This morning encounter: On thinking this through... In the bread I saw a quick image of Jesus smiling (much like the fellow who portrayed Jesus in the movie "The Son of God"). Then drinking from the cup I heard myself praying again and again, "the Body and Blood of Jesus, the Body and Blood of Jesus, the Body and Blood of Jesus..." and while praying this I saw the same smiling Jesus in His robed walking the beach with a child in His arms and another child holding His hand (They looked a bit like my two youngest grand daughters.)
In our overflow discussion after my wife had a similar encounter. In both it was like the Lord was saying, Its as if He said, 'Trust me like a child. I will be there and you will see Me when you dine on my Body and Blood. When you eat the bread just do that. When you drink the wine, just do that. My Spirit will take care of the rest. I will carry you and I will take you by the hand. Just rest in the meal. Let me take the lead.'
Jesus said, "With faith the size of a mustard seed you can say to this mulberry tree be uprooted and planted in the sea and it will or to this mountain be cast into the sea and it will." Luke 17:6, Matthew 17:20
He also says that "The Kingdom of God is like the mustard seed, though it is smallest, when planted in our garden becomes a tree large enough it will house the birds of the air." Luke 13:19, Matthew 13:31
He gives us the mustard seed to start with as well! So lets replant some trees and move some mountains today! Lets plant those seeds and let them die so that they can sprout and grow until they becomes trees! All things are possible - just believe!
FIRST: Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of Me." It is a call to action on your behalf. He promises nothing in return. He just asked us to have Communion and as often as you do, do it in remembrance of Him. Without examining any expectations or anticipation the directive is to do something. It is enough to just do that because the Messiah told His most important and closest friends when He was on the planet to "Do this" and therefore it is a good directive for all who would follow and believe on Him. Is there a reason? Of course there is. What do you think? If nothing else occurs you have followed through with what the Son of God has indicated we should do. We should continue to have the meal of heaven on a regular basis if for no other reason than to have His people seated with Him on a regular basis to at least give thanks for forgiveness, the hope of His return and eternal life. That makes a good start on any day of the week! Okay? Come with no expectations just gratitude for your new life in Him and what He did to make that possible.
SECOND: If you can't focus or you are filled with anything but hope then be still. If you are troubled, have an important decision or just don't feel up to par then wait. If you are totally up to the day, feeling well and your faith is burning hot and your mouth filled with praise then pause. When you do you surrender to Him. As you eat the bread and drink the wine, just be still, wait and pause for a moment. Let the comforter open the eyes of your spirit. Let Him help you focus on seeing Jesus. You close your physical eyes and let the Holy Spirit open the eyes of your spirit. When He does you will see, hear and sense what it is that He has prepared for you in the presence of the Lord. I like it when its quiet but we have had Communion in noisy busy restaurants, in public places and with a room full of others with lots of distractions... but still He is there to share the life of JESUS with us. He may even use the distractions as a part of the sharing. Whatever He shares you know it is Him.
So on one hand we cast the tree or mountain that makes you feel isolated and alone if you don't have an encounter (so to speak) in Communion but on the other hand we have planted the seed that says you may encounter the Spirit of the living God who is there to share the life of JESUS with you.
Bottom Line: Just "do" as JESUS requested. Sit at His Table and share His Body of life and Blood of life. Ask His blessing and then Eat the bread and drink the wine. The rest is up to Him. "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Romans 8:1-2 There is no law to condemn anymore. There is only the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus! He sets us free from the law of sin and death. Now He just wants us to feast in His presence. When we do our faith grows stronger. When we do we are feeding on the living bread. When we do we are drinking from the cup of salvation. When we do we are promised eternal life. When we do He promises that He will raise us up in the last day! Aren't those reasons enough! Be still, wait and pause to come to His Table to share the meal of the bread and wine on a regular basis. Then watch how this small activity that takes all of a few minutes grows from a tiny seed into a mighty tree where other can find rest and nest. Thank God for His unspeakable gift!
