Friday, March 29, 2013


Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”... And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:45-46,50-51

One of my most cherished images from Scripture is when the temple veil tore in two. When Jesus received the wrath of God as punishment for sin in your and my stead, he created a way for us to be in the presence of the Holy God. Before Christ’s death, the temple veil separated nearly all men, save a select group of Levites, from directly entering the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. The beauty and significance of the massive woven cloth veil ripping apart is anchored in that history. Jesus is enough. No more need we offer blood sacrifice for our sins. No more need we send someone else to offer that sacrifice to God on our behalf. We have direct access to the Father through the completed work of the Son.

“Therefore...we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh.” (Hebrews 10:19-20)

Today, I’ve been meditating on Romans 5.

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We have been given such a marvelous gift. It is for all who will believe.
Be blessed this Resurrection weekend, in the knowledge and hope that Christ has completely paid the debt for our sins. God’s wrath has already been poured out. It is finished. We are justified.

 I am forever grateful that Christ took my place and that He offers eternal life in the presence of God in place of the eternal death and separation I deserve. I cannot even describe the depth of the gratitude, love and awe within me as I reflect on these truths. “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Cor 9:15)

Looking forward to Sunday, when I will celebrate the day He defeated death and rose to life again,

Monday, March 11, 2013

Flashback to HS

Pastor Brian’s sermon yesterday triggered countless memories from the times I buried myself in ( and prayed out) the Psalms of Ascents during my High School years.

Here are just four of the many memories I’ve been reflecting on:

I remember saying Psalm 121 over and over to myself during the hardest moments of medical uncertainty, choosing to believe my help comes from the LORD, and my keeper didn’t slumber nor did he sleep. He was in the midst of my trials, providing shade at my right hand.

I remember hearing Psalm 124 recited with deep conviction by a dear sister in Christ, “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side- let Israel now say- if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, they would have swallowed us up alive... Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the LORD.” These words were the proclamation of my heart through many ins and outs and ups and downs.

I remember when God penned a melody in my heart for Psalm 130, so that I could sing his own words to him. My heart simultaneously overflowed in awe of His amazing forgiveness and redemption, and begged, “Hear my voice, let your ears be attentive to my pleas for mercy!”.

I remember when God revealed to me in an overwhelming way that as youth from around Houston gathered together in my home church, we were living out Psalm 134, standing by night in the house of the LORD, lifting up our hands to bless the LORD. Getting to speak those words over our gathering was an incredible privilege.

There are so many other instances where the Psalms of Ascents impacted my life. I honestly don’t know how, or IF I would have gotten through my High School years without the truth from these passages of Scripture.

Take a moment to read some Scripture for yourself and worship the Author of it all. He is amazing indeed!

God is so faithful and His Word is such a firm foundation and refuge for my soul.


P.S. If you'd like, you can watch/listen to the sermon at just as soon as it goes up :)