I stand lovingly before you in the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Please God let this message be Your Words and not mine, in JESUS Name. Amen.
I’m just going to dive right in. Our Gospel starts “And He came down with them…”
He left heaven. He came down to His creation who He was keeping a close eye on. His children. He took the form of man. He came down here to die for us. He came down from heaven all the way to death. He personally walked through the valley of the shadow of death. He did this to show us His love and to be an example for us.
The end of the first paragraph reads “power came out from him and healed them all.” That’s exactly why He came down here. His sole mission to rescue us. To save all of His children. To give us LIFE. Remember, Jesus died for us when we were sinners, His enemies. He loved His enemies. He gives up His throne and His earthly life to give us eternal LIFE with Him.
“And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples…” He stopped what He was doing and focused on His followers. Jesus stopped reading His Gracebook posts, He pulled out His ear buds and stopped listening to Godify, He stopped playing God’s Word with friends. God’s focus is on us. His eyes are locked on us. He really sees us. Do we see God? Do we even see each other?
As a child I loved drawing and sketching. My eyes took in the awe, beauty and wonders of this world and I wanted to give back to it with my talent, creativity and vision.
I was beaten when I was very young. And for some reason my stepfather used to focus on my eyes. He has passed away so I can only speculate as to why. My eyes were often swollen shut afterwards. These temporary losses of my vision would reveal to me, even at a very young age, that my eyesight and my creativity wasn’t what I really loved and needed. Being temporarily blinded helped me to focus on the black. It revealed the truth to me. I just wanted someone to love me. And I found that someone, somehow I knew God was there. I felt Him with me.
Even during a beating I would drift off into the dark where the yelling and screaming would be muffled and my pain was there but it seemed like it was happening to someone else. I prayed for God to take me. I didn’t pray for anything bad to happen to my stepfather. I found truth in the dark. It was hatred, anger and lack of self-control that I prayed to God to destroy. Those were and still are my enemies. And if He wouldn’t take those things away then just take me.
He thankfully didn’t answer any of those prayers. I endured. And because I endured I learned how to focus on the black. I can meditate and pray with the best of them. If I could find the black during a beating you can bet I can find it anytime.
And I’m thankful for that. I’m even thankful and grateful for those beatings. Because I lived. And I can focus on the good. I wouldn’t wish those beatings on anyone else.
Let me share some info on the eyes. Our eyes can distinguish between millions of different colors. 80% of all learning comes in through the eyes. The optic nerve and the retinas are actually brain tissue that can be seen. The eyes maybe the window to the soul but they are definitely a window into our brain which is why doctors shine lights into our eyes. They’re checking for proper brain function.
There are many creatures on this planet with more than just 2 eyes. In most cases, these extra eyes aren’t as complex as ours. The monarch butterfly actually has over 20,000 eyes so it can see in almost any direction at any given time and they can actually see some wavelengths of light.
Now the dragonfly has more than twice as many eyes as the butterfly. Scientists say that this insect can see in ultra-multicolor. Humans see in combinations of red, green and blue. The dragonfly can see ultraviolet color spectrums, wavelengths that are also invisible to us.
Do we reflect the Glory of God? What should we be looking at? Down at the ground, the broken earth or at your device? Or up at where we’re ALL going. To face the one who is waiting for ALL of us. To meet us face to face, eye to eye.
The Hebrew word for sin means to miss the mark. Basically bad aim or a lack of focus. When we sin we’re not focused on God.
The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a bundle of neurons located inside of the Reticular Formation, which is in the brainstem. This is the most primitive part of our brain.
Did you ever have a time when you focused on something and then started seeing it everywhere? Did you name one of your children with what you thought was a unique name but then you heard it everywhere afterwards? Or bought a car and then noticed how the roads were flooded with the same car?
This means you have awakened your Reticular Activating System (RAS). This is how we focus. It is the gatekeeper of our information. If we didn’t do this, we would constantly suffer sensory overload.
Seeing is not believing but it sure helps. Have you ever made a dramatic change in your life? Fitness, weight loss, employment, education, a change in the course of your life? This was a time you used your RAS. The key that unlocked your success. It changed your aim or focus toward your objective.
When you’re really hungry, how excited do you get for dinner? Pretty excited right? That’s what we need to do with seeking God. Be hungry for God. King David, writer of many psalms, had the right focus and attitude about seeking God.
He expressed joy and gratitude with God even though he walked “through the valley of the shadow of death.” People were trying to kill Him but He trusted and turned to God. I relate to this by what I confessed earlier. I may not be a giant killing King or a prophet but during my beatings I focused on God. One more punch or kick and I could’ve been killed. I was close to seeing the Lord face-to-face and it appears my soul knew it and I was excited about going to the dinner table before my enemies. My heart and soul are hungry and dinner with God gets them very excited.
How does this help you? Our Gospel calls us to step aside from our preconceived notions of being blessed, and be willing to embrace the kind of upside-down reversals that Jesus presents. Luke’s version of the BE-attitudes is meant to startle us out of our complacency and inspire us to action.
We have a God who is all about action. His name is a verb and the first two letters spell GO!
Our Gospel challenges us to embrace the world with Love and see it through the eyes of Jesus. Woe to those of us who miss the opportunity to BE a part of such a world.
Nowadays, when something bothers me I grumble. I’m a mutterer. When I’m not happy about something I mutter comments under my breath. It’s even worse when I’m driving. I would’ve made a perfect “Israelite” grumbling in the desert to Moses and Aaron. The problem is this makes God angry.