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
Raised in Italian/Irish neighborhood in Providence, RI, Marcellino D’Ambrosio never thought about being anything else but Catholic. But like other Catholic teens, his faith was the last place he looked for fulfillment. Following in the footsteps of his parents, both professional performers in their single years, he set his sights on stardom, playing bass guitar in several popular rock bands by the time he was 16.
At that time he encountered a group of Catholics whose Christian life was an exciting adventure, an adventure worth living for. So he laid his bass guitar aside and embarked on a road that led to a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Catholic University of America. His doctoral dissertation, written under the direction of the renowned Jesuit theologian, Avery Cardinal Dulles, focused on one of the theological lights of the Second Vatican Council, Henri Cardinal de Lubac, and his recovery of biblical interpretation of the Early Church Fathers.
The Road to Emmaus -- From Despair to Joy
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
The Easter story of two discouraged disciples encounter with the Risen Lord on the road to Emmaus is one of most fascinating accounts of a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus. But there is more to this dramatic tale than first meets the eye.
What a disappointment! They thought they’d found the Messiah. But he’d been trapped like an animal and executed as a criminal. Up until his very last breath, they had hoped he’d descend from the cross in stately power and call down fire upon the hypocrites.
But all they heard from him were last seven “words” that were more like anguished whispers. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Pitiful, really. Not to mention depressing...
As they walked and argued about how things should have turned out differently, a stranger invited himself to walk with them. Great. They really weren’t in the mood to make friends. To make matters worse, this guy apparently lived in a cave–he was clueless about what everyone else couldn’t stop talking about.
At least that’s what they assumed at first glance. But it turns out he knew more than they did about these events. Because he started showing them how everything that happened, as dreadful as it all seemed, was no accident. That hoarse whisper about being forsaken by God was actually a quote from a psalm (22) that predicted nearly everything that happened, down to the gambling for his cloak.
Isaiah 53 had shown that Israel would not be saved by horses and chariots, but by the sufferings of an innocent man. Hosea 6:2 said that on the third day God would raise us up. He brought forth Scripture after Scripture to cast new light on the entire situation. They began to see things differently.
They didn’t want him to stop. Just being near him somehow gave them strength and hope. So they pressed him to stop at the inn with them and have a bite to eat. The stranger said grace. Suddenly, as he broke the bread, they recognized Him. Of course! The women’s story was true! Only Jesus could make them feel like they did! But as soon as they recognized him, he vanished.
It was no ordinary grace before meals that the Lord had offered that evening in Emmaus. Compare the words used here to the words used at the last supper: he took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples (Lk 22:19). It was in the sacrament of his body and blood that they finally recognized him.
Keep in mind, this story was not written down till decades later, by a someone who had faithfully lived the Eucharistic life of the early church. He is teaching through this episode what the Eucharistic liturgy is really about. We often come distracted, rejected, beaten up by the world. But then the Lord himself begins to speak to us through the Scriptures, the inspired word of God. Have you ever noticed how so often the first reading and the Gospel fit so perfectly together? That’s because the Tradition of the Church has coordinated the readings so that the connections that Jesus showed to Cleopas and his buddy between Old Testament prophecy and fulfillment in Christ become apparent to us too. If we are paying any attention at all, our faith is built up, our spirit renewed. Thus prepared, we move from the table of the Word to the table of the Eucharist. And there we come truly to see and recognize the One all the scriptures tell us about.
One of my children once asked me why, if the Mass makes Calvary present again, we don’t have our weekly mass of obligation on Friday rather than Sunday. Good question. It is because the Eucharist is always a celebration of the resurrection. That’s why the full Eucharistic liturgy is forbidden on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Sunday is the day he rose from the dead and it is the Risen Lord who stands among us in each and every Eucharist. And it is his risen, glorified body that we receive when we take communion.
To be an Easter people means to be a Eucharistic people. He did not just rise from the dead 2000 years ago. He is risen, and He still is Emmanuel, God with us!
Thank you Dr. D'Ambrosio for allowing us to republish your Emmaus article. I know we both hope and pray for the unity JESUS prayed for at the Last Supper. The Miracle at Emmaus makes it clear that unless the Lord opens our eyes to see Him so that we recognize Him in the Eucharist then perhaps we need that same Miracle to see and recognize His Body so that we may be one in Him.
