Hiding in Plain Sight


Luke 24:13-16 (GW)
On the same day, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village called Emmaus. It was about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were talking, Jesus approached them and began walking with them. Although they saw him, they didn’t recognize him.

How could it be that two people were walking along the highway with Jesus and did not recognize him? He was right there with them, walking with them and talking to them. He was even explaining the scriptures to them as they walked along the road and yet they could not see him for who he was.

The whole time he was walking with them he was explaining the scriptures to them and they were excited in their spirits. They were getting encouragement in the midst of their sadness. They had just witnessed the death of their beloved leader, the one they thought was sure to deliver them from the heavy yoke of the Roman Empire, but instead they watched him die. All their hopes and aspirations where shattered as Jesus gave up his spirit on the Roman cross. Their plans were dashed on the rocks of Golgotha as Jesus’ blood was spilt. They could not imagine how it could be God’s will for all this to happen. They were devastated and heavy-hearted by the entire course of events.

They watched as Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons, surely they thought that he could smite the enemy and gain his freedom. None of what they hoped for took place, leaving them feeling alone and bewildered and questioning their own faith. Perhaps they thought it was all a lie.

This is where we take up the story, as two of Jesus’ disciples where making they way from Jerusalem to Emmaus they were joined by a stranger. They were surprised that this stranger did not know what had happened in Jerusalem just three days earlier. They retold the story of Jesus’ trial and conviction by the Jewish leaders of the day. They even told how Mary and Martha had gone to the tomb only to find it empty. They were basically living in the past. Their emotions and minds were stuck on good Friday. They had not yet arrived to the glorious realization of the  third day. They had yet to embrace the truism of Jesus’ resurrection.

When bad things happen to us many of us get stuck in the past, or get hampered by the events that have happened to us yesterday that we are unable to embrace the newness of life that comes each new day. We can not travel down life’s highway while continually looking in the rearview mirror. We have to focus on the present and have hope for the future.

It is the enemies plan to discourage and weaken our resolves by constantly badgering us and bombarding us with negative thoughts and inflicting our lives with  chaos and calamity. There is nothing more important to the devil then to derail our faith in a risen Lord. He wants us to believe that God is dead and we are on our own. He wants us to believe that Jesus has forsaken us and left us to handle things down here without any help or intervention from him. The enemy of life is constantly asking us where is God?

These disciples, although they had spent three years with Jesus, had not fully grasped the message Jesus was trying to tell them. He had told them repeatedly that he had to die in order for them to live. He told them the reason he came was to be the sacrifice for Adam’s sin. They did not understand what he was teaching them. This is why they could not see Jesus. They did not really believe that he was going to rise from the dead like he said he would.

There are many today, and quite frankly many in the church, who are just like these two disciples. They are going through the daily life without any acknowledgement that Jesus is right there with them. They are walking along life’s highway without ever stopping to ponder if Jesus walks the road beside them. Too many I feel believe that Jesus left them to figure out their own paths to righteousness and salvation. Too many I fear have forgotten the promise Jesus made while he was still with his disciples. He told them plainly that he would never leave them nor forsake them but would be with them even until the end of the age.

Jesus is alive and he is wanting to walk with you and fellowship with you. Are we too blind to see him hiding in plain sight? It wasn’t until the disciples invited Jesus to come home with them and to have a fellowship dinner with them that their eyes were opened to see Jesus. At that moment he disappeared from their sight.

Luke 24:28-31 (GW)
When they came near the village where they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. They urged him, “Stay with us! It’s getting late, and the day is almost over.” So he went to stay with them. While he was at the table with them, he took bread and blessed it. He broke the bread and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But he vanished from their sight.

After their eyes were opened they remarked how their spirits were stirred within them as Jesus was teaching them from the word of God. Although they knew in their hearts that what Jesus was saying was true, they were not able to fully grasp it until they invited Jesus to their home and they ate with him.

Many ask where God is when things go wrong, and I have to wonder if he isn’t right there beside them the entire time and they simply fail to recognize him. You see these two disciples knew the scriptures, they had read about Jesus in the scriptures, they even knew that what Jesus was saying was true, but they had not yet invited Jesus into their inner most place, into the home of their heart. They had not actually took the time to sit with Jesus and have real fellowship with him.

It isn’t until we accept the scriptures are true, and acknowledge that Jesus is indeed raised from the dead, and confess with our mouth that Jesus is indeed Lord will be able to see him as he truly is; alive and well.

