Monday, February 13, 2006

special reservations

I bet a lot of people are making reservations for Valentine's evening dinner out. I used to have a friend in management at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. On the top of the hotel is an exclusive place called the Foundation Room. I was given the privilege to make special reservations and have a private dining room from time to time. I was also granted the opportunity to have some private parties up there as well. The place is very nice and has an incredible view. It is a great space for relational experiences with loved ones.

Jesus also has a specially reserved relational experience for His followers. Listen to His words just before His death...

Jn 14:15-24
"If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans " I will come to you. In just a little while the world will not see me again, but you will. For I will live again, and you will, too. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them." Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, "Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?" Jesus replied, "All those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and live with them.

This is HUGE! Jesus tells us to obey His command to love one another three times in John 13, 14, 15. He is emphasizing our need to obey this command for our benefit. There is a specially reserved experience for those who will listen to Him in this area. In our weekend services we talked about the first of the nine fruits produced by the Holy Spirit in us-love. We were challenged to a "greater love". We were told about the secret to joy and overflowing life. We are to lay down our lives for others only to discover a whole new and overflowing life.

Jesus says in the passage above that those who obey will receive special experiences with God. These experiences are reserved for those who obey Jesus’ command to love others the way he loved-sacrificially and unselfishly.

Jesus says He will reveal Himself to each one who will love like this. This sounds exciting! A fresh moment with the Lord is granted when we love like Christ. I believe that Jesus meets us in these moments with His very presence, enveloping our hearts, and filling our spirits. In these moments we become truly alive with God’s life. These moments don’t happen for just anyone. No, only a few ever really experience this.

Recently, I was in one of our life-groups and someone opened up and shared a very deep place of their life. This person allowed us deep into their heart and revealed things rarely spoken of. I felt honored to know at this level. It truly was one of the special moments of my life. In the same way, Jesus shows us Himself when we reach out sacrificially and unselfishly to love someone. It is a special moment of personal revelation that He grants as we obey His command to love.

Jesus makes another exciting promise as well. He says that the obedient one will have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit "come to them and live with them". You may ask, "What does that mean?" I guess we will just have to obey to find out. It at least means God’s life will be in you.

Love today! Don’t miss one opportunity to be like Christ-to experience the life of God filling you and overflowing out of you toward others. Let Jesus show Himself to you today in a whole new way. And may God come and live with you today!

Making reservations,

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