Today's Encounter: this morning in our home: Eating the bread, His Body, I heard "My Body is perfect." three times and then I saw a simple but elegant crown. Then drinking the wine, His Blood, I heard the anthem, "Crown Him, Crown Him, Crown Him Lord of all."
It made me think of 'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.' Revelation 3:11 We hold fast to the perfection of His Body so that no one can take our crown.
"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever" 1 Corinthians 9:25
“Be still, and know that I am God;
raphah yada Elohim
“Be Still” = Raphah (harpu)/Rapha: Cease (striving). Go Limp, fail, relax, fainted, end of self (done with my own strength) – as if prepared to be operated upon so that God can make you whole, healed, healthy (putting yourself in God’s hands completely) to become restored, to become fully who He intended all along – as if to receive all He has for you without resistance.
Its as though you become a pen in His hand and He writes His story through you. (the pen cannot write, the hand that holds the pen does the writing) He is “The author and finisher of your faith”. He gives you faith and He develops your faith until it is complete and polished to a luster, it shines!
There are scores of derivative words (branches/stems/leaves/fruit) that bloom from the primary root words “Raphah/Rapha” but there is only one derivative for Psalm 46:10 “Harpu” and it means “cease” as if you are trying, striving to do faith by yourself in your own strength. Stop! It is as if the Lord wants us to ‘cease what we are doing' to see something very clearly. It requires that you must cease everything else to see it and appreciate it. Cease from our activities so that we might ‘know’ something from Him, about Him… Him!
“Know” = Yada: (has almost 100 derivatives) A primitive root; to know (properly, to ascertain by seeing) make known, know intimately, reveal, revelation, (manifest), observation, recognition, (eyes opened, to see and then recognize), have understanding, instruction, discover, experience.
'Yada' combined with 'raphah/harpu' its being still, ceasing from our own comprehensions and abilities that we defer to God to reveal Himself to us. “Stop, look... listen” is the attitude for experiencing Communion. Cease from self when you sit down with Him. Feast on His presence and He will take the initiative to reveal what He wants you to see and hear. When He does your heart will begin to pound with His ability to commune with you. He brings tender understanding in our hearts. We get to know Him personally and intimately. This is when the miracle of conversion to His design for you continues. It is healing and wholeness that comes from Him. He is so wonderful and His love so real that somehow we become a little bit more like Him. A few seconds with Him and our lives are never the same. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
God: Elohim (plural of Elowahh): Plurality, (The Trinity) of The Great God, Supreme God, The Judge, Mighty God, The Almighty God, the angels
"And of his fullness we have all received, grace for grace." John 1:16 When we encounter JESUS we encounter the Father and the Holy Spirit as well. We experience His nature and character and we continue to develop our personal relationship with Him. Abba, Jesus and the Holt Spirit are all a part of CommunionFire. It is the union in communion that Jesus prayed for in John 17.
Psalm 46:10 We sit down to His Table with nothing in our hands, no expectations, just a sense of awe. We come not to give but to receive. Like customers in a restaurant or being seated at a feast, we are waited upon. We wait for Him and He comes to us. He comes to serve and to share. He has prepared to share His life and love with us for all eternity. He is always waiting for us so that He can wait upon us. When you eat the bread and drink the wine, be still and know...
From Bob - Bread: Jesus around me like a cloak like He was clothing me
Wine - Holy Spirit in me with the wine – like being quickened, His presence inside and outside (My life is hid with Christ in God)
From Cam - Bread: Jesus said, “I miss you”.
Wine - Cam says, “I want to come in further to your house” Jesus says, “Come with me.” (as though leading me by the hand took me down into the steps into a cold cave.) He said, “This is where I keep my treasure.” and He showed me jewels!
I went immediately to Isaiah 61: 10 (It was amazing how it tied together Bob and My Experience in one verse) “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful head dress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
From Karen - Bread: I remembered a park bench that was in a park and my granddaughter was sitting next to Jesus
Wine - Smoothness... peace
From Mary - Bread & Wine: I was just filled with thanks. I was giving thanks to Jesus for the wonderful ways He is answering prayer for my son. I am so grateful.
