Carried! His Mother had carried him nine months, and for the four decades since, he had been carried by most of his relatives at different times. He was gaunt, and lean, never having much interest in the festivities and meal times. He spent all day, every day, laying outside the temple, watching people. Food was the last thing on his mind when he got home. When the table was spread, even before his mother had the food finished, he talked, filling her ears with all the busy-ness of the city and the temple. Her eyes twinkled as she busied herself with the evening meal, listening to the animated voice of her firstborn, the family story teller. She loved him so, and would have carried him till the day he died if he needed her.
He enjoyed this attention, reveled in it. He loved to hear the sound of his voice, to see her eyes dart toward him intent on each word, to hear her catch her breath in surprise at some surprising bit of his stories. He always felt no one really listened to him at the temple gate. God-fearers! They seemed to be more afraid to meet the gaze of a scrawny crippled man, than of the God they professed to revere! No, they were careful to not look into his eyes and see his pain, for then they might have to hear his voice crying out for alms. They may even have to ante up on the challenge of their faith. That might be too much religion for them, he was sure.
Turning his head toward to gate, he noticed that a crowd was gathering, and the sun reminded him that it was almost the hour of prayer. Collecting his hat in his wispy, twisted fingers, he noted that he had been remiss in calling out for much of the past hour as he daydreamed. With an exasperated voice, he began a desperate call, intending to make up for lost time in the rush hour crowd. “Alms, alms! Help me please kind lady! Sir, throw a cent for a poor beggar like myself! Dear family, has God blessed you? Then share with the likes of me! Help me, please!” No one seemed to be paying him any attention at all, and they scurried past the faster. So, he called out even louder. “Alms, please, alms! Help me! I am but a poor beggar! Look at me… take pity! Lend me your hearts. Alms, please…please sir!”
With those last words, the beggar had felt the swish of a man’s cloak as he stopped in his tracks, and turned toward him. Finally! Someone was listening to him. Looking deep into the kind man’s eyes, the beggar smiled and held out his hat in his left hand, expecting to receive a gift. “Look at us! I have nothing made out of silver or gold, but I will give you what I have… in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk!”
Then the man did the strangest thing, right there in front of his friend and the others who had paused to see the exchange. He reached out his right hand to the crippled beggar. As their fingers touched, the crippled man felt a surge of power course straight through his body to the soles of his feet. His hat fell to the ground, coins rolling across the pavement and landing at the feet of people who were by this point standing stark still, motionless with their mouths open! Suddenly, his feet and ankles felt strong…stronger than they had ever felt in his life.
Leaping up, as if on the end of a taught strand of cord, he stood straight upright, walked three steps forward as the giver stepped back, and bending at the knees he leaped… sling-shotted into the air. Landing on one foot, he broke into a mad dash before the other ever hit the ground. Running from one side of the courtyard to the other, he slapped several folks on the back, threw his arms around the necks of others, and spun them around before dancing off across the courtyard again… around and around he ran in circles. The crowd that had gathered now was laughing, as his joy contagiously coursed through them. Had they not seen him day after day? Was this not the lame man who sat at the gates begging for his keep?
A surge of shock was rippling through the crowd, as the news spread to those who were already inside the temple. “It’s the lame man…you know… the beggar by the gate… he’s walking!” The words reverberated through the temple courtyard, and penetrated deep into the temple, where some who heard could not believe their ears. It was the religious teachers and leaders of the temple. They debated among themselves what was to be done about the fact that the miracles were not over with; had not died with the Healer.
Meanwhile, the beggar had wrapped his arms around the givers, for they were two of the disciples of Jesus, Peter and John themselves. As he hugged them, and cried for joy, they led him towards the temple, laughing for joy. By the time they got as far as Solomon’s Porch, a crowd was thronging them, with everyone aghast at the miracle they had just witnessed. It was too much to believe. They had known this man for more than forty years… they knew his family. He was crippled!
The young preacher Peter realized that people were shocked at the sight of a man healed with such miraculous explosive power, and began to explain how he had not been the one at all to heal him…Jesus had healed the man. Jesus was no longer dead. He had arisen, and his power had been given to his followers to heal the sick. As he preached, to the crowds, several ladies were beginning to come back out of the court of the women to see what was happening. Among them were the four daughters of Phillip, and the ladies from “the Way.” Hours passed as the men preached, and many were converted to the faith. Then the religious teachers and leaders of the temple came out, and insisted that the crowd be broken up. Hearing with their own ears the name of Jesus, that terrorist rebel they themselves had crucified just weeks before, they seized the young preachers and hauled them off to spend the night in jail. But, the men of the young movement gathered together another 5,000 believers from the crowds that day.
One of those was the beggar, a changed man! He ran all the way home to tell his family the good news. And, who knows what great work he did for the kingdom of God, after experiencing the dynamite power of Jesus Christ in his hand, and feet, and heart, and health?! ******************* Related Scriptures used to build the telling. Joel 2:23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he has given you the former rain faithfully, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (NKJV) Acts 3:25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. (NKJV) Acts 21:8-9 The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. (NLT) Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (NKJV)
****This is the final in a series of ten on "Blogging by Faith." It is also the culmination of the last series on the Power of Pentecost. For the complete story, check out the Spiritual Fiction tab here on my website at “Healed and Whole.” Remember that nothing lasts forever. I do not know how or when God will heal me. But, I know I am healed by His Word. I will be healed for whatever purposes God has for my life. Time is irrelevant. Believe with me!
