Beyond the Cross

Friday morning I woke up early.  I got out of bed, grabbed a coffee and settled myself in my favorite chair in the chapel (my husband’s name for our study) and stuck the earphones of my iPod in my ears.  As I sipped my coffee, I studied a recent photo of my sons and I, sitting on a shelve on the wall.  It was taken at my youngest’s wedding and in the photo I am flanked by my boys, both of them leaning in to kiss me on my cheeks.  With a sense of deep gratitude and awe I meditated on the gift of our love for one another.  It was then that I felt Holy Spirit starting to speak to my heart, reminding me that Father is even more capable of loving me than I am of loving those young men and suddenly His love exploded in the room, into something almost tangible and awe-inspiring.

My gaze shifted to a large-than-life painting of Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns, hanging directly in front of me.  It was in this atmosphere of the Father’s love and acceptance, meditating on Jesus on the cross, that Holy Spirit started to speak and I grabbed my journal.  What I wrote that morning I want to share with you verbatim, unedited and unadulterated in a hope that I will not muddy the clean, fresh water of Holy Spirit for you.

Beyond the battered, bruised and bleeding Jesus, there is a Victorious King.  The cross was about shame, pain and humiliation – the place where Jesus took it all.  There was no glory in it.  It was on the other side of the Cross that the glory was manifested.  The glory of the Cross is not in the bruising, it is in what the bruising paid for.  Many people are still stuck at the cross and carry their own bruising as a badge of honor, making it their identity.  Jesus never did this!  He endured the cross so that He again could take up His rightful place in Heaven; take up residence at the Father’s right hand as Victor. You (the bride of Christ) are now seated in heavenly places – that is your rightful place, yet you glory in your suffering. There is a place beyond the suffering, prepared for those who are prepared to step beyond the cross and to those desperate to enter through the door opened by Jesus enduring the cross.

 Jesus gloried in the suffering – it was His way back into the throne room.  You indentify with His suffering in your suffering, as a way for yourself to also enter the throne room.  Jesus is no longer the suffering Bridegroom; He is the Victorious Bridegroom and He is returning for a victorious bride, not a suffering, bleeding and bruised reed.”

The next portion of what Holy Spirit shared with me came in the form of a prayer.  I prayed this as I wrote it, and I am praying it as I write it now.   Will you pray it with me?

Jesus, You are my Bridegroom, the Lover of my soul.  Forgive me for thinking and believing the lie that my wounds, my suffering, were glorious in any way.  Forgive me for not seeing that my unhealed wounds dishonor you – it says that that You are not able and that is a lie!  Now, because of my love for You, I repent of; and renounce, any wound, any pain, any suffering in my soul, my body and my spirit that testifies against Your ability to save me, to heal me and to transform me.  I confess, declare and decree that there is life beyond my cross, as there was for You, beyond Your cross.  Where You are Jesus, there I also want to be.  Thank you that Your blood cleanses me, so that I am able to enter into that place.  I realize the veil is there because I put it there.  You ripped the veil when Your flesh was ripped.  Now I ask that You will again rip my veil and take me beyond.”

 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).                                                                     Ephesians 2:6 (AMP)



Back on the bus!

I have recently read a statistic quoted by another pastor – more than 50% of Christians do not attend or belong to a church fellowship.  This alarmed me, but I will lie if I said I was surprised.

Therefore I want to share the following dream The Lord gave me in a dream, shortly after I returned from the Philippines.  In the dream I was at a camp and I was watching some people doing their dishes at a set of basins mounted on the wall, outside the kitchen.  Each person would only do their own, ignoring everything that did not belong to them personally.  They had an attitude of “every man for himself”.  It was then that I noticed a small trench in front of the kitchen door.  This trench was filled with the largest tarantulas I have ever seen…it was chilling, to say the least.  What was worse was that one had made its way up my leg and was now meandering up my arm.  I swiftly brushed that spider off my arm!

Then the scene changed.  It was time to go home, and people started filing onto a bus.  Some were very reluctant to get on that bus and had to be rounded up with a warning that they would be left behind if they did not get on the bus promptly. 

This dream is rich in symbolism and I feel called to share this more widely than what I usually do with prophetic dreams.  I was immediately reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:1 where Paul says: “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”  In these bodies we are merely camping out and we have an eternal home waiting for us, if we have received Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour. 

The kitchen speaks of the heart, intention, motive, plans, passion and ambition.  It’s the place where we “cook up” ideas and it is at the entrance of the heart, our innermost part, where a ditch is, filled with tarantulas.  The symbolism of tarantulas is evil, deception, false doctrine and as tarantulas are carnivorous spiders who hunt by building a silk-lined trap to ambush, it speaks of a trap in front of our hearts, a place of deception and temptation to fall for a lie.

The bus speaks of the church, the body of believers and in this case, is the vehicle for getting the “campers” safely home. 

So let me put it all together now.  We are but sojourners, camping out in tents and we are making our way home.  In the process we are in danger of deception.  In Matthew 24:24 we read “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”  If being saved protected us from deception there would be no need of this warning, would there?

The Lord is calling us to guard our hearts, to stay filled with Holy Spirit and we have to take responsibility for each other.  We cannot have the attitude of king Hezekiah (see 2 Kings 20 for the full story) that destruction for someone else is OK as long as we have peace in our own day.  We should take responsibility for doing our own “dishes” but we cannot neglect correcting and/or training each other for the sake of peace.

Not only this, but the way to get home safely is to get (and stay) on the bus.  For me this was hard to hear as I, like probably 90% of Christians who had been saved more than a week, can testify to church sometimes feeling very unsafe.  Being part of a family puts you in danger of getting hurt, abused, ill-treated and judged.  I am no different and as we are all broken people, coming to the Father’s house to be healed and purified (a messy business) I don’t know why we are so surprised when it happens.  The local church is and will always be the Father’s answer to the world’s problems.  We have been created for relationship and we operate far better in community.  It is the safeguard against deception and being on the “bus” is what will keep us safe and bring us home.  Being united with the body of Christ, working together in a single-minded purpose of fulfilling Jesus’ commission is what will command the blessing.

I have seen my fair share of power abuse, of gossiping and every other objection I hear from believers who have had their fingers burned.  I sympathize, but the fact remains that it grieves Father when we, His children, are not united in Christ.  May I implore you again, my hurt brother and sister, to try again, to find a fellowship that you can belong to where you go with the attitude of a servant, not for what you can get, but for what you can add.  You are needed!  The Lord bless you with His shalom.