There seems to be a theme. This is a summary of what the Lord has been speaking to me at the end of Lent…
Thursday night…Maundy Thursday…Joe Torrence from Embrace Richmond spoke at Commonwealth Chapel on the scriptures around Luke 22 specifically ~ Do this in Remembrance of Me.” What are we suppose to remember? Remembering requires ACTION! Then, He washes their nasty, gnarly, yucky, dirty, stinky feet! Even to the point of washing the feet of the guy who He knows is going to betray him. He models for us what to do…and how to serve. So the question is…WHO are you going to serve and how? John 5 speaks directly to this…v.20 – For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. So, we are to do what Jesus has done…which is what the Father has done….think about the adulterous woman, the lepers, the Samaritan woman, the prostitutes, the thieves, etc.
So, how do we respond to that? In John 13:34-35 Jesus states that our new mandate/commandment to love one another as HE has loved us. So that all will know we are HIS disciples.
A Call to ACTION…Love
So…I’m thinking…who do I love on and why? What is my motive? What am I remembering? Do people know that I am HIS disciple?
Louis and I started our retreat day Friday…rushing around trying to be “on-time” for our retreat. Although we decided that we’d aim to be at Richmond Hill @ 9am, it didn’t take long for us to chill. It wasn’t an appointment we were late for…it was a Sabbath Day….a getaway. So, we slowed down and took our time. The Lord obviously was still going to be there if we were an hour later than what we had planned, right?
At the corner of Broad and 18th there is a Mickey D’s where we stopped for a breakfast sandwich. You wonder WHY things happen like they do. Why we run late….and why the line was long. And why Louis just ran inside instead of waiting in the drive-thru line. On his way out, a 54 year old veteran man (who looked about 70) asked Louis for some money to get something to eat. Most of us are like…yeah right…..and look the other way and ignore the person. Roll the window up. Pretend like we don’t see or hear him. Whatever. But, on this day….this Good Friday…we took the time. Louis explained that we don’t give money out, but we’d be happy to buy him something to eat. Louis and Jerry Lewis (or wonder if it was Louis?) Martin (yes…that is his real name) were able to chat a few minutes.
So, our day started with me thinking about…Matthew 25:31-46…the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats…specifically when Jesus says…
35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
A Call to ACTION…provide food and drink, invite the strangers in, clothe the naked, look after the sick, and visit the prisoners.
THIRD > (but not the last, I am sure!)
Then, we found ourselves sitting in the Garden of Richmond Hill.
We started our day with reading Jude. Specifically, vs. 17-23 – A Call to Persevere.
17But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Call to ACTION…Persevere
Jude also refers to Enoch in v. 14. There’s not a lot in the Bible on Enoch, but I sure do like the sound of him. Genesis 5 reviews the long lineage of Enoch. The only other scripture I can find other than is lineage is in what is known as the Hall of Faith – Hebrews 11.
5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Now imagine that…the only thing you were known for…the only thing that truly ever mattered was “he was commended as one who pleased God.” It really puts it all in perspective.
Call to ACTION…Please God.
It begs answers to the following questions…
Can this be said of me? What in my life is pleasing to God? What am I willing to do to please God? Am I ready to go ALL out? Am I ready to accept the Call to Action?
These are the feet of Jesus…belonging to a pastor and his wife…willing to serve…willing (and WANTING) to please God.
As you know, Louis and I had only known each other about 5 weeks at this point. I went from “not sure if I like him” to “when are you all getting married?” in a little over a month! We went from seeing each other weekly to every day. I had prayed for the other ½ of my pair as told in Luke 10:1-7, and it looked like that God had just maybe provided that answer. But, we know that when you are walking in the will of God and He is using you mightily, Satan is not going to take kindly to that at all.
Word about what had happened and what we were doing was making its way through the Christian community in and around Metro Richmond. Again, we are so thankful for the many, many prayers that those communications and emails brought our way. It didn’t take long for Satan to raise his ugly head in the form of a character attack. For a short period of time, this attack distracted us from serving and loving on Frank and his family like we had been called to do and discouraged us a bit. But, Louis and I worked through that…through the grace of God, a lot of prayer and the love of some trusted friends. We are better for having gone through that challenge.
Know that Satan and his army will go ALL OUT to tear us down and to keep us from walking in Truth. Today, I was reading John 10:1-21 and was reminded that Jesus is the Gate and the Good Shepherd. Satan may seek to steal, kill and destroy, but, my Jesus says…
9 “Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 …My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” He also says…18 “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
As I reflect, this Holy Week…on this Maundy Thursday (the day of Judas’ betrayal, the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of his disciples)…the day before Jesus was hung on that cross, that I am so thankful for His voluntary sacrifice. But, as we approach resurrection, I have JOY!!! JOY!!! JOY!!! that He has the authority to lay down His life, but He also took it back up again!!! He died for me…O’ wretched sinner that I am. So, that in his resurrection I can live a “rich and satisfying life” where I am alive, free, and forgiven.