The Stars by Name

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” John 4:23-26
Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
These words from Jesus concerning the argument between Jews and Samaritans on the proper place for worship speak to the difficulty we have touching anything spiritual with the “rational” mind.  I can read this, and even give accent to its truth.  But with my mind, I cannot truly “get it”.  I cannot “get” how to worship in spirit though I am able to do it daily.
Holy Spirit:
The mind can give the heart a supply of things to contemplate.  But love, awe, worship, thankfulness, and joy; these are of the heart. Analysis of facts without involvement of the heart is dispassionate. Cold. Inaccurate. Dead.
Me:
I recognize sitting here that in Your power in the beginning at the Word of the Father – and Your movement with His Word, who is Jesus – the stars sprang into being.  I can know the estimates of how many we can see with the naked eye, or look up the parsecs their light would have traveled from the current arrangement. It is, however, with my heart that I feel awe at Your majesty at the glory of Your work when I look up into the clarity of a pristine Winter sky and see Your mighty handiwork.  It is then that I know that I cannot attain to true knowledge, for You are God and I am only a child. It is then that my spirit is overwhelmed with the magnitude of Isaiah’s observation:
Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.
Holy Spirit:
As I called forth this host, if you desire it, so I Am able to enable you to worship in spirit and truth as Jesus said.
Me:
I do desire it, Holy Spirit!  Let me see with the eyes of my heart the glory of Your presence and revel in it!
Holy Spirit:
Have I not been giving you this gift without you explicitly asking?  For I see your desire when it comes before Me and it pleases Me to do for you that in which you delight.
Me:
I love You Holy Spirit!  I love You!  And thank You!
Holy Spirit:
You are welcome!  I love You!  You know that. In your spirit, today, you know.

The Truth Will Make You Free

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
48 The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.  [John 8]

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
Father, You have provided a wealth of revelation in these words of Jesus, which we know from His own testimony that He got from You!  I even see Him describing for any who would listen exactly how He heard from You: “I speak the things that I have seen with My Father” (v38).

ABBA:
Yes, He was speaking of that facility that I built into you to “see” intuitively or imaginatively.  Some call it “the mind’s eye” or visual imagery.  You know from long experience that it can be used to help focus on solutions to the things you are working on.  In these last few years, I have shown you through Mark Virkler’s teaching that you can turn that aptitude toward spending time with Me and have faith that I will honor your seeking.

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, [g]will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!  [Matthew 7]

Me:
Father, I could scarcely hope to express proper gratitude for the gift of regularly being able to spend time with You!  Since my mid-teen years, I would have acknowledged that I belong to You.  Until I learned the value of honoring our time together by writing it down (Habakkuk 2), though, the progression of my relationship with You was nothing like it is now.  There are many other things that You told the prophet in that chapter that were keeping my relationship with You on the fringes of my life for many years; even preventing me from hearing from You at all for long stretches.

ABBA:
I have given You that insight. Notice even the word insight is descriptive of our meeting.  I give you clues everywhere you look with the capability to visualize that I Myself have placed within you that you might be with Me.  And you are right that many things have the capacity to interfere with our meeting:

  • Pride, for the soul of the proud is not right within him.
  • Inattention, which tells Me you do not care to meet.  It is your choice.
  • Alcohol, for it anesthetizes your ability to see Me or to hear from Me.  In the end, it becomes an idol that you have given the place that belongs to Me.  It is no coincidence that your relationship with me was not really progressing until you confessed and quit.
  • Idol worship of any kind obstructs your ability to see Me, for in your worship, you have placed the thing of your desires in front of Me.
  • Unbelief, for he who would come to Me must believe that I will reward that faith. (Hebrews 11:6).

Me:
Father, I pray You will help me keep these things out of my life!  I don’t want anything to come between us ever again!

ABBA:
What did Jesus say in the passage you opened with?

Me:
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

ABBA:
Exactly.  All the things in the list I gave you from the second chapter of Habakkuk are shackles of bondage.  I Am free.  Nothing binds me, for I Am above all.   I desire to set you free.  With all that is within Me, I want you to be free.  It is a gift so precious that I was willing to ask Jesus, my own Son, to make the sacrifice for you.  He himself values freedom for you so much that He was willing to make the sacrifice of Himself.  He made the choice freely out of His love for you.  We value freedom so much that we allow you to freely choose to enter in, or not; even though it breaks Our heart that one would reject freedom in favor of an idol that will ultimately prove worthless.

Me:
I love you Father!  Thank You for building into my life the Truth and diligently making it clear that I can be free.  I lament that so few seem to value true freedom.

ABBA:
It is the nature of an idol to obstruct sight of the Truth.  You are welcome!  I Am have and I Am going to great lengths to set you free.  I Am glad that you are one who sees the value in it.

void, Breath, Life!

