Children Return Home

The relationship between a child and a parent is so telling of our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We raise our kids in love, give them everything we possibly can to make them healthy and happy… We love them so much we’d die for them… Yet when they are no longer little children, the world starts pulling them in different directions.. tempting them with counterfeit relationships as they face a burning desire within to move on from the world of security they’ve known… to go out and explore.. to remove the strings that tie them to home. And as you try to protect them and guide them, they start seeing you as an enemy – the one holding them back and restraining them. They don’t like your advice, they think you’re stupid and old fashioned… If you’ve had teenagers, you probably know what I’m speaking of.. I feel like this is what we do with God in many ways. We’re born into a sense of wonder and joy. Our imaginations are connected to the source of love.. but as we grow we want something else… to be independent from him… to go at it alone and explore our “self-life” using the talents and gifts he’s given us.. In the parable of the prodigal son, that boy took his gifts from his Father and left Him… went out into the world and ended up in a pig’s pen.. begging for food. Yet when he returned home, wishing to be just a servant in his fathers kindgom, as he no longer felt worthy to be called a son, the Father welcomed him with open arms and threw a party to celebrate that His son had come home. Last night I was in prayer and I felt the Lord showing me His heart’s desire… for His children to come home to him. Not a physical place of travel.. much bigger than that.. a heartfelt place where the source of Love is reconnected with His sons and daughters in a way that our number one cry from within is to be wrapped in the arms of our Father… to rest in Him and abide in Him as our place of refuge…that secret place where Jesus resides and we in Him and Him in us.

The Bride and the LukeWarm Church

Who is The Bride of Christ?  In a study through the book of Revelation tonight I was shown something I’ve not before seen – a certain reward only spoken of by Jesus to a direct group – the Church of Philadelphia.  Jesus describes these people as faithful to Him through their trials and tribulation.  He talks about their patience, (which is referenced throughout the bible as a result of enduring affliction and trial), he talks about their current state – having only a little strength left.  This people I believe corresponds with the parable Jesus spoke in the book of Luke about the wedding feast – the first ones that were taken weren’t in very good condition.. they were the blind and the sick and the weak and the lame.  Likewise in Jesus’ message to the Church of Philadelphia he said that he will keep them from the hour of temptation…. this Church of Philadelphia.  But here’s a really amazing thing he said.. He told them that to those who overcome He will write the name of his God (sounds like a wedding… the bride takes the name of the groom), and then he said that he will write the name of God’s city on them, which is New Jerusalem.  In Revelation 20, John saw the bride of Christ.. He says this, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”…. New Jerusalem IS THE BRIDE, and the Church of Philadelphia is the only church Jesus promised to write God’s name on them and New Jerusalem.  Who is the bride?  I believe the bride is the church of Philadelphia.

But what about the 7th church?  Who are the Laodicians?  This is the church that most people I think don’t want to be part of, as so many talk about the “lukewarm church” as a group that’s in great danger.  And they very well may be, as the Lord issued a threat to “spew them out of his mouth”… but He also issued a way and a very great promise to this 7th and final church in his messages.  He told them that they must buy gold of him “tried by the fire”.. and then said they must endure AS HE ENDURED.  And if they do these things, he promised them that they will sit with him on the throne.  This is huge.  If you recall, the disciples asked Jesus for this right.  They requested to sit at the throne with Jesus.  Jesus told them that they didn’t know what they were asking for and then asked if they could drink from HIS cup…. that cup was so intense it caused Jesus to sweat blood as he prayed to the Father and asked Him to take the cup from him.  What is required to sit at the throne with Jesus?  To endure AS HE ENDURED.  What does this mean to the often looked down upon group of souls that belong to this church?  It means they’re really important to God.  It also means they have a very tough road ahead of them, yet a very amazing reward awaiting them…. to sit at the throne with Jesus?  I’ve not found that promise offered anywhere else in the bible to anyone.

The first will be made last and the last will be made first…..

