Catch a Glimpse of Jesus

I’ve heard lots of stories about people “burning out.” They’re able to go all out for a little while, and then it just doesn’t work anymore. They go through a constant cycle of getting fired up for God, and then losing steam, only to get fired up again sometime later.

This most certainly isn’t the way it was meant to be. I myself used to constantly go through that cycle. But there is a way out. Only if you want out though, because it’s not easy. It’s a process that takes a lot of faith, and trust in God. A lot more than the get fired up, burn out, and get fired up again method.

This method, this way out, it requires absolute faith in God, and believing, truly believing, that God is all you’ll need. You won’t need evangelism, you won’t need missions, you won’t need prayer, you won’t need the Bible, you won’t need those things. All you’ll ever need is Jesus.

That’s it.

It’s so difficult for those of us in the western world because we think we need all those things. We’ve never been stripped of those freedoms. We’ve never been reduced to Jesus alone. To God alone.

You see, it takes so much faith because we have to believe that we can know God without those things. That we can know God just by himself. And let me tell you, once we know God for who he is. Just Jesus for who He is…you’ll never burn out again.

God lets you see a glimpse of who he really is, and you’re captured forever. Nothing really satisfies you except for Him. Nothing else matters except for Him. Nothing else can even compare.

When you catch a glimpse of the Father and his heart through the Son…you will never be the same.

When you catch a glimpse of the Father and what he wants to achieve…you’ll be speechless, dumbstruck, and in absolute wonder. The Father’s heart is so much richer and deeper and purposeful that just to save us.

Catch a glimpse of him, and you’ll never burn out. He will be on your lips constantly.

You won’t have to evangelize, you won’t have to pray, you won’t have to read the Bible, you won’t have to go on missions.

You catch a glimpse of Jesus and His beauty and splendor, and you won’t be able to cease singing His wonders, you won’t be able to stop yourself from talking about Him, you’ll devour the Scriptures, you’ll learn to change the world by affecting the people immediately around you. You’ll create a chain reaction.

Catch a glimpse of Jesus and your world will be turned upside down, you’ll have a new love for people all around you. You won’t judge, you’ll mourn with those who are mourning, you’ll laugh with those who are laughing, you’ll love like you’ve never loved before.

People will be shocked, and confused, just enough for the love of this God to capture them, and carry them to him. A love that is so radical, that our renewed love for people pales in comparison. A love so radical that it’s irrational. It’s crazy, reckless, and absurd. But it’s true and it’s for you. It’s for them to, but the Father is so reckless in his abandon for us that we cannot place limits on it. When we think He won’t go any further, COULDN”T go any further…he does. We run and run, and yet He’s always ahead of us.

Catch a glimpse of Jesus, a real glimpse of Jesus, the Father through Jesus, you’ll never be the same. You’ll want nothing but Jesus, and Jesus alone. All else will fade away as we watch him.

So be it.

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The Real Beauty of the Bridegroom

I often wonder if I’m doing the right thing.

By not talking to people about God am I projecting him? Am I still displaying God even when I’m not trying to?

That’s something that I’ve struggled with for a long time. And God has finally brought me to the point where I can let that go. Where I can look at myself and say I still am displaying God. Why?

Because it’s not my job. My job is to love God as much as I can. And sometimes that love for him is really, really small. I won’t try to hide that fact. It really is. Sometimes that love for him wanes to the point of mere existence. I look around and wonder if I’m doing something wrong. Then I remember, God works in the silence. When man is sleeping, God is at work. You see my love for God may wax and wane, but his love for me never waxes or wanes.

I will never be able to even begin to understand the limits of his love for me. I don’t think I can…and even if I could would I want to? Would I want to really  know the incredible depth to which God loves me? Would I be able to handle it? I don’t think I can answer yes to any of those questions. If I understood the love of God, there would be no mystery anymore. No more surprises on just how far, and how deep his love runs. The love of God is not something that can be logically understood, it can only be accepted.

It works the same way with displaying God to the world. I cannot try to display God, because then he is shown through my filter. I’ve found that when I became captivated by God, I lost all reason for trying to show him to the world. I was awestruck by the God who is absolutely amazing. This God, I cannot even begin to explain him to you. The vision he allowed me to see of himself, and his magnificent plans, you have to see them for yourself. This God, this Love, it’s jaw-dropping. It’s brought me into the place where I don’t have to strive to display God. Being in love with God is enough, and he displays himself. He shows himself. I’ve become a mini-sun so to say.

