The Scepter

In the book of Esther there is a scene where the chosen bride goes before the king at the risk of her life.  In that kingdom, to go before him uninvited could bring an immediate execution.  She enters and he extends his scepter and she is welcomed into his presence.

I can’t get this picture out of my mind.

I was praying this week and saw it so clearly in my mind.  Only I was Esther.

And I think there are others out there that need to hear this.

I approach God with the idea that I could die, that he could judge me, hate me, reject me.  And in one sense, it’s all true, if I ignore the character, the nature of Jesus, the person of my Father King.

But in the story, you never get the sense of even a moment of hesitation.  It wasn’t like this human king even had to think a bit.  She enters and is accepted.

So am I.  So are you.

It’s not that we don’t deserve the shame we feel, the condemnation, the rejection.  But because of the cross, because of the blood of Jesus that makes us clean, we are accepted without question, without hesitation.

And do we get accepted so that we can go sit in the back and be quiet?  Ha!  Do we get accepted so that we can wait our turn as other “more important” things are dealt with?  Not at all!

In a very real sense, God pauses his usual activity to hear us, to spend time with us.

I don’t know how that works since I’m pretty sure if God took his hands off the universe for a second it would crumble.  But with all that he has to do in this world, his attention shifts dramatically to us, to me.

I know myself to be a fairly silly person, angry and emotional about some pretty trivial things sometimes.  I make requests of God that probably I should be embarrassed to even be thinking about.

But guess what?  Not only does He accept me!  Not only does He listen to me!  He also wants to hear what I’m asking.  He wants to know what I think I need.  And before I can even ask, He is promising me the Kingdom!

So why do I, how can I ignore Him?  Ever?

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

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You will never be…

You will never be skinny.

You will never be beautiful.

You will never be good.

You will never be brave.

You will never be worthy.

You will never be accepted.

You will never be loved.
You will never be more precious, no matter what your body type.

You will never be more beautiful than you are in His sight.

You will never be more clothed in righteousness than you are at the foot of the cross.

You will never be more fearless than you are with His Spirit.

You will never be more worthy to fulfill His calling, to obey His voice, than you are when you simply say, “YES!”

You will never be more accepted than you were when God had His first thought of you.

You will never be more loved than you are right now.
Feelings and voices may tell us different things.  But only one voice is speaking the truth.  

Which one will you believe?

I Wasn’t invited

I often wonder how I got into the Kingdom of God.

Sometimes, in gatherings with fine, upstanding, righteous people, I feel like the guy with a huge pimple on the end of his nose.  People are nice but they can’t help but stare.

Jesus followed up. “Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’ ‭‭Luke‬ ‭14:16-17‬ ‭MSG‬‬

The invited guests appear to be the “in crowd” in this story.  They were the accepted, the cool.

One problem, when it came time to feast, they didn’t want to eat.  They were too cool to go to the feast.

But, our King, our Master, knows how cool He is.  He knows the value of the feast He is setting before the world.  He doesn’t meet their standards, we meet His.

“The servant went back and told the master what had happened. He was outraged and told the servant, ‘Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and wretched you can lay your hands on, and bring them here.’”  Luke‬ ‭14:21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

This is my crowd.  The ones who can’t say anything, do anything right.  The ones who don’t fit in. The ones who are broken, hungry, whose dreams have been reduced to getting something to eat.

“The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.’” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭14:23-24‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Yep!  And I’m the kind that has to be dragged in.  Too fearful, too broken to accept God’s love, His generous love for me, I would run and hide rather than run to His banquet.

My God, my King, my Love found me, dragged me, clothed me in His splendor and sat me down so I could eat.  And, from time to time, He goes and finds me, drags me back to His table again.  He reminds me who I am, where I now belong and we eat together.

I was not invited.

Oh, but I am loved.  I am accepted.