Friday, July 27, 2012

Holy of Holies

I am so glad that I didn’t have to live my life as an Israelite in Old Testament times.  I’m glad I didn’t have to eat manna, wander in the desert for 40 years, tear down my home each morning and rebuild it each night, or sacrifice animals.  I just don’t think I would be cut out for life as an Israelite woman!

But there is one thing that I would have liked to see – IF I had actually been an Israelite…and that is the Ark of the Covenant.  Oh sure, we’ve all seen Raiders of the Lost Ark with Indiana Jones but is that really what the Ark looked like?  Doubtful – as a matter of fact, I’m convinced that it was ten times cooler!

I was never really fascinated with the Ark of the Covenant until I was in college.  Before that, I just thought it was a nice, shiny box that the priests had to carry around for 40 years on their shoulders.  When I actually realized what it was, I was blown away!

This “box” was the representation of the Lord’s presence to the Israelite tribes.  This “box” contained the Book of the Law.  This “box” was the mercy seat upon which God would descend to the Israelites.  This “box” was not even allowed to be TOUCHED by the people because of its holiness!  It was kept in the innermost place of the tabernacle and was off limits to everyone except the high priest…and he only went in once a year.  This innermost place was the Holy of Holies.  The most holy place in the entire Israelite camp because it was where God’s presence descended upon Israel.

Fast forward a few thousand years and remember the night of Jesus’ crucifixion.  When Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  The curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (aka:  Holy of Holies) was torn in two from top to bottom.  There was no longer any separation between us and God – Jesus had eliminated that with His ultimate sacrifice.  Before Jesus’ death, the people brought their sacrifices and offerings to the priests to be presented to God.  After Jesus’ death, we are able to go directly to our God through prayer – and He actually hears us!  We don’t have to make sacrifices because Jesus was THE sacrifice – and that requirement was fulfilled in Him.

Imagine being an Israelite and longing to enter into God’s presence but being banned from the Holy of Holies.  Thankfully, I can’t imagine that because I have always been able to go directly to my God.  With the separation gone, why wouldn’t we take advantage of this awesome opportunity to commune with our Lord?  I love the song called “Take Me In” by Kutless (?).  I was reminded of the significance of this song tonight as I spoke with a dear Christian friend.  The words ring so true in my heart and I am convicted of restraining myself from entering the most holy of places to be in the presence of my Lord.  I need to HUNGER and THIRST for His righteousness – and there’s only one place to find it!  There is nothing stopping us, so why don’t we just go right in to the Holy of Holies?


Follow this link to hear the song:
Take me past the outer courts
Into the Holy Place
Past the brazen altar
Lord I want to see your face
Pass me by the crowds of people
And the Priests who sing your praise
I hunger and thirst for your righteousness
But it's only found in one place

Take me into the holy of holies
Take me in by the blood of the lamb
Take me into the holy of holies
Take the coal, touch my lips, here I am

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Love in Any Language

I’ve been on a Sandi Patty kick lately – feel free to roll your eyes!  I remember listening to her when I was younger.  My sister and I would pop in her music while doing housework and try to hit the high notes.  Needless to say, I never got there…  There’s one song she sang that has stuck with me, almost word for word, for all these years - “Love in Any Language”.  This song is so incredibly powerful and so terribly convicting…

I listened to this song again today and really evaluated the way I love people.  What does it really mean to love…not just to show love, but to speak love.  Showing love is easy – smile at a stranger, open the door for someone, send flowers, give a hug.  But to speak love – what does that look like?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that and I think that to speak love means that you have to be willing to actually SPEAK!  Sounds obvious, but think about it.  How many times do we give the polite smile to a stranger or kindly wave to someone as we pass by?  I know I’m guilty.  What if I actually went up to the person and spoke?  It doesn’t have to be some deep Christian conversation.  Just something simple like, “So, how are you today?” 

