Have I forgotten, the horse goes before the cart?

The horse precedes the cart. Does it not? If it’s to move forward it must.

Am I guilty of putting the cart before the horse? Am I am guilty of lifting my hands in praise to my God, yet often forgetting to remember He is Holy. He is Just.

Have I forgotten? He knows every thought in my heart.

Do I come through God’s doors seeking blessing and peace? And yet expect perfection from others, not trusting, making lists of their wrongs, and then come to praise God, lift my hands. What is it I seek?

Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Do I even come close to understand the words I’m saying?

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.

We all have debts, we all have debtors. God knows this world is hard and painful, but He breathed out His letters.

“As we have forgiven our debtors.” This is the method Jesus instructed we pray.  How sharp, and at the same time grace-full; instruction and warning yet, “always believing.” This the Lord’s, (not man’s) way. “Help my perceiving.”

I have forgiven. I have spent time in prayer. God knows I have, but then, am I being tempted that I haven’t?

The battle is great, my constitution weak: And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil.” (1)

I won’t for a minute longer try to celebrate the joy of the Lord, until I have first come, asking mercy, with a heart ready for surgery from His Word.

I come to the cross. Drawing near to God. He laid down His life. He took all my sin—my ugliness, my strife.

I must not worry about what others think,  I must first come to Jesus, and be willing to hear Him speak.

Tempted to run, but right here I’ll stay. Today must be a day of atonement for me.  To be at-one-with-God. To know Him and His love and His compassionate, gracious way.

So I look up atonement, and let God’s Word (and Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible on Leviticus 23), speak.

The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves,  and present an offering made to the LORD . . .
A time to be sorry for sin. For looking . . . in.
But then on the same page, in the same chapter and all, is a feast, a celebration, a joyous time. I continue to read in Spurgeon’s Devotional,
So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; . . . On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches . . . and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.

 

Sorrow for sin is the “horse” so to speak. The horse must precede the cart, or nothing gets moving.

Sorrow for sin is the hallway I must go through, before I enter the room of atonement. “If sin is sweet to my tastebuds and life, I will miss completely at-one-ment with Christ.”

The horse precedes the cart. This is the only way to move forward. This day of mourning and sadness for sin, leads on to gladsome feast and in the Lord, great rejoicing.

No work of mine. Not one thing I can do. Jesus did the work for me. And He paid it in full . . . for you.

We’ve all been broken. We’ve all fallen. We so often miss the mark. But He’s risen and alive! The day of atonement must come first. But then the joy of the Lord will move the cart.

Daily let us come to the cross and seek His grace. Receiving and believing, this moment, then . . . we wash the tears from our face.

Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible brought insight for this blog. Feb. 24—Evening, Leviticus XXIII.

(1) Matthew 6:9-13

 

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God Calls a Meeting

God calls a meeting.

He’s tugging at my heart.

I’m hungry. I’m tired. My tapestry is unraveling.

I’m seeking, but not finding. There’s a Dead End again.

Where is this place of meeting? Does my heart yearn to go?

My thinking goes amiss. I think, “Before the meeting, I have to do this.”

“I have to get rid of that, but I can’t. I can’t. Or maybe, it’s more like, . . . I won’t.”

Is this how we think? Do we believe, “God doesn’t want to  meet with me, I’m way too lost. I’ve gone too far.”

God calls a meeting, time and time again. Do I continue to run the other way?

Do our minds spin out of control?

God saw me running. So He brought me a 3 year old. To simply watch and listen.

A child’s smile, the skip, the joy, the love. How we’re always changing, but some things never change.

As I was watching a child at play, it was like a first day of spring. It was like a sky with fun, puffy clouds.

I was running from God, so He brought me a child. So I could see with my eyes, something I knew of before. Of forgiveness and grace, gentleness, and noise. Of making a mess, but having a second chance – of two sides of a coin.

God called a meeting and I kept putting it off, until He brought a child in my view.

I heard the song coming from their heart during play, “A,B, C, D . . .” So accomplished and confident. So, I broke in and asked, “What’s your favorite song?”

She began to sing: “Jesus loves me . . .”

I watched a tender faith. I witnessed a confident trust. I knew these words. They were hidden deep down in my heart.

“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

My heart was pierced, that very moment. I forgot what was true.

