!) This was the food He was talking about in this verse. This shared intimacy with Daddy, and what naturally flowed out of it, was sustenance to His deepest being.

Real spiritual food. Food that fills you with vibrancy, with eternal life. Intimacy with Daddy. This same feast that delighted Jesus to the core is exactly what He wants to feed you today. Sink into that heavenly seat next to Him at the banqueting table. Goodness is the aroma tantalizing!

Jesus, how it stirs my spirit to hear about Your Oneness with Daddy! Thank You for showing me that You long to give me the same. Right now my inner being is responding to Yours. The deep in me is crying out for the deep in You. Take me further into Your heart. Teach me to eat real spiritual food…to feast on partake of Your nature each day, communing with Your Spirit. Thank You for making me one with You! 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Shhh...Top Secret Message for You!

Did the title of this post catch your eye? Well, guess what. God really does have a top secret message for you. It’s something extremely personal, for your ears alone.

To directly quote Jesus about this: “To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it” (Rev. 2:17, NKJV).

Hmmm…the intrigue! I want my secret stone from Jesus, how about you??

What is it about the word “secret” that immediately draws our attention? I’m thinking it has something about the way we were created. You and I were born for mystery, for exploration and adventure. Have you ever watched the wonder in a little baby’s eyes as she experiences brand new sights and sounds? Have you soaked up the absolute thrill in her face when she discovers what she can do with those ten marvelous wiggly things attached at the end of her arms? From day one on Planet Earth, an infant naturally displays our creation design. God never meant for our lives to run out of the awe of discovery that these little ones show forth so exuberantly.

In this Scripture from Revelation, Jesus is beckoning us deeper into His mysteries -- into discovering Him. Into finding out what “hidden manna to eat” looks, smells, and tastes like. I have been sharing a lot about manna in recent posts. We’ve been meditating together on Jesus, our Living Manna. On what it means to feed on Him. Here, the Holy Spirit holds out a closely related promise to us through John the Revelator. As we overcome, as we push through to victory, this secret, hidden manna is the reward waiting for us on the other side.

What is hidden about this manna? The word hidden infers that it is invisible to most eyes. This manna is exclusive. It is only for the one willing to pay the price to overcome. Jesus explained to His disciples, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them [not to the multitudes gathered to listen]” (Matt 13:11, NIV). There is that word again – secrets. Along with the nuance of exclusivity – “given to you, but not to them.” The disciples got to hear the secrets because they stuck around the extra hours to listen when everyone else had gone home.

Jesus has a secret club. The members of His club are the ones who have the privilege of leaning on His chest and listening to His heartbeat. They get to eat the hidden manna behind His closed doors. They get to delight in the richest of fare. “Whosoever will” (Rev. 22:17) is invited into this elite membership. Whoever wishes! However, though many are called, few are chosen. As my youth pastor taught us so many years ago, you have to choose the choosing! Sadly, though, so often, when the invite arrives at our door, we have more “urgent” things to take care of.

At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He sat down to dinner with the ones who had done life with Him for three years. He poured out His heart to them as they communed together. “I have earnestly and intensely desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,¹” He expressed to them in passionate sincerity, pausing to look around the table into each of their eyes. There was so much meaning in His penetrating look. He held each of them in it, pouring His love and gratitude into their individual souls through His gaze. He was consumed with desire for them to know how much it meant to Him that they had laid down their very selves to follow Him unquestioningly, leaving their previous lives behind them. They had eaten together, traveled together, worked together, cried together, laughed together, sung together, prayed together, ministered together, poured out their very last ounce of strength together, and then gotten up the next day to do it again, and again, and again. He held every single minute of the adventure together in His heart as an unspeakable treasure.

“You are My friends,²” He told them, both with His eyes, and with His words spoken in tones that ushered from His deepest heart. Not just servants any more. Friends. Intimate companions. Could any word to them have been more sweet?

In that moment, He gave them a key insight that would be with them for the rest of their lives. “A servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15, NKJV, italics mine). These men had so grown in intimacy with Jesus that He no longer held anything at all back from them. His secrets were theirs. They had stuck with Him. They had not turned away when the multitudes did in disgust at His suggestion that they eat His flesh and drink His blood. There were a million other opportunities along the way to give up too, and instead they had persevered. They had overcome. The hidden manna was theirs for the taking.

The disciples had learned to walk with Jesus. They had learned to push through the rough spots and stick closely by His side. They had become His true friends. He invites us to do the same. He wants to give us hidden manna too.

