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On a Mountaintop

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After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.  (Matthew 14:23)

Jesus, our Lord and King in exile would often go to a mountaintop or high place to pray to the Father after a long day of ministering to the people,  or even in the early hours of the morning before others were awake.

It was on a mountaintop where Jesus gave us the Beatitudes,   the higher messages of the Kingdom, to those who were willing  to walk up the hillside with Him after a long day with the multitudes  below.   (Isaiah 52:7  How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him Who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, Who brings good tidings of good , Who publishes Salvation.”)

I can visualize Jesus climbing down from a hillside after an early morning praying with His Father in Heaven.. His face aglow with the Holy Spirit.,  so noticeable to His disciples that they were compelled to ask Him to teach them to pray.  And during the event we call “The Transfiguration”, it was  on a mountaintop that Jesus was literally transfigured with Divine Light before three of His disciples.

With this Transfiguration the disciples witnessed Jesus as the third Person of the Trinity with their own visible eyes.  They would soon have the opportunity to witness Him transfigured again with spiritual eyes.     Earthly eyes would not notice His brightness this time.   Only all of  Heaven and those on Earth with spiritual eyes to see, for this next mountaintop would be Golgotha.     At Golgotha,  He offered Himself in His most greatest prayer of all for mankind and to the Father.  He offered Himself and  His torment of dying by crucifixion as a Living Prayer on that cross- the cross on the mountaintop of Golgotha.

At that dark hour on Earth,  Heaven saw the greatest of Lights beaming on Earth’s soil below, and that Light was and is Jesus in His offering of Love for all… on a mountaintop♥

“… and there I Am, waiting for you right in the midst of the battle.  In the very place where I want your love:  beyond and above all things.  Above all things- that is where I am.  Rise to meet Me always..”   (Jesus to Gabrielle Bossis., recorded in “He and I”)


“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”    (Matthew 5:14-16)

The Song of Solomon and Jesus

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“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love.”  Song of Solomon 5:8

When I think of the moment when Mary of Magdala was searching for Jesus but couldn’t find Him after He had resurrected from death, I am reminded of the Shulamite woman in the Song of Solomon searching for her Beloved.  ”

Jesus let Himself be found by Mary because she sought Him with all of her heart… just as the Lord told Isreal centuries earlier in Jeremiah 29:13:     ” You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Prior to this, sad to say,  Jesus’s closest disciples portrayed the Shulamite woman in the Song of Solomon when  her Beloved knocked on her door from the trials and dew of the night,   and she failed to open the door to Him in time.

(“I was asleep but my heart was awake. A Voice! My Beloved was knocking:  “Open to Me , My sister, My darling, My dove, My perfect one!  For My head is drenched with dew;  My locks with the damp of the night”)“I have taken off my dress, How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet, How can I dirty them again?)

When she did open to Him,  He had already gone., thus beginning her search for Him.

(“I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.” Song of Sol. 5:6)

Jesus , finding His disciples asleep, told Peter:    “So, could you not watch with me one hour?  (Matthew 26:40)   and “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.

Your first day in Heaven…

I Want to See God

My love lifts up his voice,
he says to me,
“Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come….”  (Song of Songs 2:10)

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I love when God surprises me!

On the way home from running errands, I stopped by a church to visit Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  I was alone except for the organist, and a vocalist who were seated at the organ and whispering.

Kneeling, I rested my head on my arms, hoping not to be distracted by the musicians. Suddenly, the organist launched into the the majestic tones of Felix Mendelssohn’s Wedding March.  How grand it sounded, as music poured out of the huge pipe organ, filling every nook and cranny of the empty church.

I looked up toward the aisle and imagined a bride, in her beautiful wedding gown, beginning her walk on her father’s arm.  What a glorious celebration a wedding is, and the bride…

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Jesus told Judas and the disciples who criticized Mary of Bethany’s act of love that her anointing Him with oil before His burial would be spoken about her for generations to come..    and this is one of many “tellings” of her beautiful act.

Mary paid a fortune to purchase expensive nard from the perfume salesperson ..three hundred denarii which was equal to three day’s  wages.  For her, Jesus was worth the price to pay.. and she was all but constrained for that special moment when she could show her love toward Him.. by anointing His head with oil.   The Psalms say, “He anoints my head with oil,. my cup runneth over.    How prophetic this very verse of David was of Jesus at that moment!

Breaking the flask, she crept up behind Him and poured the oil over His head.. it ran over His hair onto His robes, and body.. and you can imagine how utterly touched in His heart our Lord was – looking at her with eyes of love.     “Don’t bother her,  He said to Judas and the disciples, as He remained looking into her eyes.  She has anointed my body for burial.  the poor you will have with you always, but you will not always have Me.”

