Exude Peace

From the book “Gardens in Heaven” …

As contemplative prayer becomes a routine, you will exude peace. The fragrance of Christ that you will diffuse will be offensive to those around you who are perishing. But, it will be sweet to those who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. You will be the scent of heaven everywhere you go. Who is sufficient for these things? It is not in our self-effort. It is spending time with Jesus that makes us sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

As you picture yourself in your heavenly garden, picture Jesus being with you. Picture yourself handing your burdens to Him. He wants to take them! Thank Him for all that He has done. Speak forth the things for which you are thankful. In this way, you will develop a thankful heart. Then learn to be quiet to allow the Lord to speak into your current situation. Seek and consider His heavenly perspective on the events and circumstances that are occupying your mind.

The beloved bridegroom continues …

Song of Solomon 5:1:
I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones!

In the Bible a garden is symbolic of a person’s soul.

When the Lord enters the garden of a person’s soul, when He enters the garden of a person’s thoughts, it is definitely cause for celebration! The bridegroom comes to his garden with the heavy aroma of spices. He is intoxicated with his love for his bride.

Naphtali – Aquamarine

From the book ‘Jewels in Heaven’ …

Let me tell you a little secret. God does not expect you to be strong. You don’t win battles by being strong. You win them by acknowledging that you are weak and only God is strong enough to win the victory.

The Apostle Paul wrote that “when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) King David, known for being a great warrior, when describing how God gave him victories wrote:

Psalm 18:31-34:
For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

Verse 33 in the King James version reads “He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.” A hind is a female red deer. (The male is called a stag.) God gave the red deer the ability to quickly ascend a steep rocky slope to avoid danger. When attacked, a deer will seek higher ground for protection. It has an ability that it’s enemy does not.

 

Therein lies the secret. As children of God, we have an ability that our enemy does not have. We can go to a place that he cannot go. We can enter the gates of the third heaven. (2 Corinthians 12:2) We can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Joseph

From the book “Jewels in Heaven” …

The 4th row center stone in your breastplate is beryl. It is called ‘shoham’ in Hebrew. It is associated with the tribe of Joseph. Joseph means ‘he will increase’.

The clear white stone associated with Joseph signifies clarity of prophetic knowledge and wisdom and of clearly seeing heaven. Joseph was such a man. The Hebrew word ‘shoham’ means ‘to turn white’. (Hence, it’s use as the name of a clear white gem.)

The shoham gem in your breastplate represents holiness. Holiness means purity. It means allowing the Lord to remove the impurities from your life. It means being single-minded in having the Lord the center of your life. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:8, 6-7)

The central ministry of Jesus and the Holy Spirit is to “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8), to bring about holiness. God does not want you to be “tossed by the wind.

Naphtali

From the book “Jewels in Heaven” …

The 2nd row center stone in your breastplate is aquamarine. It is called ‘sappiyr’ in Hebrew. It is associated with the tribe of Naphtali. Naphtali means ‘my struggle’.

The key to overcoming struggles in your life is to rise above them to get God’s perspective. The light blue aquamarine stone at the center of your breastplate is there to remind you to rise above your struggles. Struggles should have the effect of causing you to spend more time with God. Allow Him to show you things from His point of view.

The Hebrew word ‘sappiyr’ means ‘to write with a mark, to inscribe’. It is meant to remind you that you are not alone.

Isaiah 49:14-18a:
But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely, they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me. Your sons shall make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall go away from you. Lift up your eyes, look around and see;

The Lord proclaims, I “inscribed you on the palms of My hands”. In your time of struggle, let the light blue color of aquamarine remind you that the Lord has not forsaken you. It is impossible for Him to do so. He’s tattooed you into the palm of His hands!

Issachar

From the upcoming book “Jewels in Heaven” …

I’ve been studying the names of the Tribes of Israel. Today I was contemplating Issachar. Issachar means ‘reward’. Oh boy, I thought. I love getting greater revelation about my reward! I thought, Lord what will you show me today: Mansions, Cities, Fields? My mind was racing with excitement. Suddenly, the Lord replied with a single word: ‘Silence!’

The word echoed through me (and from my perspective) all of creation around me.

