2012 Prayer

"My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make ever effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus." Philippians 3: 10-12

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Part 2—Footprints in the Sand

Resurrection—Now What?

I’m no theologian so my futile attempt to categorize the events leading up to the Pentecost will probably not be as accurate as some might desire.  However, my journey is not to put together exact times, but to experience the flow of events found within the four gospels surrounding the time from Christ’s resurrection to His ascent into Heaven and the deliverance of the Holy Spirit.   While they may not be in exact order, the journey today takes us to Mark and Luke where the famous Road to Emmaus scene occurs.  Join me today with open eyes as we ask ourselves, Who are we walking with down this road of life?    

Then after this, He appeared in a different form to two of them walking on their way into the country.   And they went and reported it to the rest, who did not believe them either.”  Mark 16:12-13
Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.  Together they were discussing everything that had taken place.”  Luke 24:13-14
After hearing the news from the women regarding the tomb being empty and their testimony of having seen the risen Lord, two men leave Jerusalem.  The Passover Feast has been observed and they, along with many others, are probably on their way back to their homes and their jobs.  As they are walking, they begin a deep discussion and even argument regarding the events they had witnessed over the past three days.  What was it these two men were arguing over?  Jesus asks them the same question? 
“And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus Himself came near and began to walk along with them.   But they were prevented from recognizing Him.  Then He asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?”  Luke 24:15-17a
Have you ever been walking on a jogging trail in a park and you know there is someone behind you that wants to get by.  Being the courteous person you are, you slow down and scoot further to the side to allow them to pass.  With many people traveling on the road, these two men must have felt someone approaching them from behind and as is natural, scooted over.  But to their amazement, this person slows down to their pace and not only begins to walk with them but even meddles in their conversation.  Now if someone was to come up to me as I was walking along the road, interrupted my conversation and interfered with my business, I would be extremely offended.  Oh wait.  Do I get that way with Jesus sometimes too?  Don’t I assume I can figure things out on my own and even disagree with fellow believers about the events Christ is doing today? 
And they stopped walking and looked discouraged.”  Luke 24:17b
They stop.  Not only do they stop, but the weight of the events from the past three days are visibly displayed on their faces.  They are discouraged.  Their hope of deliverance has been taken from them.  With aggravation one responds…  
“The one named Cleopa answered Him, “Are You the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?”  What things?” He asked them. So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him.  But we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened.   Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said He was alive.  Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Him.”  Luke 24:18-24
How do the two men describe Jesus?  They label Him: 1) Jesus the Nazarene, 2) a prophet, 3) powerful in action and speech before God and all people, and 4) place their hope in His ability to redeem Israel.  I, myself, am forced to ask the question, How do I describe Jesus?  Is my description of Jesus one that makes Jesus fit into my mold and my view of who I think He should be or is it the description God gives regarding His Son, Jesus Christ? 
“He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken!  Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.  They came near the village where they were going, and He gave the impression that He was going farther.  But they urged Him: “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.”  Luke 24:25-29
At some point from when the men stopped in discouragement, the three must have naturally picked up their walk towards Emmaus.  Jesus, in His humble and authoritative way, interprets correctly the events they have witnessed as they continue their seven mile journey.  Let’s just assume it takes about two hours to walk seven miles.  So over the course of two hours, Jesus begins with Moses and all the Prophets and interprets everything concerning Himself within the Scriptures.  Can you imagine listening for that long without interrupting?  For the most part we never stop to listen to God for even five minutes.  Sure we pray frequently, but too often we come to the Lord in prayer and talk, talk, talk, and then say Amen without kneeling before Him in quietness and stillness to hear His still small voice in the wind. 
“It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight.  Luke 24:30-31
When did the men recognize the Jesus the Messiah?  It was only when God opened their eyes.  Last week we begged God to open our eyes so that we might see Him.  The realization we can do nothing apart from Him strikes home.  He is the one that gives us the faith to believe in what is unseen. 
“So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”   That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, who said, “The Lord has certainly been raised, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.  Luke 24:32-35
They got up that very hour and walked another seven miles back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples.  When God opens our eyes we can’t help but go and share it with others.  We are compelled to tell what we have seen. 

My Heart’s Prayer:  Lord, even in the most difficult times the truth is you are still with us.  You desire to explain and open our eyes to the work You are doing even when it appears dark and hopeless.  Help me to trust in You through it all.  Draw me to Your side.  Help me to listen as You share with me the things that concern You.  Help me to share with others what You reveal to me.  In Jesus name, I sit and wait to hear your voice…

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND from betsy46516 on GodTube.

One night I had a dream--
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
"I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
you should leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
"When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

...Mary Stevenson

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