From Scott - Bread: We were robbed last night and the Lord has lifted my anger. He made me peaceful.
Wine - I saw a flower that I didn’t recognize and it was like the Holy Spirit was saying, “New Beginnings”
From Betty - Bread: Initially I felt like I was under a rain shower coming down from above and I actually felt sadness to the point of tears for the man who broke into our car. He doesn’t have his own life. Now I see him through the eyes of Jesus.
Wine - The Holy Spirit spoke, “It’ll come.”
The Holy Spirit led me back to Isaiah 61 and said the first part was for me, specifically: “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion - to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit"
What You Are Reading About
These are journaled accounts from a weekly gathering in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where we share Communion and our encounters with the Lord during Communion. Each one is as described by each person and then the images are added to provide a visual. We look for Jesus in the breaking of the bread His Body and are attentive to His presence in drinking the wine His Blood. Then we spend the rest of the evening sharing with each other over a meal. We feast on His presence and share with each other what He has shared with us.
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood up and cried out from His heart, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39
There is a tremendous tie between understanding the power of JESUS presence in Communion and the bond of the Holy Spirit. Each event is orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. He has the script from JESUS and JESUS has the approval from His Father. They work together to share something with us that is simple yet profound.
This is what is meant by "You shall receive power after you receive the Holy Spirit to become my witnesses." The book of the ACTS of JESUS has continued to be written on the delicate table of our hearts. He has been and still is building His Kingdom. He is doing this by the power of revelation to His people. The revelation is so real it shapes our confession like Peter when He declared, "You are the Christ the Son of the Living God."
In His presence we become totally dependent on Him for this new life. JESUS wants to pour out and immerse us in the Holy Spirit and with His fiery passion. When He does we are submerged in His Spirit, the living water, and we drink. It is the Holy Spirit filling us in every fiber of our being. We open our mouth and drink in the very goodness and joy of heaven. You are in His cloud. He is bathing you in the river of life. He fills us until we become a fountain of joy spilling over with worship, praise and thanksgiving! Amazing grace in action! With it a new fiery, love-driven passion ignites our hearts and we catch fire. Our love for JESUS blazes because His love has penetrated to the core of our being.
In the overflow we utter new sounds. Our lips stammer with new life. We become a bubbling, babbling brook running over with springtime joy. We pray and sing with the angels in a spiritual song. The Holy Spirit instantly gives us the ability to pray in His eternal and supernatural tongues. It is so natural it defies our reasoning. The Holy Spirit directs the tongue to become like a rudder to the wind that fills our heartsails. He empowers us, directs, us, fills us and blesses us with heaven's bliss! It is so simple it ignores our intelligence and yet our thoughts soar heavenward because His life is springing up inside us. Now we are His. We made Him ours and then we become His because He loved us first. Some who ask struggle with the simplicity and while they sleep they wake up in the middle of the night worshiping with heaven in their new language of worship and prayer. It is how He confirms we are connecting with new life in the Spirit. Its the same Spirit that raised JESUS from the dead who causes your heart to beat with resurrection power!
He is poured out on us and we drink. When we do a supernatural event takes place. Our lives become a part of the river of the Spirit that overflows with new life. Ask and receive that your joy may be full! "Dear JESUS, I thirst for all that you have for me. Please pour out your Holy Spirit upon me. Submerge me in your Holy Spirit and let me drink your water of life. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit and fire that I might live by the power of your Spirit. Thank you JESUS. I receive all that you have for me right now! I thank you and praise you!"
Now just drink in the Holy Spirit and as you give thanks the Holy Spirit will fill you to overflowing. As you praise Jesus and thank him... as you worship and praise Him...permit yourself to praise God in a heavenly language as the Holy Spirit gently enables you... it is the language of Angels, the language of the Holy Spirit... You're mind will observe in English while your mouth proclaims the glory of God in a heavenly tongue. You don't understand except for the exciting freedom to worship without the hindrance of earthly language! Taste and see that the Lord is good! Release your worship in the overflow.... Alleluia!
