Archive for December, 2012


In His Father’s House

Wassilij_Dimitriewitsch_Polenow_Vasiliy_Polenov_Among_the_Teachers_700When Jesus was 12 years old, He accompanied His parents to the traditional 7 day Passover feast. When the 7 days were up, Joseph and Mary travelled back in the direction of thier home.  They started to panic when they realized Jesus was not with them any longer. They assumed He was with them amongst thier friends and family who came on this yearly pilgrimage with them.   He wasnt to be accounted for.   In a state of panic leading to grief, they left everyone and backtracked to Jerusalem– trying to keep their eyes on where He could be- and frantically calling for Him.   There heard no response and the distress they felt like a wild animal had just ripped their stunned hearts from thier bodies.

Finally, hours later, they arrived back at the Temple in Jerusalem and to thier delight, and shock, they found Jesus within there listening and asking questions with the priests and Elders- who were amazed at His understanding and His answers. (Luke 2:46,47).    One of the most important meanings of the word “temple” is “adoration in spirit”.      While Mary , Joseph, and all of their friends and family were preoccupied with the traditional religious feast pilgrimage,  Jesus’s Prime focus was in sincerely adoring the Father– being where His Father was in spirit.     How many times have we , like Joseph and Mary, lost sight of Jesus because we are so pre-occupied with our lives- including our religious lives-  that we take our eyes off of Him?    Even our holidays such as Christmas and Easter, as beautiful as these holidays are when they represent their true Meaning , can distract us from Jesus.    We are reminded of Mary and Martha- how Martha- with good intentions, fussed so much with her material plans in serving Jesus, that she became annoyed with her sister, Mary- who sat in adoration at Jesus’s feet, listening to all  He wanted to share with her.

Just like Martha, years later, Mary found herself exasperated with Jesus and called out to Him: “Son, why have you treated us so?  Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously!”  Jesus respectfully -and with simplicity- replied by asking, “How is it that you sought Me?  Did you not know that I must be in My Fathers’ House?”  (Luke 2: 48,49).   They should have realized that Jesus would only be found in one place– His Father’s House.

Quietly and politely bidding the priests goodbye, He went back with His earthly parents to Nazareth.  The scripture’s read:  “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. (Luke 2:51)

This incident left a permanent impression on Mary’s heart.

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His Heart and Hands of Love

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On Christmas night, I was very touched by a testimony shared on the 700 Club. I don’t normally watch that show but I overheard it on my parent’s TV downstairs right at the part where they had a preview of a woman who had been crippled for 18 years in pain- and how Jesus came into her room and gently healed her. I made sure to find the channel it was on to put it on my own tv. They had a lot of Christian rock Christmas music they were playing first- so I waited for all that to finish to get to the Best part!

 

Then it came on. This woman had been in an industrial accident where she fell off of a top floor of her factory and hung upside down for several hours. Her accident resulted in her leg and hand getting RSD in the tissues and being paralyzed permanently. Her hand and foot went into a curl position and froze like that- and she needed to be in a wheel chair from then on. The only time she got out was when a nurse helped her to go to the toilet.  She said that the only way she was able to cope was to make a conscious decision to give it all to Jesus and rely on His help through her condition day by day. She was in constant pain, however, her loved ones were interviewed and said she always had a joyful disposition and never complained. She surrendered her pains to Jesus.

