Where’s Jesus?

Have you ever heard of Where's Waldo?, or Where's Cleto? (It's a local thing...I guess?) 

Well, I want to know…Where is Jesus? and I don’t mean ..Where is Jesus? 

Free of sarcasm and wit…have you seen Jesus?
As believers in Jesus Christ our goal is to be transformed to be more like Jesus, to act, to talk, to love and to live more like the Son of God…to live as children of the living God. Yet, how many little Jesus’s do we see walking around?

It’s Sunday, almost 11 a.m. and I am just waking up, but I am awaken by a heavy heart. A heart that wants to be where Jesus is, like the song of yesterday “I just want to be where your are…”

Yes, I know that Jesus lives in me, but Jesus also lives in the heart of fellow believers, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Twenty years ago these brothers and sisters were eager to invite anyone and everyone to worship with them. They reached out with the love of God. Twenty years ago individuals were passionate about their faith, their Jesus, their God. They wanted to share the love of God with anyone willing to listen.

For me, twenty years later, trials and tribulations have drawn me closer to the living God, closer than I ever thought possible, but also further away from the brick and mortar that is a church. I am His and He is mine. He calls me by name. Still, I find it hard pressed to find Jesus in this world of mine. I see God’s grace and mercy. I see His love, His hand working in the lives of mine. God does not need anyone to do what He alone does best. There is no church building, no congregation, no choir, just the Spirit of God working in the lives of those I love. Maybe, it’s selfish, but I feel like an orphan sometimes. I know that God walks among us. I can see His handy work, His mighty hands at work.

I have been looking for a church home, a place where I can belong, where I am accepted as I am, but I have yet to find any place that I can call home. My ex-sis-in-law, now with her Father, once told me that going to church was not about what you could get out of it, or what it could do for you, but about what you could do for the church…what I could put into the church. Well, after visiting and attending churches here and there I realized that all the church wants is money and bodies present…yes… your body. It’s a numbers thing for them. It’s one of two ideas, one that allows people “Christians” to attend church, to serve, to worship God anyway they want and to live any way they want. Then, there’s the opposite, the church that follows a stringent set of self-created laws, from their interpretation of the scriptures, to keep people, the non-conformers, the free thinkers, out of the church buildings, exclusivity.

So, Where is Jesus?
I can find Jesus on Google search. I can read about how He is working in the lives of many. I can see His love online, but I am hard pressed to find Him in church. It begs the question, does God need me in the church to fill a numbers game? Does God need me to do anything for Him in my own strength, in my anything,  using my own resources, be they what they may…?

And why is it I can see and hear about the love of God online, on television and on the radio but the love of God not manifest itself in the real world? Why is it when a packed church buildings open its doors to allow attendees to exit does the love of God not leave with any of them? Does the love of God remain inside the church until next service? Does no one have the time to show or share the love of God, so might as well leave it behind?

What is the love of God? What does it mean to love like Jesus? What does that love look like? And if we are to love like Jesus-why do Christians hate so much? And I refer to the masses, and how they hate others (being fellow Christians or/and non-believers), instead of hating things of this world that draw us away from God. Let’s face it, there are extremist groups in America that do horrendous things in the name of God.

We as Christians cannot do anything about people that refuse to believe in the Son of God, much less those that negate God’s existence. We are instructed to present the truth of God and God does the rest.

My desire is to be with my brothers and sisters in Christ, to learn from them, to be encouraged by them, to fellowship and likewise, but who has the time? How much time can we realistically give to God and to the things of God?

Our Timetable:
Church hours: approximates: 9 am – 12 pm  = 3
Wed church: 6:00 – 8 pm = 2
Bible study: M-F = 6:30 – 9 pm = 2.5
Total = 7.5 hours in which time you have to listen to a message, a lesson, settle in, pray, greet and meet, collect tithes, share church business, or updates, worship and fellowship if time allows, not necessarily in that order. In any 24 hour day (the avg American) we must sleep 8 hours, and work 8 hours that’s already 16 hours leaving 8 hours to handle all other responsibilities and some can be exhaustive. And if you want to give God 1 hour of devotional time, well that hour has to be subtracted from somewhere. However, 1 hour a day equals 7 hours alone time with God every week. One hour a day to commit to God. Who has the time? Who makes the time? Who can truly commit? Only those that God calls out by name, of which circumstances can vary, and they have one commonality-a willing heart…they are the ones that commit.

Where is the light of Jesus?
Why are so many Christians forcing their light under a bowl…allowing no one to see, not wanting to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Mat. 5 – 14-16

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”

Those that wait on God shall never be put to shame, saith the Lord. If it cost Jesus His life, and if we are to be like Him-should we not suffer as He did?

Suffering: No one wants to suffer
Suffering entails a great deal of lack in our daily lives, so who wants to suffer? No one.
Who wants to suffer for the cause of Christ? Few.
Who wants to lose anything and everything for the cause of Christ? Fewer still.

To find Jesus in this world- to share the love of God through the Son requires His children to suffer for the cause of Christ. It requires sacrifice.

To know God is one thing – to know God as your Heavenly Father is another. It is a relationship that requires more than just showing up to church in your Sunday best, or singing a few songs, giving money and sharing a few hellos with strangers. To know the Father, one first has to know and accept His Son as it is the only way to the Father.

John 17:3
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Galatians 4:8-9
However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?
Ephesians 1:17
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
Ephesians 3:19
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

To know Jesus is about a sacrificial relationship. Such as that a spouse requires of his/her spouse so Jesus expects of us.

Like husband and wife commit to one another, so we must commit to Jesus. He has already committed to us. We must have a willing heart. We must love Jesus more than anything or anyone else in this world.

