Monday, March 30, 2015

Sharing in the Solitude of Christ

Have you ever felt alone? How is it possible to feel lonely in a world with the most technologically advanced methods of communications, and social networks, in the history of the world, all at our fingertips?   

Walking down a crowded street, we might as well be in a desert. Some sit in Church with dozens of smiling faces all around, worshiping and serving the same Lord, yet they might as well be floating in a raft, adrift in a vast ocean. This doesn't seem right! It makes you want to scream, HEY!!!!! I'm here! It's me!

What is going on? How can God allow this? Well, did you ever think that just possibly God could fill your solitude? God gave Adam a woman, a helpmate, because it was not good that he be alone. And yet, there was a place in Adam that couldn't be filled by Eve. There is a place in us that can only be filled by the presence of the Lord.

Once we've known God's presence, nothing, no nothing else can satisfy or fulfill the longing and desire that exists deep down in our spirits for Him. While in His earth walk, our Lord Jesus suffered loneliness unmatched by the loneliness of anyone else.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16 NIV).
At a critical point in His life, when arrested, even His closest friends left Him alone.
“Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away.” (Mark 14:50 NLT)
Imagine the shock to His system, just being on the earth in a human body restrained by the limitations of mankind. We can't comprehend His loneliness, yet as we become more aware of Christ in us, we become more aware of every feeling, experience, thought, and all that is Christ.

Homesick? Sure, Jesus was homesick for the glory and fellowship He shared with Father and the Holy Spirit in heaven. Yet He loved us so much that He suffered horrible loneliness for our sake.
So, what is it for us to suffer a measure of that loneliness? It is a small price to pay, to know Him in the fellowship of loneliness. To really know Him, it is a blessing to share in His suffering loneliness.

This, and all suffering is a part of our life on earth. One day, we will shed the cares of this life like a butterfly sheds its cocoon. But until then, we have the Holy Spirit to comfort us in our suffering. Loneliness in a crowded world seems incredulous, but it happens to many people, including believers.

Let us not resent God. Instead, let us embrace loneliness as a gift, used of God as a tool to draw us even closer to Him. Know that He is acutely aware of every fiber of our being in our entire spirit, soul, and body. Loneliness in this world is nothing compared to the glory of walking in the Spirit in fellowship with them, the Three.

Remember, “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV). Jesus is that friend. In Christ we will never truly be lonely again as we walk in the Spirit with Him.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Blessing



Mr. Spock, of Star Trek fame, would raise his hand and say “Live long and prosper.”

This "Vulcan salute, " as it has come to be called, was invented on the set of Star Trek by actor Leonard Nimoy during the filming of the second-season opener, "Amok Time." What the people didn’t know was that the Vulcan greeting came from Leonard Nimoy’s real life Jewish heritage.
He took it from the ancient blessing the Jewish Priests would bestow upon the Israelites. The Bible says, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing:
“May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.”                                                                 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them”
(Numbers 6:23-27 NLT).

The actual blessing is done with both arms held horizontally in front, at shoulder level, with hands touching, to form the Hebrew letter "shin." This stands for the Hebrew word for "Shaddai", meaning "Almighty [God]."
With the hand symbol, the priest was putting the name of God on the people, sealing it upon them.
This is a special blessing God wants all of us to receive. This blessing is so important because it covers us completely in every area of our life, spiritually and materially.
This blessing is so specific that God commanded the Priests to bless the people not using their own words, but rather using and exact formulation for the blessing, prefacing the instruction with the words: “Thus shall you bless.”
This reveals that the blessing comes from the LORD Himself; the priests were a means for transmitting His gracious will. Now that we have Jesus, our Messiah, our Savior, we know that He is The High Priest, and that His sacrifice has made it possible for us to enter boldly before God.
So today we can pray, petition, and speak blessings knowing that our voice will be heard, and our words will be fruitful before the Lord our Creator, because of Jesus.
As we continue to study the Priestly Blessing we learn that the people accepted the blessing and responded. So how do we receive and respond to a blessing from our Heavenly Father? We anticipate His blessing with a thankful heart, and declare that His Word is so. Here is the blessing that the priests recited, along with the response of the people.
PRIEST: May the LORD bless you and protect you.
PEOPLE: Yes, may it be His will.
PRIEST: May the LORD shine His face to you and be gracious to you.
PEOPLE: Yes, may it be His will.
PRIEST: May the LORD turn (or lift up) His face to you and give to you peace.
PEOPLE: Yes, may it be His will.
You may ask, what does a Jewish blessing have to do with me?
The Bible says, And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you” (Galatians 3:29 NLT).
So that means that all of God’s blessings are for us to obtain, because Jesus paid the ultimate price. Everything he promised pertains to all of His children.
So let us expect the blessings God, and enjoy His goodness. Be thankful for the gift of His Son Jesus, which is His greatest blessing to us each day of our lives.