At that moment, there was an air of silence.   John , watching this scene, kept all of what occurred in His heart the remainder of his life.  The scent of nard permeated the air, and no doubt remained on Jesus’s robes until the day they stripped Him of all His garments to cast lots for them.

What is striking to me is that Mary paid for Jesus.. was willing to pay the PRICE for Jesus Ten times Thirty.. a fortune of great price in that era.    Judas , who scorned Mary’s act SOLD Jesus for only thirty pieces of silver.. the price of purchasing a slave.. while Mary purchased Him beforehand with three hundred denarii..    her act of love atoned for Judas’s act of hate.   It was not forgotten by Jesus and one of the extremely rare moments of genuine affection He received in His exile on this Earth..

 

 

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This past week was my turn to houseclean our church ..After working overtime from my job, I drove into our church’s parking lot to unlock the doors and begin vaccuming the floors.   Our church puts out an antique manger scene near the side entrance.  The figures of Mary, Joseph , Baby Jesus and one little lamb are almost life size and illuminated from within by light bulbs..  The manger is a wooden crèche covering the figures with strewn hay placed under the figure of baby Jesus .     A life size figure of Jesus as an adult is also placed on the side..    The entire display is so simple and humble..   and it reminds me of just how simple and humble our Lord’s earthly parents truly were..and how simple and pure He is Whom has emptied Himself and made Himself of no reputation..    and the poverty in which He had been born into.

I think it was the hay that really affected me..  the realization that our Lord was born in a feeding trough where animals of labor ate from.,  and where they rested for the night on hay.   How far removed are our churches of today and the real poverty and simplicity our Lord lived from first entering this World to the day He was executed from this World.   He was as Jonah in the belly of the whale..   the Whale representing this dark World which could not contain Him any longer, so it “spat Him out” of it’s belly.

When I looked at the life size figure of adult Jesus placed at the edge of this humble manger scene,  I saw a Jesus with a simply woven garment.. possibly patched up in spots  where daily use wore holes in the cloth.   Red sand dust showing near the hem of His garment where He walked the wilderness roads from village to village.. about His Father’s business.  Worn sandals that revealed great use.  I touched the shoulder of His life size figurine.. His shoulder ..  and I felt as though I was touching the shoulder of a homeless man.   Would I be offended in Him., in His poverty?  Or would I embrace my Lord, who out of total love, emptied Himself to identify with the poorest of the poor.

Our Lord, Emmanuel .. God with Us,  came down to our World from the Ivory palaces and streets of Gold, to sleep on earth’s hay and live with beast-like mankind.. that we would follow His Light and find the way back to the Father– His Father and through Him, now ours once again.♥

 

 

 

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It is not a Silent Night

In our Modern Age’s towns,

With the tinsel on the trees,

Twinkle lights hung all around;

 

Plastic Santas in the yards,

Christmas store sales every year,

Buying, selling, marrying, drinking

Mankind’s “Holiday cup of cheer”;

 

Drunk with feasting the people sleep,

With their Holiday lights so bright

Unknown to them within their slumber,

*God’s stars shine in the night;

 

The kids have cookies set aside

For Santa Claus to snack on,

And every television’s on

With Holiday distraction,

 

But the Christ Child waits out on the streets,

For His head a place to lay,

Just as His parents long ago

Had sought a place to stay;

 

For there wasn’t room at Mankind’s “Inn”,

And yet again – no room for Him,

Except in silent hearts who pray

For Jesus Christ, their hearts to stay.♥♥♥

~Unknown author

*- those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever..”  — Daniel 12:1-3

 

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“Where shall I go from Your Spirit?  Or Where shall I flee from Your Presence?  If I ascend to Heaven, you are there!  If I make my bed in Shoel, you are there!  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the Sea- even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “let only darkness cover me and the light about me be night, even the darkness is not dark to Thee, the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light with Thee.  For you didst form my inward parts.  You didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.”- Psalm 139: 7-13

This Psalm speaks of darkness that seems to be darkness, but is actually light as far as God is concerned..   the type of darkness that leads to Light.  Seeds germinate under the dark soil before their seedlings break through the darkness to face the Sun’s light.     The mother’s womb is surrounded by such darkness and the tomb Jesus was buried in before He resurrected was surrounded by the same..      Jesus mentioned before His crucifixion that He would be like Jonah who was three days in the belly of the whale.  That belly of the whale was like a womb .. or a tomb.    Jesus experienced both and He came out of both.    He was like that seed that allowed Himself to lose Himself.. to fall to the ground so that He would bear much fruit.   The darkness was as Light to Him..and to the Father.

I prayed before opening to His recorded words to Gabrielle Bossis in “He and I”, and blindly opening the pages, my eyes fell on the following quote from Him :     “My grace?  often you do not see it but it grows like a seed.  Only you must make the earth ready for the planting.”     Hmmm, seeds grow in the dark soil like a baby is “knit together” by God in the mother’s womb.    The Holy Spirit “forms our inward parts” (spirits) as we allow Him to work within us..  quietly and “in the dark” to bring us to a new resurrected life in Christ!