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving (hovering) over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:2
————————————————————–
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Strong’s: 7363 [e] | mə·ra·ḥe·p̄eṯ | מְרַחֶ֖פֶת | moved | Verb

Genesis 1:2 hovering over face of waters, or perhaps brooding (and fertilizing).

Me:
Good evening Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good evening Jon!

Me:
I had not really considered your part in generating
life where none existed before.

Holy Spirit:
I always carry out the Word of the Father.  The nearest human way of looking at how integrated we are – how We are One – is to consider how your breath moves out of you, through your larynx, and words are formed according to your will.  That is why I am often referred to as the Breath of God.  When the Father
said “let there be”, I was going forth as His Breath to do His will.  Where no life was, life became.

Me:
You have done the same in me!

Holy Spirit:
Yes. 
You were dead in your trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).  And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;  for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father (Paul, speaking of Christ – Ephesians 2:17-18) .

Me:
I am very grateful for Your work!

Holy Spirit:
As you can see, all the work of God is inseparable, indivisible; Father, Son, Spirit, One.

Me:
I love you, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
I love you, Jon!

Rest and the Vine

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Me:
Good morning Jesus!

Jesus:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
I am grateful for some time off of work to rest and to be able to concentrate more on time with You!

Jesus:
If you would recognize that I have offered to help you with the burdens of your work and bring them to Me more, you would not be so much in need of rest.  The notion that you have the primary responsibility for it all is the world’s notion and you have been programmed with it thoroughly.  It is contrary to the principle of a branch abiding in the vine.  All the life-giving strength comes from the vine.  The leaves of the branch support transpiration, giving the moisture in the sap some place to go.  All this works in the environment that I designed: sunshine and rain and richness of soil.  You know, this process in a plant is a parallel of the process of you learning of Me and growing in understanding.

Me:
How so, Jesus?

Jesus:
The branch is tiny at first.  A mere tendril sprouting from the main trunk of the vine.  It abides in the vine and is nourished, receiving from the vine everything it needs to grow.  As it grows, it is able to take more and more of what the vine supplies.  The branch provides the place for fruit to develop and acts in concert with the vine.  It is part of the whole.  The undeveloped branch does not possess the capacity to carry all the fruit requires.  Nor does it have the physical strength to support the weight of the fruit.  If it abides long enough in the vine, though, it develops both the capacity and the strength to bear fruit.

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
 For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her
. [Proverbs 3:13-16]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
[Proverbs 9:10]
Me:
Thank You Jesus!  I love You!
Jesus:
You’re welcome! I love you!

The Spirit of Christmas Past

20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.

21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 59)

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
It never ceases to amaze me, Holy Spirit, the sight that You gave to the prophet Isaiah, concerning the coming of Jesus. Last night, we read dozens of passages in Isaiah for our traditional lesson and carol service. Some are almost like they were written at the same time as the Gospel of Luke, though I know they preceded the virgin birth by probably 700 years.

Holy Spirit:
What is seven hundred years to Me? I Am One who is eternal, without beginning and without end.

Me:
You are always amazing in all Your works! I think the thing that is hard to grasp is Isaiah’s willingness and ability to listen to You and to hear so faultlessly.

Holy Spirit:
That is the primary qualification of a prophet.

Me:
Still, I have the scriptures to test what I hear from You and all the New Testament and the benefit of the salvation wrought by Jesus on our behalf. Whereas, Isaiah was only looking forward to the incarnation.

Holy Spirit:
I Am not constrained by time. We have talked about how Jesus’ sacrifice is not constrained by time either. It is the fact that the words of the law and the prophets, which became the scriptures, point to the cross and the desire of God to save that enabled all who would seek and listen to prepare their hearts to receive. The apparent constraint of their lives being in time before the incarnation of the Christ is no hindrance. The true difficulty is lack of faith and an unwilling heart clinging to its sin.

Me:
Oh, Holy Spirit, there is so much that has been beyond me. Trying to grapple with the concept of time and Your freedom from it boggles my mind.

Holy Spirit:
That is why your salvation, and in fact, all your relationship with Us is based on faith and not on understanding. A child can love his mother before he is capable of understanding all that he will eventually come to know about her. Your relationship with Me is like that, and will remain so on this side of the grave. In the end, the limitations imposed on you by the ravages of sin will be swept away and you will know Me face to face.

Me:
I look forward to that, Holy Spirit. Yet, at the same time, I cannot shake the apprehension that accompanies contemplation of the end of my days. Is that a lack of faith?

Holy Spirit:
Do not worry about that. You only feel the sense of self-preservation that I built into all. It is primarily there to counter the evil whispers of the deceiver that either recklessness or suicide are answers to anything. As a woman is prepared for birth during the months of pregnancy, so those who are Mine are prepared for the end of their days, when it is time.

