Shocking (…plus a free book)

JesusShock

Answer these 3:

1) What is truth?

2) Define your way of life.

3) What is life?

Go ahead… answer them.  then keep reading.

What are your answers?

If any of them is not a simple 5 letter word, you have some things to think about..

JESUS is the answer to the above three questions, as well as the answer to an entire 35 question survey given by Peter Kreeft in his book Jesus Shock.

It’s a phenomenal read.  It will challenge you, whoever you are.  Get it for FREE, here.

The Beloved Disciple’s Testimony and Your Testimony

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I would like to look at John, the beloved disciple, and reflect on a few seasons of his life.  I would like to connect them with your life, so that you can identify where you are in relation to his path.

Should we start at the end of his life or the beginning?  Let’s mention the end, so we know where we are going, but quickly return to the beginning, so we can walk with one foot in front of the other.

THE END:

Towards the end of John’s life, the skies opened up and he received THE revelation of Heaven’s glory.  That’s what happened towards the end of John’s life, and I want to connect it with your life.  OBJECTION NUMERO UNO: “That’s never gonna happen to me.”  With that kind of attitude, you are right!  Christians don’t seem to be receiving revelations of Heaven all that often.  One important impediment: the attitude of “not for me.”  I am here to tell you that it IS for you.  And we are going to look at John’s life to see how we can be ready to receive this kind of gift from God.  This revelation/ecstatic/rapturous state of John wasn’t only for him.  His was particular, in that it was designed by God to become one of the 27 New Testament letters, but that doesn’t mean that others don’t get to be in this kind of deep relationship.  One of the reasons given why John omits his name from the Gospel he wrote, replacing his name with “the beloved disciple,” is that you can insert your name into the story, that is, so that you can see that these things aren’t just for him, but for the many.  So, let’s go back to the beginning for John, and find there your beginning.

TRUTH SEEKER

John was a disciple of John the Baptist.  John was looking for truth.  You are looking for truth.  John was lucky enough to have a humble teacher, one who knew that he was not the fullest expression of the truth.  Is the truth you are seeking a humble teacher?  Will your teacher bow if a fuller expression of the truth comes forward?  Some people look to science.  Some people look to a political party or ideology.  Some people look to a philosophy.  Lots of people are looking to vague quasi-religious self-help principles that seem humble, but actually lead to a claim of superiority.  Some people only look to themselves, which is the most dangerous thing you can do.  John was seeking truth.  The Baptist was a great teacher of truth.  And the Baptist was humble, bowing when the Truth came along.  “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:29ff.)  So John left his teacher to follow The Teacher.

GETTING TO KNOW JESUS

John spent three years getting to know Jesus.  He was witness to many things.  You have witnessed Jesus working in your life as well.  Let’s fast forward a bit.

RETURNING TO WHAT I KNOW

After seeing so many things, and most recently, the Death, Resurrection and appearance of Jesus, John (and company) go to Galilee according to the Lord’s command.  What do they do when they arrive there as they wait for Jesus?  Peter says “I am going fishing.”  And the disciples go fishing.  SCREECH TO A HALT… They just witnessed their leader rise from the dead, and they go fishing?!  WHAT?! And you have done that as well.  Having witnessed so many things of the Lord, on retreat, in prayer, in worship, through a bible study or a book, in peoples’ lives, you have often returned to what you know.  It is sometimes a straight-up backslide (bad deal). Other times it has been an “I didn’t know what to do, so I just did what I knew” kind of thing.  Other times it has been simply laziness (ouch).  Jesus showed up to John and He wants to show up to you:
‘I have come and have found you.
You returned to what you knew.
I want to show you something new.’

‘I have come and have found you. 
You returned to what you knew. 
I want to show you something new.’

BEARING WITNESS

Having moved on from witnessing so many things, and having been called out from what he knew to something new, John and company receive the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  NOTE HERE: If John didn’t first seek truth, he wouldn’t have followed Jesus.  If he wouldn’t have followed Jesus, we wouldn’t have witnessed so many things.  If he didn’t witness so many things, he wouldn’t have been ready to cry out that day on the water “It is the LORD!” (John 21)  If he didn’t get called of that water, he wouldn’t have been ready for the Pentecostal Fire.  He was ready for the Pentecostal Fire because of all the steps already taken.  (Cough, cough)  Getting the drift?  For your life?  The end will come, but only by way of the beginning.  BEGIN!

