Traducir al EspaƱol

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Between Heaven and Earth: You, the Ladder

My spirit stirred with joy and excitement as Holy Spirit downloaded the truths to me that I am about to share with you. I scribbled so much into the margins of my Bible that day, that there was virtually no white space remaining on the page. If you want to fully understand this article, however, make sure and read my previous post. It is a critical introduction to this revelatory teaching.

In it, we talked about how Jesus both inhabits the high and holy place of Heaven, and dwells among us in our hurting world. We explored how His Spirit groans with the human pain in which He is immersed here. Today, we are going to delve into how He longs to channel His prayers for humankind through us, and how He will bring Heaven to earth through our surrendered lives when we partner with Him for this purpose.

Jesus Our Ladder


Jesus did not become our Intercessor when He ascended to Heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father. He occupied this office well before that point. In fact, His intercessory role underscored and saturated His entire mission as incarnate Savior.

The book of Hebrews describes His passionate lifestyle of prayer while here in the flesh: “During his earthly life Christ offered both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears… and he was heard because of his devotion” (Heb. 5:7, NET). The gospels tell us of His frequent habit of withdrawing for hours of time alone with Daddy God for this purpose. Spending all night long in intercession was not uncommon for Him.


It was during this window of His time on earth that Jesus became the fulfillment of Jacob’s supernatural encounter at Bethel. Centuries earlier, God had revealed to Jacob His vision for connecting Heaven and earth: “And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!” (Gen. 28:12, AMPC).

Jesus became that ladder. He Himself became the connection between the celestial Kingdom and this physical world. By acquiring a human body, He submersed Himself completely into the reality of the darkness and pain that had overtaken our planet since the fall of man. This is to say, He took up residence at the bottom of Jacob’s ladder, the earthly realm. From this position, He took up His ministry of intercession. He moved into place as the living bridge between us and all the fullness of Heaven.

At the very commencement of His ministry, He announced this intercessory function to his brand new disciples: “I tell all of you the solemn truth - you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51, NET).

They immediately recognized His reference to Jacob’s ladder. With these words, He was proclaiming to them, “I have come to fulfill what has been promised for so long. I have come as the living portal to Heaven. Through Me, the glory of My Father’s dwelling place will collide with Earth’s suffering. Starting now, My Kingdom will come, My will be done, here at the foot of the Ladder, as it is at its top, in Heaven.”

The Ladder Begets More Ladders


Those men did not realize it at the time, but in that moment, He was inaugurating their training. He immediately began modeling for them the role that He would soon pass onto them. After three and a half short years of ministry, He would be handing them His intercessory baton. He would be declaring to them, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12-14, NIV).


Of course, those words were not just for them, but for you and me as well. I am confident that you have heard this Scripture before, along with teaching that we will do more extensive, more mighty exploits than Jesus, as His representatives. However, did you ever notice the verses directly following? They are about prayer. The “greater things” that we are called to do have everything to do with our partnership with Him in intercession.

As He demonstrated for us how to become the connection between Heaven and earth, He has now beckoned us into that very role. He has now poured out His Spirit on us, to empower us to fulfill this commission on the earth, just as He showed us. We are to become living ladders, bringing the power of Heaven to earth’s vast needs through prayer. The activity of Heaven is to move up and down through us as we stand in the gap on behalf of the hurting and the broken. As we surrender to the Spirit of God, He will flow through us, connecting the high and holy place with the plight of the lowly:

“For this is what the high and lofty One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isa. 57:15, NIV).

Vessels of His Prayers


Holy Spirit has often pulled me into His powerful responses to the hurting world around me. The other day, it happened again. When I opened my phone to read the news, my eyes fell on a story of a public figure who lost her three-year-old daughter in a tragic accident. Even though I had never before heard of this individual, I burst into tears.

Someone observing from a natural perspective might have looked at me and assumed that I have an overly emotional personality, or was extra tired and on edge that day. However, I wasn’t. And I know better. This type of thing happens to me regularly, and I have learned to recognize it as the Spirit of Jesus interceding through me.


Holy Spirit aches with this woman’s pain, and not just with hers alone. Every single day, He hovers and broods over this world, involved intimately in each and every personal story. Every stab of emotional agony shoots through His heart. As such, He looks for willing Ladders who will allow Him to flow through them in prayer. As He experiences human pain acutely, He pours it out at the right hand of the Father in intercession through those of us willing to be His channels.

Understanding this, I have learned to pause when He begins to move in me this way. I let the tears come. I start to pray in the Spirit, allowing Him to well up in me with those groans that words cannot express. Once I give space to His expression, after a window of time (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter), the burden lifts. At that point, I know that He has accomplished in prayer whatever He needed to. Actual healing has been released into the earth through His intercession. My emotions return to completely normal, and I resume my usual activities.

Do you see that I did not have to “come up with” that prayer assignment? Holy Spirit coordinated, initiated, and executed the entire thing. All He needs, to bring Heaven’s answers to earth, is a surrendered, available vessel. He will do absolutely everything else.

He doesn’t need us to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. He’s already doing that. He doesn’t need us to keep tabs on all the sorrow and grief happening in every corner of creation. He’s already on that. He doesn’t need us to become the savior and fix the world’s problems. He’s already doing an astounding job moving the cosmos forward in His flawless plans for her complete redemption. He doesn’t need us to carry any of it. All He needs is vessels. As we lean completely into Him day to day, He will accomplish mind-boggling progress with His purposes through our yielded hearts and lives. He will do it, and we will have the breathtaking joy of being intimately involved!

Do you want to be His prayer channel? He is so eager to pour His redemptive life through you into the pain and suffering around you! You don’t need any special qualifications at all; not eloquence, not smarts, not charisma, not years of experience… only willingness. If you will offer yourself to Him today to be His intercessory conduit, He will take you up on the offer. He will begin to train you in the intricacies of recognizing and following His lead. Some indescribably wonderful adventures lie ahead as He begins to do new things in and through you, His living ladder!


