I'm writing this down so I don't forget it!

From a teaching my friend gave me on CD from her pastor:

Jesus' life was tough, by any measure. When He was born, His own king wanted to kill Him. When He began His ministry, His family called Him a nut case. His countrymen scoffed at Him. His closest friends ended up denying they even knew Him. He was God in the flesh and yet people called Him a blasphemer. He came to heal the hurting, but was despised by the very people He had helped.

He came to save men from death, but was put to death by the very men He came to save. I mean, when you consider whatever hurts you've gone through in your life; when you struggle with the injustice of having loved well, and yet having received in return being taken advantage of, ridiculed, scoffed, hurt, maybe even down right abused, before you panic, before you run, before you strike out in anger, or recoil in fear, fix your eyes on Jesus...

How do you learn to love like Jesus loved? How do you keep from loosing heart and growing weary in the face of your opposition? Whatever cross you've had to endure. You fix your eyes on Him and not on your hurt.

What will you see when you do that? Well you will see that Jesus, God's only Son, out of obedience to the Father and love for you and me, emptied Himself. He willingly did it. And He became a man in order to save man. But even that gracious act of selflessness, seemed to have gone unrewarded. Cause He was laughed at. Mocked. Ridiculed. Misunderstood. Painfully scorned. And even in those final hours when God the Father could have done something, He didn't... help His Son. Just think of Jesus in the garden praying. A disciple fell asleep. Another became a traitor. A huge mob appears out of nowhere, dragging Him off to Pilate's courtroom... He stood before them naked, His blood mixed with their spit, streaming down His face. And then came Calvary...

You see Him there? Hebrews 12 said, "Picture Him there..." so, so do you see Him there? Hanging from that tree? And here's my point: As you watch Him there, you need to call to mind the deepest disappointment of your life. The greatest hurt that has been perpetrated against you. Whatever the deepest loss you've ever had. Call it to mind. Maybe you staked everything on what you thought was the right thing... the recovery from cancer, the birth of a healthy baby, the renewal of your marriage... But it seems as though everything has turned out wrong. The cancer killed in spite of your prayers. The baby was born with a complication. You got served divorce papers. He went out on you... I'm just sayin' think of Calvary in those terms...

See everybody surrounding the cross that day they wanted a miracle too. Including the women who followed Jesus all the way to the cross. The disciples who huddled in the shadows. Even one of the thieves wanted a miracle. The spectators in the crowd that day shouted, "Come down from cross... and, and, we'll believe you then!" But there was no rescue, there was no miracle. Only a shout of agony that rumbled across the heavens... as Jesus, His body wracked with pain said, "Why have you forsaken Me?!" It seemed in the moment that the Father had turned His back, and that the crowds got their wish. That the religious leaders won the day. And the gravest injustice ever perpetrated in our world, was perpetrated. Cause in that moment everything that was wrong about our world seemed to triumph over the ONLY thing about our world that was good. It seemed such a tragedy in fact, that the Bible says, nature itself convulsed... remember the ground shook like and earthquake. Tombs cracked open. The solar system shuddered. The sun hid. The sky went black in mid day, and yet, please listen to Jesus' response to all that mess, "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing." We're talking more than a slap in the face. More than a stolen t-shirt. Jesus was nailed to a cross, and yet even then His love shone through.

And remember the charges brought against Jesus, unlike the charges brought against you and I, were false....

So show Him your wound. Just make sure you notice His.

Betsy Tenboom was right, "If you want to love like Jesus loved, don't look at your own wounds only, you look to Jesus."

"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps..." 1 Peter 2:21

Isaiah 51:3

Thoughts from Superman

My boys are watching the new (a few years old) Superman Returns movie this morning. I happened to walk past in the scene where Superman is rescuing Lois Lane, her son and fiance from drowning in a sinking boat. Lois' fiance is holding an unconcious Lois and her son and Superman is holding the fiance's hand. Superman asks him, "You got them?" He looks to be sure, "Yea." And then Superman lets go of the boat that he had pulled from the depths which they were in.
The boat falls into the sea and there is Superman holding the man's arm as his little would-be family is clinging to him.
I thought, "That's sort of the way it is spiritually. God has entrusted the leadership, protector, provider role to the man of the house. He's to display God's heroic character in self-sacrificingly doing what's best for his wife and children. Yet, he is not able to rescue them from the terrors and troubles this life brings. He needs the real Superman, Jesus, the Christ. Apart from Christ, any of our men, though charged with the responsibility of rescuing us and our children, will fail. But if they are clinging to the Mighty Arm of Jesus, we can trust we are in good hands. For that matter, even if our husband's aren't clinging to the Rescuer of rescuers, we can. He is mighty, mightier than our dreamed up Superman.