John receives ‘power from on high’ with the brothers, and they go and preach in the name of Jesus.  They get in big trouble, and get told “Don’t preach in this name any longer.”  And they were glad to suffer abuse “for the sake of the Name” (Acts 5: 17ff).  Here comes the ever familiar excuse: “I don’t know how to speak of Jesus.  That’s not my gift.”  Have you not received the Holy Spirit?  Does not God call you His temple, a dwelling place of His Holy Spirit?  Is not the Holy Spirit the One who will do these things in you?  So what are you worried about you.  It’s not up to you to do great things.  It’s up to you to let the Lord do great things with you.  True humility isn’t me saying I can’t do it.  True humility let’s God do what He wants to do with me.

RAPTUROUS ECSTASY

Truth seeker.  Getting to know Jesus.  Returning to what I know.  Bearing witness.  All these steps are steps John took and steps you’ve taken, or are taking, or are looking to take, or are learning now that they are the steps of Christians, and you are a Christian.  This leads John to be in a place of preparedness for something outstanding.  John got exiled to an island called Patmos, which is between Greece and Turkey.  He was dwelling in a cave, having lived a faithful and persevering life.  God brought John into a vision that altered, I’m sure, everything for him once again.  Heaven opened up.  John saw God seated on a throne.  John saw the angels.  John saw the redeemed.  John saw the cosmic battles.  John saw it all.  What do you think he thought about after that vision?   Fishing???  The desire for total communion with those in Heaven and total union with God in Heaven must have been all that remained for him.  And this is for you.  Consumed longing is for you.  It REALLY is for you.  Maybe not today.
Maybe today you need to decide to seek truth.
Maybe today you need to get to know Jesus more.
Maybe today you need to realize that you have returned to what you know.
Maybe today you need to receive the Pentecostal Fire.
Maybe today you need to bear witness.
Maybe today you need to decide to be faithful each day.
Maybe today is your day for rapture.

CHRONOS AND KAIROS

A very dear friend and mentor of mine speaks of ‘chronos’ and ‘kairos’.  Chronos is chronological time.  Kairos is anointed time.  We’ve looked at John’s life in chronos.  You don’t have to live a long life and wait for rapture.  John followed the Baptist for a while in chronos.  John followed Jesus for 3 years in chronos.  John went and preached in chronos.  And in chronos, kairos happened, late in his life.  Chronos is no longer an impediment.  Jesus can work wonders in you in no time at all.  You can live the devoted life now.  You can live the Pentecostal life now.  You can live in deep union now.  Kairos doesn’t have to be in your future; it can be in your now.  You are the limiter, not time.  Let’s learn from the path of John, the beloved disciple.  TODAY IS THE DAY.

MORE PROOF

Still don’t believe me that this is for you, but was only for John… search some of these names.  A bunch of normal people who gave themselves over to Jesus and were invited into this kind of reality.  Gemma Galgani, Consolata Bertrone, Therese Neumann, Pere Lamy, Gabrielle Bossis, Josefa Menendez, Mary of the Holy Trinity, Padre Pio, Paul of the Cross, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegard of Bingen, Hugh of St. Victor, Bonaventure, Angela of Foligno, Gertrude of Saxony, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Margaret Mary Alocoque, Faustina Kowalska.

Psalm 16 and What Jesus Knows /// A Deep Thought with a Simple Example

What was in the mind of Jesus, when He walked around Israel in our human flesh?
He was God before He came.
He is God after He ascends.
But what about when He came and walked around on earth?

Did He know everything that was going to happen for Him?  Did He know that He was going to suffer and die and rise on the 3rd day?

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This huge question has been asked for centuries, since Jesus is a divine Person, with a divine nature and a human nature: Did Jesus possess divine knowledge, since He took on everything it means to be man, except sin.  “Therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people” Hebrews 2:17.  So, did He not know the things that God knows?

Did Jesus know what God knows, or only what man can know?

In the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, Peter gets up and speaks.  He quotes from Psalm 16 and talks about David.  This is a very profound, and very simple, place to dig up a lot of awesomeness.

Peter Preaching

Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2: A breathed upon text, inspired by the Holy Spirit, who with the Son and the Father is God.

Psalm 16, verses 8-11: A breathed upon text, inspired by the Holy Spirit, who with the Son and the Father is God.

Jesus: The 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity.  Before taking on Flesh and the name Jesus, He existed forever with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and who, after dying and rising, took this Flesh with Him back to the right of the Father, to exist with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever.

