Friday, January 15, 2021

3rd Signpost – Desire

3rd Signpost - Desire

The next two signposts came quietly as I tried to push into the Secret Place once more. I wasn’t at all sure they were the signposts. Surely it couldn’t be that easy. It is very fitting that I had to seek confirmation from the Lord for more than a week before I knew it was the next step to the visit with God.

Most people think of desire as a strong wish or a craving for something. This is only a small part of what the Holy Spirit communicated to me as the meaning of the third step in visiting Heaven. Desire is associated with passion and passion with love. Do you want to visit with God because you love Him and want to get to know Him better? Or is it just to have a new experience? Are you looking to connect with your Father who will be with you for all eternity? Or do you want some spiritual gifts to impress your friends and family.

It is the desire of your heart, your inner being that counts with God. He loves you and it is your love for Him that opens the door to the Secret Place.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4 NKJV)

Many people pray and quote the last half of this verse about God giving us the desires of our hearts. The “and” connecting these two parts says that to have one you must have the other. According to “Strong’s,” the Hebrew word `anag  means “to be happy about, take exquisite delight in.” The word exquisite in this context means intensely felt. Put all these things together and we have “to be intensely happy with the Lord,” then he will give you the desires of your heart. Notice it isn’t seeing Heaven that we need to be delighted in, but in the Lord.

The Hebrew word nathan translated in the passage as “shall give” can be defined as “produce” or “to put.” In other words, when we take delight in the Lord it produces or places His desires in our heart. Is there a way to increase your delight in God? How can we increase or even establish our desires?

Driving Directions 

One of the biggest obstacles to applying this signpost is the way in which we became a Christian. For many of us, we were told, “All you have to do is say this prayer and say Jesus is Lord, then you get to go to Heaven: it is a free gift from God.” If this is the way you became a Christian, that may be the issue in walking the “Roadmap to Heaven.”

We must look at what is said in the Bible in the proper context to fully understand it and apply it to our lives.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 AKJV)

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 AKJV)

Through Jesus we receive eternal life. We cannot earn our place in Heaven, it only comes through Jesus. Up until this time, you had to sacrifice animals in order to go to Heaven. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for all time, so now no more sacrifices are necessary. However this does not mean there is nothing we are expected to do after we say that prayer.

Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:17 AKJV)

It is by faith that you are saved. When you have faith, it will be followed by working for God in some way. Many of us did not receive this as part of the “salvation” message.” If we look at what happens in salvation, we know where our “work” should begin.”

...because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… (Romans 10:9 ASV)

Jesus must be our “Lord.” When this was written, the audience was very familiar with what that meant. Today, many don’t understand and fully comprehend what is necessary to be saved. The word “lord” means owner: a landlord is the landowner. It can also mean hereditary right or preeminence to whom it is that service and obedience is due. We must be willing to OBEY and SERVE in whatever way He tells us to. Other places in the Bible, it refers to those who have taken Jesus as Lord as “bond servants.” These are willing slaves to a master. This means we agree to do things His way, not our way, and to put Him first in all matters.

The first step after accepting Jesus as Lord is to figure out who your new Master is and what He expects out of those following Him. How can you follow His ways if you don’t know what they are? If you did not know that you would be expected to find out who Jesus is, and what He wants you to do when you said the prayer to take Him as Lord, you may want to consider rededicating your life to Him now with a simple prayer something like this:

Heavenly Father, 

I believe that Jesus Christ is Your only begotten Son, that He came down to our Earth in the flesh and died on the cross to take away all of my sins. I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day to give all of us eternal life.  

Lord Jesus, I accept You as my personal Lord and Savior. I now ask that You come into my life and live with me for all of eternity. I thank You that all my sins are forgiven because of the blood You shed for me.