Don’t miss the next installation of this series. I will be sharing some exciting specifics, addressing the “how to” aspect of partnering with Holy Spirit in His intercession for the world around us!

**********************************

Does this teaching stir your spirit with hunger for more of Jesus? I'd love to send my posts to you regularly! Look for the "Subscribe by Email" button on the desktop version of this blog to receive them in your inbox :)





Friday, March 9, 2018

Responding with the Spirit of Jesus to Human Pain

Sorrow hung heavily, like a shroud, over my soul that day. It had become painful to push through each task at hand. That’s when Jesus broke through to me. Suddenly, I felt His gentle hands on my cheeks. He ever so tenderly tilted my gaze upwards as He held my face. My eyes saw His. They were full of pain. My pain. He was feeling my pain.

Mercifully, that troubling season has come and gone, but the truth of that moment remains with me. Jesus is here in our suffering. His emotions are wrapped up in our heartache. Walking through the pulsating, stabbing agony with us, He feels it more keenly, more sharply, more deeply, than we even do. He identifies with us so closely in our anguish that He calls us “My brothers.” When someone ministers to us, alleviating our distress, He experiences great personal relief. Through the sound waves of eternity, His voice cries out gratefully to that person, “As you have done it unto My brothers, so you have done it unto Me!”



Jesus does not stop with feeling and identifying with our grieved emotions. He responds to them. His indescribably profound compassion is inextricably woven into the flow of His power on our behalf. Specifically, as He is touched with the feeling of our afflictions, He channels His lion’s roar of passion into intercession on our behalf. He is our great Intercessor, gone through the heavens to make unceasing prayers on our behalf to the Father. Through this post and the next, I will be unpacking both the principles of His own intercession and His invitation to us into partnership with Him as He stands in this role.

(Important note: Intercession does not need to be one of your main spiritual gifts for this article to relate to you. If you desire to know how to be a part of releasing Jesus’ power into your world to bring healing to its brokenness, read on!)


Soaring Joy and Searing Pain, Simultaneously?


If you have some understanding of how gloriously peaceful the heavenly places are, it may be confusing to think of Jesus as sorrowful. If the atmosphere around His throne is alive with joy inexpressible and resplendent with light more brilliant than the sun… then how could any sadness exist there? Especially since the book of Revelation tells us there is no weeping in Heaven?

I asked Him this exact question. In response, He breathed a Scripture from Isaiah into my spirit:

“For this is what the high and lofty One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isa. 57:15, NIV).

I began to understand. He lives in “a high and holy place” – which is Heaven – and with the lowly in spirit – here on fallen, dysfunctional Planet Earth. It’s not either/or. It’s both. He inhabits eternity, exulting in endless bliss… and He is right here in our mess, weeping with us. Because He is God, He has infinite capacity within Himself to experience all of this at once. He has room for joy inexpressible, full of glory and for the searing pain of unspeakable loss, simultaneously. It all fits within the immeasurable space of His exquisitely beautiful heart.

From the moment that Jesus stepped out of the eternal realm and into Mary’s womb, He brought fulfillment to the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14. God had announced from before the beginning of time that the Savior’s name would be Immanuel, God with us. He came to take up residence in a human body. He came to walk in our sandals, to find out what all of our sorrows tasted like. He came to drink them to the last drop.



Holy Spirit with Us… With ALL of Us


Everything that He experienced would then become fuel for His intercession when He had conquered death and sat down at the right hand of the Father. When He knew that new role was fast approaching, He invited His close friends to a private dinner to prepare them for the coming transition. There, He earnestly explained to them, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7, NKJV).

When Jesus returned to Heaven and the Father exalted Him to the highest place, He kept His promise. He poured out His Spirit on those waiting disciples. The Helper came and indwelt them far more intimately than even Jesus’ presence had been when He lived among them physically. The power He poured out over and through them was exponentially greater than what they had experienced by living in close proximity to Him in the flesh. A new era had begun.

That new era was and is marked by Holy Spirit’s inundating, saturating presence in the earth. He is everywhere. Tragically, so many people are unaware of His nearness. Even some of us Christians have an erroneous concept of Him that perceives Him as elitist. Often we imagine that He limits Himself to visiting and blessing church services. We think of Him as exclusively gracing believers in Jesus Christ with His nearness. This could not be farther from the truth.

Holy Spirit is right now hovering over forlorn prison cells and forgotten hovels. He is immersed in the anguished moments of distraught family members waiting by silent hospital beds. Wherever someone is brokenhearted or crushed in spirit, He is there, exceedingly close. He is the Spirit of Jesus. He is weeping with every grief-stricken soul on the planet. Every single one. His dwelling place is with the lowly; His longing, to revive and restore each heart.


Summoned Into a Holy Partnership


As Jesus incarnate was Immanuel, the Spirit of Jesus in the earth now carries on His Immanuel mission. He executes this charge in a way that is multiplied gloriously beyond what Jesus would have been able to accomplish if He were still in a human body. From His omnipresent position intertwined with humanity’s suffering, Holy Spirit is uniquely positioned to partner with Jesus in intercession. As the book of Romans expresses, “…The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26b, NKJV).

A few verses earlier, we see the concept of groaning associated with the world around us: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (v. 22). As we study this passage as a whole, we gain insight into the Spirit’s work. He is here with us. He is keenly, intensely experiencing the pain and the groaning of the world He brought forth. In response, He cries out in fervent intercession for His creation, with inexpressible groanings of His own.

And this is where you and I come in. This description of Holy Spirit’s guttural groans is actually in the context of our own prayers. To look now at the entire verse, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Left on our own, you and I would not know how to pray adequately. God here is very plainly calling us “weak” in prayer, when it comes to our own resource and ability. We just plain have no idea what needs praying for.

However, we are not left on our own! The Spirit of Jesus, intimately in touch with every problem on the face of the earth, is inside of our bodies, one with our spirits. He knows exactly what to pray, and He is summoning us to join Him on His intercessory quest. Yes, dear one, this includes you. He will pray through you and me, as we allow His passionate supplication to pour through our spirits and out of our mouths. He will bring fulfillment to the purposes of God into the earth, as we lean deeply into Him, following His lead in prayer!

