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.

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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!

Through all the Wisdom and Understanding

… We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, Colossians 1:9b

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
There is a magnificent wealth of things in this verse to thank You for and to ask You more about!  Thank You for the example of being able to ask on behalf of others for filling with the knowledge of the will of God.  Thank You for the revelation that You bestow “all the wisdom and understanding” and that they are a gift.

Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! The
gift is of the will of God.  That is to say, The Father has decreed it, the Son has enabled you to receive it, and I Am delivering it. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

Me:
Is the failure to pray like this at the bottom of the apparent lack of unity – among even those who consider themselves believers – concerning what God is directing?

Holy Spirit:
It is one minor reason.  Do not worry about unity.  What those who bring that up usually mean is, “Why won’t you come over here and help me with my program?”  Unity in the way you mean it would be automatic if all were communing with Me and listening with unfettered hearts and doing what they hear with unbridled enthusiasm.  That is the only “unity” that matters.  The creation is intricately designed and all the parts have their own unique character and diverse purpose, yet they comprise the perfectly conceived and orchestrated whole.  I Am doing many things in all places in the administration of the will of God.

Me:
Is there a requirement for asking this filling?

Holy Spirit:
Two.

Me:
Two?

Holy Spirit:
A vital relationship with God.

Me:
And the other?

Holy Spirit:
A relationship with the person you are asking Me to fill with the knowledge and understanding of the will of God.

Me:
What kind of relationship?

Holy Spirit:
Enough to see the difference when I answer.  Enough to be overjoyed in it.  In short, those you love.

Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit!  I love You!

Holy Spirit:

You’re welcome!  I love you!

Delegated Authority – What will I do with it?

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government[a] will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government[a] and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. [Isaiah 9; [a] rule, dominion]

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. [Ephesians 1]

Me:
Good morning Father!
ABBA:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
I look forward to the fulfillment of Your plan! In our current governmental systems, we have nothing like unity or unending peace.
ABBA:
I have given among men the freedom to choose. When the times reach their fulfillment, all things will be brought into unity. In the mean time, you have the freedom to choose. All the things that are under your authority can, even today, be brought into unity under the Son.
Me:
What things are under my authority?
ABBA:
What you will believe. What you will do with the time alloted to you. What you will speak. What you will give. Whether you will follow My Word and heed My Spirit, and love my Son. Will you love others? Will you show compassion? Will you trust Me when others deny Me? The matters of your own heart and of your own mind, these are under your authority. Will you stand on the Truth or compromise for safety or convenience? In My Son, I have freely given you life in place of the wage of death that you had earned in sin. No one can take you out of My hand. Therefore, no one can take away the choices of what you decide to do under the authority that I have given you. In these things, under Jesus, in the Spirit, by My zeal for this plan of redemption, let your mind be transformed and let your spirit be renewed. In the world, lies abound, but they will be shown for what they are and will go the way of death to which they lead. My Word is Truth and it will never pass away. Stand on that foundation and you will never be shaken.
Me:
Thank You Father! When I consider Your Word and Your mighty promises, my confidence is renewed and joy rises in my heart! I love You!
ABBA:
You’re welcome! The joy is a gift for you to enjoy and to share. I love you!

Authority – Some Rightful, Some Usurped

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.  Romans 13:1-2

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
For years, I have struggled with the 13th chapter of Romans.

Holy Spirit:
I know.

Me:
I see Your way, clearly laid out in Galatians 5 – self-control as the produce of a life infused by Your power and subject to Your desire.

Holy Spirit:
What about those who have no intention of being subject to My desire?  A purpose of appointed authorities is to restrain those who serve the destroyer from wronging others.

Me:
I’m perfectly OK with that.  It is when the authorities themselves appear to be serving the enemy that I am troubled by Romans 13; giving hearty approval to abortion, for instance, and vilifying those who would oppose that abomination.

Holy Spirit:
You are asking how that type of authority could possibly be established by Me?

Me:
Yes.

Do I prevent you from sinning, or do I permit you to choose?

Holy Spirit:
You, appear to give me free will to obey or to not obey.

Me:
If you do not obey, on whose authority are you acting?

That is a hard question.  I see that You permit the choice, but cannot imagine You being in favor of a bad choice.

Holy Spirit:
Bad choices grieve Me (Ephesians 4:30).

Your freedom to choose is embedded in the fact that you are created in the image of God.  I Am free to choose.  I choose always according to My nature.  That is why the scripture tells you that I Am light and that in Me there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).  I desire you to choose according to My nature in you.  Since I Am in you, the only way for you to do otherwise is to quench the fire of My truth that is resonating in your heart and charge ahead in spite of what I Am telling you.  You know how that feels, just as you know how it feels to obey and grow and love and rejoice.

Me:
And the government or other authorities are groups of people with the same choice: whose authority will they exercise?

Holy Spirit:
There is only One Authority.  But it is possible to choose to act outside of My authority or the authority that I delegate.  Those who act wrongfully are usurpers.

Me:
I know Jesus told Pilate that he would have no power over Him except it had been given from above.  I know how dependent I am on Jesus’ sacrifice in submitting to the crucifixion carried out at Pilate’s order and the insistence of the Jewish leaders.

Holy Spirit:
I make all things work together for good for those who love me, for those who are called according to My purpose (Romans 8).  All things include the actions of usurpers.

Me:
Thank You that you are above all earthly powers and that my life is wholly in your hand.  You are only good and merciful continually!  I love You!

Holy Spirit:

You are welcome! I love you!

 

 

Free Will and Other Things

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. – from Deuteronomy 13

Me:
Good Morning Father!

ABBA:
Good Morning Jon!

