Revelation. Our pastor was inviting us to
experience the throne room of Heaven (as described by John) and familiarizing
us with some of the protocol of Heaven. Later
I went back and re-visited that section of scripture and meditated a little
more deeply on the scene.
companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in
Jesus, was on the
the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. Rev 1:9
According to John, he was exiled to this isolated location for preaching the
gospel of Christ.
be. He was a prisoner. He was cut-off from all resources, his support group,
and his liberties as a citizen. It would
have been perfectly normal for him to experience all the distressing emotions a
person would feel in his circumstances – discouragement, disillusionment, depression,
physical pain, frustration, etc.
Day I was in the Spirit [rapt in His power], and I heard behind me a
loud voice like a trumpet . . . Rev 1:10
does that mean?
was cognitively communing, enjoying, fellowshipping, abiding, and dwelling
stuck on an island in exile, in the Spirit he was actively experiencing the
presence of God. His circumstances could not hinder him from accessing the
highest place of Glory.
Jesus in His resurrected, glorified state.
The Lord introduces himself and tells John to write down the messages He
wants to impart to the seven churches. After
all the letters are dictated, John is invited to come to Heaven.
before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard
speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show
you what must take place after this.” Rev 4:1
Lord. I’m a political prisoner. I’m stuck on the
I have to show up tomorrow for roll-call!”
life the voice of the Holy Spirit beckons me into the presence of God but sometimes
I can’t hear His voice. When I allow the circumstances of life to shut me down –
when I allow grief, sorrow, separation, difficulties, or fear to drown out the
voice of the Holy Spirit – I limit my ability to hear His voice and respond.
God! I can dwell in the presence of God any time I hear and am willing
to respond to His voice regardless of what is going on in / around me. It is so
encouraging to me that although John was on the
in the Spirit he was given the climax message of the church concerning the Last
Days and the Second Coming of Christ!
voice, hear His invitation to come into His presence, and respond?
The truth is, I can’t remember.
How is it possible that I have made it this far along life’s journey without understanding the severity of this warning?
“Above all else, guard your heart . . .”
Above all else? That’s pretty strong language. I am certain I have put many, many priorities above guarding my heart. You know, important things like making sure all my files are neatly labled in the same font size, or making absolutely certain there are no expired items in my pantry.
Today I went before the Lord and asked Him about this heart thing. I needed to know why such a high importance was placed on guarding my heart. What is my heart, anyway? How do I guard it? What does it mean that my heart is the wellspring of life?
It turns out, my heart is key. My heart is the core of who I am. It is the source of my love, my creativity, my strength, my convictions, my personality, and my beliefs. My heart is ME – the wellspring of my life; the essence of my existence. My heart is “command central”. It is vital. No wonder the scripture urges me to guard it with vigilance.
Well that explains a lot.
When my heart (the core of who I am) becomes infected, contaminated, injured, broken, deceived, damaged, or worse – destroyed – I cease to be ME. And since I am created in God’s image, I cease to be a reflection of God’s own heart. It is tragic. Hence, the warning.
Jesus put it this way, “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’. ” Mark 7:21-23.
He could have gone on to add depression, insecurity, fear, shame, rejection, resentment, abandonment, and anxiety to the list. Because let’s be honest, aren’t those evils so often found in our un-guarded hearts as well?
On the other hand, good things (treasures) come from the heart too: Love, hope, truth, confidence, compassion, dreams, talents, values and potential. No wonder Solomon says the heart is the wellspring of life – it is the place from which the essence of my life flows. Good or bad, success or failure – it all comes from what is going on inside.
It is apparent I have a lot of work to do. Realizing I must vigilantly guard my heart is only the first step. The next step is uprooting all the harmful lies I have allowed to be planted in my heart. Lies about myself, lies about God, lies about my past, present and future.
A divine cleansing. Reclaiming my heart. Actively replacing all the negative with the truth of God’s Word. Embracing His love for me and allowing it to take root in my heart. Walking in it. Living it. Experiencing it every day.
It’s do-able. And I’m starting now.
Isn’t that crazy?
If I made time for His presence, He would help me sort out what is important. He would give me the strength I need to face the challenges in my life. He would make me more efficient and effective. Even my failures would be recycled into something good! In His presence I would find the peace I am trying so hard to achieve in my To Do List.
Going back to my previous post . . . I am trying to give up my self-sufficiency and embrace unashamed dependence on Him. It’s difficult, but I’m working on it.
So what happened was . . .
Thoughts and insight began to come. All of a sudden I became keenly aware of my choices. I started to realize with deeper understanding how my choices impact my life (and my eternity). And I became more aware of God’s participation (or lack of) in my choices. He also began to teach me more about DECISIONS and DISCIPLINE. For the past two months I have been trying to take notes as my teacher (the Holy Spirit) has revealed truth to me. He has had to go very s-l-o-w-l-y as my human, stubborn and sinful mind resists the process of renewal. One thing is certain; this is a very important subject to the Lord.
More to come,
NEGLIGENT: failing to exercise the care of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstances.
Well, these are all good lessons . . . no, great lessons. I just wish I didn’t have to learn them the hard way.