Three Nails

It is often said that bad things come in threes.Nails

Yet we see in scripture that the number three represents completeness.

Are there not three facets of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Three parts to the Tabernacle: the court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies?

Jonah was in the whale for three days. Jesus was in the tomb for three days.

The number resonates all through the Word of God. How then can we see the number three as a bad omen?

Yet, as I pondered this, it came to methe image of three nails. The vision stayed with me for weeks. Yet I could not put together what exactly God was saying. What was the significance of those three nails?

Three nails pierced the hands and feet of Jesus as he hung upon the cross. Three nails were used to crucify our Savior.

Slowly, my vision cleared. My eyes were opened, as again, I read the story of the crucifixion.

As the first nail bit into the flesh of Jesus’ palm, as the crowd taunted and jeered, He spoke this prayer:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

He looked past the hammer, beyond the hand, and into the heart that was yet unclean. A heart that needed Him, for was not this His mission, to bring the lost to the Father. He forgave, and in so doing, He showed us our need and His redeeming love.

The second nail pierced through his other hand, and with the agony of the searing pain, he cried out:

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mark 15:34

Here was the climax of Jesus’ life. All He had worked for unfolded in that desperate hour. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus not only bore our sins, but He became our sin. He experienced the full meaning of what it was to be human: completely and utterly separated from God. For where sin is, God cannot be. The gulf stretched before Jesus, and He was alone.

The final nail was driven into His feet, those precious feet where the tears of Mary had washed away the stains of His journey. It was in that final hour that the third prayer was lifted toward heaven:

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Luke 23:46

Through the torment of His distress, Jesus surrendered to the will of God. He trusted the Father despite His circumstances. The Savior demonstrated to us all, that even in the midst of our trials, we are to have faith in the Lord. God is our salvation. God turned and reached across the void and took hold of Jesus.

“It is finished!” John 19:30

The Bride Price was paid. Yet, God had more to give. Three days later, within a dark and dismal tomb, life returned to Jesus. Death could not hold Him, even as death has no power over us!

But how can we conquer death?

Each point, each prayer, must pierce us, even to our very souls. We must be crucified with Christ.

There were three crosses on that first Good Friday. Two thieves hanging beside Jesus: one to the right and one to the left.

On one side, the thief blasphemed, taunting Jesus:

“If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” Luke 23:39

The other thief rebuked the first:

“We receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

Here, as we all must do, he acknowledged his sin. He perceived his own guilt and the terrible gulf before him. So he surrendered to God, and spoke with a humble and honest heart:

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Luke 23:41-42

As the thief confessed his belief that Jesus is the One who saves, Jesus looked at him with those loving eyes and spoke these words:

“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

Today, we have a choice to make. We can either be as the first thief, and deny Christ; or we can be as the second thief, admit our fault and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Jesus showed us the waywith three nails and three prayers.

So what can three nails accomplish?

They can bridge the gulf between death and life. Save the lost. Transform hearts. Open minds. Free a captive soul.

Three nails and three prayers. The choice is yours.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

~ Susan

 

Reference: Robert C. Crosby, D.Min. “The One Jesus Loves”

 

 

Make Me Your Sanctuary

The day was hot and the trail was full of dust. It was a choking brume that coated the barren landscape. They had seen the other side, looked upon the green and verdant hills. Yet they had been afraid, unwilling to believe. So they were turned away, cast out and sent to wander, an aimless juncture even as their faith was led astray. How long would this exile last? How long must they endure?

Until they had passed beyond reach, until every last one who had rejected was gone. Even so, hope remained for those that came after. They would one day see those same green and verdant hills. Yet would the new generation believe? Would they find inside themselves what was needed to have faith, to trust?

Only time would tell…

As we look back to this episode, we can glean lessons for our own lives. Do we have faith? Do we believe? Are we able to trust in the wake of what appears to be insurmountable odds? What does it take to be led by God?

Let us return to the story.

So we see the Children of Israel wandering for forty years in the Wilderness—

searching for the Promised Land

And why were they sent to wander in the Wilderness—they disobeyed God.

They forgot that God was with them, that He had guided them and helped them. They lost faith. They knew better than God, after all, the evidence showed that giants lived in the land. What could they do about giants? They were mere people. But they forgot that the Lord traveled with them.

You see sin cannot enter into the Promised Land.

Yet, God said to them, “You don’t have to go it alone. I will show you the way, only you must follow me.”

“Firstly, you must build Me a Sanctuary (Ex. 25:8) that I may dwell among you.”

“Not a Sanctuary of your design, you must make the Sanctuary in the way that I tell you. I will instruct you. Then I will show you the way to the Promised Land. All you need do is follow Me.”

I tell you—

We are the children of Israel; this world is the Wilderness.

Heaven is the Promised Land

And we need to build God a Sanctuary so that He may live among us.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:3

But first we need to understand what a Sanctuary is—for how can we build if we do not know of what we build?

Temple—Tabernacle—Sanctuary

According to Webster’s Dictionary it is a consecrated place, set apart for God’s service.

A hallowed place, a holy place, a dwelling place for God

The habitation of God through the Spirit

The Temple of the Old Testament typified Christ’s dwelling by faith in the hearts of believers.

  1. Our bodies are the Temple of God and are designed for worship

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3: 16

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:10-12

Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:20

2. Our bodies are the place where God dwells

God is holy and cannot live in an unclean house.

If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.1 Corinthians 3: 17

3. Our bodies are sacred

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:14.

4. Our bodies do not belong to us

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

If we received the truth in our hearts, we will honor Him in our bodies.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Does everything we do and say glorify God?