As when husband and wife leave all others behind to love only one, forsaking all others, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want. We have that desire because of the relationship we have developed over time and in getting to know the person. There are people that can commit quickly as in “love at first sight”, but those relationships can be a bit more fragile since there is little to no knowledge of the other person. The attraction must be maintained to thrive by the one that initiated the “first sight.”  The relationship must grow out of the burgeoning knowledge, that will no doubt surface, to love in clear sight of many faults, fears, failures and shortcomings.  As only the Son of God, Jesus, knows how to love. He set the bar as only He could.

Where is Jesus?

Is He in your church? When was the last time your church showed a stranger, a newcomer, some of that love of Jesus? Better yet, is that love of Jesus in your heart? Do you know anyone struggling currently, spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially? How many friends and family are Christians and how bright is their light? People in general don’t care to take the time to listen to the problems of others, they have their own to deal with, well Christians are no different. Tell it to the hand. Ever hear that expression?

People flock to the churches to find encouragement, to get prayer, to fellowship, to fulfill an obligation. Notice, to find God is not on the list, yet some do find Him. They may also find the power of positive thinking and will stay with it so long as it works. Some people flock to churches to find peace and instead are greeted with alienation, cliches, cliques (we all know who they are, we just don’t say anything). Some church members and even pastors are in a hurry to exit the church. They have to be somewhere right after church, so they wave on their way out. These days everyone is busy. They have to be somewhere 15 minutes ago. The things of God have to wait until next time.

It is hard to be like Jesus.

Rich Mullins told us this back when he was on this earth. He is currently enjoying his time with his Father. As for the rest of us, believers…we are far from being overcomers, far from being victorious, in the flesh or in the spirit. We may claim it, but claiming it does not make it so, speaking or singing until you are blue in the face… does not make it so.

Matthew 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

What? You Never Knew Me!

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

I did not go to bed thinking about this, but I sure as heck woke up and starting jotting down everything that was in my brain. Be blessed.

The Need to Flat line…

I am sure I am not the only Christian that struggles to understand what God is doing in my life. What good can come out of my situation? I pray and I pray. I ask God to help me understand. Why am I still in this situation? And God answered me.

Who can know what is on the mind of God? Even Jesus who was with God and is with God said there are somethings only the Father knows. The promise of “R E S T” (rest eternally secure today) is to not receive the grace of God in vain being careful not to fall short of the grace of God…you who attempt to be justified by the law.

At some point in every believers walk he, or she must flat line…that is to die to this world…to pursue the things of the world no longer…to not indulge in its lusts, or desire its sensuousness…to surrender not to its fears, to forsake the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, to consider such things no longer.   The carnal man must flat line to allow God in…to accept God’s will…and to surrender our will. Giving up our arms, our weapons for the army of the Lord.

But how can any man possibly surrender all? Surrender does not come easy to folks, at least not to me.

The father and son relationship is the only type of relationship where the giving and taking, (surrendering) comes natural, giving and taking out of love. We learn early on to surrender to our earthly father. It is a relationship not easily broken when established…and still mend-able when broken. As believers, we pray to our Father in Heaven. We cry to Abba, Father because He loves us.

Gal. 4: 6-7 “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Quite unlike a marital relationship where the wife gives herself to her husband, forsaking all others, submitting only to him, out of love, out of obedience because of that love, but it can go sour when trust is broken, adultery, not submitting one to another, or honoring one another. The love is what binds them, and when it’s gone it can reap bitterness, resentment, isolation and end in divorce, a broken covenant.

Eph. 5: 22- 33 The Marriage—Christ and the Church

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

God, the Creator, our Maker knows how to restore relationships. He loves unconditionally. We don’t. We can’t. We have expectations, obligations, prejudices, demands. We are easily ensnared by our own selfish desires, our own inadequacies. God’s love, mercy, and grace can restore us to Himself and us to those we must, but he expects us to walk in truth.

Granted, it’s easier said than done, but our God knows that well.

God sent His Son to save us and to show us how to love. It is in the name of Jesus that we can go to the Father. It cost Jesus His life and separation from His Father for us to gain access to God. Likewise, we are to sacrifice our life so that others may live, and that sacrifice can be different for all of us.

God teaches us how to love, and gives us the desire to want to love, but to love others requires sacrifice. If we don’t willingly, He fashions our days…brings us to our knees…still He shows us mercy and gives us grace…even in our disobedience. Jesus promised that no one that the Father has given Him will be lost. Every struggle, every trial and tribulation should reinforce that promise.

God worked six days when He created the heavens and the earth, man, and everything else. On the seventh day, He rested. Likewise, God is creating in us a new creation, a new mind, a new heart, but because we are full of sin and not empty and void, it takes a lot more time and effort to fashion the person He wants us/me to be. We have a will, and our will, our flesh gets in the way of us doing the works God has prepared for us to do… yet He is loving, He is patient, He is merciful and He gives us/me grace to accept His perfect will. In the proper time He will give rest.

Reminds me of a Rich Mullins song.

“Surrender don’t come natural to me I’d rather fight You for something I don’t really want than to take what You give that I need and I’ve beat my head against so many walls now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees.” 

I can imagine myself as the child kicking and screaming to get my way and my Father trying to explain why I can’t…and all I want is my way. His Word is filled with promises and reminders of why we should desire His way.

Matthew 11:29-30

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Heb. 4:10

“He who has entered into God’s rest has himself also ceased from his work as God did from His.”

Thank you, my Creator!

Who can know the things of God? No man! Except… for the man to whom God will reveal His truths. God shows us the path we must walk. Sometimes it is for us to understand, and sometimes not. We cannot fathom the ways of God. And only when we die to the things of this world, only until we flat line can we begin to truly understand the nature of God and begin to accept the the unfathomable thoughts and the perfect will of the living God. God have mercy on me and mine. To God be the glory.

Be blessed.