In Christ I am NOT…

There we have it, an awesome, though incomplete list of who we are in Christ: each being a sheep in His pasture, lifted to positions of the children of God, royalty in the Kingdom of God, ambassadors for Christ and priests unto God who are in the world for a time on assignment while being of the Kingdom of God. There is much more to discover about who we are, but this is a good beginning. I hope you will be alert and grow strong in all that God has caused us to be through Christ.

Beloved, as we close our study this week, fast and furious as it is, I sense strongly that we must not close out this thought process without covering what Christ has delivered us from being. There is nothing the enemy of God loves more, once he has lost the battle for our eternal being, than to keep us thinking we are still the same person we were before Christ set us free indeed. So let us take that ammunition out of his hand by beginning to discover what God delivered us from being.

First we have already established that, in Christ, you are NOT DUST. You are of His SEED: Holy SEED.

Satan loves to point out all our struggles and flaws and make us feel like dirt that is unworthy of God’s Kingdom. Before Christ, that was true. After Christ we became His plantings, the seed of righteousness is in us and is growing stronger day by day as we learn Whose we are, and who He makes us to be, that we may withstand the schemes of the enemy while Father is maturing us as His righteous shoots.

Second, we are NOT THE OLD MAN.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17.

“…But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” ~ Colossians 3:1-10.

We are no longer the old. The evil heart is removed from us in Christ and we are made a new creation with a new, clean, circumcised heart. We have a new mind, the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Therefore our challenge now is to learn to think, act and function out of that new creation.

Part of that is realizing that we can take every thought captive and make it obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:1-6). Another part is not letting the world, our flesh, and the devil tell us that our heart is evil. We must believe that our heart is made new in Christ, that it is circumcised and set free from the flesh and its ways, and, committing ourselves wholly to God, being quick to wait upon Him, we let Him lead us to unity as people after His Own Heart.

Third, we are not unqualified and insufficient.

“Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God. [It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, AMP (see also 1 Corinthians 1:4-8).

When we feel insignificant, inadequate, incapable, ill-equipped, powerless, we are looking at our old self instead of seeking after and trusting in the promised supply from Father in the power and equipping of the Holy Spirit that makes us new. Satan loves to keep us functioning in the flesh instead of in our Spirit-filled supply. When he can do that, he can make us impotent as Kingdom people.

Fourth we are NOT whores, harlots, and dogs.

We no longer chase after other gods, or make ourselves into one. We have one God, that is Jehovah. We have one Father, that is Abba-Jehovah. We have one King and Lord, that is Jesus. And we do so in the power of the one true Spirit of God. As sheep who are the children of God, bride to the King, we give ourselves wholly to our One God and King. As the son and daughter bow down as slaves set free from sin, we freely, out of love, give ourselves to Him as Bond-slaves, wholly committed through love and choice to these: the Three in One – Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

We are not lost, but have been found (Matthew 18:11-14; Luke 19:9-10).

We are not rejected, but chosen and approved (1 Peter 2:9; John 15:16; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21, 10:18).

We are not left behind, for no one and no-thing can take us out of the Father’s hands or separate us from His love (John 10:18, 29; Romans 8:31-38).

Rejoice beloved, for you are NOT, but YOU ARE!

Now may the God of peace [Who is the Author and the Giver of peace], Who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood [that sealed, ratified] the everlasting agreement (covenant, testament), strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages). Amen (so be it) ~ Hebrews 13:20-21, AMP.

In Christ I am Citizen of the Kingdom

Beloved, we have looked at some truths regarding who we are created to be in Christ that are awesome to me, but let me tell you again today, this is not working in me some ungodly pride that leads to haughtiness. As alert as I am becoming to myself as a daughter of God and queen of His Kingdom under the Lordship of the King of kings, I am still acutely alert to my need of Him as a sheep of His fold and as part of the Bride, being weaker than the Groom (1 Peter 3:7). I can do nothing apart from Him.

