Friends and intercessors, you have not labored in vain. Rebekah and I were received with open arms on Father’s Day at Grace Fellowship in Los Lunas, New Mexico. It was the first time in many years that I was invited to speak to a congregation of believers. Christ in me was not muzzled. It was the first time in many years that I was given boundless freedom to speak my heart and do those unusual things prompted by the Holy Ghost. It was not a time of revival. It was a time of “surprisal.” It was “Fresh Bread” from the oven of God’s warm heart. It was a bottle of champagne that had never before been opened. It was fun; it was new; it was unrehearsed; it was wonderful! Before stepping to the microphone I removed my shoes. I was standing on holy ground and there were angels all around.
God bless all of you who have labored in the spirit with much groaning. You paved the way with your prayers of intercession. I was given that perfect liberty to speak those things which give abundant life, liberty to the captives, joy to those who mourn, and hope to those who are hopeless. When it was all over, I was poured out, yet exceedingly happy. The gift of “Life” within me was received with much thanksgiving. It was indeed the fullness of time for me and for those who received this exuberant “Life.” And now that I have whetted your appetite, let me share a few of those unusual details, which made the service and trip to Los Lunas different from any other.
It was many years ago that God placed on the heart of one of His handmaidens from Los Lunas the desire to bring others to the Upper Room. It is a prophet’s chamber—and much more—in the home of Peter & Rebekah. It is there that this handmaiden of the Lord has had many encounters with the loving and living presence of Jesus as she sat at His feet. In a letter dated October 20th, l996, this handmaiden wrote to us in part, “I know that your lives and mine are intimately woven together for the glory of God. I know that I am to take others to your precious Upper Room. I know I am to obey Him as I hear Him say ever so gently, ‘Bring others to sit at My feet, and I will make them Marys.’”
Over the years this handmaiden has brought many from Los Lunas and Grace Fellowship to the feet of Jesus who was waiting for them in the Upper Room. All who came left with a great sense of awe and a deeper relationship with Jesus, the King of all kings. Some described their time as a spiritual honeymoon. At times guests entered into His presence quickly. At other times a snowstorm would delay their departure because it took longer to usher them into His presence. Rebekah and I expected every person who came to receive a very personal touch from Jesus. And they did and they do! Because of the many changed lives, the pastor of Grace Fellowship invited us to come and speak to the church on Father’s Day. With much joy we accepted his invitation.
Last year we gathered at the home of Phil and Mary Viola Blythe in Los Lunas, together with those who had been in the Upper Room. It was much like a family reunion—our first. This year was our second reunion—a much larger one. All those who could come, including spouses, were invited. Oh, what a time of fellowship we had on Friday evening, June 15th! We first gathered on the patio under some giant cottonwood trees. After it got too cold outside and mosquitoes were beginning to sample our blood, we continued our time of sharing in the Blythes’ family room with song, prayer, and sharing of hearts. My own heart was filled and spilled out.
My heart’s desire was to bring everyone into the fullness of the stature of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:13). I had pondered for many years what it meant to know and live in that fullness. I was shown that the Lamb of God and the Lion of the tribe of Judah (that is one of the names for Jesus, the Messiah) were to live side by side in my heart. And one day with much trembling, I invited the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5) just as I had invited the Lamb of God that took away my sins (John 1:29). Oh yes, I did argue with Jesus for a while. I was afraid to invite His lion nature into my fearful, cowardly heart. I said, “But Lord, it’s not my personality to act like and be that lion.” He countered with these words, “Peter, I know it’s not your personality,” as He reminded me of the night the apostle Peter had denied Him; “but I want you to have My personality.” End of argument! I have been entering into His fullness one trembling step at a time ever since. And I will probably continue to tremble as Jesus enlarges my heart to contain more of Him, both the Lamb of God and the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
And then we had this most unusual communion. We had brought along two kinds of cookies. We did not know if and when we were to offer them to our friends. One group of cookies had the word “Lamb” written on them with white frosting. The second group had the word “Lion” written on them with red frosting. After explaining the fullness of the Son of God as it had been explained to me, we offered either or both kinds of cookies to those who were ready to take that bold and courageous step of making room for the Lion of the tribe of Judah. All I can say is, it’s a good thing we brought a lot more Lion cookies than Lamb cookies. You might say at this point, “Well, you have done a convincing job for taking ‘cookie communion’; but ‘carrot communion’ makes us wonder if you haven’t gone over the edge.” Some people do believe I have gone over the edge. One person volunteered that they would like to go over the edge with us.
