The Prelude

Over the past several months, I’ve paused from writing, taking time to reflect and reassess the purpose of this blog.  During this time of deep study, I’ve been gripped by what God has taught me . . . timely truth that could not be more crucial now.

This blog is a journey across a very real wilderness — the spiritual terrain of the unseen — in which many lose their way and give up hope, short of reaching their goal. There are laws and principles at work here, which we dare not ignore, because they determine whether our forward effort will succeed or fail.

As Lewis and Clark pressed across unknown territory to find a water route to the Pacific, they drew upon others whose familiarity with the land would help them find their way. We draw upon a record thousands of years old, left for us by prophets who’ve gone before us, helping us to map where we are and how to proceed as we navigate the challenge of obstacles and possibilities before us.

In all honesty, as summer began to unfold, I realized I’de lost my bearings. I didn’t know which line to take. So I waited on God, spreading out this partial map to re-evaluate the journey.

This blog is a three-dimensional map giving us intimate familiarity with the three-layered experience of every spiritual journey:

  • Understanding what God is saying to us,
  • Receiving His power into our circumstances, and
  • Fulfilling our destiny. 

So I am mapping each of these layers, showing how the same principles operate within each of these aspects of our walk with God. . . the purpose being that we realize God’s presence and power in our life.

By re-familiarizing myself with what I’de mapped so far, the Lord prepared me for what is to come.

Layer I : How We Understand What God is Saying to Us Now.

  • Understanding what God is saying to us day-by-day lays a foundation for everything to follow.
  • The premise:  a divine dialogue is taking place between God and all men in all times and places . . . a dialogue in which He uses happenstance and circumstance, the thoughts He thinks through us, Scripture and teaching to send us “words” that have the supernatural capacity to unfold in us as light and revelation.
  • By faith, which God creates in us, we are enabled to recognize and receive His words . . . assimilating them into ourselves, where they become the supernatural understanding of what God is saying to us.
  • This is not an intellectual activity, but receptivity to His Spirit and His word, which work the understanding in us.
  • What keeps us from hearing God is our resistance or unreceptively to the words coming to us. . . creating “ears that do not hear.”
  • The underlying premise — even for those who don’t understand what God is saying to them, but want to — is that no matter where we are, the word of God will come to find us to bring us from where we are to where we are meant-to-be

 

Part II: How We Receive God’s Power into Our Circumstances.

We are in the midst of mapping this layer now.

  • The same premise holds: a divine dialogue is at work in our life, coaching us forward in our relationship with God, leading us to more consistent obedience and deeper trust, transforming us internally.
  • In this layer we experience a new state-of-being, the new creation, endued with the power to walk on the face of the stormiest sea, beyond the reach of the wind and waves to bring us down.
  • We are what we are by grace abounding to us, BUT we have to assimilate this grace in order to experience His power at work in us.  Our inability to assimilate grace accounts for our “powerlessness” in trying moments.
  • The new creation is an exquisite, other-worldly nature enabling God to shine through . . . making His supernatural presence and power real in us.
  • This new nature is not achieved by our efforts to become a better person; it springs from such devotion to Him that we direct the whole of our life to Him.
  • What keeps us from receiving God’s power is our resistance to truth, due to the fear in our soul with its need for control. Fear cancels faith, shutting down our ability to assimilate grace, eclipsing His nature in us.
  • But the premise holds — no matter where we are, the word of God will come to find us, to bring us from where we are to where we are meant-to-be.

 

Part III: How We Fulfill our Destiny. 

I am eager to get to this layer, but must first finish mapping the principles of how we receive God’s power. No one fulfills his destiny without God’s power full in him.

  • The same premise holds: the divine dialogue is present in every man’s life guiding, training, and preparing him for God’s purpose in his life.
  • The question is: do we automatically fulfill our destiny? Or is there an interaction with God’s purpose in which we determine how fully what was meant-to-be comes to be?
  • The record tells us that God’s ultimate purpose cannot be thwarted, but do we have a part in determining whether the goodness of what He has willed is or is not accomplished in our own life?
  • Is it possible for us to reject His word, His grace, and His purpose so that we sabotage the glory of what might have been, and it fails to be realized in our life? The Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves. (Luke 7:30)

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It’s timely that I return to this blog, as serious gusts are rising, the scent of a storm is in the air, and we’ve water to cross. . . with wind and waves that are going to test us.

  • Are we going to be able to assimilate His words so that we understand how God is directing us now?
  • Are we going to be able to assimilate His grace so that we walk in a state-of-being so empowered by God that we walk above the turmoil unafraid?
  • Are we going to be so aligned with God’s purpose — even in calamity — that the glory of what is meant-to-be will be realized in us?

