Monday, July 15, 2013

Reflections of What is Above!

The more I read about Jesus in the New Testament, the more I cannot help but fall deeper in love with God.

"Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." ~John 14:9-10

Jesus, while on this earth, operated out of His humanity and in perfect surrender and yielding to the Father, perfectly expressed Him to mankind. When you see Him doing something, or speaking something, He was expressing the Father to us. Like a picture of a landscape near a body of water. The image that you saw on the surface was a direct reflection of what was above!

I remember a time in my life when I looked at the Father as this "Divine Employer" who was ready to write me up if I did not work my tail off for Him. It was a muddy reflection.

I would sit in weekly staff meetings at the church where I worked and cringe inside when the previous Sunday did not have the "Right amount of offering come in" or "not enough visitors in the front door" or "You are not working hard enough to keep people in their place" and it was always expressed to the assistant pastors that we were not working hard enough or making the right amount of "Connections" with people.

I would see men who worked very hard, belittled to the point of tears by a sharp and destructive tongue over their "poor performance" and would think of the words of the prophet Ezekiel in chapter thirty four.

"And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. "~ Ezekiel 34:1-5

It was sad because if success and blessings were determined by the dollar amount cleared between Sunday School and church or by the number of heads in a service then where was God on those days where we did not work hard enough? He was only blessing when things were good? The reflection was anything but true. God was presented as a muddy riverbank who was only pleased when results were good.

I remember the day that I discovered that there was not one thing that I could do to make God love me any more than He already did. I sat there in my office and just cried because I had taken my first step down the section of trail that God had used every event and circumstance in my life to lead me to. He began to teach me about His clear reflection!

I would read how Jesus reached out to individuals in their individual needs and just be blown away that if He (Jesus) was expressing the God of the universe, then He (Jesus) proved that God noticed us as individuals with individual needs.

He reached out to a blind man in his need of sight and used that circumstance as an introduction between the blind man and a Holy God. In other words, "Your need was allowed by God to help you see His presence and nearness in your life. He has used this need to help you become closer to Him".

He used the wall of silence to help a deaf man hear.

He used a wall of illness to help a woman with an issue of blood step up to Him.

He used the wall of paralysis to help a man come through the  roof to meet Him!

He used the wall of death itself to become a step for all of us.

Jesus came to introduce us to God. He came so that we could be RECONCILED to Him!

Then I read a passage that I had literally heard misused my entire life.

"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." ~Luke 19:10

I say misused because it was always used to motivate me into acts of service for Him. If Jesus was truly sent a as reflection of God to man then I needed to read the verse that came before this one.

"And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham." ~Luke 19:9 

Jesus had just met with Zacchaeus and as always, anytime Jesus meets someone a choice and opportunity to change is given.

He was making the statement in verse nine to emphasize verse ten's reference to Ezekiel 34. His people had been scattered by priests that had put themselves before the mission. It happens to this day because the flesh walk can be doing good things just as much as bad things. (See World War "Z" in Me)

They had destroyed and ran off people because quiet honestly, it was the easy thing to do. Just run them off and run them down and God's people then, just as today, began to become prey to the beasts of the field. They had displayed a muddy river bank reflection.

Jesus's statement that day was absolutely powerful! God was sending the message, "The men who were paid to represent me showed a horribly disfigured representation of me to men, so I am going to send a true reflection to them."

Zack was a tax man that Jesus encountered and when God, through Jesus, reached out to this man it brought to mind one of the most beautiful situations in the Bible of God personally reaching out to another tax man.


And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him." ~Matthew 9:9

Did you read that???

Let me underscore it because I missed it the first time too!

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him." ~Matthew 9:9

Jesus saw Matthew. So? He saw everyone right?

Matthew was the son of Levi. Historians and biblical scholars tell us that Matthew was of Levite ancestry. The Levites were the tribe of Israel that were not to own property because they were to be God's ministers in the sacrifices of the tabernacles and the temple. It was the custom and duty of a male child born into the tribe of Levi to become a rabbi and fulfill those requirements. The only way to not do this was to fail the tests of the priests or just decide to walk away from your lineage. Why would someone do that?

If it was the first of these two theories than I can understand. The tests that these young boys were given before they could be approached by a Rabbi to be mentored were unbelievably difficult and the work was tedious to say the least. It makes it so powerful because you could not approach a Rabbi to request mentoring, they looked at your scores and chose you. Here he sat in a despised position and The Rabbi approaches him and says, "Follow me!"

If it was the second of the two theories than it would be equally as powerful.We may find a clue in the book of the Bible he would later write. The word "hypocrites" appears more times in Matthew (twelve) than it does anywhere else in the Bible. Perhaps he saw so many people who were hypocrites -- people that said they loved God but proved otherwise by their actions -- that he decided he was finished with God.

Jesus came to show us the Father. The Father sees you and He sees me right now today!

Did you know that He knows exactly what it is that has caused you hurt last week?

He approaches us in the very place of pain and wounding to allow us to see with our own heart that He wants us just as we are. He wants us to be in His presence.

Be it a wound, pain, wrongdoing, injustice, quiet word, or even this blog post today. He is reaching out to you in a voice that is beyond audible to say, "I love you, and I am well aware of you and I want to be part of your life!" He is waiting to introduce Himself to you or reveal a better view of Himself to you, even through an allowed circumstance that causes you to look up out of desperation.

There have been more times than I am comfortable admitting that I have reflected the Christ in me as if He were a muddy riverbank, and that is to my shame. The choices that we make daily to surrender ourselves to the Father are crucial. Walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit? That is up to us because there have been many times when I was able to offer a view that was a clear reflection. What will you be today? A muddy reflection that blurs and distorts the Father or a clear reflection of the one that is above? The best way to be a clear reflection to others is to take a moment before the day begins and look up!
Based on what I find in Jesus, the reflected God is well worth lifting up your head and heart to see!

Climbing with you,


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