 

One day when she was alone, her wheelchair toppled over in the room and she fell on the floor. Noone was there to help her back in and so she cried to Jesus. She said she had no doubts whatsoever that “Her Jesus” would respond to her cries. Suddenly, she saw Light in her room from where she was laying on the floor. She saw Jesus, Himself walk toward her—and saw the hem of His garment and his feet . His robe was whiter than white. He gently kneeled down on one leg and took her foot in His hands and seperated each of her curled in pain toes one by one. Then He took her hand and seperated each finger one by one. Both her hand and foot became normal and the pain left. He then stood up and extended His hand to her to take. She took His hand and He lifted her up and they both walked out of the room. I’m not clear on this part, but I believe He led her to the part of the house where her grown adult son was at and—her son was shocked to see his mother standing at the doorway. After 18 years she is no longer in pain, and she still loves Jesus as always. She can now walk because of Him. When watching this video, I was struck by the gentle spirit of our Lord—how peaceful and loving He was in healing her- and I was reminded of the woman with the issue of blood in the scriptures –how she bled for decades until she touched the hem of His garment. Also was reminded of how in the scriptures, it’s said that He makes the crooked ways straight.

 

I will trust in You

 

This morning I had to call off from work due to the East Coast snow storm that hit my area of PA. I have carpal tunnel syndrome from the work I do at my job. While layng in bed this morning and seeking out His presence, I felt Him with me- and I felt, in spirit Him putting His hand over mine—(the one most affected by carpel tunnel). Later I realized I had to go out and shovel out our driveway from the snow if I wanted to get to work tomorrow!- and I asked Him for His strength to shovel the snow. It then occurred to me that the reason He put His hand on my hand (in spirit I felt Him) was because He knew that I would need to use my hands today with the shovel and He was –out of His beautiful Love- touching them so that I wouldn’t aggravate them further by shoveling! He is sooooo beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

A King Identified with Poverty

film_nativity_sceneMany of us have manger scenes, or “creches” -either alone or near a Christmas tree for Christmas, yet as beautiful as these are to keep our hearts focused on the real meaning of Christmas, even our manger scenes don’t accurately depict the harsh conditions in which our King in Exile was born into this physical realm. When the first Adam was created, He was created as a full grown man, but when Jesus came to this Realm, He was born the hard way- as a totally defenseless infant. The One in Whom we need to place our trust, found Himself at the mercy of man as a vulnerable infant.

While Jesus was still in Mary’s womb, Mary and Joseph were required by Roman law to return to Bethlehem for the Roman census. It was not a joy ride for Mary to have to ride such a trip on mule-back while she was in pain from her pregnancy. Riding many miles on bumpy terrain when you are almost ready to give birth is something most of us modern women have never had to suffer. No doubt, it was not an easy pregnancy for her either- as I am sure satan and demonic entities made it a point to afflict her body more than usual,  maybe in hope of creating a natural abortion so that Jesus’s birth would be prevented. I would not be surprised to learn that Mary’s pregnancy was a very painful one- and yet I believe she was so united to the Holy Spirit, that she gracefully accepted this without complaint.

When Joseph and Mary entered Bethlehem, it was already understood that no Inn or Lodge would accept them- as only the well-to-do were permitted lodging. Everyone else needed to find alternative places to stay. One look at Mary and Joseph, and it was obvious to all that they had no money to offer an Innkeeper.

Years later, Jesus mentioned to one man who pledged to follow Him wherever He went, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” How true this was – starting as an infant, – and throughout His entire earthly life before His crucifixion. The cross was the only place permitted for Him to lay His head- and when He knew it was the Father’s Time for Him to give up His spirit, He – out of great Love to the Father, lowered His head with sincere submission from that cross as He cried, “It is finished”.

Mary- who found favor in the Father’s sight as He searched for the right young woman to carry His son- came from the despised town of Nazareth.  Nazareth was basically considered a “ghetto” by the entire Jewish nation. We get an idea of this after reading how Nathaniel bluntlly commented, “What good could ever come out of Nazareth!” after James mentioned to him how He was excited that He possibly found the Messiah from Nazareth.

