Thursday, February 26, 2009

Through the curtain that is His Flesh

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

It never ceases to amaze me how living and active and timely and fresh the Word of God can be. I wish I could say "always is" there, but I would be exaggerating if I did. Certainly, there are days when I go to the Word and it falls flat on my heart and sounds like white noise to my ears. Those are thick, cloudy, tuneless days. But, today was not one of those days.

I can't tell you how many times I've read Hebrews 10 over the past year, so please accept "several" as a sufficient descriptor...and know that it is an understatement. In fact, know that, of all of the books in the Bible, I've read Hebrews the most in my life, with one exception: Psalms. Yet, with all that reading, all those times of seeing and mentally and emotionally and spiritually hearing the words quoted above, I never saw or heard or felt those words quite the way I did just now.

"...through the curtain, that is, His flesh..."

Jesus opened a way for us to approach the Father, the throne of God, with confidence. He made a way for us to be forgiven and redeemed and know the eternal life sin would rob us of. As the passage above says, he opened a new and living way, opened the curtain to grant us full access. This curtain was His flesh, which was opened, or torn, for us. When I come before my Father in heaven I come by the tearing of His flesh, by the power of His sacrifice...and only by this way. I do not come by a prayer I prayed, or a list of things I do or don't do, or by my own good feelings toward God, or because I'm not Hitler or even because I seek to know and love Him more. I come through the curtain of His flesh, which was torn open for me. Every time. When I open my Bible to hear from the Lord ... I come through the curtain that is His flesh. When I pray...I come through the curtain that is His flesh. When I worship...I come through the curtain that is His flesh. When I seek to glorify Him...I come through the curtain that is His flesh. Every time.

And, when I choose to sin, to disobey, to go my own way...I must also go through the curtain that is His flesh. Whether I am coming in or going out, I pass through the curtain that is His flesh. Coming in, I accept the gift, the entrance that was made for me and God is pleased. Going out, I reject it, and God is grieved.

Knowing this, then, "let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith," and go out no more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Hope & My Song today

From "Daily Light"...

You are my refuge in the day of disaster.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”—But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.

As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” You hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!”

“For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.—“Your sorrow will turn into joy.”—Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Jer. 17:17; Ps. 4:6; Ps. 59:16; Ps. 30:6-10; Isa. 54:7, 8; John 16:20; Ps. 30:5 (Read full verses...)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Quick-witted 3 year olds

This weekend, I went to a monster truck show with the kiddos and one of my brothers. Can I just say, Grave Digger is AWESOME! He's in his 60's and completely fearless! The things he did in his truck made me nervous and excited and squeal like a little girl with a new sparkly thing, all at the same time. But, I digress...


So, we went to the monster truck show this weekend with one of my brothers and some of his friends. As we piled into the car to head to the show, my youngest niece (the Diva) said "Ti Ti, your hair looks crazy." Now, I'd done something a little different with my hair and attempted to make it kind of loose and wavy and flirty (if hair can actually be flirty...and if it can, can it also be flirty of its own volition, or do I need to cooperate?). Anyway, I thought it looked nice. Clearly, the Diva did not agree. Still, I tried to not take her assessment personally and just said "Ok, thanks." My older niece chimed in next, "I think it looks pretty, Ti Ti." To which I replied, "Thank you, sweet girl."

"But it really doesn't." said the Diva.

She's a quick one, the little stinker!! But she's so stinkin' cute she can get away with anything.

Sufficiency in the Gospel

"The gospel serves as the means by which God daily constructs me into what He wants me to be and also serves as the channel through which He gives me my inheritance every day of my Christian life. Hence, it could be said that the gospel contains all that I need "for life and godliness." It is for this reason that God tells me to be steadfastly entrenched in the gospel at all times and never to allow myself to be moved from there. The mere fact that God tells me to stay inside the gospel at al times must mean that he intends to supply all of my needs as long as I am abiding in that place of luxury." (from The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent)

The gospel = a place of luxury.

I haven't thought of the gospel quite that way before. I've thought of the gospel as a means of salvation; a message of redemption and the distilling of God's great love into one great act and thought, but never as a place of luxury. This is quite a compelling and thought provoking description of the gospel: a place of luxury, a place where our every need is met and we are satisfied...while at the same time become more and more dissatisfied with the world and the desires and cravings we thought were needs before.