Benediction: Numbers 6

 

by Haley Ashworth

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” 
Numbers 6:24-26

When we take time to meditate on these words, this simple passage becomes a source of great blessing and encouragement.

This prayer, given to the high priest Aaron to pronounce over the people of Israel, is recited weekly over the children at my Messianic Jewish congregation.  When I was younger my dad prayed it every night when he tucked me into bed.  In doing these things, we are comforting and blessing the children in our lives, but I’m afraid too many of us miss a key concept: this blessing was meant not only for the children, but for all of the people of Israel.

As adults, we have a tendency to view dependence and rest as weaknesses.  We like to think that we are self-sufficient and able to handle any situation we face.  However, as followers of Christ, we are to become as little children of our God, our Abba father.  In fact, we have been commanded to be such by Jesus Himself: “‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:3).

Let’s rejoice in the fact that, as a young child wholly depends on her parents, we can relinquish our worries to our heavenly Father and lean on His promises (Jeremiah 29:11), provisions (Ephesians 1:3), purposes (Romans 8:28), and purity (1 John 3:3).

Let us rest in Aaron’s prayer as we pray it over ourselves and our loved ones.  Let us praise God for His unfailing love and the fact that He truly wants to bless us.  Let’s be like little children, gratefully accepting God’s loving care and resting in His holy שלום (shalom, or peace).

Haley Ashworth is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University and is currently serving as a 2012 pureJUSTICE intern.

Benediction: Ephesians 3

by Maria Marballi

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV84)

The pursuit of purity is much like a tennis match between you and, essentially, everything else.  Lies and deceit are hurled at you from every angle: pornified images, aspirations of artificial beauty, and distorted depictions of what relationships look like, of what sex looks like.  And just like the most skilled of players, the world, expertly coached by the evil one, will aim stronger where it knows you are weaker.

In a heart where Christ does not reign, a person doesn’t stand a chance against the billboards, pop-ups, and HD screens, even with the best of intentions.  To “merely” lust with the eyes and gratify all sexual desire is commonplace, and guarding our hearts from such has been deemed unnecessary by almost every media outlet.

But those who know Christ know otherwise.  Those who know Christ know that purity is not an empty calling, nor is it an impossible one.  When we walk in communion and fellowship with Him, we aren’t really the ones fighting; He fights for us.  Our fight is simply to stay in that communion and fellowship with Him.

Imagine yourself walking in purity; imagine leading a holy life.  Picture what it would look like to have your heart and mind be cleansed and sanctified.  Now dwell on the benediction in Ephesians 3 once again.  He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, and many of us haven’t even asked yet.

 

Maria Marballi is a sophomore at The Ohio State University and is currently serving as a 2012 pureJUSTICE intern.

Benediction: Jude 1

by Maria Marballi and Aszia Walker

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25

Stumbling interferes with the sanctification of our hearts.

It is the darkness that causes us to fall, but Christ keeps us from such, and we cannot forget to whom we send our prayers; He will turn darkness to light, He will keep us from stumbling.

When our child’s Internet misuse appears a despairing cycle, we bow our heads in prayer; He is able.

When the eye lusts and addictions to impurity take hold of the mind and body, we bow our heads in prayer; He will keep us from stumbling.

When we feel like there is no escape from a sinful cycle, we bow our heads in prayer; He can make us stand.

Yet we are quick to become disheartened and overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and hopelessness when bombarded by the images and attitudes of our sexualized culture, and paralyzed by the unholy desire to fix our own problems…or worse, hide them in secrecy.

Surely the Word of God sings a new song.  If we take a moment to consider the power and majesty of the God we serve, we must also acknowledge His awe-inspiring ability and will to protect our hearts and minds from evil.  He can make us blameless.

He desires contrition and the renewal of our hearts in purity, and when we pray for Him to heal and protect, He responds with an overwhelming “Yes.”

Depression and discouragement can spin into an endless cycle of sin, but through the love and faithfulness of Christ Jesus, He fills us with the joy that is our strength.

Question: What verses sustain you during times of trial or temptation?  Click here to comment

Maria Marballi is a sophomore at The Ohio State University.  Aszia Walker is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University and the Kanakuk Institute in Branson, MO.  They are both serving as 2012 pureJUSTICE interns.