We need to say as Jesus did, “Not My will, but Yours be done.”

We cannot have two masters. We cannot go our way and follow after God’s way at the same time.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24

Remember, wherever we go, whatever we do, God is with us.

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

I will dwell in them

And walk among them.

I will be their God,

And they shall be My people.

2 Corinthians 6:16

We do not have to be afraid. We can trust in our Redeemer, who dwells within us. His way is always the best way. Only have faith and follow Him, no matter what giants may stand before us. The Promised Land awaits.

So Lord, I pray, make me Your Sanctuary …

~ Susan

 

 

Three Nails

It is often said that bad things come in threes.Nails

Yet we see in scripture that the number three represents completeness.

Are there not three facets of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Three parts to the Tabernacle: the court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies?

Jonah was in the whale for three days. Jesus was in the tomb for three days.

The number resonates all through the Word of God. How then can we see the number three as a bad omen?

Yet, as I pondered this, it came to me – the image of three nails. The vision stayed with me for weeks. Yet I could not put together what exactly God was saying. What was the significance of those three nails?

Three nails pierced the hands and feet of Jesus as he hung upon the cross. Three nails were used to crucify our Savior.

Slowly, my vision cleared. My eyes were opened, as again, I read the story of the crucifixion.

As the first nail bit into the flesh of Jesus’ palm, as the crowd taunted and jeered, He spoke this prayer:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

He looked past the hammer, beyond the hand, and into the heart that was yet unclean. A heart that needed Him, for was not this His mission, to bring the lost to the Father. He forgave, and in so doing, He showed us our need and His redeeming love.

The second nail pierced through his other hand, and with the agony of the searing pain, he cried out:

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mark 15:34

Here was the climax of Jesus’ life. All He had worked for unfolded in that desperate hour. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus not only bore our sins, but He became our sin. He experienced the full meaning of what it was to be human: completely, and utterly, separated from God. For where sin is God cannot be. The gulf stretched before Jesus, and He was alone.

The final nail was driven into His feet, those precious feet where the tears of Mary had washed away the stains of His journey. It was in that final hour that the third prayer was lifted toward heaven:

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Luke 23:46

Through the torment of His distress, Jesus surrendered to the will of God. He trusted the Father despite His circumstances. The Savior demonstrated to us all, that even in the midst of our trials, we are to have faith in the Lord. God is our salvation. God turned and reached across the void and took hold of Jesus.

“It is finished!” John 19:30

The Bride Price was paid. Yet, God had more to give. Three days later, within a dark and dismal tomb, life returned to Jesus. Death could not hold Him, even as death has no power over us!

But how can we conquer death?

Each point, each prayer, must pierce us, even to our very souls. We must be crucified with Christ.

There were three crosses on that first Good Friday. Two thieves hanging beside Jesus: one to the right and one to the left.

On one side, the thief blasphemed, taunting Jesus:

“If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” Luke 23:39

The other thief rebuked the first:

“We receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

Here, as we all must do, he acknowledged his sin. He perceived his own guilt and the terrible gulf before him. So he surrendered to God, and spoke with a humble and honest heart:

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Luke 23:41-42

As the thief confessed his belief that Jesus is the One who saves, Jesus looked at him with those loving eyes and spoke these words:

“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

Today, we have a choice to make. We can either be as the first thief, and deny Christ; or we can be as the second thief, admit our fault and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Jesus showed us the way – with three nails and three prayers.

So what can three nails accomplish?

They can bridge the gulf between death and life. Save the lost. Transform hearts. Open minds. Free a captive soul.

Three nails and three prayers. The choice is yours.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

~ Susan

 

Reference: Robert C. Crosby, D.Min. “The One Jesus Loves”

 

 

Living Hope ~

As another September 11 rolls around, I find myself in an all too familiar situation. Heartache follows me with each passing year. Restless sleep interrupted by wakefulness, punctuated by dreams that leave me wholly spent and overwhelmed with sadness. It has been eleven years. You would think that this would be easier, but it isn’t. The trauma of that terrible day plagues me still. I imagine, it always will.

Yet, as I was reading in the book of Genesis, I found myself comforted by these words:

“And I will put enmity

Between your seed and her Seed;

He shall bruise your head,

And you shall bruise His heel.”

~Genesis 3:15

Here Adam and Eve have just committed the first sin, a sin that brought on the fall of the human race. As God pronounces the curse placed upon the serpent, He tells the Enemy that He will send one who is from the seed of woman, and though the serpent will bruise His heel, this One will bruise his head. This is the first promise of the Messiah, the Savior, from the seed of Mary, who in His death and resurrection, broke that power of sin and death that the curse brought to mankind.

Then God takes it a step further, as a loving Father:

“Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”  ~ Genesis 3:21

Even though Adam and Eve have made this terrible mistake, even though they have disobeyed the Lord, He made them clothes to cover their nakedness. How wonderful to know that we have a God that cares enough for us to cover us in our nakedness. And though we fail, He takes us as we are and cares for us, supports us, and clothes us.

As we face hard times, as loss and sorrow enter our lives, it is good to know we have a Lord who has planned for our future. From the very beginning, He has provided for us a way of escape. And though at times we are overwhelmed, we know we have a Living Hope. For our Savior conquered death so that we are redeemed from the penalty of our broken oath.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”   ~ 1 Peter 1:3

As the Lord promises not to give us more than we can bear, He also promises to give us a way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13) How beautiful to behold the love the Master, who bears our burdens with us, who weeps in our sorrow. With arms uplifted we rejoice in His loving kindness, for His works are good. And in the arms of Jesus hope is restored.

~ Susan