Saturday, December 09, 2006

 

What does it mean?



To start off, I really wondered if I was going to do this entry, or show these pictures. Then a few weeks ago, I bought 2 CD's from Jason Upton, "Jacob's Dream" and "Trusting the Angels." It was SUPER ironic to me that both those CD's had pictures really, really, really similar to these photo's I had already taken. So, I took it as a big flashing green light from Jesus, almost as if He might slap me silly if I didn't post this. So, here goes...

I had one of those moments a bit back. I was reading the book of Luke. It was one of those "go there" days, where the Father said to me that He had revelation for me in what I would read, so I went to Luke 13. If you're like me, you can read, and re-read the Bible time and time again and still find all sorts of new goodies in there. In this chapter, there are a couple of longer passages; but tucked in between is one verse that stands alone. In this verse, Jesus says that His Kingdom is like a seed that grows into a large tree...And then birds rest upon it. That's the most of what it says. Huh? I had to wonder. Why does so much of what our Lord say go for a good while, and then here is this short little verse sitting there like a piece of candy on a vegetable tray...I simply pondered for a bit (and may I add, I highly suggest not just reading the Bible but thinking about it, too; sounds heretical but I think I gain more from those heart moments of impartation than I do from head moments of knowledge.) So, I had to ask myself again, "who are the birds?" I mean, really, why did Jesus say birds rest upon the tree? I'm 99.9% sure that the tree symbolizes the Body based on how often we find that symbolism in other passages (take John 15 which I'll dive into in a minute). I'm thinking, "this thing was a plant that grew; Jesus doesn't need to grow, we do...so I'm not, uh, we're not birds, I think..."

And then the Spirit hit me, "Angels." Ohhh. Then it clicked. The Kingdom grows, the people of God extend out and are attached to the Vine Jesus Christ....but this is a Kingdom of both the believer and Angelic hosts. Now, I'm almost already weary of writing about Angels because I've had about 2,330,124 checks in my spirit about the "revelations" people claim about things, where they get free revelation and sell all 190 pages for just $19.99 but outside of their revelation they have little impact. So I'm really not wanting to be like those false teachers Paul spoke about that will claim to have revelation but not bear true fruit of the Spirit. But, doesn't it actually make sense? I mean, the verse at hand even says, "they will REST upon the branches" now personally I think it's safe to say that in our worship and praise, these Messengers of the Flame (Hebrews 1) come and join in...now, remember that in another story in the Gospels Jesus talked about seeds being planted, you know, the one with good ground and bad ground? He then said there were thorns that choked seeds...then, he talked about birds that would come and steal seed...there it is again, this bird thing...I'm being a bit liberal here, but I think those birds easily can symbolize fallen angels, the demons of Satan. So I think it's safely contextual to say that Luke 13's birds have something to do with being those that "rest upon the tree" or, dare I say, rest upon us---if we are in the Kingdom.



Now Jesus says in John 15 something pretty scary if we are honest. He says that if the branches upon the Vine do not produce fruit, they will be cut off. Notice a branch can be upon the tree, but not reproduce. Just because we are "saved" doesn't mean that we have any excuse for being unfruitful. He also says that many branches will be pruned, a nice term for getting cut down so that what re-grows will actually be fruitful. Ouch. I look at me first, and realize that I've had to go through so much pruning (anyone else out there?) so that what does grow in my life will be of the Kingdom and not just of personal gain or wealth or benefit. I really feel deep in between the valves of my heart that the greatest work needed in the Church today is not one of a need for growth but a need to get rid of things in the Body that do not please our Lord. (this is, actually, primarily about Jesus right?) Cancer can grow. Viruses and disease and moss can grow. Just because we get bigger doesn't mean that Jesus says that it's a ministry. If our size is large but we look more like mold than we look like His tree I think that is the kind of thing He wants cut off.

And, in picture number one with the bird, I could only manage to get one bird at a time on a single tree, even though dozens were out and about in my area. But I think the sad reality is that we'd be lucky to find an Angel wanting to be in our midst a lot of the time. And in picture number two, I daresay that is a visual image of the Church right now. A lot of branches are trying to hold onto the Vine but Jesus is wanting things that don't look like Him to be cut away from His Kingdom. Now I know that sounds a bit harsh, but we often mistaken Jesus for being upset with those poor lost people in the world, when actually Jesus got more upset about religion then sin. Jesus died for sin, yes, but religion killed Him. I don't think branches being cut off means that He's tossing unfruitful believers to the flame, because this isn't flesh and blood we war in. Jesus wants the bad, really bad teachings on T.V., the deceitful evangelists and pastors and the lazy Christians to be willing to let go of the dead branch and simply allow Him to grow in us.

I promise you, in this next age of the Spirit, watch door after door after door close upon unfruitful ministries. Watch a new confusion arise in many local bodies. Watch churches shrink in numbers and not be able to attract people to salvation. But don't think that means it's a stronghold of the devil or an attack from hell. Realize with me that Jesus Himself wants whatever does grow to be of Him at all costs, even the cost of numbers. And watch small, little places that seem cut down be the places where the Angels rest in our worship. Watch the Kingdom shrink for just a bit, at least in our C.E.O. terms of supply and demand evangelism; but watch with me as the Lord move in simple ways, in the one on one encounters, in the living room, and in trimmed groups of people that were willing to let go of the dead branch.

Comments:
Hi dear brother-in-the-Lord. I feel such a connection to you. I too am a poet and writer altho' I put it on the shelf much too often.
I identify with the pruning even in ministry I had to a nursing home in N.J. It became mine. now it is gone from me through a move to Florida. But I did let go and passed it on to a dear brother who after 9 years is still ministering. It was more difficult to leave those lovely, lonely, confused ones than it was to leave my friends. thanks for sharing - Joyce M.
 
Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!
 
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