Heads bent together, the four slender girls stumbled along the road, so lost in a discussion that they really were not watching where they were going. They were sisters, and the children of a prophet. Their father, Philip was chosen as a Deacon by the early church in Jerusalem, one of the seven deacons. There had been death threats. It was no surprise that they were concerned about the safety of their father. But, their father was not the subject of conversation on this trip to the temple. As they approached the Golden Gate, the beauty went unnoticed, as well as the lovely sunrise peeking over the horizon, which gave it that golden glow.
"A sad state of affairs it is for our people when the men folk are all in hiding!" the youngest of these young ladies exclaimed.
"I don't think you fully understand the nature of a death threat, Sister." Her eldest sister chided her calmly. "Besides, God has a plan, and I know he is thinking about His people. He promised in the prophecies of Joel that He would send a 'former and a latter rain' to bless us with His bounty."
"Yes, piped up the nearest the youngest in years." All we have to do is plant the seed, and God will send the Autumn rains first to make it sprout, and then in the Spring, the Spring rains He send make the harvest a bounty of providence."
The remaining sister listened quietly, seeming to ponder these words. She didn't know how to ask the question that was sitting so heavily on her heart. She was puzzled over the fact that the Messiah had been crucified, and resurrected, and then had ascended back into the clouds, just like that. So she just listened, as they were jostled in the crowds coming and going.
"But, God promised He would 'drive away the Northern armies.' Why do these Romans continue to plague us?! Oh, how could God be so late in sending us the hope we've waited for? Why did Jesus leave again, if He was resurrected from the grave? When will we ever see the throne of David raised again in the Temple! Why must it take so long?!" protested the youngest child again.
These four young girls had a reputation for being prophetesses, yet something missed their vision even more than the Scripture they were mulling over at the moment. Suddenly, the silent one found herself flung out on the pavement there at the gate. Dazed, and not yet aware of what had happened, she tried to focus her eyes on the scene around her again, when she realized it was just the crippled beggar who lay at the gate. She had fallen over his feet and knocked over his hat full of coins in her carelessness.
Scurrying onto her knees, with her robes wrapped tightly around her, she began to clasp after the coins as they rolled across the pavement, muttering repeated apologies. Her sisters around her pulled her to her feet without saying a word, for now they had been shocked into silence. There sat the poor beggar just as calmly as if nothing had happened. He had not felt a thing anyways, seeing that his legs were paralyzed. But, he had been just as taken by surprise by them as they had by him. He had heard their approach, but was so engrossed in their argument that he sat there aghast at the things they were saying. Such innocent looking young Jewish girls arguing about the prophecies of the scrolls. And, they were talking about Jesus, the Healer. What did they know about Jesus or a Messiah? They were not even allowed into the inner sanctuary, but were kept behind the wall of partition for the women. How could they speak such things so boldly? Didn't they know the Romans had crucified this Jesus, and that they had the power to dispel these 'stories' of His resurrection?
The eldest girl reached into the folds of her robes withdrew the few coins she had and tossed them into the man's hat. Then with a humble bow, and diverting her stare, she gathered her sisters through the gate. But, glancing back over her shoulder, she noticed he still sat there as if nothing had even happened. Turning again to her sisters, she reminded them of the hour. "It's the hour of prayer, come on now, hurry! All of these questions will just have to wait!"
***Author's notes: You may have noticed that this story is part of a series I am writing for the Day of Pentecost, which is this Sunday.
The first three in the set were: Power Play... A Waiting Game The Powerless Can Only Wait What Do You Do When You Wait?
Come back tomorrow night for my special culmination of the series on the Power of Pentecost.
Related Scriptures used to build the telling.
Joel 2:23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he has given you the former rain faithfully, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (NKJV)
Acts 3:25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. (NKJV)
Acts 21:8-9 The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. (NLT)
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (NKJV)
I have a new view on the world: listening to the birds singing in the twilight from my hammock. I love nature, and have missed being able to wander through the woods. But, I ordered a Mayan hammock from Merida Mexico, in the Yucatan Peninsula. Larry and Travis hung it in a wooded area of our back yard, near the tree house last week. Larry helped me get into and out of the hammock and I enjoyed relaxing in the trees while dinner was roasting in the oven this evening. I love hearing the birds singing in the twilight, and seeing the colorful Autumn leaves in the trees.
Joel 2:23 speaks of the early and latter rains. The latter rains were the rains of summer. The early rains were the Autumn rainshowers, like we experienced yesterday and the night before. Such a beautiful passage in the natural and the Spiritual sense, as it is prophetic of the early outpouring of the holy Spirit in the first century after Christ, and the latter outpouring in this age today. The Holy Ghost is given for a comfort or a rest.
