When I was almost 14 and for reasons known only to my mother, she allowed me to buy a squirrel monkey at a mall pet store. A squirrel monkey is a Central and South American monkey about 1 foot tall (.3 m), and back then people could buy monkeys in pet stores in the US.
I think my mom's reasoning was that she saw her hurting oldest child still reeling from dad leaving the family 1 1/2 years earlier, and she instinctively knew a pet of my own would be healing as I loved and cared for it. For some reason I don't recall, I named her Tilly.
Tilly was very shy at first, and in the pet store clung to the other squirrel monkey in the cage with her. Perhaps it was her neediness that resonated with my own hurt that drew me to her, but as a young teen I didn't understand those forces in me. She came home unsure of me, unsure of my intentions, totally insecure, wouldn't respond to my voice, and she didn't even eat for the first couple of days.
The way she acted reminds me of some Christians when talk of fellowshipping with the Father arises. Religion makes a cage of uncertainty and fear around people, forcing them into a corner, nervously peering out at the Father from behind their protective bars of fear, uncertain of His true intention towards them.
Fellowship with the Father and Son
When the apostle John opened his first letter he said this: "...we are also telling you so that you too may realize and enjoy fellowship as partners and partakers with us. And this fellowship we have, which is a distinguishing mark of all Christians, is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ." (Amplified Version)
Clearly he could distinguish between the Father and Son in his spirit, and that is what I'm sharing today, and how to receive a personal Word from Father or Son.
What does fellowship with the Father feel like?
The Father is the source with a capital S, of everything. In the New Testament when it uses the word 'God', it usually means the Father. As in 'God so loved the world that He gave His only born Son' from John 3:16. It is the Father that Jesus will one day turn His kingdom over to as seen in I Corinthians 15:28: "When all things are made subject to Him, then the Son will also be subject to Him, who put all things under Him, that God the Father may be all in all."
In Matthew 24: 36 Jesus said He doesn't know when He will return, nor do the angels know, only the Father knows. When the apostles asked Jesus for more answers about the future in Acts 1:7, Jesus told them, "It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father has kept within His own authority." The Father is the Source of all things and greater than all, keeping some secrets even from His Son.
For this reason the Father deals with core issues in our heart. He deals with 'source issues' if you will. Who we are, why we are, where we are going, what is the plan for our life. That is what the Father deals with. He shares these things in the deepest part of our spirit, and He feels rather solemn, sober, serious yet with peace always. There is a weight, a mass, a deepness to His presence inside our spirit.
In meetings I have the Father is often present in this heavy presence that causes everyone to stop speaking. When in His presence it feels like you will violate something sacred to speak or even move, and that is correct- you will be violating His presence if you do talk or walk around, thereby grieving the Spirit.
Last spring in our Dutch conference I saw the glory of the Father roll into the room like a wave, about 4' deep (1.2 m), and suddenly I could not move - it was like my feet were stuck in concrete and several others experienced the same thing. The first times it happened to me years ago I was uncomfortable, but the Father told me: "Don't be afraid of the silence."
After that I relaxed, let people do what they do for the sake of the majority who are sensitive enough to sit in silent fellowship as the Father does deep surgery in their spirit, or deals with deep issues within. Often, because He is a Spirit and deals with the depths of the human spirit, a person's mind is clueless what went on in these times, but they know SOMETHING happened down inside. They feel an intense warmth, an intense presence in their being - that is the Father in their spirit - and you just want to linger there forever.
What does fellowship with Jesus feel like?
Isaiah 42:1-4 describes the person and ministry of Christ, and verses 3-4 says this: "A bruised reed He will not break, and the smoking wick He will not extinguish. He will bring justice and truth, and He will not fail nor be discouraged until He has set justice in the earth. (And the isles of the Gentiles wait for His law!)"
Of Jesus it prophesies that He will not break a bruised reed - if you have ever bent a flower stem or bruised a tender twig, you know it won't heal - Yet He will not break it the rest of the way, He brings justice and healing to that bruised reed! This speaks of physical healing.
