Your Valentine from Jesus

“Sure as the vine grows ‘round the stump, you’re my darlin’ sugar lump.”

 

These were the words that my mother wrote to me every Valentine’s Day of her life and mine. Not only do they still resonate deeply in my heart, but, they have, also, increased in substance and value since her death.

  2 Corinthians 2:14-15   But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ,   and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere   the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him.   For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God,   [discernible both] among those who are being saved   and among those who are perishing;

2 Corinthians 2:14-15
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

 

This painting represents an encounter that I had with Jesus. He met me face to face, nose to nose, eyeball to eyeball and far closer than I still think could ever be possible and, yet, it was. Jesus came that day during worship, as the Lion of Judah. I have captured an aspect of that spectacular meeting in this painting entitled BREATHE.

 

Several years ago, I was caught up in worship, at the New Hope Church, in Abilene, TX. It was my first experience at this precious church, and I did not know what their worship culture was like. Nevertheless, I felt leaping coming upon me, so I chose not to look around and check, because clearly, my heart was fully committed to leap before the Lord. Sometimes, it is, not kidding, just better to not know what others might think!

 

The experience that I am going to share is meant, also, for the body of Christ and specifically to you, dear reader. Know that He is speaking directly to your heart.

 

I was caught up in worship, leaping, and captivated by His great love, when all of a sudden, I knew that He was right in front of me and I heard, “Open your eyes.” I obeyed. I was fully expecting to see Him with my eyeballs, which I did not. I did see Him, in full technicolor with the eyes of my spirit through opened eyes. He appeared more intensely real than my regular sight would have allowed.

 

Then, somehow, He leaned in closer and said, “I want to be nostril to nostril close; I want you to be willing to stay put in the intense intimacy.” Even now, even my cells feel the intensity. I wanted to look away from that gaze that was locked onto mine. It felt, certain, that I would die, dissolve or explode away to nothing from the immensity of His Presence and His Divine Invitation. In that single moment, my desire to please my King was greater than my desire to preserve my life. As I stayed, He began to FILL my lungs with His breath. Eventually, I had to exhale; He drew my breath in through His own nostrils. Back and forth we breathed for what seemed like forever, but, having survived it, not nearly long enough.

 

Again, He leaned in closer and with a catch in His throat, as if He might cry, He whispered, “Your breath refreshes me”.

 

I grabbed my open notebook and, still standing, captured the encounter on paper. Then I asked, “How can this be?” Even as I wrote, I couldn’t unknow the truth of how deeply He wants us, all, close and closer still. His love was, and is, and will forever be our greatest truth. Then, stunned and fully alive, I wrote, and I feel...spectacular! In an instant, I was forever changed!

 

My mother’s words remain precious and dear. The King's words are continuously vibrating, now and throughout eternity. His ever present desire for us feels more intensely passionate than when first experienced.

 

This is your life changing Valentine from Jesus. He urges me to remind you that an intimate relationship with you is what He unrelentingly seeks.

 

You are his deepest desire.

 

He is saying to you

 

“Open your eyes.

I want to be nostril to nostril close.

I want you to be willing to stay put in the intense intimacy.”

He wants to share His breath with you and breathe yours in, because, beloved,

Your breath refreshes Him.


 

Latimer Bowen