Come home bloody!

The apostle Peter makes an unusual statement in the opening of his first letter. He states that he is writing to those who have been set apart by God “for sprinkling with his blood”.

This phrase is refers to Leviticus 14, which describes the process by which a leper could be declared clean by the priests. If a person caught a skin disease, then they would be put out of the community so the disease would not spread. Day after day, month after month, the leper lived alone or with other diseased people apart from his wife, his family and his friends. All of his loving relationships severed.

But if in God’s mercy, the leper was healed, he could ask the priest to inspect his skin. If the skin was clean, the priest would sacrifice a bird and sprinkle blood on the man.

Now can you imagine the joy this former leper would feel when he was sprinkled? He could return home! When his neighbors questioned what he is doing back in the community, he could say, “I’ve been sprinkled with blood by the priest. I’ve been declared clean!”

This ancient process points us to the reality we celebrate this Easter weekend. We too can return home by the sprinkling of blood.

The corruption of our lives forces us out of the “home” were designed for – a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father and with other people. But in God’s mercy, He is calling a people to Himself to be healed.

The Father wants us to be in relationship with Him and each other. If you trust in the finished work of Jesus – then you are declared CLEAN! You can return home and move back into the relationships your were created for.

Peter knew that God’s people had been sprinkled by the blood.

May you, as well, know the joy of coming home this Easter.

On the road again! Nooooooooo!

On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
on-the-road-blog-pic-
I’m not sure if I agree with Willie Nelson at this point in my life. I’ve been on the road for months and it sure doesn’t seem that great. Yes – there are many, many enjoyable times. Old friends and new friends; good food and new experiences; but after awhile I just want to go home!

The reality is that my heart will never be fully at rest even when I or anyone else gets home. There will always be a frustration with family and friends and even our physical surroundings.  And yet, when we’re out on the road again, exploring and meeting new people, they too will never satisfy. The new places and new friends never meet our expectations. After a while they become boring.

God has designed us to be at rest in His presence but with work to do in this world. But our relationship with our Creator has been ruined by sin and this has led to a complete breakdown with our relationships and our calling. We seek rest and we see adventure, but neither really satisfies.

Thankfully, there is hope. As we come into a relationship with our Heavenly Father through the blood of Jesus, we can come “home” so to speak. Our hearts can rest – we can find satisfaction in the place God has put us. But even then we are called out into mission to “hit the road” for God’s Kingdom purposes. New friends and sometimes new places will always be in our future.

I’m learning to live with the tension between life at home and life on the road. And thankfully, God continues to deepen my love for Him and His purposes.

But sometimes, I just want to sleep in my own bed!

Your hard times need to be remembered!

21 years ago, Josephine and I arrived in Jackson, Mississippi  to attend a conference with John Perkins and Voice of Calvary.

We never made it to the conference.

After arriving in town and checking into our hotel, we went looking for dinner. While stopped at a light, a drunk driver in a full size van plowed into the back of our rental car.

Accident car

The trunk (boot) and back seat were crushed with the impact. I was knocked unconscious.  Josephine was shaken and sore but walked away with only a scratch on her arm. At midnight, I was released from the hospital.  Mercifully, neither of us have had lasting physical injuries.

In a way, we treasure the picture of that car with the back-end crushed and the front looking perfect. It’s like God said “That’s enough!” and His hand stopped the van at just the right place.  The picture has become a memorial that God’s not finished with our lives yet.

This past weekend we were back in Jackson – Josephine’s first visit since that fateful day. 1167141_159031734285740_150285271_oWe spent time at Redeemer Church, a healthy, multi-ethnic Presbyterian church – deep in the American South!!  God is at work!

Josephine and I will always remember Jackson as the scene of “The Accident”.  But thankfully it is only a memory.  A “good” memory, of sorts – because it reminds us of the faithfulness of God.

Do you have any memorials of the hard times you’ve been through?  Any photos or items to mark that difficult time when God showed up?

We need memorials of those hard times because we constantly forget what God has done in the past. Our memories are short.  Our current struggles make it easy to lose sight of God’s mercy in the past.

Set a memorial to your hard times.  Return again and again to the memory that God showed mercy in your past and He will be merciful into the future.

(We find a biblical example of this in Joshua 4 where the Lord had his people set up 12 stones as a memorial so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty” Josh 4:24)

 

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