The God who created the whole universe loves YOU!
My goodness, you have friends in high places!
The God who created the whole universe loves YOU!
My goodness, you have friends in high places!
Epiphany is a celebration by the Body of Christ of the revelation of Jesus Christ to the gentiles — all nations of people who are not from His own Jewish heritage. On this day, we often celebrate the arrival of the wise men from the east, who came many miles, following a great sign in the heavens, to worship Jesus as the Lord of the universe who had come to earth as a man to redeem His creation from their own sin and its curse. The following article is an edited version of one I posted a few years ago, but I feel it says what is in my heart on this special day of celebration. I hope it blesses you, even if you read it when I originally shared it. It comes to you with my wish that you will have a continuous revelation throughout this new year of Jesus Christ and all He wants to be for you and your life.
“Jesus of Nazareth is coming!”
“Do you see Him yet?”
“Here He comes!”
“Here comes Jesus!”
Excitement was rampant, and cries of “Hosanna” filled the air. Shouts of joy and triumph could be heard for miles along the road, and people rushed to lay palm branches and their personal garments as a carpet of welcome. Jesus of Nazareth was coming to Jerusalem.
This carpenter-teacher who had journeyed among them for nearly three years, teaching them, healing them, feeding them, forgiving them, raising their dead. This miracle worker, this wise man, this man who was gentle enough to draw crowds of children to his side yet bold enough He would soon drive money-changers from the temple with a whip — this man whom many claimed was the prophesied Messiah of Jehovah — this man was coming again to Jerusalem! I’m sure, had we been there, we would have heard the message repeated over and over again for miles: “Here comes Jesus! Here comes Jesus!”
We in the Christian world celebrate that event on one special day out of the year, and we call it Palm Sunday. We have special services and some of us wave palm branches in the air to commemorate the day that is often referred to by church historians as Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But that event happened over 2000 years ago. One could say it’s all history now; it’s been said and done; it’s over.
But not so, my friends! I am thrilled beyond words to be able to tell you that Jesus is still coming to anyone and everyone who would like to receive Him. He’s a living, vital, right-now Jesus. He is the I AM (The self-existent one who causes all other things to be; the one who is and becomes whatever He desires to become — Hebrew definition). And the great I AM desires to become everything that His creation needs.
Jesus of Nazareth is alive today, and He’s still loving people, teaching people, feeding people, forgiving people, delivering people, healing people and making them whole. And, yes, He’s still raising people from the dead. He’s the same Jesus who fulfilled the words of the ancient prophets by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey that day. He’s the same Jesus who worked myriads of miracles for the people. He’s the same Jesus who went to the cross to pay for the rebellion and sin of all the human race.
He’s the same Jesus who rose from the grave and took His throne as Lord of the universe. He’s the same Jesus who promised that if we would call on Him and receive Him as Lord, He would freely fill us with His own eternal life and with power to serve Him. He’s the same Jesus who promised that after our life of service to Him on this earth, we would move on to Heaven and live with Him forever. No questions — no if’s, and’s or but’s. No struggling to get there, no sacrifice, no hard work, no price to pay. Jesus did the work. We receive the benefit. And the Word of God, Hebrews 13:8, says “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.”
So I can tell you confidently: “Here comes Jesus! He’s coming to you today! He’s coming because He sees your need; He sees your trouble; He sees your sorrow; He sees your pain; He sees your desperation; He sees your hopelessness; He hears your questions; He hears your confusion; He hears your private crying. He’s coming to you because He loves you.
Did you know that you don’t have to be a Christian for Jesus Christ to love you? Sometimes we who call ourselves Christians tend to flock together so tightly that we become almost like a clique, and the rest of the world feels as though they can’t break through the wall to become a part. But my message to the “rest of the world” today is that you don’t have to become a part of the “clique of Christianity.” All you have to do is get to know Jesus, the real person.