The season of Lent is coming. Lent is in 2 weeks. I always challenge myself to maintain a positive attitude. To BE positive. No more muttering and grumbling. No negative thoughts or negative speech. In case you missed that I said No Negative Thoughts. That’s the real challenging part. I make every possible effort to see everything in a positive light. To Love everything around me. To BE Love.
Complaining only produces negativity. Negative, sinful thoughts only pollute ourselves and our world.
God cannot mutter and grumble because anything He says no matter how He says it would manifest into reality. If God was driving on Sunrise Hwy and got cut off and He called the other driver an idiot then – POOF – that driver would become an actual idiot which would not end well for anybody on Sunrise.
We store up evil in our hearts and it escapes from our mouths. We’re made in His image and I believe we manifest what we speak from our hearts. Unleashing evil on ourselves and into His creation over and over.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is written in our hearts. What if we spoke that? What would that look and sound like? The answer is LOVE. And that’s been the answer since Genesis. Long before the Beatles sang “All you need is love,” the truth was already out there.
Adam and Eve sinned. And then what? Let’s look at the slow answer. After they sinned God was still with them and still spoke to them. Then God makes a promise to them that Jesus is coming to undo this sin. After that God sacrifices an animal for them and gives them clothes. Man’s sin causes the curse of sin in the world. It even curses the ground we walk on. BUT God is still God. Unchanged by our sin. And God still loves us. He’s still with us. He still speaks to us, provides for us and promises us that everything will end well. It is not an act or a show. God is still God. God is Love. Perfect Love.
The BE-attitudes are about LOVE. We are not only to be BE-Lievers but to be BE-Lovers. Look to God with Love. Look to each other with Love. BE in love and just BE-Love. Inside and out. Speak that Love. Allow your entire being to BE-Love.
When we’re negative, we’re no longer in Love. That timber is back in our eyes. We’re cursing the world around us. We’re manifesting evil. Look up to God SEE through God’s eye. Jesus looks up to us because He is carrying us. When we look down on someone we better be reaching out a loving hand with a loving heart to lift them up. No better yet to LIFE them up. Life them up with LOVE. BE love and give LIFE. Love obliterates the timber that was in your eye.
The prophet Job made a covenant with his eyes. The translation is a powerful one. He was willing to sacrifice whatever it takes in order to focus on only what God wants him to focus on. How do we do that?
Tap into your God-given Grace and use your senses for visualization followed by a huge helping of emotion. The strongest emotion, Love. Let’s try an experiment right now. Close your eyes. Stay awake! But close your eyes and listen carefully.
Visualize yourself in a kitchen. Not just any kitchen but the first one that comes to your mind with a very happy memory. Visualize the smiles and the laughter. Hear the conversations and the laughter. Feel the emotion of that memory and see the face or faces of the person or people with you. You see the walls, the ceilings, the cabinets, the appliances, the countertops and you can feel the joy and smell the cooking.
Now imagine a cutting board and there’s a lemon on it. A bright yellow lemon. Smooth, bright and yellow. It’s very round with the little extended tips. You pick up the lemon and feel the tiny little bumps on its skin. You run your fingers all over it. The skin, the tips, the whole thing.
You then see a sharp kitchen knife on the cutting board. Put the lemon back down on the cutting board, carefully pick up the knife in your dominant hand. Now hold the lemon steady with your other hand, slowly, gently cut the lemon in half. As you do this, you feel the knife slicing through the fruit. You slice all the way through and it falls open revealing beautiful jewel-like pulp in neat rows.
Now you see the fresh light yellow juicy pulp and perhaps some seeds inside. Drops of juice have spilled onto the cutting board. Now take one half of the lemon and cut it again, making a quarter-size slice. A little more juice squirts out during the last slice. You put the knife down, and bring the lemon quarter up to your nose. You inhale deeply and are aware of the sharp, fresh citrus scent filling your nose. Touch the lemon to your lips, notice the sensations. Now, open your mouth and bite into the lemon. Now open your eyes.
Who actually smelled the lemon? Who’s mouth watered and could taste it? Hold onto that. Those are the keys. Grace, prayer, visualization and emotion.
Commit to alone time to pray. Visualize your happy place. Wherever that is. Your home, your favorite room, the beach, wherever it is for you. Maybe even somewhere you’ve only dreamt about going to. And picture your favorite weather. Sunny, breezy, whatever works. Smell, feel and hear it all around. Just like the lemon visualize your perfect place. Really focus. Then pray to God in this place. Call upon Him. Feel the joy. Feel the Love. Embrace the emotion. Visualize God right beside you as you pray.
There are four living creatures mentioned in the bible. In the book of Ezekiel and the book of Revelation. I personally also think they’re the same ones mentioned in Isaiah. They stand by God’s throne always. These living creatures are covered with eyes. They have no blind spots. No distractions from God. They focus on him always and say, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” They see God from every point of view. Even from humanity’s point of view. And from every perspective God is Holy and Perfect! How cool a job would that be? God should occupy ALL of our time in some way. All in heaven who witness God and His glory can do this because He allows it. Just God BE-ing God.
Heaven is where God is. God is everywhere. So our little planet earth is also in heaven. God allows us in His presence. He allows us to pray to Him and to behold His glory. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your senses, all our everything. Look up to Jesus as He looks up to You. Taste and See that the Lord is Good. The Lord BE-ing Love. And Look up to your neighbor, see others with the eyes of God. See everyone around you as Holy, precious and perfect for His plan. Love one another as He Loved and still Loves Us. BE-Lovers.
If others can’t see God, then let them see Him through You. If you ever need a prayer partner here I am. Thank You and I Love You.