When one of our sons was showing his future wife a family photo album, he paused at the picture of a 19 year old girl in a red bikini standing knee deep in the Miami beach surf. "She's hot! Who is she? And why is she in our family photo album? he asked.
Barb, who was looking over their shoulders explaining the pictures as they flipped through the pages, said, "...You don't recognize her son?" Son: "No, who is she?" Barb: "It's your mother son! It's me."
He erupted, "Ohhh...yuck! I feel polluted! (making motions to scratch out his eyes and tongue) I just called my mother hot! Ohhh yuck...." as they all burst out in laughter. And then from an innocence that can only come from a young man with no fear of death, he asked his mother: "What happened!?"
His future wife and Barb gasped and withheld the temptation to do him bodily harm, and Barb quickly retorted: "3 sons! That's what happened son! 3 sons!"
More about that visitation
Inside we feel the same, but our body has changed around our spirit, as our son learned that day. And while the body changes just as a matter of the course of nature, being of the earth, our spirit which has been born of heaven, requires focus and determination to grow in Christ. We are born again as new born babes Peter said, and told us to desire the milk of the Word that we might grow. We determine our growth. (I Peter 2:2)
I ended last week talking about how the Lord said He shares intimate things with us and when we share them with someone, it grieves our spirit and we wonder why. Don't think these are always deep secrets of the heart, for the kingdom works on revelation from the Father, so even a simple thing revealed to the heart when intended to remain in the heart but then shared openly, will grieve the Holy Spirit, and our spirit in turn.
For instance, one time while looking for a job I saw an ad in the paper and instantly I knew I had that job - we had just moved from Colorado to Tulsa, leaving as a pastor there to get on staff at a church in Tulsa, but I needed a job to fill in the gap. I saw the ad and instantly knew I had the job.
Before I interviewed I told someone about it and that I knew I had the job - and my spirit was grieved, that hurt in my spirit my mind immediately noticed. I still got the job but it had been intended by the Lord to be a private assurance that He had given me the job. When I violated His intention my spirit was grieved.
The kingdom revolves around revelation from the Father - starting with the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, and all else flows from that revelation. And consider this - each revelation from the Father matures us in our spirit if we allow it to, growing us as we respond to each by applying it in our lives.
The line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little people often quote from Isaiah 28:9-13 as ways the Lord teaches us, according to Paul is actually about tongues and being moved by revelation from our spirit. Paul quotes that in I Corinthians 14:20-25 about how personal tongues leads to personal revelation but prophecy is for public revelation of the secrets of the heart (Larger context is 14:14-25).
The Lord teaching us "line upon line", "precept upon precept" and "here a little, there a little" is first about personal revelation in our hearts, one revelation building upon the next. When we respond and apply each revelation our thoughts change and our lifestyle changes and more revelation follows. As Jesus said, "Value what you hear, for with the value you place is how it will be measured back to you again, and to him who has, more will be given. And if you neglect what you hear, it will be taken from you. Mark 4:24-25
In that visitation there was more: The Lord told me about the events of John chapter 6
Matthew 14, Mark 6, and John 6 all record Jesus walking on water after feeding a crowd of about 5,000 men plus women and children. Matthew records Peter walking on the water, Mark records the fact Jesus would have walked on by them had they not cried out in fear, and John records when He got into the boat "...the boat was immediately at the land where they were going." (v21) In other words, Jesus, the 12, and the boat were instantly transported roughly half way across the lake of Galilee to the far shore.
Many of the crowd that Jesus had fed saw Him send the disciples away in the boat and saw Him going in the other direction, up a mountain to pray. Verses 22-25 of John 6 record that the next morning the people who later got in boats and crossed the lake, and those who had walked around the lake to get to where the disciples landed their boat, were very surprised to find Jesus there, and asked Him how He got there.
Verse 26 records that rather than answer their question, He made a statement that revealed the motive of their hearts: "Truly you aren't following me for the miracles I did, but because you got your bellies filled." These were the same people of v15, who after they were fed miraculously, wanted to take Him by force and make Him king. Can you imagine what would have happened if He told them He walked across the lake?
Jesus is the same today as He was then, and in the visitation He shared how it is situations like this where He will reveal their true motives to themselves, and then watch what they will do with it.
A modern version of John 6
A person in our church continually overdrew her bank account because she liked to shop, enjoy going out with friends and being able to keep pace with them as they were able to purchase items at will. She would ask me to agree with her in prayer for favor with the bank to drop some or all of the overdraft charges. When I suggested she curtail her shopping and live in a budget, she replied she loved buying things too much.
Some prayers were for favor with the bank. Others were "Lord give me more moeny." She even came up for prayer at Wednesday night services asking God to give her husband overtime to 'bless' their finances. That's correct, she was praying her husband would work more to support her shopping lust.
With each merchant who was forced to refuse to accept anything but cash from her, with each bank charge, with each argument she had with her husband over money, the Lord was revealing her true issue of the lust of other things - but she didn't want to deal with it. Instead of focusing on her lust and pride, she wanted a bigger budget and kept praying for that rather than looking at her heart.
She viewed each bank charge as an attack of the devil against their finances, and viewed the Lord as the adversary whom she had to convince to give her more money. At no time did she change her focus to ask how the Lord might be allowing her to reap what she had sown so she could deal with her lust of things.
Where is your focus?
In John 6 when Jesus revealed the motives of the people by saying they were following Him because of what He could do for them, He began a parable that was more difficult to understand than other parables. He told me because they would not deal with their motives directly He used another way to expose their focus and motive. He told them they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood because He is the true manna.
John 6:66-68 reveals that many who followed Jesus stopped following Him after His statement, their focus and motives exposed, they chose to back away from the difficult, back away from growth. Many did stay with Jesus however, because they were following Jesus with purity and no ulterior motives, not serving Him because of what He could do for them. When Jesus asked if they would leave too Peter replied: "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we know and are sure you are the Son of God!"
Peter didn't understand what was going on, but he chose growth in faith, not allowing confusion to move his focus away from Jesus. Remember, the night before these events Peter had walked on water, but had begun sinking when he got his eyes off Jesus and onto the wind and waves. He wasn't going to let anything get his eyes off Jesus this time. But I see I am out of room - more on this visitation next week.