The Tree of Life

“He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Genesis 3:11

The moment of curse. The shame. The violation. The removal of the relationship that was good. The pity. The brokenness.

Blood was shed to cover their nakedness. They were given a promise of resolution… One day it, He, would come.

“We are all the same. We have plucked fruit from that forbidden tree. We have proudly declared that we know best, that we can take care of ourselves. We have crowned ourselves deities. “Have you eaten from the tree?” Oh, yes and yes, over and over again in ways both glaring and hidden.”

“But the God-man has been slain. The Lamb’s blood has been spilt, and it covers us. Ours rags have been replaced with his robes. The garden has been reopened; we’ve been invited back in. “Here, eat of this, it will give you life.”

“Eat from the blessed tree, dear friend. Eat and eat and never stop. When you are hungry for something else, something more, something new, run to that tree. Stay there; rest in his shade. The door is open; the meal is ready. Sit down and eat.”

Let us celebrate this Easter, and every day. It is finished. He is ours, we are his. Enjoy!

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 31.

Sit Down and Believe

“We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:8-10

The preaching had ended for the moment but the peopled remained. So many. All hungry. What was Jesus and the disciples to do? Should they send them away or reward their attentive ears with a meal for their stomachs?

Jesus desires to feed them as he has with this Word. But this presents a logistical dilemma. There is no food and not nearly enough money to buy food. “Have the people sit down,” Jesus told the disciples. Then all of the hungry listeners ate an were satisfied.

“Like them, we too, have nothing. We have no innate goodness, no righteousness, no wisdom, no strength, no miraculous power to enable us to work hard enough to meet the overwhelming need of our souls. We are completely bankrupt; we’re devoid of the power we need to conquer our sin, to change our nature… We have nothing of our own. But our Savior calls to us, “Sit down.”

“His answer to our prayer for some labor to do is to sit down and believe.”

“Yes, it’s true that we have nothing. Recognizing our innate destitution and bankruptcy is so freeing. It so strips us of self-reliance that our busy heart is able, at last, to find calming rest. It tells us that what we need to do is stop milling about, trying to find something we can do to make ourselves better. All we can do is sit down and trust that he is handling it. He’s got lunch covered. All we can do is sit down and let him serve us. Amazing condescension and grace.”

“But our destitution isn’t all there is. Paul described his life with these words: “as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Cor. 6:10). Not only do we have nothing, but we also possess everything. We’ve been given more than an abundance of blessing – not just a scrap or two of bread, not just a bite of fish. There is an abundance, there is plenty, there are leftovers. When Jesus serves you, expect to be overwhelmed.”

Eat up!

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 30.

Draw Near

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

Do you ever feel guilty about your prayer life? None of us pray as we ought… or as we are permitted, because we get in the way of the gospel reality of our life in Jesus and our opportunity to pray with confidence and genuine love. There are reasons for this…

“The first reason we don’t pray is that we don’t really think we need to. Unless we are in an especially difficult trial, we are pretty satisfied in our self-sufficiency…We are confirmed in our self-sufficient blindness, convinced that we are doing okay. We don’t believe that we are as sinful and weak as God says we are. We feel pretty strong; we are making it. We function like unbelievers.”

“The second reason we have little fervor in prayer is that we are not really very comfortable in God’s presence. We suppose that he is sitting up in heaven wishing we would get our act together… Yes, we believe the gospel, but only to a certain extent. We concede that we’re sinful and flawed, but we are not really desperate. We acknowledge that he has loved and welcomed us, but we are not ravished by the fact.”

The solution to our prayerlessness and comfort in God’s presence? The gospel.

“Only the gospel will make you comfortable with the bridegroom. Only the gospel will warm your affections so that you will long for an opportunity to be near him, to rest your head on his breast, to feel the warmth of his nearness, to let him put his arm around your drooping shoulders and say, “I’m here. You’re mine. Soon these interposing years will end, and your faith will be sight. stay here by me for a while and let me give you my strength. See how I love you.”

“Let the gospel, and only the gospel, motivate you to pray.”

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 29.

Passed Over

“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.” Zechariah 13:1

“On this day in Jerusalem a fountain has been opened for Jew and Gentile alike. It flows and flows, on and on, from his pierced side and covers over all our sin. It covers our religious sin. It covers our religious sin. It covers our irreligious sin. In one stroke, the Father has opened this fountain and with it he washes away all our sin and uncleanness. Our souls are cleansed by this water, atoned for by this blood. He opens a fountain that will never run dry; this well is sufficient for us all. We have pierced him. He has taken that blood and water and made us his own.”

“Dear friend, the day you are facing may seem like any other day: uneventful, business as usual, nothing to celebrate. But ask yourself, what makes this day different from any other day? Then look on him whom we have pierced and remember, there is a fountain opened to cleanse you from all your sin and uncleanness. “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate” (1. Cor. 5:7-8). Yes, let us celebrate Christ, our Passover Lamb today.”

Lenten devotion form Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 28.