I went to a Southern Gospel concert on Sunday night.  The main singer said something very powerful – “You might be the only Christian influence a person sees today, so don’t waste it.”  Wow!  So, when I’m pushing my cart through the grocery store and really just want to get out of there – maybe I can smile and tell someone to go ahead of me in line.  Maybe when I’m beyond tired and just want to sit and watch TV – I can stop and talk to my husband instead.  Such simple things that are so hard to do!

But my thinking didn’t stop there.  The whole idea of the song is to love people who are different from me.  Love can break down any wall, any barrier.  I believe that we as Christians have failed in this area.  We’ve let racial barriers, language barriers, social class barriers, educational barriers, religious barriers stop us from loving people – and we’ve taken the easy way out by just branding some people as “unlovable”.  Think about it.  How many times have we politely smiled at someone and then rolled our eyes as we walked away thinking, “Poor schmuck!  He’s a mess.  I can’t believe someone could
                                                        live like that!”  We are ALL guilty of it, myself included.

In Sandi Patty’s song, she sings:

          Love in any language
          Straight from the heart
          Pulls us all together
          Never apart
          And once we learn to speak it
          All the world will hear
          Love in any language
          Fluently spoken here

Our love for Christ should overflow into love for others – all others!  It should pull us together, not apart!  Love should be spoken fluently everywhere in this world – but instead we see judgment and condemnation.  As Christians, we should be in the business of showing people how much we have in common and how precious that is…easier said than done!

          We teach the young our differences
          Yet look how we're the same
          We love to laugh, to dream our dreams
          We know the sting of pain

          Oh maybe when we realize
          Just how much there is to share
          We'll find too much in common
          To pretend it isn't there

          Though the rhetoric of government
          May keep us worlds apart
          There's no misinterpreting
          The language of the heart
Just like the last part of the song says – there is no misinterpreting the language of the heart.  Let me challenge you today to look at your own heart.  Ask yourself what language your heart is speaking.  When I looked at my heart today, I realized that I don’t always do the greatest job of loving.  I’m often not very good at loving the unlovable.  So today, I challenge each of us to speak love – especially to the “unlovable”!  Why??? Because there are many days when I am the unlovable and Christ loves me anyway.  So, love the unlovable and when people watch us in our Christian life, they can say, “Yes, love is fluently spoken here” – to the glory and praise of God! 

I’m still new to blogging and don’t know how to attach links to songs.  Look up the song at this website.  It is unbelievably awesome!!!  Enjoy!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Don't Belong Here

Have you ever just wanted to be done with this life and in the arms of Jesus?  Have you ever wondered how to live in a world with such pain and hurt?  Think about the violence, the hate, the abuse, the sadness.  It can make even the happiest person discouraged!  I often struggle with the wrongs of this world and wonder when it will end.

The other day I read a blog post from a good friend.  Jenny lives in Georgia and is a sweet and wonderful woman of God.  Her post was so good that I got permission from her to snag a piece and use it here.  I can’t say this any better myself than how she has already said it.  Jenny encouraged me to look forward to the day when God will make everything new.   

She quoted Revelation 21:1-5.  Here it is:
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Did you hear that?  One day, God will make everything new!  Everything!  All of the violence, hate, abuse, sadness will be GONE!  So, when you find yourself longing for something better, remember this:

(Quoted from Jenny’s blog at  Check it out!  Great blog!)

If you also find yourself weeping at the weight of sin & the suffering it has brought into this world. Take heart, He has overcome the world. The fact that YOU can actually FEEL that something is WRONG with the world, means that YOU were created for something MORE! It means that YOU can see into ETERNITY. It is your assurance that you KNOW something better is coming. You KNOW that you were created for REDEMPTION. You are blessed because of your awareness that this world bears a curse that is being redeemed through the perfection of Christ. That this world was created for the GLORY of God. And IT IS COMING!

Yes, it is coming!  So, let’s be ready!  God will fulfill his promise and one day we will hear Him say:

"It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

You may not belong here either.  If so, be encouraged - we are only passing our REAL home!
Come, Lord Jesus, Come!  

***Check out Jenny's blog!