Oh Lord Jesus, rescue our husbands! They cannot do what only You can! Reveal Your mighty Arm to them. Give them the courage to take Your hand and not try to do it all in their own strength.

Isaiah 51:3

Precious few words

She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction]. - Proverbs 31:26 Amplified Bible

I was reading today's reading from Streams in the Desert this morning. Every word was the desire of my heart, but this sentence really grabbed me:

In this condition, our entire being lies perfectly still under the hand of God; every power and ability of the mind, will, and heart are at last submissive; a quietness of eternity settles into the entire soul; and finally, the mouth becomes quiet, having only a few words to say, and stops crying out the words Christ quoted on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Ps.22:1)

The mouth becomes quiet, having only a few words to say. Immediately I thought of Proverbs 31:26. This woman, found by God, created in Christ, her mouth has become quiet, having only a few words to say. Most of her life is characterized by what she does, not what she says, so that when she does open her mouth, it's noted. The Proverb isn't talking about her words all throughout it's verses. If it did there'd be no need to say, "She opens her mouth..." But the fact that there is a verse dedicated to preciousness of what she says signifies it's rareness. Mostly, she's quiet. Quietly fearing God, not man, and doing what the Lover of her soul compels her to do in watching over her household.

I want to be that woman! I like to talk. I like to write. I like words. Period. Oh that my life would be characterized by a quiet mouth who speaks few words, and that those few words would be precious wisdom and kindness.

Make me that woman Lord! Quietly resting in your soveriegnty over my life, and speaking precious few wordds.

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Meditations on Nothing but the Blood of Jesus

Tonight I sang, "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus... Oh precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus."

So much in those words. In times past the celebration of the fact that it's Jesus' blood, not my "blood,sweat and tears", but Jesus blood and His alone that can wash away my sins floods my soul. At other times, rest in the simpleness of it being Jesus plus NOTHING, which makes me right in God's eyes, fills me with peace. But tonight I was compelled while I sang. An argument against all accusations of being legalistic or too idealistic, or too extreme in my convictions filled me.

My heart was shouting, "It's too precious! His blood is too precious! I can't just flippantly do what I desire without any regard to what God says or take some of God's ways and leave behind the others that make me feel uncomfortable or restrained. Jesus' blood is too precious! I can't wink at sin or laugh at it or cozy up next to it... Jesus died for it. Don't you realize NOTHING but the blood of Jesus can wash away my sin!? It takes blood, precious blood, blood from the only pure, perfect, loving, kind One. It cost too much to just do whatever I want to do. It's not that I am trying to earn His favor, it's that He has suffered so much and shown me so much favor... how could I walk all over His grace and sacrifice like that?! The answer to why I do what I do or don't do what I don't do is, 'Jesus suffered, bled and died a cruel death for you and me... that's why!' "

There's seems to be a disconnect about works vs. faith when it comes to salvation. But if I just focus on the road of suffering Jesus took up to save me, all of those confusing arguments fall apart. The truth is NOTHING but the blood of Jesus can wash away my sins, therefore I'll never be able to walk through this life indulging my flesh and making excuses for my sin... there's too much precious, holy, blood that has been spilled to wash me clean of all those ways.

I can't wink at. I can't be entertained by it. I can't approve of those who practice it. I can only soberly stand on the truth that those ways cost Jesus spit in His face, a beard violently pulled out, gruesome tears of flesh all over His body, mockery amidst cardiopulmonary explosion, terrors of pain, and most of all the rejection from His Father; all while His precious blood flowed to save you and me.

When I sang "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!" tonight, I declared why I can't live like my flesh desires. I am not my own. A heavy price was paid for me. It's that expensive grace which saves me. And it's that freely poured out grace which compels me to flee youthful lusts and obey the ways of God. I don't want to mock the blood of Jesus. I don't want to trample under foot His precious blood while I walk towards the fleeting pleasures of what He has declared as sin.

"What can wash away my sins?" isn't just a catchy old gospel hymn. It's the self-sacrificing call of Love on my life to live out the holiness purchased for me. It's a cause to be grieved with God over sin, not to poopoo it. It's a cause to intercede for those in sin and to cover it with self-sacrificing love. Love that would suffer to speak truth and impart grace. It's the price tag on my life.

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body. So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

If we give up and turn our backs on all we've learned, all we've been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ's sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God's Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. - Hebrews 10:19-31 The Message paraphrase

He loves us too much! He paid too much! I don't want to insult His sacrifice. Oh let me live in that pure fear of God. Not fear of punishment, but fear of trampling on His grace. Not fear of not being good enough. Fear of not responding with my life to His goodness.

Isaiah 51:3

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