He has been stirring this message in me for months, and I have much more to share with you about it. Please stay tuned for my next post. Together we will explore this partnership into which He is beckoning us – and how He desires to release His thoughts, intents, and redemptive plans through us into His beloved, hurting creation!

**********************************

Does this teaching stir your spirit with hunger for more of Jesus? I'd love to send my posts to you regularly! Look for the "Subscribe by Email" button on the desktop version of this blog to receive them in your inbox :)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Buying Gold from God



So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see” (Rev. 3:18, NLT).

This verse came into my spirit one morning recently as I was remembering what I had dreamed the night before. In the dream, my eye was red and clearly had something wrong with it. A prominent minister approached me with urgency, to pray for me. When she did, I felt utterly enveloped in love and collapsed under the power of God. When I came back to consciousness (in the dream), my eye was completely healed.

As I was journaling this dream, I sensed it was not only for me, but also for you. Holy Spirit began to give me a word to share with you. I opened up the book of Revelation to the passage above, and beautiful truth began to stir in my heart.

Before I jump into the meaning of the dream, let’s take a look at the Scripture He highlighted in conjunction with it. The preceding verse is important as well: “You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!’ And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (v. 17). Ouch, right? Sometimes, though, we need the Lord to be lovingly blunt with us.

The first thing Jesus does for us here is identify three reasons that the Laodicean church is in a state of spiritual wretchedness and misery (by extension, this sometimes applies to us too):

  • Thinking they are wealthy, they are poor.
  • Thinking they lack nothing, they are naked.
  • Thinking they already have everything desirable, they are blind.

Jesus then offers three spiritual commodities to His children – them and us – that tenderly address and provide for these crippling issues:

  • Purified gold.
  • White garments.
  • Eye salve/ointment.

Each one is symbolic of something that we desperately need from Him. We will examine them more closely, one by one. But first, we need to make sure and grasp what He means by instructing us to “buy” them from Him.


Oftentimes, we can understand one Scripture by cross-referencing another, related passage. In this case, Isaiah 55:1 provides us the insight we need: “The Lord says, ‘All you who are thirsty, come and drink. Those of you who do not have money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost (NCV, bold emphasis mine).

Under the terms of this world’s economy, a purchase is an exchange of merchandise or services for money. The economy of the Kingdom of Heaven works in an entirely different way. God does not mean that we are to put an order in for celestial goods that we must pay Him for. No; rather, He is inviting us into a different kind of exchange. We surrender to Him our poverty, and He gives us riches. We surrender to Him our nakedness, and He clothes us lavishly. We surrender to Him our blindness, and He bestows on us eyes that can see. His eternal nature means that He has infinite resources at His disposal. He delights to lavish them all on us, all at His own expense!

So, reflecting His openhanded, bighearted, munificent generosity, this passage continues: “Why spend your money on something that is not real food? Why work for something that doesn't really satisfy you? Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies. Come to me and listen; listen to me so you may live” (vv. 2-3).

Daddy wants us to lean into Him and listen for what will really make us come alive. As we do so, He invites us to surrender our shortages and deficiencies to Him, that in exchange, He may provide abundantly for the needs of our spirits.

What, then, are the three aspects of lack that He is pointing to in His letter to the Laodicean church? What do each of them mean?

Purified Gold


“So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich.” (Rev. 3:18, NLT).

Tragically, there are Christians who take laps around the same spiritual desert for forty years. They never cross over into the fullness, the milk and honey, the spiritual riches, that God longs to bring them into. This is because they have decided to just “make do.” They have allowed passivity and inertia to take over their lives.

Many times we, too, are like the Laodiceans. We tell ourselves that we are “just fine” and settle for the status quo of our physical comfort. We’ve got our Netflix and our couch and our smartphone and our pizza. What else could we need? Jesus kindly but firmly looks into our eyes and tells us that we are poor. He has wealth for us that we have not even begun to imagine, if we would allow Him to light a fire in our spirits for the pursuit of His presence.

Gold that has been purified in the fire represents faith. When we go through adversity and cling to God for the duration, He goes to work deep in the core of us, strengthening our character and our trust in Him. “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold” (1 Peter 1:7, NLT).


Adversity is inevitable in this life. On the one hand, it is entirely possible to survive hardship and only become hardened, bitter, and cynical as a result. On the other, adversity can instead become a tool that brings forth gold, if we remain in a posture of surrender to the Lord – and keep Him as the central passion of our existence. If we decide to truly yield to the purifying process that God desires to orchestrate in our lives, the end result will be stunning.

Job, of all people, understood this vital principle. This utterance burst from his soul in the midst of wracking pain: “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, NIV).

Real faith, purified faith, seasoned faith, strengthened faith, is immeasurably more precious than gold. Jesus offers this to us today. “Buy gold from Me. Give up your poverty and submit yourself to My brilliant, beautiful, sanctifying work in the depths of your heart. Are you tired of just making do with physical comfort while your spirit languishes? Are you weary of the same monotonous lap in the wilderness over and over? Come after Me with all that you are! I have such magnificent, masterfully laid plans for you as we walk hand in hand together through this life! Buy gold from Me. Then you will be rich!”

White Garments 


“Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness...” (Rev. 3:18, NLT).

The second Laodicean issue Jesus addressed was nakedness. Have you ever had a dream where you found yourself in public and suddenly realized your clothes were gone? How did that feel? Pretty awful, right?

That’s what this passage is about. Being naked and ashamed is symbolic of feeling exposed, vulnerable and full of shame – specifically here, about our sins. Daddy has a breathtaking provision to offer us for this heartbreaking problem. The white garments in this Scripture represent the lavish gift of righteousness with which He covers our spiritual nakedness.


