We are not subject to sacrificial rituals

I have finally completed reading the Old Testament in my 90 day Bible challenge.  I feel almost a lightness now knowing that I am back to the familiar and easier to understand New Testament.  On reflection though I will need to read the Old Testament again.  I have learnt so much from it but equally am sure that a lot has passed me by.  I suppose in summary I would say I am so grateful that God sent Jesus and through Jesus dying on the cross we have direct access to God.  I am so thankful that I know God as a loving, forgiving and caring God because to be honest at times I have struggled with the concept of the Old Testament God of wrath and anger.  It does though remind me of how immense God is and how I should revere and honour him always.  There’s a song that says “when did I forget that he’s the King of the World” and I think sometimes it’s too easy to forget quite how “Big” our God is.

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

KING OF THE WORLD

King of the World, creator of the Universe, Alpha and Omega, how immense are your ways oh God, how perfect your plans, how blessed are we to have direct access to the Lord God Almighty, how privileged that we can carry everything to you in prayer, not subject to sacrificial rituals but as individuals we approach you with our trials and tribulations, our supplications, we come to you in person as we ask in certainty for your mercy to be shown to us, we are indeed the chosen generation, God’s very own possession no messing, we have no need for priests to intercede for we are indeed a royal priesthood, a holy nation, we have been shown salvation because of God’s son, we have been given the victory because of his sacrifice, given life for all eternity because God declared that it would be.

He breaks down city walls, smashes padlocks and kicks down doors

I have just got through Isaiah on my read the bible in 90 days challenge, wow some fantastic messages from God in Isaiah.  I have highlighted 3 verses below that really excite me in a way that says, what an awesome God we serve, if he is for me who or what can be against me?!

  • Isaiah 31:4 – This is what the LORD says to me: “As a lion growls, a great lion over its prey— and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamour— so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights
  • Isaiah 45:2 – I will go before you and will level the mountains ; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron
  • Isaiah 51:15 – For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is his name.

 BEFORE ME

My God goes before me, clearing and paving the road, stopping the flow of the river if I need to cross over, he breaks down city walls, smashes padlocks and kicks down doors, the Lion roars as he goes before me, the Lord of heaven’s armies leads me onwards and upwards so that I can be strong and courageous, I am his pride, his joy, he destroys my enemies, God fights for me, every chain shattered at my feet, my heartbeat calmed, no longer afraid or alarmed cos my God’s got this, my God fights for me, battles hidden from my sight, battles of light against the darkness, mighty warrior King of Kings the Lord Almighty is his name.

The King who wipes away my tears

Woke up in the middle of the night and God spoke to me.  WOW it was like my voice in my head but God’s words and it all kind of made a lot of sense.  So he knows I’ve been going through a rough patch and he just told me that since my baptism he has been with me, seen how I am immersing myself in his word and he does have a plan for me and it will happen, he is still getting me ready but it will be soon. I lay there for a while just contemplating the words and just felt so blessed to hear from God and for his reassurance and love.

Psalm 37:5-6 – Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: he will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

Isaiah 12:2 – Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defence; he has become my salvation.’

Isaiah 14:24 – The Lord Almighty has sworn, ‘Surely, as I have planned, so it will be and as I have purposed, so it will happen.

Isaiah 42:6 – I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles

He’s the King

He’s the King who wipes away my tears, he hears, he knows what goes on in my head, how my heart needs mending, how I keep pretending that everything’s OK when I’m clinging on by the tips of my fingers, God is with me, always, never apart, never far, and in the still small hours of the morning before the sun is dawning he draws close and whispers into the recesses of my mind, it’s going to be fine, I’m here, I’m near, I’ve seen your tears and understand your fears, I see how you long to be close, how you throw yourself into my word, how you’re seeking the face of God and a role to play in my Kingdom, my will be done, have patience, just a little longer before your warrior status is defined, just a bit more time while you’re refined.

