Flow of the presence

Moses and the people of God moved from place to place. They followed the pillar of fire

Whirl-fire

Whirl-fire (Photo credit: Loving Earth)

and the pillar of cloud in order to follow God. He is not static. He is always moving. Even before creation we find Him hovering over everything and moving around. He is always on the go.

Lets have a look at some of the movement in heaven.

9 and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.

24 When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings. Ezekiel 1

In heaven there is movement of momentum. A movement of unity. Those heavenly beings are moving together in unison to fulfill the purpose of God. His plan is coming to fruition and everyday it comes nearer. This oneness of heart requires no obvious leader of a creature for all are flowing so closely with the winds of the Spirit that they flow together. This army under its commander works completely differently than any army seen before.

God’s Spirit is like the wind and like rushing waters, flowing and accomplishing what it desires. God’s word is being spoken and never returns empty. The Father is forever giving out gifts to his children and creating new things. Jesus is forever interceding for us. The angels go to and fro with God’s bidding. The saints are falling in worship and the great cloud of witnesses are cheering us on. Heaven is not a static place. It is full of life.

I used to feel that when I worshiped and then came back the next day I could start where I left off. It was as if heaven had almost stood still waiting for me to come back. I guess it is a little like magic toys that can only come to life when I came to play. Heaven is not going to stop whilst I disengage myself for a while – the movement continues. Each day we move closer to Jesus’ return than the next so every day will never be like the one before. I think perhaps heaven is more like the song in Pocahontas (click here to listen to it). She describes the sensation of stepping into a river. You never step in the same river twice because when you step into it again the water you first stepped into has now passed down stream and fresh water has now taken its place.

When we come to worship God and partake in heaven we need to approach it with an active spirit ready to assimilate ourselves into what is going on in heaven. It is a stance of action, purpose and unity. What an exciting place! What a privilege!

Presence of heaven

The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant ...

The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant with Noah after the Great Flood of the Bible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we worship Father God and Jesus we worship them in heaven. Father seated in heavenly places and the glorified, risen Son. Jesus doesn’t leave heaven to meet with us He has already done that two thousand years ago.

What God does is open heaven and allow us to enter into His home. He makes a way into His holy presence for us. He lifts us up and seats us in heavenly places alongside his Son Jesus.

18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”[c] 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”[d]

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12

We come to where he is, where the he dwells. He allows the veil between earth and heaven to grow so thin mankind can peep in. God makes the divide between heaven and earth Velcro thin. When Jesus died we see the dramatic rendering of the veil that divided the two dimensions of earth and heaven. The veil was violently ripped open and God left a light velcro fastening attaching the two sides of the veil together to stop it flapping in the rushing wind of the Spirit going back and forth. If you push through in worship it isn’t long before you boldly enter His throne room.

Why then do we not see clearly into the heavenly places? Why does it seem so dim? Could it be the same effect as driving through a long dark tunnel? Looking into the dark for so long our eyes cannot cope with the bright light on coming out of a tunnel.  So might is be with heaven after looking at the world for so long in darkness our eyes are blinded by the glory after heaven and we see very little? So what is the answer? Become accustomed to gazing on the Glory of God. Make your time in the heavens so common place your eyes become able to see angels, beauty and the vision before you. Then our faces will soak up and reflect the glory we see – just like Moses’.

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

Positioning for presence

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The question that raises in my head is can we position ourselves for an encounter with God? Are there things we can do so we can put ourselves in the ways of encounter. I guess it would be like walking repeatedly around Hollywood to put yourself in a place more likely to bump into a film star or director.

In the bible there seems to be quite random encounters with God. Many are to do with God choosing to reveal His plan and purpose to mankind. God can do what he likes. He gives us what we don’t deserve and can meet us in power just where we are. We can encounter Him after following no principles just because He loves us. But we are asked, however, to boldly seek His face so we must consider what are the ways we can seek a face to face encounter. The following are just principles that I am pondering.

Being prepared and expectant – There is something deliberate and steadfast about longing for God’s face. It is for those who have set aside their hearts ready for it and who, having a right view of God’s desire for relationship with us, know He is ready to come. There needs to be an expectation that heaven is only a breath away.

Keeping our hearts humble – This would include keeping our hearts right with God, pure and malleable. God opposes the proud and will not make his home with them.

Leaning in in intimacy – John the disciple was the disciple who felt loved by God. He positioned himself next to Jesus, leaned in and put his head on Jesus’ chest. This is the best place to encounter God. Those who want to see His face can lean in toward God and all He is and place themselves in a place near Jesus. It is the desire to share affection with Him.

Waiting on God – those who encountered often were sat with time looking towards heaven. We find David waiting for God again and again. We know waiting on God renews our strength but it also places us ready for an encounter with Him. If we say busy and distracted like Martha we could miss Jesus’ smile our face. If we sit quietly at Jesus’ feet and become familiar with the place of receiving we will be ready for his smile.

