Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I added a new feature to my blog. At the top underneath the photo, there are now pages, "Needs In Peru," "About Extreme Nazarene," and "Contact." So now you know what I need in Peru (or would like), a little bit about the organization I work for, and how to get in touch with me. I hope you check it out!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"I need to be reminded of Satan's deceptions and hidden agendas, not only because they hurt me...but also because I soon forget his long term commitment to my destruction. Understanding that Satan is the author of hidden agendas, that his language is lies, and that his motive is our demise prepares us for his attacks."
~Patsy Clairmont

Monday, September 27, 2010

The F Word


"The test of whether we have forgiven someone is not whether we remember the incident but in the attitudes and behaviors we exhibit. We know we have forgiven someone when we are no longer controlled by the pain...In other words, we remember the occurrence, but it no longer has power over our thinking and behavior.
 "Forgiving is better than forgetting, but God does both. Micah 7:18-19 describes God's style of forgiving. Don't you love it? God doesn't stay mad at us because he loves to show mercy and compassion. Instead he stomps on our confessed sins and flings them into the ocean. What vivid and liberating images! And then, he does what we can't do: 'I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more' (Isaiah 43:25).
"God's style of forgiveness serves as a model for us as we attempt to forgive with mercy and compassion; we don't need to worry about forgetting."
~Marilyn Meberg

"I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us."
~Corrie Ten Boom

My professor this week, an American missionary in South America, discribed forgiveness as a bell. Now imagine a bell high up in a bell tower, and some guy goes and begins ringing the bell. He pulls on the rope and it begins to ring and ring. He continues this for several minutes, then stops pulling on the rope and leaves the bell tower completely. But even after he stopped, the bell has momentum, and keeps swinging and thus keeps making sound. But it slows and slows until it finally stops. No more swinging, no more ringing. That's how it is with forgiveness. We choose to let the rope go. We might still here the sounds of what that person did, but over time, it becomes less and less. But we stop ringing the bell. That is how we get peace.

Lord God, thank you for your mercy and compassion and for your incredible gift of forgiveness. Lord, help me to model your forgiveness.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

You Had a Bad Day

Bad days come.

They come for everyone. Christian or not. Missionary or not. They are pretty much inevitable.

And I know, I know, it's all in how you respond to things. It's all about your attitude. Joy doesn't depend on our circumstances. Blah, blah, blah.

Not that those things aren't true, but sometimes, you're just having a bad day and no cliché is going to fix that.

Now today is a fine day. And for me, fine days come around a lot more often than bad days.

But Tuesday was a bad day. Tuesday was our second day in a row without water. Tuesday, I really needed a shower and at 6:00 am when I went to brush my teeth, I realized that I would not be taking a shower that day, cold or otherwise.

And that made me kind of a grump from the very beginning.

But then I had my personal devotional time and we had Extreme prayer time, and that was fine, although I did have kind of a culture clash, if you want to call it that. And culture clashes come, and you work through them.

Then we had class, and that was fine, except that we learned that this week we have classes in the morning and afternoon. That makes for an exhausting week.

Then after class, Ester and I had a meeting, which led me to another culture clash. Two in one day is rare for me seven and a half months in to my time in Peru.

And I was just overwhelmed by the bad day.

Then after dinner, (dinner was TACO SALAD! That right there could have made up for the bad day!) we went to have English worship time. The sanctuary was occupied, so we went to the only unoccupied place in our house/church. But apparently our singing was too loud, and they asked us to go somewhere else. There was no where else to go.

So we went outside and worshipped God on the sidewalk across from the church. That was exciting! We had taxis driving 1 mph past us. And people came out of their houses to see what was going on. We had one guy walk past us three times. We had a drunk guy yell something at us. And we had a man stop and listen, keep walking, and look at the signs on the church that told him we are missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene. There were 1,001 distractions. But who knows what will come of the people who saw and heard us?

Friday, September 24, 2010

AHH! I can't think of a good title because God is just too Amazing!

God is SO GOOD!

