Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bethany Bullet - May 14, 2013

This past weekend we finished our series on the LAMB.  We walked through some of the passages in the book of Revelation that talk about the Lamb of God and we used that word LAMB to help us gain some understanding. In the past weeks we have seen that through the Lamb: 
  • We can Laud And Magnify Boldly  
  • We are Lovingly Annotated in the Master’s Book  
  • We can Leave All Mourning Behind  
  • We have been Laundered Anew and Made Blemish-less

Today we look at the last chapter of Revelation and see that through the LAMB there is LIFE ALWAYS & MORTALITY is BANISHED.

From John’s Revelation, the 22nd Chapter, “Then the Angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.  On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2)

Here in the last chapter of the Bible, we end where we began, in paradise with the tree of life in the center and now the Lamb is on the throne and life giving water flows. 

Back in the first paradise, in Eden, the tree of life stood and water flowed and everything was good and perfect.  But things soon changed.  The slyness of the serpent seduced sin and soon there was a curse as toil, and pain, sadness and shame set in.

Since that fateful day in the garden humanity has been subject to a curse.

Adam and Eve gave in to the lies of the serpent and began a chain of events that brought the curse of God upon the world and we have all suffered from the curse to this day.  
The curse of: 
  • Darkness  
  • Disease  
  • Death

As a result, Life was Waylaid and Humanity Banished. 

On that fateful day, death entered the world and our first parents were banished from paradise.

Where have you felt the curse? Chemotherapy? Catastrophe? Crisis? Coffin?

As a high school freshman, I knew that something was wrong. My mom was acting strange, different, not herself.  The strong woman who sat me on her lap to read books to me, was beginning to struggle. She began to forget names and dates, and she was easily angered at the littlest things. Soon her motor skills began to deteriorate and her steps were labored.  She was in her early 40s but seemed to be suffering from some neurological disease. Numerous doctors’ visits, and a myriad of tests followed, but no diagnosis was determined. After a number of falls and some broken ribs we knew we needed to do something to keep my mom safe. Soon, we were looking for a care facility that mom could move to; dark days indeed.

As the months and years dragged on, my mother, slipped into a silent world. She lost her ability to communicate and never had the opportunity to know anything about her grandchildren. 

For years I prayed that this curse would be taken away, that my mom would be healed, that the pain I felt would be erased.  I prayed every day, for years…and, nothing.  I felt like I was in the dark and there was no way out.  My friends the curse of sin is strong, it eats at our souls, it destroys relationships, and fractures families.

Finally in January of 2007, after nearly 20 years in residential care, my mom rested in the arms of Jesus.  At her memorial service I read a letter I wrote to her just after she died and on this Mother’s Day I want to share a portion of that with you:

Dear Mom,
I know I haven’t written you a letter in a long time but I just had to tell you some things that have been on my mind recently. I was thinking the other day about the gift I gave you when you moved into Tustin Manor. The small stained glass frame with the saying “Mom, I will never outgrow my love for you” has been etched in my mind. That saying cannot be more true. I have been thinking of when my love for you first bloomed. Was it before I could remember as you held me in your arms, or when you played with me as a toddler? Was it when I fell down and you kissed my skinned knee? Or was it there even before? I know I felt it as we waited for the AVON lady to come. Would you order something for me this time? I felt it as we watched TV together. You would watch Sesame Street with me and I would watch the Guiding Light with you. I felt your love when I could smell your perfume when I was in your arms. I always felt better when I knew you were close. I felt your love even when you turned on the vacuum cleaner that scared me so. I know you were right there to help me find my things that had fallen in the magic crack of my bed and the couch. I felt your love as you sent me to take a nap. My love for you grew as you took us kids to the doctor and on your errands. As I grew older I remember watching you read your books and I wanted to be like you. I remember seeing you teach VBS and Sunday School and longing to hear your Bible stories. Thank you for teaching me about Jesus!! My love for you grew as I grew and spent more time at school and away from you, but you were always there showing me how to live. As you taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, and sat with us at church, I learned so much from just watching you. My love grew for you as I sat on your lap and you showed me how to sew on a button and to use a needle and thread to fix my pants. You will never know how much you helped me by teaching me how to make pancakes and cookies and other things, and even to do my own laundry. I was a hard day when you moved out but I knew it was for the best. As you got sicker, my love grew stronger. I missed having my mom around every day but I held on to what you taught me. My love continued even though I seemed to be distant for a while. It was hard seeing you change so much and when I would see you, my heart would break. I struggled seeing you slip into a silent world. I hope you saw us as we sat by your bed talking to you and praying. I hope you felt our love as we tried to take care of you the best we could. Mom, there are so many things I wish you could have been there for. The graduations, birthdays and wedding celebrations were not the same without you there. Your spunk and vigor of life were missed.

Mom, I will NEVER outgrow my love for you. As I got to hold your hand for the first time in years last week, I hope you felt my love for you, which began when you first loved me. I know that today even as I grieve your loss I am strengthened by your faith. I know that Jesus loves you and was at your bedside when none of us could be. I know that he held your hand when things were tough. I know that he called you his own in Baptism and that he loves you more than I ever can. Today you get to experience his love first hand as you join your parents at the feast of the Lamb. This is a sad but joyous day and I know that you would want us to dry up our tears and light up a good cigar and celebrate your newfound freedom in paradise. Mom, I love you with all my heart and I look forward to seeing you someday in heaven, and when I do I will wrap my arms around your neck and breath deep to smell your perfume and all will be right once again.
All My Love, Seth

On this Mother’s Day I am here to boldly proclaim that the curse has been reversed; the pain begun in the garden has been replaced by the peace and comfort found in the LAMB of God, Jesus Christ, who will never outgrow His love for us. 

He cares about you in the midst of your pain.  He will walk beside you when you feel alone.  He came so that the curse might be reversed.  Jesus became a curse for us as hung upon a tree.  He felt the curse of sin full on as the nails were pounded into his flesh.  The curse of the garden was upon Him, but the grave couldn’t contain Him. His light shines forth to dispel the darkness of this world and by His resurrection all who believe have been given life.
Back to our text from Revelation, “No longer will there be any curse.  The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  They will see is face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night.  They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever.” (Revelation 22:3-5)

The curse has been reversed, the water of life flows and heaven is open. The darkness of this world has been replaced by the light of the LAMB and in Jesus we have Life Always and Mortality is Banished.  This is true for my mother today. 

As I remember her on this day I know that she has seen the face of Jesus, that His name was written on her forehead in the waters of baptism and she has life forever and mortality has been banished. 

The same is true for you. I know many of you are feeling the curse of sin, the pain of a crisis or catastrophe or chemotherapy or a coffin, but the problems that have plagued us from the garden will be no more.  The tree of life is given freely to us in Jesus. 

And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

The curse has been reversed for we have LIFE ALWAYS & MORTALITY is BANISHED.  On this Mother’s Day, give your mom a hug if you can, call her on the phone, or honor her memory and remember what awaits us all in paradise. 
 -Pastor Seth Moorman


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