You're connection with the Holy Spirit is personal, intimate and real. "Holy Spirit" literally means the "divine breath". Like wind or breeze you breath while He envelopes you. Like a rushing river or rain pouring down from above, you drink. 'To baptize' means immerse, submerge as being overwhelmed. "Drink" Jesus said, "and out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water." Jesus said He went away so that He could send the Holy Spirit. Baptized by JESUS, we receive His personal agent of grace, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and 3rd member of the Holy Trinity. Now we are empowered to encounter JESUS in Communion.
He is the one who reveals the CommunionFire. In His light we see light. It is His glory! It's why Jesus sent Him. He is the only one who can convey the truth of "the reality of JESUS". He is here to open our eyes to see JESUS and recognize Him in the breaking of the bread. He opens our ears to hear His voice. He whispers the words JESUS has given Him for us. The Lord wants our heart to beat with His to know His love that goes beyond all we can as or think. His fiery-love will ignite your heart with eternal love.
The moment you encounter the presence of Jesus something happens. You are calmed not startled. You are peaceful and free of anxiety. You sense His overall presence embracing you. It is subtle. It is kind. It is real.
With the flip of a switch a light goes on. It is similar when you encounter JESUS. Communion is the switch and the light is His presence. In His presence the Psalmist says, "Is life forever more." (Psalm 16:11) and "This life is the light of humanity." (John 1:4) Light allows you to see what is otherwise hidden by darkness. The life of JESUS is given to us in Communion and that gives us light to see Him. He shares His life with us physically and spiritually and the temporal is displaced for a moment by the eternal.
It is there that the Holy Spirit leads us into all "truth". A better way to understand the word truth is to replace it with this phrase, "Reality of JESUS". By Communion the Holy Spirit brings us into the real presence of JESUS! The reality of His presence is found at His Table. It is the centerpiece of His House, Domain and Kingdom. In effect the word "Truth" is knowing "The Reality of JESUS" in an ongoing personal way.
See what Jesus prophesied about when He was preaching to the miraculously-fed multitudes who followed Him to the synagogue in Capernaum. He stood to preach and made about 17 declarations connecting eternal life, His Body and Blood to the tangible elements of Communion. Basically He said we will encounter Him as we feed upon His presence just by doing what He asked when having Communion. (John 6:32-66)
Read each line as though you are among the multitudes and He is speaking just to you.
Pause and then read the next line.
1) Whoever comes to me will never go hungry
2) Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
3) You have seen me and still you do not believe
4) For this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
5) For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
6) “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day."
7) I am the bread of life.
8) Here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.
9) I am the living bread that came down from heaven.
10) Whoever eats this bread will live forever.
11) This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
12) I tell you the truth: unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
13) Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
14) For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
15) Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.
16) Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
17) Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirite and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
Once we begin our relationship with JESUS it is by continually feeding on His presence through the bread His flesh and the drink His Blood that we are continue to receive His life by the Holy Spirit. By this we live lives sustained by Him. Communion brings us into His presence. We call that the CommunionFire.
While you are here would you please click on "Follow this Blog" located just above "The Treasury" Thanks.
The Vestibule Of Heaven
Written by G. D. Watson
“If God has called you to be really like Jesus in your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put on you such demands of obedience that He will not allow you to follow other Christians; and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things that He will not let you do.
Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires and work schemes to carry out their schemes, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent. Others may brag on themselves, on their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing; and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, but it is likely that God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, and that is helpless dependence upon Him, that He may have the privilege (the right) of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury. The Lord will let others be honoured and put forward, and keep you hidden away in obscurity, because He wants some choice fragrant fruit for His coming glory which can only be produced in the shade. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will let you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.
The Holy Spirit will put a watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, over which other Christians never seem distressed. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has the right to do as He pleases with His own, and He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. He will take you at your word and if you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things which He will not let you say or do.
Settle it for ever that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not deal with others. Now when you are so possessed with the Living God, that you are in your secret heart pleased and delighted over the peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.”
P.S. Then as further reflection from Ragamuffin Gospel "The Scandal of Grace" by Brennan Manning: "We are so poor that even our poverty is not our own. It belongs to the mysterium tremendum of a loving God... We drain the bitter cup of self-rejection when we disappear into the tremendous poverty that is the adoration of God."
