Dwelling Places, so to Speak

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Ps 46:4-7

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
I read this passage and it makes me think of You. The river flowing out from the throne spoken of in Revelation in my understanding represents You and Your flow. I love this reference to the river “making glad” the city of God.
Holy Spirit:
But of the fruit Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Me:
Taken all those things together that flow from you, “making glad” seems an apt description.
Holy Spirit:
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:23)

These “dwelling places” are reference to the fact that we can be together in an intimate setting – at home together, as it were. Safe and secure, no matter what. Most think this talks about some kind of afterlife apartment. There is much loss in that understanding. Jesus said there are many dwelling places. The word translated ‘are’ has the same root as I AM. We are together right now. Jesus’ talk about “going to prepare” was about His death in the disciples (and your) stead which had not yet taken place. He could have said “I am going  to the cross to prepare a place for you.” He was not going on about unfinished drywall in heaven. It is you that have to be made ready; not the dwelling place. He was speaking of preparing a place in the sense of “home”. Home is not a location where you normally feel “there is no place for me here” because you do not fit. The ‘dwelling place’ is a metaphor for being in/one with Him. Rejoice that you are ‘dwelling’ at-one with Us, in the River, made Glad!  When Jesus said ‘I will come again to receive you to Myself’, he was not  looking down through time to the last trumpet of Revelation.  He was looking forward to in-dwelling fellowship with sin atoned for and no longer blocking the relationship.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Neither the individual you, nor the collective ‘you’ of all who ‘dwell’ will be moved, though nations make an uproar until kingdoms totter or natural disasters proliferate.

Me:
Thank You for this explanation! I love You!
Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love You!

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His Dominion

19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul! (Psalm 103)

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
Let my soul be a place of Your dominion! For Your will is flawless and Your loving kindness is endless! How foolish for me to act without due consideration of Your Word; to mindlessly stroll along in the gloom without knowledge of the precipice at hand, or even to charge forth headstrong – as a willful stallion who has clenched the bit in his teeth. Only You know the end from the beginning. I am easily deceived, except I walk steadfastly in Your Spirit. But You by Your Spirit reveal the Truth! Your promises are life and fulfillment! Help me to be intimate with Your Word, that Your precepts might be ever-ready in time of decision. Make me mindful that there are no minor choices. For the path from yesterday is fixed by steps made irrevocable by time’s passing moment and the path to tomorrow known to You alone. Only in this instant resides the moment of my choosing. For my part, let my passion for You be the deciding weight on the scales of decision! Help me to remember that the thing left undone may be of more weight than the thing done. Guide my heart, Lord! Endless possibilities overwhelm the resources of the mind. Help me be faithful in the things that matter to You and not merely indulge myself nor be occupied with taking my ease.

ABBA:
Today is a Sabbath day that I have ordained for rest and for restoration. A day for healing and for rejoicing. Because I AM love, I desire you to know that My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. All power is Mine and I share the work with you that you may revel with Me in the victory. I want you to be able to shout in triumph at the defeat of the enemy, to be glad as evil falters because it is made lame by relying on lies. Hope in My promises. They are for you! Have faith in Me. I AM your Father! Trust in My Word. It never returns, except it accomplishes that which I sent it to do. (Isaiah 55:11) Be filled with My Spirit. He will lead you into all the Truth. He will disclose to you what is to come. (John 16:13) Observe My heart concerning the deception of evil among men. For My wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about Me is evident within them; for I AM making it evident to them. (Romans 1:18-19). See the river that flows out from My throne and from the throne of the Lamb. Enter into its life-giving flow and be renewed. (Revelation 22, John 4:14)

Me:
Thank You Father for such an encouraging Word! Your love is beyond measure! I love You! My ability to express gratitude seems wholly inadequate!

ABBA:
You are welcome! You were made that we might have communion! Do not let past failure be a shadow that keeps you from our time together. The accuser will stop at nothing to bring shame. But I AM quick to forgive and will stop at nothing to bind up the repentant heart. My Own Son has borne the penalty of your sin. By this, I AM showing you continually that I love you with an unending love!

A Great Advantage

If you are a believer in Jesus, He has provided a great advantage through the grace of the Holy Spirit in your life. I say grace, for surely, outside the atoning work of Christ, none of us could avoid being consumed by having the Holy Spirit of Almighty God dwell within us.  Is He making a difference in you?  Is He making a difference in Me?