Do you know that Ester and I are now discipling three groups of people from Sonia's family? It truly took us forever to get this cell group off the ground, but with just our cell group(s), we already have a church of nine people!

(And we're not even in Cusco yet!)

And Wednesday night at our cell group, which is over an hour away from where we live, we had two new adults and one new kid there!

We went to the market last week and spoke with Sonia's older sister, Rosa, to invite her and her kids to the cell group in her parents house, and she said she would come, and she did!

And we were surprised when we arrived to find Sonia's younger brother, Milton, at home. So we got to talk to him before everyone else got there, and he was full of doubts about us and questions for us. He is a university student studying psychology, and you can definitely tell by all his questions!

We also waited a little while for Sonia's older brother, Rubén, whom we met last week at the end of our cell group and invited to come this week. He didn't get away from work in time to come this week, but we're hoping to see him next week.

So our lesson this week was about repentance, and we got to share about the amazing love of God and how he wants to save us from our sins, and all we have to do is ask.

And at the end, when Ester invited them to pray, Milton, Rosa, and her son José prayed to invite Jesus Christ into their hearts for the first time!!!

How great is our God!

Ester and I were so overwhelmed when we left that we got on our bus back to Zamacola (where we live) and started praying out loud right there in the bus!

We have been getting attacked really badly here, with health problems, with problems in the church, with things going on at home, with different group dynamics, honestly so many different things. But look how faithful God is! He is using us, not because we are really super evangelists, or good at anything really, but for HIS glory. 

All glory to God!

There is a verse that keeps coming up for Ester and I. It was in her devotional on Wednesday before we went to the cell group, and we read it again after we prayed on the bus, and we read it again in class on Thursday morning.

Acts 5:38-39 says, "Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

In our case, it should say, "I advise you, leave these women alone. For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these women; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

And in spite of everything that is happening in our lives, the things trying to stop us, the people and circumstances trying to hold us back, and the enemy who doesn't want us to continue, we know that the things we are doing our not of ourselves; they are from God, so nothing will stop his work through us! 

Once again, I HAVE to say, all glory to God!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Avoiding Museums

So another 40/40 from Arequipa, Vanessa, found a really great video about church planting.

I want to remember this: I am not a church planter who wants to make museums; I want to start a movement that goes and goes and raises high the name of Jesus Christ. I am called to church planting my whole life--to start the church where the name of Jesus Christ has not been proclaimed before, even if they don't look like the churches we are used to.

As a matter of fact, I hope that the churches that God uses me to start look a little different, and that they have a different focus.

That they care way more about going out into the harvest field than filling up seats inside a building.

That's how movements happen.

Our job in not to go out to the people and just to bring them into the church to sit and listen. Our job is to get the professional Christians out of their seats to go to where the people are, and make disciples.

And then the coolest part: we teach them to make disciples.

So then, we make disciples that make disciples. And they do the same thing.

That's how movements happen.

At our cell groups, we always try to have an empty chair for someone who isn't there but God wants to bring to the cell group. And then we pray for that person, whoever that may be. Then our focus is always on growing.

But it's NOT about the numbers. It's about bringing glory to God. It's about making disciples of every single people group in the world. It's about introducing our family members and neighbors and friends to our BEST FRIEND.

That's how movements happen.

Because evangelism is the job of every single Christian, not just the one's who carry the title "missionary." Think about it, if you knew Brad Pitt personally, and thought he was pretty cool and were proud to call him a friend, would't you want to introduce him to all your friends and family?

Guess what? Jesus Christ is WAY COOLER than Brad Pitt!

So if we really believed that...

that's how movements happen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Not Tiresome

I must say, studying the Old Testament truly gives you a deeper appreciation and reverence for the gospel.

Sure, I still understand the people who say that studying the Old Testament is tiresome, but that is no longer my experience.

Right now, I am studying Isaiah. It's awesome. God's compassion and forgiveness seeps through the pages, and each passage points to our Savior.

"Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you and people in exchange for your life" (Isaiah 43:4).

Jesus gave his life in exchange for ours because of the love of God! "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

I mean, it's really exciting to see God working thousands of years ago, and to know that he is still working today.

