Back in 2007, I experienced a wondrous spiritual dream in the night about being in the company of Jesus' disciples - both in the 1st and 21st century. It has deeply affected me and some others with whom I've shared it. I feel inspired today to post it and beckon others to join Jesus' band. He is alive and at work in our world!
My "Disciple Dream" from February 9, 2007
In this dream I was with Jesus and in the company of His disciples. It was strange in that it was somehow set in both a 1st century and 21st century context simultaneously...almost as though time had been "bent". The details of the dream didn't seem as significant as the feelings I experienced in being involved with Him and His band.
I felt the wonder, excitement, adventure, danger, nobility, passion and the awareness of the divine purpose of being with Jesus on "His mission". There was a daily/hourly sense of depending on the Father's invisible hand of provision, guidance and protection and He was coming through on His end of the relationship...sometimes in dramatic fashion. The "ministry team" was walking together in unity, humility, courage, sensitivity, love for God and others and the power of the Holy Spirit. We were humbled by the honor and privilege of being friends of Jesus and the Father. The sacrifices that we were called to make and the sufferings and hardships we were encountering could not even come close to being compared to the joy and blessing of serving God as the "junior partners" of Jesus. It was a brief taste of what it must have felt like to actually be walking with Jesus when He was on the earth. It was also a taste of what it really is like to know, love, walk with and minister with Jesus here and now--even though He is not physically present with us. Still...He has sent us another Helper to live within us and Who works among and through us. He, the Spirit of God, communicates to us the heart and mind of the Father and the Son. What an honor it is for us to have a friendship with God in Christ Jesus the Lord!
I often speak to groups of people about our need for "divine alignment". And...I have discovered a wonderful grace from our Heavenly Father at work to provide this richly for people's spirits, minds, emotions and bodies. An often neglected aspect of the promise of the great news of Jesus Christ is summarized here in Psalm 37:4. It is essentially a promise that God will align the desires of our hearts and then satisfy them if we will take delight in Him as the main priority of our entire life. It doesn't seem to me that most people understand that the invitation to know and follow Jesus is a call to abandon ourselves to experience an ultimate DELIGHT. How about we change this mentality within our cultures and across the whole planet?
Another of the "facets" or "faces" of God's nature that the Holy Spirit has specifically revealed to Bob Hartley in his profound Divine visitations is - "The God of our Heart's Desires". Unlike much of the mystical spirituality promoted in our world that views desire as our great enemy, Biblical spirituality sees desire as part of the image of God within us has human beings. We only need our "desire-er" to be purified, healed and repositioned under the Holy Spirit's loving dominion. Furthermore, a part of the wonderful news is that this occurs as a naturally-supernatural byproduct as we freely and deeply receive our Father's love and then progressively grow up to love Him back with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and..our neighbor as ourselves. In that sublime interaction we will simply find ourselves desiring the very things He desires us for us. It is then those Divinely refined desires of the heart that He will generously satisfy. I believe that we have made the Christian life too complicated through the centuries. Our friend, Bill Johnson, says, "God is better than we think, so we better change the way we think." Don't repress your desires, but tap an even deeper passion to intimately know the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and unleash it without shame!
I can't count the times that I have found Divine comfort in Psalm 139 through the years. It is an amazing prayer David wrote that glorifies God as the One who created and knew him intimately long before David came to know God. It speaks of God's ingenious original design woven within both the visible and invisible parts of the human being. It speaks to ways in which we are "image bearers" as the crowning touch of God's creative work. Here at the very end of the Psalm David prays this vulnerable prayer that if there are any hurtful ways in him that lie beneath his anxious thoughts, that God would expose and resolve them.
In the first translations I read as a young believer, the "hurtful way" of v. 24 is rendered as "wicked way". I always found this wording to be somewhat out of tune with the spirit of the prayer. Recently, I noticed the literal Hebrew says "way of pain" and my heart exploded with inspiration.
As a pastor and spiritual director of over 40 years now, I have discovered that there are typically unresolved pains deep in the souls of people who are manifesting anxiety, fear, depression, rage, bitterness, addictions, unhealthy relational patterns...and the list goes on. I have also discovered hidden and repressed pains in my own life as the root problems to the visible brokenness in my way of being and style of relating. You have probably heard the expression, "Hurt people hurt people". A friend of mine, Bob Edwards, once told me, "If we do not resolve our pains vertically, they will come out sideways." Wow...that one stuck with me!
Our "ways of pain" may be rooted in injustices done against us, perceived injustices and/or our own trespasses and sinful reactions to circumstances and people. Whatever the case, the evil one is always looking for a personal narrative to twist and exploit and confine us into some kind of spiritual, mental, emotional or relational "prison cell". Often, he accomplishes this significantly through the angst of our childhood. Too often, these matrices of lies...or strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4)...plague us and drive us well into our adulthood.
However, the beautiful and wonderful Body of Christ is arising now with mighty spiritual weapons for the destruction and resolution of these "ways of pain" that have jerked us and our friends around long enough. We are becoming skilled at accessing and applying the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus deeply into human hearts by the compassion of Christ, the Spirit's counsel and the power of personal prayer. Let's be like our Master and receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit to "heal the brokenhearted" (Isaiah 61:1) as the first order of business in our ministry to hurting people. God will "rewrite the text of our lives as we open the book of our heart to his eyes." (2 Samuel 22:25 Message.) As my friend, Bob Hartley says, "God is not only the God of 'salvation', but the God of 'solve-ation'". I encourage you to pray through Psalm 139 and the especially "dangerous" prayer of vs. 23-24 and then witness how our Heavenly Father will answer and transform you in the image of Jesus more and more!
My good buddy, Bob Hartley, is continually blessed with many truly astounding dreams and visions from the Lord. I call him Robert the Revelator! I have the joy of adoring God with him on a regular basis for many hours and ministering with him here in Kansas City and across the country. One of the ways that the Holy Spirit has inspired him personally and also his ministry to others, has been by revealing "faces" or "facets" of God to him. I have learned from Bob that God's "ways" are encoded in His "faces". If we can "see" the facet of His nature that He is at work to "show", then we can hear His heart much more easily and thereby know His will and see it accomplished on earth as it is in heaven. In addition, we have joyfully discovered that our Heavenly Father is eager to reveal His "face" to us in specific situations and for specific individuals and/or groups. This insight then becomes a key to them for unlocking a redefined and hopeful narrative directly from the Father's heart to the hearts of His children. "God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." 2 Samuel 22:25 Message
I suspect that too many followers of Jesus read a verse like this one below and it sadly becomes another source of condemnation to their weary hearts. But it actually is a radical truth the flings open wide the door for a joyful and liberated understanding of our Heavenly Father as "the God of all of life". He desires to "go with us" into our daily lives as our constant Companion and closest Friend. His presence, and our awareness of it, then sets apart all of our activities, interactions and words as acts of worship that are crowned by the power of God. He does not leave us...oh no...but longs to interact with us in all of life! In our waking, cooking, eating and drinking, personal care-taking, exercising, working, gardening, greeting others, creating and enjoying art, contemplating, listening, conversing, traveling, serving, praying, playing, planning, resting, cleaning, maintaining our homes and vehicles, loving people and pets, vacationing, being alone, reading and writing, emailing, texting, earning, spending, giving, sleeping and dreaming. This consciousness is the best antidote to any temptations to buy into the vanities held out to us by our culture that promise so much but deliver so little satisfaction.
Let every day be Father's Day!
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
A VOICE OF HOPE
Michael Sullivant's Blog
I am a child of God, husband, father, grandfather, spiritual father, author, speaker and hope coach.