Many say they are the bride of Christ, and I believe that revelation is only one that can come to a person directly from the Lord.  But to all who have been told by God that they are part of this important group of tried and sanctified, loyal lovers of Christ, I would suggest this… the role we have as a bride is of the utmost importance to those who follow.  Because the “lukewarm church” that so many of us discuss like pointing fingers at the guilty – trying to define who’s who in these messages given by Jesus, happens to be a VERY important group to God.. perhaps the most important of all, considering this is the only church offered a reward to sit at the throne with our Lord an Savior.  So, I just pray tonight that the Lord will reveal to us through His spirit who we are and why we’re here – what mission he has for us in serving Him and the ones He sends us to… and that we see ourselves as servants (below the ones who are called by God to endure as Jesus endured).

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Jesus on The Cross – A Wicked Generation Seeks a Sign

The first 3 hours of Jesus on the cross, was passed with a great amount of chatter by those witnessing his crucifixion.  In all 4 Gospels we see a picture of a great crowd mocking and laughing as they spoke about Him and to Him.  Did they do this because they did not believe?  This is an interesting scenario because these people testified of his words, his miracles and then requested proof by “their standards – what was acceptable to them”.  And these words written of weren’t just ANY people, either.

In Mathew 27:41, the scene is set and he describes people passing by, shaking their heads, saying “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”  They knew the words of Jesus… which means, they were THERE or witness to a certain event that took place when Jesus spoke these very words to them as it written in all the gospels…  So going back, Jesus went Into Jerusalem, into the temple courts, where he found them selling stuff in exchange for money… Where?  IN THE TEMPLE COURTS – the Holy Place, where the people served God – it was corrupted with buying and selling.  And so Jesus drove them out of there and turned the tables upside down and told them who were selling doves, STOP making my Father’s house a place of merchandise. (John 2:17).  It’s interesting that many describe the symbolizing of a “dove” among the Israelites as the “spirit of God”…  Were they selling the spirit of God to make money?  And Jesus said, (Mathew 21:13), “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”  So at that time, they challenged Jesus who had corrected them and said, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?”… It’s like they were saying, “why should we listen to you?… Prove to us that you have the authority to tell us we can’t make money in the temple”….They seeked a sign and Jesus simply answered with this, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”  Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  But he spake of the temple of his body. – John 2:21… 

So back to the cross… Who were the people walking by wagging their heads saying, “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”??  Well, it would seem they were the same people that were standing in the temple courts (the Holy Place) making money off of God’s things – the ones who had AUTHORITY over the religion of the jews to do what they wanted in the temple – they were setting the rules, making the standards and MAKING A PROFIT off of God.  And they probably didn’t appreciate Jesus coming on the scene, busting up their show and demanding “you stop doing this in my Father’s house.”  So they were angry.. perhaps offended by Him.. or maybe they just didn’t like HIS way.. the way of selflessness and meekness…. but did they BELIEVE He was who he says He is?

In the accounts of the conversation taking place at the cross, along with those wagging their heads and mocking him, it’s identified that “Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said” – we have another description of who was leading this wolf pack of mockers who stood against Jesus.  They were the leaders of the church, at that time, (if it’s OK to call it a church – it was at that time the leaders of the religious people)….. The elders… the scribes…  THE CHIEF PRIESTS?  And what did they have to say?….

“He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” (Mathew 27:42)

They are testifying of the signs and wonders of Jesus Christ.  They saw him save people… they saw him heal people.. they saw the power of GOD in Him… yet they stand against him, mock him and STILL SEEK A SIGN.  It’s like everything Jesus did that was good made them more violently seek the demise of Jesus, and so they threw a testimony with an accusation at him, basically saying, “We KNOW he saved others and did all these amazing things but if HE’S REALLY THE KING, he would save himself.”  Why is that?  Is a King supposed to exhalt himself?… take the gifts of God and use them for self-gain – as they were selling God for money and Jesus taught that what they were doing was wrong.  The one and only true King chose to lay down his life as the ultimate gift of God… and they rebuked that example… Why is that?

