Friday, January 31, 2020

The Whip

I remember being a little girl hanging out with my sisters in our bedroom. It was bedtime and my father had instructed us to go to sleep. Instead we were giggling making noise, just being silly kids.

My father warned us several times to go to bed. We could have obeyed his authority but children as we were, we continued to laugh, giggle and make a ruckus out of bedtime.

I come often to this memory because it showed me my dad's authority but also his mercy. My dad came into our bedroom clicked on the light and commanded that my two sisters and I get out of bed. He lined us up military style with the belt in his hand. We knew we were in trouble!

My dad had never used the belt on us. Just one look was enough of a warning for me. But that night we challenged his authority. 

It seemed like forever as we stood at attention waiting for the discipline to come. Suddenly, my dad with belt in his hand burst out laughing. I'm sure that was odd for us. After all laughter that was the very reason we were in trouble!

Actually, it wasn't the laughter at all! We chose to challenge of his authority!

Well my dad in his gentleness commanded us to go to bed and this time we obeyed.

In the book of John, we see Jesus in the temple courts addressing an issue that had developed in the place of worship. The temple built with specific instructions from God himself. It was a place to meet with God. A place of consecration. A place of prayer and worship.

Jesus arrives at the scene. The part that stands out to me always is verse 15. “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money and overthrew the tables.” (John 2:15 KJV)

How long was Jesus watching the scene? How long did it take him to make the whip? Was he walking among the people and not recognized?
“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” (John 1:10)

Jesus exhibits his patience. How often has he watched us in our own demise, perhaps trying to get our attention but we have ignored or not recognized his authority? A heart of rebellion always challenges authority. Whether we are a little girl in a room not listening to her daddy or redeemed child of Almighty God still messing with sin; He wants us to obey.

Did Jesus sit in a corner and watch his House of Prayer turn into a marketplace? As he put the whip together was, he praying for them?

How many times have we been in sin and we hear the Father enter in and turn on the light during our times of darkness? Have we recognized his authority? Is it not his mercy that leads us to repentance? “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

John says that the whip was used to disperse the animals. Tables were overturned and the coins were scattered all over the temple floor. Not once do we see the Lord harming any animal or for that matter any person involved in this shamble.

“The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” (v18)

Why would the Jews ask him that question? They didn’t recognize the Authority in the room! Yet, I am certain their hearts were challenged that day. Darkness does not like to be exposed.

A repented submitted heart allows God’s mercy to flow.

That night as a little girl I'm sure I went to sleep thankful I didn't get whacked with a belt.

Today as a child of God I am thankful for his mercy and his grace. I know the Lord has watched we make mistakes. Perhaps at times outright rebelled. But the Lord is gentle. He is the authority over me helping to shape this stubborn heart. Causing me to bend toward righteousness as he leads me by his Spirit.

So, let’s enter the place of worship and give to Jesus our attention, devotion and worship. He promises to meet with us.

He has called! “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

Let’s pay attention. He is speaking and even walking among us.

The whip never touched the sinners and those making a mockery of the temple that day.  Yet, the Innocent One was beaten and whipped and the hands of rebellious men with a whip made by their hands.  

"Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him." (John 19:1)

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Reveal

I love watching Undercover Boss.  It's a program where the owner of a business or the a CEO of a corporation dinguses him/herself and interacts with its employees.

When I read chapter one of the Book of John today this program came to mind.

The employees of these businesses don't know that they are being observed and are interacting with their ultimate "boss."

When then Undercover Boss program comes to an end, the boss reveals him/herself.

The Apostle John records the unveiling of Jesus. Jesus is not disguising himself. He is not trying to find deficiencies in the world. He knows they already exist. He interacts with those made in his image and they do not recognize him.  They continue walking with scales in their eyes unable to see the Creator of the world among them.

"He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." (John 1:10-11)

Jesus came just as it was foretold.  The enemy of our soul works really hard to make sure we stay blind.  Groping around this fallen world, trying to "save" or make a name for ourselves. We are broken and at times disgruntled.  Our anger and disillusionment comes from a broken relationship with our Creator.  We were designed for fellowship with God.

Born in sin we don't know true Joy & Peace. The Holy Spirit draws us to himself but often we don't recognize his wooing. God loves us!  God loves us!  He is not trying to play hide and seek.  He is not masking himself so that we don't recognize him. On the contrary, he clothed himself in flesh, in human-likeness and came to be with us on earth. He came with a purpose to ransom us back to God.

John writes "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God." (John 1:12-13)

Now that is great news!

The Undercover Boss concludes with their reveal.  Those who were disgruntled are encouraged and at times sent for proper training. Most are commended for their efforts and are even rewarded with gifts that promote continued growth and a fine-tuning of their skills and craft. Usually I am in tears by the time the episode is finished.

When our hearts realize our own mess, Jesus doesn't refuse our surrender to him.  On the contrary, he calls us sons and daughters.  Children born of God.

Just imagine the Lord taking us by the hand and bringing us close to himself.  He wipes away tears of brokeness and rebellion.  He washes us away filth that has tried to define us.  The scales that are off our eyes are tossed away.  He begins to teach us and renew our minds.  He comes developing gifts that have been in us.  There is this sweet tenderness in his words toward us.  He loves us! He knows we messed up.  He knows our distance from him lured us into all kinds of idolatry. But now he has revealed himself to us!  The past is behind and a new road has been set for us.  Let the tears flow.  He has done a new thing in us.  We are new and the old things have passed away!

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."  (John 1:14)

The true light that gives light to everyone has come into the world. (v9)

God bless you!~Liz

Thursday, January 2, 2020

I'm No Puppet

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues 
as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:4)

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)


Driving down my neighborhood these last couple of weeks has been an interesting adventure. A lot of homes are beautifully decorated with lights shimmering in the darkness. What a beautiful picture of the light of Christ that lives in us.

Subsequently, I’ve also seen homes that look like front yard graveyards. It seems that the owners of the homes periodically unplug the power of these plastic animations in their front yards leaving remnants of what was. I must admit this is not a great curb appeal!

These plastic animations are at the mercy of oncoming storms and winds. When it is perceived that the weather is changing the owners unplug their puppets because they are unable to withstand the storm.

Everyday circumstances and things I experience have a way of filtering into the reality of my life. It propels me to examine the condition of my heart.

When the storms of life come, am I still shining bright anchored to a foundation that won't move? Is the light of Christ shining, even at times becoming brighter in the midst of turbulent winds?

The Holy Spirit has come to live within me. I’ve been redeemed, purchased and made a representative of Jesus Christ. More tenderly God calls me his daughter. He has warned me that in this life there will be trouble. But he has also promised to help me remain.

When life's troubles arrive and the winds of life take a turn, I am commanded to remain in Christ, connected an anchored to him. It is his power within me that keeps me standing and shining bright.

I am the fragrance of Christ. The joy of the Lord is within me. The righteousness of Christ has made me right with the Father.

Are we shimmering lights in the midst of darkness or deflated, defeated puppets laying down with no life that would represent Christ and all his glory?

Let the on lookers, look. This house will stand! You will not find a menagerie of deflated puppets to represent me. I bear the light of Christ within me for the whole world to see. A vessel weak at times but held together by his Spirit.

Fill me up Lord! Breath on us again. Let the light of your glory sustain us and keep us. In our brokenness, mend us back together. Keep us humble and pride far from us. Go before us and help us to follow obediently that we may experience the fullness of your glory. Holy Spirit fill us and empower us. Baptize us with your spirit.

PS:  Nothing again these puppets :)  They look cute when they are FILLED!