Reclaimed Wood – Reclaimed Hearts

Reclaimed Wood Fireplace at my House

I clutch the head tightly with the claw and strain to pry the nail out of the flesh leaving an open wound. Sometimes it splinters even more. The bent nails must be hammered from the opposite side in order to be removed. Reclaimed wood is rough, marred, scarred, scratched, discolored, beaten, and weathered. It’s not very pretty. However, when used in the right context, it can be beautiful. The scars give it character and tell a story. It has rich history. The wood cannot reclaim itself. I must do the work.

My heart is the same. God has been reclaiming my heart piece by piece since the day I chose to follow Him back in 1985. Like the nails that must be hammered from the opposite side, He works from the inside out. It’s a painful process. He is hammering, ripping, tearing, and prying out the damage that I’ve done to myself with my sin. It hurts. It’s not an easy process and sometimes I recognize new splinters in the painful ways that my sin had affected me without my knowledge. The Holy Spirit convicts me and He opens wounds within me, but then Jesus offers healing and has already provided the salve by covering my sin with His own blood.

Like the wood, I am rough, marred, scarred, scratched, discolored, beaten, and weathered. However, when I submit and let God put me in the right context, I become beautiful. I cannot do this on my own, but in His hands, I have character, a story, and a rich history that He can use for His glory. I become His creation as He molds me into His likeness in spite of my sin and in spite of my wounds. I am His and that makes all the difference.

Repost: Tassels

Our Pastor spoke on these same concepts today, so I thought I’d repost this article from May 3, 2006. Tassels

photo credit: ratterrell

tzitzitRead Numbers 15 – 37 The LORD said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.’ “

God tells Moses to tell the people that they are supposed to put tassels on the corners of their clothes so that they can be constantly reminded that they are supposed to live like God has told them to. Anyway, if you were a Jew in those days, you’d see people wearing these tassels all throughout the day and when you saw them, you remembered that you were one of God’s people.

The Hebrew word for “corners” is “kanaf” and the Hebrew word for “tassel” or “fringe” is “tzitzit.”

Tzitzit_1 Many Jews wear a prayer shawl today in order to keep this commandment. The tassels today have 5 knots in them representing the 5 books of the Torah (Our first five books) and the four spaces between them represent the four letter for God’s name YHWH. Along the shawl there are also 613 knotted strings to remind them of the 613 laws of the torah.

Now check out Malachi 4 – But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.

The Hebrew word translated “wings” is “kanaf.” Now what do you think?? This means that the verse could be translated “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its ______.” (Tassels.)

Now because of this there was a legend that people began to believe about the coming Messiah which said that there would be some kind of mysterious almost magical healing powers in the tassels of his prayer shawl.

Now read Luke 8 – As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Pretty cool huh? Did you catch it? The woman believed the legend and actually touched Jesus’ “tzitzit,” His tassles, His “kanaf.” In her actions she was proclaiming that she believed He was the Messiah. This is why Jesus was so quick to say “Your faith has healed you!” Her action alone was a huge expression of faith.

Breakin’ the Law

LawIs it OK to rebel against a rule/law/etc.?As a youth minister, one of the topics that comes up over and over is about obeying parents (and other authorities). Scripture is clear that we are to obey the authorities (Ephesians 6, Romans 13:1-7) placed over us and so it’s a pretty easy answer. Of course you’ve gotta obey God’s authority above all else, but who are we to make those kinds of judgment calls? I mean – who is able to say that law is wrong and God would do this instead? We’re all human so it makes it tough sometimes. And then there’s the argument concerning the Bible. If it goes against God’s word, then it’s a man-made law and we aren’t required to follow it. But then again Romans 13 says that God placed the authorities in those positions and so if we disobey them, we are disobeying God.Bottom line: Is it OK to rebel against a rule/law/etc.?We see it all throughout Scripture but some guys (Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego) are commended for it while others are condemned or even killed (Ananias and Sapphira).Consider one particular example from Jesus’ life. John 9 records Jesus’ healing of a blind man on the Sabbath by using spit and mud. He could have chosen to heal him any way he wanted to, but for some reason he decided that spit and mud were the best option. Now here’s the part I just learned – The Jewish system of laws said, “To heal a blind man on the Sabbath, it is prohibited to inject wine in his eyes. It is also prohibited to make mud with spittle and smear it on the eyes.” (Shabbat 108:20) Who wrote this law? Was this really a problem in the ancient world? Anyway, this means that Jesus not only broke the law by healing on the Sabbath, but he also chose a method of healing that He knew was forbidden by the Jewish laws! He broke the law and went against their authority on purpose! Jesus was a rebel! He was sinless and so of course it wasn’t sinful to break this law, but what about us? How can we know when it’s sinful to break the law and when it’s not? And the other question is why? Why would Jesus break this particular law on purpose? It was clearly about more than just healing the blind man. He could have healed him in countless other ways. Jesus must have had an ulterior motive. Did you hear that? Jesus had ulterior motives! He had a plan, a scheme, another agenda! And then he’d go and say something like, “I have not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.” (Matthew 5:17) Can’t you hear the people now – “What are you talking about? You are destroying it. You just broke the law and now you’re saying this?” Did Jesus break those laws (Sabbath and spit laws) because He knew they were breaking the people?I’m not sure what to think anymore. Jesus did the very things I tell our youth not to do.Hmm. . . what are the religious laws, the modern rules that need to be broken? What sacred cows need to be BBQed? What ones should we draw attention to and then rebel against? And how can we know which laws should be broken? Which laws are written by man and which are from God? If we are to obey the authorities He has placed over us, aren’t those laws to be obeyed as if they were from him? Which laws have we added to the Scriptures that are keeping people from knowing God? Which ones are breaking the people?I wonder if there’d be more teenagers interested in church if we started doing the kinds of things Jesus did?Not sure I really have the answers today – these are just things that are rolling around in my head today.

Tassels

Read Numbers 15 – 37 The LORD said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.’ “

God tells Moses to tell the people that they are supposed to put tassels on the corners of their clothes so that they can be constantly reminded that they are supposed to live like God has told them to. Anyway, if you were a Jew in those days, you’d see people wearing these tassels all throughout the day and when you saw them, you remembered that you were one of God’s people.

The Hebrew word for “corners” is “kanaf” and the Hebrew word for “tassel” or “fringe” is “tzitzit.”

06-05-03Many Jews wear a prayer shawl today in order to keep this commandment. The tassels today have 5 knots in them representing the 5 books of the Torah (Our first five books) and the four spaces between them represent the four letter for God’s name YHWH. Along the shawl there are also 613 knotted strings to remind them of the 613 laws of the torah.

Now check out Malachi 4 – But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.

The Hebrew word translated “wings” is “kanaf.” Now what do you think?? This means that the verse could be translated “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its ______.” (Tassels.)

Now because of this there was a legend that people began to believe about the coming Messiah which said that there would be some kind of mysterious almost magical healing powers in the tassels of his prayer shawl.

Now read Luke 8 – As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Pretty cool huh? Did you catch it? The woman believed the legend and actually touched Jesus’ “tzitzit,” His tassles, His “kanaf.” In her actions she was proclaiming that she believed He was the Messiah. This is why Jesus was so quick to say “Your faith has healed you!” Her action alone was a huge expression of faith.