The minds of these two were clouded by their own expectations of who Jesus was and what his mission was. They had formed their own opinions and ideas how Jesus was going to bring about his kingdom. Although Jesus told them plainly they were not able to get past their own wants and desires. They were seeking to see things turn out the way they thought it should, and not the way Jesus told them it would.

Now let us not get sanctimonious and think that we are somehow better than these two. How many times have you wanted something so badly that you were disappointed when it did not turn out the way you wanted and actually blamed God for failing to answer your prayers? How many times have you wandered off the straight and narrow path of righteousness taught by the scriptures and found yourself in a bad place but still wanted God to bless you right where you were without any wish to return to where you took the detour?

Come on be honest, how many times have you entered into the sanctuary of a church and come away feeling empty? You went expecting God to do something for you but you never really took the time to spend some quality time alone with Jesus in fellowship and the reading of His word. How can Jesus show himself to you if you refuse to accept his word as the bread of life, his very body, his essence is found within the pages of scripture. This is what Jesus taught the two disciples as they were traveling the road from Jerusalem. He taught them that the whole of scripture  tells us about Jesus. He is hidden in plain sight throughout all of earth’s history, and HIS STORY is told on the pages of scripture.

Preaching alone is not going to get you to recognize Jesus unless you are willing to accept the truth of the gospel and acknowledge that Jesus is the word and that word became flesh and walked among us. He is risen, he does not still hang on a cross or lie in a tomb. Jesus is alive and well and every time you take the time to read about Him in the holy book you become more and more like him until you too can see him exactly as he is.

Jesus is here now. Can you see him? Do you expect to see him? Do you even want to see him? Are you still clinging to the failures of the past or are you ready to move forward with a new life in  Christ? The chose is yours. Jesus is waiting right there beside you, why not invite him home with you?

Until next time. Good day!

Image.gifThis is a view from the nest. What say you?

But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)

Along for the journey

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The Christmas Light


image_thumb.pngA View from the Nest

Random Ramblings from the Resident Raptor

Insight from the Journey across the Sky

And the light goes on shining in the dark; it is not overcome by the dark. John 1:5 (BBE)


Fourth man
Image by stuant63 via Flickr

Traveling East on the PA turnpike late Christmas Eve a strange thing happened. As I was approaching the city limits of Philadelphia the sky grew brighter and my visibility increased greatly. It was like the sun was starting to rise. The only problem was the clock read 1 AM, far too early for a sunrise. But the closer I got to the city the brighter the sky appeared. I was amazed at how much light was being refracted off the low cloud cover and the light intensity being reflected off the snow covered ground. I do not recall ever seeing anything like this before in my life and I was truly awestruck. In fact I had to double check the time to make absolutely sure it was only 1 AM.

Light is an amazing thing. It does not take a lot of light to illuminate the night. Prior to reaching Philadelphia I had logged over 200 miles of dark stretches of the PA turnpike. I drove past several cities and did not notice this daylight effect until reaching the outskirts of Philadelphia. I really do not understand the science behind this strange lighted nighttime sky but it was truly a remarkable experience.


Since it was Christmas morning I thought it was appropriate that the sky would be illuminated by a mysterious light. Astronomers will probably be able to explain to me how exactly the night sky appeared as if dawn was approaching and I would enjoy any knowledge that could be shed on this phenomenon. My little bit of research for this article did not uncover anything but I am sure there is an explanation.

Today the Christian church celebrates Epiphany, the story of the wise men coming to Jerusalem from the East to follow a light seen shining in the Eastern sky. They too were amazed at the bright light in the Eastern Sky and sought out the meaning of it. They traveled to Jerusalem for they knew that a King of Israel was born, and Jerusalem was the seat of government so that is where they went to inquire of the new kings birth. Herod called all the chief priests and scribes together to inquire of the scriptures as to were exactly this king was to be born. Wouldn’t it be nice if our own government leaders would take time to inquire of the scriptures to explain the times and seasons.