For me, I just said, “Father, I realize that I have sinned and done horrible things, even saying you are not real. Please forgive me for this. If you can use me in any small way, just show me. I am willing to do whatever you need me to do.” After I said this prayer, I began reading the Gospels to figure out who Jesus was. I suggest you begin with the Book of John then continue with Matthew, Mark and Luke. The Lord became a REAL person as I did this and my life has never been the same.

Until you submit to Jesus as Lord you will not have the “desire” necessary to enter into the Secret Place. In my heart, I really thought that I had messed up so bad that maybe God could use me for something like cleaning up at a church or volunteering at a “food pantry” to distribute food to the poor. You must be willing to let go of everything you want to do and be ready for what Jesus has for you. I can promise you this: once you embrace it, the job will be the most fulfilling work you have ever done!

Once Jesus is your Lord, it is through the first two signposts, communion and focus, that we then begin to develop the desire and delight which will open the door to the Secret Place. Understanding where desire comes from may help.

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23 AMPC)

…for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 AMPC)

The spirit of a man is often referred to as our “heart.” Jesus tells us in the Book of Luke that our mouth will naturally speak what is dominant in our spirit. If we must keep and guard our spirit, then there must be a way for things to be placed in it.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 NKJV)

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8 NKJV)

Faith is something that takes place in our spirit, not in our mind. Hearing can impact our spirit and we are urged to hear more of the Word of God. This means that one way our desire can increase is by hearing. This is backed up by Paul’s instructions to the Philippians when he tells them to focus on the good things in the verse above. Jesus also gives similar instructions:

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.” (Mark 4:24 NKJV)

You must choose what you are going to listen to. What you are going to feed your spirit. Paul encouraged Timothy to “stir up” the gifts given to him:

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV)

When you “stir up” trouble, you are talking about and bringing attention to challenging things or unsettling the status quo or changing people’s perceptions. For years, marketing companies have known how to “stir up” people’s desire for products. Millions of dollars are spent on radio ads where items are spoken about. Billions have been spent on commercials where we’re shown what advertisers want us to buy. Ad agencies regularly pay movie directors big bucks for product placement. It serves both as a branding opportunity and permits their merchandise to be plainly on display in scenes that can be noticed by the viewing public.

This may seem complicated, but the reality is quite simple. Often, before you get to visit the Secret Place, your desire for Jesus may need to be stirred up. We can stir up desire for visits with Him by reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) that speak of His time on Earth. We can look elsewhere in the New Testament to see that it may take some effort on our part:

Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 AKJV)

Paul, who wrote more than half of the books in the New Testament, counted all he knew as nothing. He urged believers to leave their old ways, the ways of the world behind. They needed to press forward toward what the job, the calling, the Lord had for them. This is a choice we must make: that whatever God created and designed us to be, whatever job He needs for us to do, we shall do it.

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. (Philippians 3:15 ESV)

If your desire for a deeper relationship Lord is lacking, ask God about this topic. Let Him make His will clear to you.

Here are a few things that may help:

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you, to place His desires in your heart.
  • Go through the Secret Place course in the Courts of Heaven Academy to find out more concerning this topic.
    • There are many accounts given of Secret Place visits before the messages in the other classes at the Academy as well.

Instead of thinking about the trouble in your life, think instead about:

  • Who will you visit in Heaven: The Creator of all we have, all we know!
  • Exactly what God did through Jesus
  • How much God loves you and the different ways He has shown that in your life

This is a journey. It’s a marathon not a sprint. If you get off track, just ask God to help you make up for lost time. After all, He is the God of second, third, and fourth chances!

Playing Checkers

My good friend, let’s call her Carol, was using my computer to complete a project so I headed upstairs to take a shower. Afterwards, I decided to do a charcoal facial mask. The black paste on my face needed twenty minutes to dry so I couldn’t use my glasses to read the Bible or work on the computer. I decided to relax in my bed and worship God.

