Give Me Jesus

The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom is one of my favorite books and movies. My friend likes it perhaps more than I and we have had great fellowship discussing its lessons of God’s love in the midst of horrific unjust circumstances. I have walked in the courtyard at Yad Vashem where a tree memorializes the ten Booms and Oscar Schindler, among others, who are honored as friends of Israel. Loving one’s enemies, laying one’s life down for others is the teaching of Yeshua, which He demonstrated so perfectly. These acts are folly to the worldly mind, but they express and evidence faith and love of God above all else. 

Scripture says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’ ” (Hebrews 13: 5-6). It seems that the Lord’s presence is as precious and powerful as determined by a ranking of all the other things that reside in our heart. When Corrie and her sister, Betsy, were in the Nazi concentration camp, every aspect of a normal life was taken away, but their faith and love could not be taken away. The promises and presence of God became miraculous and though Betsie died as a Saint in the camp, Corrie was released through a clerical error, to tell the amazing story of their lives and share the good news of Yeshua all around the world.

It is my belief that when we increase the value, yearning or necessity of Yeshua’s presence, over and above other desires such as, pleasure, comfort, entertainment, power, fame, influence, etc., then we will experience more of His presence. Yeshua said, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11: 9-10). It is not necessary to be imprisoned to exalt or earnestly seek the presence of God. During this covid-19 quarantine, isolation can be trying, particularly if resources become scarce, but the promises of God remain as faithful as ever. Scripture says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded….Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4: 8, 10). When we earnestly seek God He responds because He loves us and wants a relationship. The things of this world and/or our worldly thinking can crowd out our devotion to God’s Word, Spirit, and presence. Lord Yeshua, help us get the attitude expressed in the song lyrics, “You can have all this world, Give me Jesus”.

Treasured Relationships

One gift from God, seen more clearly as we age, regards the connections we make with other believers.  These connections are based in the Kingdom of God and accordingly have spiritual and eternal significance.  It could be true in a broader sphere, but in my experience connections between believers can go far deeper than social or community relations.  Looking back at the friendships that have endured apart from ongoing contacts were associated with a mutual faith in Yeshua.

There were two friends who took a journey to Emmaus the day after the death of Yeshua.  “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.  He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ They explained in brief everything that had happened to Yeshua including reports of His resurrection and added, ‘but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.’  He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”  They urged him to stay and eat with them. “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”  They immediately returned to the gathered disciples and gave their astonishing report.  “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ ” (Luke 24: 13-36).

This is included in scripture for many reasons, but I think it illustrates the power of two friends and their mutual faith in Yeshua.  As a believer, you will encounter Yeshua in your gathering with believers.  “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.(Matthew 18: 20).  It doesn’t require a sermon, the taking of an offering, or two hymns to constitute a gathering in His name – it only requires a mutual expression of live faith.  Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, were sent to the Nazi death camp, Ravensbruck, for helping save Jews from Nazi slaughter.  In the movie and book, “The Hiding Place”, she describes the great faith and fellowship she and her sister had in the midst of this unspeakable horror.  After her release, which she later discovered was due to a clerical error which saved her from certain execution, she traveled the globe telling of God’s mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness.  The point is that Yeshua was there in the death camp with these two women of faith.  He is with you and your friends who yearn for and follow Him.  He was with me and my two peers from work as we called out to Him in prayer.

The two friends in scripture observed, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24: 32).  These times in the presence of Yeshua and the Holy Spirit will burn our hearts with such love, grace and revelation that we are changed and will never forget it.  Even though the cares of this life and other responsibilities may consume our attention, these spiritual encounters endure.  Bonds are forged between Believers and the world envies and tries to mimic these ‘family’ ties, but it cannot.  It is a great encouragement to reconnect with believers with whom we have shared such fellowship.  If you’re young, seek out other believers who are as hungry for God as you and when Yeshua shows up do as Mary, the mother of Yeshua, did, “She treasured all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2: 19, 51).  If you are older, remember those who walked the pilgrims road with you and reconnect when you can.  Take the opportunity to share what the Spirit of God did among you and give all glory and praise to Father God Almighty.

So This Is Christmas

the-annunciation-gabriel-mary_1163839_tmbIt is Christmas Eve.  The night before we celebrate the birth of our Savior.  A time when, as C S Lewis said, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. Personally, I enjoy it all – the music, food, gifts and general good cheer that accompanies the season. But most importantly I love the remembrance and celebration of the birth of Jesus, the reason for the season.  Corrie Ten Boom said it best – “Who can add to Christmas?  The perfect motive is that God so loved… Continue reading