An Open Heaven And Its Impact

August 7, 2019

“Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He walked with us?”  Luke 24:32 

Does my heart burn when Jesus speaks?  Does it burn with conviction, but more often, does it burn as having been affected by a supernatural influence?  Have I known a series of life-changing moments when the heavens opened and all became clear?

On the very day that the tomb of Jesus was found empty by Mary Magdalene, two men walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus.  Both disciples of Jesus, they were in deep discussion about the report that Jesus was alive.  Incredulous, they couldn’t imagine it was true.  At that moment, Jesus appeared and walked with them though they didn’t recognize Him. He challenged their unbelief about the resurrection and began to remind them of Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah’s life, death, and rise to glory.  His words were so dynamic that when it was time to leave them, they begged Jesus to stay longer.  Later, when He broke bread with them, their eyes were opened, and He disappeared from their sight.

Then they had this conversation.  “We should have known.  Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He walked with us?”

When Jesus speaks, His words are potent.  I’m stunned.  A bit dissociated.  Unable to connect with the mundane.   Sleepless due to the excitement I feel.  Voraciously hungry for more.  Convicted of my sin.  More alive than I’ve ever been.  Wordless to describe the experience.  This is the aftereffect of hearing the Rabbi’s voice.

Like the old hymn, “He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.”  Any given day could be an ‘Emmaus Road’ day.  There are seasons of revelation.  Sometimes Jesus gives me an ‘open heavens’ kind of day and other times He is silent.  I must live off the memories of His last visit.  But one thing is for sure ~ His words bring physical, emotional, and spiritual impact.  David knew.  “My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned.”  Psalm 39:3

 If I live the breadth of my Christian life trying to model the principles of the Bible as if it were mere literature, not only won’t it be exciting but it won’t sustain me when storms hit.  Oh, this is not how it’s supposed to be.  I’m praying that you will have a ‘burning moment’ today, a supernatural appointment with the Spirit of God.  Set your heart in listening mode.

I don’t even have to wait for You to show up on my journey.  You’re inside.  My heart is ready.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!  Psalm 119:27 God’s agenda for me is to strengthen my faith.  Satan’s agenda is to destroy my faith.  He will do it by using pain and pleasure.  The pleasures tempt me to believe that there is something more desirable than God.  The pain …

Continue reading

Jesus ~ What Kept Him Going?

August 1, 2019

. . . so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me Get up, let us go from here. John 14:31

The Trinity had always been together, functioning in perfect harmony from before time. Their synergy is described in terms of a rhythmic slow dance. They moved in perfect sync. Each had a clearly defined role and the execution of them was achieved without the slightest hint of friction. So, imagine how their rhythm was disrupted when the Son left the Trinity to go to His mission field. Intimacy was disrupted as the Son became a child in Mary’s womb. God the Father bade His Son goodbye and watched Him leave. God was able to see into the future and though there was no fear of the unknown, there was still pain. He knew what awaited His child. Jesus did too – until He woke up as an infant in His mother’s arms.

What kept Jesus going? He was born in political upheaval and Roman rule was crude and cruel. The first way Jesus survived would due to His connection with His Father. The way He persevered was due to the love He felt for each of us. The way He endured resulted from His desire to be obedient to His Father’s call.

Jesus wouldn’t have made it without the fuel of all three catalysts. Before time, God envisioned the 40 days of temptation in the desert. He knew Lucifer intimately and could predict the all out war that would be waged. God knew who would accept Jesus as the Messiah. He knew the faces of those who would openly reject Him, too. He foresaw the close calls; the brushes with death as crowds plotted to kill Jesus. He meticulously planned each way of escape to ensure that His Son would fulfill His mission at Calvary. And yes, the Father also rejoiced, in advance, over the disciples that would be called and mentored. He looked down through the ages and saw an unstoppable church on the move. It would be battered but it would prevail. He saw it all and He felt what human parents feel at their child’s departure. Joy and agony.

The exact same way the Father infused fire and endurance into the life of His Son, He’s willing to infuse fuel into you and me. No magic formula. It’s about connection. This is the joy set before us.

I never want to live again through my iron will and gritted teeth. Always Lord, be near and fill me with Your fire. Amen

A Garment And Wings

July 31, 2019

He asked her, “Who are you?” She answered, “I’m only Ruth, your servant. Spread the edge of your garment over your servant, because you are my related redeemer.”  Ruth 3:9

God never meant for any of us to live in the center of tragedy.  It goes against the very reason we were created; to worship God and to behold His glory.  To go down to the deep, away from the heights of God’s glory, is to subject our soul to dark plots and despair.  If our eyes focus on nothing but sad things, how can know joy in the midst of pain?

I’ve been feasting on the beautiful love story in the book of Ruth.  Her life had taken some dark turns and loss had become her companion.  With no husband, no heritage, no children, and living in a land as the most vulnerable of widows, she looked up from her circumstances long enough to to cry out to the one who could redeem her story.  She approached Boaz in an outrageous moment, as he was sleeping on the threshing floor to protect his store of grain from being robbed.  She startled him, and then proceeded to ask him to spread the edge of his garment over her.  Symbolically, it was an intimate request.  To be under His garment, his tallit, was to be united to him in covenant love.  In Hebrew, the account reads like this ~ ‘she pulled his wing over her.’ The four corners of a Jewish man’s tallit symbolizes being under God’s wings.

Jesus’ tallit, his shawl and outer garment, was touched by many who were sick and they became well.  He spread his garment over Jairus’ daughter and raised her from the dead.  The woman with the issue of blood, a woman who was ceremonially unclean, entered the crowd in an attempt to just touch the fringe of Jesus’ tallit. In doing so, Jesus felt spiritual power go out of Him and the woman was healed.

In the aftermath of our son’s death, a death that came in a most horrific way, it is easy to get pulled into the darkness of the plot.  We need to grieve but we are not to grieve without hope.  We are not to dwell in perpetual darkness where we rehearse the tragic event until it overwhelms us.  God’s tallit beckons.  He offers to lift us up out of the darkness and then hide us under His wings where there is protection, perspective, and healing.  Near to Glory Himself, the darkest story is being transformed into a narrative of redemption.

David said, “When my heart is overwhelmed, I shall cry to You from the end of the earth; lead me to the cliff that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower against the enemy.  I shall stay in Your tent forever: I shall trust in the cover of Your wings.”  Psalm 61

There is an invitation to dwell in God’s tent, in the cover of His wings.  In doing so, we are lifted out of tortuous thoughts to praise our Healer and Redeemer.  He lifts us up to the cliffs, away from the carnage of the valley, where the billows of His wings descend upon the shoulders of the afflicted.  The cacophony of this world gone awry subsides. A holy calm invades to drown out the storm.

I am under Your wings, listening to the music of Your promises.  There are no hopeless tears, Jesus.  They are the faith-filled groans for redemption.  Amen