Where is the most important piece of real estate in the world today? We can't find it on our own. It cannot be found on a map but it is available to all who want to discover it. It is not hidden except to those who cannot see it. You can get directions only if you know who to follow.
When you get there you will know that you have discovered the vestibule of heaven. It is where you will see the bright and morning star. There you will find a seat reserved for you at the table already prepared for you. It is already paid for in full and when you sit down God Himself will be there to welcome you and share all that He has with you.
This real estate is found wherever there is a table set by the Lord. You know He set it because it is where you will find Him. In the natural you find His Body as bread and His blood by wine. When you feast upon His body and blood you also feast upon His presence and when you do He opens your eyes to see Him and you recognize Him in the greater reality of the eternal.
He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.
Where He anoints your head with oil.
We sit down and begin to feast and when we do His presence is like anointing oil. Our eyes close to the temporal and are opened to see the eternal reality of His presence. We encounter the King and His Kingdom. It is His initiative when we receive Communion. He opens our eyes so that we can encounter Him first hand and remember Him.
When we do His real estate may include a beach by the lake, the sea or an ocean. It may be the Last Supper in the Upper Room 2000 years ago or may bring you to a green hillside where you are a sheep and He is your Shepherd. What we see is more real than the chair we are sitting in and the stars in the sky. They are temporary. One day there will be a new heaven and a new earth and a New Jerusalem. For now He is our reality. He is not dead. He is alive. He is alive in the bread and the wine. It is His body and His blood. When we feast on His divinity something happens!
The table, the bread and the wine are real. Jesus said, "It is real food." We hold the bread and cup with our hands. We eat the bread and drink the wine with our mouth. When we do a miracle happens in our heart. Our eyes open to see Him and we know this because we recognize Him. He shows us something. It may be a light or a net or He may just let us know He is there. One day He is King and another day He is the Shepherd. One day meets us on the beach and another day on the hill. The miracle is that He opens our eyes to recognize His reality. He speaks. We hear His voice. He gives us a sense of what He is saying. He whispers in a still small voice. He opens our ears that we might hear Him and know the reality of His word.
Then something else happens. Our cup overflows.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. John 1:17
And as we live in His presence, our love grows more and more complete. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because as He is so are we in this world 1 John 4;17
Isaiah 6:10, Matthew 13:15, John 12:40, Acts 27:28, Romans 11:8 Five times in scriptures we are told how God initiates disclosure of His presence to us. He opens our eyes, our ears and our hearts to bring about transformation by His love. There are two responses.
Those who will not see with their eyes, they wont hear and so they will not understand remain in darkness and blind to His reality.
Those who do see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand in their heart are transformed and healed.
As in Part One of this series, Brennan Manning makes the observation that once we have a true encounter with JESUS it is life changing. It is with us the rest of our lives but then the reality of this world, natural life begins to wear away the impact of that life-changing moment. The question is, "Can we have more than one experience or more than occasional encounters?" The answer is, "Yes!"
JESUS invites us to come back to His Table every day to experience the miracle of encountering Him! He never leaves us or forsakes us. He can't wait to share more of Himself with you. He wants to keep impacting us with His Initiative! The more time we spend at His Table the more His initiative impacts our life. The greater the ongoing impact is, the more intense His glory becomes. Instead of this world distilling our encounters with its trivialities, they are replaced by the reality of His presence.
When we remember He is there in Communion, we are transformed into the images we encounter of Him. You can't change under your own strength because you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God. We can't renew our mind, He does. When He is seen in us and through us it is because we have spend real time with the real Him. If He INITIATES it will be true. If we initiate we will be blue. In us dwells no good thing. Even on our best day our right doing amounts to filthy dirty rags. We are at best, as Father Manning says so well by word and example, Ragamuffins. When we meet at His Table He imputes His royalty! We become partakers of His divine nature!
