5-21-2022 Sharing My Heart
I was at a quandary for this entry.
Father has been so good to me over the years and I have to admit that I haven’t always been the ‘appreciative child’. Just like when I was a kid, by the time I was nine, my mother was raising my sister and me alone. I didn’t like a lot of the things that mom did, but I learned later that she was doing the best that she could. I wish I could say mom was a great spiritual influence in my life, but she didn’t come to know the Lord until late in her life. Instead, in my youth, a neighbor took me to church with her kids.
Over the years, Father has taught me a lot about His timing and His timing is still being played out in my life.
Father’s plan for me really started unfolding in September 2014. Don’t get me wrong. Father has been patiently growing me all my life, He didn’t start just in September 2014. Yet that IS when He started unfolding His plan in my life to me.
Paul reminds the church at Thessalonica that before Jesus returns for us there will first be a falling away of the church (2 Thess. 2:3). In other words, the church (as a whole) won’t be actin’ like the church no mo’! Look at the church today. Do you think it has been falling away from the fundamentals Jesus taught the early disciples? Father has protected me from a lot of what is going on with the church. Yet I’ve seen and heard a lot where sin abounds, even in the leadership (Lord have mercy). Yes, we are all human and are subject to sin, but we don’t have to listen to it or abide in it. In today’s permissive society, when everyone else does ‘it’, it’s horrible but when it satisfies my desires, it must be okay. Right? And too many churches like the numbers. (success?)
Father gave me two scriptures in 2014. Jeremiah chapter one which is the calling of Jeremiah and the other is Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven which is in the valley of ‘dry bones’. Later Father added Ezekiel chapter thirty-three which is the task of the watchman.
He said that this is for what He has been preparing me. Please, I’m not tooting my own horn. Some who read this may still remember the old TV show “Dragnet”. Sergeant Friday would always say “The facts, just the facts ma’am.” (then the tell-tale music would play ‘dum de dum dum …)
In the past several months, Father has opened the bible up to me in such depth that I couldn’t (didn’t) imagine. The reality of the words of the New Testament have taken on a new life for me. It’s like, suddenly, now I am understanding. Not just what it says or what it means, but what it actually involves.
Recently Father has shown me that we experience Him in three levels. Four, if you consider ‘not knowing’ Him at all a level.
One: We know about God. Yes the world knows ‘about’ God but we come to realize that He IS for us through asking Him into our heart (salvation). This is the beginning of our relationship with Him. Then, from that time on, we continue to learn about God. We begin reading the bible, maybe even memorizing scripture, but our relationship remains on an ‘intellectual’ level. We’ve learned more about God, but we have not yet developed a true relationship. Think back to the old school days. How many of the kids did you know? How many did you really hang out with? I mean the boys and girls you actually played games with and spent non-school hours with. You knew the other kids, but you really didn’t know much about them. Even though you associated names with faces, you truly didn’t know them. (or should I say ‘we’?)
Two: God’s love starts becoming ‘real’ to us. I mean those words start to take on real meaning. This brings our relationship with Father into a closer, more personal perspective. Back to school or even friends in our adult life. Who did we really hang out with? Who did we feel comfortable sharing things with – other than just enjoying their company? Now, I’m not talking about ‘best friend’ here but friends whom we knew very well and who knew us. Father already knows us but He still wants us to walk closer with Him. To get to know Him a whole lot better than where we have been. (Just a closer walk with thee, grant it Jesus is my plea)
Three: NOW we have developed a real relationship with our heavenly Father. We know we can share anything with Him and He won’t condemn us. He will gladly give us direction and help where we need it, but we do have to ask. Think about our ‘best friend’ here. Have any of us had a friend with whom we would share anything? Everything? Who won’t condemn us for what we did? Even if we have done something stupid (even to that friend) they would still be our friend? Someone who we would do just about anything for us or who we would do just about anything for? That’s close! (take my hand and lead me on …, arms around shoulders).
But, Father wants to go even deeper than this. Another dimension of “best friends”. Our best friend we truly get to know and they get to know us. We come to know all about each other, likes, dislikes, hobbies, favorite past times, etc. so how do we get to know our best friend so well?
We spend time with them. At first, a lot of time, but as we grow (get older) different things minimize that time. But that’s okay. Usually, we still make time, later in life to stay connected.
Throughout my life, I have one whom I would truly call my best friend. There was a bunch of us who literally grew up together. There were six houses, on both sides of the street (12 in all) with children in one of two age brackets and often both, mine and my sister’s, who is four years older than me. We all grew up together! Those, my age, all graduated from the same High School. My one friend & I started hanging out together after High School and reconnected after we both fulfilled military obligations. My friend married and moved out of the immediate area and then I married. We did eventually lose connections altogether as we both continued to move, he farther out from where we had grown up and into different areas.
