Friday, December 30, 2011

The Holy of Holies: Our Eternal Dwelling Place

If the bible says "For He raised us with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms" (Eph 2:6 NLT) yet we are not experiencing this reality through the medium of our senses, can we then conclude that we in fact do not have a stake in the eternal realm?

Thoughts like these along with others have been swirling around in my mind as Holy Spirit has been schooling me on 'the presence of God.' I have come to realize that we live in a world that is a playground for the senses, so much so that it seems as if it's easy to neglect the most important 'sense' and component of our Christianity, that being Faith. If our eyes do not perceive it, it does not exist. If our ears cannot distinguish it, it is not real. If our hands cannot reach out and touch it, it isn't truly there.

"We live by faith and not by sight" is a verse that has been playing over in my mind for weeks and the more I meditate upon it, the more I realize that the best things in this Christian walk cannot be seen but must be perceived through the lenses of Faith. I hear it time and time again amongst believers how distant they feel from God during certain seasons or how they wish they could just draw near to Him and feel Him as they once have in the past. Could it be that we are searching for Him where he isn't instead of believing where we are (Seated in heavenly places. In the holy of holies. Hidden in him)?

Practicing the presence is a 'discipline' if you will, that Holy Spirit has been little by little showing me the ropes on. The constant and continual awareness of His presence by faith is what I want my every day to be based upon. He is always there, regardless of whether I perceive him or not. I am always in heavenly places regardless of whether I 'feel' it or not. We are always together, in the holy of holies, caught up in a each other's loving embrace, regardless of whether I deem this to be true or not.
I have been learning that my quiet times and blissful moments in the secret place need not differ from when I am taking out the trash, reading a novel or even fast asleep. The awareness of his presence is as simple as the shifting of your gaze and 'looking' to that which is unseen as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 4:18. Ancient mystic and author of "The Practice of the Presence of God" (A book I read on Tuesday) Brother Lawrence captured the essence of what a life in the presence was designed to be. This father of the faith knew God in the mundane just as well as he knew him in the secret place. He refused to let there be a distinction between the prayer closet and the workplace. God is in everything and so by faith he chose to see him in everything. Simple, yet profound.

I once carried around the theology that entertained the thought of it being possible to move in and out of God's presence at will, because my 5 senses seemed to support this idea. The thought of the presence being a continual state of being, an eternal habitation was slightly more elusive because my sensory perception could not grasp it, and so I dismissed it. He is bringing me back to a place of realizing that I don't have the ability to turn what Jesus accomplished on the cross on and off whenever I please. His work is an eternal work. He became as are so we could become as he is. Constant, continual abiding in the Holy of Holies, by faith.

God is as much in Heaven as he is upon the Earth, for we know that all things are held together by the word of his power. In science it is a known fact that tiny vibrations hold all particles of matter together. Could the very words of God spoken at the dawn of creation be the glue that holds it all together? Of course. As much as we are upon the earth, caught up in the realm of the senses, so we are positioned in a world, God's presence, that transcends this. Knowing him every millisecond of every day is as easy as taking a breath because it's no longer a place we are working to enter, but a place we live in and live from.

Exerts from "The Practice of the Presence of God" which I adore:

I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the

{written about Brother Lawrence}
His very countenance was edifying; such
a sweet and calm devotion appearing in it, as could not but affect the beholders. And it was
observed, that in the greatest hurry of business in the kitchen, he still preserved his recollection
and heavenly-mindedness. He was never hasty nor loitering, but did each thing in its
season, with an even uninterrupted composure and tranquillity of spirit. “The time of
business,” said he, “does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and
clutter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things,
I possess GOD in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.”

And I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I keep myself
by a simple attention, and a general fond regard to GOD, which I may call an actual presence
of GOD; or, to speak better, an habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with
GOD, which often causes in me joys and raptures inwardly, and sometimes also outwardly,
so great that I am forced to use means to moderate them, and prevent their appearance to

There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual
conversation with GOD: those only can comprehend it who practise and experience it; yet
I do not advise you to do it from that motive; it is not pleasure which we ought to seek in
this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because GOD would have us.

He is always near you and with
you; leave Him not alone. You would think it rude to leave a friend alone, who came to
visit you: why then must GOD be neglected? Do not then forget Him, but think on Him
often, adore Him continually, live and die with Him; this is the glorious employment of a
Christian; in a word, this is our profession, if we do not know it we must learn it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Vision. The Army.

