Just One Drop

Because I have Celiac Disease, I have to be vigilant in looking out for possible sources of gluten (bread being the most obvious).  This also forces me to plan ahead where anything edible is concerned, so I am certain to have food I can eat when the need arises.  Even communion poses a problem for me if I haven’t planned ahead.  I know Jesus is fine with me skipping the bread part, if need be, but I’d rather partake fully.

As part of a wonderful worship service at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, communion was served.  I had come prepared with my little piece of corn cracker to take when the others had regular matzo.  I was safe . . . or was I?  When the elements were being passed down the rows, I realized the people were reaching over the little wooden goblets on the tray to pick up their piece of bread.  Since only one crumb dropped into the cup would create a problem for me, I kept my eye on the cups farthest away from the bread.  Reaching for one of those safe cups, I hesitated a moment when it looked like they were almost empty.  Since it was my only choice, however, I picked up the cup.

As the elements continued to be distributed, I considered more carefully what I had in my hands.  When I looked at that single drop of wine in the bottom of my goblet, I sensed the Lord reminding me, “It only took one drop.” Wow!  Jesus only had to shed one drop of His perfect, sinless blood to cover all our sins . . . but He gave so much more than was required.  He gave it all!  Superabundant sacrifice!  Superabundant forgiveness!  Superabundant mercy!  Superabundant grace!  Superabundant love!  For you.  For me.

Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP  17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19 [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

In the Spotlight

I was under that open heaven (see previous post) when the worship leader began to prepare us for the next song.  All I specifically remember was something about seeing Jesus’ face.  What happened in the coming moments was not for me, alone.  Please read this selfishly.

When looking at a packed football stadium from a blimp’s camera, you see a whole lot of spots in an oval enclosure.  You know they are people, but you can’t physically see them.  Unless you are a regular visitor to that particular stadium, you probably wouldn’t know any of the people even if you could see their faces.  They would simply be a mass of nameless people to you.

For quite some time, I’ve tried to grasp that our Abba, Daddy, not only sees individuals in a crowd like this, but that He also knows their names and everything about them.  I know it’s true, but it’s been impossible within the confines of my limited brain.  It all changed as we worshipped Him on that beautiful September night in Jerusalem.

Somewhere between 1800 and 1900 people were packed onto the steps outside the south wall of the Old City.  Nowhere near the end of a row, nor at the back or front of the audience, and with my eyes closed, what I experienced could not have been in the natural.  The shadows from the few available lights suddenly disappeared as what could only be described as a spotlight from heaven focused its beam on me.  Though I remained in the same place, everyone around me became separated from me by the light itself – so that only I was visible within its scope.

I was aware this light was not to draw others’ attention to me.  In fact, no one else could have seen it.  This light gave revelation of how single focused Daddy is where I am concerned.  He sees me clearly no matter how many people are around me, no matter how dark it is, no matter anything at all.  I wasn’t afraid of what this meant at all.  I only knew He smiled at me.  I only sensed pure love surrounding me in that spotlight – that perfect love that casts out all fear.  It was and is simple.  He loves me completely and unconditionally.  Always will.

In those few moments I was also aware that He sees everyone else in the same way at the same time, with single vision – while never losing focus on me.  This is still an impossibility in my natural mind, but those few moments in His spotlight took me out of the natural and into His supernatural – into His possible!  Can you sense His spotlight on you, too?  Will you receive His single-focused, all-encompassing, never-ending love?

John 3:16  NIV  For God so loved the world (spotlight on you!) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

An Open Heaven

This post isn’t as much an insight as a personal reflection.  Just back from another whirlwind tour of Israel, I am only now beginning to have cohesive thoughts and memories of my time there.  This trip differed in many ways from my first one, not the least of which was being there with TBN and Joseph Prince, meaning we had three powerful meetings in addition to the tour.

One of the meetings was held on the steps outside the south wall of the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday night.  It is one of many areas that have been excavated far enough to find some of the original stones and steps from Jesus’ time.  These steps were there when Jesus was coming and going through the south gate, and they might have been the very places He stood (or sat) to teach.  That is where we sat (all 1800 of us!) to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  (Just an aside – stone steps are hard, even though Jesus stood on them!)

One of the songs talked about an open heaven, and I was lost for a time to a place those words took me.  Somehow, it was more than just being outside with clear skies overhead.  It was more like the heavens were open to us who had gathered there that evening.  Here I was, so blessed and loved by my Abba, Daddy that He let me be part of a wide sampling of His living, breathing body of Christ, right there in His chosen land of Israel, and in the physical place where my freedom began – Jerusalem – worshipping Him!