Now when the birth of Jesus took place in Beth-lehem of Judaea, in the days of Herod the king, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is the King of the Jews whose birth has now taken place? We have seen his star in the east and have come to give him worship. And when it came to the ears of Herod the king, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And he got together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, questioning them as to where the birth-place of the Christ would be. And they said to him, In Beth-lehem of Judaea; for so it is said in the writings of the prophet, You Beth-lehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the chiefs of Judah: out of you will come a ruler, who will be the keeper of my people Israel. Matthew 2:1-6

Unlike the wise me I, on the other hand, was heading East to join family and friends for Christmas day. I was not in search of a King, nor was I following a star, but because of this nighttime illumination I was reminded of the real meaning of the season. God’s magnificent creation was proclaiming all over again that Jesus is the Light of the world, and He had come to illuminate the darkness. Anyone who follows after the Light will not stumble around in darkness but have the light of life. John 8:12 NKJV


Have you seen the light? Has your life been illuminated by the light the shines in the darkness? Are you like the Wise men of old seeking the King whose star was seen shining in the Eastern sky? One day Jesus is going to come again and his coming will be like a light shining from East to West. Will you be ready when He appears?

Because as in a thunderstorm the bright light coming from the east is seen even in the west; so will be the coming of the Son of man. Matt 24:27 (BBE)

But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)



Along for the journey

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Inauguration Day


Insight for your “Journey across the Sky”
A View from the Nest www.eagleviews.org
Random Ramblings from the Resident Raptor.



In*au`gu*ra"tion\, n. [L. inauguratio a beginning: cf. F. inauguration.]

  1. The act of inuagurating, or inducting into office with solemnity; investiture by appropriate ceremonies.

2. The formal beginning or initiation of any movement, course of action, etc.; as, the inauguration of a new system, a new condition, etc.
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
Near Sheep Gate in Jerusalem was a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew. It had five porches. Under these porches a large number of sick people—people who were blind, lame, or paralyzed—used to lie. One man, who had been sick for 38 years, was lying there. Jesus saw the man lying there and knew that he had been sick for a long time. So Jesus asked the man, “Would you like to get well?” The sick man answered Jesus, “Sir, I don’t have anyone to put me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I’m trying to get there, someone else steps into the pool ahead of me.” Jesus told the man, “Get up, pick up your cot, and walk.” The man immediately became well, picked up his cot, and walked. John 5:2-9 (GW)

The Pool of Bethesda was located on the eastern side of the city near the Fortress of Antonia. The name Bethesda means "house of mercy."
 
The water source was a nearby spring. Recent archaeological discoveries have confirmed the Biblical account, that there were five porches and the fifth one divided the rectangular pool into two separate compartments. Josephus wrote about the Pool of the Sheep-market.

There is a loud cry of discrimination and inequality being heralded throughout our land. There are those who may feel like this crippled man, that there is no one looking out for them, there is no one to give them a hand out, there is no one to help them attain their goals. So here they sit and wait and complain about being discriminated against.
 
Jesus cuts right to the heart of the matter when he asks. "Would you like to get well?" Do you really want your situation to change? Are you really ready for change? Are you willing to take responsibility for change?
 
The man answered that he had no one to help him. There was no one to enable him. There was no compassion being shown him. No one cared or showed mercy. There were others skipping in line and going before him. His answer should have been YES SIR! I want to be healed. Instead he made excuses. Jesus then commanded him to GET UP! PICK UP YOUR BED! and WALK!
 
There is the simple remedy to life’s ills. Get up, pick up, and start to walk!
 
I have listened to crowds of people cry YES WE CAN, YES WE CAN, YES WE CAN and then come running with their hands out. Now I am not the smartest person on this planet but I am having a hard time understanding how you can say YES WE CAN and then turn around in the next breath and cry NO WE CAN’T.
 
We are about to inaugurate a leader who made us cry YES WE CAN but then says NO YOU CAN’T. Our new leader seems to think that the government has the cure, while simultaneously ignoring the huge pool of opportunity sitting right before us. He promises that all can drink from the public pool of funds collected from those who have been healed by the pool’s waters of opportunity, yet he does not offer to lift anyone into the pool to actually be healed.

The crippled man sat by the pool for 38 years. He had seen a whole generation pass before him into the waters while he was continually passed up. For those who have long been imprisoned with this crippling mindset, I can understand their lack of internal strength, to do whatever it takes to obtain their goals and objectives. There are some in our society who have been put down and overlooked for so long that they have accepted their lot and gave up on their goals. They sit by the wayside of life, day in and day out watching others succeed, and lament their inability to achieve. They have lost the inner desire to achieve.

