Prepare yourself with: Sanctuary
Today’s reading: 2 Corinthians 1:1-5:21
Praise: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus
Over the last few weeks I have experienced a light like none other in my life. I was raised in the church; I thought I knew what the Light really was… I was wrong. Over the last few years of searching scriptures, chewing on them and digesting them through writing about them I have had brief glimpses of the true Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Each of those brief glimpses was just that… brief. The first of which I remember vividly, I was fiercely led to write, the urge was insatiable – as it often is after a day or two of going without. I grabbed my notebook and my pen and sat down on the corner of my bed, certainly not my usual seat choice for writing, which is part of what makes this moment stand out in my memory. I wrote a piece that shone such a brilliant light into my heart, I was shocked and amazed. I went back and read what I had written, not quite sure what mystery God had just revealed to me that was so bright. I have to tell you it was the strangest feeling, a feeling of glee and elation at having discovered something new. (I promise to share this piece with you as soon as the Lord allows, however I also have to prepare you for it the way He prepared me to receive it.)
Now I’m drawn to describe the Light to you, as the Light itself is the absolute key to what I’m preparing to tell you, although I did not know that about the Light at the time. As I wrote I could see with my spiritual eyes a Light. It came not from any discernible source in the room or even outside of my closed bedroom, but was within me burning brightly, brighter than any light I have ever seen in my life. A Light so bright that it should hurt your eyes to look into is, as though you were looking straight into the sun, yet it didn’t hurt the eyes at all but rather soothed them in a most pleasant of ways. The Light brought a delightful warmth to my soul and a radiance to my face that I can only imagine. This Light was the True Light, and I was seeing it for the very first time. I was so enthused and excited about the treasure that God had given me! His Light in my soul, His Light shining in the darkness of the world around me through the knowledge of the glory and grace of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Jesus is that Light and it is His face that radiates that marvelous Light.
And then I opened the door to my bedroom. As quickly as I had been given The Light it was mercilessly snatched away from me. I no more than opened the door to my room when words of doubt flooded my ears with their demon claws they snatched at the Light I held in my cupped hands and not realizing what was happening and not yet fully grounded in Grace I agreed with those words of doubt, all based in scriptures of Law. Before I realized what had really happened the Light in my spirit was gone and I imagined it only to have been an illusion to begin with, a false light somehow. Of course, at the time I was more concerned with what I had written and less concerned with the Light, until now that is.
Quite a while later, possibly months I’m not sure, I was laying on the couch in our RV reading a book. While reading that book I came upon a scene where the author was describing an encounter with Jesus where every human present was surrounded by different colored lights, the picture he painted with his words was breathtaking and once again I came upon that blessed Light once more! I can’t even remember what the revelation itself was, only where I was and what I was doing but again the moment I walked out the door of the RV the Light was once again violently snatched away from me and replaced with those words of condemnation and doubt. And whatever revelation I had received from the LORD was stolen away from me once more.
A third time I encountered the Light it was my birthday! I was sitting in our red recliner watching Joseph Prince “Destined to Reign” and he was retelling his own story of learning the lesson of grace. How he had lived a very legalistic life and believed whole-heartedly that his sins were only forgiven after asking for that forgiveness. One night in the barracks he overheard two of his military friends talking about him. One asked the other why Joseph was always covering his mouth and saying things under his breath, and the other replied, “I think he’s praying”. Joseph (and I) believed that in order to have a right relationship with God we had to do all the right things, live as sinlessly as possible and when we did sin we had to immediately ask for forgiveness, hence the covered mouth prayers. Joseph then talked about Jesus and His blood sacrifice being enough for all time to forgive us for our sins once and for all. He talked about how there is NO condemnation in Christ, and that because of Jesus’ sacrifice we no longer have to go around asking for forgiveness day in and day out, because we already have it! I wrapped my arms around that truth that day, I clung to the idea that I am forgiven and no longer need to be in a constant state of worry that I might accidentally sin and bring a barrier between my Beloved Christ and myself. As if my sin would cause Him to need to turn away from me in disgust. Even though I knew that He had promised (and meant it) I will never leave you or forsake you. That afternoon I sat down and wrote Son-glasses, one of my favorite pieces to this day. And that time I got to hold The Light for three days before it was snatched from my grasp again through those evil words of doubt and condemnation… the Law. It always came back down to the Law. The Enemy always used the verse about “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” And then would point out that God wrote the Law with His own finger on tablets of stone.
