September 23, 2018
I am personally in a season of The Lord showing me what is in my heart. I am coming out of a season where He has redeemed my mind. The chains are already broken in everything but there is a process to walk out of and away from the prison.
Acts 12:5-10 – Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” 9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
There is so much treasure to be found in just that passage alone. The focus is the process of Peter coming out of the chains. It was after the angel gave the command of “arise quickly” that the chains fell off meaning Peter himself did not break the chains. He was, however, obedient to the servant of the Lord. Then the angel gave other orders (which Peter did) the last being “Put on your garment and follow me”. Peter was half asleep doing these things but He did them regardless and in the order the angel spoke. Look at Peter’s response once he understood what was happening:
Acts 12:11-12 – And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”
Not only did Peter recognize the Lord’s hand in this but he also realized he was free from the prison of the enemy AND the expectations of the people. Before Peter “had come to himself” the iron gate that leads to the city opened to him and the angel of it’s own accord. I have not yet embarked on a deep study of the gates of the Bible. It will be in the works at some point in time. Today, as Sukkot approaches in a few hours from me writing this, I wish to focus on entering gates.
Psalm 24:7-10 – Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah
Psalm 100 – Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
John 10:7-10 – Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
(By way of the Sheep Gate)
In most circles I have been in, the Old Testament is a “foreshadowing” (only in quotes because this is what I have been taught for the moment) of New Testament events. Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him. We can’t do that until we have decided (even if we are ‘asleep’ while we are doing it) to open our door to Him. Where is this door?
Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Most of us believers understand this to be our hearts.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
The LORD is the One Who does all these things once we give ourselves to Him to do so. That looks different to everyone. What He has given us, we are required to seek Him and ask to gain understanding.
Proverbs 24:3-4 – Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; 4 By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.
God is in the business of building which is why Jesus is The Carpenter.
John 14:1-4 – “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Back to the original focus of this message. There are processes we must go through to get to each new level just as God Almighty laid it out for the Israelites in the Old Testament and just as Jesus walked it out to fulfill all things. Jesus is our example and we cannot begin to see what the Father is doing until we first come to a deeper understanding of the Holy One and see exactly what He did, is doing, and will do. None of this means when our physical life has expired. If we believe He was, is, and is to come then why do we believe everything is for tomorrow or any time past the point of today?
Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
As we begin to see what Jesus has done then we are able to follow that in our own lives. How was it that Jesus was able to hang out with what society considered the worst of the worst or the misfits of that time? Because He was lowly in heart. He was able to enter into the “gates” because of His unconditional love for them/us.
I mentioned I am coming from a season where He, the Lord, has redeemed my mind. Though it was done millennia ago, there was a process that needed to occur. Through the steps, trials, tribulations, heartaches, heartbreaks, confusion, growth, and constant communion with Him through Holy Spirit (even if it was off and on), I NOW fully have faith that it is finished but I understand that more processes need to occur to surrender more of myself.
Matthew 15:21-28 – Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” 23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Our faith is a catalyst. What I am beginning to see is that as we are walking out of previous chains that have been broken, the Lord shows us that others need to be broken in our lives. The breaking of the chains comes through our prayers and praises to Him. The sacrifice for us is giving up those things that hinder us from our full freedom. Again, it is a process. For everyone of us the manifestation may look different than another but the result is the same; absolute freedom due to our absolute surrender. We CANNOT do this of ourselves. As He was redeeming/renewing my mind, He was having me surrender my heart to Him. I am in a process of walking it out. It is very new because I am clawing my way out of the pit which I was in due to shutting up my heart completely. I do not fully trust people but there are some I do trust as much as I am currently able to. My heart has been crushed, trampled on, and forgotten in the gutter even by me because I allowed others to do so. The first thing I had to give to God in the full journey thus far was my mind. We have been working on that since I can remember and I believe He has been working on that longer than that. I almost allowed it to happen again in recent weeks since I discovered the breakthrough and wanted to immediately shut down because I am doing what I believe He is calling me to do. The doubt started to overtake the joy and excitement. Because of others around me whom He placed in my life for this exact season, I say no no no.
It is what is in our hearts that the Lord sees. Everything else is a manifestation of that. God has been doing and continues to do a major shaking. He does it first at home then it vibrates throughout. If He works through our hearts, and it is the first door, how much more are we to work through our hearts with wisdom. I often speak out of my emotions (abundance of the heart). He is redeeming that in me in this season. He is also beginning to show me others’ hearts on a conscious level so I can learn how to guard my heart against those that would try, remain, or continue to have me keep my mouth shut as well as who He has chosen for me to learn from in this season. “Enter His Gates with thanksgiving”. If I cannot be thankful for something that I encountered with someone (including those things that are super painful and heart wrenching), that means I will have a hard time loving my “neighbor”.
“Love your neighbor as yourself…” implies loving yourself first. I am finally at a point where I don’t have to convince myself by talking to myself and crying on a frequent basis repeating, “I’m not a bad person, I’m not a bad person…” or all the other things I allowed myself to believe about myself. The process of opening my heart is in His hands because I know He loves me unconditionally and EVERY single promise of the Bible is part of my inheritance. I have to follow in the footsteps of Jesus first. “Enter His Gates with thanksgiving…” means a humble and meek heart but it does not mean allowing others to take advantage of you or your gifts. It also means not allowing yourself or others to deny what you know of the Lord that He has personally revealed to you; meaning the “are you sure?” question. We all have steps to climb. We all have obstacles to overcome. It’s easier to do when we can see how it has already been done.
I may be messy and I may not do it exactly how it’s supposed to be done at first but all things are committed to and made through the Lord. It is He that gives us our portion for each season. As I walk this out I am also learning about forgiveness, mercy, grace, and compassion for myself and for those that may attack me either knowingly or unknowingly past, present, and future. I am not the only one.
Things are changing in the atmosphere. It is time to work on opening our eyes (not just in the natural). We’ve been asking for years (open the eyes of my heart, Lord). Have we stopped to listen and look around to see if He is answering? Enter His Gates with thanksgiving. Most times this involves much more than just our words. I’m allowing His grace, mercy, and love to fill me and cover me. I can finally say that “I love Him and myself because I know and BELIEVE He loves me unconditionally. I’m just walking it out.
Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”