Our granddaughter Jude turns two on Friday. This little girl has captured our hearts and given us joy we didn’t even know was missing. Now I can’t imagine life without this funny little chubby bug. It’s funny how so often we don’t even know something was missing until God graces you with it.
We got to keep Jude and Samuel (our adorable grandson, who I will elaborate on his birthday in March) last month. Jude loves to have a blanket over her whole body. Lying down, walking, or sitting — it doesn’t matter –she just loves being covered with the whole blanket. She will go there for quite a long time … underneath, sitting straight up and being very quiet. She doesn’t seem to want you to come in after her. I worry she can’t breathe, so, one day, after a lengthy stay on her part, I proceeded to lift the front of the blanket and our eyes met. She sat there quietly as if in deep thought, sucking her thumb, and then gave me a half smile through her thumb and said, “No Nawny go out.” So I left her to her thoughts well aware she was probably waiting for me to repeat this process, which, of course, I did.
I started studying, Experiencing the Presence of God by A.W. Tozer several years ago. I remember that I bought a specific journal, pen and hi-lighter dedicated to this book. Today, I finished what I had been studying and was digging around in my things and came upon this book and journal. I opened the book and saw I had completed 12 of the 15 chapters. I had ten pages left to complete the journal. I was so surprised to see that I had abandoned this rich book. I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember why or when I had walked away from it — only three chapters short. I knew I needed to finish this study of Hebrews, of all books! I can see now that I stopped before Hebrews 10:26-27 … “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking of judgment and fiery adversaries.” Wow, I suddenly realize why I stopped!
This passage has been confused and misunderstood down through the years. Even though I graduated from seminary, I do not consider myself a theologian by any stretch. I have a husband who does that for me! He is my walking talking concordance and interpreter of all scripture, at the drop of a hat. We could be watching a movie and he is half watching, half sleeping and I am half watching, half writing. I will say to him, “Honey, Oh, (upon seeing his closed eyes I use a quieter voice now) sorry to bother you, but where is the passage that talks about….” He usually opens his eyes and says, “Well it is found here and also here but you are probably talking about this…” I write quickly, nod and reply, “Yes, yes I probably am.” His eyes close and he is back to his business. I throw a hushed, “Thank you” his way. He smiles.
Here is a great paragraph from this chapter, “ The book of Hebrews is a repudiation of all the Old Testament sacrifices, establishing Jesus Christ as the one and only sacrifice. And no matter how many willful sinners there might be, the blood of Jesus Christ still cleanses us from all sin. There is no place to hide but in the blood of the lamb.
People who don’t know Christ want to make all kinds of excuses that God isn’t real or hell isn’t real. They want to believe it isn’t really as the Bible says it is. The number one argument is, say it with me, “How could a loving God send people to Hell.” I immediately get a charge of adrenalin when I hear these things being said to me and start pulling out file cabinet drawers of scripture in my mind. The truth is, they really want us, as believers in Jesus, to help them. They want the truth. Here’s what I’ve finally understood those kinds of hostile questions are really saying … “Help me, please. You seem to have peace, and I don’t understand why and I’m so afraid.” So instead of getting offended or intimidated, stand firm and securely raise the front of the blanket and go in with them. They might say, “No, go out” but after you go they are probably hoping you come back and are usually disappointed if you don’t. There isn’t a place for anyone to hide from the blood of the lamb. There isn’t anything big enough to give up for a religious season, or work that you can do to pay the price needed to satisfy God. But great news! It has already been paid.
For a time when we were living in DFW, people would buy coffee for the person in front or behind them at Starbucks, without telling them they did so. It was a nice gesture of brotherly kindness acknowledging our joint venture in our humanity on our shared green earth. That really was a very thoughtful and kind act of giving — helping make the whole world sing, to co-exist, to recycle and to spread peace. I never got in on it but it really is nice. I love people to be kind and encouraging and helpful to one another. It makes me smile. And I want to encourage you to buy me a cup of coffee anytime you want to.
The greater gift is telling people about the one who offers real peace — the only peace that lasts, a bottomless cup of life. Help them to see they need to stop offering up sacrifices to appease a god they are afraid of. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving some things up that you feel are hindering you in your life. Commit to more exercise, eating healthy, no sugar, no TV for a month, or just to be nicer. I’m certain I should do all those things and I am even attempting some. But we can’t do these things to hold up to God in order to please Him. It is never enough. People continue to try and fail. They try to change the rules and fundamentally change a nation, even to the point that everyone is confused and no one knows who to believe. Who is actually telling the truth? How do we know what the truth is? The first clue to know is this, not one person campaigning for office neither tells the truth or knows the truth (with very few exceptions).
In our world of no absolutes, no boundaries, no right or wrong, everything is up for grabs. What used to be right is now wrong. You used to either pass the test with a specific grade and enjoyed your summer, or you failed the class with a specific grade … and it was summer school for you! Everyone didn’t get the trophy, just the few that finished and actually won. That’s why they were special and called “trophies,” because you actually accomplished something to be rewarded for. It was honest. It is so unfortunate when we open our door, look outside and see to our utter amazement that up has become down and down has become up — it’s confusing, its chaos.
The truth is very narrow and our culture hates it. We, as Christians, have a standard for measurement and it is always the same, it never changes, ever! Our truth is found in God’s word; constant, dependable and secure … Jesus. Here is where it gets touchy, though. People don’t usually mind to talk about God, peace, love, doing good things, and even about going to church. You can throw a “God bless you” out there and it might even be reciprocated. You can even sing Amazing Grace on a reality TV show and get a standing ovation — win the whole thing for all the world to see. But when we bring Jesus into the conversation it becomes offensive to those who hear it. There is a line drawn in the sand. Jesus is the difference in everything.
There is nothing to hide under- we are laid bare before a mighty Holy God, our sin exposed, left hiding under our blanket tightly refusing to let go. There is no loophole, no money under the table, or sacrifice worthy in place of Jesus. It is only under His blood that He cleanses us from all sin. The secret places we create to hide are clearly visible. It’s like when a child closes their eyes – they truly believe they can’t be seen. I’m so sorry if you believe you are invisible but the truth is you are seen and one day we will all see clearly. There will be no political correctness or Hollywood support to come to your rescue. Jesus alone is your salvation! Stop looking around for another sacrifice- Jesus paid the price and was the sacrifice for us once and for all times — nothing else is needed! Stop adding! The once smitten Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world… that is our truth and our hope.
“We want to walk circumspectly, for the time of that final day is drawing nigh. We want to be cheerfully hopeful because of the goodness of God and because of the infinite efficacy of the blood of the Lamb. We need no other sacrifice for sin.” (Tozer)
Open your eyes and drop the blanket. We all see you and we love you.