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Jump-Start Your Day

Tuesday, July 3rd, '18

All rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson

 

RAPTURED!

"Then we...shall be caught up together with him in the air..." (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

 

 "Caught up", there is a touch of ecstasy in those two words. The Greek word implies being seized by force, snatched up or whisked away. Theologians see the text as descriptive of the Rapture of the church, or its catching away to meet Christ in the air in resurrection. I'm looking at a secondary meaning today, for there are many Raptures in life. Relationships tend to be more easily ruptured than raptured but that is only because most don't know the ecstasy that is possible. The word Rapture means an "ecstatic transport". It comes from the French word rapere and its root, rape. It has a negative connotation, for a rape is a forceful snatching away against one's will. But there is also a positive connotation, for rapture is a voluntary forfeiture of self to the goodwill of another and consequent snatching away. Do you remember the flying dinosaurs called Raptors? They snatched their prey and transported them to high crags. I'm painting pictures of kidnap and people-snatching, but in its truest sense rapere is a glorious ecstatic seizing of property. It is the knight in shining armor snatching the damsel in distress from the evil villain's clutches before riding off enrapt into the sunset.

 

No doubt, such thrill awaits us in the literal Rapture of the church. But we shortchange ourselves waiting for a future transport not recognizing the catching away that can take place every day of our lives. Rapture breaks men free from gravitational pull. Regarding faith, it snaps the cords that hold us down. The traditional view that "the sky is the limit" has been shattered by NASA engineers and astronauts. What starts in grace ends in space. Every time a believer breaks free from a personal limitation there is the bliss of breakthrough, a miniature rapture. Songster Chris Rice longed to "dance from opposite sides of the universe", but conceded that "this gravity keeps holding me down". Why not cut the cords? Anything is possible with God.

 

And there is a rapture of love. Songs have been penned about it. The Shulamite cried, "Draw me away! We will run after you" (Song of Solomon 1:4). She was "caught up", magnetized. The same can happen in a person's work or mission. "He's obsessed", "She's in another world", "They're all caught up in it", are ways we describe the focused artist, athlete, sage or trailblazer of ideas. The Rapture carries the church to another world, and so does the transport of a concentrated vision.

 

Are you rapt up in anything, GIFT RAPT? It's the gift of the Holy Spirit that catches believers up into higher dimensions in Christ. Paul wrote of his experience "caught up to the third heaven" (2 Corinthians 12:2). His transport was literal. As was John's. He said, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" (Revelation 1:10); literally, "I was caught up into the prophetic realm of the Spirit..." Daydreamers fancy this paradise. True, there is a "third heaven" which is the abode of God but there are also pinnacles of inspiration that men and women can reach even now. Our text says, "...caught up together with him". With Him we can fly in the sky; without Him it's only pie in the sky. Note also, we are caught up with Him "in the air". Doubters and stuck in the mud minds see airy dreamers as air heads. "There she goes with her head up in the clouds again". But which is healthier, seeing oneself as an eagle or as a mole? If the journey is supposed to be as much or more fun than the arrival then there is plenty of rapture in the believing stage. Paul was caught up into paradise. The "Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more" (Acts 8:39). He was found at Azotus which was something like forty miles from where he baptized the Ethiopian eunuch! What I'm trying to say is, you can live in monotone or you can move up to stereo. You can capture rapture! Get caught up in a dream. Get caught up in the Spirit. And one day we will be caught up together to meet Jesus in the air, and as the Thessalonians text closes, "so shall we ever be with the Lord".


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