After listening to a couple of songs, I switched off the music. “Abba…” I called with a mental cry, “Daddy… can we play for a while? It’s been a rough week.” So far, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had only appeared at church during worship, but my heart longed to spend more time with my Heavenly Father. I wanted nothing more than to be held in the arms of my Father for a short while, but didn’t have any conviction that He would show up.

Out of the darkness, before my closed eyes, a shape appeared. His eyes glowed with an inner fire that was strong and comforting. He scooped me up into His arms and I hugged His neck, burying my face in His white, shoulder-length hair. “I love you…” I whispered. “I missed you.”

“I love you, too, and am glad to see you,” He replied. Then He asked, “What would you like to play?” I was so glad that He showed up. I was sure He’d have the perfect thing planned and didn’t really care what we played and told Him so. Before I could answer Him, he said: “Let’s play checkers.”

Checkers? That seemed like an odd choice to me. When I met with my Daddy before, He knew exactly what I liked… and I really wasn’t overly fond of checkers. I had long outgrown the simplistic game of strategy. Besides, if this isn’t Heaven it was close enough. Playing checkers was the last thing I wanted to do here!

At the table that appeared, I took my place none too gracefully, flouncing down onto the chair. I was mortified as my inner feelings were displayed clearly in my behavior: Disinterested, I slumped to one side leaning my chin on my hand, picking a checker piece at random and moving it forward. 

As the author of a fantasy series, I am used to making up stories in my head —it is a talent that earned me the nicknames of Space-case and Airhead growing up. Meeting with the Trinity takes place in my mind, but it is very different from creating fantasies in your mind. 

In previous visits I learned that all I had to do was think of a question. The small childlike version of me would ask, though not always in the exact words I was thinking. To me, this experience proved that it wasn’t my imagination at play: when I created stories, the characters did what I wanted, what I directed them to do. I created every word and every response. 

Now, however, I had the unsettling discovery that inner feelings cannot be hidden in this special place with the Trinity. Emotions and feelings can determine the actions of my spirit being. This brings a whole new meaning to “being transparent.” The Bible tells us that God sees into our hearts. In this space with God, the reality of that fact is played out.

When I moved the third red checker piece into place, Daddy jumped it with one of His pieces. A few more moves and more of my pieces disappeared while His pieces invaded my side of the board. “This isn’t fair!” I said with a huff. I dashed from my seat and climbed into His lap like I was scaling a hill. “You know everything, I have no chance of winning!”

I sunk back against His chest. Words came forth like water from a broken dam, “I’m tired of losing! It seems like all I do is lose!” Tears poured from my closed eyes. Hidden feelings that I thought I had dealt with long ago were revealed. “I try and try, but everything I think I am supposed to do just fails!” Sobbing, I buried my face in His chest as He stroked my hair. Thoughts of my first series, the movie based on said book, the game based on the same book… even my delayed trip to Heaven flowed through my mind as He held me.

Softly He asked, “Look at the game. What happens when you lose?”

A glance revealed that His pieces had taken over two-thirds of my side of the board. “You move into that spot…” I whispered. Instantly, the Bible verse my mom always likes to quote came to mind, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 KJV)

“So I wasn’t failing, I was giving more of my life to You?” Just then the conclusion my mind had drawn sprung from the lips of the tiny version of myself.

“Exactly,” He whispered. The heaviness of pain, condemnation, self-doubt, and frustration fell away. A burden I didn’t even know I was carrying was lifted from me. 

After a few more minutes of hugging (there is always lots of hugging in our moments together), He asked, “Want to go on the swing?”

I leapt down with the exuberance of the child I appeared to be. He picked me up and placed me on a big swing. My lips turned down in disappointment when I realized if He went behind me to push I wouldn’t any longer be able to see Him.

As the swing began to move He asked, “What do you feel?

I focused on my spiritual body, mini-me. Suddenly, I was no longer watching the scene from a third-person perspective; I was in a little person’s body. There was a light breeze as I went up and down. I didn’t have to say it out loud, He knew.

“What do you see?”

