Scripture: "On the same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the house where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt." (Exodus12:12-13)
Scripture: "I will say to the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust! For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge. His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day. Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you." (Psalm 91:2-7)
Scripture: "...According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His Blood: may grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure." (1 Peter 1:2)
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon us, among us, within us and flowing FROM us, now and forever. Let's invite the Holy Spirit into this moment. Come Holy Spirit and break open the Word of God for us that we may be changed, encouraged, inspired and transformed into living words of Jesus, our Lord.
Yesterday was the beginning of the Jewish feast of Passover. This is a commemoration of God leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Though it was the Lord's intention to lead them to the Promised Land He had prepared for them, ultimately an entire generation did not get to experience that because they failed to totally trust in His faithfulness and goodness. All of this sounds great in theory. But it can be incredibly difficult to totally trust God. All is well until it isn't! It doesn't take much to throw us into fear, worry and whining! Human nature is weak and fickle, but Jesus promises that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) The question is, where do we WANT to stand? And are we willing to do the hard work of wrestling ourselves into a place of believing Him (and what He promises in His Word) whether life is easy or life is in shambles. These are things we HAVE to put in place in a state of peace. NOW. It's VERY difficult to do that in the middle of a raging storm.
There was nothing special about Moses. As a matter of fact, he had some ugly things in his past. But God chose him to lead the people out of Egypt. When God gives a directive, you may notice that He doesn't give a package with complete instructions. Moses had to learn the way ON the way. And it was grueling. God never says, "You're going to LOVE this!" God knows who He is. He knows He is faithful and utterly capable of doing whatever He pleases. He knows that His plans will not fail. And He promised to be with them and never leave them or forsake them. Now it was time for Moses to learn the same thing. At first Moses was the hero of the people. But as soon as it got tough, they gave him some serious attitude. And it wasn't just once! One of my favorite Scriptures is Numbers 11:14-17. There was a point when Moses was at his limit with the people. He said, ‘God, I am not able to carry all these people alone. The burden is too heavy for me. And if this is the way you deal with me, kill me, please! You would be granting me a favor. And let me not see the wretchedness in the failure of all my efforts.’ Even though it goes on to say that the Lord gives him a plan to get some help, has anyone ever felt like that?! It makes me laugh every time. This journey into radical trust comes with a cost. Always the Lord seems to give us about as much light as needed for just the next step. All throughout salvation history our heroes of the faith became heroes because of the way they exercised their faith. And let's be clear. If we have all the answers and all the light we need, what we DON'T need is faith. Keep that in mind. So much won't make sense. Obedience is all we can bring to the table. Everything else is given by grace. The Lord will allow us to experience whatever things we need that will give us the most opportunity to build our faith. He wants to make us saints. And this IS the journey. But imagine Moses's heart on fire as he watched the Red Sea part. Radical faith pays off. How can we even imagine the rewards of giving God our YES for this journey.
I've been really spending time in Hebrews 11. It's the book of miracles and martyrs. There's so much we will not understand on this side of heaven. But here's what we DO know. Today is Holy Thursday, the day that Jesus gave us His Body and His Blood. And the day He showed his disciples that ultimate power comes from humility, from being willing, even through tremendous fear, to do the Father's will when it costs everything. We need to see our great need for personal and corporate repentance right now. We (the global 'we') have made choices that have broken our world. We are surrounded by death, disease, fear, loss, and uncertainty. All of this has the potential to crush us... to make us lose heart. There's a song that says, "Jesus, break our hearts with what breaks Yours." But what I've been reflecting on is the fact that our Jesus has chosen to let what breaks OUR hearts break His. He didn't have to do that. Surely, because of our choices, we deserve everything we are getting. But our Father, even seeing our arrogant turning away, sent His Son to provide a way back for us. We have managed to screw everything up so amazingly that God had to send God to save us. It wasn't enough for God to look down. He knew that His Son needed to COME down, to live among us, to show us what LOVE at that level looks like...to give us a taste of Heaven, our truest home, and to reach out a hand that says, "I love you, My child. I will cleanse you of all your sins. I will lead you and place you in My Heart. I've made a way for you. Please come Home."
When Jesus chose the cross, He took on all that crushes us. He took into His own Sacred Heart all that breaks our hearts. He took into His Heart every tear we've ever cried. We have not chosen any of our suffering. We wouldn't. He chose every ounce of it. He allowed not only our broken hearts, but our sins, to crush Him. He let every bit of our brokenness, perversion, sin and suffering to kill Him, so it would not make us totally lose heart, and kill our hope and our chance of heaven, completely. He did it so we would see the outrageous depth of His love. Jesus, obedient to death. "Father, if this cup could pass...but not My will but Yours be done." THIS is where we must stand. And in this week of Passover, it's important to remember the power of the Blood. When Pharaoh would not back down and let the people go, the Lord sent a series of plagues to help him make a different decision. The final one was that the first born, human and animal, would be killed as the angel of death passed over on a particular night. The Israelites were given specific instructions about taking an unblemished lamb, slaughtering it, putting its blood on their doors, roasting it and eating the lamb. If they followed that, the Lord promised that they would be passed over, and no death would come to their home. To say the least, it was a stressful night for those people. True to His Word, this killed the Pharaoh's first-born son, and finally he let the people go free.
