Well—I truly hope that you completed day 13 and 14 on your own this weekend. If you didn’t–take some time today and read through what Beth penned. The scripture references for those days were Matt. 3:1-6 and then on the 14th, Matt. 3:13-15.
Today, we read from Matthew 3:16-17. For the benefit of anyone that doesn’t have their book handy, I will put the questions she asked out here:
1) Why isn’t heaven always open to our sight? What is the benefit of knowing it’s there–and knowing He’s there—without being able to physically see for ourselves? (I leave you to answer those for yourselves); and
2) Whether you feel like you’ve received your father’s blessing or not, describe the importance of this in a person’s life. What goes missing when it’s not given? What comes pouring through when it is?
I want to share with you something that Beth stated on page 73: ….”because heaven was open to him (speaking of Stephen and his vision of Jesus Christ as Stephen was being stoned) and he saw Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God on his behalf. What I want you to understand, continues Beth, is that heaven is right there. We look up at that sky at night and the expanse of the stars. He is literally just an open window away from us, sitting on His throne. His presence is in us and on us. God upon His throne is near. We just can’t quite see it yet. I have italicized Beth’s words here and bolded some I want to pay attention to. I highlight things in my book that jump at me—things I want to pay close attention to.
At the moment of the baptism of Jesus—as John performed what he felt unworthy to do, God did something amazing. He parted the curtains of heaven and made a proclamation from His throne for those listening and those of us reading today, would forever remember. “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.”
“With whom I am well pleased” —God the Father was well pleased with His only begotten Son. And the world needed to know.
I remember a few Sunday’s back, a special altar call was given for those that needed prayer in a specific area in their lives. A young woman went forward and as she stood with her hands and face raised toward heaven, she began to petition the Father for her needs. Our pastor asked for those of us that would, to come behind these gathered and pray with them. As I stood behind Jennifer praying, I felt her shake with tears being unleashed from her searching soul. From the choir loft her dad saw the face of his child. His only daughter. And he came down to stand before her and intercede on her behalf. As he pulled her into his arms, he too wept–his pain and concern joining hers. I will never forget the look on his face that morning. It was a look reserved for fathers and daughters. A look that said, “I love you and I am here for you –no matter what you are going through.”—Or, “I am so proud of you—more than you will ever know.”
I know that even though I may not ever have that “look” from an earthly father, I have that look from my heavenly Father when He parts the curtains and looks down at me in the midst of my obedience. I have felt the pull of the heavenly Father’s arms into my life. Pulling me toward Him to learn of Him—to rest in His presence as the world races on around me.
As I gaze up into the early -pre-dawn skies–while the stars are still out shining brightly—it is not hard at all to believe and visualize God looking down into my heart and life. A few mornings each week, I get up around 4:30 and go walk with two or three ladies from church. Some weeks I am better at the “getting up” part than others. But one morning recently, as I was walking, the sky was incredibly clear and beautiful! A blanket of black—with lights twinkling and nodding as if to say “He is watching, He is there with you. No matter what you see—He sees more”.
Another thing I want to draw your attention to is the “voice”. As the voice of God spoke clearly from the heavenlies, God almighty proclaimed His love and adoration in His only Son. Growing up we all longed to hear those words of affirmation that bring joy to our hearts. The Word of the LORD speaks over our lives every day in the air we breathe, the time we take for Him, in the reading of the Word and in prayer. His voice can be heard in a thundering or in the whisper on the wind. He says over and over to us–that “He loves us”…and is merciful to us—and that mercy endures. Forever.
No matter how hard our lives may seem—as we see in the storms that have ravaged the Gulf, lives as well as the very shoreline of our coasts have changed. But the Lord loves us still. None of these storms escape His sight. Not even the inner storms of our lives.
Marriage failing? Children rebellious? Suffering job loss? Stricken with a severe illness? Death knocking? These are all storms—not just simple summer showers that will pass quickly. Most of these listed takes years to overcome. Some are only overcome by the leaving of this life when He calls us to the next. But no matter the circumstance of our life’s situation….His voice can be heard.
“Child, you are mine. I saw you clearly before you even made your arrival. The calamity of life you are walking through is not in vain. I loved you so much I went before you in this world and made a Way for you to be saved from the onslaught of the world. That Way was through the sacrificial life of my only Son. I prepared the Way…and by that Way, you can have eternal life. By no other way is that possible. Only through seeking forgiveness—repenting of your ways—and seeking my Way. Then salvation is yours. Wholly and completely—you belong to Me. I am proud to call you Mine.”
How many long for those words of love? I know that there have been many times in my own life—when I longed to hear that from an earthly father….and did not. But hearing God speak His presence and peace into my life has changed my heart, life and direction forever!
When you spend time in His word, you will “feel” Him gather you into His arms. Rest there girls. For the battle has been long. It has sapped your strength. And we have a little way yet to go to the journey ends. Rest in His care as He speaks over your life —you are HIS joy! He delights in YOU!
Father in heaven, I thank You for Your infinite care over us. For your undying love. For speaking into our lives the very words we need to hear. Lord, bathe us in Your Holy Spirit as we walk each day—under Your mighty direction. We seek Your will in our lives. Use us in whatever manner will glorify You best. I give you all the praise, for it is IN the name of YOUR Son, Jesus Christ I ask and BELIEVE~Amen
Keeping the Faith,