There’s a story of Jesus in a boat with His disciples attempting to cross the Sea of Galilee, when a raging storm came up and the boat started to flounder.  Jesus silenced the storm with a single phrase ‘peace, be still’ (Mark 4:39)

I played the violin in grade school. There’s a moment just after the final note. The song has been building to a loud crescendo. The last note sounds and everyone has silenced their instruments. At that moment, the walls, the floor, the chair you are sitting in are all still vibrating at the frequency of that last note.

That is the experience when Jesus in the back of the boat spoke ‘peace, be still’. That was my experience today when the Lord stopped my excited mental chatter with the one word: ‘Silence!”

Once there was the chatter of my own thoughts. Next, there was complete peace, tranquility, silence and presence. It is in such a moment when you can truly feel the presence of the Lord. His presence is all around you. All of creation still vibrates with the voice that spoke it into existence.

This is my shield and my exceeding great reward. (Genesis 15:1)

The Christian mystic practice begins with learning to silence all of the inward mental chatter. Through silence you begin to see and hear. You begin to re-tune yourself to the presence of God that is constantly all around you. And yet, a presence we so easily lose awareness of.

Liberty

From the now available book “Freedom in Heaven” …

The Lord wants all believers to experience liberty.

Liberty is the freedom to come and go as you desire. To leave the ship to which they are assigned, a sailor must be granted liberty. The Founding Fathers of the United States of America called themselves, ‘Sons of Liberty’. Their goal was to create a new nation where each person had the liberty to come and go before God and to worship as they were led. They fought for liberty from the tyranny an old-world mindset that insisted that everyone approach God the same way. Likewise, as Christians, God has “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love”. (Colossians 1:13)

As a child of God, you may be living in the physical realm on earth, yet you have liberty to return to our spiritual home in heaven. The Lord wants you to experience true spiritual liberty, the liberty to come and go before the very throne of God.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, “He led captivity captive”. He took with Him all things that would try to hold you captive to your present circumstance. You now have liberty to spend time with the Lord in heaven any time during your day. Nothing or no one has the power to keep you from entering heaven and spending time with your Lord. You need such time away to renew your strength, to have the strength to live an overcoming, spiritual life. This is the reason why spending time in heaven with the Lord is so important.

Spending time in heaven with Jesus is exercising your liberty!

Freedom in Relationships

From the upcoming book “Freedom in Heaven” …

Once your most important relationship is settled and established, every other relationship that you have will fall into place. Once your sense of self-worth and self-acceptance come from God alone, your will not put pressure on others to provide what only God can provide.

And most importantly, being free yourself means setting others free as well.

This freedom starts by praying blessings over other people. It also starts by praying that God would open your eyes to see who they really were created to be. Impart vision and freedom to others. Let God truly change your heart towards others. God has given you the freedom to be the unique person that you are. Now, give that freedom to others. Set people free, and you yourself will experience greater and greater freedom.

The desire to change or control others is demonic. The ability to truly love and appreciate others for who they are comes from God. However, it is an ability that only grows as we daily experience the true love and acceptance that only comes from Father God for ourselves. Trying to control or change people, relationships or even situations only brings us into bondage. Accepting and loving even difficult people sets us free. It is the schoolmaster that teaches us to become overcomers. Walking in such grace is so glorious that even angels desire to watch. It is the ‘joy inexpressible and full of glory’ spoken of the Apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:6-12)

You are not alone

From the upcoming book “Freedom in Heaven” …

The first step in the healing process, as you spend time with the Lord in the spirit, is in coming to the deep knowledge and certainty that you are not now, nor have you ever been alone. Jesus Christ is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Revelation 22:13) He was there at your beginning. He was present when your heart break occurred. He will see you through to your complete healing. He is “the author and finisher of our faith”. (Hebrews 12:2)

You may be thinking; this all sounds great in theory. I can agree intellectually that Jesus was/is always with me. Yet, true healing only occurs as you experience firsthand the reality of the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ. The ministry of Jesus needs to become a continual reality in your life. Reality is a synonym for truth. This why the apostle John wrote: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4) To walk in freedom, we need to learn to walk in truth. Walking in the deception of lies is walking in bondage.

The thought that you are alone is the lie you must defeat and expose. The fact that you are never alone is reality. It is the truth. To the extent that you are not walking in this reality is the extent to which you are walking in deception. Don’t allow this deception to rob you of divine healing.

Guilt and Shame

From the upcoming book ‘Freedom in Heaven’ …

Guilt and shame rob Christians from the joy of the Lord. What is this ‘joy of the Lord’ and how is it obtained?

