Monday, May 30, 2011

Yesterday, Today, and Forever

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  Hebrews 13:8

The woman on the barge was hot and tired. The sweat was beginning to bead up on her brow and upper lip. Her arms ached and her feet were sore, hot and starting to swell. She was working hard in the galley both cooking and cleaning.  Though somewhat strained, feeling thirsty and in need of rest, she was doing a good job and felt comfortable at her tasks.  Nonetheless, she sensed her mind, body and spirit crying out for repose from her labors.

The woman turned to her left and there stood a man, partially in shadow, who seemed familiar but she couldn’t place the familiarity. His face was not clearly in view. He placed his hand gently upon her shoulder and smiled. She felt a strong sense of his reassurance for a job well done and turned back to her work feeling the need to rest more urgently than before. Again, this time to her right, the woman felt a presence and again the same man was there beside her smiling at her. His face was clearer yet still remained unrecognizable. He motioned for her to come to him and beckoned that she stand beside him at the door of the galley facing the outside.  There they saw, through the open doorway, another large ship slowly departing from the dock and on its upper deck sat a dear friend. The tired woman called out to her, waved frantically at her friend trying to gain her attention, and smiled but her friend never turned to look;  her friend remained focused in the opposite direction that her ship was taking her.  With a heavy heart and her eyes brimmed with tears, the woman turned to the man to express her deep sense of loss and grief.

She gazed up at the man beside her suddenly feeling a tremendous sense of love and hope.  He took her hand. His hands were warm, his eyes were full of reassurance, and his smile was one of confidence.  The sadness suddenly washed from her!  In an instant, they were standing on the marble floor of a home with many rooms, windows, hallways and alcoves. She was barefoot; the stone felt smooth, cool and soothing under her hot, tired feet. Relaxation flooded her body. There was a gentle breeze blowing around them and the curtains, long and flowing, were dancing in the wind. The woman felt total peace and calm as her fatigue melted away.

The kind man led her to and through several rooms where others were relaxing, reading, having quiet conversation, or napping.  They then came to an oversized doorway that opened up onto a small patio and garden area, followed by a narrow road with a fence and gate on the other side. Beyond the gate there was a stony pathway that continued on for a short distance, leading into an expansive, lush green lawn. And, far off there was an extremely large fountain whose water flowed continuously and the color matched the clear brilliant blue of the sky.  Both the lawn and the sky seemed to go on forever. It was the most beautiful sight the woman had ever seen.

The man gently took her by the hand and said. “The path that lies before you is a rocky one. Would you like to put your shoes back on?” She decidedly said, “No, I think I can make it. It will be alright. With you, everything will be alright.” and He smiled at her and said “Yes, it will.” and slowly led her by the hand toward the garden path. The once tired, worn out worker felt strength, power and healing working their courses through her as she stepped out onto the path with Him.

To some of you, this story may sound familiar. Perhaps you are that woman. Maybe you recognize the symbolism of the Narrow Gate, the Living Water, the Holy Ground, and the Holy Spirit among others. I recognized it, too, when I woke up early one morning not long ago. God, through His faithfulness and love, gave me this dream as a gift during a time when I was intensely doubting myself and struggling with temptation. I was that woman.

In His infinite love and wisdom, my Redeemer was kind enough to send me a gentle reminder of many things:  1) That faith with works must come from a pure heart and a desire to serve Him in love relying  fully upon Him and His perfect will and not be done to please others; 2) He will equip us with what we need when we need it in order to accomplish His purpose 3) He is ever present, constantly watching and loves and cares for me deeply not wanting me to labor in vain and to find true rest in Him; 4) He grieves as I do over those who have turned away but has not given up on them and uses them as a reminder to us as to what it means to remain faithful; 5) He desires for me to rest in His house daily, wanting me to spend time with Him, away from the physical burdens of this world, both now and in the future; 6) His Spirit is always available to me but I must seek it earnestly; and 7) His living water and His gift of eternal life should be the focus of my daily walk enabling me to withstand the difficulties in which He, His Holy Presence, never, ever leaves my side.

I pray for you to find time for Him, at His feet and in His Word, daily. I pray that you truly seek His will about your own life in all things. Let us make it and Him and priority and the focus of our lives continually seeking ever possible moment to grow closer to Him.  May we continue 'to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ....." He created each one of us with a specific purpose in Him; let us truly seek to fulfill His purpose in Him and for Him! He is there for you and will supply for your every need. Remember HE IS the same yesterday, today and forever!  That promise is one you can count on!

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
1 Cor 15:58

 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’[a] ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’[b]   Revelation 7:17

"Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!”And he said, “Here I am.”' 
Genesis 46:2

“Now a word was secretly brought to me,  And my ear received a whisper of it. In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men." 
Job 4:12 -13

"And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions."  Joel 2:28

" God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,  where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.  Hebrews 6:18-20