Come Near to God

‘Have you ever considered what a privilege it is to live in the era after the cross?  Today every believer has instant access to God through His Son Jesus Christ.  We don’t need to adhere to any religious rites before coming to Him in prayer.  Wherever we are, we can call on Him for forgiveness and help. 

In the Old Testament, the law prescribed exactly who could approach the Lord and how it was to be done.  The temple area was divided into a courtyard, an inner chamber called the Holy Place, and the innermost chamber called the Holy of Holies.  Any Israelite could come to the temple to pray to God or to bring an offering, but only the priests could sacrifice animals on the altar or burn incense in the Holy Place.  The Holy of Holies was entered once a year and only by the high priest to offer blood for his sins and the sins of the nation. 

When Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s cross, the curtain in front of the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom as God opened a new and living way to approach Him:  through the blood of His Son.  When we trust in Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf, He cleanses us from all sins and invites us to draw near to Him. 

The way to the heavenly Father is open, but are you drawing near to Him?  Even those of us who have trusted the Lord for salvation may not be taking advantage of this invitation to come even closer.  In James 4:8, the author makes a promise every believer should claim:  “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”    –   Courtesy of Dr. Charles Stanley

 

 


 

We’ve received some feedback from our family members and we wanted to share.

In January, Rev. Robert Rahn of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation headed to South Sudan.  He has made this trip many times and in addition to carrying theological literature and Bibles to students and pastors in the region, he has carried the cross for the children (see photos of his last 2 trips HERE and HERE).  This is his accounting of this year’s trip:

‘Reporting on crosses I took with me in January. It’s kind of a tale of woe. We were heading for Yambio, South Sudan where we participated in the opening a new year and new class of the Concordia Lutheran Institute of the Holy Ministry. 25 students are preparing for ministry. From there we went to Nairobi, Kenya to visit the new campus of the Lutheran School of Theology where the Lutheran Heritage Foundation is helping to build a library/translation center and where earlier I had sent my entire theological library. From there I went to Ethiopia, three different locations. I preached for a service attended by some 300 Sudanese refugees who are living in three refugee camps with some 250,000 other Sudanese refugees. We also participated in the distribution of three books translated and published by the LHF in the Amharic language. We also visited the Maor  Theological Seminary in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, where we send instructors to teach theology.

 The intent was to distribute crosses in each location. The tale of woe is that the person traveling with me and I had taken 23 suitcases that were mostly filled with books for the seminary students as well as all the other items we had hoped to distribute. The day I left Yambio the suitcases were being unloaded from the plane I was boarding. The only choice I had was to assign the Bishop of the Ev. Lutheran Church in South Sudan/Sudan the task of distributing the crosses to children in South Sudan. I asked him to take some pictures when he distributed them.

As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. It was disappointing not to be able to fulfill my plan.’

We look forward to seeing the photos if and when they come.  In the meantime, we are thankful your travels remained rather uneventful and your group were held safe in His arms.  Thank you for your continued service in His name.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

And, this last month, a group of dedicated medical staff made their 20th something trip to Guatemala through the HELPS Ministry to provide necessary medical surgeries and attention to mostly children.  Kay, from Monticello, is one of the volunteers who makes the trek each year and has started carrying our cross, made into necklaces, to the patients.  We have featured her necklace making group before (click HERE); this accounting is from this year’s ‘necklace party’:

‘Tim G. got the 400+ crosses sprayed and they are now ready to make into necklaces on the 9th of February.  Thanks so much for the Cross the World ministry.  God bless you for doing this.  We are blessed to be a blessing because of what you started.’

And, this:

‘A great day was enjoyed making cross necklaces at my house today; we spent hours of creative beading.  We made over 300 necklaces out of your awesome crosses.  They are beautiful and will be greatly appreciated by the people of Guatemala.’

 Thank you, Kay.  We pray your travels were also safe; we’ll be looking forward to receiving pictures of the smiling recipients!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

And, Kaylene from Montana wanted us to know that she received a cross from her grandparents:

‘The cross says AZ on it so I thought I’d post and let you know how amazing it is that it has traveled up to me!’

Thanks, Kaylene.   We hope to hear from you again soon!

 


 

I wish you love and strength and faith and wisdom.  Goods, gold enough to help some needy one.  I wish you songs, but also blessed silence.  And, God’s sweet peace when every day is done.

– Dorothy Nell McDonald

 


 

Crosses to be shared were sent out to the following during March:

Luverne – MN

Helen – IA

Bonita – MN

Bea – NJ for Operation Christmas Child

Joplin Family Worship Center – Joplin, MO

Brian – TX

Avera Health – Sioux Falls, SD

David – WI

Center of Hope – Sioux Falls, SD

Robert – MN

SonRise Christian School – Wadena, MN

St. Francis Xavier – Sartell, MN

 


 

And, I couldn’t close without sharing my favorite Easter song with you.

 

 

Wishing you a most blessed Easter.

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