There’s something about this manna. We all need it. Just as the Israelites literally could not survive without eating it in the wilderness, we cannot survive spiritually without this provision. It’s the most important part of what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Manna is life. It is sustenance. It is strength for the journey. The ironic thing is that so many are trying to carry on without it. Traveling ever on spiritual fumes. They’ll have a few bites of heavenly bread on Sunday and hope it last them for the week. Have you ever hoped that one lunch or dinner meal would keep you for seven days? Dear one, feed yourself!

“He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna…that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut 8:3, NKJV). Manna then becomes a symbol of words that come out of God’s mouth, and go directly to your heart. Manna is revelation. Manna is God sharing His heart with you.

A closing thought. This symbol of God’s provision was so sacred to Him that He ordered for some of it to be kept perpetually in the Ark of The Covenant. Central to His covenant with us is our Daily Bread. His provision of fresh rhema every single day of our lives. Fresh manna every morning. Fresh bread right out of Heaven’s oven for breakfast – can you smell its aroma? Before you rush onto the next urgent thing, get alone with Daddy God today and let Him feed you this hidden manna! It’s time to feast!

"Poppa God, You are my Provider! You don’t want me barely surviving, living on fumes. You long to give me more than enough each day to nourish and care for my spirit. You want to feed me a fresh revelation of Your heart, even in these moments. Please give me my daily bread today as I draw close to You. I snuggle into Your arms right now. I’m putting my head on Your chest to listen to Your heartbeat. How strong and loving is its rhythm! I know there is so much more of You for me to get to know. So much more You want to show me. Take me deeper into Your mysteries. I want to hear Your secrets. I want to be Your friend…”

¹Luke 22:15, AMP

²John 15:14-15

Friday, May 20, 2016

One of the Best Kept SECRETS for Personal Victory

“Take communion as an act of spiritual violence,” I encouraged my friend. She was a bit puzzled by that. Understandably, she needed me to explain what I meant.

Would you like to know too? Wonderful! Cuz I’m about to tell you.

I mentioned in a previous post that eating the Lord’s Supper is a prophetic act. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes” (1 Cor 11:26, NKJV). For those with ears to here, this verse does not mean that we are simply making a heartfelt remembrance of His dying. One definition of the word proclaim is “to announce officially or publicly.” Holy Spirit is encouraging us to take communion with deeper understanding in our spirit of what we are doing. We are issuing a loud and clear PROCLAMATION when we do.

To whom are we making this proclamation? Both to our own inner being, and to the spiritual realm around us.  We are first of all, reminding our own soul of all His benefits. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Ps 103:2, NKJV). Lovingly admonishing your own soul is a powerful practice modeled for us in the Psalms. Speaking out loud all that Jesus purchased on the cross for you feeds your faith and strengthens your spirit. Our English word “proclaim” comes from the Latin proclamare, “to cry out.” This gives you an idea of what passion is to surge through our hearts as we give vocal expression to the tremendous power available to us through Calvary.

This proclamation of His death goes even further than that, however. When you proclaim the Lord’s death, you are also exercising your authority over the spiritual realm around you. You are “subduing” and “having dominion” as we were commanded to do from the very beginning (Gen. 1:28). You are delivering a mighty, binding legal announcement of what the Lord has done for us.

Angels and demons alike hear the pronouncement, and respond to its force. Your proclamation shackles the enemy. It also looses angelic assistance to “heed the voice of His word” that you have just proclaimed and “do His pleasure” (Ps. 103:20-21) on your behalf. They hear His word when it goes out from your mouth. They joyfully act on it. It thrills them to do their jobs as “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14). His word puts them on specific assignments to help and minister to us. Yes, all of this really is available through the Lord’s Supper!

When a proclamation is made in a kingdom, that proclamation holds the force of law. For example, when a prominent leader is proclaimed emperor, from that moment on, he IS the emperor. The Lord has put a mighty Kingdom tool into our hands, inviting us to proclaim His death. When we do so, we are actually legislating in the heavenly realms. We are not only reminding our own soul of His many benefits; we are at the same time actively, legally enforcing those same benefits as kings and priests here on the Earth.

Every time I take communion, Holy Spirit prays prophetically through me in a distinctive way. As I am slowly chewing and swallowing the unleavened bread that I use, I tune in to what He is praying. I plug into the prayer of His heart that I am picking up with my spirit in that moment, and I engage with it. I pray what I am hearing. It usually relates to a practical situation in my own life, or in the life of someone that I love. The same is true as I hold the fruit of the vine in my mouth for a moment and then mindfully and purposefully take it into the depths of me through swallowing.