Me:
Then I thank You for being spared the struggles of some in that regard, and I ask You to shine Your light on them and fill them with the knowledge of Your majesty and their hearts with Your Joy! I love You! Thank You for speaking with Me! What a treasure this time is! What a great gift to know You and to be known by You!

Holy Spirit:
You are certainly welcome! This relationship with you is My desire and I place more value on it than you can know. I love you!

Thanksgiving

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; – Colossians 2:6-10

Me:
Good morning Jesus!

Jesus:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
I am grateful, Jesus, that You are head over all.  I know You to be perfectly loving and incomparably wise; all-knowing and with unlimited strength to carry out justice, yet merciful and generous.  Most of all, I am grateful for Your willingness to forgive me and have a relationship with me!  I know that in and of myself, I have no way to make my way back from the dark depths to which I had sunk to sit in the Light and talk with You.  Thank You for Your gracious gift of Your presence!

Jesus:
You are welcome! I delight in talking with you, for that was the plan from the beginning.  I know you as you are and I love you.  I know you as I made you to be and I Am enabling you to grow into My vision.  In these talks we have, I desire for you to grasp My vision and to see its perfection and its power and to make it your own vision.  I do not wish to keep you in the dark, but to see you put behind you the deceptions you have owned.  They encumber your progress, like carrying around a heavy load of rotting garbage.  I want you to know My Truth.  I want you to know My Truth down in the depths of your being.  I want My Truth to burn in your heart.  I Am a purifying fire.  Your faith in Me affords you the protection necessary for Me to burn away the lies you have believed that yet hold you captive and prevent you from fulfilling My vision.  Know this today: because all the fullness of Deity dwells in Me, all the resources of the creation are at My disposal.  Yet those resources are nothing compared to the resources that are in Us.  This should be evident, for all of creation came into being at My Word, and by the power of My Spirit, by the will of the Father.

Me:
It is surely humbling to sit in Your presence, Jesus.  My mind cannot grapple with the magnitude of who You are and what you have done and what you are doing.  To know that though I cannot even properly comprehend Your majesty, You are willing to speak with me and to help me to grow out of the dimness of the past and into the glory of a future filled with the opportunity to draw nearer to You – this is reason for thanksgiving indeed!

Thank You for rescuing me from the path of death and setting me on the road to an amazing life!  I love You!

Jesus:
You’re welcome!  I love you!  Keep coming to Me, we have much left to do.

Me:
Good morning Father!
ABBA:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
We watched an old movie last night: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I found it disturbing, the inmates of the insane asylum stripped of their fundamental human rights by their keepers and afforded no dignity as those made in Your image.  It would have been different if the authorities running the institution were actually trying to help those afflicted.  But, not only that, it highlighted the ravages of Satan’s work on the mind and heart – on both sides of the institutional hierarchy. Of course You know my attempts to help my own brother and how that has worked out.  I don’t know now whether he is even alive.  But I can surely understand his fierce desire to remain independent, even if he doesn’t eat.
ABBA:
Yes, the film did not whitewash how Satan’s schemes play out in the lives of My children.  It saddens me that it is so.  That is why Jesus came to redeem.
Me:
Even though the Lamb of God has paid the price for sins, it still seems to prove unlikely that the deceived will put their faith in Him.  Except You cause them to hear and cause them to see, it seems they remain unaware of the Gift.  Maybe not unaware, in many cases, more that they are unwilling.
ABBA:
Consider this passage:

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’ (Quoted from Isaiah 6.)
16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (Matthew 13)
Me:
Why, Lord?  Why has it not been granted for them to know the mysteries of the kingdom?  How do I reconcile this with the scripture that says You are not willing that any should perish? (2 Peter 3:9)


ABBA:
If I make all the Truth obviously and irrefutably plain to those who have not already chosen to embrace Me, you could not say they actually had a choice in the matter.  The plain explanations to the disciples show what it is like for those who have already decided to follow Me.  The choice comes first, then the revelation.  I Am not willing that any should perish.  But I choose to keep My desire subjugated to the choice of the individual.  I do know the end from the beginning.  I could have chosen to give you no choice.  I desired that those who love Me do so of their own free will. Nothing short of that actually fits My definition of love.
As far as reconciling the scripture, if your foundation is the knowledge that I Am the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, you will suspect that the passage in the Greek is much more nuanced than the English translation shows.  Isaiah’s prophecy sheds more light.  The people do not hear because of their hearts.  They close their eyes.  Is that not a voluntary act?

Me:
Thank You Father!  I am grateful for Your patient explanations!  I love you!
ABBA:
You are welcome!  I love you!