This past weekend I walked through Step 4 of NA with one of our Manor peeps that I have been on a journey with for close to three years now. Step 4 is “making a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”. It was encouraging to be at this place in our friendship reached this level of trust. I was open with him as well and it gave us opportunity to really put the past to bed through confession, experiencing the power of God’s forgiveness, desire to heal and restore.
Another eye opening experience for me was to visit one of our Manor peeps on a regular basis who was in T1 at Homewood. (Trillium One is a lock down facility of the mental health center. Those instituted here have only access to their room with a bed and not even pens are allowed).The first time I visited him it felt like all hell was breaking loose. Shortly after I was there, all one person could do was continue scream and rant taking Jesus’ Name continually in vain. Doors were slamming as another person there just shouted, “I want to end my life”. Nurses were running and my friend looked at me and said, I think there is an awareness of the anointing here or more so the presence of Jesus! We prayed together, praying for those who looked so tormented in their spirit. He was there for six weeks and I’m happy to say he is now out and is experiencing real freedom. He has taken the time to meet with his father and then mother to apologize for the hurt he caused over the years. God restores relationships
I recently had the opportunity to officiate a wedding for one of my former youth from London, ON, Adam Larocque and now, his wife, Lisa! Keep her in your prayers as she battles cancer. We believe in the victory that Jesus has over sickness! It is great to reunite in friendship and hard to believe that it was 20 years ago that Sharon and I left London to take a ministry position in Cloverdale, BC…time flies!
At Church at the Manor, we have just finished walking through Exodus as I can’t say enough about the clarity and overall excellence provided by the Bible Project series videos. Check it out here. https://www.youtube.com/user/jointhebibleproject
As we reviewed the second half of Exodus we saw the incredible patience of our loving God. After His people agreed to the terms of the covenant through the giving of the 10 commandments, it took no less than 40 days to break the first two commands of the covenant with God by having a golden calf made for worship. It really seems hard to believe that after hearing the commands, seeing the thunder and lightning, a mountain in smoke and the sound of a trumpet, that it could all be forgotten so quickly! A hymn writer summed it up best when he wrote the words, “prone to wander, LORD, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” I know in my own life that intimacy with God can be lost just as quickly as it is experienced. It is for that very reason that we need to jealousy guard it against all distractions.
The commandments were specifically designed around two things: worship and social justice and Jesus made that clear when He told us to love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and love our neighbour as ourselves.
The overall theme that we see in Genesis continues in Exodus and that is that God wants to bless all nations through His line, first Abraham and then His descendants, Israel. They were to be a kingdom of priests to represent God to the nations and intercede. Fast forward to the New Testament and we are the royal priesthood in 1 Peter 2:9 called to the same purpose!
Every time Israel sinned and every time we sin, we lose access to the presence of God and lose sight of our purpose. They had the tabernacle and the priests, but we have the throne of grace that we can boldly come to and the Great High Priest! We are called to a depth of intimacy with God like no other.
When God is seen in His frustration with His children’s lack of obedience, it is from Moses’ life that we learn we can hurt God like the NT teaches us about grieving the Holy Spirit. We also learn the power of intercession and a God who relents!
We read in Exodus 34:6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.
And as the second part of the verse goes on to say that He does not leave the guilty unpunished, we thank God for His indescribable gift in His Son Jesus, who took upon Himself the guilt of our sins and who breaks the chains of generational sin. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, no longer to be subject to a yoke of slavery!!