Some years ago, I was eating a soggy submarine sandwich one damp rainy day in my car at lunch. After a quick hypocritical prayer of “thanks” I complained out loud in my car, “Jesus wouldn’t have even eaten this crap in Nazer…! but before I could get the word “Nazareth” out of my mouth, our Lord interrupted me -and I heard Him say very calmly and clearly in my mind, “I ate worse than that.” I was taken off guard as I am not used to hearing or Lord speak to me- let alone speak so clearly! It was something He knew I needed to hear and I never forgot.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem there were no midwives to help deliver Him- Probably Joseph had to deliver Him out of Mary’s womb. Also, He shared this “manger” which was a shelter made of rough cut stones where livestock, mules and horses were kept. A stone feeding trough was his cradle. Even this seems symbolic –as Jesus was destined to be our spiritual Bread- broken for us so that we would have Eternal Life. It was no coincidence His cradle was a feeding trough for the animals.   Bethlehem is known as “The House of Bread”.  and this stone cut crude shelter literally housed the Bread of Life that would be broken for all mankind-  Jesus of Nazareth.

When Mary and Joseph found this shelter- no doubt, other poor people were also squeezed inside with their own mules as well- so it was probably very cramped- and Mary did not have the luxury of privacy when she went into Labor. A young lamb was the usual sacrifice after a Jewish child was born- but Mary and Joseph did not have money for this- even though it was a typical common sacrifice that was’nt incredibly expensive. Mary and Joseph knew that Jesus would be a special Child that came directly from the Father Whom they both loved- but they had only enough money for a turtle dove sacrifice. -which was the typical sacrifice the very poor were only able to afford. No doubt, this afflicted their hearts, and from things like this, they knew Jesus was being prepared right from Infancy for the Mission of sacrifice. Even the fact that only a dove was His birth sacrifice was no coincidence as Jesus would grow to be a very humble Man– with an inner nature as gentle as a Dove , and the Holy Spirit appeared as a Dove flying over Him when He was baptized by John years after His birth. He is also a Lamb, but a lamb would not be sacrificed for Him.   He, the Lamb of God, would be the Sacrifice for us instead.

He has RisenWhat is also a striking parallel in Jesus’s  birth- is how the rough stone cut manger in which He was born was -in it’s own way, and especially compared to the beautiful exquisite buildings of Heaven- a Tomb.  Jesus was born into a type of Tomb and some decades later, after He gave His life- He rose from a similar stone cut tomb.   His cradle was a stone feeding trough in a manger in Bethlehem.      The manger itself was prophetic of where His body would temporarily rest His head- the only two places He ever got to rest His head were in the  Tomb-like shelter for livestock at His birth, and a dark stone slab in a stone cut tomb upon His burial.    Nevertheless,  Death could not keep Him from being born and death could not keep Him dead.   He is alive right now as I type this.

May Yeshua be honored!

“Loaves & Fishes”

This past Thursday, I awoke before the alarm clock and began to try to “reconnect” with Jesus.  Each morning I find I need to do this if I want to be in Jesus’s presence throughout the day.  

While starting out praying, I found myself starting my prayer with petitions to God- asking Him for this and that.   Then after this first prayer I clearly heard this thought from God “Loaves and Fishes” and I received this knowing from the Lord that His children so often start out seeking Jesus for what He can do for us-  exactly like how his past followers sought him out “because thier bellies were full” from the loaves and fishes miracle of the day before.These people didnt seek Jesus out so that they could be near Him and be in His presence- nor did they seek Him for Himself- for the love of Him. They sought Him because they knew He could give them what they needed for security, food, etc.– especially if they made Him King.  They didnt want Him to be thier King so that they could belong to Him and serve Him – but so that He could serve THEM.   

He had to confront them in all  honesty and tell them WHY they were really seeking Him.   They didnt like His reply and proceeded to insult Him–even downgrading His miracle of that day before, saying that Moses did better than that and even fed the people “manna from Heaven”.    Little did they understand that the very “Manna from Heaven” represents Jesus Christ, Himself!

The Lord showed me that even in our seeking Him in prayer today- we so often have the same attitude as those crowds when He taught on Earth.   We begin our prayers with , “Dear Lord, may you send me this,  or please prevent this from happening..,etc.  