Several weeks ago, I was just writing a jumble of thoughts in my journal, and I wrote this:

My God created the world.
He overcame the world.
And now he wants to reconcile the world to himself.

Not necessarily a really profound or unique thought, but a succinct summary of God's redeeming work in the world.

Like, did you know in chapter 45 of Isaiah, there are a few themes that come up multiple times. God asserts nine times that there is no other God besides the God of Israel. NINE times. I think someone's trying to make a point. God is contrasted with the idols that didn't create anything, that don't do anything, that cannot save. And fourteen times this chapter mentions God as Creator, Maker, Former. It lets us know that God created the world and God saves the world.

And how does God save the world? 

Through his Son, our Savior, who overcame the world, who crushed death with his death on the cross, who reconciles us to God.

I want to leave you with the lyrics of "Christ is Risen" by Matt Maher. Let the words, this gospel message that God has pointed us to for generations, sink into your heart and transform the way you live today.

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
But fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely You've bled for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but heaven's will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He's alive! He's alive!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Things That Inspire Me: the following is a list, in no particular order, of things that inspire me. Maybe they inspire me about the future, maybe about the past, or better yet, the things in my life right now. I hope these pictures, stories, and thoughts will inspire you too.

Kisses From Katie: Katie is a girl from Tennessee who is just about my age. The thing is, she lives in Uganda, has 14 adopted daughters, has started her own non-profit to help the least of these in her community. And I LOVE her blog: She inspires me. Her life inspires me. Her faith inspires me. And not because she is some super-saint--not at all--but because she is an ordinary young woman with a call from God, and she is following that to the ends of the earth, whatever the cost. Now obviously, I would love support so that I can buy a plane ticket to come home after two years, but I would also encourage you to support her awesome ministry. So check out her blog, and be inspired.

My Team: The Cusco team is awesome! I know, I might be slightly biased, but you can ask plenty of other people, and they will tell you the same thing. Because this thing that we are doing is hard; we are combining people from all over the United States and Peru, two different cultures, many different backgrounds, families, two languages, and joining together as a family. That is not easy. At all. And we have already lost six members of our team. But look at us. We are coming together. We are forming a family. We are learning a new language. We are bonding. We are being attacked every step of the way, but we are still standing strong on a foundation much firmer than ourselves. This team is amazing: Amy and Tyler our great parents, Alex and Jorge, our guy pair, the music lovers, Emily and Kathy, the other girls, filled with so much fun and love. Then you have Ester, my other half. I always tell her that she is the glue; she is wise, loving, fun, very intelligent, and all-around amazing. That's my partner! And that's my team! And they inspire me!

Lyrics: I love music. And I am a lyrics person. I will listen to almost anything as long as it has good lyrics. So here is a sample of what is inspiring me right now:

Where there is pain
Let us bring grace
Where there is suffering
Bring serenity
For those afraid
Let us be brave
Where there is misery
Let us bring them relief
And surely we can change
Surely we can change
Oh surely we can change

The enemy has been defeated
And death couldn't hold You down
We're gonna lift our voice in victory
We're gonna make Your praises loud

Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I'll be right beside you dear

Family in the orphanage: More ordinary people doing amazing things with great love. They have taken in more than 40 kids who needed parents to love them and show them the unconditional love of God. It is amazing. And their love and faithfulness in the midst of huge difficulties is more than amazing. And it's inspiring. 

Along with this inspiration goes my awe in the way God has prepared the way for us to minister there. Because Ester can use her gift/career to help the kids who need physical therapy like Marco:

God has made the path wide and smooth for Ester to work in Cusco: we had two massage tables donated by the awesome group who came down for the Cusco Finish project. Who in Cusco could use them? Oh yeah, my partner, the physical therapist! And we met a ten year old boy who has the tibia of a two year old, who can't walk and needs help. Who will help him? Oh wait, my partner knows the exercises to help him. And Cusco is a poor but very tourist-y town. The people are hungry for the word of God, but they also need medical care, and learning English would give them a huge jump into the working world. Who could possibly help them? Oh, maybe my partner Ester, the medical professional who studied English for seven years, and her partner the gringa who is a grammar freak!