I forgot what I knew.

As sheep often do.

I left from following the Shepherd. I thought I had to “plow on through.” By myself. On my own.

I became like the prodigal. Hungry, far. With pig slop for food. It was when that child sang,  “Jesus loves, . . . ” That I heard, “Remember Me.”

The child sang, “this I know . . .”

My thought, “No, I don’t know anymore.”

The Lord kept His appointment. He spoke:  “Remember Me.”

Gentle and kind. God used a little child to remind. To remind me it’s not “Do this.” “Don’t do that.”

Simply, “Jesus loves.”

How I forgot.

So, I turned around that moment. That moment was new. Because, in my heart, instead of my back, I turned my face to the Lord. Inside my heart was bursting.

I held it all in, but, if I didn’t I would have a face filled with tears.

Immediately, . . .

I felt hope.

Out of a child’s praise, I remembered God’s amazing grace.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, . . .” Jeremiah 29:12-14. 

Mind craze in the maze …

You and I live in a broken world. The attack, the battle, the unrest is in our minds. Playing havok with our peace, our thinking destroys us, even in our sleep.

There are pressures just to  survive. Our physical needs must be met or we’re weak, our emotional needs need met or we weep, our spiritual needs? There’s no time for that…

at least, that’s how we’ve been taught by professors to think.

Add to that, through the course of the day, media at our eyes notice constantly to say,  “You’re incomplete, you now  need this!” “You need more, and more – come out to our store!”

It’s like we entered the fairgrounds, striving to win the biggest prize. But it all seems twisted somehow –  impossible – and instead of that wonderful prize, (that we just saw with the other guy) –  we simply get the dollar-store size.

But out of nowhere, a ‘voice crying in the wilderness,’ says, “Turn around’. Where it came from, I’m not sure. I never heard a sound!

I’ve heard these words before, John the Baptist, we all know:  “Turn around , the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (1) But the mind brings the battle. Thoughts bring me down, when, unlike a child, I rebel and twist things around. The maze has me spinning, I feel I can no longer stand …

unlike a child, who simply takes the father’s hand.

“He was a weird dude, and his word went against what’s natural inside. Anyway, what would people think? The mind, the crazy games, the battles divide – “I’m not going to listen! This is judgement on his part. Who is he to tell me what I should do, beside!”

‘Turn around, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ …

“What if that’s true? Plain and simple. What do these words mean anyway? The craze continues, confusion follows through.”

“Today! Today! Come follow Me,

Turn around once for salvation and grace.

Make Me your Shepherd, that I might give you all you need. I AM the one who will make you to rest, to lie down on green pastures and lead you in what’s best… I am the One sent by the Father, I am the Son,

I have come that you might have life, abundant and blessed.”

“What makes me hesitate? What makes me stall? The battle rages – is this all there is to life after all?”

“Trust in Me and feed on My faithfulness. Delight yourself in Me, I am able to give you the desires of your heart.” “Today, today , I call you by name, I lead you out, I don’t drive you alone. Dwell in My pastures, I protect and provide, and I love you more than My life.”

“Follow Me through the gospels on the shelf.  Open it up and read it yourself. I am there, come with Me… ‘Today’ is the first day, of the rest of your life.”-Jesus

 

(1) (Matthew 3:2, paraphrase, mine).

The media is NOT your friend! Why do you think believers cry when they sing, “Amazing Grace!”

We live in a fallen world – period. The truth is: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). That pretty much means – everybody! But the media will have it’s ‘selected tolerance ‘ and its voice will be spoken everywhere, to ears that hear but have no understanding. When a politician lies and cheats, the news get washed away with the next natural catastrophe. But when a Christian, or one that professes to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, is found to have ‘sinned’, even close to a decade ago at times, there is NO TOLERANCE!

The media is NOT your friend! You see, the ‘media’s voice’ is like a camera that takes a picture of ‘selected stuff’ –  the media’s voice takes a picture of the garbage, and leaves you there! No wonder when people turn off the voice of the media they are left without hope and depressed!  But for a Christian, one who believes and trusts in the blood that Jesus shed on the cross, his or her sins are forgiven! His or her sins are washed away. (Acts 22:16). His or her sins no longer remain on him, (Is. 53:6). His or her sins were put on Jesus, and they have become healed, (1Peter 2:24). YES, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory”, AND yes, “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23), but God’s word doesn’t leave his children there – there is hope, there is truth, there is a gift of God – and that is “eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 6:23, exclamation point,mine.) This is the message of the gospel: Jesus! HE came as a baby. He died on the cross for our ugly and intolerable sins, and He rose again!