When a person's life is like a nearly extinguished candle, He will not blow it out, He will re-light the flame! He will not be discouraged (by our failures). This is a picture of our emotions and emotional healing and health.
Fellowshipping with Jesus is therefore 'lighter' in nature than with the Father. He feels not as heavy, but rather very connected to our emotions, our feelings, in short, our soul. The Father's presence has nothing to do with our emotions and mind, for unless people are accustomed to His presence through experience, their mind can't grasp what is happening way down inside them.
In the many times when my eyes have been opened to the Lord's realm and He has come to minister to people in meetings, there isn't the heavy 'can't move or speak' atmosphere, but more worshipful, soul-affecting presence, and joy. It is an easy presence, relaxed, with a freedom to worship, stand, kneel, express oneself, presence. Jesus is very relaxed around us, and we around Him. He deals with the emotions and physical needs in our lives.
Think back in your life
If you can remember a time in your life when you were seeking direction, and you knew you were at an intersection in your life with dire consequences if you made a wrong choice - and suddenly you knew down inside what to do - that is the Father's revelation and presence. He deals with 'source' issues.
If you have ever been in a relationship (personal, work, church, neighbor) and you realized if you stayed you would be destroyed or hurt, and you had that realization way down inside - that was the Father dealing with 'source' issues down in your spirit: What are you doing, why are you doing, where are you going?
Jesus deals with emotions - I remember ministering to a group of 200 or so Bible school students when suddenly in the middle of the worship, Jesus came walking up the steps of the platform to my left, stood in front of me and said: "I'd like to minister to my people". I knelt before Him, and responded: "Lord, they are your people, please do as you wish." With that He walked back down the steps and started walking around the room. He would stand beside some and talk to them, or He put a hand or both hands on some and ministered to them.
There were people bursting into tears all over the place, men and women, touched by His presence. Later, as I taught them about what happened and the ways of the Father and Lord, about 10 people reported either seeing Him or feeling Him walking or standing by them during this time.
He stood by one woman and I did something I usually don't do; eavesdrop. If it had been too personal I would have turned away, but it wasn't. He turned to me (Dummy I said to myself, for I realized He knew my struggle of wanting to listen yet NOT wanting to eavesdrop, and at THAT exact time He turned to look at me).
He told me when she was young He told and showed her she would work in an orphanage and minister in other nations, but she was experiencing severe doubts if she had heard right as it had been years since she had heard any confirmation. He said He was assuring her she heard right and that it would come to pass exactly as she had been told and shown.
Things like this went on all over the room, and the worship leader, with whom I had a great working relationship and was very sensitive to the Spirit, continued playing the keyboard lightly which helped keep the students focused on worship.
When He was done, the Lord walked up the steps, stood in front of me (I stood up right after He first left to go minister to them and remained standing before Him) and said: "Thank you for allowing me to minister to my people. He started to turn away, but then turned back and continued, "Many of my ministers won't let me." After that He took His usual 2 1/2 steps, and 1/2 way through that third step He disappeared.
He did this same thing 3 or 4 times, always asking permission, until finally maybe the 4th or 5th time I told Him He didn't need to ask permission anymore, just to know as long as I was in charge of a meeting He could do whatever He wanted and I'd adjust. After that He would just appear suddenly on the floor of the auditorium looking at me, and as soon as I saw Him I'd tell the worship leader and students just to worship quietly and wait before the Lord.
All over the room people were crying, their fears vanquished, their confidence restored, refreshed in soul and body - that is the presence of Jesus, and you can fellowship with Him that way in your spirit.
At home or in house church or in traditional church
I've run out of room for this week. I encourage you to spend time in worship, and turn your attention down inside your spirit to discern if you sense the deep 'source issue' solemn presence of the Father, or if you sense the healing balm of the One who ministers to the nearly extinguished wick and bruised reed - and this is the start of how to receive a personal word from Father or Son where you sit, where you kneel, where you live. The cage bars are dissolved, you can come out with confidence; now experience God!
You can live in this! By switching attention from the natural realm to your spirit through your day, once able to discern things in your spirit, you can tell if it is the Father or Son dealing with you. Continued next week for specific words come from this foundation. Blessings,