OK, let’s break this down more.  When using the name Jesus, which He received in time, I am referring to the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, even though He didn’t have the name Jesus before he took on Flesh.  He has always been and will always be the eternal Son of the Father, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

That means that Jesus was with the Father and the Holy Spirit before He took on flesh.  That means that Jesus is with the Father and the Holy Spirit while He is in the flesh.  That means that Jesus will always be with the Father and the Holy Spirit after ascending to Heaven.  That means that there is no time when Jesus is apart from the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Let’s break this down another way, using these Scriptures as an example.

Before Jesus took on Flesh, He breathed with the Father the Holy Spirit upon David, who wrote Psalm 16, verses 8-11.  So, Jesus knew this passage as He inspired David to write it.  “I keep the LORD always before me; with the LORD at my right, I shall never be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure, for you will not abandon me to Sheol, nor let your faithful servant see the pit.  You will show me the path of life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever” Psalm 16: 8-11.

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After Jesus ascended to the Father, taking His seat at the right of the Father, He breathed with the Father the Holy Spirit upon Peter, who took again these same words from Psalm 16, and applied them explicitly to the resurrection of Jesus. cf. Acts 2:25-36.

Jesus knew what Psalm 16 was going to be about
when He breathed it through David.
Jesus knew what Psalm 16 was going to be applied to
when He breathed it through Peter.
Jesus has never not been united to
the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus read the Psalms when He was in the Flesh.  Jesus read Psalm 16 when He was in the Flesh.  Is there any difficulty in thinking that since He had always known what that passage would mean from all eternity and that He would again in Acts refer to what that passage meant for all eternity, that Jesus knew what this passage meant when He read it in the Flesh?

Maybe this is a no-brainer for you.  But, for many who have reflected on what it means that Jesus became like His brothers in all things, they have been trying to figure out what Jesus knew in the Flesh.  Did He have Divine knowledge or only Human knowledge.

Jesus knew what Psalm 16 was going to mean from all eternity, all the way back, prior to creation.

Jesus knows what Psalm 16 means in reference to His resurrection, after He ascended to the Father, forward for all eternity.

Jesus knew, when He was in the Flesh, what Psalm 16 meant in reference to Him.  He inspired David and was going to inspire Peter.  He Himself is Inspired.

One passage: Psalm 16: 8-11.  A whole lot of realities.  Before, during, and after.  So much to absorb for us.  Thus it is with God and His Word!

“Who is and who was and who is to come” Revelation 1:4.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8.

HIS GAZES FILLED US WITH PARADISE /// GOOD FRIDAY

HIS GAZES FILLED US WITH PARADISE

Sorrowful Mama, I see You kiss the lifeless eyes of Jesus,
and I feel pierced in seeing that Jesus no longer looks at You.
How many times His Gazes filled You with Paradise,
and made You rise again from death to Life;
and now, not seeing Yourself gazed upon, You feel You are dying!
– Luisa Piccarreta

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The Open Heart of Our Father God

“His father saw him and was moved with compassion, and ran to him…” (Lk 15:20)

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God’s incomprehensible love of penitent sinners*.  Though the sinner has offended Him so grievously and so often, yet He reproaches him not, but forgives him everything, and restores him to his former rights and dignity of sonship.

– He re-clothes him with the robe of innocence, i.e. sanctifying grace (ROBE) (Lk 15:22).

– He adorns him again with the supernatural virtues befitting the state of divine sonship (RING) (Lk 15:22).

– He enables him to walk justly before God (SHOES) (Lk 15:22).

– He prepares a feast for the converted sinner, giving him the Lamb of God, for the nourishment of his soul, in Holy Communion (FATTENED CALF) (Lk 15:23).

God alone can love this in this way, and to us this sort of love is inconceivable.  Our Lord portrays this narrow-mindedness of ours in the conclusion of the parable.  The elder son cannot understand his father’s joy; he murmurs at it, and refuses to take part in it; and even professes to believe that his father prefers the returned prodigal to himself, the faithful, obedient and industrious son.  By this behavior of the elder son our Lord signifies the jealousy of the Pharisees, who considered themselves to be just, and murmured at the deep interest Jesus took in sinners.  By the father’s answer in the parable our Lord shows how very unjustifiable any such jealousy would be.  The just man ought to think of the great happiness which he has had of being always in the love and grace of God: and if he will try to realize what the infinite love of God is for every soul which He has made, he will rejoice with God as often as a soul which had been lost is found or saved.  As the angels rejoice (Lk 15:10) over the return of the prodigal, so ought we to rejoice over the conversion of sinners!

 

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*Thanks to F. Knecht for his sublime work from which this post is drawn.  None of this post is original.  Its entirety is drawn from “A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture” by Frederick Justus Knecht, which is currently out of print.

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