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Archive for the ‘Under-the-Influence’ Category

“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One).”  Phil 3:8 Amp

In the long plan of the Lord, there is great benefit for His Body to have lost everything and consider it mere rubbish.  Only when things are considered lost can the Lord have the freedom to assert His plan and will in our lives.

When things are not yet lost to us (lost in that we have yielded, and given them over to Him), we keep them factored in, and they occupy a place of importance they should not.

Count everything as loss…

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April 2017

I had a series of four dreams back in this timeframe, and only now are they coming into a fuller understanding…

The first dream was about rubbish…and the occupation of the body.

The first dream opens with me visiting Pittsburgh, PA.  This is familiar territory as I was raised not far from here and initially went to college in Oakland.

The first part of the dream I am visiting someone who had been in ministry as a caretaker and maintenance person at a church we were previously on staff at.

The help I render to her seems insignificant.  But as she was one who held keys to the facility, I take this as confirmation that this dream was from the Lord. That its entrance is from Him.

As I approach the area when this woman is living, I notice the raised structures of all the housing.  You have to ascend ladders to gain entrance to every house.  Older or infirm people and even packages are raised up with something like dumbwaiters.  As you look down the street, on each side are rows and rows of ladders people must use, and all the lodgings are white, even luminescent…

Now I am heading back into the heart of the city to where I am lodging.  I am on foot.  Sunlight is waning and I am in a hurry to get back before dark.

I must ask directions however.  But no one is able to help.  In fact, the sense of real communication is not there.  I ask the way but no one is able to reply.  Every way I turn to find my lodging leads me further away…

As I continue my journey, I find myself in what seems like an industrial – almost mining section of the downtown city.  I have entered a place where mining for coal has previously taken place and there are deep ruts that run like giant grooves sculpting the landscape. 

Even though mining had been done, there are high rolling hills that ascend and I can see a yellow digging machine like a bobcat in the short distance.  I make my way in the direction that will take me out of here and towards the downtown (I think) but I now begin to enter an immense series of rolling and cascading hills that seem to go off in all directions, creating a landfill or refuse/industrial park that has distinct sections.

Everything around me is manmade. Everything is a by-product of man’s efforts.  Nothing here is natural or in a pristine, un-adulterated state.  This landfill is massive!

One section rolls into the next and on and on as far as the eye can see.  But the hills ascend so high that far vision is impeded.

I move into a section where some kids and adults with hard hats are occupied.  The kids are busy exploring and moving through this section, almost like it was part of an amusement park.  We are surrounded by rubbery circles, like tire inner-tubes or large washers, that cause steps to be bouncy and halting and irregular.

Everyone is highly absorbed in traversing and climbing, but they don’t seem to be actually getting anywhere.  I become aware of the danger of this section in that you could slip down in between these rubber circles that are like synthetic playground material…. If you slipped down you could be totally lost and immersed in this debris field, though I don’t witness this.

The lighting is odd.  I know evening is approaching, but there appears to be a dark ceilinged roof over us like a cave would provide.  Or the sky is already dark.  But there is a sense of something hovering close overhead. 

There is artificial lighting with some of the adults carrying lanterns or headlights.  Or else there are spotlights.

I have no sense of interaction with people other than continually asking directions which they seem unable to provide.  It seems all effort and attention is focused on navigating and exploring this section, but no one is really progressing anywhere.

Through lots of effort, I however, have moved into another section as I ascended the mound of rolling rubber debris and have come into an area of ladders.  They are fuschia-like pink against the backdrop of darkness.  Everything is synthetic here.  Like off-scourings of industrial refuse, like a landfill that goes on and on.  Its immensity is staggering.

I am working hard to ascend these ladders.  I can see people traversing as silhouettes across the top, but again I am struck by the endlessness of this pursuit.  Still, I continue to ask when possible, “Do you know how to get to the city-downtown?”  But no one appears to be able to answer.

I have moved through many varying sections, working and working relentlessly to move on.  I am driven to get out of this massive refuse area of rolling hills and synthetic remains.  Nothing here is natural.  Nothing is unadulterated.  People are captive to their sections as if nothing else matters.  Each section with a different type of debris.