It is incredible the way God has prepared the land for us in Cusco! And that inspires me to keep pressing on, to get through these last few weeks of school so that we can get there and get to work to expand the kingdom of God!

Most of all, I am inspired by my amazing heavenly Father. Honestly there aren't words to describe his majesty and great love. I want to be overwhelmed and brought to my knees every day when I think about his might and power, when I think about his grace and love, when I think about the 31 billion galaxies HE created, when I think about all the systems of the earth that HE programmed, when I think about the change HE still makes in the lives of many, including me. LET IT BRING ME TO MY KNEES.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

All Things NEW

Isn’t it amazing that we serve a God who makes all things NEW? Doesn’t that just blow your mind?

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything NEW!" (Revelation 21:5)

That means whatever baggage you are carrying, the wounds you are hiding, the brokenness you feel, he can make it NEW! He can take it away. And he leaves a NEW creation!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation; the old has gone, the NEW has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This newness truly has nothing to do with us. Talk about grace! It isn’t about us working really hard to change our personalities or get rid of old habits. No, it is about God taking us, changing us, and making us whole!

It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally NEW, a free life! (Galatians 6:15)

You know what I pray almost every day? “God, thank you for your mercies that are NEW every morning! Lord, satisfy me this morning with your unfailing love so that I don’t go running after other things to find satisfaction.”

For His compassions never fail. They are NEW every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

God is faithful to work in our lives, renew us completely, and change us from the inside out when we surrender everything to him.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a NEW heart and put a NEW spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

God wants to make us NEW! Why? NOT because he hates our old selves. He does hate sin, but he LOVES us. He loves us so much that he wants us to die to sin and have REAL LIFE in Jesus Christ.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made NEW in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the NEW self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

He wants to heal us. He wants to give us a more rich and abundant life. He wants to make us whole. He wants to heal our wounds. He wants to take our porcelain hearts and not just glue them back together where you can still see where the broken parts were; he wants to take them and reform them so that they are completely whole once again!

And he can do it.

I know from experience. God fixed me. God put me back together.

I am facing something really difficult in my life right now. And it is something that I have faced before, and almost didn’t recover from. But two years ago, I went to a prayer walk at a church. 
And at one of the stations, I picked up a rock, and prayed over it to release all the stuff I was holding on to, all the issues I carried (because I had more issues than a magazine stand). And then I THREW that rock down into a bucket of water. Water splashed everywhere because I threw it so hard! And I never have picked those things back up again.

And I know that God completely made me NEW, because if he had just glued me back together, my scars would be reopened. But they are not. I don’t even have any signs of the old wounds, because God healed me completely.

He makes all things NEW.

For you too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The End of the Story

I haven't told you lately, but we still have Tuesday morning prayer and fasting here with Extreme. We know that prayer is powerful and necessary to do this work.

And last Tuesday morning, we specifically prayed for God to be preparing the church plant sites, preparing the land, preparing the people's hearts.

And I CAN NOT WAIT to start our work in Cusco. 

And that city is a dark place with generations of chains binding hearts and keeping them from the Truth that is Jesus Christ. It is obvious when you walk through Cusco that there is a spiritual darkness there, and we know the battle is tough.

We also know that our God is tougher. That the ones who are with us are stronger than the ones against us. That even the darkness will not be dark to our God.

But I read something in Isaiah the other day that reminded me of Cusco:

"O Lord, our God, other masters besides You have ruled over us, but we will acknowledge and mention Your name only. They [the former tyrant masters] are dead, they shall not live and reappear; they are powerless ghosts, they shall not rise and come back. Therefore You have visited and made an end of them and caused every memory of them [every trace of their supremacy] to perish." (Isaiah 26:13-14)

Cusco is a place steeped in Incan tradition. I mean, you've heard of Machu Pichu, right? And they have served the Incan gods for so long that they are pretty much slaves to it. Even the Catholic people have Incan beliefs mixed in.