(Acts 22:16),”‘And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'”

(Isaiah 53:6), “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all.”

(1 Peter 2:24,25), “…who Himself, (Jesus), bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteiousness – by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

The media is NOT your friend. Jesus Christ IS! Jesus is a ‘friend of sinners!’

The media’s voice rings like this: “THEY did wrong! That Christian messed up! That Christian isn’t perfect!” “This is INTOLERABLE!”

You better believe this or that Christian messed up! It’s because we, they, them – are human beings and we are ‘all’ part of that ‘ALL’ in the ‘all have sinned…’ verse! But NOT EVERYONE is part of being forgiven, and  being washed clean… each human being that has been aloud breath on this broken earth has to, at one point of time in their life, BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ, the precious, gracious gift of God, in order to receive that!

Why do you think believers cry when they sing, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”  We all are ‘wretches!” BUT GOD has made a WAY for hope, God’s voice speaks TRUTH, and God sent His Son that those who believe have LIFE. Each one of us has to receive Jesus in our life to receive His forgiveness. Each of us has to make the choice to receive the  the free gift of salvation that He offers to each of us personally. His arms are not in a fist and with pointing finger – NO, His arms were stretched out willingly on the cross, for ‘whosoever’ would believe!  Jesus died for the sins of the world – the whole world that is -‘red, brown, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in His sight…’   to ‘whoever will believe on His name'(John 1:12).

Everyone has the free choice! The voice of the media is ‘damnation’ and ‘condemnation!’ “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1). “For the law of the  Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2). For those who ‘choose’ to believe and receive the forgiveness and grace offered on the cross, THEY have the gift of God which is eternal life through Christ Jesus! But the invitation has been sent to the whole world!

The media, the voice of the world and our own flesh fight against us every day, condemning, oppressing -but when we receive Jesus in our lives, we can be lifted to a ‘higher law’ so to speak! Just as we see the engine of a plane rev up and the wheels spin on the runway with all the effects of gravity pulling down, there is a force of ‘aerodynamics’ at work that is more powerful than gravity, which  then lifts that plane to fly in the sky! “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death!” (Romans 8:2, exclamation point, mine.) “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).

The media is not our friend! The word of God through Jesus Christ our Lord IS. If you have not considered receiving and believing in Jesus as your Savior, perhaps you take a minute to put down the ‘voice of the world’ and hear the voice of Jesus, a friend of sinners: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”(John 10:11).

“”But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never  perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand.”(John 10:26-28).

Don’t believe the media, believe the Savior, the Good Shepherd! Make the choice to ‘believe on Him whom the Father has sent: “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:29,30).

Jesus spoke to ‘doubting Thomas’: “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (John 20:27).

“And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (Can you see the tears as he sang a new song in his heart? “Amazing grace how sweet the sound…”)

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believe. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:28,29).

“‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed.”

“”Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares I have already come, ‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

You will not find grace in the media toward Christians, but Jesus warned us already, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to theFather except through Me.” (John 14:6).

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you!” (Romans 8:11, exclamation point, MINE!) Now that is aerodynamics!

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear…” Now we must continue to go on singing new song after new song as we seek to live in the Spirit, with an aerodynamics to rise above the mess, in this tough and condemning world. And we can do it, because Jesus… He has overcome the world!

*    *     *     *     *     *

Do you see the three crosses on the hill? As you pass by, take some time to realize that our life’s journey is for the sole purpose of this: deciding which ‘thief we be.’

As for me, I choose to believe and receive and …to sing! ‘Amazing grace how sweet the sound…” “What a friend I have in Jesus…”

It’s gotta be more than ‘Sunday-school answers’…

The Sunday school-teacher prays in the back before the colorful, playful children come in, “Oh Lord, help me make it real, the truth about You, so it’s more than fancy dress and what we do on this day, and later a family meal.”