Our enemy, the devil, has a standard litany of lies he tells anyone who desires to turn their hearts and minds over to the Spirit’s help.  Those who succumb to doubt – about whether they are “doing it right” or “hearing right” or whether they have “quenched the Spirit”– become like the unstable double-minded man who should not expect to receive anything from God.  Satan’s list of lies is practically endless.  You are no doubt familiar with some.   Rather than dwell on such a dismal litany, I want to share a list of promises from the Bible to counter them with, whatever doubt he sends:
•    But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. John 16:7
•    And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  John 14:16-17,26
•    And when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:11
•    And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them.  And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them.  Then they will be My people and I shall be their God. Ezekiel 11:18
•    ‘And it shall be in the last days’, God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, any your old men shall dream dreams; Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My spirit and they shall prophesy.  And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and vapor of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.  And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’. Acts 2:17-21

Does the tone of the quote in Acts sound like the Spirit will spend time counseling men to salve their fears by engaging in the latest self-help technique?  No, He counsels everyone to call upon the name of the Lord.  For there is no other Name given under heaven, whereby men may be saved.

I asked before, in so many words, “Am I different today than I was yesterday, or merely fooling myself?”  Those promise passages make it clear that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit because without His help, I would be unable to stand in the trials that are coming.
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Father, how can I offer high enough thanks for such promises?  You have provided for Your pure and Holy Spirit to occupy my vessel of earth! Though You formed me from the dust of the ground, You the Potter are sanctifying your children for holy use by the Name of the Son, that Name which is above every other name.  Jesus!  Thank You! I know each moment presents a choice: will I believe Your witness or listen to the enemy’s propaganda?  Your Word tells me that the enemy comes but to steal and kill and destroy.  I know that listening to You leads to victory and glory and eternal life.  Oh, let me be attuned to Your voice always and at every moment!  Let me know that the shield of faith is effective.  Let no lingering doubts creep in disguised as doubts of self, but actually stinking as an affront to belief in Your promises!  I love You, Holy Spirit!  Thank You for dwelling with me.  Teach me to be steadfast in my faith, let my belief in Your promises be quicker than thought, build it into my heart!

Under His Banner at the Front

banner

I was meditating, recently, about the “one another” reference in verse ten of Romans chapter twelve.  Perhaps, because I had just read an article about a call for legal action against Major General Craig Olson for daring to invoke Jesus’ name at the National Day of Prayer Task Force event when crediting Him for his success in life.  The group calling for a court martial was the so-called Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  I was wondering How the Major General felt about the unwanted notoriety and how he would respond.  I was seeking God in the vein of the Who is my neighbor? question that Jesus was asked by the lawyer in Luke chapter ten.  See, the people who are opposing the right of officers to mention their faith claim to be “protecting” Christians, among others, from having religion different from their own imposed on them from higher up the chain of command.  That would kind of make them neighbors, would it not?   Still, I’m having an extremely tough time reconciling the things this group says their aims are with the things they actually seem to be doing.  Anyway, enough about the origin of my quandary.  Down toward the end of the chapter, it starts to talk about “those who persecute you”, and “never pay back evil for evil to anyone”.  Clearly, those are more expansive than even “neighbor”.  I said, “This looks hard, Father!”

The Father reminded me of His provision for my own sin.  “I permitted the un-neighborly sort you are thinking about to crucify My Son.  Did that qualify as persecution?  Did that fit the definition of evil done?  What did I do in return?”

I had to admit that He has blessed me with salvation and a relationship with Him in which I can talk to Him freely.  He is returning immeasurable good for the evil done by me; for the evil amassed by my sin and repeated against Him at intervals over a lifetime.  I am ashamed that the un-neighborly sort has at times been, well, me.

As long as you’re here, I’ll let you eavesdrop on the rest of our conversation:

ABBA: “You must seek My heart about the evildoers.  Outside of becoming one with My heart, this call is too challenging for you.  This is what it means to stand under My banner of Love.  The world can absolutely not understand how good might overcome evil.  They would return evil for evil, retribution for injury.  There is a day of vengeance; a day when the blood of My Son shall be recompensed from those who have not been baptized in its cleansing fountain.  Today is not that day.  Today is a day in which I am patiently waiting for any who would yet avail themselves of that purifying flow.

“When you read or hear of evil in the land, or experience it done to you or the ones you love, remember My heart toward you while Jesus was yet suffering on the cross.  Then, seek Me with your whole heart.  Let My heart become one with yours.  Let My heart guide your attitude toward the evildoer.  Remember they are but slaves of the evil one.  Pray that they may yet see and seek Me to find the Way of Escape.”

Me: I pray You will help me with this, Father.  I have so far to go to have a heart like Yours.  Please help me to learn to love with Your love.  I have not really appreciated the notion of standing under Your banner of love at the front of the battle where evil rages on every side and Your call is still Your limitless love!  I have prayed every morning in Your name, Jehovah Nissi – God our Banner –without comprehending even a fraction of what that means.  Please help me to learn to be like You in this regard too.  I love You!