Somehow, I am able to move on.  The others are content, as if they are not even aware of their captivity.

Somehow, I ascend a hill and way off in the distance I see an end to these hills.  In that distant area before me is brilliant, sunny light, long grasses blowing in the breeze, and beyond I can see a shoreline for moving water. 

Everything opens up.  I make it over the last hill… And just as I would enter the grasses ahead, I wake up.

This is a picture of the current day church – the Body of Christ.  We are gripped by our effort, activity, and production. We are even lost in it! 

And yet we are called to consider it all as rubbish – to lay it all down, in order that we may win (gain) Christ!

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And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly]. Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for Him. For this reason I am telling you whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. Mk 11:22-24 Amp

Absolutely every promise offered by the Father through the Son is inherited by faith. (Rom 4:16)  So the very first thing that you want to check when hitting a wall in receiving any promise – is your faith.  Are you standing in a place of faith?  Do you believe God can do what He says, and watches over His Word to perform it? Or are you doubting, wavering and uncertain?  This very posture will lock you out of the ability to receive….

I want to focus in specifically where people have trouble receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit…and speaking in tongues as the evidence of that receipt…

I was a problem child in this issue. Living in Utah, a military reservist and spouse, I had just recently come back to the Lord from wandering away after a childhood salvation. I pursued the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for a solid year meeting with a woman from the Assemblies of God church for mentoring on this topic.  After she set the Biblical foundation and studying with me every concept, this friend began to take me to churches and homes – anywhere, anytime there was even an inkling that the Spirit would be present and working. ( Let me just say here – the purpose of studying this topic in the Scriptures is not to master it mentally, but is instead to build up your faith muscle to apprehend and receive this, by trusting fully on the Lord.)

I hit wall after wall with no breakthrough.  But things began to soften.  I began to soften and change. I set aside any worry of Tongues (because it was a worry). Instead, I began to focus on pursuing a deeper relationship with the Lord – because ultimately that is the heart of the Baptism.

What kept me going was hunger for Him, and armed with the Scripture truth – I knew He wouldn’t fail me or refuse me. So after countless times of having hands laid on me in various settings I finally received the Baptism and spoke in tongues.  But not in the way I anticipated.

I was at home one night. The kids were in bed, my husband was away TDY.  Sitting on my bed with my Bible I came before the Lord and told Him I wanted this, whatever it was going to look like, because I wanted Him. Because I am a pretty reserved person, and highly controlled – the issue of releasing control especially of my mouth was a big hurdle for me.  But in that moment I had faith that more than enough hands had been laid on me to receive.  I was out of the public arena where performance fear continued to plague me. I had been afraid of failing the test of speaking.  However, there in that moment of quiet, safety, and peace in my room, I was able to let go of all fear, and just receive. 

The Lord met me where I was.  He actually presented what was like a teleprompter to read from in my perception.  I don’t even begin to know what it said. But after reading from it, I haltingly was speaking in tongues. Unfortunately, after that night I convinced myself that I had done it myself, that it wasn’t the Lord at all, and I didn’t speak again for another six weeks.

Pressure and restlessness began building in me. Desperately and humbly I came before the Lord and I had to repent of denying Him and doubting the previous event.  As I committed even more fully to enter into this deeper experience I began to speak fully and flow in a dialect or language I had never known—like a fountain gushing forth I might add.

Why do I share this?  Because in hindsight, I was the biggest obstacle to receiving.  Imagine giving a reluctant cat a bath.  He clings to everything to stay clear of the water.  He may want to be clean – but he doesn’t want the water. While I wanted the Lord, I was very reluctant of the process and of somehow disappointing Him.  But the only way to disappoint the Lord and the Holy Spirit in this process – is to give up!  This cat had to enter the water– before it could be immersed! I had to totally yield control, and that is not something we like to do at all. But it is necessary.