As if that weren’t enough, He reminded me of the first time I experienced the open heaven.  It was in January 2006, with 350,000 Indians (and a few Americans) in Hyderabad, India, as we worshipped the Lord Jesus Christ together at a Joyce Meyer Ministries conference.  Just as in Jerusalem, so in India it was more than just being outside.  Here, it was with India.  In Israel, it was with the whole world!  But there was more He wanted me to grasp.

Still in that open heaven atmosphere, I found my heart yearning for the day I could be in China with a large gathering of Chinese believers, worshipping Jesus Christ under an open heaven in a place the government has tried so hard to squelch Christianity.  My natural mind says, “No way!”  But my spirit man says, “With God all things are possible!”  Even as I type these thoughts, excitement bubbles in my spirit as I consider what Daddy will do in His church in China.  I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but that doesn’t mean it’s only a maybe.

Amazing, this journey I took in only a few moments on the steps where Jesus walked.  I can’t help but wonder what journeys others took in those same few moments, and what other nations were pointed out.  What an adventure to walk in Christ – under an open heaven!

 

Going Up?

I am a very logical thinker, which affects everything I see and do.  For instance, when in a new place, if I have access to a map as we travel, I am able to lock that logical and organized information into my memory bank.  It becomes my reference when remembering various places I’ve been, and I “see” places as being up or down, to the right or left on that two-dimensional mind-map.  Thus, if I am in the north of a country, I talk about going down to something that is farther south (on the map).  Likewise, I would only speak of going up when heading north.  Why am I telling you all this?  To explain my confusion as I read about going up to Jerusalem in the Bible after I had been there in person.

I never noticed this phrase so much before, though I’d read the passages many times.  The ones of particular interest were of Jesus in Capernaum or Nazareth speaking of going up to Jerusalem.  These places are north of Jerusalem, so why would He say go up when He’d be going down?  Immediately around Jerusalem, it is true that you have to go up to get there, due to the hilly terrain and Jerusalem being on one of those hills.  Perhaps the people had all been there for the annual sacrifices, and would relate to climbing the hills and steps to enter the gates.  Also, Jerusalem is higher than many of the other places of the Bible in altitude above sea level, but, did they use that information then???

All this makes me wonder if it the statements might be more of a spiritual declaration, one that most people living then would have had no trouble grasping.  They understood Jerusalem was the place of the temple, with the Holy of holies, where the Messiah was to be, and where the ark of the Presence of God was currently housed.  For them, maybe it was a place to which they had to ascend, spiritually, no matter where they were, physically.

I’m sure there’s something more to know of Jesus Christ in this.   Below are a few references from both the Old and New Testament that speak of going up to or down from Jerusalem to help us all understand and know Christ more.

Old Testament Selections:

  • 2 Chronicles 36:23
  • Ezra 1:11
  • Zechariah 14:17-18

New Testament Selections:

  • Matthew 20:17-18
  • Luke 2:41-42
  • John 2:12-13, 5:1, 11:55
  • Acts 15:1-2, 21:12, 24:1, 25:1-9
  • Galatians 1:17-18

Open the Gates!

Take a close look at the picture of the Eastern Gate of the old city of Jerusalem.  You might want to click to enlarge it.  In particular, notice the cemetery in front of those gates, filled with the graves of Arab Muslims.  They built a graveyard there thinking to keep anyone from ever coming through those gates again.  As our Israeli guide shared this with us, I couldn’t contain the laughter.  Excuse me, but isn’t this the gate through which the glory of God will enter before filling His temple? 1 Doesn’t that effectively make this God’s Gate?  And man thinks he will keep God from using these gates by erecting a graveyard – filled with dead men’s bones – to guard it?

Luke 1:37 AMP For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

This scene, and the absurdity of it, came back to me as I prayed for someone who has known and served God with a burning zeal in the past, but has been offended and turned his back for a time.  In light of the facts behind the picture above, I would say that this person has been deceived by offense into thinking they have made themselves invisible to God, since they no longer want to see Him.  But the barrier they’ve built is made of dead stuff, and cannot keep Him out forever!

It’s laughable, in a sad kind of way, to read of this one’s plight.  As the beginning of another new year arrives, however, it would be good to consider what dead stuff we might have used in areas of our own lives to make a barrier against Almighty God?  Whatever they may be only keep us from the fullness of God’s power, love, and work in us – and His perfect protection of us.  Trying to eliminate access to what belongs to God spiritually, as the Arab Muslims have done physically around the Eastern Gate, won’t stop Him.  God’s good plans and purposes shall be fulfilled – and they are all good. 2

With the help of Holy Spirit, it’s time to scrape away those rocks and dig up those graves now – that the King of Glory shall come in! 3

1Ezekiel 43:1-7
2Jeremiah 29:11
3Psalm 24:7-10