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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