When Jesus says that He covers our moral failures, this does not mean that He is concealing them or pretending they are not there. Quite the contrary; it means He is forgiving them and washing them completely away. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Ps. 32:1, RSV). See the parallelism there? Covered sin is forgiven sin. He no longer counts it against you! The Lamb of God has taken away your sins. He has erased them for all of eternity.

White garments. Think on that. Biblically, the color white represents holiness. The blood of Jesus purifies us through and through from the stains of our transgressions. He cleanses us so thoroughly that He leaves our spirits dazzingly clean… as blindingly white as freshly fallen snow lit up by the rays of the noonday sun (Is. 1:18).

“He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10, NKJV). Jesus has ornate, sumptuous garments of salvation with which to array us. Under the luxurious covering of His imputed righteousness, we become confident and secure.

These, too, Jesus holds forth to us in this moment. “Buy white garments from Me,” He says, His voice thick with longing for our freedom. “Draw near to Me and allow Me to cover you, to clothe you. Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow. When I wrap you with these extravagant, radiant, glorious robes, your shame will be gone forever!”

Eye Salve/Ointment 


“I counsel you to buy from me… salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see” (Rev. 3:18, ESV).

Here we have the third and final commodity King Jesus is offering to “sell” to us, without money and without cost. Just as He longs to lavish us with golden faith to replace our poverty, and magnificent white robes to cover our shame, He also deeply desires to transform our blindness into spiritual sight.

I have a dear friend who suffered tragic vision loss as a result of a terrible accident at work. He still has his peripheral fields of sight, but his central vision is completely gone. I have been so struck by his ability to navigate physically in spite of his handicap. Oftentimes, we are like that spiritually. We are missing major pieces of our vision, and have learned to push through life and survive without them.

Someone once sent me a video of a baby boy receiving some very needed glasses. He had severe vision issues and hadn’t really been able to see his mother before that moment. The way his face lights up in innocent, unabashed joy when he sets eyes on her for the first time… words just don’t do it justice. I laughed and teared up and replayed it I don’t know how many times.

Screengrab Via YouTube

That’s what Daddy wants for us. No parent has ever gazed with such tenderness on their child as He does on us. He yearns for us to be able to truly perceive the oceans of love in His eyes as He looks into our faces.  It hurts His heart when we miss out on the unspeakable riches that come when the eyes of our heart can truly see Him.

This is where my dream comes in. My dream self had a serious vision problem and needed restoration. How did God choose to provide the needed healing? By completely wrapping me up in His love. His love was so powerful, so overwhelming, that it literally swept me off my feet. It overcame me. When He finished His indescribably profound work, I could see again.

This is how He heals our spiritual eyes; by enveloping us in His love. Our verse from Revelation uses the word “anoint.” That is exactly what He does for us. He imparts His anointing to our eyes. He transmits restoration to them through the raw power of His devotion. Eye salve is anointing. It’s the revelation of His love.

When does He apply this salve to our eyes? The answer lies in the same passage, two verses later: “Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me” (v. 20, TLB).

We receive healing for the eyes of our heart when we open the door to Jesus. All day long, every day, He woos us. He knocks. He yearns. He initiates. He pursues. He invites. When the moment comes that we open to Him, He comes in. He wraps us up in His arms, and indescribably rich, profound, healing fellowship begins.

Today, lean into the passionate tones of His voice as He beckons to you, “Come, precious child, Heaven’s store is open! Trade in your poverty at My counter for wealth that truly satisfies. Trade in your emptiness for life that is truly life. Leave your sin and your shame here with Me and take home resplendent white robes! And, dear one, buy salve from Me. I long to heal your vision so you can look into My face. I want your eyes to drink in all the infinite depths of My love for you. Do you hear My heart calling to you? I yearn to envelope you in My embrace! Here I am, knocking!"

Will you open to Him?


Would you like to receive encouraging posts like these in your inbox? To do so, you can subscribe here.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Then the King Will Say...

“Since Jesus knew what was going on, he said to them, ‘Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for me’” (Matt. 26:10, GWT).

As I read this passage a few days ago, Holy Spirit was bringing me into the story. I could feel Jesus’ inner being full of emotion as He received this woman’s ministry. He was only days away from His death. His awareness of its rapid approach is evident in the numerous remarks that kept flowing from His heart about the subject. Just eight verses earlier in the text, He had again announced to His disciples: “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified” (v. 2, NKJV).

Jesus was human. Humans have emotions. His soul could already perceive the weight of what He was about to endure. The bitterly cruel taste of the cup He was “about to drink” (Matt. 20:22) was already present on his tongue. His razor-sharp prophetic awareness allowed Him to keenly feel the nearness of His pending torturous death.


Under these conditions, He watches this earnest, beautiful sister come in. She is clutching in her hands her most valuable physical possession, an alabaster jar full of costly perfume. Easily worth a year’s wages, this vessel in many ways represents all her life’s dreams and longings. Having resolved to give Him the very most precious gift she could procure, she has already broken the seal. Her eyes fixed on His face, love spills from her countenance as she gently approaches Him. She is holding nothing back. She is steadfastly determined to pour out on Him the most generous expression of her love, that which will cost her everything.

He sees the passionate adoration burning in her eyes. The aroma of the perfume matches the beauty of her fragrant love; both fill and saturate the atmosphere, surrounding Him with the revelation of His belovedness. Her love, reaching out, is making intimate contact with His soul. She is meeting Him in the midst of the pain He is already beginning to bear. This palpable demonstration of her unbridled devotion is alleviating the heaviness of the weight pressing on His emotions. Her worship enters into the core of Him and brings Him intensely profound comfort. She is ministering to the very depths of Him.

Overwhelmed by her expression, He cannot hold back His gratitude. He exclaims, “In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial!” (v. 12, ESV). She has not only prepared His body; she has also helped prepare His soul. Her love has imparted tangible relief and strength to Him. He continues, “Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her!” (v. 13). So important, so essential, so vital is her role in this week leading up to His death, that the stunning beauty of what she did for Him must be announced all over the entire world!