It's doubtful that the apostles connected all the dots at the Last Supper. Their brains were in as much of a fog of uncertainty and confusion as are many of ours today! But it didn't change the astounding thing that happened that night around the table in the upper room. Jesus, knowing our total weakness and need to hold Him close, to have physical contact with the One we seek, gave us Himself. He left us the forever gift of His Body and Blood. We are people of senses. We need to feel, to taste, to touch. Here we are in a 'fast' from human connection, human touch, and now in a fast from receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. How we have taken Him for granted. Please Lord, let us learn from our mistakes, and let this bring us to a powerful experience of Your Presence when we are allowed this gift again. And if the blood of an unblemished lamb applied to the doors of the Israelites saved them from death and disaster, how much MORE will the Blood of the Lamb of God save us now and for all eternity. We must not underestimate the POWER of the Precious Blood. And instead of applying it to our door posts, we must learn to apply His Blood to our every circumstance. I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating. What happened on that cross, the laying down of His life for us, (while we were still sinners) and the shedding of His Blood, 100% COMPLETELY crushed the kingdom of darkness forever. There is nothing else that Jesus needs to do. Now, it's what WE need to do.
When Moses and the Israelites were trapped before the Red Sea, he cried out to God to save them. Here we stand, trapped before a global pandemic, crying out to God to save us too. Remember the scene. The Egyptians in their chariots were chasing after the Israelites, gaining ground. The people became terrified and turned on Moses. "Why did you lead us all the way out here to die in the wilderness? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness." (Exodus 14:11-12) Moses, having grown mighty in His faith and trust, said to the people, "Don not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the people to go forward. And as for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it and you shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.'" (Exodus 14:13-16) God instructed Moses to DO something...to raise his hand over the Red Sea...and it parted. (Exodus 14:21). With the Egyptians coming closer and closer, and the people panicking all around, I can't imagine what Moses was thinking and feeling as he heard the Lord's words. But desperation can move us where we never thought we would go. And Moses obeyed. As soon as he raised that staff the monstrous sea divided into two walls of water on either side. Imagine the unimaginable! WE all know the end of that story. The people moved through to the other side and the water closed up on the Egyptians army. Our God is Lord of ALL. There is NOTHING impossible for Him. (Luke 1:37)
Hebrews 11 reminds us that there will be suffering. It tells stories of those who saw tremendous miracles, and those who were called to tremendous suffering. The bottom line ALWAYS is radical trust, in whatever situation we find ourselves. This life is NOT the end of the story. To human eyes, Jesus was a young man with a life full of promise ahead of Him. How seemingly futile His death must have seemed to many. What a waste. But NOTHING we give God is wasted. EVER. What could not be grasped with human understanding; nonetheless, changed the course of salvation history forever. It wasn't just a sea that was parted. the gates of hell were ripped apart. The kingdom of hell was obliterated forever by Jesus' choice to lay down His life for His sheep. And all that kept us from access to heaven was destroyed, our restoration secure IF we choose to allow Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. And because we are Easter people, because death did not and DOES NOT have the final word, we can stand in joy and peace right now, even in the middle of this turmoil. Even if we cannot see it, God is TOTALLY in control, and maneuvering every situation for His ultimate victory.
Spend time with Jesus today. Be with Him in His agony. He took every hit, every nail, for you. Let's be with Him today in silent awe, and in praise and thanksgiving. Whatever you're facing, apply His Precious Blood to each circumstance. Learn to get in the habit of covering yourself and all you love with the Precious Blood. It's heaven's ultimate vaccination against everything hell spews at us. He signed the covenant of His love for you with His Blood. There is power in His Name, power in His Blood, and as with Moses, it's our turn to learn to DO something with what we've been given. We are asking Him to make us people who not only experience but CARRY Ballistic Breakthrough. We already do. On this Holy Thursday, we must know that we are all tabernacles carrying Jesus. Let's stop bemoaning what we DON'T have and start releasing Who we DO have! Jesus is Lord and we owe the world an encounter.
Declaration: We praise You, Jesus, that day by day You are growing supernatural faith and hope in us, as we trust in You. We thank You for Your sacrifice of love for us. We praise You for counting us worthy to stand in Your presence and serve You, to love You, to offer You our lives. And today, in a deeper and deeper way, we offer You all that we have and all that we are. We proclaim our love and devotion and choose You in whatever situation we find ourselves. We choose total, radical, unwavering, surrender to trust. We thank You for the gift of Yourself. May we ask for the grace to give You the same. Amen and Amen.
All praise and honor to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit today and each moment of our lives.
Let's keep each other in prayer. What a gift it is to walk this out with you.