Monday, December 31, 2012

Absorption


This post was written in January 2009. I wrote it while Hannah, my middle child was sick for the fourth time in a year with a high fever. Whenever one of my girls is sick, I'm consumed with wanting to do whatever I can to make them better. As I was laying beside Hannah on the couch stroking her head and feeling the heat radiating from her tiny body all I could think about was wanting to absorb the sickness so she wouldn't have to endure the pain. I didn't only want to cover her and care for her, I wanted to take her sickness upon myself. I wanted to heal her from the pain physically but more than that I wanted to absorb her sickness permanently. While closing my eyes and envisioning this transfer, Christ gently reminded me of why He came and what He accomplished on the cross. Seeing the Israelites sin and depravity He offered a way to cover their sin by sacrifices, burnt offerings and sin offerings. This is referred to as the Old Order or Old Covenant. These sacrifices and offerings were never enough to completely take away sin but it was just enough to temporarily cover sin. The Law's purpose was to show them their depravity and the holiness of God. It was to convict their conscience of sin and open their eyes to their need for a Savior. The Law focused on the outer man but Christ came to purify the inner man. The sacrifices performed and required were God's way of reminding them of their inability to keep the Law. Jesus stated that He came not to condemn the law but to fulfill it, Matthew 5:17. If we could have kept the Law apart from Christ then Christ's death is nullified. You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6. Jesus, states in Mark 2:17, "It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." In this verse is Jesus glorifying sin? NO, His purpose was that one has to realize they are sick to seek a physician. His response was to the Pharisees' who trusted in their own righteousness and in their deeds. Those who thought their righteousness before God could be obtained by keeping the Law. The Law's purpose then and now is to daily convict us of sin and awaken our love for Jesus as the final atoning sacrifice for my sin. To drive us deeper into Christ as He transforms us into His image. As we grow in the knowledge of our need for Him we fall more deeply in love with Him. We begin to depend not on our own righteous deeds but on His righteousness and His love for sinners.
Here is what occurred to me, I love Hannah so much that my heart's desire in the midst of her sickness was to absorb her pain and her sickness not just to mask it or cover it temporarily with Tylenol. The giving of the pain reliever was a reminder of her sickness. As soon as the medication would wear off the fever would come back.I wanted a supernatural transfer to occur. I didn't want to take her sickness upon myself because I was obligated as her mom to care for her, I wanted to take it upon myself because of my unbearable love for her. As she was laying next to me, I wanted to absorb her sickness so I could endure it on her behalf. Although, I held her and comforted her it was not enough to take away her sickness and relieve the consequence of her being sick. But unlike me, Christ has the power to absorb our sin and free us from our depravity.
God referred to Christ in Isaiah as Immanuel, God with us. He provided a way for us to be made perfect through His suffering. The name Jesus means, the One who saves. You see, it was out of His great love for us, He came down to dwell among us to reveal to us the truth, wear the robe of humanity, fulfill the law by living a sinless life and then dying a sinners death as the final atoning sacrifice for sin. His desire was to absorb our sin once and for all, so that we could be made perfect though His suffering. His sacrifice is totally sufficient for our sins. We are not only covered by His blood but transformed into his image. He endured a brutal death where every sin I have ever committed or will commit was placed upon him. He took on the punishment and absorbed the consequence of my sins. He did what I could not do so that by His death I became who I was created to be, a woman made in His image and for His purposes. For before Christ entered into my sin saturated body I was dead. I have been made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit, raised to new life and called a new creation.
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.' Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired but a body you have prepared for me. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can NEVER take away sins; but He having offered one sacrifice for sins FOR ALL TIME, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting form that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:1-4, 5,11-14

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Beautiful Mundane Moments of the Ordinary

It's in the beautiful mundane moments of the ordinary, where God's grace and His provisions go unnoticed.
It's in these beautiful mundane moments of the ordinary that we tend to fall asleep and wish for greater moments. Oftentimes, missing God's grace wrapped up in the ordinary. We look to tomorrow thinking tomorrow will hold something greater than today.
The next stage of life, the next vacation, our little ones getting a little older. Our flesh yearns for something bigger, greater and more exciting. In our desires to make a bigger impact on the world we often miss the daily impact we make on those closest to us, our family, friends, community.
These ordinary moments are God's tender mercies. His preparation for what's to come. May I stay fully awake and my eyes open in these beautiful mundane moments of the ordinary. These moments which are wrapped in God's grace.  God works something beautiful in the mundane. He prepares our hands to serve, our heart to love, and our mind to recall His promises.
Time is fleeting, it fades in the recesses of our mind. We try to hold on to the memories of yesterday and yet they dissolve into moments. Fleeting moments of yesterday. Our kids will never again be as young as they were a moment ago. Oh Lord, how much time has passed by wishing for tomorrow to come.  Thank you for waking me up to the beautiful mundane moments of the ordinary.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Be Lifted High


The Revelation study, Unveiled, is taking a break until the second week in January. I want to take this advent season to focus on Jesus, the Creator of the Universe becoming the created. This post was written in 2010, it's focus is our rebellion against God and our need for a Savior outside of ourselves. A Savior who was born to die.

