restoration

God’s Laundry Mat

The only thing harder than building is rebuilding. To go back, restore something that was ruined, rebuild a structure that collapsed, or to cleanse something that was stained. These projects are often harder than starting from scratch.

Such was the case in Jerusalem ca 520 BC. Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Babylonian army at the start of the 70-year captivity where God allowed His people to be carried away so that He could teach them not to commit idolatry. In 520 BC, the captivity was ending, and King Darius decreed that the Jews should go home. So, home they went.

Upon arriving in the Holy Land, they found Jerusalem in total ruin. The Temple was destroyed, the walls were a pile of rubble, bandits raided the area, and discouragement set in.

The Prophet Zechariah was called by God to encourage the people to rebuild Jerusalem.

In Zechariah 3, the prophet sees a vision of Joshua the high priest standing before the Lord while wearing filthy garments. His filthy attire was not from incidental contact with dust, but rather was the complete soiling consistent with rolling around in mud.

Old Testament Law required the high priest to wear clean clothing, so the fact the high priest was standing before God wearing filthy clothing was a major violation. Being the representative of the people before God, Joshua was essentially representing the sinfulness and the guilt of the nation before God.

To make things worse, Satan stood beside Joshua “to resist him” before God. Basically, Satan stood beside Joshua, criticizing his filthy clothes, and the sinfulness of the nation.

This had to be a mixed bag for Zechariah. One on hand, there’s the high priest. The priesthood and worship were being restored. On the other hand, he wore filthy clothes before God, and there was still no temple where worship could truly take place.

It was at that moment that God rebuked Satan, called Joshua (and by extension, the nation of Israel) a brand plucked from the fire, and restored Joshua to the glory of the priesthood by changing his clothes from filthy clothes, to new, clean, priestly clothes.

In this one moment, God showed the Prophet Zechariah that He not only accepted the return of the Jews to Israel, and the reconstruction of the Temple, but that He was behind it, and He would restore it, and He would cleanse the nation and reconcile them to Himself as His chosen people.

Therefore, the nation should move forward with reconstruction in faith and return to the Lord.

Often times, we wind up feeling like Joshua the high priest, standing before the Lord in filthy clothes with Satan (and the rest of the world) criticizing our weaknesses and failures. It often feels as if we stand alone, damaged goods rejected by the world.

Just as God cleansed Joshua and restored him to the glory of his position, God will restore us as well, if we (a) know Christ as our savior, and (b) turn to Him.

You don’t have to go through life defined by the scars of your past. You don’t have to go through life as a second-class citizen, or a second-hand friend. You are not some old CD single languishing in the bargain bin of a soon-to-close music store.

You have the opportunity for a new life, one where you’ve been made free in Christ, where you can grab that new lease on life, love God, and do as you please.

And we want to be a part of that with you. Come see us. Sunday School at 10 am, Morning Worship at 11 am. We meet at the Early Chamber of Commerce, 104 E. Industrial Drive, Early, TX, 76802.

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Motorless Mustangs Are No Fun

1965_Ford_Mustang_Fastback_(15595256971)

In the back of every red-blooded American’s mind is a dream to take a classic car from America’s golden days, restore it, and hit the open road. Very few actually undertake this project, because restoring a classic car to its former glory is an involved process. You have to disassemble the car, all the way to the frame, and rebuild it from the ground up, replacing worn out and broken parts with new parts, and making sure all parts fit properly together.

To me, the most exciting part of restoring a classic would be the finishing paint and chrome. At that point, the final product takes shape, and that newly restored car sits in its full glory in your garage. However, if that car doesn’t run, it’s no fun. Worse, it has little value. So, the true car enthusiast will begin his restoration project by restoring the mechanical components of the car. After all of that is complete, then comes the body and paint.

If the one doing the restoration is successful, he will roll out of his garage in a car that has been restored to its former glory. That awesome moment comes only after the car has been rebuilt from the inside out.

