God has already given us so many amazing blessings that can transform us into the people He created us to be, but these things don’t come to us automatically. If they did, the whole world would already be walking in them and the knowledge of God would be common knowledge, but instead, we see the opposite, a world separated from God and living in deep darkness.
With so much darkness all around us, we can live our whole life never even hearing of the amazing blessings God has already made available to all of us if we will just believe and receive them by faith. Even faithful church members, faithfully attending every service, can live their whole life without ever hearing the truth about what God has for them. I know it’s true because that’s what happened to me and I see the same thing happening to many others, wanting more of God but not sure if there is more or how they can receive it. For their sake, I am sharing in the remainder of this post an excerpt from chapter 8 of my book, Remnant. This is my testimony of a word God gave me that helped clarify how we can take possession of heaven on earth by living every single day of our life in His manifested presence.
The year after I came to the Lord in 1982, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but that was the extent of it for the next ten years because I wasn’t hungry enough to seek Him for more. So, after being a Christian for over eleven years, faithfully attending spirit-filled churches, I had never even heard about the manifested presence of God, which is often called the new wine, so I never even knew it was possible to get so filled with the Holy Spirit that we experience an overflow of peace and joy like what the disciples experienced on the day of Pentecost. It wasn’t until my wife and I were in a revival meeting one night when the man leading the meeting said, “The Lord just spoke to me and said, ‘Some of you in the meeting tonight are going to experience the new wine for the very first time.’”
It happened just like he said. Within the next few minutes, the presence of God moved into that place and we were all enveloped in it like a big cloud. It was tangible, so we felt the atmosphere changing with so much peace filling us, we even felt it with our natural senses. Just breathing the air was like drinking fine wine. The more we drank, the happier we got, until we were laughing and singing and dancing with joy, like drunk people.
From then on, anyone trying to convince us otherwise was too late. We discovered the real power, so we were forever ruined and no longer satisfied with anything less. After wasting so many years without knowing these kinds of encounters were possible, I refused to waste any more of my time attending lifeless boring meetings. I must have that living water. I must have genuine encounters with Him. Everything else is just a big waste of time.
God has promised His righteous ones will see and recognize His presence, His countenance, His face. (Psalm 11:7) We will dwell in His presence. (Psalm 140:13) We will be saturated with His presence, which will bring us great contentment and satisfaction. (amplified from Hebrew word temunah in Psalm 17:15, Matthew 5:6) But like the disciples on the day of Pentecost, He has given us an important part to play, which is to be thirsty enough to just obey His simple instructions, allowing Him to be God by yielding our agenda to His.
Even though our part is small, He requires us to obey Him to demonstrate He has our permission to do what He promised. If we’ll just go to Him with childlike faith, we can take possession of everything He promised. (Proverbs 3:5-8) He has already sent out the invitations and prepared the way for us, so He only needs us to take time to show up and seek Him. (Matthew 6:33) When we do, He will show up. (Psalm 34:15) And we can have all the new wine we want. We don’t need to wait until the next meeting. We don’t need to wait for anyone else to do anything because God will meet with us right now, right where we are. We’re not waiting for Him. He’s waiting for all who are thirsty to come and receive.
Take the High Ground:
Years ago, I think it was 2008, the Lord said to me, “Take the high ground.”
When He said that, I understood He was giving me instructions on how to encounter Him daily, letting me know the mission is the same each day, take the high ground. I understood His instructions were from a military perspective. Soldiers fight to take the high ground because it gives them a strategic advantage over their enemy by enabling them to see them coming from a long way off. Once the high ground is taken, it’s very difficult for the enemy to take it back.
On the low ground, we’re pressed by all the cares of this life, which can squeeze the life right out of us. (Luke 8:14) The enemy’s arrows are flying around down there, making it very dangerous, but the good news is God has invited us to cast all our cares on Him and when we do, He takes them and carries them for us, literally lifting them off of us. (1 Peter 5:7) Taking the high ground is all about giving our cares to Him in exchange for the wonderful atmosphere of heaven, the higher place in the realm of God’s glory where He saturates us with His presence, which always includes such a deep peace, it causes us to forget about whatever was previously weighing us down. (Psalm 16:11)
In His presence, everything is wonderful, which is why I describe it as heaven on earth. God has made the heavenly realm accessible to whoever is willing to come and receive. (John 7:37, Hebrews 4:16) So, the high ground is the place where He manifests His presence by filling the atmosphere in ways that are tangible to our senses so we experience the heavenly realm.