Here is a sample prayer that you might use when eating the Communion bread/cracker:

“Lord, in Matthew 15, You made reference to healing and deliverance as ‘the children’s bread.’ I need healing in my mind and emotions from this traumatic issue that has been causing me great stress. I am Your child. Your healing and deliverance is my bread. Right now, I take this bread into me [chewing mindfully and activating your faith]. I receive Your healing now! [swallowing, and feeling the bread go down into you]. The virtue of this bread is now going to every cell of my body, every fiber of my being. Thank You, Jesus, for by the stripes You took in Your flesh, of which I am now partaking, I am healed.”

This is another example of a practical prayer, one that could go along with drinking of the Cup:

Thank You, Jesus, for pouring out Your life’s blood for me and for my son. As he goes to school today, I cover both myself and him in Your blood. Just as Your children long ago applied the lamb’s blood to their doorposts and the destroyer could not touch their homes, I now apply Your blood to our lives. I draw a blood line around my son and proclaim that the enemy may not pass it, and may not touch him today!”

You have just proclaimed the Lord’s death. You have just activated His benefits. The blood line you just drew is exceedingly real. The enemy sees it, and knows. He may not pass. He may not touch your son. You have lawfully bound him to obey. Just as the Israelites had to actually apply the lamb’s blood for the protection to work all those years ago, you have just done the same. At the same time, angels on assignment to your family heard you speaking out the Lord’s word. They are put on attention through your prayer to Him, to vigilantly guard your son from all attack.

I am not implying that you specifically have to take communion in order to invoke the power of Jesus that is available through His body and blood. Certainly not. But there is unquestionably something very special in using this provision that He has given us. I believe that this is a key weapon He is calling us to implement in this day and age in which we live. The unique virtue and power released as we do is vitally strategic for all that we are facing today.

I have no doubt you have noticed how aggressive our enemy has become in forcefully shoving his agenda forward in the nations of the world. I am not specifically referring to politics, though he has indeed been ferociously active in all sectors of society. Rather, I am talking about the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples…” (Isa 60:2, NIV).

Do not be afraid! We were put here not to just survive, but THRIVE in these last days before the Lord’s arrival. In order to do so, we urgently need to lean into the voice of His Spirit. We must learn to be filled with His dunamis power. We have got to develop proficiency in the use of the weapons that He has generously provided for our fight. These are the weapons He had in mind when He taught us, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt 11:12, NKJV).

I am convinced that the personal practice of communion as part of our spiritual disciplines is one of these devil-terrifying weapons intended for the destruction of strongholds. When we proclaim His death, we unleash the power of His might into the spiritual battles that are raging around us. I would even suggest that it would be foolhardy not to take full advantage of such superior, indomitable armaments that are put into our hands for such a time as this!

I will add this. Be Spirit led. Don’t just pray something because it seems like it would be a good idea to do so. Let Him pray through you as He feeds you the Living Manna and you drink deeply of His covenant. He has life changing, prevailing prayers ready to pour through you each and every day. Make your time alone with Him the most important part of your life. Close the door, turn off your phone, quiet your heart. No exaggeration, He is at the edge of His seat, yearning to have you at His table. It really is an astounding thing that the most exquisite times of worship and intimacy with Him have the wonderful side effect of rendering shattering blows to the enemies opposing you! Take communion as an act of spiritual violence today!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Eating the Food of Angels

An angel fed my daughter.

If you are familiar at all with my twelve-year-old, you know that supernatural things happen to her on a regular basis. A couple years ago, she had the stunning privilege of seeing some of Heaven. That is a story in and of itself that will hopefully become a book. For today, though, I am going to tell you about one of the many experiences she has had with angels.

Ester was hanging around on her school campus after classes. She was hungry and frustrated. The way things had worked out that day, she wasn’t able to go home right after school. She had to wait for her aunt to finish up work and take her to our house. Her tummy grumbled and she muttered to Jesus about her discomfort. Shortly thereafter, she glanced at the shiny transparent vinyl covering the notebook in her hands. In it, she saw the reflection of someone approaching her from behind.