This process is time consuming and intense to perform on a car. It’s even more intense to perform on one’s life. All too often, we get to a point in our lives where we see the need to rebuild, to start over. We look for redemption in our lives, but we don’t think about Spiritual redemption. We merely want to fix our current physical situation, whether we’ve wrecked our careers or marriage, or whether we’ve lost everything to drugs and alcohol.

The fact is, if we only try to fix the problems in our lives, our restoration will be just as shallow as putting a coat of paint on a car with no engine. We have to get to the root of the problem, and that’s our Spirituality.

In Luke 24:13-27, we meet two disciples who were disenchanted after the death of Christ. They had believed that Christ would come in and restore the Kingdom of Israel. However, when Christ died on the cross, and rose again, it appeared that the restoration of the Kingdom would never happen. So, these two disciples, disillusioned and disappointed, left town.

The mistake these two disciples made was desiring a surface-level restoration of the Kingdom while overlooking the deep restoration that would come through redemption and salvation.

However, Christ met these two disciples along the road, and began to preach to them all things concerning Himself in the scriptures. The plan wasn’t thwarted. The plan was carried out beautifully. Christ paid for the sins of man so that man could dwell with Christ eternally in that restored Kingdom. The most important thing Christ had done for them, and us, was paying for their sin, thus giving them eternal life. Once that issue was settled, then the Kingdom on earth could be addressed.

You may be┬ástruggling right now. Perhaps your life has fallen apart. Perhaps you’ve seen destruction in your life. Perhaps you’ve lost everything. Or, perhaps your setback is relatively minor. If you simply try to solve your own problem, and restore your own life, any progress you make will be temporary and superficial.

However, if you repent and trust the Lord, He will rebuild you from the inside out. He will turn your sorrow into joy and form you into the person He intended on you being. That restoration runs deep, and is eternal. The question is, will you trust Him?

See you at church Sunday. Sunday School at 10 a.m., Morning Worship at 11 a.m., at the Early Chamber of Commerce building, 104 E. Industrial Drive, Early, TX 76802.

Promise in the Dark

The sky is always darkest before the dawn.

When there is no hope, when all is lost, when your personal destruction is imminent, God shows up, and saves the day.

Isaiah 7 was written during a very dark time in Israel’s history. Due to sin, immorality and idolatry, the kingdom had been split into two, and the southern king, Ahaz, had just learned that the northern kingdom had allied with Syria to come up against Jerusalem. King Ahaz felt that his forces would be unable to stop the assault from the north, and his days were numbered.

It was at that time that Isaiah gave the prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

To say that Israel’s destruction was self-inflicted would be an understatement. For generations, God gave them time to turn from their sin, and return to worshiping Him. Instead, they chose to continue in idolatry, worshiping gods that didn’t exist, as opposed to the true God that brought them out of Egypt and into the promised land. Their idolatry gave way to rampant immorality, and by the time foreign armies showed up at their borders, they were completely incapable of self-defense. Yet, in that pathetic state, God told them that He was not done with them. In Isaiah 7:14, He not only promised them the Christ, but He also promised to once again dwell with them. “Immanuel,” properly interpreted, means “God with us.” Despite their sin, and their self-destruction, God still loved them, would restore them, and would once again dwell with them and be their God.

All too often, we see destruction in our lives because of our own sin. Sin can destroy your health, your finances, you marriage, family, home and reputation. Sin has cost some everything they had in life. Yet, even in that situation, God hasn’t given up on you. The Bible teaches that if you turn from that sin, and turn toward the Lord, He will not only save you from your sin, but He will restore fellowship with you, and begin to rebuild your life for you.

Come visit with us Sunday morning at 11 a.m. as we study the implications Isaiah 7:14 has on our lives, and see the true hope of Christmas. Grace Pointe meets for Sunday School at 10 a.m., morning worship at 11 a.m., at the Early Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Incubator Facility at 104 E. Industrial, Early, TX, 76802. We hope to see you there.