Apparantly God felt Autumn was a good time for resting. Leviticus 23:24-25 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no regular work on it: but you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. This was a bonfire holiday in early Autumn, much like our harvest festivals. We are in the 8th month of the Jewish calendar right now.
Yes, it is nice to be looking up at the world around me! There aren't too many more days of Autumn beauty left. November is at the doorstep. I hope you find time to enjoy time. It is God's greatest gift.
The roar of the lion is no new sound. Some of the references to Jesus roaring like a lion appeared many thousands of years before the first advent of Jesus on Earth. C. S. Lewis wrote a picturesque trilogy based on the coming of the Lion that he called the Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia being the abode of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.
Joel 3:16-18 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice
from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be
the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall you
know that I am the LORD your God... And it shall come to pass in that day, that the
mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the
rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth from the
house of the LORD..."
Of course, we all wait in hope for the return of the Lion. Jesus is the Lion and He will call His children from afar on that great and notable day.
Hosea 11:10 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion:
when he shall roar, then the children shall come trembling from the west.
The image of the Lion fits well, because is Jesus not the King, much like the Lion is the King of Beasts? Actually that is quite a striking metaphor, seeing as how the King of the Beasts must be a beast himself. God, being the Creator of mankind, was not a man himself, until he robed Himself in flesh like clay, and took upon Himself the likeness of a man in Jesus Christ. Then He was able to call Himself the King of Men... the Son of Man... He who was first the Son of God now walked in the clay that He created. Now... the Lion could call Himself the King of all Creation, because He dwelt in our earthly realm.
Isaiah 31:4 For thus has the LORD spoken unto me, Like the lion and the
young lion roaring over his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth
against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor disturbed by the noise of
them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for its
Oddly matched battle usually, between the lion of Judah and the multitude of world leaders! (Our leaders are our shepherds, I hope we vote in the matter.)
Isaiah 42:13 The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up
jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, shout aloud; he shall prevail
against his enemies.
And on the Lion marches...coming, coming in glory! Hear the battle cry? Our Champion is leaping and charging ahead, leading the Kingdom Saints!
Jeremiah 25:30 Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and
say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his
holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a
shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the
There will come a day when all will see His face in glory. After the rapture of the church, after the havoc of the man Antichrist, the man of sin, has devastated Earth with the climax of sin's effect which began at the Fall, after the desecration of everything called holy on this earth! Then comes King Jesus, charging on a white horse, leading the saints in their glorified bodies. Then we will not only behold Him, but we will be like Him, for we will have seen Him as he is.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not
yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be
like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Remember our look at acceleration? If motion defines life, and biologists do see motion as a characteristic of life, then the soul is a living thing . We are on our way to eternity; the trip has begun. Since we are already in effect, in limitless acceleration, eternity is here and now, as well as yet to come, in much the same way as I have defined the duality of the Kingdom of Heaven. So, it is apparent that the Kingdom of Heaven is in eternity.
This has great ramifications for you and me. If eternity has already begun; if the Kingdom has already started motion; then what are we waiting for? Does that dangling "for" look odd to you in a grammatical sense? It should because it leaves the sentence open...hanging. Our limitless acceleration has a purpose. We are not only moving forward to eternity and the Kingdom of Heaven, but we are bringing in eternity and the Kingdom of Heaven. We are the vehicle of the kingdom. We are the chariots of God.
Psalms 68:17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.
God is using us as vehicles to move, or usher in the coming Kingdom. It is not a waiting thing, but a coming thing. God is seen in Deuteronomy as riding on the heaven...or the air.
Deuteronomy 33:26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
Jesurun is a nickname for Israel that means "upright." This is very ironic, when you consider "Israel." Israel was the name change Jacob the deceiver received. The name means "He will prevail and rule like God." But, now he is called "upright." That is a big name change! Though we are not Israel, we have prevailed as well, through the victory of Jesus' cross-work. We have been made upright through the power of His blood. Our name has been changed to "upright." Don't forget that Jesus was a Jew. He was of the seed of Jesurun. So, in essence, Israel brought in the salvation of we Gentiles. They are the chariots of God. Where would we be without Apostle Paul, and other early era Christian Jews who ushered in Christianity, as the very chariots of God?
When you act or speak for Jesus, you are a chariot of God. When you praise and worship at church, you are a chariot for the Spirit of God. When you preach or teach in His name, you are a chariot of God. This realization changed my whole view of what church is all about. Heaven should not be thought of as a waiting, or purely an advent...something yet to come. It is a journey. You and I are citizens of the Kingdom...we have dual citizenship in this country and the eternal city.
Joel 2:4-5 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.
Yes, Joel is prophesying about the Day of the Lord, and those strong people in battle array are the chariots of God; you and I. Ironically, chariots are not self-propelled. They are driven by horses. Christians don't run by their own might, but by the Spirit. If we had to run by our own fuel, we would run out, give out, or burn out. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit living inside us fuels us as we try to act as vehicles for the Kingdom. It is a beautiful picture to realize that God will use all of us for His Kingdom. Each of us has a purpose and a place. The key is to find that place and start rolling.