Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You've Not Responded to My Invitation...Why?

You are Cordially Invited to Attend a Banquet
Given in Your Honor by Our Host,
the Son of God,
Jesus Christ
Date: As Soon as You Reply in Prayer
Time: Now is the Day of Salvation
First Course:
In Your Heart
Second Course:
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven
"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!'
And let the one who hears say, 'Come!'
Let the one who is thirsty come;
& let the one who wishes,
take the free gift of the water of life.

Please Bring Your Heart, Soul, Strength & Mind
RSVP With Your Presence
You have received this invitation. Why haven't you responded? I, Jesus, have made you this offer and yet I haven't seen you at the Table. I have been looking for you. Perhaps we talk, or I see it in your eyes that you would like to sit down with Me, but you hold back, time and time again.

You come to church with a sadness in your eyes, and a inescapable burden in your heart. You hold back and when the service is over, you leave, not any less burdened than when you came in.

You carry My invitation in your head. You know about Me desiring to come into your heart and be your Lord and Savior. You know I died for you. You know how I love you. And yet...you hold back.

You see the Table spread out with abundance. You see the Bread of Life, My Body on the cross, broken and offered to you.

You see the cups of blood-red wine, filled to the brim with joy, for I shed My blood willingly for you.

You see the beautiful fruit of My Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, all just waiting for you to reach out and take them.
You see crystal pitchers filled to the top with the Water of Life--cool and refreshing, glinting as I, the Light of World, sparkles on it. 

You see grapes, lavishingly supplied from Me, the Vine, waiting for you.

The honey from the Rock is sweet to your soul.

You hear music sung by Me, soft and inviting, calling you. Yet...you hold back. You stare through the window and you stand on the outside, with the cold winds blowing at your back. You sigh, and walk away. You walk into the night, and soon the light from the Table is a small glow against a dark sky, as you look longingly over your shoulder.

Walk long enough, and soon, you can no longer see the glow.

Why won't you come?

Shame: You don't know what I have done--awful, neglectful, spiteful, inexcusable things. Every day the parade of the past bangs by my window, and I awake, once more, to the sound of accusation. By the end of each day, I can't remember the wording of that invitation. That's why I have not responded.

Guilt: I have broken the law. God's laws. Men's laws. I am a criminal. Who wants such a dirty guest showing up to such a beautiful Table? That's why I have not responded.

Anger: God has let me down one too many times. Unanswered prayers, broken lives, failures and defeats have made me question the Host. I know He wants me to come, but I would just sit and glare at Him. That's why I haven't responded.

Fatigue: I am burdened. I am tired. I would rather just rest. The thought of even walking into the Banquet Hall to join Him exhausts me. Let's face it: He won't notice if I don't show up. That's why I haven't responded.

Not Sure: I read about this, I listen to sermons, and yet, I don't get it. The Host dying for me? And yet, if I ask questions, I feel stupid. Everyone else seems to get it. I don't want to sit at the Table feeling stupid. That's why I haven't responded.

Too Much Commitment: Oh yes, I know what the invitation says, but all I see is being committed to something I am not sure I want to be committed to--I would have to give up my spiritual fast-food. I know it's not nourishing, but it's quick, easy and I don't want to struggle. That's why I haven't responded.

Don't Need to Come: I'm good--thanks anyway. I have my own little table, and I am content with what I have. I am in control and I don't wish to let that go. I'd have to sit with others, and I like being alone. No hurts, no disappointments, no complexity. Yes, I am hungry, but I have grown used to feeling that way. That's why I haven't responded.

Too Much to Give Up: I have a whole lot of food sitting at home. I know that if I come to the Table, I know I will have to give up those foods that I should not be eating. It's OK to flit in and out but to actually sit down and face the Host means I would have to be authentic in my faith. I grab a nibble from the Table, to keep up appearances, but I head back home, looking forward to what awaits me. I know it's wrong, but, I can't help myself.

I sent you the invitation, knowing all of this. Just coming into the Banquet Hall will be a walk of faith, especially dragging those chains so entangled around your feet. Climbing up in the chair, looking about the Table, gazing into My face...yes, it will be hard.

I am still inviting you.

Why? Because being away from the Table is even harder. Spiritually malnourished people are more susceptible to spiritual illness. They grow weaker and over time, lose hope. Come to the Table.

Is there anything I cannot forgive? Is there anyone I cannot redeem?

"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear..." (Isaiah 59:1).

Is there anything that you will give up that this Table cannot supply? Aren't the things that you cling to losing their potency? If not now, they soon will, and you will be hungry.

Come to the Table.

The invitation is a standing one.

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