I found this on a blog called The Eden Hijack and later found out that it originated here. This struck my core so powerfully. It's so profound and speaks directly into so much that Jesus has already set ablaze in my heart. Enjoy. 
"The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.
The vision is an army of young people.
You see bones? I see an army. And they are FREE from materialism.
They laugh at 9-5 little prisons. They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday. They wouldn't even notice. They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the west was won. They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations. They need no passport.. People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence. They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying. What is the vision ? The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes. It makes children laugh and adults angry. It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars. It scorns the good and strains for the best. It is dangerously pure.
Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation. It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games. This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause. A million times a day its soldiers choose to lose that they might one day win the great 'Well done' of faithful sons and daughters.
Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don't need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: "COME ON!"
And this is the sound of the underground The whisper of history in the making Foundations shaking Revolutionaries dreaming once again Mystery is scheming in whispers Conspiracy is breathing… This is the sound of the underground
And the army is discipl(in)ed.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms. The tattoo on their back boasts "for me to live is Christ and to die is gain".
Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes. Winners. Martyrs. Who can stop them ? Can hormones hold them back? Can failure succeed? Can fear scare them or death kill them ?
And the generation prays like a dying man with groans beyond talking, with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and with great barrow loads of laughter! Waiting. Watching: 24 – 7 – 365.
Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mould them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.
They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive inside.
On the outside? They hardly care. They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide. Would they surrender their image or their popularity? They would lay down their very lives - swap seats with the man on death row - guilty as hell. A throne for an electric chair.
With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days, they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.
Their DNA chooses JESUS. (He breathes out, they breathe in.) Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus. Their words make demons scream in shopping centres. Don't you hear them coming? Herald the weirdo's! Summon the losers and the freaks. Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes. They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension. Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.
And this vision will be. It will come to pass; it will come easily; it will come soon. How do I know? Because this is the longing of creation itself, the groaning of the Spirit, the very dream of God. My tomorrow is his today. My distant hope is his 3D. And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great 'Amen!' from countless angels, from hero's of the faith, from Christ himself. And he is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Under the shadow of His wings

I inhale Him. I exhale peace. I've lost myself. I am found hidden in the chamber of his heart.

If anyone is searching for me these holidays, I'll be nestled under the shadow of His wings. Resting under the apple tree of divine refreshment, where his fruits are ever sweet to my taste. The Prince of Peace is teaching me to rest. Abide. Linger.

Silent night. Peace on Earth. He is leading me by the hand, taking me back to the pure essence of the holidays that has been buried under the chaos of tradition. Forget the presents, I'll be delighting in the presence.

Looking over my shoulder, I see three months of holy, blessed chaos. Learning much. Getting to know many. Exploring myself. Letting go. Embracing change. Shifting paradigms. Redefining meaning. Question marks fade. Promises fulfilled. Flames kindled. Hope awakened. This is has been my daily reality as a ministry school student, and a partaker in a season of more bliss, enjoyment, and fulfillment than was ever painted on the canvas of my imagination.
But, whilst being swept away by the winds of change, He reminds me to keep breathing. Keep resting. Always abiding.

As the Christmas Holidays have embraced me with open arms, I realize that their timing couldn't have been more opportune. Like Adam, who knew nothing apart from day seven's sacred rest, woven into my DNA is a longing for Eden, a desire for ease, silence, stillness and ceasing to do anything but know that He is God and He is good. Busyness and chaos wasn't as much His idea as it was society's. I am a vessel of peace, I was born to lie down in green pastures, while his voice like rushing waters flows over me, flows through me. As the curtain tore, my Shepherd led me back to Eden, which is now within me. Rest is internal. The wellspring of life is in me. He has made himself at home in the tabernacle of my heart, and I recline on the sofa in His. My God designed rest, and then created me with the longing and ability to enjoy it. Adam knew peace outside of himself, I have the Prince of Peace abiding within. Adam walked with God at twilight's dawn. I walk with him unceasingly in my garden, my heart.
Rest is internal. Rest is His essence. As I sit under the shade of the Almighty, I feast on the fruit of his works, and my heart beats to the rhythm of the song singing "it has been done."

He calls me. "Come away my love." We sit beside the River of life. "Jump in," He calls. I trust. There is no fear in His love. We float in the colorful waters that flow from the throne. His embrace reminds me of what he has done. Those nail pierced hands testify of a better way. The way of peace. The way of life. "What could you do that my blood has not already done?" He whispers. "Rest my child. Lay your head on my chest, so I can sing salvation's lullaby over you once again."