Sacred Spaces 545 – “Covered by the Blood” (Promise, we’re not vampires…)

I heard this talk yesterday and the speaker ended off in prayer and in that prayer they mentioned being “covered by the blood of Jesus.”

Part of me cringes when I hear that.
Not because of I’m ungrateful for what Jesus did for me. No ways!

And I know that phrase is in scripture; a few times:

” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7: 14

“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” Hebrew 13: 12

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12: 11

covered by the blood of jesus

TO READ (LEARN) MORE about the blood of Christ… go to the end of this post:

But I guess, I’m just….wait for it… another “christianese” phrase: seeker sensitive. (Haha!)

But seriously, the people who are new to the faith, or still checking out this whole God thing… how does that phrase sound to them?

Vampire-ish? Cult-ish? Just darn scary!
A lot of Christian folk assume a lot of things a lot of the time.
Maybe we can use our words in sermons (talks) and prayers wisely.
And I’m not even suggesting taking out some of those phrases, but rather being aware of the people with you…

And when we say a phrase like “blood of Jesus” or the “blood of the Lamb” we add a little explanation to it too…

That way we include everyone in that moment.

Because, truth is, the imagery is grace-filled:

By Jesus dying for us, (the blood shed of His death) we are forgiven.
Because for any wrongdoing (our sin) there needs to be a punishment.
The modern world understands this! Hence, the reason for the police, court cases, prosecutions, jails and capital punishment.
If some crime (wrongdoing) is done – there needs to be a suitable punishment given right?
Jesus, did that for us. His death set saved us.
He died in our place.
We were (are) all guilty in the eyes of God.
Human nature is sinful.
But Jesus died as an ultimate sacrifice.
He was punished in our place.

And so, when we celebrate communion.
The elements of bread and juice represent Jesus “body and blood”
We celebrate with gratitude His mercy.
His pardon.
His death that set us free…


Explanation of the “Blood of Christ” can be found in Hebrews 9

Here is the text below:

The Blood of Christ
“11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

This passage explains things quite well and why Jesus had to die.
In the old way (old covenant) to show that one was sorry for their sins, they would need to offer an animal sacrifice as an apology.
The idea behind it, was it costs them something to sacrifice some livestock. (livestock is equivalent to modern property)
Another idea, (perhaps ancient and sort of primitive) is that the aroma of the sacrifice (who does not enjoy the smell of a Lamb on a spit?) would be pleasing to God above.
And He would forgive the people.
And only a person deemed worthy (usually a priest) would be called to offer the animal sacrifice on the altar.

The new way (new covenant): enter Jesus.
God initiates the idea too.
The “old way” of sacrifices, became just a ritual.
No remorse or true repentance came with the animal offering…
A most costly sacrifice had to take place…
One that would COST EVERYTHING.

God sent His very own Son (John 3: 16)
For you and I.
That one death would set us free.
Bring us forgiveness.

Now that’s something to be incredibly thankful for!

Hope this helped a bit?

Advertisements

Sacred Spaces 540 – To God be the Glory

On Wednesday night in church (a holy week service) we sang this well know hymn.
I was encouraged and inspired by the profound lyrics.
In a world of too many worship songs were the content becomes fluff and cheesy – perhaps it’s best to step back into old school and learn from there:

To-God-be-the-Glory-Cover-300x219

Speaking of old school… I retyped each sentence… hoping that in writing down the words, God would stir something in me. Or even that the words would impress on my heart a little further.

(New school, would have been to copy and paste from another tab…
Not this time…)

To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
So loved He the world that He gave us His son.
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the lifegate that all may go in.

The great thing God did for us was wipe our slate clean?
The sacrifice of His Son (His death) set us free.
Sin had to be atoned for? (Look at how law works in the world today. If it’s broken, it needs to be atoned for, right?)
So Jesus does that for us.
Perhaps things about that again this Easter.
I like the imagery of a lifegate.
Life is waiting on the other side. and who may go in? ALL

Oh perfect redemption, the purchase of blood
To every believer the promise of God.
The vilest offender who truly believes
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Who ever is the vilest?
Grace reaches you too
The redemption we receive from Jesus is perfect.
We don’t need to earn it. But need to embrace it with an open heart.

Great things He hath taught us.
Great things He hath done
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer and highers and great will be
Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see.

Simply, God does great things.
Would we believe that for a change?
And celebrate that?
When will our wonder be greater and higher?
We become “unconvinced” or “uninspired” too easily!
What’s with that attitude we often bear?

So… how should we respond with these three stanzas?

