Welcome to Part 4’s Chapter 2 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is introducing us to the free will offering of scarlet thread and she invites you to join her and Bettie in prayer. As the LORD leads, Anna and Bettie will also be adding daily free will offerings of scarlet thread to the bottom of this post.
Take a sacred offering for the Lord. Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord: blue, purple, and scarlet thread; Exodus 35:5-6
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep Hebrews 13:20
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
I grew up with missionary parents and later my father worked as the headmaster of and my mother as a teacher at Christian schools. Both also remained very active in the church, when they returned from missions, preaching and teaching. I saw “good deeds” in action daily. My parents had giving hearts, seeking to bless those the Lord placed before them.
But if our natural ability to serve is taken from us – if we fall ill, mentally or physically, if we become bound to a wheelchair, if we become bound to our beds, if we become blind or deaf or mute, then where does that leave us?
When my 59-year-old Mum lay dying, I saw a woman who’d spent her life giving and serving those around her now stripped of her physical ability to serve. The cancer slowly took away her movement, then her speech and then her swallowing mechanism. Yet, what I remember most from this time now is the powerful and palpable peace lying upon my Mum. Never in my whole life have I ever experienced the presence of GOD so palpably.
Not long after my Mum died, I read a book by a vicar who wrote the final chapters of his book – The Spirit Who Speaks- from his deathbed. Peter H. Lawrence served Anglican congregations for 32 years and was used by God to bring physical healing to a large number of people before his death from a brain tumor in February, 2009.
I was awed by the work the Holy Spirit had done through him, but strangely what touched my heart more deeply than any of these stories of divine healing was something Lawrence shared in his final chapter, which mirrored my Mum’s experience (Peter H. Lawrence, The Spirit Who Speaks, David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, 2011, Chapter 10: Facing the End):
“My life had often been one of tiredness, going from one thing to another, one appointment to another, speaking, ministering, just trying to get through in life. Trying to do what was right, but haunted by the fear of failure and always wanting to succeed, for my dad, or for Jesus, or for me.
Now everything’s changed. When you are lying on a bed knowing that you may not live and may never work again, but Jesus is there covering you – because He has died for you – nothing else matters. He has put you right with God and with people, and even now is putting me right with myself. I can’t do anything now to save myself, but because of the vision, the presence of Jesus, and knowing what He has done for me, I feel washed, cleansed, and renewed.”
He goes on to say that he is praying for those who are praying for him that they may: “also enjoy God’s peace and love always.” (ibid). And shares how rather than pray for healing or pray to be taken to heaven, he prayed for God to reveal HIS divine will. And God did – Lawrence died in peace, knowing God was calling him Home.
This story and my Mum’s story showed me it is only by the blood sacrifice- by the death of our Savior on the Cross – that we are “put right” and the good work Christ has sown in the lives of others through us will be completed.
As the symptoms of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder hit me, upon my return to God as His Prodigal daughter, He brought me to my knees to inscribe the truth of this GOOD News upon my grieving and wounded heart in a new way. This Good News that my righteousness and the righteousness of all those I love so much, is found in Christ alone- in His cleansing blood that was shed for me and for them. Oh what a gift of peace that brings my heart, again and again, as Jesus causes me to rest, just as my Mum did, upon the wings of His Word to me that lift me above the frey of this perishing world.
God continues to root this truth ever deeper into the very fabric of my heart, through His daily convictions of my sin and His all-encompassing righteousness covering me. He continually exchanges my spirit of despair for His garments of praise, my mourning for His oil of gladness and my ashes for His Crown of beauty, as He clothes me in His precious Words of truth, loving-kindness and gloriously expectant hope.
Romans 5: 20 – 21 ESV Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are woven in the blue, purple and red threads of Jesus Christ when we give our hearts to our Lord and Savior. We have an eternal Home where we belong (blue), we are daughters and sons of the King of Kings (purple) and we are put right with God and others (red). For, the veil that once separated the children of God from their holy Father has been ripped in two at the Cross.
Christ became the veil for us, and now ushers us directly into His Presence through His cleansing blood. And in that cleansing He washes away all our sin, all our pain and all our shame, so that we might glory in His life-giving and peace-giving and joy-giving Presence.
I have watched God use the enemy’s attacks of illness, loss, trauma and conflict in my life and the lives of others for good. As we are brought to our knees, our precious Jesus convicts us of our sins, lifting away all that is keeping us from knowing His nearness, as He convicts and clothes us in HIS beautiful righteousness.
John 16: 8 – 11 ESV And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
It is this precious conviction and our covering in scarlet thread that lifts the weight of all our fear, all our pain and all our shame, as in Christ we can now declare along with Paul and all saints:
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. ROMANS 14:8
As we come before the Lord in prayer now, let’s take a moment to let Him search our hearts. He invites all of us today, who are heavy laden to come, just as we are. There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. He says: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” (John 7: 37) and to come home:
Come LORD Jesus come. We yearn for You. Cleanse us by Your precious blood that we might see as You see. Exchange the spirit of despair for Your garments of praise. Exchange our mourning for the oil of gladness. Give us Your crown of beauty instead of ashes. Clothe us in Yourself.
Now, let’s sit a moment with a Promise from His Word. Let’s listen for a personal invitation from our Lord in a word or phrase He draws our attention to as we read this Promise aloud several times. Open our hearts to receive Your Word, O Lord:
Psalm 24: 3 – 6 (ESV)
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.[b] Selah
[b] Psalm 24:6 Septuagint, Syriac, and two Hebrew manuscripts; Masoretic Text who seek your face, Jacob
Before we close today’s devotional, let’s pray:
Dear Heavenly Father,
We come before you now, admitting that we are powerless to save ourselves and those that we love. We ask you to help us lay our hearts open before you. Would you reveal to us any hidden sins that have been covered over by our own pride. Would you wash us with the precious blood of your son, Jesus, and renew a right spirit within us.
We are so grateful for His precious, atoning blood sacrifice. We are amazed that you would call us your own daughters and sons, brought into your royal heritage, and called to dwell with you there in Heaven for eternity!
May we cling to those promises, may we stand in your word, and may we have eyes to see the glorious inheritance that you are also calling our loved ones to be part of. May we let you transform our minds as we rest in your great mercy that you have showered on us.
We ask all these things in the precious name of your son, Jesus, Amen.
Much love to you all,
Bettie and Anna