*************************

Just two subheadings earlier in the book of Matthew, we find a flabbergasting revelation. You and I can likewise minister powerfully to Jesus, reaching His heart with the same degree of overwhelming intimacy, as this woman did.

How?

“I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison, and you visited me… When you did it to these my brothers you were doing it to me!” (Matt. 25:35-36, 40, TLB).

Days before His death, Jesus gazed into the future and saw this scene. He saw Himself seated on His throne in all of His majesty. And in the midst of all His glory, He saw Himself thanking us. He saw Himself pouring out His inexpressibly profound gratitude to us. He saw Himself expressing the depths of His heart about how we personally alleviated His pain.

Can you imagine the King of Kings on the throne as John the Revelator saw Him? “His eyes like a flame of fire… He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev. 1:14b, 16, NKJV). Jesus, revealed in the fullness of His infinite might, shining like the sun in all of its brilliance, looking at you in the eyes and expressing… vulnerability? “I was hungry, thirsty, naked. I was sick and alone, languishing in prison. I desperately needed someone to come.”

How is this possible?

In this expression of His heart we find the answer: “For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isa. 57:15, RSV, bold emphasis mine).

Jesus both inhabits the high and lofty position of His unspeakably magnificent throne… and dwells amidst the squalor of the most forsaken squatter populations of the earth. Both. He is magnified and lifted up, exalted with the Name that is above every other name… and He is in prison. He fills all of eternity with His measureless, omnipotent glory… and He is here with us, struggling in our pain.

There is affliction all around us. Our existence intersects with the lives of broken people, hurting from the consequences of the fall of man. No doubt, you yourself reading this post, have your own share of heartache that you have either walked through in the past or are currently enduring.

Jesus is in all of it. When His physical body ascended into heaven, His Spirit came to inhabit earth. The Holy Spirit is both His own distinct Person, and He is Jesus. He is the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus really meant it when He said He would be with us always, even to the end of the age. To be with us, He has to be here. He is here.

Jesus is fully, intimately present with us. His emotions are wrapped up in our human experience. As a result, He is hungry. He is thirsty. He is wandering around impoverished barrios in soiled rags. There are open sores on His skin and His stomach is bloated. Flies buzz unceasingly around His unhealed rash. He is sleeping on cardboard on the sidewalk, huddled in a foul-smelling blanket. He is incarcerated, longing for someone to care.


The woman with the alabaster jar touched Jesus’ very core with her love. So can you. For you see, wherever someone is suffering, He is there. When you look into their eyes, if you pay close attention, you will see Him looking back at you. He is right there next to you in line at the grocery store. He is standing behind that cash register. He is bringing you your food at the restaurant. He is walking down the sidewalk in front of your house. He is living next door.

He doesn’t expect you to save the world. But He is asking if you will reach out and relieve His pain? When you show that one kindness, you are alleviating His aching. When you bless that one with a warm touch and a genuine smile, tangible comfort reaches into His very soul. When you sacrifice your comfort and give of what is most precious to you, in order to enter into the world of “the least of these,” He is inexpressibly grateful. These are His “brothers.” These are the precious ones that He loves more than His life.

We began this conversation describing the worshiping woman with a jar of expensive perfume in Matthew 26. Her identity remains undisclosed. In spite of Jesus’ determination to make her breathtaking act of love known throughout the entire world, He does not tell us her name. I believe this is because He is inviting us to be her. To fill in our own name in the blank. Today, He is beckoning to you. He is earnestly asking you to personally minister to the very depths of His heart.

How will you respond?


Would you like to receive encouraging posts like these in your inbox? To do so, you can subscribe here.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Unstoppable and Unafraid

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.” (Matt. 24:6, AMP).

When you hear news reports suggesting the possibility of North Korea setting off nuclear destruction, what is your inner response? In Matthew 24, Jesus prophesies the violent turbulence of the end times. We have already arrived in the period He is describing; we cannot ignore the signs that practically flash this message to us in neon lights. However, in the midst of all the turmoil, He explicitly commands us, “See to it that you are not afraid.”

There are two very distinct ways to live life in this current chapter of God’s unfolding story. The default option is to glue ourselves to the glowing television screen and allow it to interpret reality for us. In doing so, we can make the choice to daily devour the servings of fear, suspicion, and dread that the mainstream media constantly serves up. In essence, we can spend our days in anxiety and unrelenting nervous apprehension of the world as we know it unraveling before our eyes.

Alternately, we can embrace God’s perspective and live out each moment as if this were the most exhilarating human era to be alive in all of history! Because it IS!!

The further we advance along the developing timeline, the more God is going to ask of us that we choose the latter. In this critical time, as His calendar is put on display, He is calling us to rise up and live above fear.

Are We Making Any Progress?


A few years ago, I was grappling with a question that had been troubling me at the edges of my mind for some time. Musings on the need to re-dig spiritual wells that had become obstructed circled through my thoughts. I brooded over the task of taking our cities for Jesus, when oftentimes they had already seemingly been taken for Him before. What about cases like the church in LA crying out for revival? I wondered. Just over a century ago, the fires of Azusa were burning brilliantly in that very geographical location! Do they need to now retake the same territory? Was all that progress lost?

So I asked God about it. “Lord, are we just re-doing, in every generation, what’s been done before? Or are we actually advancing, making some headway, achieving some forward movement?”

He answered me by reminding me of a dream that He gave to a pagan king thousands of years ago. For whatever mysterious reason, He decided that He would give revelation of the end times to a ruler who worshipped demon gods. As the prophet Daniel explained to him, “There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days” (Dan. 2:28, NKJV).

In short, Nebuchadnezzar saw a colossal, majestic statue that represented the kingdoms of the earth. Then a mysterious stone, hewn by invisible hands, struck the enormous structure and shattered it into absolute dust. A wind came and blew away all traces of it. What happened next is the key for our purposes today: “But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth” (v. 35, NLT).



If this is a picture of “the latter days,” what do you imagine that mountain represents? What unbounded joy is ours, when we come to understand that this mountain is a symbol of the Kingdom of God taking over the entire earth!

