Lent day 9
Let a righteous man strike me- that is a kindness; let him rebuke me- that is oil on my head- Psalm 141:8
David was a man after God’s heart. That doesn’t mean he never screwed up, it means that he repented when he did. He was human and made human mistakes, however he truly loved God and wanted to make things right with Him as fast as he could when he sinned. Few true followers of God commit sins on purpose, and when we do sin we try to repent quickly. I like the second half of that verse the best: let him rebuke me-that is oil on my head.
David was a shepherd, so he would have known that oil on the head of the sheep was there to fend off flies. We do this on the bellies of our horses on the farm too. To him being rebuked by a righteous man was the same as having insect repellent placed on his head. It warded off the attacks of evil emotions and desires. He didn’t take being rebuked by someone closer to God than himself as an offense, rather as a kindness. David didn’t shy from a corrective word from the pulpit, he knew that being close to God was greater than his feeling of self importance.
May we all have a spirit that thirsts after righteousness, because we long to know God’s face.
Where is Jesus?
His knees ached as he prayed, he swung back and forth in agony as his soul searched for something, anything. Around him others prayed to their gods and the pain was clear in their mumbled as they searched for the same thing. A woman was kneeling beside him, a book clasped in her hands as she prayed silently, a dim smile spread across her face. He leaned over to her. ‘What god do you pray to?’
She whispered back, ‘I pray to Jesus.’
‘Oh, what is Jesus the god of?’
The woman thought a moment, ‘well, He’s the God of everything. There isn’t anything that He isn’t God over.’
‘Really? Who is He?’
‘He’s the one who died for you. He came to earth from Heaven and was sacrificed for our sins. Then He rose again and took deminion over death. Now we who love Him can join Him in Heaven.’
‘Interesting. How did you get to know Him?’
She began to answer but a rod came down with a crack between them, ‘no talking!’ The guard bellowed, ‘just do your worship and leave.’
The woman went back to her praying, the book clutched against her heart. The man looked around him, some people beat their heads and chests in anguish, some had knives and drew blood from their palms, some merely mumbled to themselves the same things the man had heard them say every time they had come, he looked at the statue of the god he was praying to, it seemed so indiferent to him to his needs, it never died for him, it didn’t care about him. Then he glanced at the woman again, she was smiling, then she laughed softly, she cried but it seemed like a happy cry. He glanced at the guard, the person had moved on. He leaned forward, ‘how do I contact her god? Do I need a sacrifice? She seems to have just come here. He whispered again to the woman.
‘How do I get to know your God?’
She grinned, ‘just talk to Him. Call Him by His name, Jesus, God, even Father.’
She nodded. He began to pray, ‘um…Jesus. Are you there?’ Suddenly a wave sweapt over him. Peace. Fear of the power that surrounded him seized his soul, but the peace chased it away. Then he began to cry as another wave hit him. Love. It was sufficating and beautiful.
The guard rang the bell that said free time to worship was over. The man got up and saw the guard take the book from the woman as he collected all the religious items from the worshipers. He saw her stop herself from reaching after the book. She left. He left. But the feeling of her God didn’t leave him. It followed him as he went to his house. On the road he saw the woman again, he rushed over to her and she startled back from him.
‘Don’t be afraid. But I have to know. Why does it feel like your God is following me?’
She smirked, almost laughed and then said gently, ‘because He loves you.’
‘Yes. He wants you and is with you wherever you go. I don’t have to attend the worship hour in the chamber to be near my God, He is always with me, I go because they keep the Bibles and I love holding His book in my hands.’
The man didn’t know what to say, the woman suddenly whispered, ‘guards coming.’ And dissapeared.
The man returned to his home, sat on his bed and said ‘Jesus. Are you here?’ The peace and love swept over him again and he decided that day that he would aim to get a Bible too during the allotted worship hour, then he could learn more about this God who clearly loved him. Now when he prayed he knew someone was listening and cared about what he had to say, now when he cried he knew someone was there to comfort him. Now he was loved. And had purpose, if that purpose was simply to worship the god called Jesus.
He never saw the woman again, but as he learned about Jesus and gave his life to Him he knew that some day he would meet the woman again in Heaven, and then he would thank her.
I will follow you anywhere. Even past the realms of death to that which lies beyond.
So says a true friend.
I will go through death alone and move through what lies beyond alone for you. So says the truest friend. Jesus.
No matter where we go we are not alone; and for the places where we cannot go, Jesus goes alone without us to fight our battles for us.
Isn’t that an encouraging thought.
Sever skin from bone
-Snap- the screams echo through the halls. It’s dark and dry. Thirst. Need. Fear. Pain. -Snap- another shriek. Your turn next.
Trembling. Is this an illusion? A nightmare? No. The tearing at your skin from the rats shows that’s not true. Is anyone out there? Someone to save you. -Clink- Doors open. “Leave!” Gruff voice. Daylight. Tears. Relief.
Not yours. Out comes a man. His face is twisted and he drags his body as he walks. You run over just in time to catch Him.
“Sir. Are you alright?” Blood soaks your palms. A weak smile. Sweat. More tears.
A whisper. “For you, I did this.” Death.
3 days. Arms lift you up and spin you around. ALIVE! RISEN! FREE!
I hear the best torture professionals could sever skin from bone with a single lash. Have you ever had a cut bone deep? I have; it’s agonizing, I still have the scar.
Imagine 49 of those covering your body.
They spare some details in the movies because I am sure that Jesus wasn’t free standing, He most likely was tied to something to hold him still when they beat Him. Also. He probably threw up blood till He couldn’t anymore. The screams and cries of anguish, (anguish we should have bore) would have been sickening to the audience. It would not have been anywhere near as gentle as we see it in our minds.
Image one hundred billion names or more tattooed on the end of the whip. Look closely. There is your name. No! Don’t look away! Watch as it drives itself into your savior’s back. That is why we serve Him.
I know most people will walk away from this and shake their heads and try to remove these images. But don’t. Lest we ever forget that Jesus SUFFERED and died. Those lashes were yours, and mine.
Isn’t it amazing how when you look at the scriptures, even if you simply skim through, you can find verses of scripture, God breathed scripture, that directly applies to your situation right now. If you’re sick, if you’re depressed, if you’re scared, if you’re alone, if you suffered, if you’re happy, if you’re searching, no matter what there is always a scripture verse that applies. I don’t know about you, but for me that just makes me think, no remember, that even before my situation happened God knew it was going to happen He provided me an answer. If you’re going through a tough time right now where you need an answer and you just can’t find one, sit down, pray, and ask God to guide you to a scripture that will help you through this situation.
Thank you my Lord God that no matter what I go through, no matter who is causing it, no matter what it is, you have given me the answer. You have seen it already, you have been there once before and you were pulling me through, I thank you in your name my Jesus, amen.
Do we sometimes forget that Jesus is coming back?
As we go through our days it can feel like this world is forever spinning and never ending. It’s easy to forget that there is a greater purpose than this. It’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day that our minds completely lose focus on the fact that tomorrow, the next day, tonight, right now Jesus could be coming back. Jesus himself said that He did not know the hour that He would return. As the world and it’s forever spinning seems to be forever spinning off its axle I see people starting to fill with fear, that or they were full of fear already, because the world is a mess. I’m sorry but it is. Yes, it’s partly our fault, but we don’t need to look at this world with the fear that we will be here forever till it ends. When the world is finally burned up there will not be a single Christian on it. No matter if you are pre tribulation, mid tribulation, or post tribulation in the end when the world dies we will not be here. Let me repeat that we will not be here. Jesus is coming back. If you knew nothing else in your entire life except that one fact you would know the most important thing you need to know to survive. If there is no Jesus, there is no point. But we know there is a Jesus, our Jesus, and He is coming for His people.
When did you fall in love with God?
What was the moment that changed it from serving God to loving God for you.?
For me, I think I always loved God in that child love that says ‘God’s so amazing!’
But I don’t think I truly loved God in a mature way until the first time I really suffered. I mean really really suffered. It was in that blackness that I found God’s hand reaching so invaluable. Before that God was always like a Jeanie. A sort of fun bright light that bounced around and made flowers grow and puppies bark. Suddenly that bright light was a burning, piercing flame that tore away the pain and darkness until I was free from my chains. That was the moment I truly fell in love with God.
What was yours?
I have often heard it said that God can’t relate to pain of romance. That is an interesting point of view. I have a question. What is the most painful thing that can happen in the search for ‘love’?
Rejection! You got it on the first try right?
You may then say that the Jesus being rejected situation is different. You’re right. It is.
But God sends out His whole heart full of love to us every single day. He wants a commitment, a relationship, our trust and our love. If God is the lover of our soul and the soul is what He seeks then He is being rejected by the one He is in love with. So He gets it. He is rejected by many people each day, He feels sorrow at that. Is sorrow to proper of a word?
Then how about agony? Grief? Heartbreak? Longing? He longs to have us come to Him. He feels EVERYTHING we feel.
Never think God doesn’t get it.
If you’re not THIS God doesn’t love you
This world is a broken mess. That is clear, and Christian or skeptic we can all see it.
Sadly the hate of the outside world sometimes seeps into our Churches and into our Brethren in Christ.
It makes me think of an old anime I own. There was a small village living in the waste land of a once fertile country. Little by little the ‘toxic jungle’ spread until the inhabitants had to wear filtering masks when going out doors. Little particles of the jungle seeped into the houses too though, slowly destroying all until there was nothing left. If we took the spore of our world’s ‘toxic jungle’ and eliminated it completely our air would be breathable again. That spore I would like to say is hate, because hate is pretty easy to spot, but hate itself is just an extreme version of the true problem. Judgement. We throw down judgements like it is our job and justify by screaming out, “but the Bible says.” Um, right, the Bible also says many, many times that is not for people to judge that that is God’s job. Next excuse. “We can’t condone that because we are Christians.” Okay, but condoning the sin and loving or even accepting the sinner, these are two very different things.
I have heard too many Church people quote the Bible to make themselves feel more Holy. The problem is that we usually quote it with a, ‘if you don’t do this exactly the way God says He won’t love you’ insinuation. God loves you. That’s it. He loves just you, all of you, and any version of you to come. Does He want His people to be better. Of course! We’re people, there is always room for improvement. But just because you slip, or struggle, or don’t invite the Jones’ out for tea after Church; none of this, and I mean none of it, will EVER make God stop loving you.
If you are dirty, join the club, we are all dirty. If you struggle with drugs, alcohol, porn, infidelity. If you have committed murder, stolen, cheated, or lied, God still loves you. Nothing you are and nothing you have done can change that. Does it hurt God when we do wrong? Absolutley. Does He drop us like a bad connection after? NO! And don’t ever let anyone make you feel like He does. Nothing you don’t do and nothing you do do will change God’s love for you. We can let the need to accuse and judge others seep in from the outside world. By that I mean in from the world of the devil. The one who is against Jesus, that is the outside world. Little by little we destroy our Churches because we don’t want the sinners in to add mud to our name. We destroy ourselves by failing the second greatest command. Love your neighbor. Love can shown by simply going, “it’s okay, I won’t judge.”
I feel passionate about this because of the testimonies I have heard. ‘I have never met a Christian who didn’t judge me.’
I don’t witness very often. I let people know I am a Christian and just let God guide things from there so this is not a look at all the people I talk to thing because I don’t. It is just something that has come up…often. I have also heard pastors who use their pulpit as a shield while they judge and not from a Bible stand point. Please let the Holy Spirit guide your response to sermons and don’t get depressed. If God is telling you to change He will help you do so.
God knows how much you love Him. You don’t have to prove it. Do things to make God happy, but don’t feel He misses the fact that you care, in the simple human way we all do our best to love God like He loves us. Talk about impossible dreams.
So to sum up.
Don’t judge, that is God’s job. Love, that is your job.
God will always love you. No matter what anyone ever says. God says that He loves you. Just read the Bible and you can see for yourself.
When worlds collide
We are all in our own little world, so what happens when our world meets with other people’s worlds?
I have learned a new small pleasure; people listening.
When alone in a resteraunt I focus on the hum of the voices around me, instead of listening to music or playing on my phone.
Today I sat at a lone table with a window view of the street. As I sipped my Jasmine tea and played with my Dim-Sum I watched the world go by. I didn’t bother to count how many cars passed on their way to wherever, each in their own world, each oblivious to anything else. Some people walked by; a few were smiling, most held uninterested expressions. The one true happy being I saw was a dog being walked by a homeless man. A man on the otherside of the glass window. A man too far away to reach out to. A dog in his own little world, he doesn’t know he is homeless because his home is with the person he loves so he is happy.
We are all in our own world really. What would happen if our worlds collided? What do you think would happen if I ran outside and invited that man and his dog to join me for lunch? I would get kicked out of the restaurant, sure I get that, but what else? Would his day brighten? Would his stomach be happy? Would he see Jesus? Probably. What happens when our worlds collide? We change our perspective to a combined vision of ours and theirs. We see the world a new way and we ‘feel’ more. Jesus never lived in His own world. He always lived in the lives of others and in doing so, He helped thousands.
We need to let our worlds collide so we can envision a better world. For everyone.