The Mind of Christ

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From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.   Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, “Far be it from You , Lord! he said.   “This shall never happen to You!”  But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”…

When we read this incident recorded in the gospels, we may be inclined to assume Jesus was calling Peter , “satan”,  when what actually occurred was that Jesus first rebuked Satan, who was the invisible instigator of Peter’s suggestions to Jesus.   THEN He corrected Peter, telling him he is looking at things with the eyes of man and not through spiritual eyes.   His remark to Jesus, while intended in good faith,  was actually instigated by satan as a stumbling block for Jesus.. to attempt to discourage Jesus from continuing the mission that the Father had sent Him for..  the ultimate mission of the Cross of sacrifice for all mankind.

Often , we as Christians, with good intentions , can be used by satan without us realizing it when we tell another fellow Christian to “pity themselves ” or “don’t put up with that from that person!”  etc…     To follow Jesus all the way up that mountain, we also are given a portion of the larger cup Jesus drank, and thus, we are united with Him in His sufferings (to a lesser degree than He, of course)    Jesus never considered Himself, His self-rights, and how unfair He was treated.    He considered only the will of the Father regardless of how unfair it appeared.

Jesus was so misunderstood because of this.    Even the Samaritan villagers were offended at Him because they noticed “His face was set toward Jerusalem”.    They were offended because Jerusalem was an influential city that despised the Samaritans.    The Samaritans didn’t realize that the only reason Jesus was determined to head toward Jerusalem, was not to have some religious celebration, but because that is where He would die… outside of the city gates for all mankind.    The Samaritans had no idea ;  instead they forbade Him from entering their city because they became offended in Him.    James and John asked Jesus if they could call down fire from Heaven to consume these Samaritans for their rudeness, but Jesus., Who never considered Himself or His rights,  told His disciples that they knew not what spirit they were speaking from..  that He did not come to destroy but to save.

How far removed is our way of thinking compared with Christ’s!

 

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Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came and stood outside. They sent someone in to summon Him,  and a crowd was sitting around Him. “Look,” He was told, “Your mother and brothers are outside, asking for You.”  But Jesus replied, “Who are My mother and My brothers?”  Looking at those seated in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.”…(Mark 3:34)


 Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother and her sister, as well as Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, here is your son.”  Then He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” So from that hour, this disciple took her into his home.…(John 19:26)

Where it would appear that Jesus was snubbing His mother when she and her other sons came asking for Him, He actually wasn’t..   Mary may have been a bit offended if she had heard what He said to the crowds listening to Him ,  but the scriptures don’t show us that He , no doubt, went to her as the Holy Spirit led Him afterwards.

Later, Jesus again is met by His mother while He is dying excruciating torture on His cross.  She is in tears, and she is standing near John, .. one of His closest disciples.   This time, He tells Mary,  “Woman, behold your son, and looking to John, says to him, ”  , behold your mother”.      If Mary was offended earlier when He told the people, “Who are My mother and brothers?”   she now realized exactly what He meant.     Spiritual relationships transcend physical relationships.     For a true Christian, a  relationship that is brought together by Jesus  because both are united with Him first and foremost is the most blessed relation one could ever have.

When John first met Jesus, he asked Him, “Teacher , where do you dwell?”  and Jesus replied, “Come and see”.      John went , saw and never left.     This time John took His Teacher’s mother “into his home” from that hour onwards because both Mary and John dwelled in Christ’s heart already.    Both are united with Him in spirit  as His true mother and brother.. and thus He joined them together as true mother and son..

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Exodus 17:12

So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.  But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set.  So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.…

John 19:18

Carrying His own cross, He went out to The Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.  There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side, with Jesus in the middle.

In reading these two passages in the scriptures,  the Lord made me realize the similarities.. how Mose’s arms being held upright in intercession for the Isrealites was prophetic of Jesus Sacrifice for us on the cross, with HIS arms outstretched as Mose’s arms were.  Aaron and Hur held Moses’ arms up,  but nails and Love held Jesus’s arms up.

The Isrealites’ battle was against the Amalekites, but the ongoing battle we all face is the battle against our unredeemed soul, sins  and the self-life..   Jesus offered Himself to the Father on our  behalf as our Redeemer to provide a way for us to come to Him for Salvation from the Enemy of Self and sin.     Only through Moses’s intercession and outstretched arms for Isreal was Isreal able to defeat their enemy.  Only through Jesus and His Sacrifice for us, are we able to defeat sin and our self-nature.

Moses sat on a rock while his arms were outstretched but Jesus IS The Rock.. That stone in which the builders rejected, that has become the chief Cornerstone  (Psalm 118:22)

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