What this information is working in me is a deep sense of understanding of my need to take ownership—take full possession of my position through Christ and to take seriously the responsibility those positions of power and authority bring to me. Some we will not fully perceive and possess until we stand side by side with Him. But other things are made clear in scripture that instructs our heart as to our here and now authority in Christ and Kingdom responsibility in this life.

walking-with-godBefore we press on today to whom we are in Christ, we need to realize where we are. Jesus prayed that we who are His would be in the world but not of it (John 17:11-15). Beloved, truly what we are to be, though we are not physically in His Kingdom at this time, is very mindful that we are of His Kingdom. Thus it is important for us to realize what that looks like and practice that life where we are.

One thing we look at is Scripture that says things like “The Kingdom of God is righteous, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Those of the Kingdom are authorized with power over the demonic; they are given discernment of Kingdom mysteries; and those of the Kingdom scatter its seed in places where they take root and grow to bear much fruit (Romans 14:17; Matthew 12:28; Mark 4:11, 26-29).

The Word of God has much to say about what the Kingdom looks like on those who are in the world, but of the Kingdom. It is vital, as we continue this journey to discover who we are in Christ, that we realize where we are: though in the world, we are of the Kingdom, and we are charged with duties in the world that focus on fulfilling Kingdom purpose in the name of our God and King. With that understanding, we are now ready to continue to discern who we are:

“So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:20, AMP.

We are Christ’s ambassadors, on assignment in this world, keeping in heart the good of the Kingdom of Godseedling and working on its behalf. There are many things we are charged with as Ambassadors of the King: not the least of which is to do all He equips us to do in the ministry of reconciliation. We are called and equipped to share all that God has done to bring reconciliation to His created beings. We are called and equipped to lead others to saving knowledge of the Christ. But it goes farther than that. We are His ambassadors, called and equipped to make disciples of mankind. We do not just plant the seed then leave it without food and water and care that makes it grow deep roots and strong branches. But we do raise up those who receive the seed so they grow strong and produce a harvest. We are Kingdom builders, charged with responsibility to aid in the building and establishing of God’s Kingdom from our in-the-world-position as Ambassadors of the Kingdom. And I am discovering that a vital part of that work is to help others who are of the Kingdom realize who they are as His representatives in the world.

Another very important thing that we need to realize about who we are in Christ is this:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of GOD; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10.

EchadWe are of the Royal Priesthood. Beloved, in Christ we are birthed not only into the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but we are of the tribe of Levi, bearing within ourselves the Levitical priesthood. Revelation words who we are this way:

“He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. …You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” ~ Revelation 1:6; 5:10.

We are called to be priests unto God, beloved, ministering before Him with songs of praise and psalms of adoration, glorifying Him in the earth not only through our words, but through our deeds and lifestyles.

Yes, our God has graciously lifted us dust particles up from the place of separation from Him, and He has highly exalted us in the Kingdom of our God and King, not for anything we have done, but because of the Christ in whom we trust. Being priests unto God is a total other study, but this is an excellent beginning. As sheep in His fold, children sealed by His Spirit, raised to royalty in Christ, we serve as part of His Kingdom being Ambassadors of Christ and Royal Priests unto God. Now to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

See you tomorrow, beloved, as the next thing we need to realize is who we are not.

In Christ I am Crowned with Royalty

Jesus-Bride006Yesterday we discovered that through Christ we are lifted from the position of dust, to that of sons and daughters. We saw that we are exalted through Christ from created beings made a little lower than the angels, fallen to the position of a dust particle, and raised to be co-equals as the children of God with the sons of God in the angelic forces. All of God’s children glorify Him, live for His purposes, and stand with Him in battle. This is who we are.

One thing I have noticed in the earthly realm, which mimics the heavenly, in the royal family, there are children of the kings of nations, princes and princesses, but not all are eligible for positions on the throne of the kingdom. This fact is the distinction we will see today that exalts our positions and establishes the next step in understanding who we are in Christ that makes a distinction between us and the angels, who also are sons of God.

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready” ~ Revelation 19:7.

