Paradise… We found paradise… because love was there. Here. Close. With me. With you. Paradise… every moment spent with you is paradise… next to you… there with you… here with you… the highest of highest peaks in mountains stretched to eternity. The clearest seas of ocean beauty dazzling into God’s majesty. It’s life’s delight. What the heart feels when God gives His design of love at the right time. It was the right time… paradise is on God’s time. Our hearts inclined to align with the gift of it.
Paradise… I’m Your paradise. Your ecstasy. Where love-filled acts of kindness compel me… where joy-filled sacrifice propels you to the cross for me. And you say I will be with You… In Heaven forever. We want to be with You forever, Jesus.
Love… inscripted on the palm of my hand. It’s a wonder… greater than the wonders of the world the Lord envisioned. I love the dna He gave me and the story that He saved for me. Your story was His to give… and every wonder of love was written in His story book of life from beginning to end. Heaven comes when we feel Him with us.
in the unseen sphere
where seraphim peer
into the depths of humanity
to watch how God orchestrates divinity
in the mystery of love
given to us
we are found
in His love
We’re never lost… when we’re caught in the Holy Spirit’s atmospheric river pouring over us, travelling with us, moving with us, sun-kissed in water droplets from the tears of Jesus’ eyes. Affection moves Him too. Like it moves me. Like it moved you when you felt it unexpectedly. I see your tears… they fall like the Fall leaves see the blue bonnets when they rest on the garden floors. It’s not wrong to cry… let our emotions funnel through the mind and heart out of the pores we try to conceal when everyone else is around. Water droplets are beautiful… don’t let them restrain you from letting flow what needs to flow… the rain generates into a rainbow when it’s from love. I’ve seen them many times. Over and over.
love was worth the hurricane
worth the shattering of normalcy
it’s radical ecstasy
what He gave you and me
Jesus is radical love. He taught me. How to love you. It’s why I gave everything like I did… because He showed me that was the way to live.
“Follow Me…” Jesus said. Matthew 19:21
I followed Him.
Did what He told me…
The promise of life with Him forever was given to me, and given to you. To have a relationship with Him forever. Jesus had this hope in mind all of His life, in everything He experienced. Paradise was on His mind… the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of Heaven… why paradise? Because it’s the place where we get to dwell with Him in perfect love and harmony.
Jesus wants us to dwell with Him forever.
So He found us…
God’s paradise is us.
His paradise is you.
His paradise is me.
Jesus loves you that much… to call you His paradise.
Paradise is found when we are with God.
“You will be with me today in paradise…” Jesus told the man nailed to the cross next to him. Luke 23:42
Paradise… what is paradise?
The moment we encounter God.
God loves giving us beautiful moments… with Him. With each other. Where paradise of love and bliss is felt deeply. It’s a God-given experience. Savor the moments you have with those you love. I’ve travelled the world to many places but what I’ve found is the best paradise of all is the moments I have with who I love. That’s paradise to me… And that was paradise to Jesus… the one time Jesus uses the word paradise is when He tells His precious son made in His image next to Him that He will be with Him that day after their lives have passed on from there… and Jesus is excited about this… Jesus loves that He has Heaven in mind for us and for Him to be together.
Before this moment, Jesus has not spoken of the word “paradise” but He has spoken of it in another way… another world… one where His Kingdom exists outside of the current social order of Rome. Throughout His ministry Jesus taught many parables that started with “The Kingdom of God is like…”. There was no literal, direct way to explain such a beautiful, unfathomable place such as the Kingdom of God. So He had to create symbolism and metaphor to bring it to life for our understanding.
“Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36
Paradise exists outside of this world. But we can experience it in this world through our hearts and minds set on the unseen realities.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2
Fix your eyes on Heaven and Heaven gets into you. I want to be Heavenly… so I let Heaven invade me…
The man on the cross next to Jesus experienced the invasion of Heaven when He met Him in that moment.
We read about this encounter in Luke chapter 23.
“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42
The words of the man hanging next to Jesus on the cross is strikingly different than that of the disciples in this moment. Instead of denying Jesus and scattering in fear… this man hanging next to Him acknowledges the divinity of Jesus as God. He has nothing left to fear at this moment because the Romans have taken his life from him for his sins. But He sees Jesus… and He honors Him here.
Sometimes it’s the ones people reject who have the clearest vision of all.
This man hanging on the cross for his wrongdoings in John 18 was the only man who believes in Jesus as King right now.
What do you believe?
Don’t forget that no matter where you find yourself… Jesus will find you… and welcome you into paradise with Him if you will let Him… and recognize He is the King who can save you.
I also notice Jesus’ words here when the man next to Him acknowledges His Kingship. This is where we get to hear from Jesus about what is in his mind right now and what He is thinking about is paradise… yes, paradise.
In His torment, Jesus has paradise on His mind.
“Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
Paradise… found in the words of Jesus… found in the heart of Jesus… found in the hoep of Jesus… found in the Kingship of Jesus.
I believe that the man hanging next to him gave us all a gift. If he would not have acknowledged Jesus as King, then we would not have gotten to hear these precious words of Jesus saying “you will be with me in paradise.” But because a sinful man acknowledged his need for a Savior, we now have on record the heart of Jesus spoken for us in this moment about Him being with us and His anticipation for that.
God will use broken people to expose God’s heart of love.