I am loved by a God who loves me to death

Had a great meeting last night learning more about the persecuted church and praying more intentionally about specific situations in countries such as North Korea, Egypt and China.  It was so humbling to hear of the faith and love that persecuted Christians have, their strength in the face of so much persecution, lies, false criminal charges being laid on them and how even in the face of death they remain strong in their faith.  Just started to draw parallels this morning as I was reading Mark 15 as Jesus was brought before Pilate, praise God for the strength and courage he gives to us all in the face of adversity and praise God that through his amazing sacrifice we are all able to claim the victory over death and the enemy.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

YOU LOVE ME TO DEATH

The charges were being read and you never said a word except to confirm your status as King of the Jews, you left the charges unopposed, refused to use your influence with God to give yourself a second chance, a way out, an escape, you listened silently as the crowd turned, stirred up by the chief priests shouting crucify and still you denied yourself the chance to speak, to save yourself from being flogged then certain death, you permitted the soldiers to manhandle you, remained silent as they mocked and beat you, they put a crown of thorns on your head whilst taking the proverbial, “we salute you King of the Jews” they scoffed, they spat at you, needled you and still you kept your cool as they took the tools of their trade and made you stand while they nailed your wrists to a cross, what a cost Jesus, what a cost, you died because of me and it may be a story I’ve heard a hundred times but here’s the thing, it was messy, painful and shameful, your betrayal a travesty, the crowd turned against your royal majesty, how quickly they forgot, how quickly they turned their heads away from the Saviour who was paving the way for their salvation, who turned his heart towards every nation, for your love Jesus is greater than life itself, what a sacrifice, precious holy sacrifice, and do you recognise the immense price that Jesus paid, yes he was Son of God but he still paid for our sins with his own life, imagine the pain of the blade in his side, the nails as they pierced his arms, the weakness as his blood drained from his body, the pain, the thirst, the heat of the midday sun beating on his body, the desire to cry out to anybody to save him from the agony of a slow death on the cross, praise you Jesus for your love, knowing that anything less than death meant my death, anything less than your sinless sacrifice meant I would lose my life, oh how you love me, your love lavished on me, your death an eternal reminder that I am loved by a God who loves me to death, who literally loves me to death…

God sent his son to do the most amazing thing

God fills my life, I sometimes wonder how I coped before I met him, he fills every void now, he is constant, there in every situation, answers my questions, shows me the way and I have been reflecting on this, on how thirsty I was for God, for him to fill me.  I also see that as a Christian we can go through “dry” patches when maybe we stop seeking him quite as much and to me it is important to realise that I need to work at my relationship with God, it is two way not just me taking from God but me giving, serving and seeking him in everything I do.

Psalm 63:1 – You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Hosea 6:3 Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth

John 4:14 – 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life

YEARNING FOR GOD

How much do you want God in your life?  Really want him, what sacrifices will you make cos God made one almighty sacrifice for you so that you could live.  I’m not being glib it’s true, God sent his son to do the most amazing thing, he sent his son to die no other reason why he came to earth, predestined to die on a cross cos he loves us, what will you do for him, does your soul yearn to know him better, do you really seek to know his will or is the uphill battle all too hard for you to handle, the road was never gonna be easy you see when Jesus said pick up your cross and follow me he’d been there, he knew the pain, the agony of choosing God over worldly pleasures, of giving up our own treasures and trusting in our heavenly Father and do you cry out “You are God”, do you thirst for the living God to fill your life, does your whole being long for God, just as if you were in the desert longing for water?  God is your oasis, a life giving stream of water and you can experience his power and his glory, acknowledge the Lord, turn it over to him and as surely as the sun rises he will appear, like the spring rain that waters the earth God longs to give you a second birth and you will never thirst again, praise him as long as you have breath in your body, lift up your hands in prayer, cling to him he never fails, sing for joy as you shelter in the shadow of his wings.  God has trampled on your enemies those who try and bring you down, God gives you the victory over everything that proves hard, so don’t bury your head in the sand, stand tall and drink of the water of life, claim eternal life with God your Father the source of the living water that you long for and ache to receive, let God know that you long for him, in all your ways acknowledge him, praise him, really praise him for he is the Lord your God and he is the King of Kings.