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the earth rejoice
(Psalm 150 had something to say about that.)
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord.
Let the people rejoice
(Psalm 40 speaks of that new song He put inside every one of us…)

Oh come to the Father thru Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.

There is your invitation. How will you respond?

Sacred Spaces 528 – Name above all names

series graphic - names of god 720_0.jpg

Everything has a name.
Everything is named.

My name is Darrel.
Today is named Wednesday.
This post is known as a blog.

We name all items: coffee cup, table, bicycle, laptop and mobile phone.

We name illness too: bronchitis, pneumonia and depression…
We name our sins too: pornography, gossip and murder…

Philippians 2 reminds us:

“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

Matt Redman sings about it like this:

“Let all the other names fade away.
Until there’s only You.
Let all the other names fade away.
Jesus, take Your place.”

Isn’t that powerful? Isn’t that beautiful?

All names, are under the name of Jesus.
(It just got me thinking… about the name we utter so carelessly, sometimes)

Not realizing:

In Jesus’ name…

Sacred Spaces 526 – The thesis of “like an epic”

200_s

This tab has been open for the longest time.
I have wondered how to pen down this installment of sacred spaces.
I have slowed down on writing these scared spaces as you have no doubt observed.
(I wanted to write when I felt I had something to say.)

Sometimes (often) I ask myself why I believe what I believe…
I step outside of myself (in a sense) and look at my belief in God.
Being a Christian.

I’m riddled with so many questions so often.
I’m accompanied with obscure doubt and confusion.

Sometimes faith in God seems almost primitive!
It seems quite bizarre.
The commands of scripture seem so threatening and uninviting.
The ways of the church are far behind.

I don’t know how to put exactly how I feel in words.
I have expressed already how it all seems like a market place. Jesus the product. Church the market place. The pastor, the tactful salesman…

Then we have heard about the many contradictions and the confusion found in the scriptures.
What if this was all made up?

These are the thoughts that I am sure a lot of people have had already…

But in all it’s obscurity the bible is to brilliantly put together to have been made up by an individual or a group of individuals.
Then it comes to countless lives that have been changed for the better from the message of the bible. The God behind those words.

Millions of folk who gather on Sundays and other days… who are convinced that God is who He says He is.

Then I think of all the epic tales that we have come to like.
Frodo on his journey in the Lord of the Rings.
The four kids in Narnia.
Harry Potter and his friends.

These epics inspire us. We want to know what happens. We always believe good will triumph over evil. Light breaks through the darkness.

And just like an epic – requires some faith. So does following God.
We demands to “see then we will believe”…

but the invitation is actually: believe then you will see.

I once heard this analogy. Believe in God is liking tuning into a Song that only some want to listen to.
We can continue to live in a mere three dimensional (3D) world or we can open our minds and hearts to many more dimensions. We can tune into a Song… that is actually so sweet, we don’t want it to end…

So these are my thoughts today… on Independence Day…

Sacred Spaces 509 – The gospel of change and leadership

Over the weekend I had the honour of being the host at a local Global Leadership Summit (GLS)

– I am often weary about mega church events, where Jesus seems like a product, however…
– I am concerned about this idea that western world (even Western Christianity) thinks it has the only solution to the problems in developing countries, however…

I did think this. Being a conference aimed at empowering business and church leaders…. truth is:

“Good leadership brings about great change.”

So maybe there is a lot of potential in “marrying leadership and Christianity together.”

Because at the core of the Christian faith, the ways of Jesus… are radically, are life change… are impactful! Scripture has some verses that speak of leadership:

Psalm 78:72
“So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands.”

Philippians 2:3
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

I then thought about this.
It’s great to see the incredible things of change happening in the States, or in India, or somewhere else in Africa. But what about where I am?

That may be something you wonder…
Change is not a distant thing. it’s not only something happening elsewhere.
It can be happening here. On yours and my doorstep.

We each have an area of influence.

– It could be your office space.
– It could be your family.
– It could be your classroom.
– It could be your business (staff, customers and suppliers).
– It could be your friendship circle.
– It could be across your street. I saw this title of a sermon earlier today: “How do you imagine love crossing your street in your context and locality?”

That’s where the change can occur. Right there. Right where you are.

And then no matter the size of the change:

80f965075f02a87e95f19dfa7e151efe

As the adage goes: “Be the change you want to see.”

One last thought – The SECOND HALF OF YOUR LIFE:

One of the speakers from the conference mentioned something about “the second half of your life.”

