Is your relationship with God pristine or blood stained?

I’ve been reading the book of Leviticus as part of a bible-in-a-year study.  The first four chapters describes the sacrifices the Jews were to offer for atonement. There were burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, and sin offerings.  It’s easy to read through these and skim because they (a) don’t apply to us today and (b) become repetitious after a bit.  But stepping out of the monotonous rhythm of the requirements is a picture of what the priests were actually doing.

Look back at Exodus 25 – 28 and see the meticulous detail of the building of the ark, the table, the lampstand, the tabernacle, the altar, the court, and even the priests’ garments. The materials were donated by everyone in the camp. They were not purchased by Moses but given from the possessions of the people.  God provided specific instructions and the end result was a beautiful place for God to settle and for the priests to bring the offerings to Him.  Imagine how wonderful all that bronze, gold, colorful yarn, and jewels were.  Think of the Taj Mahal and its beauty and magnify it.  Wow!  Can you picture it?  Nothing on earth compared.  This was God’s magnificent place where His Glory rested.   Wouldn’t you have wanted to be a priest in those days to be able to enter that place every day and take in its awe?

But that’s where the kicker is.  Moving into Leviticus, we read the descriptions of the sacrifices the people were expected to make to receive atonement for sins.  We know now this is foreshadowing to Christ’s sacrifice for us.  His blood shed for our sins.  His blood.  Shed.  The animals’ blood.  Shed.  Poured out.  Splattered.  Sprinkled.  Thrown.  Drained.  On the altar.   The brazen altar made of bronze and acacia wood.   On the front of veil.  The veil made of blue, scarlet, and purple yarn and fine linen with cherubim weaved into the pattern.  On the horns of the golden altar where they burned incense as a sweet aroma to God.  Every day.  Every week.  Every year. Year after year.  Animal after animal.  The beautiful places were no longer magnificent but blood stained.

A reminder that while God is perfect and beautiful He wants us to empty ourselves of our sin onto Him.  It’s why He went to the cross.  A messy, painful event.  Our relationship with him shouldn’t be pristine and perfect but messy.  We shouldn’t hold back our sin from him but openly pour it out at the foot of the cross.  He wants to see it.  He wants to take the mess from us so we can stand up and be clean.  The altars and the veils were covered in blood so the people could be clean.  How often do we hold on to sin so as to not dirty God’s hands and feet.  We feel we need to keep His temple clean and holy.  What is more holy than being obedient and emptying ourselves of our sin onto Him who was without sin?  He came to cleanse us.  To heal us.  This Lenten season, pour your sin out.  Open yourselves to be cleansed.  And on Easter morning, you will see the power of the resurrection.  Christ died for you.  He’s already been covered in blood.  Go ahead.  It’s what He’s asked you to do.

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Be a friend like Jesus

Minnesota Friends

A fellow blogger ‘Unconventional Speculation’ posted a short blog yesterday on a bible verse he/she had read in which the word ‘friend’ stood out.  (Click here for the Blog post).  Jesus called Judas a friend just before Judas betrayed him.   As I read that I couldn’t help but think of how often I let someone’s actions negatively affect me instead of remembering what the person has meant to me.   As I pondered the post, I thought of how Judas must have felt when he looked back and remembered the endearing word Jesus had spoken.  After Judas took the money, he must have flashed back to Jesus’s final words and realized what he’d done and how Jesus had reacted.  Jesus didn’t react in anger or hurt.  He acted in love, forgiveness, compassion, and grace.   He called Judas a friend just as he had the day he met Judas and called him to be a disciple.  Nothing had changed.  It didn’t matter that Jesus would die because of what Judas did.  He loved him just the same.

The next time a friend of mine hurts me, how will I react?  When my husband disappoints me or frustrates me, will I still say “I love you” or will I store up a little bit of bitterness to use against him later.  Can I look someone who wrongs me square in the eye and say “Friend, you did what you had to do”?  I can if I remember Jesus is my role model.  If he can call Judas, ‘friend’, why should I do any less.

Words

imageWhat words and thoughts will I use today?  Will my thoughts glorify God or will they tear someone down?

As I lay awake for an hour before my alarm went off my thoughts were consumed by work and the frustrations I’m facing.  I tried turning my mind to God but would find myself having a heated conversation with one of the executives at work in my mind.  Such a waste of sleeping time!  Nothing resolved.  Nothing gained.  And I step out into the day exhausted.

So, now my mind turns to God’s peace and His Word for it is His Word which comforts and guides.

Ps 116:1-2 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.  Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on HI’m as long as I live.  (NIV)

Power of Imagination

Reading Oswald Chambers this morning I was struck by his phrase of ‘power of imagination’ as a way to build relationships.  His point is we can get caught up in looking at things around us and never see God in any of it but if we let our imagination flow we will see God’s hand in all of it.  What does this have to do with relationships?

God has called me to reach out to a local ministry to volunteer and I haven’t done it.  I’m too busy.  I’m afraid to step out of my comfort zone and trust the direction God is pointing me towards.   But if I open my mind and see how God has been working in my life preparing for this moment and can imagine myself in the role He has put on my heart, I will find wonderful new relationships with others, with myself, and most importantly with God.

In a similar vein, Beth Moore wrote in Breaking Free, Christ is our ‘upland Source’ and we are like a river flowing over rocks, around bends, through gullies, to eternal life. Do I want to dry up and not flow as I was created to or shall I take the step today and trust God in this new venture imaging the possibilities in store for me.  My life goal is to let God’s glory flow through me to others.  How can that happen if I hide the gifts God gave me?  No, today I will take that step and trust Him and imagine the joy I will feel when I achieve my goal.

Who am I and why am I here

My name is Anne Frewin.  I am a wife, a mom, a graduate student, a full time employee, and a number of other things.  The decision to blog came out of my graduate school work.  As I’ve gone through the course I’ve learned that I’m not a bad writer and one professor even stated that I could publish.  I decided I’d start my publishing career with a blog.  Not sure what it will look like or where it will go but I’m willing to start.   It may be a blog about my walk with Christ.  It may be one on my professional development or volunteer work I’d like to start doing.  For now it will start small and let it develop on its own.

(The blogs before this are from a class I took last year and are not related to what I will write in the future.)