Servanthood, you are mine

All the gifts God has given us are to be used for his glory, even those we may think are not that important, havebeen reflecting on servanthood this morning

1 Peter 4:10 – Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms

1 Timothy 4:4 – For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

YOU ARE MINE

I have called you by name, you are mine so don’t live an ordinary life you serve an extraordinary God, adventures await, don’t be lazy, work hard, serve your God enthusiastically, live large, be bold, demonstrate unprecedented obedience throughout your life’s duration, be urgent to reach your generation for we have a job to reach the nations including our friends and relations and if I were to offer my interpretation of what God’s doing for me, he called me, is equipping and preparing me, encouraging me to serve him daily and God wants me to be brave enough to live creatively using the talents and gifts that he gave me, I am blessed, favoured and I serve a God who will never give up on me, I worship a God who cannot be exaggerated for he is the greatest, celebrated King of King and Lord of all nations and one day every knee shall bow, every tongue confess him King of Glory, now how can you fail to believe in his love for you, how can you neglect the gifts he’s given you, may he give you a servant’s heart so you can serve like Jesus aligning your plans with God’s purpose, always believe in God, seek his guidance, let’s face it there are some questions even Google can’t answer so ask God what he wants you to do, recognise the gifts he’s given to you, hold your nerve and remember he is a Mighty God that we serve, be ready and willing to do his bidding, adjust your attitude to one of servanthood, desire to do all that is good to spread God’s word and be spurred on to serve in all situations, be bold, step forward and meet God’s expectations.

My home is in heaven, my citizenship guaranteed

My readings this week are all taken from Revelation and whilst some of it is difficult reading in terms of understanding all the imagery, today’s certainly made me think about heaven and referenced 1 Corinthians 2:9

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Wow, when I think of the good things God has already done for me and the best things that I have ever experienced or seen on earth then think they fade in comparison with heaven, which I can’t even begin to visualise or imagine then I just know it’s gonna be AWESOME..

UNIMAGINABLE

What God has prepared for you is bigger than your wildest dreams, take the best day of your life and amplify by a million times a million… no comparison, think of the most beautiful place you’ve ever been, magnify the picture to like a billion pixels and the picture still fades in comparison, think of the greatest concert you’ve ever attended, the most perfect worship you’ve been part of, awesome lyrics that make you tingle, times where you’ve witnessed the amazing work of the Holy Spirit and that doesn’t get anywhere close to it. When we see Jesus face to face we will be fully satisfied, there will be an end to doubt and uncertainty, we will have no questions cos we will see him face to face in all his glory, goodness, love, righteousness, and power and I can only imagine how awesome that day will be, my home is in heaven, my citizenship guaranteed, I am a daughter of royal birth my father is King of heaven and earth and how magnificent, how mind blowing will it be, no more death, no more sorrow, no crying, no pain, God himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes so believe me when I tell you there are far better things ahead than we leave behind and I can say with intensity may I never desire my life more than eternity with you, I set my mind on things above, keep my feet on the ground, my heart on the cross and my mind on my heavenly home where God has gone to prepare a place for me and I am not ever gonna worry cos everything will be amazing the best is yet to come, the best is more than I can understand, I will never take in the enormity of your sacrifice that you took my sin and destroyed it, you’ve taken my shame and extinguished it, put no blame on my head, replaced it with peace and harmony, exonerated me and set me free, so one day all this will pass away and hey that’s awesome, the son of God keeps his promises and that means the best is yet to come, Jesus has overcome and through his death and gift of life we can all be alive and know the glory of his presence for all eternity in heaven.