Let me try to explain what I mean by ‘carrot communion’ and why all of us need to take it at least once during a lifetime. The seed for the idea was planted some 17 years ago. Rebekah and I were on our way to Aspen, Colorado, to share Jesus at one of the most beautiful churches in Aspen. It was a six-hour trip from our home in Pagosa Springs. We had been traveling about two hours when I blurted out to Rebekah, “Won’t it be fun when we get there?” She replied, “What’s wrong with right now?” That was the end of the dialogue. “What’s wrong with right now?” has stuck in my mind like Super Glue. All my life I had been chasing rainbows. All my life I had been chasing after those proverbial carrots that kept dangling in front of my nose but kept eluding me. I never learned to appreciate and apprehend the joy and merit of the moment. I always expected good things to happen tomorrow or later, but never today, never NOW! I was a restless, driven man.
But since that day in the spring of 1984 I have determined to eat those proverbial carrots instead of chasing them. A lifelong pattern needed to be broken. It did not happen all at once. Old patterns are broken day by day, usually one pattern at a time. Jesus is yesterday, NOW, and also tomorrow. Life is good today even though it may be hard today. I do not have to wait until the kids are out of diapers or school, or until I retire. In fact, I don’t ever plan to retire. Each day is now a good gift and a new gift from God. And I have determined that every day that is a repetition of yesterday is a big waste.
To the very best of my ability I explained to the guests that the fullness of Jesus is to be apprehended now, at this very moment. It was up to each of them to apprehend that fullness for themselves. Nobody should try or could do it for them. Taking a bite of a carrot in the presence of witnesses was to be their way of saying “Amen” to my words and thereby make them a part of their lives. That evening many apprehended the promise of God’s fullness. The full stature of the Son of God is intended for all of us. It is for today. When Father-God looks down upon His children, His joy will only be complete when all of us look like His Son. On the day that happens, it will truly be the Father’s Day.
As the evening drew to a close, most of the cookies were gone and so was the carrot. One of the guests offered to bake more lion cookies for the Sunday services.
The following day, Saturday, the elders of Grace Fellowship came to the Blythes’ home. We spent most of the day sharing creative new ways of being fishers of men and better warriors for the Lord. Everyone had a chance to share his fish stories and war stories. We learned a lot from each other. In the morning, the elders and I shared our hearts. The wives brought lunch and joined us during the afternoon. We could be totally intimate, totally real with one another. Should I be invited to speak at another fellowship, I do not want to be denied the joy of first becoming intimate with the leadership of the congregation.
Sunday, Father’s Day, was the big day. I had been invited to speak at both services. The whole script was prepared in heaven and was not handed to me until I stepped to the pulpit. I tremble with joy and thanksgiving as I write about these joyful and holy events. During both services, I saw a number of people weep throughout the service. That always deeply touches me because it lets me know that the Holy Spirit is visiting hearts. I believe a number of people were set free from the need of taking medication to balance their mood swings or to placate a variety of unruly thoughts and emotions. I was prompted to share how I had battled for my sanity for many years and how the powerful name of Jesus got me through without the use of medication. I spoke about the delusions of grandeur I had entertained and how God showed me that Jesus was and still is the Deliverer and I was to be His delivery boy. For many years I thought I was the warrior on the white stallion. My handmaiden Rebekah helped me climb down from the white stallion so that Jesus could be the rider. She keeps reminding me whenever necessary that Jesus is the rider and that I am to be His well-trained war-horse. At other times she may remind me that I am His clay pot, He is the farmer, and the Holy Spirit is the Life that flows through me to others.
We had placed the Lamb of God cookies and the Lion of the tribe of Judah cookies on the communion table at the church, together with a cuddly lamb and a strong brass lion. When the invitation was given for people to invite the Lamb of God and/or the Lion of the tribe of Judah into their hearts, many came forward to receive. At the end of the service there were only four cookies left. The lion cookies were everyone’s favorite.
At the end of each service I was prompted to say, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have bring I unto thee, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth receive His peace that passes all understanding, the joy of the Lord which is our strength, the love of God which covers a multitude of sins and the gift of a sound mind. Oh, how I had battled to receive a sound mind, the mind of Christ! And at this service He allowed me to offer that sound mind to those who were tormented and confused, ready to call it quits. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that these were gifts from heaven which I was permitted to give to those who would receive them. Many came forward to receive these gifts. I do not believe anyone left empty-handed. These same gifts are for all who read these words. I offer them to you with all my heart. If you can embrace them with all your heart, they are yours. They are yours to enjoy and yours to pass on. I will join you in the spirit whenever and wherever you take cookie and carrot communion. You bless this writer when you receive His gifts.
A man approached me after the service. He was ready to call it quits. He said, “When I heard your voice, I had a flicker of hope.” We invited him to come to the Upper Room; and he is coming. God’s heart is inclined toward those who are ready to call it quits. “A bruised reed He will not break and smoking flax He shall not quench.” (Isaiah 42:3)
I give all the glory to Jesus for using this vessel through which He is now pouring out His life, His mercy, His goodness, His peace, His joy, His love, and His sound mind. Please continue to pray for Peter and Rebekah, our guests, and Stretcher Bearers for Christ.
Jesus loves you a lot through Peter & Rebekah