Just as Jesus portrayed the Father while he was on earth, so do I portray Jesus, not by anything I do though. It’s all by him, through him, and for him. I can’t even try to display him, because whatever I show falls disastrously short of who he actually is. But I can love him. And that’s all he’s called me to do.

The great commission, it’s translation is slightly inaccurate. It really should read, “Therefore as you go, make disciples…”

As we go, as we live out life, then we are to make disciples. Disciples who are captured by the glory of God, captured by the beauty, and splendor of Him. That’s when the real beauty of the Bridegroom will emerge.

So be it.

Obsession

What is this obsession? It’s late at night, and yet I continue to be obsessed with the Light. I’m excited about this journey, and where He’s taking me. Revealing all sorts of things to me constantly.

That short series I wrote, The Garden to the City, it’s only the beginning of the riches of the Scriptures. I’m still learning this. The Bible meant a lot to me when I first became a Christian. I devoured it. I studied it, memorized some verses, it was a rule book to be followed. I seriously did have that mind set.

That’s the mindset that a lot of Christians have. The Bible is their life source, the thing they study when they want to meet God. That is however the wrong mindset. The right mindset, the Bible is just a book. It has no power in and of itself. The word gets its power and authority from the Word. If we try and take the Bible without reading it through the lens of the Word, without reading it through Jesus, it loses it’s power. It loses it’s meaning. But when we start reading, looking for Jesus…oh…my…word…you would have never realized just how amazing the Scriptures are. Now, I read because I want to read it, not to be a good Christian…or because I should. I want to now.

I am not a Christian. I am a Christ Follower. I follow Jesus Christ and no other. I read many, many different sources and books and blogs and such things, and Christ has exploded to me. The Jesus I knew when I was a Christian was but a shadow of the real Jesus.

He was and is the same Jesus, but I really did get a watered down version of him. Now that I’m seeing just how pre-eminent He is…*phew* let me tell you, it’s astounding. I thought I had it all nailed down with the Garden, you know, Jesus being the tree of Life, the river flowing out, and the gold, pearl, and precious stones. Nope. That’s not it. Jesus was the Garden itself! He is the God-Man. The dwelling place of God and of man. We are in Him, just as God is in Him. A beautiful picture of the Garden, one of the only few places where God and man dwelt together. The Garden itself is Jesus (Thanks to Jamal for this insight and inspiration).

The amazing depth of God’s obsession with his Son only leads me to realize how obsessed he must be with us. I mean he gave up Jesus so that we might be redeemed. His obsession with us is crazy. But in the end, it’s really to Jesus’ glory, and so God’s obsession comes full circle, back to Jesus just as it should.

His obsession with the Son, it drives my obsession with the Son. I really want to explore the depths of this obsessed Father. I want to explore the depths and riches of this amazing Son that he is obsessed with. I mean, why else would absolutely everything be in Him, for Him, through Him, and to Him? This is a crazy obsession, and I want in.

The Garden to the City – Part 3

That construction site? From the garden? It shows up again, way, way at the end of the Scriptures. Revelation 21, it shows up.

What is it? I’m going to assume that you’ve guessed it, the New Jerusalem. If you look in Revelation 21 and 22:

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written on them, which are of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. Three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
 
The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like pure glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
 
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, bright as crystal, coming from the throne of God and the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Here we see the three things we noted in Genesis 2 again! We see the finished product; the garden is no longer a construction site, but the finished building. The tree of life is present again, the river has returned, and the materials are present as well. The streets are paved in gold, the gates are made of pearl, and the foundation stones are covered in the precious stones.

The continuous nature of these four chapters, Genesis 1 and 2, and Revelation 21 and 22, these chapters are the only four where there is no sin.

Everything between these four chapters is the unfolding of God’s eternal purpose. Between those four chapters, the ingeniousness of God is displayed, his love and mercy shown, and his true intents unveiled.

The Garden to the City – Part 2

The tree of life was present in the garden, this tree was God’s un-created divine life, the life that if we partook of it, would give us divine life. This is something that is astonishing.

