On Saturday, Tom and I sit on our bedroom floor. We’ve pulled a few hundred albums off our shelves and stacked them in towers. We pray for wisdom. I’m excited and overwhelmed. How long will it take? What will obeying God cost us? Tom selects “Pearl” my favorite album in the world. Did he pick it first on purpose, or is this another “coincidence;” God, cutting to the heart of the matter, pitting Himself against the queen of rock? I think of the angst in Janis’ songs, the drugs in Janis’ songs; Janis’ restless urge to “Get it While You Can.” My chin lifts.
It’s gotta go,” I tell Tom, turning my thumb into a hitchhike signal.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin; I whisper lyrics and ask God what He thinks. Outcasts go in a pile to Tom’s right. After an hour, there’s no keeps. As we sort records, I feel lighter. Freer. Tom jokes that it’s a Bible study and church cleaning in one.
After a break, he says, “You finish up, “and goes for boxes.
Later, he’ll sift through his art. My eyes fall on his explosion painting, the painting that gave me a peek into hell, I felt its flames and plan to never again dabble with the dark side. Finally, I’m left only with my Barbra Streisand Christmas album. Every other piece of music has been rejected by God. I trust His guidance, yet, I can’t believe there’s only one record in the “keep” pile.
Set it aside, Child. You need a fresh start. Give up all of it.
“But there’s a star on the cover!” the dog looks up expectantly, hearing her name. I call her over and rub her muzzle. She’s been patient, on a Saturday, to stay in a hot stuffy room. Tom returns with boxes, which we fill, ready to lug them to the dumpster. I keep glancing at “A Christmas Album” and that star. The star shines on Barbra. A fresh start. No music stars. God’s the only one to worship. I grab Streisand’s album and complete our music purge. It took all morning, but it’s done.
Excerpt from my memoir, “Tattooed by Jesus”
It’s going on 32 years since the experience of sitting on my bedroom floor listening to the voice of my Shepherd speak those words to me. “Set it aside, child. You need a fresh start. Give up all of it.”
And I must clarify, it’s not the artist, although there are those who are ministers of satan, nor is it the music itself. But God wanted to cleanse my soul and my soul needed to be cleansed, so that I could call upon Him with a pure heart and walk with Him in sweet surrender having intimacy with the One who first loved me. Intimacy with God is not a matter of duty, or discipline, but a matter of desire.
That day in my upstairs bedroom all I had was a willing heart filled with desire. A desire to know. A desire to hear. A desire to touch the heart of my Jesus. God of the heavens who formed us in our mother’s womb who knows every hair upon our head desires intimacy with us. We are created by Him, for Him and for His pleasure. In Him we live, and move and have our being. He is the LIVING GOD!
Let’s walk through scripture and look at the instructions God gives Moses in building the tabernacle. The place where God designed to meet with us is written about in Exodus 25. First instruction. Bring an offering with a willing heart. My offering that day was the things of my past. Things I needed to let go of to embrace my new life in Christ. I brought it willingly and set it before the Lord.
Question. What is in your life that you need to bring as an offering and set it before the Lord?
Second instruction. Make a sanctuary for the Lord to dwell among them. In whatever offering you bring before the Lord, make a sanctuary, be the temple. Invite the Lord into the moment. Your moment might not be a stack of record albums. Maybe your moment is despair, an illness, or the lost of a job, or a divorce, maybe you feel alone and uncertain about your future. Maybe you’re in a season of rest and great joy fills your heart. Whatever it might be, invite the One who loves you into that moment. There have been many times in my walk of faith when that moment has been every second of every minute of the day… and my Jesus is faithful! He does not grow weary of us, hallelujah! The Lord is with us! The Lord is for us! He cannot fail, nor will He forsake us. Amen!
We should come boldly before His throne of grace in the time of our need. This is true intimacy. When we come before a Holy God who moved the heavens and the earth to be with us! He waits for us to invite Him in. He is already there. He has even gone before us. Now, He waits for us to invite Him in. Jesus stands at the door and knocks and if we hear His voice, open the door, He will come in to where we are and eat with you and me.
Intimacy. Face to face communication. The third is not an instruction, but rather a description of this holy place of the Tabernacle and the intimacy that takes place when we come before the Lord.
Exodus 25:22 “And there I will meet with you, and I will commune with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. We bring an offering with a willing heart. We make a Sanctuary for God to dwell with us. In this Holy place of His presence the Lord communes with us. In this place we listen as He speaks to us face to face.
The tapestry of Words. The intimacy of God. The heart of Man. Wrapped in the pages of ancient scripture reveals God’s heart and His desire to talk with us face to face. They are surrounded by two cherubim’s who stretch their wings on high covering the mercy seat. The Ark of the Covenant and the Commandments of God are placed underneath the Mercy Seat and this my friends, is the place of Divine Fellowship with our Maker. Jesus sits upon the Mercy Seat of God through His death, burial and resurrection. He made the way for us to sit in this holy place where the angels cry; “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come, the Almighty!”
I experienced sweet communion with my Lord that hot August morning as I sat on the floor in my upstairs bedroom with a willing heart. I opened the door and Jesus came in and sat with me. My ears heard the voice of His Spirit saying, “This is the way walk in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever… He is the God who speaks face to face. He spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to His friend. He desires to speak to us face to face.
The psalmist writes, “When you said, seek my face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” I believe we are and have lost the face to face communication. We no longer look at each other eye to eye, but we hide behind the world of technology. I recently visited my Son and my daughter in law. I reminisced about when my kids were young. I told her the one thing I taught my children that when we talk to others we have eye contact. My son and daughter knew that when they had to say, “Sorry” it was required of them to look at each other in the eye and apologize. There’s no looking down or looking the other way.
Then my daughter in law laughs, and says, “that’s so funny, Mikey asked if I was ok the other day, and I said I was fine, and he said, look me in the eyes and tell me you're fine, and then I started crying, because I wasn’t fine.” We laughed together, but truth be told, when we look at each other in the eyes it’s hard to hid what is truly inside. The eye is the light of the body.
In this Tabernacle of our lives where God dwells with us. Moses creates a beautiful tapestry of words of this most holy place. Within our inner most being. The mystery that was hidden from ages, now revealed… Christ in us the hope of glory! Jesus, the Son of the Living God; beaten, despised, and reject, as He was nailed to a cross said, “I thirst” the thirst of the Almighty God to redeem His people was so great that not even hell itself could stop Him, GLORY!
Take time today to sit down and have a little talk with JESUS… He waits for you!