And did you know that you don’t have to be a Christian to call on Jesus? That’s right. Jesus isn’t listening just for the call of the Christians. Certainly, He’s attuned to their cries and He rushes to their help when they need Him, but Jesus the Christ is listening — intently — for the cries of all the millions of His creation in this world who don’t know Him at all. His heart is waiting expectantly for their voice to call out His name. And He’s ready to answer that call swiftly. He’s ready to come home with you at any time.
When Jesus walked the earth, He was often found in the homes of those who were not active believers. People whom the scriptures refer to as “publicans” and “sinners” found that Jesus was more than willing to spend time with them and teach them the truth about God — and show them God’s love by healing their sick and delivering those in demonic bondage. In fact, He often received hateful criticism from the religious leaders of His day because He gave Himself so freely to those who did not have a relationship with the true God. But Jesus’ response was simply that His main reason for coming into the earth was to find those who did not know Him and offer Himself to them.
Zacchaeus was one such man. (His story is told in the Word of God, the book of Luke, chapter 19.) Although technically a descendant of Abraham, Zacchaeus was chief among publicans — which means he made his living working for the Roman government, collecting taxes from his fellow Israelites — and, by his own admission, cheating them. He had heard about Jesus, but he was no believer. However, he was curious, and as Jesus passed through Jericho, right before his entry into Jerusalem on the donkey, Zacchaeus, a short man, climbed into a tree so that he could see and hear Jesus easily. Jesus called him down from the tree and invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house.
Zacchaeus recognized Jesus as the Messiah and opened to Him his home and his heart. We know that he invited Jesus in with his whole heart, because, after spending only a short time with Him, Zacchaeus voluntarily confessed his sin of cheating and promised to make restoration of everything with interest. Jesus did not ask Zacchaeus to do so. The man simply opened his heart to Jesus, and a changed nature was the result.
So, I will say once more: You do not need to be a Christian to call on Jesus. No matter what religious tag you wear — including that of “Atheist” — that tag will not keep Jesus from coming to you if your heart is reaching out for Him and inviting Him in. What will happen to that religious tag after you meet Jesus? Who cares? I can guarantee you — without qualification — that if you ever meet the real Jesus, you won’t care.
Here comes Jesus! He’s coming to us today — Christian and non-Christian — He’s coming. With words of comfort and reassurance to destroy fear — with delivering power to destroy the yokes of the devil — with healing and wholeness for body, mind, and spirit — with wisdom and direction that leads to successful solutions — with the power of His Holy Spirit and all of the anointing for service — with eternal life to overcome death once and for all and forever.
Jesus is coming! He’s coming to you! Right now! Open your heart to Him and let Him meet all of your needs today.
Picture courtesy of Wikipedia commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jesus_entering_jerusalem_on_a_donkey.jpg
I’ve been going through some troubling situations lately and found myself feeling pretty low as a result. But in a time of prayer this morning, the Lord graciously reminded me of a poem He had given me almost two years ago. That poem was the record of another time in my life – many, many years ago – when things seemed very hard and very dark. But at that time, through means of a dream, the Lord showed me that I had nothing to worry about, and that He had worked everything out for me. So this morning, after being reminded of that poem, I sat down and read it again. It encouraged and cheered me so much that I decided perhaps I should share it on here again in case a few of my readers could use that same kind of encouragement today.
I woke to face another day,
No glad expectancy,
For heavy disappointments were all
Weighing down on me.
The day before had been so filled
With unsupportive words,
With problems piled four levels high
and everywhere closed doors.
The friends I’d counted on were not:
They came and went like rain:
All so enwrapped in their own lives
They couldn’t feel my pain.
It was just like so many days,
All running wearily,
So sad, with disappointments too,
All weighing down on me.
And though I knew I would survive,
That didn’t soothe my heart,
For sorrow deep and troubles too
Brought a longing to depart.
But then to Jesus I did run;
I saw it in a dream:
I stood below a gentle hill,
All carpeted in green.
When I looked up and saw Him there,
He stood beneath a tree,
And waited, smiling patiently;
He’d been expecting me.
I ran but didn’t feel the strain;
He grabbed me in His arms;
He wrapped them hard around me; held me
Strongly, safe and warm.