I liked that phrase. It doesn’t have to be bound by time / years.
If you feel like your life has been a mess or you are desperate for change or a sort of revival in your life – make it happen. The second half of your life is waiting.

When it comes to a relationship with God. Perhaps the ‘first half’, you didn’t want God. Second half… delve into His mystery.

When it comes to a life of mistakes or shame. That’s the (was) ‘first half’… it can stop! ENTER the second half of your life: leave that behind, turn over a new leaf.

When it comes to an addiction. That too or could be stopped. A new life awaits…

Make it happen! And having God, makes that far more easier. (Because we really aren’t self made…)

Sacred Spaces 488 – Faith

images

Catherine said to me recently that Christianity / relationship with God is not an intellectual thing or an emotional thing.  It’s a FAITH thing.

That conversation has not left me over the last few days.
Sometimes following God goes past our intellect and emotions.
Both those are not a good enough foundation.

Because sometimes we may not “feel it”
Or maybe we just “don’t get it”

And that’s okay… because we move from those and start with FAITH.

God says it well in Isaiah 55: “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Yes, sometimes in following God – we need our ‘heart in it’ (our emotions) – we can’t just be “dry and unexcited” about what God is doing and who He is.

And yes, we need to use our intelligence in discerning and learning in our journey with God.

But emotions have an end.
Intellect too, has an end.

But faith… it cannot be put in a box.

Sacred Spaces 485 – Pieces and Pictures

Before we begin… check this rad POST from one of the members of Switchfoot.  I love that band.  So much depth.  You see it in their lyrics.  Check out the blog Tim wrote called: Meet me here at the edge of earth

As if I were a well know photographer, i’d share these pics with some written prose. Hoping to inspire.  In fact, this would be as if you were “peering into my portfolio”

YOU MAKE BEAUTIFUL THINGS:

20160405_074214

“You make beautiful things, out of us” Gungor

I discovered recently that the Cosmos flowers are alien plants in South Africa.  They orginated from Mexico.

“It is also widespread over the high eastern plains of South Africa, where it was introduced via contaminated horse-feed imported from Argentina during the Anglo-Boer War.” [darn boers, darn horses! hehe ;)]

(Journal Entry) – i cycle past an array of these flowers daily.  They come out this time of the year as summer draws to an end and we welcome Autumn.  These flowers are really pretty.  But they are “aliens” to our land.  But is there is something we learn from that?  Even from the ugliness of the world – beauty can be taken or found.  These flowers don’t belong here.  But we’ll take the beauty.  I then thought of the pollution of Secunda (and Jo-burg). Have you seen the sunsets displayed in those two places?  Breathtaking!  God, can take the “mess” and make beautiful things.  Daily, He paints a beautiful picture at dusk.  My wife and I furthered the discussion last week – ‘even a murderer can give up his seat for an elderly person catching the same bus’. food for thought…

OH THE COLOURS:

12967390_10153290280181292_2047425590364213888_o

When seeing this picture I thought of this EP – FALL by Jon Foreman. (Fall, being Autumn)

I’m sure one could delve into those few songs and find great lyrics.  If the cover is anything to go by:

220px-FallEP

Fall, fills us with anticipation.

(Journal Entry) – I am thankful for my ability to see beauty in the smallest of things.  To live with gratitude.  to live with eyes wide open.  To see and notice things around me. ‘I want to live deep and suck all the marrow of life’ Henry David Thoreau.  I use the word “ability” because I believe it is.  we can note that some people around us – live in this constant doom and gloom.  ‘where all the colours add to grey’  one of the awesome things about autumn is the fallen leaves.  have you ever seen a car drive by and all the leaves jump up as if showing a “Mexican wave” to the driver.  when last have you and I picked up leaves and just thrown them in the air?  or when I cycle, I get to ride through those leaves.

12909571_10153272170426292_4886542149269933250_o

“My soul is alive and so are you.” P.O.D

(Journal Entry) I captured this picture in Ladysmith.  My friend and I went for a drive.  He and I were also looking for geocaches and whilst out in the remote surrounding areas, he showed me the farm he grew up on.  And I looked around, i felt so alive within my being. South Africa (for how heartsore it makes many of us) – she does display an incredible beauty.  in the middle of the blue sky of this pic is a scratched white patch.  I dig that.  How instagram makes us “better photographers” (yeah right!)  – thank you God for these beautiful moments.   I realised I didn’t add any scripture references to any of these entries.  Is that okay?  I believe it is.  God speaks… even beyond the bible…

I needed a place to share this GOOD BLOG about the BOMBING IN PAKISTAN – maybe you would like to read it?