Let Him lead you to His Table. He will open your eyes to see Him. He will open you ears to hear Him. He will transform your heart by filling it to overflowing with understanding. We see His expressions, how gracious, respectful, loving and kind He is. We get to know who He really is. The more you know Him the greater we see His glory and are embraced by His grace. The more time we spend at His Table the more powerful His presence. His love intensifies more and more! We become more the person He intends us to be. That's why we will have confidence in the day of judgment because we already 'know Him'. We know that we have passed from death into life. Again JESUS tells us, "This bread is my flesh given for your life and this cup of wine is my blood shed for the remission of your sins... It is real!"
He initiates everything and makes that most possible every time we sit at His Table. It is The Table of Communion where we learn how much He wants to share Himself with us!
"We love Him, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
"He brings you to His banqueting room where He has prepared the wine and the table and His banner over you is love. He anoints your head with oil and your cup runs over... His goodness and love stays with you and you know you are welcomed to be with Him forever!"
Song 2:4, Psalm 23:5-6
Initiative from Heaven, not ours, opens our eyes to see JESUS and recognize Him. JESUS sent the Holy Spirit as the means to encounter Him everyday. For example:
The preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost was ignited by his encounter with the baptism of the Holy Spirit he had just experienced in the Upper Room.
Imagine thousands of people in the streets of Jerusalem who witnessed the presence of God hit the Upper Room like a mighty wind initiated from Heaven. 120 JESUS followers had gathered and it appeared they were on fire. When they came out and saw the crowds they were all speaking the mysteries of the Gospel in languages they didn't know. Languages INITIATED from heaven! When their unintelligible words hit the ears of the crowds they each heard their own language. It was personal, intimate and it pierced their hearts until they cried out, "What must we do?"
Within minutes, Peter stood up and preached like he had a Doctorate in Theology. He spoke of the Prophets and the Psalms not under his own strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit. He spoke of many amazing things including repeating the prophecy of Joel about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Blood Moons and Total Eclipse in the last days.
After the prophecies he declared, "I always keep my eyes on the Lord, for He is at my right hand so that I cannot be shaken. That is why my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices, yes, even my body still rests securely in hope." He preached about a new point of reference in his life. He said in effect I look to the Lord constantly because He initiates my faith. He reveals Himself to me now like He did when He was on the earth. In fact Peter must have just realized Jesus is back! He is alive! He is alive in me! He teaches me what to say. My tongue is His tongue and my hands are His hands. Remember Jesus had told him that 'upon the rock of revelation I will build my Church!'
On Pentecost He started with 120 rocks that He turned into living stones. By the end of the day He added 3,000 more!
Keep in mind, the initiative from heaven was only a few hours old and Peter preached with authority instantly! How can Peter declare, "I keep the Lord always before me." when not 6 weeks earlier he had denied Him three times. Then after the resurrection He doubted the witnesses of those who reported that they had seen JESUS. Peter received his initiative from Heaven. God was now in his physical body quickening his mind and heart and footsteps. Peter just yielded to the grace, love, joy and power that was working in him like a heaven sent hard drive.
Holy Spirit downloads come from Jesus. Jesus gets them from the Father and when it hits us it has a way of moving our life, language and activities direct from heaven. Its no longer us that live but Christ who lives in us! If the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you He will quicken your mortal body!
We move in Him as He moves in us. We are transformed from glory to glory into His image. Out of His fullness we receive grace upon grace. We realize His power in our life with ever increasing strength. As we hear His voice we increase from one explosion of faith to another.
Heaven's INITIATIVE comes from God! It is ignited by the Holy Spirit. It brings us into the very presence of Jesus Christ in a personal, intimate way orchestrated by the Holy Spirit and scripted by the Father and the Son. Where we experience this Holy Initiative is at the Communion Table. When Jesus said, "Do this." He really did have something in mind! The revelation of Jesus Christ is going to be the power of the Holy Spirit in these last days. "He gave us the former rain moderately - the latter rain will be in torrents causing eyes to open and see visions. It will be accompanied by prophecy and dreams. He is opening our eyes to see Him and to Recognize Him. It is the Miracle of CommunionFire! "Is your heart burning within you?" Tomorrow we will discover the most important piece of real estate in the universe in the last days. Have you seen Him, heard Him or been with Him since you believed? He is waiting for you.
"Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him"
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