We don’t focus on HIM- on His feelings, and needs- on wanting Him to come into our hearts so that we can become united with Him.     We need to ask Jesus to become our Treasure- not our needs or wants in life. We need to ask Him to open us up to a greater love for Him, and never be comfortable with the level of love we have for Him- but seek to grow in an ever more continuously deeper love.

While recording this incident in my journal this morning, the Lord gave me this bible Verse to accompany His teaching to me over this:    “Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these other things will be added unto you.”

Seeking the Kingdom of God is actually Seeking Jesus Christ as our Lord –wanting Him to lead us where He will each day– and not for what we can get out of Him.Image

Jesus- the Samaritan

Luke 10:30-37

Jesus 2Jesus Christ of Nazareth identifies Himself with all of those who have been rejected or scorned by the popular crowd..  Also those scorned by the Religious popular crowds.    During Jesus’s time on this Earth before His ultimate Sacrifice for us,  He identified with the Samaritans- who were looked down upon by the Jewish Religious Elite as “dogs” and not worthy of God.

In the parable of the “Good Samaritan” , we can visualize the scene Jesus depicts of a badly beaten, left to die man lying in the gutter- and being passed off by several religious rulers who had no time for him.       a Samaritan man passes by and is touched with compassion over this dying man- and the scriptures read, “..He came to where he was and when he saw him, he had compassion”.  .    Jesus is that Samaritan man;   He will come to us in our fallen conditions and meet us “where we are” to bring us back to Himself.      There are times Jesus asks us to go out of our comfort zone and come to Him, and then there are times, He – out of compassion and love because we are stuck, will come to us.

The religious in their own eyes will often pass us by wether due to indifference or scorn because we had made poor decisions that left us spiritually injured, beat up and dying by the wayside.   ‘They made their own bed, let them sleep in it” they will say.    Jesus turns no one away.  This injured man cried out to God in his heart for help because he couldnt cry out to Him verbally or mentally.    Often in our circumstances, even a sigh is a plea for help from Christ.   All is heard by Him, and when we cry out to Him in all sincerity and desperation, He – the Good Samaritan of our souls will not walk by us.

In verse 34, we read how the Samaritan poured oil and wine on the fallen man’s injuries and bound his wounds.   There is great tenderness in this gentle way of ministering.  The oil represents the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the wine also represents Christ’s blood shed for us-  and His blood was shed for ALL mankind- no matter how low that person sunk spiritually in their life.     The Samaritan gives the innkeeper 2 denari to further take care of this man while he is away.    ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.”      Like this Samaritan, Jesus has also temporarily “gone away” and sent His Holy Spirit for us.  The innkeeper represents those servants God has given a restorative ministry to– those who are to minister to those who have fallen into spiritual ruins.    This type of service comes with a price to be paid at a great cost.  It is not an easy ministry as those in the most need of mercy are often those with very unappealing characters that got them in trouble in the first place.    More than 2 denari are needed,  yet our Lord — our King in Exile- will repay that servant generously upon His return.  Not just Christ’s final return before His Marriage Feast are implied, but also the many times Jesus returns to His servants that He has placed in charge over His little ones.    The more we give of ourselves, the More Jesus replaces that self with Himself!

When we see or read about  someone (including celebrities) in a pathetic deplorable spiritual condition , let us not criticize, mock, or scorn that person.   Let us pray for their spiritual restoration.    No one is a helpless case before Jesus and when that person can’t pray for themselves, he or she needs someone else to pray for them- for their highest spiritual restoration.       Don’t find yourself sitting in the ‘seat of the scornful”  in family and co-worker conversations.   Often , we may find we need to quietly walk away from everyone and use the restroom to pray while the conversation against that fallen one continues.     One day, in Heaven, our Lord will show us how each prayer of intercession for the one who fell in the “gutter” was heard.  We may see that person in Heaven one day- when we, by His own grace,  also brings us there!

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