Funny, the Enemy never once pointed out that Jesus was the fulfillment of that very Law (Matthew 5:17) he was so quick to point me towards. Nor would the Enemy mention that love does not insist on always getting His own way (1 Corinthians 13:5) The Enemy failed to mention how he Himself tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread to eat on His way out of the desert when He was hungry from fasting. Stones into bread eh… as in tablets of stone in to the daily bread of Life… notice Jesus refused to do such a thing and countered the ole Liar with “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 & Deuteronomy 8:3 emphasis mine) Every word; not JUST the Law, not just one book or another, but all of God’s words; including the ones spoken by the Spirit straight to your heart. Like the ones God had just spoken to His Son Jesus forty days before the Adversary came to tempt Him, “This is My Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.“(Matthew 3:17) Those words were not written down anywhere yet, but Jesus clung to them in His time of testing when He pulled out the sword of scripture to counter the Enemy, He undoubtedly had that phrase lingering in His mind “You may say ‘IF I am the Son of God…’ but God has said to Me I AM His Son, and that is enough for Me!”
God’s Word is everywhere, it is in every heart, every mind, and on every tongue and we can hear it when we open our spiritual ears to hear it. We must stay grounded in the Bible, it has been tested through time and it is steadfast. Without the anchor of the Bible we are all too likely to drift away from the Truth and the Light that He brings to our path. However, we can not lean on the Bible alone. When we lean on the Bible and ignore the Spirit of Truth who guides us then we can get stuck in the past because we are clinging to the anchor and not allowing the Spirit (which in Hebrew can also be translated as wind or breath) to fill our sails and guide us to where the LORD God wants us to go. The scriptures are the Word of God, yes! Yes! Yes!!! BUT, they can be used for evil as well as for good! Satan is someone who knows those scriptures better than any of us! When I glimpsed those beautiful balls of pure radiant light through the truth of the Spirit I wanted so desperately to believe them, with all my heart and my soul. Because those truths, the truth of ultimate forgiveness through Jesus’ blood, was so radiant and filled with hope and joy and gladness and PEACE. But I let my brain get in the way. I let my brain be convinced that Jesus’ blood couldn’t possibly have been that powerful, that there was no way that I could have been ultimately forgiven for ALL my sins, just the ones that I had confessed and repented from. I believed the lies of the Enemy; I was deceived just like Eve. I was bamboozled and let Satan pull that fluffy white wool of fake light over my eyes once again.
In today’s reading we find: Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
The ministry that brought death, ahhhh, how well I know that ministry, it brought me much death in my short 32 years of life. And with that ministry there is glory, there is a light, and I knew that light well. But that glory, that light it is TRANSITORY, it is nothing more than a thick black coloring book outline for the ministry of the Spirit to come along and fill in with all His loving color. With EVERY messy color, from brown to gray to purple, fushia and puce! And you know what, I doubt that the Spirit will limit Himself by only coloring within the lines of the Law, but rather color the entire page, no, the entire BOOK with His breath of fresh color-filled air.
Holy Spirit of Jesus, guiding Spirit of Truth and Light and Life, come, Oh Spirit come, fill us with Your fire. Open our eyes to see You, open our ears to hear You, open our minds to understand Your beautiful light more, open our hearts to receive the love of Your grace fully, open our hands to give Your love generously and receive Your love humbly. Jesus we thank You that Your blood IS good enough to last for all time, to be a PERMANENT atonement for our sins and not a temporary fix like so many ministries would like for us to think. (Including my own at one point I’m sad to say.) Jesus thank You for not just dying for us, but LIVING for us every day to be our intercessor in the court room of heaven where the Adversary is constantly accusing us of wrong doing. Thank You for reminding him who is really the boss around here and that it’s not him! Thank You for being our only and best line of defense. Jesus help us to see You for who You really are. Not just God, but the human you became in order to relate to us more fully. Help us to see the person You are. Flesh and bone, eating and drinking with sinners all day every day and LOVING every single moment of it! You are the best friend any of us could ever have and we thank You for being our friend. Jesus I want to know You more, I want to know Your goodness like I’ve never known it before. You told the parable of the prodigal son and his brother, Lord, I was that brother, I was the one who worked for you day and night, I was the one who labored to obey your every command and was so blind to the parties and celebrations I could have had with You if I had just asked. Lord, I’m asking. You told that son that everything that belonged to you was his as well. What is mine and how do I access it? I know that the time of Your favor is now I need only ask, so on behalf of myself, my family and my readers I’m asking for You to pour out Your grace and Your favor on us, like a gentle spring rain. Oh Lord, I love You!!!!! Thank You for Your MARVELOUS light!
Marvelous Light by Charlie Hill
I Choose Jesus by Moriah Peters