I’d never felt so light and free;
Engulfed with joy and rest;
No problem lingered to be weighed;
All I could feel was blessed.
And all the disappointments, though
So heavy they had been,
Took flight, and sadness too was gone,
Ev’ry conflict, ev’ry pain.
All threats and fears and torments sore,
All guilt, defeat, and shame –
In love so glowing and so strong,
All were dissolved away.
Then suddenly I saw a truth –
It caught me by surprise –
That Jesus’ joy exceeded mine;
I saw it in His eyes.
I’d known He would accept me, that
He’d made a place for me,
But never had I even guessed
How happy He would be.
He was so thrilled to have me there;
He laughed so loud and strong,
That all things not of joy and life
Just vanished in joy’s song.
And when I woke to this new day,
His laughter still did ring;
His arms still held me close and warm,
And now my heart must sing!
These words are familiar to most of us as part of a Christmas carol — a song we hear only during the month of December each year and then put away with all the other Christmas trappings. But this song, especially this particular line, has so much to say to the human race beyond “Merry Christmas.” The enormous revelation contained in these lines is a vital and eternal truth that affects the lives of every man and woman born into the world.
After the human race’s rebellion against their Father God, the whole world lay in deep darkness and the death grip of sin and its resulting curse. Even man’s intellect had become twisted — a prisoner of error and vain imaginations. The souls of human beings had absolutely no concept of their value or of the unfathomable love for them still in the heart of their Creator.
They were confused, afraid, tormented by the evils let loose in this world by their own sin. They were without escape, without hope. Until HE came. God Himself — who had created them, born their betrayal, but loved them beyond it — offered HIMSELF in payment for them. He purchased their freedom from their own self-made dungeon with the only source of payment rich enough to be acceptable — Himself.
Only then did the human race realize their true value. Only then did the human soul begin to get a glimpse of its own worth. Only then did man begin to understand how truly immeasurable — how priceless — his very existence. Only then did any of the human race experience truth and love. Darkness fled. Ignorance fled. Fear fled. Death fled.
With the appearance of Jesus Christ, to fulfill His appointed work of pouring out His own blood to release men from their own sin, light burst through the darkness and revealed the value of the human soul in all its glory — as surely as a bright light causes the facets of a diamond to burst forth in shafts of light that reveal its value for all to see.
” … He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”
HE has appeared! FOR YOU! And He didn’t come with the expectation that we would celebrate that coming only once a year. No, He came so that we could understand how precious we are to Him every single day of our lives. When we’re good; when we’re bad; when we’ve got it all together; when we’re confused and going under for the umpteenth time. He came when we were totally rebellious and unlovable, and that says it all: it says you are the most important thing in the universe to Him
So don’t wait until next Christmas to think about His coming. He comes to you continually. He comes to whisper love words and life-giving truth. So today — right now — open up your heart anew, and let your soul reach out and receive the revelation of how priceless you are to the God of the universe!
Have you ever watched sunlight caress a mountain? It moves over it slowly … steadily … possessively … eventually spreading its light and warmth into every possible crevice. It rests there as long as possible … moving away unwillingly … continuing to stretch itself … reaching out with lingering fingers of light … trying to maintain contact as long as possible. That’s the way God touches those He loves. Let Him touch you today.
Place: Heaven, looking down at Earth
Cast: God, One Inquisitive Angel
Angel to God: “What are you doing, God?”
God: “Creating a man.”
Angel: “What are you going to do with him?”
God: “Love him.”
Angel: “What will he do for you?”
God: “Give me pleasure.”
Angel: “Will he give you pleasure that is different from what the rest of your creation gives you?”
God: “Oh, yes. He will be a speaking spirit just like me, who will have the ability to choose by his own free will to love me and communicate with me constantly.”
Angel: “Have you thought that he might use his free will to choose not to love you? He could end up giving you a lot of trouble.”
God: “Oh yes, he will give me a lot of trouble. … But he is worth it!”
(Oh that we would see ourselves as God sees us!)