From the book “Peace in Heaven” …

To talk about peace, I first need to talk a little about silence. Silence is the starting point for any Christian desiring to live a life of peace. The discipline of silence is the starting point of any effective Christian prayer practice. It is especially important within the mystic practice of contemplative prayer. To live a life of peace, silence must be the starting point of every day. It is a skill that is available to all Christians. It becomes an anchor for the soul. It is something that you simply get better at the more you practice.

You need to live in a place where the volume of the noise around you has been turned down. In this way, you will live positioned to hear much more clearly the voice of the lover of your soul. He is there. He is speaking. And yet, if you allow it, the noise level of the thought party going on inside your head will drown out the peaceful voice of the Lord. If you do not learn the practice of silence, you will find it difficult to hear the voice of the Lord.

It is His voice that brings peace to your life.

At times, I like to read books which describe people’s supernatural spiritual experiences. Hearing about angelic visits and miraculous events lifts my spirit. I’ve had a few of such experiences and they are wonderful. But such experiences can not replace and should never lessen the value of the incredible every day life of peace and joy that can be yours as you cultivate of life of peace.

I have a fairly dynamic salvation testimony. Experiences are great. Hopefully, hearing about experiences is an encouragement and a reminder of the wonderful reality of God and the spiritual realm. But, you need not envy the dramatic. The truly amazing, astonishing thing about the Lord Jesus Christ is the affect that He has on the everyday life of every Christian. We can live totally transformed lives because of the power of the peace of the Lord.

Allow the peace of the Lord to grow our faith in the unseen.

James 1:4:

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Being a Morning Star

From the book ‘Doorways in Heaven’ …

One title given to Jesus is that of ‘the Morning Star’. As we gaze upon Jesus, we are transformed into Morning Stars. Being a Morning Star is an intended title for all Sons of God. (Job 38:7) Being a morning star means being a manifest Son of God. By that I mean a Son of God who is clearly, openly displaying to the world the attributes of Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:21)

You may be saved. You may have confessed with your mouth and believed in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. (Romans 10:9-10) Fantastic! It’s now time for you to push open the Thyatira Doorway! It’s time to realize that you have been bought with a price. And that it’s time to start living a life that is set aside for a higher purpose. Jesus’ prayer for you can be found in John chapter 17. In it He prayed, asking His Father to “sanctify them by Your truth.” (John 17:17) Likewise, the Apostle Paul’s prayer for you found in 1 Thessalonians is: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

To sanctify, to set aside for a Godly purpose, to not be a common vessel, but a vessel of gold or silver in God’s great house, starts with you taking the offensive in the area of your thought life. You need to make the decision to set aside time daily and to retrain your imagination. You need to start using your imagination to muse upon heaven and Jesus Christ. Use the scriptures to help you in this practice. For this is the Thyatira Door that you must open for yourself, “and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts” (Revelation 2:23)

Purity then comes from beholding Jesus Christ in your mind.

2 Corinthians 3:18:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The more time you spend beholding in your mind and imagination the glory of the Lord, the more time are you allowing the Spirit of the Lord to transform you ‘from glory to glory’.

Hearing God’s Voice

From the book “Mountains in Heaven” …

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’.  (John 10:27)

All Christians have the ability to hear the voice of God. The fact that you have heard the voice of God at least once is the definition of what it means to be a Christian. All Christians have experienced a moment when something inside clicked. The light bulb turned on and you forever believed that there is a God and that Jesus Christ is God incarnate.

To some, the moment came as they listened to a speaker. To some, it was as they were reading a book. To some, it was a dramatic or even traumatic event in their life. For whatever the reason, the epiphany occurred and their belief system was changed forever.

The amount of drama associated with such an event is not as important as the lasting impact it makes on the person’s life. Sure, everyone likes a dramatic story. But the real miracle is in how the event fundamentally changes the person going forward.

I believe that in many ways the moment after such a moment is of more importance than the moment itself. The moment after the moment can determine your belief system for the rest of your life. If you believed that you reached your epiphany on your own, then you are likely to become a humanist, believing mainly in the power of the human intellect. If, however, you believe that your new found enlightenment came from God, then this hopefully set you on a path of learning about and discovering the God behind the revelation, the God who has shown Himself much bigger and wiser than yourself.  Since you are reading this (Christian) book, you most likely fall into the latter category.

The human intellect is certainly capable of great things. God has given it the ability to imagine and learn amazing things, which includes learning about the nature of God. Through reading God-inspired books and through the study of Church history, you can clearly trace the interaction of God in the affairs of men and learn much about the nature of God. But the human intellect has its limitations. People learn by associating new information with old. Such association gives the information context. To remember a fact, people need to categorize it.