Scripture uses so many terms to describe our unity through Christ with the Father and with the Son. Two terms that describe our unity with Christ are us being “the body of Christ” and our being pictured as “the bride of the Lamb.” Scripture teaches of this union in Genesis 2:23-24, as Adam says…

“‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

As the Bride of Christ we are united with Him as one flesh. We complete one another. We can do nothing apart from Him. And He chooses to use us as a suitable helper in his ministry of reconciliation and the work of His Kingdom. He is King of kings. As His bride, what does that make us?

The Kingdom of God is shown throughout scripture to be established as a hierarchy. Jesus, as reward for His sacrifice for the Kingdom of God in fulfilling the purpose of God for the redemption of God’s creation, was raised up with God and seated with Him as the crowned King of the kingdom. Thus we, as the people of God’s fold, lifted through Christ to the position of the children of God, chosen by God to be the Bride of Christ, are once more lifted up to a position of royalty in the hierarchy of the Kingdom of God.

As I think on that, it brings new meaning to me as to the title of Christ who is King of kings. As one who is ever mindful that I am the creation of God, a sheep in His fold, it is difficult to realize my royal blood in Christ and say that we are kings and queens under King Jesus, but that is the picture we are given. And it lifts us a little bit higher in the hierarchy of the Kingdom, a little higher than the angels.

Jehovah is God the Father. There are none higher than He. Jesus is God-Son the King. He submits to none but the Father. Holy Spirit is the power of God that binds all together and empowers the completion of all things. He submits to Father and Son. And by the power and seal of the Spirit, we are sons and daughters of God the Father, united as one with the Son and King, Bride of the King of kings and seated with Him in the heavenly realm. We submit to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The seal of God is placed upon us and within us, and we are given authority through our position to fulfill Kingdom responsibilities.

Now let me tell you, that does not raise up ungodly pride in me, but godly fear and reverence for the God of all creation who set these things in motion: raising mere dust to a position of royalty in the Kingdom of God! That realization makes me acutely aware of my responsibility to God, which we will address as we continue to look at who we are in Christ tomorrow.

In Christ I am a Child of God

Read James 4:5-10

“…God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it)” ~ James 4:6b

Yesterday may not have appealed to our desire for great things, discovering that we are sheep in the pasture of God. But, beloved, until we are humble and lowly enough to receive the grace of God’s keeping over us, we will not have the humility to be fully and powerfully the rest of who we are in Christ. Humility to trust in, rely on, be confident in God who lifts us to the positions we will cover over these next days is vital for our ability to fully be all He calls and created us to be. Understanding that without humility to realize that our provision in all things is from God and to humbly realize that without Him, we can do nothing is the most vital and blessed position He gives us that we must realize and submit to walking out. Beloved, there is nothing impossible for the sheep of God’s pasture for all the resources of heaven are available to us who are humble enough to receive it.

“Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and HE WILL EXALT YOU [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]” ~ James 4:10, AMP.

So today we press forward from sheep who are kept and fully provided for and needful of His protection to the next description of who we are through Christ on my list to share with you. Oh, Father. How to share what is in my heart without this becoming the book it could be? Here am I. I surrender my mind, heart and hands to You who make me able.

“…In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will…” ~ Ephesians 1:3-14.

Beloved, from the beginning of time, it was God’s desire and design to bring those reborn through Christ into the family of God as His children. Now, I am not a scholar in the educational sense of the word, but as a student of God’s word, I cannot recall a time in the Old Testament when the people of God were called His children. I even did a quick search of the phrases “sons of God” and “children of God” in the old testament through Bible Gateway, and none were found except when speaking of the angels of God who were called His sons. So, beloved, here is what God has been showing me.

Adam and Eve were created by God as His created beings, the people of God’s image. They were set in a garden, given charge over it, and given opportunity to choose whether they wanted God as Lord, or not. It is said in Scripture that they were created “a little lower than the angels (or heavenly beings)” (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7,9).  They were God’s created beings, having His authority for a purpose, but unlike the angels, they are not called His sons and daughters or children. They have lesser status in their relationship with God than the angels at this point in history.

Next we see Adam and Eve fall from grace by choosing pride to rule themselves as Satan chose rather than choosing God, and what does God say to these creatures who were a little lower than the angels? “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 2:19b). Thus mankind fell from being a little lower than the angels to return to being dust.