We lost it, and yet, through Jesus, the Bread of Life, we can now partake of his un-created life! This tree of life, is a remarkable thing, it allows us to become a part of the Bride.

This river in Eden, this river is a picture of Jesus as the Living Water. Just as the river flowed out to water the entire earth, so does the Living Water become a source for us, it becomes a well of refreshing relief.

Going even deeper, if we look at the three materials present, we see gold, bdellium or pearl, and onyx or precious stones. Gold is representative of the divine nature of God. This divine nature, we get it when we come to know God. The pearl, it’s the work of Jesus. The precious stones will represent the works that God has done in us. These things are remarkable in their own respects.

The gold in us is produced by the Father’s constant work on us. The way that he transforms us, through his purifying fire, the gold is worked out of us. Just as an oyster suffers to create a pearl, so does the Son’s suffering create pearls in us. The painful process that an oyster endures in creating a pearl, it’s akin to the work of Jesus on the cross. He was a grain of sand, unnoticed by everyone, and through the suffering for all of humanities sin, became a pearl. The precious stones, they represent the spiritual works that God does in us.

Do you remember that rainbow bead bracelet, the one with the black, red, white, blue, green, and gold beads? That’s similar to the idea of the precious stones. These stones are seen all over the place in the Scriptures. They are critical to the work that God does in us.

The Garden to the City – Part 1

In Genesis 1, we have the creation of the world. But our focus is going to be on Genesis 2.

The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
 
Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; if flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 

This particular passage from Genesis 2 is filled with amazing depth. This will develop into a short series of posts, all of which will come in the next few days.

The first thing we see is that the garden contains the tree of life. Not just life, but God’s divine, un-created life.  In the garden, man had the chance to partake of God’s divine, un-created life! That was an amazing opportunity that we lost. But in Jesus we gained that possibility back. We gained back the opportunity to partake in the true tree of life.

Second, there is a river that flows out of Eden. It then divides into four rivers. Four is significant, because it represents the four corners of the earth. This river from Eden flowed out to provide water to the whole earth.

Third, we see some materials, gold, bdellium and onyx. Some translations change bdellium to pearl.  Bdellium is a kind of vegetable pearl resulting from the abundant sap that breaks open the bark of certain trees, this happened in the garden. We also see onyx. Onyx is a red color, that is considered a precious stone. Other similar stones are jasper, sapphire, and so on.

This garden, it’s much more than a garden. It’s a construction site. Yeah, that’s right, a construction site. But the question is for what?

Whose love do YOU trust in?

I just, mere minutes ago, read a blog post from Called to Rebuild entitled “Who will be the greatest.” God really signaled out one sentence that completely stopped me and made me think.

A man who has truly experienced the cross is more confident in God’s love for him than he is in his love for God.

A man who has truly experienced the cross is more confident in God’s love for him than he is in his love for God. I love that sentence.

All to often I sit and wonder how God could love me. Wonder with all the failures I have, mistakes I make, lies I tell, things I mess up, just how in the world could he love me? My guess is I haven’t really experienced the cross yet. Wait, wait a second. Now it’s coming back to me. A time when I realized that he loves me. And I just affirm it. I don’t bother to contest that head knowledge, knowing that he will patiently make it heart knowledge.

A man who has truly experienced the cross is more confident in God’s love for him than he is in his love for God.

There used to be a time when my prayer was: “God, show me your love for me.” That prayer has already been answered. He considered me so loved, that even before I thought of him, he had chosen me. Even before I drew my first breath, he loved me. To know that God who didn’t spare his own Son, loved me. As Paul said, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

More and more God is bringing me further along in the journey of trying to comprehend this incomprehensible love that he has. I don’t get it. I don’t pretend to get it. I probably will never get it. But by all that’s true, I know he loves us, loves me.

As Josh wrote: “A man who has truly experienced the cross is more confident in God’s love for him than he is in his love for God.”

I am in that all to large percent that is more confident in my love for God. But my prayer is that God removes me from that, and that I move to being more confident in his love for me. I know that my love may wax and wane, I hope that it will continually grow, and I trust God that it will. But until then, I will trust in the unfailing love that my God has for me.

The best part is that he has it for you too.