Receiving revelation creates entirely new categories.


From the upcoming book “Fruit in Heaven” …

Mark 10:18: So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”

Only God is good. And yet, in the creation story in Genesis chapter 1, after each day, God would look upon what He had just created and declare that ‘it was good’. Creation was/is good because it reflects its creator. And so, to be a ‘good person’ means to exhibit one/more internal attributes of creator God.

The Luke 10 passage quoted above, is in response to the ‘rich young ruler’ asking Jesus “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”. In other words, “How do I become a ‘good person’”? Here is Jesus’ full answer (Mark 10:18-22):

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Jesus’ ultimate answer: “One thing you lack…” you need to learn to be heavenly minded. Jesus later explains why some must give up all their worldly possessions, stating “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In other words, the danger of worldly possessions is in the fact that they can/will consume your heart, mind and imagination. The possessions themselves are not evil. The fact that they now consume your thought life is the problem.


From the upcoming book “Fruit in Heaven” …

I wanted the Lord to give me a new revelation regarding gentleness. What actually was gentleness? What did it look like? So, for weeks each morning I would go before the Lord with the same question. “Show me gentleness!” Every morning there was silence. No word. No vision. No new revelation. And so, this morning I gave up trying. This morning, I simply went before the Lord in silence, waiting to see what the Lord would speak. I then heard His voice declare: “That’s gentleness!”.

If we are to hear the Lord speak, we must enter His presence with our mouths shut and our minds quiet. We must allow the Lord to speak first, to choose the topic of conversation.

Recently, my wife and I had a conversation with dear friends about this very topic. Many people believe (or have experienced) that there are seasons / periods in your life when God is silent. I don’t believe this to be true. If we are expected to live ‘by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Deuteronomy 8:3), then our bread must be daily.

These last few weeks of seeking God on the topic of gentleness have once again brought home a lesson I seem to re-learn periodically. Namely, I must first cultivate gentleness. I must first lay down my own agenda and seek first the Lord’s agenda for my life. For the Lord speaks on His own terms, not mine. And why is this true? It is because He knows what the true conversation needs to be today, I don’t. My ideas and topics may be good. His are great. I daily want to solve the urgent. He wants to impart the important. I daily want the mountain top. He wants to savor today’s next step along the upward path.

Receiving More

From the book ‘Pathways in Heaven’ …

Many are offended when they hear someone say there is something more to be received from God. You’ll hear them say, “I received everything I’ll ever need when I was saved. I don’t need a ‘second blessing’.” I agree with them. They are saved. They are now a part of the God’s family. They have received everything they’ll ever need.

Please don’t fault me for not wanting to stop with simply what I need. Once saved, I knew I had everything I needed. I knew one day I would go to heaven. But, I also knew there was more I wanted.

The answer to what I wanted came as I studied the Book of Acts. As I studied the book, I read about the miraculous. I read about the dead being raised. I read about whole families and towns turning to the Lord. Why was my own church experience so different from what I read? The answer came from a study of the following verses:

Acts 19:1-5:

And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The key to understanding the passage for me was to study the phrase “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Specifically, to understand the Greek word translated ‘receive’.

There are several Greek words translated into ‘receive’ in English. The Greek word ‘dechomai’ means to receive something passively. You can passively receive something, as is the case when someone hands you a gift. The word in Acts 19:2 is the Greek word ‘lambano’. It means to actively lay hold upon something.

The example which made the difference clear to me is the example of a person who receives (lambano) a commission as a military officer. Receiving a military commission takes active participation on the part of the candidate. It also takes active pursuit.

Everything we receive from God is by grace alone. We don’t earn the gifts of God (as if we could put a price on them). Yet James 4:8 exhorts us to: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Receiving a military commission changes the recipient forever. It changes their identity. The commission an officer receives becomes who they are. They are an officer for the rest of their lives. The gifts of God are not external gifts to hold, they are internal transformations. They change our very nature.

This understanding changed something inside of me. I was no longer going to sit back passively waiting for God to drop a gift in my lap. I was going pursue God. I came to understand God is not offended when we actively pursue Him.

This new understanding brought an intense determination. It brought a burning desire within me. I wanted to experience my full inheritance as a child of God. If God had it for me, I wanted it! I wanted to be changed into His image! I wanted to posses everything bought and paid for by the cross of Jesus Christ. I wasn’t going to be robbed nor cheated of what was my inheritance!

Like Jacob of the Bible, the day came when I went into a wrestling match with God and I wasn’t going to let go of God until I received a blessing!  My wrestling match with God lasted most of one day and all of one night. I wasn’t going to let go of God until I received an answer to the burning desire in my heart for my rightful inheritance as a child of God.