One big question that arises for people is: “What am I lacking or missing by not receiving this experience? What can I not do that you can do?” So let’s look at that:

Without the Baptism of the Holy Spirit you cannot:

– prophesy ( tell forth the divine counsels and predicting future events especially pertaining to the Kingdom) (Acts 2:16-18)

– have visions (divinely granted appearances) (Acts 9:10-12, 10:10-19)

– have power, efficiency, and might to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8, 4:29, 33, 5:28-32)

– perform signs and wonders (Acts 2:43, 3:16, 5:12, 13:8-12)

– speak in full and accurate boldness (Acts 4:13, 9:22, 10:28-29, 18:24-26)

– walk in true unity with the Spirit (Acts 2:42-44, 4:24, 32)

– have dreams (divinely inspired dreams)

– be translated (Acts 8:39-40)

Yeah … you just can’t be the world shaker the Lord has called us to be without the Baptism… yup!

It is also worthwhile to note some things about what is actually happening as you speak in other tongues…

– the people in the upper room had the Spirit alight upon them, but the power and effect diffused throughout their entire souls (Acts 2:3-4)

-1Cor 2:1-16 demonstrates that as you have the Baptism of the Holy Spirit you experience with greater understanding the wisdom of God, His purposes and His counsels

– this is not from an effort of self-reasoning or study, but it is conveyed directly by the Holy Spirit to our Spirit, then to our understanding

– when you speak in unknown tongues, the Holy Spirit is giving you utterance and it actually bypasses your mind/intellect and is expressed directly through your own mouth – this is the reason we must yield all our faculties (soul) and members (physical body) (Romans 6:13).  You are speaking out of your spirit as inspired by the Holy Spirit.  For this reason it is considered that Speaking in Other Tongues is a gateway for operation in all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit — which you cannot actually employ then without first having the Baptism – which means tongues too of course.

Now for the final clincher…

Everything hinges on believing – well. Your faith hinges on your willingness to believe – to trust God and to submit to His opinion. (Mk 11:22-24) So look at this…

In Acts 2:14-41 is the Apostle Peter’s first big show after the upper room.  As he is speaking in verse 37  people were stung to the heart with what he was saying.  This is often the way in Scripture. If you are gonna get your panties in a wad over something – you will receive nothing.  But here, they ask, “What shall we do?”  This should be your question, if you have ever felt left out in the whole Baptism of the Holy Spirit process.  Now listen to what Peter said in response to them – for this is your best and continual guidance until you receive…verse 38:

“And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be Baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

“Every one of you”…Did you get that?  You shall receive!!!!  There is nothing blocking you except your old perception, and your sense that you have been left out.  But you have not been left out!!! The Lord’s love and inclusion of you has not changed, nor will it. But you stand in the driver’s seat here.  Like me… do you need to repent and ask forgiveness for denying Him? I sure did. But don’t let a delay become a lifetime of disappointment and bitterness. This is yours if you want it.  Jesus wants it for you – He wants you to be His witness. So don’t let the devil steal it. Tell that old mountain to be lifted up and thrown into the sea!

The word says in Acts 2:39:

For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself.” Amp

He’s offered already. He has invited you to be His.  You got the promise. Open the box. It’s got your name on it… love and blessings JESUS. 

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Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power.”  1Cor 6:12

What exerts the most power over you?  The answer to this question is only something you can decide – but I would recommend you not decide it alone – let the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth concerning this question.  Otherwise we have a tendency to look too kindly at our motivation and what really holds us.

There is a quote by Oswald Chambers that lays more insight into this question and its true response than perhaps we want…. But here it is: “It is not what we spend the most time on that molds us the most, but whatever exerts the most power over us.”

Think of that now –It’s not about what you spend the most time on, but what exerts the most power over you….

Many of us spend a lot of time reading the word of God, excavating Scripture for deep insight, time in prayer, serving, ministry etc.  But this quote is saying that those matter not in terms of molding us most – because it depends on what exerts the most power over us! In fact… the thing that exerts the most power over us may not even be of the Lord, but it may be of this world.  This is something to then investigate carefully!

This has driven me to inquire of the Lord… “How can I give You, Lord, the ability to exert the most influence over me?  How can You become the preeminent force of my life? How can I choose to align with giving You this kind of power Lord?”

The answer is both simple, and yet difficult: simple to understand, difficult to exercise.