The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by the snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Numbers 21:8-9

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:14-16
The Israelites became impatient in the wilderness. They spoke against God and against Moses. They complained about everything from food to personal safety. They detested the Lord's provisions and Moses' leadership, and in doing this, the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The Israelites repented of their sin and asked Moses to pray to the LORD asking Him to take the snakes away. Instead of taking the snakes out of the wilderness, the LORD provided the Israelites with a means of escaping death, this means of escape, a bronze snake, lifted high on a pole and anyone who looks upon the snake will be saved from the deadly bite of the serpent.
This takes me back to Genesis to the serpent's first hiss at humanity. "Did God really say, you shall not eat from any tree in the garden?" nay, "You will not surely die" and again " For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be open and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:1,4,5. Subtle whispers, luring promises and partial truths caused Eve to take the first bite and since the fall, it has been the serpent that has been given the authority to bite the flesh of man and deliver the fatal bite of death. Before Adam and Eve's bite into the apple, the serpent had no authority to take life. But because of Adam and Eve's unbelief and rebellion against God, the serpent has been given this authority. Adam and Eve chose the serpent over God and in doing so the Spirit God breathed within them died and with this death, all men died and were born into sin. 1Corinthians 15:31

Apples-1
But just as God made provisions for Adam and Eve in the form of animal skins, where a sacrifice had to be performed to hide their nakedness, He provided a means of escape in the wilderness from the deadly bite of the viper. The viper He sent because of their grumbling and rebellion. But ultimately God provided humanity with the gift of Christ, the sacrifice of His Son. Christ, the One who spoke creation into being, and through whom all things where made, humbled Himself and came down to dwell among men. He did what we could not do for ourselves. Through one man, death came into the world but also through one man, resurrection from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:31
Sinless perfection lifted up on our behalf where He bore our sins. He was humiliated so that we might become holy and in His humiliation we have been set free from the power of death. When you look upon Him, lifted up on your behalf, and believe upon Him, the One without sin, the bite of the serpent has no venom and death has been conquered. He conquered the grave at the cross and His resurrection ensures the believer's life for we will not all die but be raised just as He was raised. Look upon Him, the author and perfecter of your faith. Gaze upon His sacrifice and take hold of His provision. Believe in and trust in what He has done for you, for you could not do it on your own. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift from God. Ephesians 2:8
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What's In a Name?



I have marked and dated in the front of my Bible, " I study the Bible for more of Jesus, who splits rocks in the wilderness. He is the reason for my worship. I don't just study the Bible for more wisdom or knowledge or even to have the right the answers. I study the Bible to know Him and to see Him working in me and through me.  In Him, is hidden all wisdom and knowledge. He is before all things and in Him all things are held together. Jesus, The Word of God." Dated 3/11/12 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  John 1:1-3

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called, The Word of God.  From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." Revelation 19:11-16

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was Jesus, He created all things and in Him all things hold together. When He returns He will be called the Word of God. Jesus is and was the Word in the flesh. He came to earth to dwell among us to reveal to us the truth. What is the Truth? It is the infallible Word of God. The Word that was with God in the beginning. The Word that will be the defeat of the nations when He comes again in great glory. The Word that is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
The Word, no creature is hidden but exposed to His sight, all things laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:13 We don’t read the Word of God, it reads us. It exposes our need for a Savior and rescuer outside of ourselves because it reveals the sin stained areas within us. It crushes us daily so that Christ can daily resurrect us and reassure us of His unfailing love for sinners and His victory over the power of death and the devil. 
We never grow out of our need for Christ. We never move beyond His finished work. We will forever and always stand before the Father ONLY by His merit. We have been qualified, strengthened with power and rescued from the dominion of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son. We are to continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast and NOT MOVED away from the hope found in the Gospel, that Christ came to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. We proclaim Him, warning every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete IN Christ. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; therefore standing firm and not submitting to a yoke of slavery.

The Word is referred to by Jesus and Isaiah as our Comforter, Helper, the Living Water that dwells within us and the Bread of Life that sustains us.
It is no wonder Satan does his best to distract me from God's Word. He tempts me to doubt it and compromise it by not proclaiming all of it. It's no wonder that in some churches today Truth is stumbling for we have turned aside the truth of God's Word and have attempted to slayed it with the carnal swords of unbelief, indifference, popularity and principles. It's no wonder that when I read His Word my flesh wages war with the Spirit- for no other word has the power to divide my innermost being and wage a war within myself.
Sanctification is not getting better and better and better and therefore needing Jesus less and less. It's growing deeper into Christ and His finished work. It's a daily submitting my flesh on the alter of His grace and reminding myself once again, I'm dead and no longer live but Christ IN me. I've already been given everything I need in Him so I don't need to secure for myself anything because in Him I already have everything I need. I'm free to serve, to die, to give and to love because now I'm truly free. Everything I do, I do for the praise and glory of another. Therefore, I'm to be an imitator of God, as a beloved child; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved me and gave Himself up for me, as an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:2. I'm not to overlook the first part of this verse and jump to the second part. I'm God's BELOVED in Christ. I'm a fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  I'm a pleasing aroma of Christ to God, to those who are being saved and to those who are perishing.  2 Corinthians 2:14,15.
For He who is called Faithful and True is coming again and it is with the Word that He will slay the nations. Jesus is the Word of God. He is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. He is the One who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood- and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father - to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen Revelation 1:2-6
Lord, you are coming again in great glory. Sustain us with your mighty right hand as we eagerly wait for you. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit of the Lord would reveal to us. Revive our hearts with the cooling waters of your Word.
Who is like you, O Lord, for you have called forth the generations from the beginning - You were with the first of them and you will be with the last of them - You are the Great I AM Isaiah 41:4

He is the image of the invisible God the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

Original Post written July 2009 and reposted in August 2012.