We did reconnect years later and are still in regular contact.
I mention my best friend because this is how my relationship has grown with our Lord. Yes, I did drift away from God after High School, but reconnected with Him when I married my wife. Since that time Father has been growing me.
Ever so slowly, on my part, Father has not let me stop from (even from) inching ahead in my life. I’ve discovered that Father has really been patient (longsuffering) with me over the years, waiting for me to get to a point in my life so I could grow more in Him.
In my life, Father has shown me the difference of ’just’ asking Him into my life and being baptized in water and being baptized in the Holy Ghost.
The day I received Jesus Christ into my life, I literally felt a huge burden (weight) being lifted from my being. I truly “felt” lighter! I was baptized in water a couple of months later (after there were enough candidates). To be honest, though I hoped the pastor wouldn’t hold me under tooooo long (we were told that the more sins that were washed away, the longer he would hold you under), all I got was wet. Others have told me they felt that weight loss during water baptism (PTL). Six year later, I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-13, Acts 19:1-7). This is where my eyes were opened up to a new dimension with my relationship with Father. My experiences have continued to grow since that time as Father has continued to inch me closer to Him.
The baptism in the Holy Ghost is the key. Jesus told the disciples that when the Holy Ghost is come, we shall have power (Acts 1:8). I stop, for a moment here, because the passage goes on to say and to be witnesses for Me … Until I received the “Baptism” for myself, I thought that ‘power’ was to be a witness and this is true. But the passage says “and” to be witness. So what power? To do the things Jesus did and greater (John 14:9-18, read it all). Peter and John healed the lame man at the temple gates (Acts 3:1-8). Peter heals the man sick of palsy (Acts 9:32-34) and raises Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-41). Paul healed the sick (Acts 19:11-12) and even cast out devils (Acts 16:16-18). All this happened after Jesus’ ascension and the receiving of the Holy Thost.
Father has impressed upon me that these works were not just for the early church, but were to continue until Jesus returns. Father has given us the Holy Ghost so we can do His works, but also live this life for which Jesus gave us for an example, that is to live in His love. He has given us the Holy Ghost as a propitiation (1 John, 2:2, 1 John 4:10) for our sins. That is He shows us our sins have been atoned because Jesus, who through the Holy Ghost spans the gap between God (the Father) and man. Allowing the Holy Ghost to be active in our lives strengthens our relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ because the Holy Ghost connects us all. In the beginning, God is and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Then God said … (Gen. 1:1-3). In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1:1). God said what? “Words”! The opening words of the bible and John 1:1 explain the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Ghost! Get the relationship? Jesus brings us into this relationship in the gospel of John (John 17:14-21).
Don’t quench the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19)! Don’t tie his hands through our unbelief but give Him free reign in our lives. Believe and trust that He can and will do all that Father says – in us! After all, the Holy Ghost is that part of God that dwells in believers!
With the growth in experiences, I’ve also discovered my relationship with the Lord has also grown deeper.
A deeper relationship with God has encouraged me to get a deeper meaning in my reading the bible and which has increased my understanding of my relationship with God. All of this has impacted my prayer life which has brought a deeper level of my understanding of scripture and my relationship with the Lord. It is a growing circle – prayer, understanding, relationship, prayer, understanding relationship ... One feeds off the other as it helps the others to grow.
We need it all in our relationship with the Lord so we can do whatever, whenever, however He calls. Not everyone is called to be a great evangelist but everyone needs someone to share the life-giving gospel with Him. How did we get ‘saved’?
And as certain prophets, priests and scribes in the Old Testament discovered, the church needs someone to come by and say “Hey! No wonder we are in such a mess. We need to get back on track!” Get back to doing what God has told us to do! We need to get back into His proper alignment!
Father is raising an army, even now, to bring His church back into that proper alignment. These next seven years are a time of “Spiritual explosion”! Just as Father tried to get our attention with the Protestant Reformation, the “awakenings” of the 1700’s and 1800’s, The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements of the 1900’s, Father is trying to get our attention again, now as He impresses upon us about having a closer (very close) relationship with Him. How many calls, how many chances are we going to get before the curtain falls? He IS longsuffering (I know), but He will eventually give man over to his own desires (Rom 1:21-32).
God’s desire is that none should perish but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
It has been on my heart that God does love us and wants us to be with Him throughout eternity.
Do we recognize His call?