Continue reading “Inauguration Day”

O Little Town of Bethlehem


 

I have been blessed by receiving Worthy Devotions in my inbox each day for over a year now and I wish to share just one of the many insightful messages I have received from this Jewish writer. A Jewish perspective can add valuable insight to a study of the bible, and so it is with this topic of Jesus being born in Bethlehem. Once again we can see the intricate design of God throughout the biblical narrative. If you are not already receiving Worthy Devotions in your inbox each day I would recommend that you sign up for an email subscription today. You will be blessed for having done so.

Micah 4:8;5:2 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

There are many who are not aware of the very deep significance of Bethlehem,Yeshua’s (Jesus’) birthplace. Everyone knows that Bethlehem was a place where shepherds grazed their sheep, and where the Messiah was to be born, but do not realize that it was a town designated as the birthing place for lambs which were used for the Passover sacrifice. The Scriptures give significant details about this little town lying slightly south of Jerusalem.

 

In Micah 4:8 we read about the “watchtower of the flock”, or in Hebrew, “Migdal Edar.” According to the “Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah“, by Alfred Edersheim, a Jewish believer in the late 1800’s, Migal Edar was the location where the Messiah was to be revealed. This watchtower stood as a place of protection for the city from approaching enemies, but it was also utilized by shepherds to watch over the specific flocks from which sacrificial Passover lambs were taken.

The shepherds who were tending these particular flocks were no ordinary shepherds. They were specifically trained by the Rabbis for a holy task. They had to insure that, as much as possible, every lamb was free of any blemish or injury, in order to be used for the Passover sacrifice. Since they were instructed by the Rabbis, they almost certainly knew of those passages in the Targums (Aramaic translations) and the Mishna associating the birth of the Messiah with “Migdal Edar”. For example, Migdal Edar is translated in one of the Targums as “The Anointed One of the Flock of Israel.” It is also written in the Mishna that “He spread his tent beyond Migdal Edar, the place where King Messiah will reveal Himself at the end of days.”

Those shepherds had strong hints of Messiah’s advent in the very town where they lived, so that when the angelic host appeared announcing his arrival, they responded immediately and went to worship Him. We too have increasing signs of His soon Second Coming. Are we also prepared to respond? Our readiness to act in faith and worship will show how well we understand the signs of our own times. With so much work to be done, let us stay awake and be inspired by the expectation of his soon arrival – for, just like those shepherds of Bethlehem, we truly were born for such a time as this!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

 

George, Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Currently in the Negev Desert, Israel

Mountain Top Perspective


Insight for your “Journey across the Sky”
A View from the Nest www.eagleviews.org

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” 13 So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.” 15 Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. 16 Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. Exodus 24:12-18 (NKJV)

Recently I stood at the base of the Blue Mountain Ski area in Eastern Pennsylvania and looked on as learned and unlearned skiers moved along the mountain slopes and trails. Standing at the base of the mountain was the safest place to be but offered only one view of the mountain,- that of looking up. The view from the top would have been far different than my view from the bottom. Moses stood on the top of mountain and talked face to face with God. While he was gone those back at the base had grown tired of waiting for the return of Moses. From the valley, the people’s view of the mountaintop was obscured by the clouds. They were not permitted to approach the mountain while the cloud of God’s glory enveloped it. They had to just remain where they were and wait.

 

I had gone to Blue Mountain with a number of youth from a friend’s church and it was a couple of these young people I was waiting for at the base of the mountain. As they would ride the ski lift to the top of the mountain I could only look on from the base. The thrill and excitement that awaited them at the top I could only imagine from my vantage point safe on the bottom. As I watched these beginners start their first decent to the base of that small hill I watched them fall time and time again. They had to get up and continue down the hill because at this point there was only one way in which they could go- down. They could not catch a lift back to the top and unless they simply took off the snow boards and walked down they would have to make an attempt to ski down the slope.

Compared to the other trails on this mountain, the bunny slope was really quit small. As I stood at the base I could see many trails rising a mile or more straight up the side of the mountain. From my viewpoint I could only make out tiny specks of dark against the white snow as skiers would ski down the mountain side.

I was not up there with them. I was not privy to what they were saying or for that matter what they saw. I could only inquire of their experience once they reached the level where I was standing. This is how it is many times when dealing with the members of the body of Christ. We are each on different levels of God’s holy mountain and we have differing viewpoints of what that mountain looks like. From our limited perspectives we view the mountain in a certain way. As one would move higher up that same mountain, the terrain would take on a whole different look. The view from the top would be far more reaching than that of even someone half way up.

Continue reading “Mountain Top Perspective”