Let me illustrate by describing three different people …

You’re a prisoner in jail for what you consider a minor offense. In your mind, you do not deserve prison time. One day, you see an avenue of escape and so you take it. After a daring dash, you find yourself wondering the city streets. Are you free? The answer of course is ‘no’. You’re a fugitive and will spend the rest of your life looking back over your shoulder.

You’re an ex-con who has paid your debt to society. By spending time in jail, lost is the life you could have lead. Lost are the opportunities that could have led to prosperity. Lost is a future free of the verdict of a convicted criminal. Yes, you may now live your life outside of prison, but are you free? The answer of course is ‘no’. No matter how hard you try to shake it, as a human being who you are a summation of your past. The stigma of being an ‘ex-con’ will follow you for the rest of your life.

You’ve been arrested for a minor offense. You stand before the judge awaiting your sentence. You are stunned to hear the sentence is death. Off you must go immediately to the death chamber. Are you free? The surprising answer is ‘yes’. Your life guilt and shame is coming to an end. Everything will soon be over.

For you see, the ‘joy of the Lord’ means a clean slate. It awaits us after death as we are raised again to new life. The key to the ‘joy of the Lord’ is death. It is not God’s plan to rehabilitate any of us. It is His plan to kill us.

Romans 6:10-14
For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  For sin, shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

As a Christian, you are not a sinner who somehow escaped punishment. You are not an ex-con who continues with the stigma of past sins. You are a person who (like Jesus) has lived and is living a sinless life. How do I live such a life? Every morning, ‘reckon yourself to be dead’. The mistakes made yesterday were by a person who died last night. That person no longer exists. His errors, his faults, his shortcomings died with him. By faith in the power of God, know that this is true. Walk into the new day as a new person.

Romans 8:9-11:
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

The Holy Spirit who dwells in you, not only will raise you up anew, He also causes our nature to be dead unto sin and alive unto righteousness. I’ve talked a lot in this book about the ministry of Jesus Christ. I believe it is a ministry that needs to be better understood and gloriously praised. What I am now highlighting is the incredible ministry of Holy Spirit. It is the ministry of raising the dead. It is the ministry of giving new life.

Freedom from Sin

1 John 3:7-9:
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

Whoever has been born of God does not sin”. The passage above and specifically verse 9 have always been a challenge for me to grasp. I’m a born-again, Holy Spirit filled Christian and yet, I am not perfect. I still make mistakes. On occasion, I still step outside God’s best for me and afterwards feel I must repent and pray asking for forgiveness. Verse 9 seems to expect Christian perfection.

I am comforted by a couple phrases that are in the passage. First notice; “He who practices righteousness is righteous”. In other words, righteousness is something we practice and so get better at during our lives. We grow in our maturity as Christians. Second notice; “For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested. Per, Webster; for something to be manifest means: 1. To be readily perceived by the senses and especially by the sense of sight, and 2. Easily understood or recognized by the mind.

And so, the 1 John passage which at first glance demands perfection, upon meditation prescribes the path to spiritual maturity desired by all Christians. And what is that path? For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. The works of the devil in the life of a Christians are destroyed as we perceive, understand and recognize Jesus in your mind.

Psalm 27:4:
One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.

We must desire one thing above all else; “to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple”. Such beholding, such inquiring is still very much available to you and I this day. This available heavenly access is what Jesus bought and paid for us when He died on the cross and rose again.

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God … let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Yes, I believe the Bible is literally true. I believe and have experienced that there is a throne of grace and that I can approach it for mercy, grace and help in time of need.

There is a battle going on in your mind. Like a puppy looking for something to chew, your mind and imagination craves for something to crew upon. This is how God made human beings. We are meant to have an active, creative imagination. Give your mind and imagination Godly things to chew upon. Take the offensive in the battle for your mind.

The word ‘sanctify’ means to set aside for a Godly purpose. Sanctify your mind and imagination to God. Set aside time every day to picture and imagine God and heaven in your mind. You’ll be amazed at what begins to happen.

James 4:8:
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

As you draw near to God, He will draw near to you! Imagine a picture of heaven and God will give you a bigger picture. Imagine a picture of a Godly, blessed life and God will give you a bigger picture.

How do I know that I’m seeing heaven in my mind and imagination? It is because God continually shows me things beyond my imagination. I take the first small step. God continues with leaps and bounds!

What is God showing you about heaven?