Me:
All of Deuteronomy 13 talks about those – prophet, dreamer, family member, or friend – who would entice others to follow ‘gods’ who are not You and commands their being put to death. Jesus advised tearing out an eye or lopping off a hand if it makes you sin. (Matthew 5:28-30) Yikes!

My question is whether I am making too much of Your intention to give us free will.   You know I have argued stridently that You are free by Your very nature and that being made in Your image, You grant us freedom that we might also love You freely.  These verses about capital punishment in this life for sin always make me wonder if I have understood free will correctly.

ABBA:
Jesus knew that neither a physical eye nor a physical hand was the literal cause of any sin. He wanted to impress upon His listeners the seriousness of sin. He is your Redeemer; a serious solution for a serious problem.  As for the dreamer and the prophet, how do you suppose they would deliver signs and wonders to authenticate their false message?

Me:
By intentional deception or by demonic activity?

ABBA:
Those are the same thing, and the correct answer. Every word from Me is Truth. The devil is a liar. Whether his deceptions come through a “prophet” or he plants his words directly in your mind, the result is the same. Knowing my Word (commandments) and listening to My voice counter his lies with the Truth, for I put forth nothing but the Truth. Serving Me speaks of the intent of the will. Clinging to Me speaks of the desire of the heart.

As for free will, do you suppose that the deceived is even able to exercise free will? Having free will presupposes the true options are known and are present to choose from. The “prophet” or “dreamer” who presents a lie as the Truth has already circumvented free will. Satan cares not a whit for your free will. I present you with this: I cause all things to work together for good to those who love Me, to those who are called according to My purpose (Romans 8:28). If you seek Me in faith, I Am faithful to give you the good gift of of hearing My voice (Deuteronomy 13:4, Habakkuk 2:2, Luke 11:13, Revelation 1:11). Knowing Truth unlocks the possibility of free will.

Joshua spoke of the true option that is always before you if you know the choice I Am giving you. “… choose you this day whom you will serve …” – Joshua 24:15 Your sharing of this choice with those who do not know the truth is the work of your calling.

Me:
Thank You Father! I love You! Strengthen me by Your Spirit to speak only the Truth. Deepen my understanding! Let my heart be purely devoted to You!

ABBA:
You’re welcome! I love you! I Am indeed working in you by My Spirit to accomplish that which you ask.

Vestige of Idolatry

John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

Me:
Good afternoon Father!

ABBA: Good afternoon Jon!

Me:
Father, about this passage; nothing exists that was not created by You. How is it that we get in trouble loving what was created?

ABBA:
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” [Jesus, Matthew 10:37] The trouble is one of idolatry. What is an idol? It is an object of misplaced worship. An image of stone or wood overlaid with gold to which the deceived offer prayers or even make sacrifices is obviously an idol. Even if the object were intended to provide focus and somehow represent Me, it would be false by its limits. So is a family member who’s opinion carries more weight than what I Am saying, or even the earth I have made and which you obviously need can be an object of misplaced devotion.

Do not think that My jealousy for you is about Me. Only I know the end from the beginning [Isaiah 46:10, Revelation 21:6]. You were created to have fellowship with Me. I desire intimacy with you. In that closeness, you find fulfillment that no other can provide. Idolatry interferes with our communion because is diverts your focus. My creation is for you. It is intended to support you, to be enjoyed by you, to be managed and cared for by you [Genesis 1:28]. The wonders that I have made should properly bring you to appreciate My gift of them and your study of them should give you insight into the truth that your thoughts are not My thoughts, nor are your ways My ways. This knowledge ought to lead you straight to Me:

6 Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
12 “For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
13 “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up,
And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up,
And it will be a memorial to the Lord,
For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” [Isaiah 55]

This is a Word of healing for you. What is the thorn bush but the bramble that has grown up in your life from seeds sown by the enemy. And what is the nettle but those irritating reminders that all in life is not as it should be. The perfecting work of My Word and the promise of joy and the everlasting fullness that I desire for you, this is what is missed when the idol is between Me and My people.

Me:
Am I guilty of idolatry? Is that why You point me to these verses?

ABBA:
Have you come to know Me fully, just as you are fully known? The growth in our relationship is “taking every thought captive”, leading you away from the false notion, the incomplete vision, and progressively into the Light of Truth that I Am. What I want you (and every one of My children) to consider is “What is first?” [Matthew 6:33]. Just as you cannot succeed in a project unless you focus on the details of the project, so you will not end up with a more thriving relationship with Me if our time together is an afterthought. But, if you come – more and more – to see me as I AM, as your all in all, then the “cypress” and the “myrtle” will indeed sprout and grow and become an everlasting memorial of our relationship.

Indeed, one aspect of the cypress and myrtle is that the ‘essential oils’ of these families of tree represent the fragrance of My Spirit at work in your life. He is a seal of My promise [2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13 & 4:30] and His presence in your life is essential to your transformation.

Me:
Father! Your revelations are marvelous! Help me leave behind my conceptions of You that fall short of the mark (as I suppose they must). Help me to see You more accurately! Help me to become more like You and see You more as You are. Help me to overcome the “need” to think I have arrived at a “correct understanding” and to be satisfied with the seeking and with the expansion of the vision that is possible today.

ABBA:
I Am working in your life to do these things. Today, I wanted you to recognize that your conception and perception of Me needs to keep pressing forward as I Am enabling you to grow in your relationship with Me and that anything short of that striving forward is a vestige of idolatry because yesterday’s understanding falls further from the mark than that which I have enabled in My relationship with you today.

Me:
I love You! Thank You for spending this time with me! And, thank you for Your patience!

ABBA:
I love you! You’re welcome!