God is taking over this planet, and there is absolutely nothing the devil can do about it. Now that, my dear friend, is the correct perspective with which to view everything that is happening in the world today.

The Unstoppable Stone


Jesus is that stone from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. He is the “stone that the builders rejected” (Acts 4:11). Through His birth, death, and resurrection, He knocked down and entirely obliterated the existing power structures on earth. The devil was disarmed, defeated, and humiliated. At that point, Jesus began to reign, establishing His rule here on earth. For this reason, His main message to the multitudes was, “The Kingdom of God has come! It is now in your midst!”

Jesus the Stone also issued this prophetic announcement about Himself, “On this Rock, I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). When He ascended into heaven, the early church was born. The rock began to grow. From that time until now, it has continually increased in size and stature. What began as an embryo in Mary’s womb has gradually become a mountain of staggering proportions spreading out over the entire globe!

This was God’s answer to my question. “No, dear child, My faithful laborers on the earth today are not simply reinventing the wheel. With every generation that I bring forth, this mountain is towering higher and higher, getting ready to subjugate the entire creation.”

Isaiah, too, saw this far ahead of time and proclaimed through prophetic vision, “For unto us a Child is born… of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (Isa. 9:6a, 7a, NKJV). When was this ever-enlarging government slated to begin, according to his prophecy? “From that time forward, even forever” (v. 7g). 

From the time this Child was given unto to us, the stone has been growing. It has ever since been expanding relentlessly in every direction. It has been aggressively acquiring massive dimensions. And according to this prophecy, there will be no end to its increase! There will be no point, ever, where the growth of His Kingdom dwindles, falters, halts, or even briefly pauses. He is taking over, and who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Terrified Opponents


As the mountain of God’s Kingdom grows upward and outward exponentially, it occupies more and more territory. As a result, His enemies have less and less space in which to operate. They are agonizingly aware that their domain is constantly shrinking. Agitated and frantic, they know how short their time is. They are miserable spirits, existing as defeated, humiliated failures. Their wretchedness is made even worse by their awareness that their eternal torment in the lake of fire is swiftly approaching.



Every day that passes, they can see the sands of time falling through the hour glass. The increase of wickedness that you see on the earth today is simply the manifestation of their desperation. The wars, the rumors of wars, the hatred, the spitefulness, the perversion, the violence, the evil running rampant – all of this is their terrorized, panicked last attempt to delay their horrendously inevitable eternal destiny. They are clawing at the edge of the cliff even as they already feeling themselves falling into the abyss.

Should we, then, be intimidated by them? Intimidated by beings that know to their deepest core that their place is under our feet? Fearful of thwarted, vanquished creatures that tremble, grovel, cringe, and flee away before the glorious presence of the Lord of all creation? By no means, dear child, by no means! Far be it from us!

Jesus was speaking in earnest when He said, “See to it that you are not afraid.” He meant it. Those words He chose, “See to it,” put the responsibility on our shoulders to cultivate a lifestyle that is both valiant and free of fear.

The choice lies before us. Will we feed our spirits daily with only fear and vitriol, pathetically hypnotized by the allure of the screen? Or will we choose to run after God with unrestrained passion, pursuing Him as the all-consuming object of our appetites? Will we crave Him? Will we make Him our one thing?

The days are coming when this choice will mean life, or death. Let’s choose Him now, being filled up to overflowing with all the fullness of His mighty strength, channels of His majesty in the most glorious epoch of history ever to be alive!

The Lion of Judah is roaring – do you hear Him?

“Arise, my people! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you. Darkness as black as night shall cover all the peoples of the earth, but the glory of the Lord will shine from you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see the glory of the Lord upon you!” (Isa. 60:1-3, TLB).


Would you like to receive encouraging posts like these in your inbox? To do so, you can subscribe here.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Airlifted Out: You Don't Have to Stay Down There!

“Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” (Ps. 144:1, NKJV)

Whether we realize it or not, we are living out our lives in the middle of a fierce combat zone. Many of us have not yet learned to discern the spiritual origins of much of the turbulence that comes into our lives. However, the spiritual battle that rages around us is incredibly real. “Our fight is not against people on earth but against… the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world” (Eph. 6:12, NCV).

When the Scripture refers to us as soldiers, Holy Spirit is not merely speaking metaphorically. We truly, legitimately ARE operating on a violent battle field. The sound of clashing armies resounds all around us.

Awareness of the war zone we are in will not cause fear to arise in our hearts if our gaze is fixed on the One who is invisible! He is God Almighty, and the demons tremble at the mere mention of His name on the lips of one who walks closely with Him. With a mere blast of breath from His nostrils, He could slay every last one of His enemies in the blink of any eye.

He is calling us up higher. He is inviting us to fixate on Him in all of His glory and splendor. As we do so, filled with the confidence of Who He is inside of us, we will find ourselves beginning to rise above the demonic activity happening around us.

So much of our Christian life is a training ground for growing in effectiveness as warriors. In this post, I would like to explore one of the most vital aspects of this training: learning to ascend. In order to operate from the place of victory that Jesus purchased for us with His blood, it’s absolutely essential that we learn to go up higher in the heavenly realms.



A Dream and a Vision: Airlifted Out


Holy Spirit graciously and generously provided an amazing visual illustration of this principle, through my dear friend Hannah Mattner. With her blessing, I want to share with you a life changing encounter she had with Jesus. These are her words describing a dream that she had, which was fraught with spiritual warfare:

“I started to literally see the spiritual realm, so clearly, and I was seeing demonic faces… I felt fear, because what I was experiencing was incredibly overwhelming. There was SO MUCH happening that I suddenly was seeing, feeling, hearing, and understanding. It was scary, intimidating… The demons were attacking me. I screamed at the top of my lungs, shaking violently. A demon came out of nowhere right up to my face…”

At that point, Hannah woke up, affected throughout her whole being by the impact of the dream. She then describes:

“It was 1:26 am and I was sweating. I remembered the whole dream and the demon’s face was embedded in my mind. I put my worship on...”