Then comes Jesus, who pays the full price demanded for sin on behalf of all of mankind. But it is not automatically given to us. We still must choose God as the one and only true God and Sovereign for us. We make that choice by choosing Jesus as Savior, our Kinsman Redeemer, who purchased us for Himself. Once we make that choice, God’s word says we are reborn. We are no longer dust, but the blessed SEED of God rebirths us to adoption as the sons and daughters—the children of God. No longer are we dust: no longer are we a little lower than angels, but we are equal recipients of those having claim as the children of God, heirs with Christ. The image of God is restored to us and we begin the journey of looking more and more like our Father as we grow in the knowledge of Him and receive more fully within us the truth of who we are through Christ.

“Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]” ~ Ephesians 5:1, AMP.

Ah, but that is not all. Come join us tomorrow, beloved and blessed child of the Living and Loving God, who are exalted to high positions in Christ.

In Christ I am a Sheep of His Fold

Seeking the Lord for direction, He instructed my heart that His people need to know and realize not only Whose they are, but who they are because of the work of Christ in us. So beginning today, we start a journey of discovery in this area in which God has been so greatly deepening my understanding of these things. Today we begin with our most humble position, which we must realize and submit to in order to fully grasp and press forward to the exalted positions found in Christ.

Read John 10

good_shepherd1“…27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one. …”

Being sheep in the pasture of God does not sound very appealing, but it is a most blessed position in the Kingdom of God. Being followers who humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God to follow the Good Shepherd (Jesus Christ) in learning humility before God and complete reliance upon Him is the beginning position that prepares us for positions we would deem of greater worth. To skip learning first and foremost to be sheep who willing follow and trust the Shepherd is to invite opportunity for the wolf of the demonic to tempt us away through haughtiness that thinks more highly of self than we ought. So the first position we must learn to possess with glory in God who cares for our every need and positions us to be protected from falsehood and temptation is vital to our pressing forward to possess the higher ground He has for those who fully trust Him.

Through following the good shepherd we learn that He uses His staff to guide us and His rod to protect us because He loves us and desires the best for us. We learn to trust Him in these things, and the closer we follow to Him and the more attuned we get to Him, the more readily we recognize and surrender to His most gentle call.

For times when we become rebellious, putting ourselves, and even others in danger, the crook of His staff becomes an implement of rescue, to pull us back on track or lift us up out of pits we fall into. And His rod becomes an implement of discipline, used not to our harm, to destroy us, though it may feel that way, but putting us where we have opportunity to bond with Him and trust Him more.

He always leads us into good pastures where all our needs are met in Him, and where we may drink from the waters of His river in safety. As Psalm 23 tells us, even in the presence of our enemy, He feeds us from His table and empowers us for victory in the valley of the shadow of death, making us to pass through enemy territory with confident peace that the Good Shepherd is caring for us fully.

The good shepherd of a heard of sheep knows that a stubborn sheep that will not stay close to his shepherd puts himself and those who follow in danger of being snared by the wolves and other predators. To train that sheep to stay close and become one that leads others to do so as well, he will go so far as to use the rod to break the leg of the sheep. He then carries that sheep everywhere they go, keeping it close, loving on it as if a pet, tending its wound. By the time the sheep heals, it has bonded with the shepherd, trusting the shepherd fully, becoming teachable and easily led so as to keep it and those that would follow it safe.

Beloved, has God got you in a broken-leg place in life. He is not trying to be cruel. He cares for you and wants to keep you in safety. He is here to tend to your need and wants you to trust Him and rely on Him, being confident in Him that He will not fail you.good_shepherd2

Being a sheep in the flock of God is not a shameful position for us. It is a picture of His great care for us who are followers of Christ. Learn to follow closely to the Good Shepherd and Watcher of your soul so that you may be led by Him to realize and possess all that you are in Christ through faith that fully believes and trusts His leading. (See John 3:18; Romans 10:9; 1 Timothy 4:10; Hebrews 3:12-19; 10:39-11:1, 6, AMP.)

