My Red Umbrella Story
It was no different than when President Kennedy was shot or when 9/11 hit. I knew exactly where I was and what I was doing when the realization came to me of what Jesus’ blood did for me–that God sees Jesus’ blood when He looks at me. I was folding laundry, listening to a spiritual cassette tape when the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the words “in the name of Jesus.”
It happened during the same time-span, and in the same house where I was seeking to find the Something More I knew I was missing. It seemed to me every prayer I prayed hit the ceiling and came back down. My thoughts were: Why would God give me the time of day when there are so many other people who deserve His attention more than I? Then, the man on the tape mentioned that Jesus, standing at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for us, and “that’s why we pray, ‘In the name of Jesus.'”
In the Name of Jesus
I had always learned to end a prayer with the words, “In the name of Jesus,” but until then, the full impact of what they meant had not gone from my head to my heart. However, now, in my mind’s eye, I could see a RED umbrella covering me so that when God looked down upon me, He saw Jesus’ red blood, not me. Until then, what I saw was the underneath side of the umbrella smeared with my own unworthiness.
The words no good in me came to mind. I looked them up to see if they were in the Bible. Sure enough, there they were, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Rom. 7:18).
I realized I’d been trying to feel worthy on my own, when Jesus had already made me worthy, or justified. God actually did hear my prayers because of Jesus; He is the only good in me. God actually did see Jesus blood when He looked at me. He saw perfection. What awesome thoughts! I just had to believe them in order to walk in the knowledge (receive) of what His blood had done for me.
How I’d limited God’s power and ability! I also began to realize that growing as a Christian was learning and relearning, and comprehending the awesome dimensions of what Jesus did for me at the very moment He came into my heart many years ago.
And, it was not long before God taught me that “dying to self” [Galatians 2:20] would be a life long ordeal.
We sold that two-story house in Kansas and moved to Texas, debt free, so Jim could get a doctorate degree in community college administration. He had been coaching football and teaching, but felt he needed to prepare for the future while our children were still young.
Four-year-old Kurt and two-year-old Francy hated the crowded daycare when I worked as a secretary at the college. We had no friends, not even at our church. We lived in a trailer house with a postage-stamp sized yard. Life was dry. Texas was hot. Not one tree. God seemed to say, “Look to Me and Me alone. Let me teach you.” But our life, pursuing unfulfilling things, chocked out all God’s Word from our hearts we had to begin with. Life was dry, drudgery, confused, a desert, a wilderness, and we knew it.
Three things kept me going that year, things I read or heard:
(1) When we make Jesus Christ absolute Lord of our life and of each day, it means there is nothing that can come into our lives that is not filtered through His fingers.
(2) Dying to self in order that we may live in God’s power, rather than our own, is something we must do daily. Mentally assenting to self dying, allows Christ to live His life through us each day–His royal red blood flowing through our veins.
(3) When we make Jesus Lord by giving ourselves and all we own to Him, He will, at some point, return 100-fold.
I had a green hanging plant God used to speak to me. It needed sun, water and fertilizer in order to grow. He impressed upon me that my heart was the same. It needed His Son, His water, and His fertilizer, but I did nothing to give it these things. With a three-year correspondence accounting course I was taking, a full-time job, and family, I made no time for God.
My plant also needed pruning, cutting back in order to grow to its maximum potential. I hated the thought of being pruned, but I knew it was true–God was pruning us–and was about to do a whole lot more. Our family had yet to put a real demand upon the covenant–a need to use the words “in the name of Jesus.”
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Here is your two-page exercise:THE BLOOD & THE HEART
Here is you bonus: ATONEMENT IMAGE
[This image comes from the book Angels on Assignment, by Charles and Frances Hunter as told by Roland Buck]