Paying the cost – Many of the encounters with God or heaven (angels) came with new revelation and purpose. Moses, Gideon, Abraham, Joshua, Mary etc had a challenge set before them. Sometimes we think that God’s call to ‘be’ means doing less or nothing, I feel it means being and doing all that is you and from a place of fullness and peace. God will come to those who He knows will say yes.

Having the character that can hold heaven – God will not blow us out of the water by appearing in his fullness and power because that will damage us. He protected Moses from the full force of His glory. Neither will he cast his pearls before swine. He can only give as much as our character can take. The deeper and greater the character the greater capacity to hold heaven within us.

Being where he is – we are called to follow him, to walk where He is. We cannot choose the time, the place or the situation. We meet Him on His turf, on his conditions where he is. He has already come to earth to meet us now we follow Him to the heavenly places to meet Him in His fullness.

Being in unity with those who are hungry – there is something so special about being united with the church in worship. His presence is far more tangible when the body is together. It is important we learn to worship together and not just as separate individuals with separate stories standing next to each other. He loves us for who we are but He is not coming back for you as an individual, but His bride made ready.

Moses sees God face to face -what does Joshua see?

picture066Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. Exodus 33:10-12 (NIV)

God would speak to Moses face to face, as a friend. Moses was so accustomed and used to the presence of God that it didn’t blow him off his feet, he didn’t cower but stood up, looked God in the eye and shared his heart: just like a friend. Wow!

Joshua would enter the place of worship just like Moses. He would be there as God showed up. He was present when God spoke and chatted with Moses – so the question I have is why was it never said of Joshua that he spoke with God face to face as a friend? Was it trust? Was it lack of something? We do know it certainly wasn’t lack of being in the religious tent. He was there waiting longer than Moses. He knew that to see the presence of God he should follow someone who has experienced conversation with God face to face and keep close to them. Yet  he still couldn’t see.

Joshua was mighty man. He led the people. He entered the promise land. He led well. But no-where in the bible does it say that the intimacy with God that Moses had was ever Joshua’s experienced. We will never know what was in Joshua’s heart. There is no telling what went on in the secret place between Joshua and God.

We can be in the same place where some experience the presence of God heavily and not feel a thing. We could be next to someone who is having a vision of the heavenlies and yet not see a thing. We could be standing next to someone being bathed in the love of God and still  be lonely. It isn’t where or how we wait that brings intimacy – the key is our response to God during our secret interactions.

What conversations you have in your heart with God that builds trust and friendship so God loves spending time with you?

We can be like the place of Bethany. The town where Jesus was drawn to. The place where he loved to spend time with his friends. The place where Jesus face was commonplace. Bethany was a place of intimacy but it cost (see picture above). It meant brokenness, repentance, humility, sacrifice, adoration, passion………

Today: Soften your heart toward God and positioning yourself to see God’s face to face

Hunger is not enough- its expectation that brings encounter

Worship

Worship (Photo credit: Josa Jr)

I often find myself standing as close as I can to those whose hearts are to lead me deeper into the presence of God and my desire is to follow their lead. These are the anointed worship leaders of the church. My heart is to be responsive to their spirit and join in with their intimacy with God. As they hold the door open for me into the throne room my desire is to press through into the fullness of an awareness of heaven.

I always thought that to be hungry for him was enough, but I have reconsidered my thoughts. It isn’t hunger that brings change and encounter with God, but expectation. It is the understanding that God’s desire is to meet us with revelation, love and intimacy. If we seek God we can expect him to turn up.

As a youth I remember walking through a camp one summer crying out in hunger to God, but I didn’t expect him to come down and meet me as I wandered through the damp evening grass. I thought he would listen, but wasn’t sure if He would be persuaded to act. I now have a revelation of his passion for me. Someone once prophesied into my life God was more passionate for me than I was for him. I now expect him not only to listen but also to come in fullness and be there for me.

So now I ask myself what do I expect his presence to be like? How is he going to meet me? In fullness of power, with overwhelming emotion, with signs and wonders, with visions and new spiritual gifts, with heart to heart intimacy, with amazing signs and revelation, with fire and rushing waters, with the roar of a lion? What do I expect each time I move toward God to know him? Are my expectations high enough? Do I really expect the heavenly places to be opened to me so I can see the angels, the heart of God and the beauty of the spiritual realm. Knowing all God could/ can/ will do stirs my hunger to exponential levels.

There is so much more to know and experience in God’s presence and I can expect God to meet me in power and intimacy every time.

Today: What are you expecting?

The storm becomes part of your worship

picture027God spoke through a lady who had a vision in which she was holding onto a rock in a storm. God laughed at her and said “what are you doing?” “I am scared as there is a huge storm raging and I am going to fall off my rock” she replied. God told her to “stand up” and as she did her feet grew roots than ran like an anchor into the rock and her arms became branches and she reached up in worship. As she worshipped and the rain fell and her arms waved in the violent wind she found her worship became part of the storm