The Presence of Jesus

When we realize that our thought today shapes our circumstances tomorrow, and our act today will come back to us in kind, we are far more careful about what we think and what we do.

Meditation Thought: “And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:62-64)

Though relatively few would see Jesus in the flesh after this trial and His crucifixion, many would perceive His place as being in authority by His proximity to God the Father, and would perceive Jesus’ coming by the means of the Holy Spirit – not a visible body manifestation of Jesus, but an inner knowledge of His Presence.

And it would transform them, for the truth of Jesus’ teachings concerning eternal life would be demonstrated. To perceive that what we are – and what we do – is not limited to our physical existence, but, both here in the time span of our physical manifestation, and later, in another manifestation, is to accept a new standard of thinking and behavior.

When we realize that our thought today shapes our circumstances tomorrow, and our act today will come back to us in kind, we are far more careful about what we think and what we do. This can be a great burden – if we resent this truth. Or it can be a great joy – if we “see” Jesus with our “mind’s eye” coming int our lives “on clouds of glory” – bringing the atmosphere of heaven into the physical realm, while bringing us His Presence to abide with us – and His Presence makes all the difference for us as we cope with life in the flesh, learning how to better cope with life in other realms.

We have all we need to go undefeated by any circumstance; we are protected from ultimate harm; we have an awareness of beauty, harmony and order; we have strength and joy and appreciation of all of life: external, internal and eternal.

The Presence of Jesus gives us courage, hope, and confidence far beyond that which we have without His Presence. Others may not see Him as our constant companion – nevertheless, they will see the results of His companionship. They will respond to the results. In this manner, do we have a transformed life: we are “new creatures” in Christ.

The Father’s Kingdom Revealed

It would seem that upon His act of proving life beyond the flesh, He also revealed the “place” of His Father’s kingdom…

Meditation Thought: “I shall not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)

The “next time” Jesus ate (and presumably drank) with His disciples was after His death and resurrection. This would indicate that He considered His “Father’s kingdom” where He and the disciples were eating together – which was in Galilee, which was in the world, where the disciples were – where Jesus had requested they meet Him.

It would seem that upon His act of proving life beyond the flesh, He also revealed the “place” of His Father’s kingdom: the place being wherever the resurrected Christ meets a believer. Or perhaps, more accurately, the place where a believer meets the resurrected Christ, as he proceeds according to directions given to him by Christ.

The directions for us are “spelled out” in His direction to His original disciples. His teachings concerning God and God’s kingdom were intended for all: this was His very purpose of birth and death and resurrection in the flesh.

As was true of the disciples, we can be with Him only by joining Him – and He is in the Father’s kingdom. This is where we shall find Him: not in a church building, nor in another’s faith – but in our own inner spirit and mind, with a contrite and searching heart. Only when we begin to grasp the awesomeness – and the power – of the resurrection can we have the courage and fortitude to find the kingdom where we can meet our Lord, and allow Him to teach us about our Father and our Father’s kingdom.

This kingdom is so unlike our physical environment that it takes adjustments in many areas to even begin to comprehend it. It is more like traveling to a new planet than a new country. Not only is there a difference of language (consider how many ways Jesus attempted to describe what the kingdom is like – there seemed to be no adequate words in our language to reveal it accurately) – but a difference of cultural values, of perception of priorities, and a totally new environment, requiring a different style of living in every area.

No wonder it takes us a long time to have even a remote conception of what we are encountering in this kingdom where we meet Him!

It is made even more difficult to stay with Him as the world attempts to get us to remain focused upon it, and remain concerned only with the physical and with the self-interest aspects of life. Only by conscious, consistent effort are we able to stay focused on Christ and thus remain in His Presence in the kingdom.

We simply do not have the stamina to do this alone: we must admit we do not have that much power within ourselves, and ask Him to hold us close, and lend us His strength to do all that we need to do as the Father’s children – obedient and reflective of Him in character and in deeds. This is the only way that it is possible to be with Jesus in the Father’s kingdom.

In one respect, it costs us dearly – our pride must be paid as ransom – but in another respect it is free – Jesus has paid the ransom for our sin of rebellion against the Father.

When we are able to be willing to pay the pride and to accept the gift, we have found the key to unlock the gate to the Father’s kingdom. April 26, 1983

Keeper of the Kingdom

The kingdom is administered differently than the world is administered.

Meditation Thought: “Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me… Truly I say to you, as you did it to the one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'” (Matthew 25: 34-36, 40)

Your Father desires that you, as His child, inherit His kingdom. But you must be responsible before He can entrust it to you, knowing that you will be competent to deal with the inheritance, using it as He he has used it, or more properly as has administered it.

The kingdom is administered differently than the world is administered.

The ‘keeper of the kingdom’ must be, as is the Father, loving, gracious, forgiving, righteous, helpful, compassionate, zealous, energetic, orderly, competent, kind, perceptive, wise, knowledgeable, powerful.

