The thing about angels is that they don’t ask permission to show up.
They interrupt everything, really.
They are so at home in what we would define as our space. It’s a bit unnerving. Irritating even. Encountering an angel is anything other than ordinary.
When I lived in Nebraska, I had a shed in my yard. One frigid, wintery day, I noticed a pot-bellied angel sitting on the roof of the shed. He was swinging his feet and kind of chuckling. I wasn’t prepared for it. I had no grid for it whatsoever. How ever was I to respond to a pot-bellied man perfectly at home on the roof of my shed? What a curiosity! I kept looking out there to see if he’d leave. In the natural realm I could see bits of snow falling off the roof of the shed but when I would glance again, he’d be there.
So many questions! Who was he, really? Was he really an angel? Why did he remind me of my Dad? Now, I’m in no way implying I was seeing my deceased father – It’s just that my Dad had a colossal pot-belly and well, here was this man. I didn’t fear for my shed roof, if that’s what you’re thinking. He was kind of there and yet not. And he laughed!
The resemblance of an angel to my Dad was ironic because at that point owning a home had become work. I was nearly gluing 100 dollar bills to the side of the house because it had become so costly to maintain. I was hiring a plow guy, shoveling walks myself, emptying gutters, working full-time and maintaining the house and yard. I was exhausted.
Somehow this angel made me forget my troubles for a minute, and just chuckle right along with him. The weight of the world may have been on my shoulders but he just nodded his head like he knew. It’s safe enough to say that a girl misses her Dad once he’s gone. No matter his failures, no matter that the years come and go. This angel’s comfort was undeniable. He kind of jiggled a bit. Certainly he wasn’t going to be one of those angels that made you fearful because he just didn’t have that going for him, sorry to say. And he certainly wasn’t going to take a hit for me in traffic. He wasn’t one of those.
He just sat there and chuckled. If I had seen cigar stubs out there I wouldn’t have missed a beat.
The supernatural doesn’t request your permission to exist or permeate the natural realm. It just does. The overriding feeling, for me, is that angels bring news from Home. Their presence ever and anon reminds us of Heaven, whether we believe or not. And that’s good news.
It’s intriguing isn’t it? We admonish one another to honor ‘Christ’ in Christmas but do we really honor all of the aspects of the Christmas story? Before you quickly agree let me remind you of a few details …
Did you ever notice how Mary came to bear the Christ Child? She encountered an angel who spoke to her with the authority of God and in the blink of an eye she was pregnant. And then there’s Joseph who wanted to send Mary away secretly, but instead encountered God in a dream. After he awakened he changed his plans and took Mary as his wife.
Did you ever notice that as we read these Scriptures aloud to one another, our voices rise and fall in all the right places as we describe how Mary was nearly divorced because God interrupted her quiet life. Really. She was just minding her own business. And then wham! She’s thinking about maternity clothes. There’s no telling the amount of fracas that Joseph caused by taking Mary as his wife. It just wasn’t done. But! Each of them had an experience that radically shaped their destiny. They yielded to the Godhead and trusted Him for the outcome. Were they close enough to share with one another the nature of their encounters?
“So, um, Joseph … I’ve been meaning to tell you that I ran into an angel sent from God the other day. Joseph, are you listening to me?”
“Mary. Uh, I’ve got to talk to you. I had this dream, you see…We’ve got to leave Bethlehem tonight and cross the border. I know the little guy is only ten days old. And I haven’t forgotten that we came here with you so close to giving birth … on a donkey. Really, I’m sorry about all this. It’s God again. We’ve got to go.”
Time and space won’t permit me to review all of the supernatural encounters which are associated with Jesus’ birth. Zacharias, Elizabeth, the shepherds, and the magi. Oddly enough, the wicked ruler Herod got his information through the enquiring magi, not through a dream.
I marvel that, in current times, we seem to have outgrown our ability to be led by dreams or supernatural moments with God. Why is that, I wonder? Are dreams just for wee children? I wonder what Zacharias would say? He was an old Jewish priest who encountered an angel in the temple, and became mute when he questioned the birth of his son so late in life.
Just on the cusp of a new year I would challenge you to a year full of faith-filled dreams and moments with God. Ask Him to speak with you, to lead you by dreams … with His thoughts, His words. A year of life led by God Himself. It’s risky, but so filled with wonder and awe. He has great ideas!
Picture a lake with a nice beach and a swimming area, with buoys that mark the drop-off. The drop-off is where it’s over 6 feet deep, so most people would not be able to stand and have their head above water. The marked-off swimming area is shallow and progressively deeper. Those who don’t know how to swim usually stay in this area. There is still some risk in the shallow area; a person can drown in a bowl of soup under the right conditions. But by and large, the swimmer is in control and there aren’t too many surprises.
Our walk with the Lord is like these two swimming areas. While many have been in the shallow area most of their spiritual lives, the Lord has been teaching fundamental things: obedience, His love, His discipline, His glory, His character, the need for Him. All incredibly important things. There have been prophetic words about destiny. There have been some supernatural experiences with His Love and the things of the Spirit. Life is still largely in the natural realm with increasing exposure to the supernatural. It’s possible that He’s given a prayer language; not necessarily.
The main characteristic about one’s readiness to head to the deep waters is the hunger. You want more.
The deep water really represents a departure from living life in the natural realm and stepping into life in the supernatural. When you begin to dabble with the idea of regularly living in the supernatural, you really have no idea what that means. All you are focused on is that you are hungry. Every exposure to the deeper life is priceless. Every prophetic word seems to pierce you and feel like there is a *now-ness* about it. You never dream that there could be lessons and growth areas that stand between you and life in the supernatural. Yet all that God has done in your life up until now has been in preparation for you to make some decisions. This is not about having Him as your Savior. That’s certain. This is not about Lordship, even. You can absolutely live life in the shallow end, and still have Him be Lord. This is about choosing to live a supernatural life, life in the Spirit, moment-by-moment.