To allow the Lord this kind of preeminence, this kind of power exerted, we must make a conscious effort to frame every insight, to bring every thought captive, and every response yielded to the authority and reality of redemption that is found in the Cross and the work of the Cross through Christ Jesus.  In essence, to live under the shadow of the reality of the Cross – continually allowing it to determine our position on every issue of life.

You see, as believers, we are no longer our own.  However, while that is true in premise, many believers continue to live as if they are only their own – and call it Christianity.  That kind of living does not display the demonstration or power of God in our lives, because we continue to live lives that are natural in substance – not under submission.

The greatest reality in life is what Jesus did at the Cross – it has overcome the world, even our faith!  But unless we continually yield and live under that truth, we are allowing other things to exert the most power over us…

For instance: I may be completely yielded to the Word of God and what it reveals to me – but if I haven’t made the Cross a higher order of submission, then I have made my own understanding and intellect the preeminent thing.  Thus, my soul is still basically in charge of what I do, my responses in life, and the thing that exerts the most influence over me.  Not because I spend the most time in mental pursuits, but because that is the place of my highest yielded-ness. What that means is, that while I may understand what the Word shows me – it remains just an intellectual exercise.  Until I have given Jesus and the Cross all authority to rule over me, I will continue in the mode of determining what I will and will not obey.

Once I yield myself totally to the redemptive reality, suddenly the pivot point for all my choices and all my understanding defaults to the Cross.  Every issue that arises thereafter, every concern and question, every need and experience then becomes tied to the atonement.  The baseline question for every need then becomes:  “What does this issue have to do with the atonement?”  In other words, what does the Cross and the reality that I am Christ’s now require me to do?

Without this preeminent authority being given to the reality of the redemption, I will decide things and give power to something lower than the Cross and Christ – generally my soul.

The litmus test for this reality is: What was the last time your heart was rent over a decision – because you were choosing submission to the Lord?

You see – no amount of intellect or mental insight into the instruction of the Lord would ever have brought Abraham to the place of offering his son Isaac on the altar. No intellectual understanding of the concept of forgiveness would have motivated Joseph to forgive his brothers of their betrayal and selling him into captivity. No great intellectual insight prompted Moses to choose oppression with the Hebrew slaves over the riches of Egypt.  Every one of these situations required a renting of the heart to obey and choose the way of the Lord.

It is no different for us today! Daily we are faced with choices of comfort and convenience or the leading of the Lord and obedience.  Where He is truly Lord – we will face a struggle in our own heart to obey.  There will be a renting as we choose to submit! And yet, that is the provision He has made a way for at the Cross as He gave us not only forgiveness for our sin nature, but a new nature in Himself – abiding in us!

This is the redemptive reality that should exert all power over us!  This is the life of Christ and the Kingdom ruling over us!  It is not about more time in Bible Studies or prayer, or service. It is about the recognition of His authority over us and the walking of that authority out in our lives!  This is the very reality and intention behind the Sermon on the Mount – The Beattitudes!

Yes, everything is permissible for me as a behavior and choice that is approved within me by the presence of the Holy Spirit abiding in me! The only choices that are lawful for me are ones led and in agreement with the Presence that rules in me that is the Spirit. As my choices are born our of the Spirit’s Presence dwelling in me – there can be no charge of lawlessness brought against me. (Gal 5:22-25, Col 3:15, Rom 8:4-8) This is where we should be living – daily! Otherwise I become a slave to something or someone other than the Lordship of Christ! It may be my appetites, my intellect, my emotions, or my agenda and plans – but these are simply the elements of my soulish life which are to have been laid on the Mercy Seat as an offering (like Isaac) – that righteousness from Christ and His life in me can come forward.

What exerts the most power over you?  As a Christian — it should be the life of our Savior Jesus, aligned with His Word, compelled by the Spirit in love. Is this true for you?

It is not our perception or understanding of the image of Christ’s glory that we are being continually transfigured into, but is is the reality of Christ we are moving into from one degree of glory to another – and we shall resemble Him! (2Cor 3:18, 1Jn 3:1)

Maranatha!

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