This is where her Holy Spirit combat training kicked in. As she was now awake, He transitioned her from the intense dream into a vivid vision. Through it, He showed her how to move up out of the fray and into victory:

“Then I had this vision of me being in the room from the dream (where it ended) and He plucked me up with His hand, airlifting me out of there – it felt like I was floating. He brought me up so high in the sky, above the clouds, where it was quiet, tranquil, peaceful, beautiful and bright. I was so calm and at ease, and I could feel His presence all around me. His light shining so warm and bright, He illuminated everything.

“He told me to look down, and when I did I saw a layer of clouds. Below them it was dark. I could see all of those demons, the enemy’s whole operation, running rampant, doing their work. Holy Spirit told me, ‘They can’t come up here. They’re powerless to you when you operate from here. You have the power and authority to be here, which is where I want you to be. This is where you fight from.’

“And with that I felt so much at rest. I realized just how small satan and his demons were from being up so high. The enemy had no power unless you fought at his level.”


Seated With Jesus Far Above Every Demon


God couldn’t have made His message more clear. Hannah shared this experience with me nearly two years ago, and over and over, it has come back to my mind. I am convinced that her vision illustrates one of the most crucial revelatory points that we need for victorious living. God wants us occupying the higher place!



Spiritually speaking, we have already obtained the higher position. God has already placed us there. “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6-7, NLT).

This is actually rather mind-blowing if you think about it. We are seated with Christ. To understand what this means, we need to know where His seat is. Wherever He is seated, that is where we are too. Just nine verses earlier, Holy Spirit reveals the answer: “[The Father] raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion…” (Eph. 1:20b-21a, ESV).

Jesus has won the position far, far above every demonic power! And the Father has resurrected you from spiritual death and positioned you right there with Him. You, too, are seated high, high above every spiritual enemy that has ever hated you! That is astounding!

Even as astonishing as this good news is, though, I still found myself with a question in my heart. I asked the Lord, if I am seated far above every demon, why does it often still feel like I’m right in the midst of the fray? Even this same book of Ephesians, a few chapters later, is coaching us on the vital importance of spiritual armor. Why would I need armor if I weren’t in the fray?

Simultaneously Above and Beneath


This is one of those biblical mysteries that we can only understand through the Holy Spirit’s communication to our spirit. It’s a both/and principle. We are both seated high above, and we are still in the fray, fighting the good fight of faith. We are both already high above, and we need to ascend. We find the concept of moving up to a higher place in spirit frequently throughout Scripture. Here are a few examples to meditate on:
  • “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob…” (Isa. 2:3, NKJV).
  • “And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here’” (Rev. 4:1, NKJV).
  • “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?” (Ps. 24:3, NKJV).
  • “Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God” (Jer. 31:6, NKJV).
  • “And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here’” (Rev. 11:12, NKJV).
  • “I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says…” (Hab. 2:1, NLT).
Ascending means locking our focus on the Lord of Angel Armies. As we connect into the reality of His matchless, glorious, untouchable rule over everything that exists, we will find ourselves immersed in the atmosphere of heaven.

God is simultaneously present in both the heavenly and the earthly realms. So are we. Our bodies are on the earth while our spirits are one with Jesus, seated with Him. The more we learn to focus on “the things that are above” (Col. 3:2), the more we will learn to operate increasingly from our superior spiritual position. More and more, we will fight from the place of victory rather than trying to meet the devil at his lower, defeated level.



Just as the Israelites had to move into and occupy the land that God said was already theirs, so we too are learning to occupy the heavenly position He has purchased for us. He has already made it ours. However, we are still learning to walk in the fulness of what is our own.

This is why we need the Holy Spirit’s constant tutelage. “We have received… the Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts bestowed on us by God” (1 Cor. 2:12, AMP) It’s His job to teach us all things. He is our combat trainer. He is training our hands for war and our fingers for battle. He is teaching us to ascend. He is teaching us to fight from higher ground, from the place of victory.

About a year ago, I was in the midst of some exceptionally intense warfare. It was one of those seasons where nearly every day was a painful struggle. In the middle of everything that was going on, Holy Spirit spoke gently to my heart. “You don’t have to stay down there,” He said. “Come up here with Me.”

The battle is real. We are in it. Yet, in Him, we are exceedingly elevated above the skirmish even as our bodies are in it. Even as our boots are on the ground, our spirits are united with Christ high above any demonic name that can be named on the earth.

Today, ask Holy Spirit to open your eyes to your breathtaking position seated with Jesus. When you learn to operate from the place of victory that is yours, it will make all the difference in the world.

He’s ready to airlift you out!



If you would like to better understand how to go up higher, you can find more on that here.
To get encouraging posts like these in your inbox, you can subscribe here.

Hannah is also a delightfully gifted photographer and videographer! You can follow her on Instagram (@hannahmattner) and subscribe to her YouTube channel, YouTube.com/hannahmattner.



Saturday, October 14, 2017

Jesus' Little Ones: Come into the Story with Me!

Jesus’ keen, bright eyes enthusiastically scanned the waiting crowd. He was searching for the perfect visual illustration of the message burning in His heart for these treasured ones gathered around Him. Holy Spirit pointed to a beautiful two-year-old boy playing contentedly next to his mother in the grass. “His name is Eli,” the Spirit breathed the words into His heart.

Jesus squatted down to the child’s level. “Eli! Come here, little guy.” Eli looked up from his stack of pebbles, curious. Who besides his mama and sisters here knew his name? The most kind, gentle face he had ever seen was looking at him, the Man’s hands outstretched. Without hesitation, he straightened up and trotted over to Jesus. The Teacher grinned into Eli’s eyes and fondly caressed his soft black curls. Eli’s face lit up with a beam of innocent delight, returning Jesus’ gaze. He could tell this Man liked him.