“Yes, Jesus Loves me, the Bible tells me so…”

“I know all the stories!” the 6 year old proclaimed as she skipped in the room with ‘cute as a bug’ delight! “Yes, we know all the answers, we’ve got this one down. Jesus died on the cross and today He couldn’t be found. The tomb was empty, we know the whole thing- so what are we doing today during Sunday School – sing?”

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…”

“I think I have a story or two, you might not know,” the teacher shared to the class, praying that the Lord would send His Holy Spirit,  and FAST!” “Without Me you can do nothing,” was the teacher’s very next thought, “Lord, that’s so true, so don’t leave me hanging, empower me now with a supernatural kind,  “Hosanna, Hosanna! Save NOW, my dear Lord, I pray these kids SEE and HEAR, that they see and hear from their hearts – not just their minds!

“Jesus was in agony on that tree, on that cross. Did you know that others scoffed at Him then, even then in His pain?” “Oh yes, we know that,” but their faces looked lost. “Did you know it was yelled,’Save Yourself now,You saved others in the past, Can’t You do it again? Aren’t You the Son of God, at last?'”

“Why didn’t Jesus save Himself from the cross? Why didn’t He call down the angels from heaven, the whole heavenly host? Why didn’t He stop this whole dreadful thing? Why did He suffer such pain and such loss?”Why did Jesus stay nailed and pierced that horrible day?” Children, can you tell me, “What held Jesus there, can any of you say?”

“It was our sin!” “It was our sin,” they answered again. “It was our sin,” they all thought in their minds, that’s the answer. It’s a ‘Sunday School answer’, it’s quick and it’s right, but it was lacking 17 inches, 17 inches of insight…

“Children why did Jesus stay hanging on that cross on that day?” “It was our sin.” “Yes, our sin,” ALL the children said.

“Jesus could have called down a whole heavenly host to save Him, but He didn’t, He didn’t! Children,” (the teacher stopped to catch a breath and some Help), “Jesus stayed on that horrible cross on that day because…of His love. His love, that is all. He stayed nailed to that cross on that day for only one reason, because Jesus loves you and He loves me too, not just today, but throughout every season.

There was silence for a mere moment. The children didn’t know. It’s as if they’d never heard it, never heard it before. 17 inches from their mind, straight to their hearts…”It was His love that held Him there. It was for me, He didn’t part.

Jesus loves me this I know…“,but can we really ‘know?’ We just just can’t understand it.  Our sin didn’t keep Him on the cross on that day … Time went slowly, the agony and pain, were endured because Jesus was thinking our names.

He didn’t save Himself, even though He could. He chose to suffer, so we would never be alone.“Jesus loves me, He who died. Heaven’s gate to open wide. He will wash away  my sin, let His little child come in…”

It’s gotta be more than the dress and the show. It’s gotta be more than ‘Sunday School answers’ you know. If they could just hear His heart… “If they could only understand it all, Father.” “My Son, My Son, We witness them growing. They SEE, they HEAR, and they will one day KNOW, and they will be like a seed, planted by flowing waters, We will watch them, as the years come, as the years go… yes, they will  grow.”

“Father, they are so beautiful, so beautiful to Me. I love each one, each and every child. Right now they have all the right answers, but oh, how I long, how I long for their hearts. Do You think they can see Me in that seed that they planted, in that little pot of soil? Bless all teacher’s toil!  They didn’t know that the seed had to die, but that’s what I did, so that they could have life!

“Jesus take this heart of mine, Make it pure and wholly Thine; Thou has bled and died for me, I will hense-forth live for Thee.”

“Yes, Father, as I’m the seed placed in the good soil. I came to die, but that’s not the end of the story! The seed then explodes with life and great beauty. I in them, and they in Me – the planting, the death yes, has to occur, but the promise of beauty and life is secure – forever, forever, forever-more!”

Jesus loves me! He will stay, close beside me all the way… It’s true, even if it takes years to ‘get it!’  ‘Jesus will stay’ and never give up, never, never a day! Because He showed us His love by staying on that cross. He died, but He shook up the earth in the process, and life everlasting is now the believer’s promise!

It’s gotta be more than a ‘Sunday-school answer’, it’s gotta be a Seed of love pressed in the soft soil! But oh when that happens, there is Joy evermore in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit and more – the angels rejoice and the earth quakes and the flower springs up with beauty and grace!

“Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible tells me so!”