My friend, Avannah, gave me a beautiful shirt last week. She felt the blouse was more suited to my style than hers. I absolutely love clothing, so I was thrilled. Saturday afternoon, I wore it for prom pictures. It is a wrap-style silk shirt with a sash that circles the waist and ties in front. When I first put it on, I was confused by how the sash should go and in pictures, the shirt looks ill-fitting on me. I changed into another shirt before heading downtown for more photos. This morning, I put the shirt back on determined to figure out the fit issue. It is a beautiful shirt so it is worth the effort. I realized that I needed to thread the sash through certain slits in the shirt to achieve the proper fit. I had corrected the problem by looking at the design closer. I wore it to church with a camisole underneath since the wrap left more uncovered than I wanted exposed. At lunch, I realized that the shirt had a small clasp that actually connected the two portions of the garment making the shell underneath totally unnecessary. I had overlooked important information. I had simply put the shirt on twice without taking time to adequately look at the shirt. I assumed that I knew all I needed to know, but I was wrong. I needed to slow down and put the pieces together using the design the maker planned.
God has designed our lives for a specific purpose, and we need to slow down to understand each part. We need to make sure that we are putting all the pieces together correctly. Earlier in the week, I planned to blog about Francis Chan's Crazy Love. I have been reading this incredible book slowly after a student asked me to read it with him. The section that I planned to write about deals with who God truly is. God is holy, eternal, and all-knowing. He is perfect love, and He knows the true you. On Sunday mornings, many people dress up and put their best face forward as they shake hands with the members of the congregation around them. God knows though. He is the all-knowing, all-powerful savior who knows the TRUE us and died for us anyway. Wow. Chan further explains that the true being of God is so massive that our understanding of him can be compared to trying to fit the ocean into a soda can. He is vast. We cannot even fathom His true greatness with our limited minds. The creator of the universe knows us, knows what we think about in our weakest moments and He still died for us. Yet, even though we cannot truly grasp how amazing He is, we question Him. Chan asserts that arrogance makes us question God. People ask if there truly is a God, then why is there hunger in the world? Chan answers this. The answer hit home. God has more of a right to ask us why people are starving in the world. What have we done to feed them, to clothe them, to house them, to reach them?
As a teacher, I know that the basic needs of a child must be met before they can learn. It's one of the first teaching principles in education programs. You must make the child feel safe. Ensure they are warm; they are nourished. If they are worried about survival, you cannot really expect them to focus on US History or quadratic equations or whatever. Yet, I have totally overlooked this from a spiritual standpoint. I didn't blog about this although I had planned to do so. God knew I didn't have all the pieces yet.
Our sermon this morning was about Life in Christ Jesus. There are three types of life - judicial, spiritual, and eternal. Judicial life is the pardon we have received from God. Jesus died on the cross for my sin, for your sin, for the sin of the world. Yet, we question Him. We make excuses for the sin in our lives. God never excuses sin. He hates it. Remember that on the cross He endured great pain and suffering for us because of our sin, and we want to bargain with him to continue sinning. We bargain with God. The Almighty, Creator of universes sent His only begotten son to die so we could be pardoned and we want to strike a deal to keep on sinning. I am not suggesting that we can ever not sin. We have a sinful nature by birth, but we need to start TRYING to not sin. We should respect the judicial life God has granted us. The second life is our spiritual life. God has sent us witnesses to tell us of His grace. If we reject this grace, we will have to answer for this at the judgement seat. Do you want to face God and say yes, I heard the truth but I rejected it? John the Baptist bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God. The works of God bear witness that He is real, that God is truth. The Father himself speaks to us. Why do people not answer? John 5:40 says "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." The third type of life we have in God is eternal life. Thank you, God! We do not have to face the wages of our sin, but can have eternal life instead. I started to blog about this sermon earlier today, but God wasn't through showing me pieces yet.
Choir practice for the Easter Contata continued today. One of the songs touches me deeply every week. In Before the Throne of God Above, the words "the King of Glory and of Grace. One with Himself, I cannot die" resonate with me and give me peace. Taylor can enlist. He can go fight. He is saved and under God's protection. He has eternal life. Every week, as we practice this song, God reminds me of the importance of salvation. I didn't know the song gave me a piece of a larger conversation until today though.
The final piece was delivered via the serman tonight. The preacher struggled to deliver his message. After the service, a couple of teachers joked that he needed ritalin since he seemed to be all over the place tonight. He said he had a message all planned out about how people perceive some great mystery surrounding Jesus when it is really simple. Jesus died for our sins. You must ask for forgiveness and receive salvation to receive eternal life. That simple. No big mystery surrounding it. Click. The lost aren't coming to Him because they haven't been told that one simple message yet in very easy terms. Jesus Christ died for your sins and mine. He did so willingly. He wants to pardon your sins and give you eternal life. There is no mystery. Ask God to forgive your sins. No bargaining. You have sinned and can never deserve eternal life. God will give it to you though. What are you waiting on? You have all the pieces in front of you.
I am amazed that God offers me small parts of a larger picture all throughout the week. I need to slow down to make sure I don't miss the big picture. It's too important.