Every morning has been different. Some mornings I’ve been stressed or worried. Some mornings there has been a Spirit of joy, hope, and laughter. Some mornings there were moments of anger and frustration. That 15 – 20 minute window with all 4 of our children has been a chance to pray over them, experience the feelings and emotions of life together (both theirs and mine), and grow together. Those drives have always been a moment to focus on the “now” of life, as we prepare to move into the day before us as well as tomorrow.
This morning after I dropped our youngest son off at his Middle School, I reflected on those thoughts as I drove home. About what is and has been over the last 14 years. I thought through the conversations, moments, and the gift of time I have been given. I thought about how grateful I am for my wife and our children. I love them, and I was thanking my Heavenly Father for the many blessings I have been given. I was open, looking, and listening to what God was speaking to me.
As those thoughts filled my mind, I was driving down a road I traveled MANY times before on these mornings with the kids. A little cut-through-road where for years nothing but Texas sized fields, open space, and groves of trees stood. A couple of houses, with pasture land that is home to a few horses and small gardens, are along the way, but you can tell that nothing else has occupied the land on this little ¾ of a mile stretch of bumpy road. But today things looked different. I saw differently. My vision wasn’t clouded by stress, worry, fear, anger, doubt, or anything else that would keep me from seeing what had changed. Things were transforming along this little stretch of road.
As our city continues to grow rapidly, builders have begun the process to put in a very large & modern outdoor shopping center, a huge intersection & bridge, and new roads that will go around the city. It’s the next step to transform areas where only fields, trees, horses, and gardens have existed for centuries, to a place of explosive growth and development around the Dallas Metroplex. The fields are shaping into roads, and black fence outlines an area where one day buildings & concrete will replace the open fields. The trees have been cleared away, and where vision used to be obstructed you can see for miles into the distance. Sight is no longer obstructed by the way things used to be, as dozers and trucks move away what was to give a clear line of sight to something more.
I pulled over onto the side of the road, got out of my car, and took this picture. I sensed the Lord saying, “The things you see now are only a shadow of what is to come. One day this field, and how things used to be, will be replaced with stores, environments, and an atmosphere for the people of this city to experience things they have had to drive miles to find. Things that are far away today will be in their back yard very soon. This piece of land will yield a new era of convenience for the people of this city. Many will drive by every day and never understand or recognize the process this land is going through to become what it will be. Day by day the construction will take place for years. Roads will appear. Buildings will seemingly pop up. And one day in the future, People will just drive up and enjoy what will be, never understanding what had to happen years before to make it all possible.”
When I got home I read Leviticus 16:1-2. It says, “After the death of Aaron's two sons - they died when they came before God with strange fire - God spoke to Moses: "Tell your brother Aaron not to enter into the Holy of Holies, barging inside the curtain that's before the Atonement-Cover on the Chest whenever he feels like it, lest he die, because I am present in the Cloud over the Atonement-Cover.”
Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, had brought “strange fire” before the Lord. God had given strict instructions on how things should be done before they came into His presence. If they did any of the steps wrong or became careless in their approach to coming into His presence, they died on the spot. That’s what happened to Aaron’s sons, and God wanted to make sure that He was clear. Why? God is Holy. Only the people He appointed could come into His presence, and they could only enter into His presence after they had done exactly what He said they should do. Read the rest of Leviticus 16 to see what God told Moses to tell Aaron to do before entering God’s presence. In fact, take some time to read about, study, and understand all the sacrifices and requirements found in Exodus & Leviticus. They are lengthy. They are detailed. But they were so important. Because coming before and being accepted by God was serious. It required sacrifice. It was a detailed process to make a person acceptable to be received by God and to come before Him, so that the rest of the people could be accepted and live. This process was a shadow of what was to come. One day these sacrifices would stop. One day this lengthy process would be replaced. One day a Savior would come to the rescue. He would clear away the trees. He would replace what was, with something far better. He would make access to a Holy God possible for everyone through Him. That day of salvation has come for us today through Jesus, and now we can go confidently into God's presence through Him!
Jesus came and fulfilled every thing that God required. He came and cleared away what was to bring a BETTER WAY! Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father a part from me.” (John 14:6) Jesus paid the price. He endured & took God’s wrath for the sin of all mankind, and gave His life as the once and for all payment for all our sins. He conquered sin & death. What we couldn’t do for ourselves, He did for us. The people of God used to have to rely on Aaron to get everything exactly right, so that he could go before God for them over & over again, but now because of Jesus we can go into God’s presence based on what He did for us once and for all time. Through Him we now have access to God's presence every moment of every day. But do we really understand the price He paid to make it all possible?
What used to be impossible is now possible. What used to be distant is now close. Can you see it? Do you realize it? Have you received it? Or has this amazing gift & truth been blocked by trees in fields of religion, complacency, apathy, guilt, shame, unforgiveness, anger, doubt, addiction, fear, loss, depression, failure, hopelessness, worry, performance, jealousy, greed, etc… Jesus came and transformed the landscape! He’s near us. We simply have to open our eyes, listen, ask, & receive. Then our hearts will be filled with love, hope, gratitude, and thankfulness as we glorify the name of Jesus today and forever because of His great love and sacrifice for us.
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it." (John 3:16)
"This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son. So, whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life." (I John 5:12)
We have to open our eyes to see what was, so that we can believe what is available today. Ever said, “Can you believe how things have changed?” Well they have in the most important way! Through faith in Jesus and receiving the forgiveness He attained for us, we can go before our Heavenly Father in confidence knowing that ALL things are possible!
Check out what it says in Hebrews 10 right now. Read the whole chapter. You’ll be so grateful for how Jesus removed athe trees and changed the landscape to make possible what we can have today! Here’s a taste…
“So, friends, we can now - without hesitation - walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body. So let's do it - full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-22