Mathew 16:4, Jesus says – “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” And he left them, and departed.

What sign are we seeking?…  Sometimes I wonder if we look for the evidence of Jesus Christ living in us the same way these people did – “Jesus, if you’re really who you say you are, make me rich and healthy and give me a life full of all the finer things…. EXHALT me, and then I’ll believe you”…

It seems like lately, the thing that moves me most emotionally, is reading or hearing of testimonies from others who have found Jesus, through their suffering.  I can relate to that – I know HIS power to plant the good seed inside the fertile soil of a broken heart – deep into the core of everything that had to be broken into pieces and emptied of everything, in order to be filled with HIM….. Just like his flesh had to be broken… before he was raised back up… ahh, the simplicity of the truth.

There’s a song that I found recently called “Give me Faith”…  The Lyrics go like this..

I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that You’re shaping my life
All I am, I surrender
I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me
All I am, I surrender
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life

We seek knowledge… we seek self-proclaimed righteousness..  we seek control over the gifts the Lord has granted us..  and we seek to show signs of HIM through what we achieve… when the only choice that ever was and ever will be is SURRENDERING OURSELVES COMPLETELY TO HIM.

Matt Chandler said in one of his sermons I watched recently, “If this doesn’t make sense to you that’s ok.. it just means you haven’t bled enough yet.”   Father thank you for the ONE who bled for us, even as we bleed too.. but because HE ROSE.. we are risen with HIM.

I don’t deserve to live

I’ve spent most of my days contemplating what I deserve – like a spoiled child, questioning why others have more than me, better than me, less hurt or less trials.  And in spiritual ideas that lack truth I looked upon the story of a broken world taking no responsibility for the decisions of Adam and Eve.  Why should I suffer because they made an error?  Why do I have to live in a broken world because two that came before me made a mistake that offended God, our creator?  Doesn’t God know we (me) don’t deserve to live in sickness, pain, struggle and heartbreak at the hands of people we’ve never even met?

And I realize in this season, that I am them every single day, making a choice.  God is love, yet I betray his love second guessing his instruction, looking to the lies of this world for answers – chasing the American dream, accumulating stuff that doesn’t profit my soul, pondering that his ways are out-dated or somehow not relevant to the times we live in – as the serpent whispers, “he didn’t really tell you that did he?  Oh, that’s nonsense, you won’t surely die.”  God is love, yet the spirit of Cain causes me to look at others in comparison and bitterness.  I wonder why they appear to be living in favor while my efforts never seem to pan out the way I want.  God is love, yet the spirit of Abel causes me to seek revenge upon those who have caused me harm, treated me unfairly, spoken awful things about me or placed judgement on me, when judgement belongs to the Lord – Abel’s blood cries out to the Lord in accusation.  God is love, yet the gentle yoke of Jesus Christ – Yeshua Hamashiach, and his simple instruction to love others as myself and to love my neighbors and my enemies too seems to be so difficult.  If the Lord says its easy, how can it be difficult?

Oh Lord, please show us who we are.  Father, pour your spirit out upon all flesh and open our hearts to see the truth.  I pray to you to keep my children safe and far from evil, yet I struggle to follow your commands.  I’m a hypocrite and a liar and a thief and murderer all the days of my life.  Purge me Father – remove the sin and death and decay by the blood of Jesus, I beg you to make me whole, lacking nothing, wanting nothing, with the fruit of the spirit as a witness to your glorious work, that I may be transformed by love, kindness, meekness, patience, long-suffering and self-control.

I deserve death.  But God, in your mercy you’ve made a way for me to return to you through the price paid by the blood of Christ.  Let me not send him to that cross in vain.  Father, help me to accept the gift you give me freely and to abide in Him and Him in me for the rest of my days.  Destroy the adam and the eve and the cain and the abel inside of this filthy flesh and prosper my soul in spirit, that I may prosper by your will and in the goodness that you have promised to all who are called according to your purpose….. In Jesus’s mighty name, my Lord and My Savior, Yeshua Hamashiach, I thank you, Amen.