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Many Waters - SoS header

Remember the old cereal boxes where there would be a secret message hidden on the outside of the box, and “magic” glasses enclosed so you could “decode” the secret.

lucky_charms_magic_glasses_-_Google_Search[Spoiler alert – I am about to give away the trick] They would print the message in red, and obscure it with blue ink, and give you red glasses to don in order to receive your “private” message.

The simple trick employed here is that when you put on the “magic” glasses, which were simply blue cellophane, your eyes could no longer see the blue ink, and so the red secret was revealed.

Today we hear the Shepherd King say to His Shulamite Bride:

You are altogether beautiful, my darling,
And there is no blemish in you.

Song of Songs 4:7

Knowing that this is Jesus speaking to me, I wonder if He is wearing those red cellophane glasses. How can He look at me and not see the mess I have made of so many situations.

Doesn’t He see the people I have hurt with my sarcastic “whit” and sharp tongue?
Doesn’t He see the promises I have not kept?
Doesn’t He see the lies I have told, and the truth I have withheld?
Doesn’t He see the lust that lies beneath the surface?
My laziness?
My apathy?
My selfishness?

How can He possibly say I am altogether beautiful and there is no blemish in me?

Does Jesus really not see any of this?

Let me lay out one of those massive scripture tensions for you, and I think it will help here. This is actually one of those points where if you take one line of theology and run with it in either direction you will end up in error, so let’s see if we can get right in the middle of it, and push out toward the edges.

On one hand we have this truth:

He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we [us] might become the righteousness of God in Him [Jesus.] - 2 Corinthians 5:21 [bracketed text, mine]

God actually did make Himself a pair of sin colored glasses. Jesus had two “mount of transfiguration” days in His life on earth. Once with the boys when He met with Moses and Elijah to chat about the other, the day He was transformed into sin, so that the Father could look upon you and I and see Jesus.

So then, it is clearly true that when God looks at us He can no longer see our sin, right? How is it then that the Holy Spirit can so precisely convict me of the areas in my life where I am still entangled? If God forgot my sin, how does He lead me to further freedom by that wonderful path of conviction and repentance?

God knows us altogether, inside and out, and is aware of every fault, every sin, every shadow of turning that remains in us. His wonderful destination for us is, in fact, Christlikeness!

When the scripture tells us God will not remember our sin:

"They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." - Jeremiah 31:34

it is not saying He cannot remember, or He forgets, it is saying He chooses not to call to memory, or better, He does not remember it against us, or use it as an accusation.

When our accuser stands before God and says:

“Your honor, the defendant lied, and Your word says all liars must go to hell.”

Then your memory kicks in and says:

“Yes Lord, it’s true, I’m guilty as charged. I do in deed deserve to go to hell. I am not worthy to stand before you here today.”

God does not say “No he never told a lie, your both confused” Rather, the judge, that High King of Heaven, looks at His book, see the offence, and can clearly see that it has been blotted out, and obscured by the words “paid in full.”

Well – that is the way it plays out in my mind anyway.

Let me be clear here. I don’t believe we can hide behind a cardboard cut out of Jesus, and just continue to sin, counting on God’s forgetfulness to get us into heaven.

God is working in us to perfect us. The conviction of the Holy Spirit works to create a spotless bride for Jesus. He brings to mind the things that are broken in us, like my list above, and walks us through repentance so we can be free, and grow into the beauty that only He can see in us today.

Will you pursue the beauty that God can already see in you? [Tweet This] Will you run hard after Him with me today, and allow Him to create the spotless bride He sees?

Lord, I thank You that You do not hold my sin against me, and that You have a plan that culminates in Christ’s image in me. Lord, help me to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as You create in me a clean heart.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

Come back again soon.

Ben

Note: For a look at how conviction and repentance leads to true freedom check out this article:  Repentance – the path to Comfort

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“I Shall Be Whole” { The Woman with an Issue of Blood } Painted by Al Young http://alyoung.com/art/work-hem.html
“I Shall Be Whole”
{ The Woman with an Issue of Blood }
Painted by Al Young http://alyoung.com/art/work-hem.html

Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" - Mark 5:30

Yesterday we looked at how the woman with the hemorrhage was able by faith to tap the power of God that was resident in Jesus. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

I think what Jesus did is super informative for us.

Jesus saw what the Father was doing and joined. There are times – maybe most of the time – that Jesus was way ahead of the crowd, but somehow, this time, Jesus was not aware ahead of time what the Father was going to do.

Does this seem like blasphemy to you? I promise I am not going for blasphemy. I believe Jesus is God, that He is the 2nd person of the Trinity. I believe He created all things, and that He is eternal.

Here is an important point of theology though. When Jesus walked the earth, He did not stop being God, but He limited His use of the supernatural to only what was possible for a human who was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Rather than Jesus being a magic man, doing miracles by His own creative and redemptive power as God, He did miracles by the Spirit using the power of God. He saw what the Father was doing, and joined Him. Jesus partnered with the Father to do every miracle He did as He walked the streets of Galilee.

And in the story we are pondering currently of the woman with the hemorrhage, the power had already flowed from Jesus into the woman when Jesus picked up on what the Father was doing.