Years ago God revealed my work to me, His calling on my life . . . He told me that I was to help prepare a people who understand what God is saying to them.

As I return to this work . . . I am very certain that we are entering into a time when believers are being prepared for an epic breakthrough. In my own life and in those around me, who are serious about their walk with the Lord, I sense preparation. Like athletes preparing for an approaching tournament in which they will face their toughest competition for the highest prize, we find ourselves being coached strongly that this is the time when we need to be focused, disciplined and diligent in what makes us strong.

I call this time of preparation, THE PRELUDE.

Prior to every spiritual breakthrough, a time of intense pressure and adversity is designed to move us from where we have been to where we are meant-to-be.

Israel was reduced to making bricks without straw, Joseph was thrown into prison in Egypt, Herod descended on Bethlehem to destroy every male child under two years old, Jesus died on the cross, the apostles were martyred . . . THE PRELUDE is a time when it seems like God’s promises are failing . . . but adversity is bringing forth a people who know their God and have understanding, whose lives give glorious witness to the presence and power of God in their generation.

In the stresses and strains already upon us, be diligent, focus, be understanding. Deal with what is keeping you from assimilating His words and His grace, so that you can align with His purpose.  It has never been more crucial to do this.  If you do, you will leave a legacy — not of shame, despair and unbelieving faithlessness — but of faith having flown gloriously true.

6-- repentance

The prelude is the gulf of our transcendence.  It is the pressure that turns coal into diamonds. It is that final bit of darkness just before we burst through to the other side. It is the necessary rigor that precedes every breakthrough.

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  1. Jean Young says:

    I am so thankful you have resumed your blog and that God has faithfully given you a renewed direction and focus as you press on. As we pray for you, pray for us that our hearts and minds are prepared to receive; that the Word takes root, and our lives can bear fruit for His glory. Small steps of obedience will eventually traverse big mountains!

    I love you friend.
    Jean

  2. Seth Barnes says:

    Good to see you back, Valerie. Your readers missed you.

    So, if there are 3 layers to the spiritual journey:
    Understanding what God is saying to us,
    Receiving His power into our circumstances, and
    Fulfilling our destiny.
    I’m wondering about the place of identity in all this. I’ve observed that so often God’s children get hung up on the purpose-driven life, listening intently to his voice in that regard, but overlooking what he’s saying about who they are to him, independent of their purpose.

    As you’ve been pressing into these issues, where does this aspect of relationship with him fit?

    • valerie says:

      Ahhhh, Seth! You cut right to the chase, posing a question I suspect you’ve wrestled with yourself, pressing me to answer for myself . . . a good question, solid and grounded that draws wine out of me.

      Have I ever understood His speaking, without believing Him? No!

      Have I ever tasted a moment of molten glory, when I knew that I was being infused by His power, without having first utterly surrendered to Him, in utter devotion? No.

      And is it even remotely possible to become aligned in purpose with Him, to fulfill His dreams, without my heart having been made like His? I think not.

      What part does relationship with Him play in these three layers? Everything. From believing Him, to loving Him with unhindered devotion, to becoming like Him — all of it is entirely relationship — ever deepening.

      And relationship, if it is real, if there is intimacy, is into-me-see . . . both ways. There is light into Him, there is light into me. As the capable Beloved, He not only reveals Himself, but He also discloses me to myself . . . both the shoddy corruption desperately needing transformation and the breathtakingly real I did not know I possessed. In the inexorable deepening of knowing Him and being known by Him, everything finds its fulfillment and its place.

      Anything less rings like tin. The purpose-driven life is an empty ache of ultimately futile effort if the passion between you is missing.

      Seth, I was lying in bed, mulling over your question in the darkness, when the answer welled up in me, driving me downstairs to answer you with intense joy at my own discovery. Thank you.

      • Seth Barnes says:

        Valerie,

        I just now read this response. Don’t you love it when, even as we’re searching to better understand how God speaks, in that process, God speaks? It’s a double underscore answer to the question we posed!

  3. Duhi Schneider says:

    Valerie!
    So grateful to read this today! I like your three points to the Prelude to our breakthrough.
    These points particularly spoke to me:
    “By faith, which God creates in us, we are enabled to recognize and receive His words”
    “Fear cancels faith, shutting down our ability to assimilate grace, eclipsing His nature in us.”
    “The divine dialogue is present in every man’s life guiding, training, and preparing him for God’s purpose in his life.”

    Thank you for sharing!
    Love, Duhi

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