How can you be such a ‘keeper’ – particularly as you have the ways of the world beckoning you to follow them? – the ways of selfishness, greed, self-seeking, slothfulness, deceit, slander, ruthlessness?

Only by disciplining yourself to know the Word (which is the law of the kingdom)) and to emulate your Father from whom you inherit, doing His works as He instructs you and reveals His ways to you, can you be entrusted to be a ‘keeper of the kingdom”: an heir.

The Son has clearly demonstrated the type of heir that is pleasing to the Father, the methods to be used in being a keeper of the kingdom while at the same time being in the flesh. While in the flesh, you are to be a keeper of the kingdom precisely as you will be behaving when you leave the flesh.

The physical manifestation is the training which you will need, and the development of your skills needed to administer the kingdom in the realm other than physical. You are to become skillful at using many talents in such a way as to multiply them, bringing joy not only to your “master” who entrusted them to you, but to those whom He benefits with them including yourself.

A Future of Good Return

…the present determines the character of the future.

Meditation Thought: “…if the householder had known in which part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and not let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:43,44)

You must anticipate the future, realizing that the present determines the character of the future. This will give you strength to conduct yourself as you ought, even when the required behavior is not to your liking at the moment. Not all moments will be “sacrificial” moments – in fact, as you come to rejoice in the perceiving and doing of the will of the Father, more and more activities will be joyful, and fewer and fewer perceived as sacrificial. It is this change in perception that is the moving of the kingdom upon the earth. It comes only by discipline and sacrifice of selfish desires – but the rewards of the discipline and sacrifice are as bountiful as the promised “hundred fold” harvest. It is this knowledge which gives you courage to labor for the moment, particularly when the labor is not to your liking.

The times of reaping the harvest – the unfathomable joy of actually having the promised return, will be carried in your memory as your tools to make the labor easier during the “tilling” times.

The more you experience in planting, tilling and harvesting – whatever area (field) it is in, the greater your wisdom and knowledge is to prompt a bountiful harvest.

This is consistent with the rewards of using whatever “talents” are provided int the most productive ways possible, and also the more provided, the more required. Each portion is either multiplied or not, and the more portions the more dramatic the contrast of results. The “Son of man coming at an hour you do not expect” compares to the owner of the fields checking out the status of your care of them. You cannot “set up” a good appearance for the “inspection” because you have no notice of the inspection time. Therefore, care must be constant and inspection will always reveal good care of the field because good care never ceases, when the laborer is as concerned about the harvest as the owner.

IT is the laborer who realizes that the owner will share the harvest with him who is able to be motivated to do a good job. If he is lazy he eventually cheats himself. It is those who will remove concentration from self alone who will know this, and thus use the present to provide a future of good return for themselves.

Peace in all Circumstances

All who work with you are to be your beloved. They are my beloved – and therefore they are your family: Your beloved also.

Meditation Thought: “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matthew 20:15)

In this passage is a lesson: it is the times when you judge actions which are not directly your concerns that cause you separation from the relationship which we should have. At times you reap what you sow – and at times, I bestow by grace a more generous harvest than could be expected from your actions. It is not for you to judge the times when you observe this reaping what they did not sow: you, too, have your times of knowing that you are undeservedly blessed by receiving reward which is more generous than you have earned.

I seek to refine attitudes, and it is a gracious, tolerant, isn’t-that-great-this-good-thing-happened-to-my-brother attitude which I seek to have you develop: not “why should he reap such reward when I worked harder for the same reward”. This attitude restricts your knowledge of truth and the workings of the kingdom. If you realize that the one who receives so generously is your beloved, then you are not resentful, but grateful for his good fortune. This is the lesson: All who work with you are to be your beloved. They are my beloved – and therefore they are your family: Your beloved also.

If you think about this revelation; if you seek to accept it totally with your mind, your emotions and your actions, your life will be transformed – everywhere you observe generosity, whether to you, or to another, you will rejoice and not resent.

You move from a mind-set of what you have received in relation to what another receives, to the mind-set of being content with what you receive, and being content with what another receives.

This is “being content in all circumstances”: it moves beyond being content in a vacuum to being content in the confusion of the world; it moves beyond the ability to think of the good for self to think of the good for another. It moves beyond the animal-instinct of self-preservation to the higher calling of sacrificial love.

The whole of Jesus’ life is the witness to the truth. It is the revelation of the joy of moving from self-love to total love of all of creation: to desiring good for another, no matter what is happening to you at that moment.

This is the highest expression of love. It is laying down your life for another – the releasing of your ego-centered focus to another-centered focus. This is being true to your inheritance as being made in the image of the Father – and choosing to live in such a way that no one can doubt you are of the Father: the Father perceives, the Son perceives, the Spirit perceives, you perceive, and your fellow creatures perceive – yes, all heaven and earth perceives that you are your Father’s child, not merely in fact, but in reflection of His Character, in reflection of His code of conduct, in reflection of His works and most of all, in reflection of His love.

