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I wonder if everyone has a mantra, a philosophy that guides their life more than any other way of thinking?  I wonder if others know what their guiding beliefs are?

Something about writing a book, published or not, casts reflection and understanding on what your deepest beliefs are.  (Some insightful writer once said “The first life your book will change is your’s”, and every writer who has heard that phrase since has shouted a hearty “Amen!”).  One of my deepest, core beliefs is that God didn’t make us because He needed our help.  He made us for communion and intimacy with Him!

I decided to fast from coffee for a few days.  Until Sunday.  If you’re a Christian, you know this Sunday is rather significant.  Heck, if you live on this planet, you know this Sunday is significant even if it’s just an excuse to buy your kids and grandkids oversized baskets filled with stuffed animals and sugar, and dig plastic eggs out of the yard.  Let me tell you what my #1 temptation to bail on this commitment is: “But there’s a lot of work to be done, and I just won’t be as ‘high functioning’ if I don’t drink coffee.”  My excuse to avoid self-denial is that I won’t be as productive.  How ridiculous!  That is an exact contradiction of what I told you my deepest philosophical beliefs about God are.

These next few days are sacred.  It’s not only about Sunday’s Resurrection.  But also about the Friday before, when the gates of hell were ripped off their hinges for those of us who trust in that gruesome death at Calvary and the soul-purifying power of the cross.  And there’s Thursday, when Judas dipped his hand in the bowl before rushing off to betray.  When Jesus stripped Himself to wash the scummy feet of His disciples.  When He passed the cup and broke the bread, and taught us how the Passover foreshadowed Golgatha, while giving us the practice of Communion to ever remind us of Him passing over us who are cleansed by His blood.  And most importantly, it’s when He blood-sweat His way through His own temptations in Gethsemane’s garden.

I want to encourage any one who reads this (and encourage myself, because if I preach outward and not inward, I am a hypocrite) that, as you hopefully ponder what Jesus accomplished and sacrificed on our behalf, He did it so we could have intimacy with Him.  Not so we could be His little minions, doing His bidding.  We are not just “the hands and feet of Jesus”, we are the Bride of Christ!  Brides aren’t slaves.  They are cherished companions.

So, please let it all soak in deep.  Let Gethsemane, and the Communion table, and the Cross, and of course that glorious, empty Tomb, all saturate the very fibers of your being.  It is a tremendous gift of affection from the Most High, not because He thought we were so worthy of His love, but actually because we are entirely unworthy and needed Him to intercede or we would spend eternity in a lake of fire.

The truth is, we couldn’t do a single thing to earn our salvation, and we still can’t.  So, rest, fellow soldiers.  Savor.  Trust.  Be at peace.  If you are a christian, God has won every war for you, and there isn’t a single thing you can do to pay Him back!  But the strangest thing happens when we believe all that, stop striving, and simply enjoy His Presence… it changes us from the inside out, and we often do end up doing more philanthropic things, but not because we need to, but simply because we become like those we spend time with!  So, spend time with Jesus.  Enjoy Him.  Listen to Him speak through His Word.  And remember.  This weekend is not about striving.  It’s about His suffering transposed into our rejoicing!  It’s about Him purchasing His people back from that lake of fire we all deserve, so we could dwell with Him in untethered bliss for all of eternity!  It’s about the grace of God that makes us the very friends of God!

Space- Maundy Thursday 2024



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