Living a supernatural life, a life completely led by the Spirit, to interpret life through His lens, to heal and set free, to raise the dead, to bear incredible fruit … these things require aspects of the Supernatural that many of us have been exposed to but are uncertain about how to live this kind of life, day in and day out. Life in the Supernatural is a bit like leaving the house without undergarments. Most people simply wouldn’t leave the house without…at least without a high sense of awareness. You are completely dependent upon the Father for covering, because you are so given over to trusting Him, so given over to His purposes for your life that you are almost uncovered in the physical realm. It’s that raw.
In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul is speaking to the believers at Corinth and he is very transparent. He talks about the way in which he approached them, “not with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I was determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” This is someone who desperately wanted to carry the glory of God to this body of believers no matter what it cost him personally. He wanted the believers’ faith to rest “not on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God”. He talks about how the wisdom of God is wrapped in mystery, and that we learn life in the Supernatural only through the Holy Spirit, and only to the extent that we release our hold on our natural mind. In the event that we miss the point here, he reiterates it in Ephesians.
“…if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Eph 4:17-24
If I’ve kept a journal about my life, and I have for more years than I even know, with entries as often as I can. Something that surprises me when I look back through the weeks and months is the realization that I’ve not recorded major events, major decisions, etc. There’s simply no way I can record everything. I can only put words to paper, and even inspired words, cannot always capture everything about the essence of my LIFE. In the same way, this walking in the deep waters of the Spirit is about deciding to live LIFE in the Spirit, to not insist that it go the way that I think it should go, to not quarrel when it feels uncomfortable, to simply go back to the Father, in the quietness of my personal times with Him, and to wrestle through my questions there.
Everything about the Supernatural is foolishness to man’s way of thinking. There simply isn’t a line and verse for everything about life in the Spirit. It’s almost a guarantee that everything about going into the deeper things of the Spirit will go against everything you’ve assumed about God, and how this journey is supposed to go. Yet, you don’t have to go. The main thing that I want to convey is that this bit about choosing to live life in the Deep water of the Spirit is just that, a choice.
I offer what I know from my own experience. I’m still learning to swim in the deep. Sometimes I lose heart and slip back to the shallows but it’s not long until I’m out in the deep, learning to rest in the Father even though the water is over my head, and I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s 100% relational. In 1 Timothy, Paul called Timothy his “son” over and over. It’s completely about choices. You don’t have to do this but once you decide to pursue this kind of a life, you make commitments with people and they take you at your word and you stay with it. You have to find someone that can lead you into this lifestyle. It may not be in the circles in which you currently gather. You may have to search for someone with whom you have a connection, someone you can grow from. It might be in a house church but it may also be in the traditional church. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the Word of God to you, and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” They won’t come and find you. You must find them. Then you need to make a decision about their role in your life. There is nothing wrong with simply being friends. Or you can turn it into a learning relationship. Then you need to decide to respect their authority as a leader in your life and actually let them lead you. This might go on for a year or so, but there will come a time when you shift out of that relationship, by your choosing, and move into another growing relationship. Don’t run, though. That friend will stretch you, and you will be uncomfortable. But be intentional.
We have friends with whom we have been meeting as a house church, and they have modeled so many things about the supernatural lifestyle; they have modeled hearing from the Father, deliverance and freedom, healing prayer, prophetic blessings…so many things. Now we’re at a crossroads where each of us needs to make a decision about whether to go forward with Father into that deep supernatural lifestyle, or to stay in the shallow swim area. Both in Scripture, and in our own lives, we can see that the Lord frequently has us choose what it is we really want, and whom we will serve. You may decide that your current fellowship can’t take you there, or that you are not ready. But honestly? Find someone. Find a place where you are going to grow, and then be “all there”. Set your phones and computers aside. Maintain eye contact and really commit yourself to sharing your lives together.
Once this choice is made, to grow in the deep things of the Spirit, there will be more than one person who will influence you. But allow yourself to become committed to just one person for now. Grow with them. Be humble and become a Timothy to them. Timothy came along beside Paul and learned from him. He was not worried about his reputation. He actually encouraged Paul a great deal. And Paul recognized him as his son, and sent him to cities on his own, in his place. What an honor! I have done this many times in my life. I’ve recognized that a woman has a bit more maturity in the Spirit than I do, and built a relationship with her. I’ve taken the time to encourage her, to learn from her. I’ve cooked and cleaned many houses as a way of just spending time with another woman. This stuff is caught not taught.
I think of a baby bird sitting in its nest, demanding that the worm that is brought to him be just so juicy, about so long, and be brought to him on-time. Well, that’s a pretty safe place in the nest. We can be the very same way, insisting that the things of the Spirit be “just-so”, and that everything fits into my paradigm of how it should go. The Kingdom of God is truly an upside down kingdom. I guarantee that you will offend and be offended over many things until you begin to swim in the Deeps, trusting the Father.
Even if you don’t enter into a mentoring relationship with someone, please know that the way to really grow and bear fruit in life is to become connected with another person. The Bible demonstrates both mentoring relationships as well as covenant relationships. These are relationships where one person says, “I’m with you for the duration of the journey. I am committed to your success in your journey with the Father. I want to be there to encourage you, through thick and thin.” The world has nothing on this. It’s not something where you assume that they “feel close to you” and you “feel close to them”. Real community in the Spirit is verbalized by you, not by those who lead you … “We are in this together. I want to learn. I’m going to listen with an open heart. I’m not going to be like that baby bird making demands.”
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves