Who Am I?

Father, it has been a bumpy last few days, so much so that I have spent them in prayer instead of writing. Though prayer is a regular part of our time together, sometimes I need more of it. Thank You for listening, for disciplining me and most of all for Your love and patience.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (<<click here)

Lord, You of all people know that I am not perfect – none of us are. We all struggle with things that we wish we hadn’t thought or said or done. We are all guilty. It is pretty much a daily occurrence that I must come before You seeking forgiveness. And so many times throughout that day, Holy Spirit, You help me ward off attacks that could lead me to sin. I am so undeserving and so grateful.

If I really think about it, it can be daunting to “go right into the presence of God” – who am I to do such a thing. In and of myself I am unworthy, but I “can boldly enter Heaven’s Most Holy Place” only “because of the blood of Jesus.” And as it says in verse 22, we can “go right into the presence of God…for our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean…”

Lord Jesus, all I can say is, “Who am I?”

Apr 13th, Wed, 6:27am

In Tune

The time I spend with You, Father, is truly the most important of my day. It sets my mind for the day and my heart as well.

In last Sunday’s sermon I spoke of how spiritually vital it is to take part in worshiping together on a regular basis in that it helps us to make weekly adjustments in our walk with You, Lord. Observing Holy Communion, more so, because it focuses our minds like nothing else on remembers what You did for us. We all need that.

It is essential that we “not neglect meeting together, as some people do.” Hebrews 10:25 but as I continue on this personal, intimate journey with You, Lord, it is absolutely critical that I come together with You daily, for a time of prayer and soul searching.

In my younger years I was actively involved in band. I started with the trumpet and eventually learned to play the French horn (along with its marching counterpart the mellophone). To be successful in playing any instrument requires regular, consistent practice – one must be committed. Another important factor when coming together to play was the necessity to tune your own instrument so that everyone was in tune with one another. With horns this meant pulling out or pushing in certain portions of the instrument’s tubing. That’s a little technical but that’s what we had to do if we were to harmonize with our fellow band members to bring forth beautiful music together. Being out of tune was disastrous.

Lord, my time with You is my daily “tuning.” Coming together for corporate worship is very important but coming together with You on a consistent basis is even more critical. As an instrument of Your creation I am to fulfill my role in the “orchestra” of life. I must learn how to do so from my Teacher. And to “harmonize” with the rest of creation I also have to keep myself “in tune” and that is not just an occasional thing. If I am to do my part it’s an every day thing. Lord, help me to stay “in tune” with You. Amen.

Apr 10th, Sun, 6:01am

Old vs. New

I’m so grateful for our time together, Father. The consistency of it alone has impacted me in a multitude of ways. Bless me this day. May I be attentive to what You have to say to me. May I be diligent in carrying out what you call me to do.

Hebrews 10:1-18 (<<click here)

Old covenant – repeated sacrifices / “can never take away sins” = imperfection

New covenant – one single sacrifice / takes away sin = “made perfect those who are being made holy”

Lord, I had to write it out to better understand what’s what. I understand all the separate parts but it’s important to see and understand them all together, as well.

One thing that I’ve wrestled with in reading through Hebrews is that it seemed to be saying that the old covenant wasn’t cutting it so the new covenant was put into place that would. Reading the study notes in my Bible* helped me understand it more clearly. When it says in v.9 that You “cancel the first covenant in order to put the second into effect” it is the ceremonial law and its system of sacrifices that is eliminated. Jesus Your single, once-and-for-all sacrifice took care of everything. The moral law (the Ten Commandments) still stands.

The notes on vs.11 and 12 are also very good.

“Christ’s work is contrasted with the work of the Jewish priests. The priests work was never finished, so they had to stand day after day and offer sacrifices; Christ’s sacrifice (dying in our place) is finished, so he is seated. The priests repeated the sacrifices often; Christ sacrificed once for all. The sacrifice system couldn’t completely remove sin; Christ’s sacrifice effectively cleanses us.”

Lord, Jesus, thank You for all you have done and continue to do for me. Because of You, I live. May I become more like You every day.

Apr 9th, Sat, 7:26am

*New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible

Shatter the Ceiling!

Where would I be were it not for you, Father? I would be lost. I would be drifting aimlessly. I would be enslaved. I would be forlorn…not because that is what You wanted but because of my choices. Your desire is for us to be together. And I am so glad that that is the way it is.

One of my favorite speakers is Alistair Begg, senior pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio. On a recent broadcast he spoke about being wary of becoming “lost out.” He used the phrase to refer to someone who has been a believer for many years but has made no progress spiritually for a very long period of time.

Now in the strictest of terms I probably wasn’t “lost out” but I sure felt that I was. I would surmise that truly “lost out” individuals don’t want to be that way but also don’t want to be badly enough to do anything about it.

I was very dissatisfied with where I was but felt like I was hitting the ceiling. I tried different things but got nowhere. Looking back, Lord, I can see that in reality You were steering me in the direction I needed to go. You knew my heart’s desire but I just hadn’t gotten there yet.

Then one day, and I can’t remember exactly when that was, I broke through – the ceiling shattered! I had gotten through but by no means was I “there” yet. It sounds weird saying it that way but that’s the way it was. I guess it’s sort of like striving to reach a certain level of athleticism. You work and work to cross that line and then finally you do! You did it but it still takes a lot of effort to cross that line again. Eventually crossing the line into another level of spiritual growth came more easily. For me, journaling was what did it. It was the focused outlet I needed – but it took time. It is a well-established habit in my life now but I must always be about moving onward and upward – progress is of the essence. And, Jesus, You are my inspiration and my motivation. I am so grateful for all You are to me. Draw me closer. Continue to guide and direct me. There is no place I’d rather be!

Apr 7th, Thurs, 5:33am

Chisel Tip RED Sharpie Permanent Marker!

Father, this day has already had far too many distractions – nothing evil but “things” of non-importance. Help me to redeem the rest of my day. Help me to invest my time wisely – at home, while helping family, at work – wherever I may be, may You guide my thoughts and actions.

Hebrews 9:16-28 (<<click here)

As I’ve said before, Lord, the book of Hebrews is a challenge to get through – there’s just a lot to wrap my mind around. In thinking through this morning’s passage the author once again speaks of what You did in giving of Yourself so we can be forgiven…and he places Your actions in contrast to the old covenants sacrificial system of the Law.

So as I processed these things in my mind popped the image of a bold sharpie marker. I see the law written out, in great detail, with an extra fine point Sharpie permanent marker – it is written black on a stark white background. The contrast is great – there are no grey areas – everything is black and white.

Breaking this Law is sin and as Romans 3:23 tells us “everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Black and white – no grey. The Law’s remedy for sin is sacrifice specific animals, specific time frames, and specific directions, specific upon specific – black and white – no grey.

Then You came on the scene Jesus – not to throw out the Law but to fulfill it in its entirety. And over all that extra fine point detail in black Sharpie permanent marker You are a chisel tip RED Sharpie permanent marker! In all inclusive broad strokes of redemption you have come boldly to be the final Word. You alone are Lord and Savior. Everything falls before You! Everything is complete in You! Praise Your holy name for ever and ever! Amen!!

Apr 6th, Wed, 7:01 am

Doing it right for once.