What happened? By the dawn of the next day, I was exhausted, in total peace and speaking in tongues.

I had received my answer.

Your New Name

From the book “Doorways in Heaven” …

Biblically, names are associated with core/inner nature. Your new name mentioned with the Pergamos Door (Revelation 2:17) refers to your new nature. You will never live a joyful life until you drop your old false personas and start openly walking out life as your true self. This may sound scary. Don’t worry, your true-self can certainly handle the routine of your job at your work place. In fact, he/she will do your job better because your true self openly relies on the help of God to do the job at a higher standard. Your true self performs for an audience of one.

Your false personas were created as self-protection mechanisms by your old fallen nature. But, they are based upon lies. They are based upon the lie that, at your core, you are not acceptable or sufficient. You must step beyond such lies to succeed. As long as you propagate them, you allow Satan in your life to torment you. Radical change is needed! You must thrust a javelin through that old persona and consider it dead. You now walk as the person whom God created for eternity.

2 Corinthians 9:8:

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Today is a new day. I’m not the same person today that I was yesterday. I’m a new creation. God’s mercies are new every morning. Great is God’s faithfulness towards me to empower, to guide and to protect me! (Lamentations 3:23) I can drop the sword and shield that my false personas gave me, the ones my old-self created, that were totally ineffective in protecting me from the attacks of Satan and the world. By faith, I will now walk as my true self and allow God to be my sword and shield!

Here is a key that so many people are missing: God surrounds and protects His children. But, He doesn’t protect man-made personas. He allows them to be attacked and defeated so that they will die! This is the reason that so many people live defeated lives.

Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Intimacy with God

From the book “Benches in Heaven” …

What strikes me most about the human condition is the loneliness. Should this be the case for the born-again Christian? Shouldn’t the greatest blessing of being a Christian be a continuing connection and intimate relationship with God?

According to Jeremiah 31:34, God has a goal. ‘No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more’.

The results of the curse on fallen man is that we have blinded eyes and hardened hearts (John 12:40). People refuse to believe the possibility that they can see and hear God. Why is that? Is the good news just too simple? Have they had glimpses of heaven and were scared of what people might think?

Some have bought into the lie that a relationship with God is just for the elite few, and it is only obtainable through years of religious study and/or strict discipline. Study is good. The more you fall in love with God, the more you want to read and study about Him. Discipline is good. Learning to quiet your mind (to more clearly hear from God) is a good thing.

However, the ability to see and hear from God is a gift. It comes with salvation. You were physically born with physical senses. When you were spiritually born-again you received spiritual senses.

Intimacy with God is something that is available to every believer.

Smell the grass of heaven

From the book “Treasures in Heaven” …

Psalms 119:103:
How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!

In heaven, we will spend eternity discovering the wonders God has prepared for us (1 Corinthians 2:9). This will include more than simply things we see, touch and hear. God’s wonders are also amazing in how they taste and smell. In my book ‘Gardens in Heaven’, I mention some of the Biblical references to gardens and their spiritual impact. Needless to say, taste and smell have a powerful effect on our mind and emotions. In some ways, their impact is greater than even what we see and touch. God wants us to live our lives emerged in the wonderful fragrance of being heavenly minded. In this way, we will be a beautiful fragrance of Christ to those around us.

2 Corinthians 14-15:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.  For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

This earth for all its beauty is only a shadow of the beauty to be found in God’s ultimate creation, heaven. Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:18-19 was for all believers in Christ to receive glimpses of heaven.  That we “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”.

During times of contemplative prayer, ask the Lord for new glimpses of heaven. Pray to smell the grass of heaven. Pray to feel the wind of the Holy Spirit blow and to see the mountains of grandeur.

Jesus is Wonderful

From the book “Peace in Heaven” …

Isaiah 9:6:

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Notice the powerful attributes associated with the Prince of Peace. So often people when defining ‘peace’ they simply think of it as the absence of negative things. Yes. Such things as strife and anger are absent in the presence of the Prince of Peace. Why? Because peace is powerful. It is mighty. It is wonderful.

Jesus is wonderful. Spending time with Jesus is wonderful. He is my counselor. He guides and directs my life. He is mighty. No weapon formed against me shall prosper as I walk with Jesus. (Isaiah 54:17) He is my everlasting Father. My provider. He is the giver of every good gift in my life. He is my friend that sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24) He is the Prince of Peace.

When you experience the Prince of Peace, you experience wonder. Jesus is full of wonder. He is beyond words. He is the peace that passes understanding. For something to be wonderful means it is beyond all past experience or teaching or understanding. To experience Jesus you must allow God to be more to you than you can currently imagine. So many put God in a box. And yet, He is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”. (Ephesians 3:20)