A friend of mine once shared with me he had previously had times when he experienced the manifested presence of God, which was wonderful, but he thought encounters like that could only happen when God sovereignly decided to show up. So, I explained to him how God has given us an open invitation to enter His presence any time we want and then took some time to demonstrate it for him. We turned on anointed music and entered His presence together. Once he understood he could enter anytime, he started pressing in and putting a demand on God, so he started having regular encounters. If we don’t know what God has made available to us, we can spend our whole life on the low ground, living in the earth realm, but we can have heaven on earth any time we want just by passing through the thin veil separating the two realms.
God has promised never to leave or forsake us, but He has not promised we will always experience His manifested presence, as evidenced by the tangible peace and joy of the heavenly realm. (Hebrews 13:5) That’s an extra blessing available to everyone who is thirsty enough to come and drink. His manifested presence literally changes the atmosphere, making it seem like just breathing the air is intoxicating, causing us to be so filled with His glorious presence, we experience heaven on earth, which goes way beyond our understanding, but it’s the most wonderful place to be.
My daily encounters always have this same mission and I always know when it has been completed because the contrast is so great from where I started. How we get there might look different for each of us, but I think the main thing is our refusal to be denied, no matter what it costs. When we come with that kind of attitude, making it our highest priority, even being willing to cancel all plans for the day if needed, we will successfully complete the mission, but with that kind of attitude, it won’t take all day because that kind of persistence makes Satan give up and get out, especially when we demonstrate it consistently, day after day. His resistance grows weaker when he knows we won’t turn back. There’s nothing he can do about it, except leave. Some days, it takes more persistence than others, but if we keep fighting, God’s manifested presence will show up and change the whole atmosphere. And once we’ve discovered the way to get there, our confidence grows, which makes it easier to get there the next time.
However, the instructions God gave me was to take it, not just enter and pass through it, but take possession of it, securing my position there, which is a big difference because if we only enter then we will exit soon afterwards, but if we take possession, we get to stay there all day long. Like a friend of mine prophesied to me many years ago, “I see two cars. One is a fancy red sports car with a powerful engine. The other is an old clunker that breaks down a lot, requiring you to get out and push. Each day, you decide which one to ride in.”
Like the manna from heaven that only lasted one day, the high ground must be retaken each new day. (Exodus 16:20-24) So, each day begins on the low ground, which I don’t like so I start early in the day. My personal preference is to start with anointed music and I like it loud. For many years, my choice of music has been the Worship with the Word services recorded live at the International House of Prayer (IHOP), performed by artists like Hellen Lee, Leslie Phillips, and Laura Hackett, because I like how the songs last a long time, which helps keep things flowing, and the lyrics contain scriptures and prophetic words of encouragement. IHOP plays live worship music 24/7 in their Kansas City Prayer Room and broadcasts it free on their website in two-hour sessions.
For me, the encounters have always followed the same pattern, but it might be different for everyone. As I’m listening to the music, I start giving my cares to God and inviting Him to come and manifest His presence and have His way. Somewhere along the way, I drift off to a place I call la-la land because I forget where I am for a while, but I believe it’s the place of total surrender, totally forgetting about the time clock and all my cares. When I return from la-la land, I discover He has carried me to the high ground without me knowing how I got there. Perhaps that’s why it’s called the secret place.
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle, He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5 NKJV)
You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. (Psalm 31:20 NKJV)
After returning from la-la land and realizing He has filled me with His presence, the music is still playing loud, but at this point what sounded so good before now bothers me so I turn it off. I believe King David confirmed this sequence in his own experiences, sharing how we enter His gates with singing.
Come before His presence with singing. (Psalm 100:2b NKJV)
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. (Psalm 100:4a NKJV)
The music helps me enter the heavenly realm, but once I’m there, it has served its’ purpose, so I turn it off and enjoy quiet time, which marks the start of the final part of my encounters, which is a time of lingering in His presence, in no hurry to leave. I believe the time of lingering is necessary to take the high ground because it demonstrates we didn’t just come to pass through, but to take possession, staying and occupying it as long as we want. It’s a wonderful time to enjoy the glory of God’s presence, which we never want to leave. The lingering continues until He gives me the release to go, which gives me confidence to know the mission is accomplished. Skipping the lingering causes the high ground to be lost soon afterwards since it was not secured, but if I stay until He releases me, then I get to stay on the high ground all day long. And the lingering is when He most often speaks to me, usually with short visions.
Although the glory of His presence usually only lasts for one day, each experience has a lasting impact because it stirs up hunger for more, causing us to grow more addicted to His presence, even to the point of being miserable until we get back there. As our appetite grows, He can fill us with more and more. And each encounter is a time of making transactions with God, deposits and withdrawals, exchanging our junk for His glory.
Author: James Bailey
James Bailey is a blogger, business owner, husband and father of two grown children. In 1982, he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2012, he founded Z3news.com to broadcast the message of salvation by reporting end time news before it happens.