He immediately saw what was happening, and joined it. He confirmed what He was with the Father in four ways

  1. He told her to have courage – “Daughter, take courage” (Matthew 9:22)
  2. He told her what happened – “your faith has made you well” (Luke 8:48)
  3. He spoke peace into her life – “go in peace” (Luke 8:48)
  4. He sent her away with the expectation that not only the bleeding, but the horror that had been her life for twelve years was now over. “be healed of your affliction.” (Mark 5:34)

Lord, I want to be so full of the Holy Spirit that others can tap into it. Let it be a river flowing out of my inner most being into a dry and thirsty land. Lord, I want to be attentive to what you are doing with that river, where it is flowing, so I can speak into the lives you are changing around me with Your words of life.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

Many Waters - SoS header

Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away,
Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle
Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether. ~ Songs of Songs 2:17

So here we are – the moment of truth.

Remember back to verse 8 the Shepherd King came to our maiden fair climbing through the mountains and leaping across the hills. He invited her to come out. He described the glory of the newly sprung spring, fragrances, sounds and colors, beauty on every side. He promised to keep her safe, to hide her from the danger, and expose her only to the wonder and glory.

Sadly her answer is "I am not quite ready."

She tell Him, her gazelle, her young stag, to turn, leave her there and head out to the mountains. You can come back home this evening and I will have dinner ready.

God’s design for our lives is to move from glory to glory. He has a path we can walk that will take us to new levels of intimacy, to grow in our relationship, in our reliance on Him. He does not however drag us kicking and screaming. There are always choices we can make.

He is calling her to drop her concerns about foxes and flocks and follow Him, to join Him in what He is doing. Come and climb the mountains, leaps among the hills with me.

Nevertheless she sends Him on ahead. “No, you go, I am not ready, I don’t have enough practice, I am not prepared, my garden is a mess, frankly, I am afraid.”

The excuses all boil down to that last bit, “I am afraid.”

What kind of excuses do you make when you are simply afraid to step out into something completely new and foreign to you?

Have you been in this place?

Let me be completely clear here. We are going to see, by the way Jesus deals with her here that this is not a huge “sin issue” in her life. She is not staying at home because she is lazy, or lusting after other things.

She is desperately in love with Jesus, and wants to step out, she simply can’t stir up enough courage to take the plunge. At this stage in her story, it is not that she is unsure who is calling her. She knows His voice, and she is not confused about what He is calling her to do.

When we come to these places there are a couple things we need to know.

  • Jesus does not react in anger toward her.
  • Jesus is not surprised.
  • Jesus does not love her any less.
  • Jesus does not punish her.
  • Jesus does not move on to someone else.

In fact we are going to see (it may take a couple sessions to get there – but we will) that Jesus is simply going to give her more reasons to trust and answer her fears until she is strong enough to go for it.

If you find yourself frustrated by your inability to say “Yes” to the Lord in some area,  and the opportunity has moved on, don’t despair! All is not lost. Yes, there was a better choice you could have made, but our Father is all about growing us, and growing our relationship with Him.

Is the Lord inviting you to step out into something new?

What are you going to do?

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping in today.

See you again soon.

Ben

My friend Cheryl from Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones just posted a wonderful collection of scripture and thoughts asking and answering the most important question of all:

Who do you say that I am? ~ Jesus

A long time ago, Jesus asked the disciples a question. I don’t think they really understood how important that question was, until, suddenly, like the flash of a bolt of lightning from the sky, one of them was given a revelation. To know the answer to that question still requires revelation to this day. Yes, anyone can repeat the answer, but when you are asked this question, don’t just answer with your head, say aloud what you believe in your heart

Read More

Who do you say He is? | Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones.

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My friend Cheryl from Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones just posted a wonderful collection of scripture and thoughts asking and answering the most important question of all:

Who do you say that I am? ~ Jesus

A long time ago, Jesus asked the disciples a question. I don’t think they really understood how important that question was, until, suddenly, like the flash of a bolt of lightning from the sky, one of them was given a revelation. To know the answer to that question still requires revelation to this day. Yes, anyone can repeat the answer, but when you are asked this question, don’t just answer with your head, say aloud what you believe in your heart

Read More

Who do you say He is? | Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones.

Casey Lewis from Christianity Matters tackled one those huge questions back on Tuesday of this week. This is one of those questions that when left unanswered, leaves people feeling guilty and filled with shame. I love how Casey answered this question, and I thought it would be a nice addition to Friday Q&A here at Another Red Letter Day.

I hope you will interact with Casey, and check out his blog. He is a good writer and has a heart for the Lord that will bless you.

Unforgivable Sin

What is the unforgivable sin? Who can commit it? How do I know if I have committed it? These questions run through our mind when we hear someone tell us there is a sin that will not be forgiven.

What is the unforgivable sin? In order to answer the question let me start with what it is not.

What the Unforgivable Sin is Not

In Matthew 12:31-32 Jesus says,

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

It is not sin in general or speaking against Jesus – Jesus tells us sin or rebellion against God will be forgiven. Even speaking against Jesus will be forgiven.

It is not Suicide – Some claim if you commit suicide, you can’t be forgiven because you can’t ask for forgiveness. But that is a misunderstanding of the gospel. We are not forgiven because we ask for forgiveness every time we sin. No, we are forgiven based on Christ’s work, not ours. We are forgiven because we turn from our sin to God (repentance). We are forgiven because we believe Christ took the punishment we deserve on the cross (substitution).  Read more

What is the Unforgivable Sin? | Christianity Matters.

Do you have questions – or some topic you would like to discus in the this forum? Click the link in the side bar and ask away.

Ben NelsonSee you again soon

Ben

 

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