Day 12 of 40 Days to Celebrate the King: The Backstage Pass
Scripture reading today: Psalm 95 and Hebrews 10:11-25
Tomorrow (remember no blog on the weekends 😊) Psalm 95 and Zephaniah 3:14-20
Sunday’s readings are always longer. Psalm 95, Jeremiah 33:14-16, I Thessalonians 3:9-4:2, Psalm 25, and Luke 21:25-36
For those who wonder about the Scripture choices, I have for years used a daily devotional book called “A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants.” I’ll talk about that in the Monday video but for now, it follows the ecumenical lectionary. The Scripture comes from there.
My sister is somewhat of a celebrity. Not that it bothers me of course, but I love going to a new place to speak and have someone say, “Aren’t you Chonda’s brother?” Or, telling my story at some conference only to have a “Sunday School lady” come up and say, “No, your life didn’t go like that. I heard Chonda and she said…” Oh, the joy of living in the shadow of a star. 😊
Now, before you jump on me about being mice to my sister, or try to boost my failing ego, know that I am just kidding. I am extremely proud of Chonda and all that she has accomplished. She goes our 20 weekends a year and speaks to thousands and thousands of ladies about overcoming, faithfulness, and the goodness of God. She has an amazing and highly blessed ministry to the world. AND… she gets me backstage passes!
One of the many perks of being the only living sibling (that’s another joke) to Chonda Pierce is that whenever I go to see her, I don’t have to wait in line with other mere mortals. I don’t have to endure the heat or the cold waiting to have my ticket punched. I don’t ever have to share the public bathrooms with all of the ladies who drank too much tea at supper, excited about the Chonda concert. (Well, I wouldn’t share the bathroom with them anyway, but you get my point.) No, I bypass all of that stuff because Chonda gives me a backstage pass.
For the uninitiated, the backstage pass is the Golden Chalice, the summum bonum, the prize possession of every groupie, everywhere. It is the thing concerts goers dream about, and die-hard fans would kill gives for. The backstage pass gets you in ahead of the line, gives you access to the snacks in the Green Room, and let’s you hobnob with all the other biggies, and brothers of biggies before the show starts. Chonda has performed at the Grand Old Opry dozens of times and I have had my picture taken with so many stars that the new, up-and-comers, ask ME for my autograph. (Okay, I made that up.)
The point here is that the backstage pass is a pretty special treat. It gives me a different view of the show. It elevated my social status, and it gives me connection with a whole new level of people. 😊 And, would you be amazed to know that YOU can have a backstage pass too, with the Great High Priest, the Giver of the New Covenant, with Jesus. Hebrews 10:19 says, “And so dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heave’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.” (NLT) With Him, I go right to the head of the line and walk in like I own the place. “By His death,” verse 20 goes on to say, “Jesus offered a new and life-giving way through the curtain into His Most Holy Place.” Can you see it, you ask to meet God because you have a problem you need His health with, and the bodyguard angels, form a corridor and say, “Excuse me, folks, let us by. Pardon, us coming through.” And you walk right up and have your photo snapped with God. Backstage pass is something.
So, how do we get this beatific backstage pass, you ask? I’m glad you did. The writer of Hebrews says there are three things we do to get and to keep the easy access to the Father. First, we maintain an upward gaze. Verse 21-22 says, “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, LET US go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts, fully trusting Him.” See, the purpose of the pass is not to elevate us. It is to allow us to see Him. Just two chapters later the Hebrew writer will say, “Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus…” (12:2)
The second “let us” is verse 23, “LET US hold tightly to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” Listen, if God says you have a pass, you have a pass. Maintain the upward gaze, and maintain the inner hope. You get and keep the pass, not by your own doing but by focusing on and believing in God. As I trust Him to make a way for me through the crowds or issues of life, He does. When I start pushing my way through on my own, I ALWAYS get swallowed up by the problems and the people.
Finally, maintain the outward reach. “Let us think of ways to motivate each other to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect meeting together.” (verses 24-25) Okay, the truth is, we are not the only ones that have backstage passes. There is a whole community of us. We all know the pain of trying to push our way through life on our own. Now a bunch of us have turned to Jesus, and put our trust in Him, and we have the pass. And, we can help each other. In fact, we need each other to keep our passes valid. I have my church, my life group, my men’s Bible study, you, all necessary for me to hold on and make it into the Most Holy Place, day after day, the presence of God. Sometimes a phone call from a friend, a message from my pastor, a few minutes of prayer with some buddies, is what I need to keep me going.
So, if you want this heavenly backstage pass, maintain the upward gaze, maintain the inner hope, and maintain the outward reach. And if you want a backstage pass to a Chonda concert, you’re on your own, don’t call me…😊
Next week (starting Monday) we will read Psalm 38 and..
Monday Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
Tuesday Matthew 4:1-6, 28:18-20
Wednesday Matthew 3:1-12
Thursday Isaiah 62
Friday John 1:6-34
Saturday Mark 1:1-8
Sunday Philippians 1:1-11, Psalm 126, Luke 3:1-6
Look for the video on Monday and the blog each day. The videos each week are about tools to improve your discipleship starting now, but especially getting ready for 2022.