Sight in this place was much different than our natural sight: it was more like a muscle. At first, things were vague without much detail, including God. But with each visit things became clearer. I brought my eyes up, staring straight out and strained to focus on what was before me. The scene wasn’t vivid like I’ve heard Heaven to be, but it was clear that the sun was rising over a mountain with a city below.

“A new day is dawning for My children,” Daddy confirmed what I saw myself.

While I was still swinging, I felt His arms wrap around me. It was like He was on the swing with me, holding me close. I could see mini-me swinging and God surrounding me as if I was riding on His lap. “Nothing can harm you because I am with you,” He told me.

Psalms 91, part of my daily prayers, came to mind, “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge.”

I knew, beyond a doubt, that my spiritual self would be forever safe from all harm. “But what about the rest of me?” As I thought about my physical body I saw it lying on the bed. “What about my immune system that allergies attack? The vertigo that plagues me…?” Instantly a correction came. It was a strong knowing, a fact that appeared in my mind. My physical body isn’t really me; it is just a tent, a house in which my spirit lives. My mind struggles with a new question, “How can Your protection expand to include…?” 

While I struggled to find the words, I realized that I could not see or feel God anymore. As I became more focused on my physical self, the spiritual world disappeared. “Daddy!” I cried, turning my mind from the physical body to the dark of the spiritual world. “Where are you? Come back!” It seemed like minutes passed while I called out for Him. 

“I am here,” He appeared before me. “I will not leave you.”

I leapt into His arms. “But I couldn’t find you. I couldn’t see you!” I insisted, “I couldn’t even feel you!”

“Even when you can’t see or feel Me, I will always be with you,” His words were reassuring.

It is one thing to read the words of the Bible, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” (Hebrews 13:5 KJV), it is quite another to hear them from God, Himself. A feeling of strength and peace surged into my spirit.

Daddy put me down before Him, “It is time for you to go. There is work for you to do.” He tousled my hair and my heart soared. He trusted me to get things done. 

The scene faded, but I knew that I would be back and have more questions answered; questions that I might not even know to ask, but that would mean more to me than I could fathom. 

Loud footsteps sounded on the stairs. Carol called out to me. She needed my help. Feeling renewed, I was grinning as I climbed out of bed. There would have been no time to delve into that final question: How God’s presence with me can affect my physical body. Going downstairs, I hoped that would be one of the questions that got answered on my next trip.

Limited Spiritual Experiences

After I helped Carol with the project, I told her, “I was spending time with God while this mud dried on my face. He said it was time to go just before you came up the stairs.” I tried to explain why my shower had taken so long, hoping it would comfort her to know that God knew she needed me and responded to that need.

“Well, that just makes me angry,” Carol replied. 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you angry,” I apologized, before asking, “Why is it upsetting to you?”

“I have been going to the Courts of Heaven. I’m even doing it out loud now, and I haven’t heard even a word, much less God telling me it’s time to go!”

I understood her frustration. It was hard for me personally to see a “Christian” publisher with shady business practices flourish while I struggled. Many times Christians will get angry or upset when they are asking God for a healing and someone else gets exactly what they are asking for.

Over the years I realized that the success of others didn’t take away from what God was doing or going to do with me. God is not short on miracles. Rejoice when you see the supernatural work of God… He is not short on power or blessings and has plenty to go around. Rejoicing in someone else’s fortune is a great way to see it manifested in your own life.

I tried to apply logic, “I have been considering the fact that you and Alice don’t get to see as much in the Courts of Heaven as I do. Christ told Thomas, ‘blessed is he who does not see and yet believes…’ ” I said. “Maybe I am allowed to see more because I am explaining the process to others in the book about the courts.” 

Attempting to address part of the issue, I encouraged her further, “And remember, I have been at this for sixteen years. You began seeking deeper experiences with the Holy Spirit a year ago and have come a long way since then. It may just be a matter of time.”


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