You’ll see God’s compassion oozing out where deep sin has occured. You’ll see His mercy… His heart of care and affection… His desire to wrap us in His arms and say I love you and I want you to be with me. It’s so beautiful… the heart of Jesus. And broken moments bring us closer to him in intimacy, where we can be loved and held by Him. Made whole and restored with love from Him, and not just any love… a paradise kind of love from the King… who made us to be royal like Him made in His image. We are His people.
We know Jesus is confident of Heaven because this man put his faith in Jesus. It gives me so much appreciation for the man on the cross next to Jesus. Because not only does the man on the cross get to be with Jesus in paradise, now every single person who believes in Jesus as King gets to be in paradise also. We are the man on the cross next to Jesus… I am… you are… not because we failed… but because we were birthed into a world where that became our condition… and Jesus knows that… He doesn’t judge us for that… He says instead… I know what to do about it and I did it. Now forever you are a beloved child to me, perfect and clean and full of My goodness because I touched you to be this way when you came into my life.
When Jesus comes into your life, You come into paradise.
Life journeys to paradise when you walk with Jesus. Because no matter what you walk into, trial or joy, His love is overflowing in you.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:5-7
The one who gave it all for love… He knew of this place. Paradise. How could that be? To experience such agony yet to be thinking about paradise. He eyes were looking to Heaven. His body mangled but ready to be rewoven into an body of glory He was destined to step into after this experience.
Your life experience are preparing your glory.
“But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” Psalm 37:11
Keep your goodness… your gentleness… your kindness… God will redeem you and grant you with eternal blessings in paradise with Him.
Every sacrifice has a purpose.
Your painful sacrifice is custom making your regal robes for Heaven where the throne room of Jesus is there close to you. And He will always be with you. No more painful sacrifices… no more giving everything for love to carry the agony of it. Love will be given every day with no pain emanating from the giving of it. Love will be always delightful and extravagantly expressed all of the time. A new normal. That’s the paradigm of Heaven. Oh that the paradigm of Heaven would shatter the earth… break through the walls of lovelessness… crush the blandness, burst the dullness to awaken the fire of passionate richness… it’s what He did for you. When He gave us this love.
God sacrificed everything to ensure you never had to live without love.
God sends love… when we need it.
For Heaven-invented love to enter into a broken world, it collides with our lives in a way that disrupts the status quo. Beckons us to choose, do we want it? Is it worth changing for it? Worth breaking for it? Worth giving up what we have to welcome it in?
Jesus’ broken body led him to paradise… forever… and now we can enter into this paradise freely. We will never have to be broken like Jesus in order to be given love. We just have to belong to Him… and so God notices what we need. Jesus looked over at the man next to Him and He noticed what He need immediately… He needed love. From Him. Paradise… the Romans tried to take His life by nailing the man to a cross but Jesus said I will give you your life back… and you will be with Me today…
When others try to take your life, Jesus blesses you with life.
When others want to shame you for your humanity, Jesus touches you with His immortality, kindness and adoration.
When others want to crucify you, Jesus wants to dignify you and take you into Heaven with Him… where you will be a glorified creature forever.
Paradise is when we’re with Jesus.
He says so. “You will be with Me today…” and to be with Jesus means that you are “…in paradise.”
I never wanted anyone else’s love but yours. I never gave as much as I gave as I did for you. Not to win you, but to give you all of my love, because it was natural to, to be close to you. Like the the treasure hidden in a field…
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Matthew 13:44
What do you do when find a treasure?
paradise found me
when you walked into my story
the memories I will never let go of
Paradise is forever.
How can you let go of love… When Jesus died, the ones who loved Him didn’t let go of Him. They gave their lives to speak of Him to all who would come to know of this salvation and enter the Kingdom of God.
Jesus never asked us to let go of Him when He left. He said go and delcare who I am! So often we are told to “let go” of something when people feel like it’s needed in our lives or if seasons change or as a method by which to heal. But letting go is not always possible. In fact, I don’t know it we ever truly let go… do we? We change… we grow… we let that experience carry us into the next dimensions of our life and it becomes no longer a point of pain or grief but a point of appreciation. But to let go… we are too complex of organisms to do that completely because how God made us to remember.
“Do this in remembrance of Me…”Jesus asked at the last supper in Luke 22:19.
He wanted us to remember Him.
I will always remember you.
It’s a beautiful aspect of our human and divine existance… to remember. I appreciate what God did and I step back from trying to let go of it and I freely let it be what God meant for it to be in my life. He meant for it to touch me. And since it did, it marked me. Impacted me. Moved me. And that is something that stays with me forever. With a heart of gratitude and now a breath of peace deep in my heart to know I can cherish those memories and entrust the Lord with it and where life takes me.
I keep every
memory of you
in my ivory blue
box of treasures
hidden in my heart
glowing in the ruby red stars
of moments we
had and could have had
with Jesus there’s always more
to hope in
Paradise… how do you find paradise?
Eyes shut… I see you… and I’m in paradise everytime.
“Arise, let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you.” Isaiah 60:1
Coming towards me… running after me… searching for me until you find me because you found Him in the season His love dawned upon us… I found Him deeper than ever. Shine on us, Jesus. It’s love… the highest Heaven. The greatest expression of perfection bestowed on a creation God sculpted with His own hands. It’s the only thing I want. Give us Your love, Jesus…
“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
What is paradise?
Paradise is found when I’m with you.
That’s why I take you with me… everywhere I go.
Take me with you… everwhere you go.
“Then He replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.””