Jesus exchanged a smile and a glance with Eli’s mother, wordlessly securing her blessing to keep her boy with Him a little longer. She nodded her permission shyly, pleased. Her energetic toddler rarely remained still for more than a few seconds. She was surprised at how contented he now was to stand quietly leaning back into Jesus, blinking at the masses of people gathered around. The Teacher stood again, His hand resting on Eli’s head, and the child glowed with peace.

Jesus paused and took time to look into the individual faces assembled around Him. His tone vibrant with loving authority, He began to convey what was on His heart. “The truth is,” He explained, continuing to look around, “You must change your thinking and become like little children. If you don’t do this, you will never enter God’s kingdom. The greatest person in God’s kingdom is the one who makes himself humble like this child” ¹.

Jesus’ Invitation


Everything about Jesus’ bearing emanated affection for Eli. A warm atmosphere of love surrounded Him, enveloping the little boy and everyone listening. Eager ears leaned in, concentrating on His teaching. Thirsty spirits had even now begun to respond to His truth. He was communicating to them not only through His words, but also through His voice, through His piercing gaze, and through His powerfully welcoming demeanor. Even in just hearing His introductory statement, they could already discern how momentous His message was: Jesus was appealing to their deep hearts, beckoning them all to become His Father’s little ones. He was inviting every hungry soul to belong.


Jesus then lifted Eli up in His arms. He kissed the child’s rosy cheek and continued, “And whoever welcomes a child like this in My name welcomes Me” ². His eyes gave away His overwhelming love for the boy.

His voice grew fiercely protective. “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea!” ³. He held Eli even closer as He spoke these words.

Fathers and mothers in the crowd observed closely. They could tangibly perceive Jesus’ protectiveness of the child in His arms. The way Jesus was holding him brought to mind their own daughters and sons. How the instinct to guard and shelter rises up aggressively within, at any threat of hurt to our little ones!, they thought. Watching Jesus, they could perceive that He would go to any length to shield the little boy in His embrace from any harm.

They leaned in, wanting to capture every nuance of what Jesus was imparting. Their hearts too were beginning to burn. Somehow, they were also identifying with Eli. Hadn’t Jesus explained to them how good, how loving, how caring, how attentive the Father is? Ripples of revelation spread out through the crowd. Hearts’ eyes were opening to see the image of Daddy God in Jesus. How tenderly He held Eli!

Holy Spirit was breathing the meaning of the Teacher’s assertions deep into their core. Jesus was longing for them, too, to be held and cherished as God’s little ones, just like He was holding and cherishing the small boy. They thought about His words. “…One of these little ones who believes in Me…” He had said. Their spirits came alive with His implication – He was referring to every one of them whose newfound faith was springing forth as they listened to His captivating words! Each of the hungry hearts knew: they were His little ones!


Passionately Love-charged Admonitions


A few moments later, His tone shifted to that of a stern but compassionate fatherly warning. With intensity He urged, “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire” ⁴. Even in these serious words, the sons and daughters listening could sense the profound love in His voice. His overwhelming concern for the destiny of their souls was unmistakable.

Jesus looked back at Eli with deep tenderness. As He softly rubbed his back, Eli leaned his little head on Jesus’ shoulder. Jesus then made a sweeping motion with His hand, indicating His loyal followers that sat nearby. He expressed His next thought. “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” ⁵. His hand then returned to Eli’s back, which He continued to stroke gently. The day had been long, and Eli was getting sleepy. His head remained nestled into the crook of Jesus’ neck.

Receiving their Master’s affirmation, His disciples’ hearts warmed with pleasure. How they relished being called God’s little ones! At first, Jesus’ habit of referring to them that way had seemed strange. How could grown men be the little ones of a Man in His early thirties? But they had grown to cherish His loving tones when speaking of them that way. How they admired this Teacher whom they had left everything to follow! How He had captured their hearts!

They continued to voraciously absorb every moment of His illustrated sermon, watching how He ministered to Eli even as He continued to teach. Jesus’ rich affection for people had become a familiar sight to them, one they never tired of. He regularly lavished affection on them too. Although He did not hesitate to correct them when they needed it, they always knew how fiercely He loved them. That sense of living, tangible love never ceased flowing from His person towards them.

They also drank in His words about their angels. Looking at each other, their faces reflected wonder. Not even just one angel. Angels, plural. Multiple angels, no less, assigned to their care! Angels with direct, uninterrupted access to the Father’s presence. Angels constantly in communication with the General Manager of the Universe, receiving His immaculately attentive instructions on how to surround, protect, and uphold them moment by moment. How cherished they were! It was hard to take it all in, but every day with Jesus, the revelation of Father’s love for them sunk deeper into their hearts.

A Living Parable


They looked up as Jesus went on. Without letting go of Eli, He was telling a story now. What a masterful storyteller He was! The entire audience was captivated inside His words as He told of a shepherd with a hundred sheep who had lost one of them. All His listeners felt like they could almost see the devoted man searching high and low, hacking through treacherous forests, crossing dangerous currents of water, tirelessly pushing through the night to find His lost sheep. Jesus described for them the shepherd’s ecstatic joy when he finally found the little creature trapped under a fallen tree branch, bleating out his plea for help. Elated tears ran down his weathered cheeks as he untangled his treasure and carried him home!


Riding on the compelling energy generated by His story, Jesus then brought the mesmerized listeners to His conclusion. Locking eyes with them, He uttered with passion, “In just the same way, your Father in heaven does not want any of these little ones to be lost!” ⁶.

When He spoke that last phrase, “these little ones,” His gaze fell on little Eli again. The boy was asleep, cradled in Jesus’ arms. He had become a living parable. Jesus gently kissed his forehead. The entire space was silent as every person there drank deeply of what He had just imparted to them. Then softly, one by one, all of Daddy’s little ones dispersed and walked back to their homes.

_________________________________

¹ Matt. 18:3-4, ERV
² Matt. 18:5, GWT
³ Matt. 18:6, NET
⁴ Matt. 18:8, NET
⁵ Matt. 18:10, NIV
⁶ Matt. 18:14, TEV