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10/14/15 ~ Midweek Meditation - A Way of Escape

"For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” Luke 19:10

As you drive or walk up and down Gulf Boulevard from Clearwater down to St. Pete Beach, you periodically run across little round blue and white signs that indicate a nearby evacuation route. Sometimes the signs feature an arrow hinting at the right path, some bear the international sign that indicates a tropical storm or hurricane. In the normal course of normal weeks, or even in bad weather, these signs are of little or no value. However, with the advent of an approaching category five storm, they take on epic importance. In the face of life-threatening, property-destroying winds, catastrophic flooding and torrential rains, they literally mark the path to life. For those hunkering down in their homes on the sand, those lingering too long, those unfazed by the incoming destroyer, these signs will become a simple but ironic reminder of missed opportunity close by. Recent news stories remind us all too well of the inability of humanity to stand against a wall of wind and water.

This Sunday, Pastor Joe preached an important reminder of a far greater escape route from a far more devastating storm. He took us to many passages that declared to us, once again, the lengths to which our heavenly Father has gone to provide a way of escape from the most devastating, destroying storm in all of life - our sin and its judgement by a righteous God. The sins of all humanity - our original parents, yours, mine, and everyone’s - have unleashed an emergency that no human power or plan can solve or stop. The truth is that this storm is always tragic and spiritually fatal in every case. And yet, in Luke 19:10, the author reminds us that Jesus came to seek us, his drowning children, and to save us through His atoning work on the cross, paying the debt we owe and giving us a new destiny. In His grace, He came to provide an evacuation route from that storm and to give us a new life in Him. It is so amazing. It’s so incredible to think about at times. I was doomed to drown, to be lost in the waves, to be forever separated from the One who made me and created me for a life with Him forever. I have been saved! When I take the time to really consider the significance of the cross and what has happened to me, sometimes I can’t help but ask “How can this be?” “How is it that Jesus was able to step into that storm of sin and take on the torrent of my sin?” As we learned this week, Hebrews 9:14 offers some insight here: “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God”. The power that sustained our Lord in His saving work came from the ever-present power of the Holy Spirit! It’s an incredible thing to consider that that same Spirit comes to live inside of those who put their faith in Jesus Christ!

As we move toward the second half of this week, let us take steps of Holy Spirit-boldness in our witness of these things. Remember that the same Spirit that was present and working powerfully at Calvary is the same Spirit that has been given to us for a spiritual life and witness that is better, stronger and greater. Specifically, join together, pray for one another and spur each other on to stand up by the power of the Spirit (like Peter) and proclaim in deed and in word the One who has saved you!

Finally, let’s be honest about the truth of our current reality. God has placed us in specific families, in specific neighborhoods, in specific workplaces, and in a specific county to point to and declare the way of escape. There is a storm warning in effect. For every person who God has placed in our lives right now that is far from God, there is a horrific, devastating storm coming that they will not weather. Tragedy will be the outcome unless we allow our Holy Spirit-powered voices and lives to point to the one true evacuation route who is the way of escape.