Be sure to read (or at least scroll) all the way to the bottom of this email to see important prayer requests and announcements, including a new online video series getting started by Pr. Mark, and a Young Adult lunch/planning session on the courtyard this coming Sabbath!
Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
January 26th, 2022
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6
Earlier this week, in order to alleviate some clutter build-up, I took a load of oversize waste to the CVT disposal center (right in the ‘armpit’ of the curve on the northeast side of the 91/57 fwy interchange). As I was driving with my window down, the first thing I noticed, when I was still about a block and a half away was – pshew! A pungent and rancid smell from all the waste piled-up and decaying there. It practically smacked me in the face! It reminded me of when I’d studied in Spain, and the school was located just over a hill from a landfill, which, when the wind blew in the right (er, ‘wrong’) direction, could make your eyes water.
Soon I was in the vehicle line with large dump trucks and trailers surrounding me. After checking in at the entrance, I was directed where to go to leave my load, and saw huge, 2-3 story tall stacks of different kinds of waste: wood, rubble, metal, cardboard, green waste, etc. and massive, impending machines lifting and moving garbage to process it. “What a huge undertaking!” I thought, “Just to deal with the waste, the byproducts, of our community’s use”. There were workers actively occupied everywhere, and I thought of the financial cost of all those workers and heavy machinery purchase, maintenance, and usage – all paid for by our trash collection bills.
And that site isn’t even the ‘dump’ itself! It simply gets sorted there and sent elsewhere (perhaps the landfill over the hills north on the 57?). The scope of the operation impressed me.
Having recently read through the Bible last year, the Old Testament sacrificial system of taking care of peoples’ sin came to mind. For all sins confessed, sacrifice would have to be made, and blood collected and sprinkled in the sanctuary’s holy place. Given that that sanctuary was called God’s dwelling place (See Exodus 25:8), this meant that God was willing to bring the ‘junk’ of sin into his own living room! Both the literal blood (which must’ve gotten putrid and attracted flies out there in the wilderness) and the sin it represented, built-up throughout the year, before the annual “Day of Atonement” process would empty it out and expunge it from the camp (see Leviticus 16).
Knowing that the earthly sanctuary was just a terrenal copy of the greater reality in heaven (Hebrews 8:5), that means that God is willing to let our sin go up into his house until it all is processed by Jesus (the fulfillment of the OT High priest – Hebrews 4:14 etc.), and similarly expunged when He comes out of that phase of ministry, fulfilling the symbol.
This fact shocks me all the more, having seen the garbage disposal site recently. “God brings this into his house?! Out of love for me? And half the time I half-hazardly add to the volume of it by considering sin minor?” I feel ashamed and humbled to consider such a reality. But also an overwhelming endearment and appreciation for God (and a new repulsion for sin, knowing how he sees it).
How can I produce something better? In my own power, I cannot (as affirmed by our focus verse from Isaiah, above). I need Jesus! I need Jesus to give me a new heart to produce righteousness in me (Psalm 51:10, 2 Cor. 5:17). He alone can turn toxic waste into renewable resources. He alone can uproot the source of sin, oust it, and convert it into a fount of pure water (John 7:38)
I pray that God would be conforming my, and all of our, hearts to align with His more and more fully. Let’s remember: the victorious life is not simply about avoiding sin, but producing righteousness (Matthew 3:8, John 15:4).
So let’s ask God to give us the true Joy of Salvation (Ps. 51:12), that it will be a pleasure to serve Him rightly, rather than being a toilsome effort, just to produce chaff.
Blessings to you and your families from ours.
Pastor Mark Tatum