The next moment, that someone put a small plain cake down next to her. She looked up, and he had disappeared. She fixed her attention on the gift he had left. Instinctively, she picked it up and eagerly ate it. In spite of being quite simple, it was delicious. In spite of being small, it was filling and wonderfully satisfying. Soon afterwards, the delicate, lacey napkin on which the cake had been sitting also disappeared. She smiled as she realized that Jesus had listened to her unhappy prayer. He wanted to show her how intimate His care is in a very tangible way.

Ester’s experience reminds me a bit of Elijah’s: “Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, ‘Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.” (1 Kings 19:5-8, NKJV)

Ester was learning about how extremely practical the Lord’s provision for her is. Elijah, too, was in great need of practical care in this 1 Kings story. He was exhausted after his confrontation with the prophets of Baal. God fed the old prophet, and God fed my daughter. The thing is, these are not actually isolated incidents. God fed the multitudes of His people supernaturally for forty years in the desert! And today, He wants to supernaturally feed you.

I actually share these stories because they tie back into the theme of taking communion. This might surprise you. What does being fed by an angel have to do with communion? Everything in the world, actually. Because taking communion means eating supernatural food. Again, in bringing these narratives to your attention, I am encouraging you to engage at a deeper level with the Lord’s supper. As He fed my daughter, as He fed Elijah, as He fed His children in the desert, so He wants to do for you.

Can you imagine receiving a meal so packed with power, that it gave you strength to journey tirelessly for forty days and forty nights? That was some incredible food and drink! What is all the more remarkable is that, prior to eating this meal from the angel, Elijah had not even wanted to live any more. He ate it, and all of a sudden, he had enough energy for a six week hiking trip! What was in that food?? It was definitely more than just a few extra calories. That meal ministered to the very depths of him.

The food that Elijah received, like so many other things in the Bible, is a spiritual picture for us. It connects right in with what we have been discussing: eating Real Spiritual Food and drinking Real Spiritual Drink as we take communion. As we participate in the Lord’s table, supernatural strength and courage for our life’s journey surges into our spirits!

Since we are talking about food from God, let’s delve even a little deeper into the concept of Jesus our Living Manna (John 6:49-51). Remember, when Jesus first gave the instruction to eat His flesh and drink His blood, He related it to the Israelites’ desert experience of eating manna. He prefaced this new concept of feeding on Him with the words, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead…”

He brought up the subject of their ancestors’ supernatural gastronomic provision. He did this to get it across to them that HE HIMSELF was the fulfillment of the spiritual picture painted by the outpouring of manna in the wasteland. God had fed His people with bread that literally came down to Earth from the physical heavens above – because in doing so, He was shouting out a prophetic announcement. He was proclaiming through a vivid, live parable that the time was coming when the True Bread would be coming down to Earth from Heaven. This far superior Manna would infuse us with not just energy for a day, but life forevermore. Life bursting and spilling over with abundance.

This is the very same life you ingest when you take communion. When you eat His flesh and drink His blood. This, dear friend, is what John 6 is teaching us.

The Psalmist Asaph gives us further insight into this bread from Heaven:

“Yet He had commanded the clouds above,
And opened the doors of heaven,
Had rained down manna on them to eat,
And given them of the bread of heaven.
Men ate angels' food;
He sent them food to the full.”
(Ps 78:23-25, NKJV)

There you have it. Manna was angels’ food. Supernatural sustenance. Somewhere in the culinary family of what Elijah got to taste. And yet, you and I get to feast on something even better. Asaph tells us that God opened the doors of heaven to rain down this sacred nutrition over them in abundance. How much more, in the new and better covenant that we now have, will He open Heaven’s doors over us as we receive His food! How much more will He feed us “to the full”…when He feeds us HIMSELF. Truly, the feast that He spreads for us now is blissful beyond expression!

Bread from Heaven. Are you beginning to capture in your spirit just how much provision is available in and through the Lord’s supper? Supernatural strength. Renewed energy for the journey. Nourishment in abundance. The heavens open over you! Just as Ester and Elijah both learned, Jesus will lavish on you whatever you are needing today, at His table. Come to the banquet…

A prayer of response:

Daddy God, I have great need of Your supernatural food. Right now, I respond to Your invitation. I come to the feast You have spread for me. Please meet me where I am and give me Your Bread from Heaven. You are my Living Manna. You are my strength, my sustenance, my delight. Please feed me You!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Explosive Communion Elements – You Want Me to Eat What??? Part 3

Do you want to learn to feed on Jesus in a new way? To ingest this Bread from the Father to a greater degree than before? I am going to present you with an idea to pray about. What if you start taking communion on a regular basis – as part of your devotional life?