But that is not the end of the story in Cusco.

Because God's name will be proclaimed there. And Cusco will turn from their former masters and serve ONLY the one true God. The Incan gods will be DEAD, and they will NOT come back. God's word, God's name, and God's truth will REMAIN!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Call

In the Cusco group, in order to get to know one another better, several weeks back we started sharing our testimonies during our group time each week. It has really been awesome to see from where God has brought each one of us.

I was sharing my story, my testimony, the other day--not during group time but just with Emily. I'm not sure how much you know about my past, but God has brought me through a lot. God has guided my family through a lot.

So I was telling my story, and it suddenly hit me: that my story could equally be the story of any non-Christian family in all of the US. It didn't sound like a Christian story at all.

And I technically grew up in a Christian home. So that honestly started to ticked me off. Shouldn't there be a difference between a believing family and one who doesn't believe in Jesus Christ?

Shouldn't there be a significant difference in the divorce rates of Christians versus non-Christians?

Should nearly every church in the United States have a story of an affair between church members?

Shouldn't we be doing a better job of living in holiness?

Yes. Our God and Savior says, "Be holy, as I am holy." That means something. That is a call to really die to our sin. That doesn't mean we live hypocritically, pretending to have the perfect Christian life while hiding sin. Let's come out in the open and say, I am a sinner. But I am a sinner saved by grace, and I am trying to live a holy life in response.

You know I hate legalism. It drives me crazy. But grace doesn't mean that we can keep on sinning. It means we leave our sin behind because it is covered by the grace of God, and we press on living a life pleasing to God.

"What shall we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God's grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow? Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2)

Christians, this is a call to make ourselves clean and holy before God. This means getting rid of all the ugliness and sin in our lives. We can't clean up our acts without God's redeeming grace. But repentance means TURNING AWAY FROM SIN. We must also leave pride behind. Just because I am justified by God's grace and my sins are washed away does not mean I am better than people still caught in sin. As a matter of fact, grace means the opposite: that I did nothing to pull myself out of the muddy pit I found myself in. God did it, so how can I take pride in something I didn't do?

We need to rediscover the call of God on our lives to live in holiness. That is a fact. But I also realized the differentiating factor between the non-Christian story and the Christian story:


Yes, we still fail. We still mess up, and get caught in sin. I wish it weren't so, but it is. So the thing that makes our story different is forgiveness.

Without God's help, it is impossible to forgive the people who have caused the deepest wounds. Impossible. But because of the forgiveness that we have received from our God, even though we betrayed him like an adulterous wife, we are called to forgive others. You don't get that from the other side. 

So, let's tell the Christian story differently. Let's tell the story of a people who are called to be holy and blameless in the site of our Lord. And let's practice the forgiveness that we have received. Then the story we tell will be different than the story the world tells. And that's how it should be.

One more thing: as Christians, we must also hold our brothers and sisters accountable when they are sinning. We must call them out in the love of Jesus Christ, and remind them of the call to holiness. We cannot just watch our brothers and sisters stumble. It is our JOB to hold them accountable; this is different than judging. We don't pass judgement on them, because that also is sin, but instead, we lift them up, and point them to higher living.

"And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient toward all." (1 Thess. 5:14)

Monday, September 13, 2010


We had a surprise when we got to the market last Thursday.

Sonia was putting away all of her fruit and cleaning up as fast as she could. And she told us she wanted to go visit her boyfriend at work at talk to him.

Apparently, one of the first times we went to visit her at the market, she told us she wanted us to go visit Pedro, and we had just never gotten around to it.

And on Thursday, she said, "If not now, when?"

So off we went. We went to the factory his family owns where he also works, and sat down in the office and started to chat. We got to know him a bit, and then we shared the story of the prodigal son. He was moved, and Ester continued to share about the love of Christ, and asked if he wanted to accept Jesus Christ into his heart. He said yes, so we prayed with him.

When we finished, Ester asked him how he felt, and he said, "Wow."

What a perfect expression, "wow."