Could anything in heaven or in earth bring more joy than this – to the Father, to the Son, to the Spirit, to you, or your fellow creatures?

Response: No, Lord – nothing could bring more joy than my reflecting You in every area. I desire to do this. Please enable me to do this.

I have faith – which You gave to me.

I have intelligence – which You gave to me.

I have energy – which You gave to me.

I have emotions – which You gave to me.

I have a body – which You gave to me.

I have a spirit – which You gave to me.

I have a world in which to use what You have given me.

I have a kingdom in which you teach me.

But, with all of these still I cannot reflect you in every area: only by your generosity of spirit, of your generosity of power, of your generosity of wisdom and knowledge of your generosity of circumstances fortuitous will I be able to reflect You in every area.

I seek Your generosity – and in acknowledging that I need more from You than I have earned, I acknowledge that it is Your right and privilege and good pleasure to give generously to any, and I have no right to judge You or judge another or to judge circumstances.

You have offered me salvation and the kingdom on earth in return for my commitment to love you and work for you. I accept this arrangement, and I quarrel not with whatever You arrange with others. In this is my peace in all circumstances.

Hallelujah!

An Open Door

Ask, seek, knock: you will learn, you will find, you will have the barrier removed – the door opened – to the kingdom.

Meditation Thought: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

Your physical existence and your physical environment are your artistic tools with which to express your physical life.

You have understood rightly the spiritual affecting the physical – but you have not understood that your choice of living out the physical is reflected directly into the spiritual and eternal.

Though the spiritual precedes the physical, once both exist, the one affects the other.

You have not perceived that the physical is as necessary as it actually is. If you get enthused about expressing yourself through the physical as an act which looses and binds in the spiritual, you will accomplish more visible results in your life.

You like to contemplate and dream – fine. But do not overuse time in this manner.

To use energy to improve physical manifestations is not an inferior occupation: it is merely another expression of your life to complement the intellectual and spiritual aspects.

Therefore, when through circumstances and the prompting of he Spirit you are led to be aware of physical needs or desirable physical deeds – do them – gladly, enthusiastically, competently. The quality of performance is reflected in the spiritual realm as surely as the quality of your spiritual life is reflected in your physical life.

You must be as willing to express one as the other, depending upon the requirements of the moment.

The “keys of the kingdom” are the principles upon which creation – in my image, as pure and holy, as creative and lovely, as peace and harmony, as wholeness and unity – is based.

Wherever you bring filth onto being purified, sacrilege into holiness, inertia into creativity, ugliness into loveliness, strife into peace, discord into harmony, fragmentation into wholeness, and friction into unity, you are using the keys of the kingdom to open it wide, to bring the fragmentation – the separation – of spiritual and physical into unity. You combine the kingdom and the earth, as the original combination was conceived and came into existence. You return to the innocence and purity of life without sin. This is the reflection of the Father; this is the imitation of the Son; this is life as it was intended to be: by choice, not by demand.

You do not understand much of what exists, either physically or spiritually, but you do know that there are expressions in both areas, you do know that you are capable – intended, to be fully expressed in both.

Ask, seek, knock: you will learn, you will find, you will have the barrier removed – the door opened – to the kingdom.

You have asked where the keys may be found, you have sought them – and you have found them – in the Word, in the Spirit and in the physical.

Now walk through the open door, as you insert the keys and turn them through the measure of faith I have given you being used: in the spiritual through worship and prayer – in the physical through constant proper use and improvement.

Truly, what you bind and loose on earth shall be bound and loosed in heaven.

In the binding and the loosing shall be the creation of a “new heaven and a new earth” – fitting together, enhancing one another, becoming a whole out of fragmentation.

Hidden Treasure

You cannot find hidden treasure unless you make effort to dig – until you till the field which is your responsibility.

Meditation Thought: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44)

You cannot find hidden treasure unless you make effort to dig – until you till the field which is your responsibility.

If you are lazy, allowing the field to lie untended, you never find the hidden treasure.

There is treasure in every person’s field – if they work the ground, doing the job assigned them, they shall find it. And once they find it, their life shall be transformed. They were poor – and now are rich. They were ordinary – and now are extraordinary. They can have a complete change of lifestyle.

They can choose to use the treasure to enhance their life and other lives, or they can leave it lie, hoarded, but making no more difference than before finding it. This is what happens when God is perceived, but not obeyed, when the Spirit whispers, but is ignored, when Jesus is known historically but not experientially.

You have found treasure in your field. And you shall have it grow and grow the more you put it to use, particularly to aid others. When discipline is difficult, when emotionally you are sad, when circumstances seem discouraging – those are the times to work diligently, knowing that the day will come that is the interest-bearing time of the treasure: you will see visible results of investing your treasure to help others; you benefit, as have they.

This works in the material realm – believe that is works in the spiritual realm. Your joy shall be great if you believe and if you act upon that belief.