I would like to explore with you some of the vast array of benefits that come with the act of taking communion. This practice is immeasurably more than just a meaningful addendum to a memorable church service. You just may want to start incorporating the cup and bread into your quiet times, once you understand better all that it may mean for you.

For starters, this holy meal has a tremendous amount of transformational power hidden in it, ready to explode into your struggles and practical needs. Here’s how:

The unleavened bread, or cracker, represents Real Manna from Heaven, Manna pulsating with life. “But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die,” Jesus proclaims to us, looking again right into our eyes (Jn. 6:50). He is communicating to us deeply that if we eat it, eternal life literally enters us, in that very moment of intake!

He continues with zeal, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (v. 51). Jesus, the Living Manna, infuses the eater with eternity. Each serving of Him is a dose of that which will ultimately make you immortal. The corresponding spiritual reality at work when you partake of the Bread of Communion unleashes explosive power into you, and into your life circumstances.

This is raw power. The power of immortality. Resurrection power. It is exactly the same power that raised Christ from the dead. Available to you. Available to your marriage. Available to your health. Available to your emotional state. Available with very present help – in this moment you are experiencing, right now. Available as you partake of Jesus.

Communion is a prophetic act. As you chew on the bread or cracker, purposefully meditating on your Lord, you are activating heavenly reality on your behalf. The physical action of swallowing and digesting correlates with what you are setting in motion spiritually. You are eating Real Spiritual Food. You are actually feeding on Jesus in real time. His life is entering you, becoming part of you. You are coming alive more than you ever have before.

As you drink the grape juice, you are imbibing the virtue that is in His blood. This is why Old Testament law proclaimed, foreshadowing Jesus, “Life is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). The amount of power in this act is actually quite stunning when you flow in the Spirit of revelation as you carry it out (Eph. 1: 17).

This dynamite released into your spirit will also have direct implications for whatever adversity you are facing today. You will experience change, especially over the long haul, as you commit yourself to making a lifestyle out of nourishing your inner being this way.

You may reflect on this, thinking, “I have taken communion for years. I have always been blessed by it. But why did I not experience the full extent of what you are describing?”

Here is something to consider, in answer to that question. 1 Co. 11:29 uses the phrase, “discerning the Lord’s body.” To discern means to perceive or recognize. This requires the use of your spiritual senses. Just like our physical body, our spirit can see, hear, touch, feel. Holy Spirit invites us to exercise these senses in discerning Jesus’ body, as we participate in His meal. We need to tune in with keen focus, practicing our spiritual perception. We need to lock eyes with Him as He feeds us Himself. We need to lean closer to pick up even the slightest murmurs of His heart. There is rhema, revelation for us, in the moment He gives us the Manna and we swallow Heaven. The more we discern and connect with the spiritual reality involved in communion, the more we benefit from it.

Remember the reference in Hebrews to our spiritual senses? As the Amplified Bible expresses it, our “senses and…faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish…” (Heb 5:14, AMP, italics mine). As you invest parts of your day to intentionally engage with the realities of the Spirit of God, you are practicing each and every time. Each time you practice, you advance in His training process. To the degree that you are willing to invest in practicing, your progress in being able to discern the spiritual realm will directly correlate to your investment.

Receiving the full benefits of communion happens when you discern the Lord’s body. In other words, when you are fully leaning into the Reality of feeding on Him. Fully engrossed in eating spiritual food and drinking spiritual drink. Fully tuned into the sacred power packed into each element of communion, and into the transaction of receiving that power into and through your being. This requires practice.

Feed on Him. Drink Him in. Repeat.

At the same time, engage. Listen. Watch. Lean in. Perceive. There is SO much to take in! The enticing question He poses, “What do you see?” whispers invitingly to your heart that there are immeasurable treasures in this meal He is offering you…waiting for your discovery (Jer. 1:11).

Hungry for more? So am I! This post will be followed by others further developing these concepts as He beckons us deeper into His heart. A prayer of response for today:

Lord Jesus, thank You for teaching me the vital importance of discerning Your body when I take communion. I ask for Your Spirit of revelation poured out into me as I partake of Your Manna and drink deeply of the life that is in Your blood. Open my inner eyes and increase the sensitivity of my heart to the realm of Your Spirit. Capture my gaze. Help me to lean in to that which is eternal. Guide me in steps towards daily growth in the training of my spiritual senses. Please also make this clear to me -- are You leading me to take communion more often?