Jesus Christ has come to live inside your heart. Wow!! Shouldn't we explode with love and joy and grace? It's big! It's exciting! It's awesome! Is there a better gift in the whole world? Let's act like it!!

So we are now doing discipleship at Sonia's house with her family on Wednesdays, and on Saturdays we will be doing discipleship with Pedro. Plus we are visiting Sonia to disciple her at the market every Thursday. This is the life!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Exciting Opportunity

As you may know, my Peruvian other half is from Lima, a short hour and a half plane ride from here in Arequipa. She has to routinely go back to have her braces adjusted.

Well, we have a week without classes coming up in October, and she has to go get her braces adjusted one more time before we go to Cusco. The same weekend, her church is having a youth camp, and they would like for us to come help and do a couple of the workshops.

Everything would be included except for my transportation to get there. So the reason I am writing is to ask if anyone is interested in sponsoring me for this trip so that I can go share with some young people in Lima about what God wants to do in their lives. Many of these kids were in Ester's Sunday school class before she came here. We are really excited about this trip!

With that said, if you are interested in possibly sponsoring me for this trip, contact me at

Thank you, and please be in prayer for us so that we can preach the word boldly to a future generation of leaders!

Because one of my favorite things is to inspire other people to get involved in missions. Hello, if I can do it, who can't? And because of Extreme Nazarene, many of them could have the opportunity to be missionaries in South America, or--who knows--around the world. And I would love to share how God calls ordinary teenagers to do his will. And Ester is excited that, being the only gringa around people who aren't used to speaking slowly or with especially basic vocabulary, I will have to practice A LOT of Spanish.

It's just a really exciting opportunity!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Class last week was about developing leaders.

I'm not sure if you know this, but it's kind of important for us to develop leaders. Because you know, we aren't going to be here forever. And when we leave, the whole thing collapses if we don't leave a strong person in charge.

And I surely don't want the three (or more!) churches that I start to just fall apart after two years of hard work.

Kind of important.

And one of the chapters that Ester and I gave a presentation on was about leaving a legacy. And that legacy has to do with the people who take over for us after we are gone.

Now I generally take a different stance on the legacy I leave. Maybe you've heard me talk about this before, but I believe that it doesn't make much sense for me to work my whole life in an attempt to make my name known. What is the point of that when eventually, everyone who ever knew me will be dead and gone one day? My name won't continue forever. But the name of Jesus Christ WILL. So I want to make his name known until my dying breath!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Rejoice in Salvation

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is in Matthew 27 that says, "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split" (51).

Immediately after Jesus' death on the cross, the earth shook and the curtain in the temple that separates the Inner Court from the Holy of Holies was torn. I love this because it shows us pictorially that we are no longer separated from God, but because of Jesus' blood on the cross, "We can hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ just as Moses hid himself in the cleft of the rock as the glory of the Lord passed by" (AW Tozer). 

Honestly, I get kind of fired up when I talk this. Do you get it? We were objects of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), completely unworthy of entering into the presence of God. Our sin keeps us separated from God, because God is so holy, it is like he is the sun, and we are astronauts. But guess what? It we sent astronauts to the sun, they would burn to smithereens. We can't go to the sun, unless we have some sort of super-strong protective shield or suit of some kind...

Enter Jesus. His blood on the cross covers our sins and protects us. His cross crosses the great divide that our sin caused. His sacrifice on the cross tore the veil in the temple that kept us from entering into the holiness of God.

And you know what? This was talked about 700 years before Jesus walked the earth. 

"And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time." (Isaiah 25:7-8a)

The power of death was destroyed when Jesus rose from the dead! And the covering that kept us from the grace of God, that kept us from his presence and his kingdom, is swallowed up!!

"But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away." (2 Corinthians 3:16)

Are you excited yet about what God has done?

You know what? This passage also talks about things that are to come:

"The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine. And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day, 'Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.'" (Isaiah 25:6, 8b)

There is coming a day when the bride of Christ will be united with her groom. And we are going to feast! And we are going to party! And in that place, there will be no more crying or mourning or pain! And we are going to rejoice in his salvation!!

But let's start right now: rejoice in his salvation.