Pray today for your faith in the Good Shepherd to grow strong, so that you fully trust His lead in your life and in the lives of those you love. Pray to remain close to Him. And pray for those you see with “broken legs” spiritually, that their faith in the Good Shepherd grow strong and that they will develop a teachable spirit, becoming pliable to all the good He has for them.

Psalm 23 ~ The Good Shepherd:

The Burning Bush

burning_bush3“Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.’ When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ He said also, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God” ~ Exodus 3:1-6.

What was it that drew Moses attention and desire to ‘check it out’? It was the Light of God’s presence, burning in ways he realized was something unusual, special, real, producing a light that caught Moses eye and beckoned him over. Like others in scripture, when he realized He was in the very presence of Jehovah-God, he was quickly impressed that his feet were on Holy Ground. And what did God say? “Take off your shoes.”

What was it that caused Adam and Eve to want to cover up their nakedness? I believe it was not their naked bodies that beckoned the cover-up. It was their sin that distorted the image of God they were created to bear. They sinned against God and immediately wanted to hide themselves from Him so He did not see them as they now were. Their covering they made was inadequate, so God made coverings for them that included the shedding of blood to cover their sin.

When Jesus came, He paid the full price of sin and provided His own robe as a new covering for all who believe and receive the gift of His sacrifice for their sin. In so doing, not only does He clothe us with eternal robes, but He cleanses us from the inside out, leaving with us His Holy Presence who indwells us and restores the image of God in us who have new life through rebirth in Christ.

So now, we who are called the temple of God, house His presence and we are called and equipped to be Hisburning_bush light shining in the dark places of this world. Now we become the “burning bush” and the ground under us is holy, for He is holy. He wholly dwells within those who believe and receive Him. The question is, are we – His people, His temples, His lights, His burning bush for our day, living as people of Holy Ground? Or are we hiding behind coverings of our own making that try to hide from God the sin our Savior and Lord died to cover?

God told Moses, “Remove your shoes.” We are to be real with God, standing in His presence as His image bearers made whole and holy in Christ. We must be real with Him so that He can fully and completely cover our nakedness and restore the image of God in us. And we must be real with Him so He can set up His presence within us to set afire our lives as His burning bush that is useful for drawing others into His holy presence.

Remove your sandals from your feet, Beloved of God, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.

Child, BE Who You Truly Are

I am reminded in my Heart Quest study today of what God began showing me more clearly at Quest. We are a new creation and must learn to work and function out of the new that is in the world, but not of it—aware of the world and its ways, but not touched by it so as to be knocked back into the old. The lesson instructed us to write out what God said to us in our study today. Here is what I discern:

“Darlene, Remember that you are a new creation and walk in it. Learn to function in the new that is Me, where belief and trust come easy because we are one and you KNOW Me. Take hold of the eternal to which you are called and possess it as belonging to you even now, because it does.

“You have known for some time that Kingdom living can and should be your here and now experience out of which you flow. Major in this way of life I am showing you and go deeper still in your understanding and experience of its truth so you may become in this life more and more who you truly are in Me, the person you will be eternally. Some will enter the eternal Kingdom in shock because they will not even recognize, much less know, themselves. Don’t be one of them. Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you, beloved, and I will teach you the depths of who you are in Me. Be all that I show you in ever increasing surrender and I will use you to reveal the truth of My Kingdom in the earth.”

Lift Up Your Hands!

Hello, beloved. I am here today to share a pondering with you as I seek the Lord to “show me.” As those of you who read many of my writings may have guessed, I am memorizing a large portion of Psalm 63 in the NIV. This week I am working to add verse 4 and 5 to what I have thus far. Today, as I consider and focus on verse 4, I find myself wondering what might be applied to life through this verse. It says, and I quote…

“I will praise you all of my life, and in Your name I will LIFT UP MY HANDS” ~ Psalm 63:4, NIV.

Now I will look and make sure I quoted that correctly. Back in a minute…(tick, tick)….

Ah, man! I keep saying “all of my life” instead of “as long as I live”. Oh, hum. Well I am getting better. I was saying “with all that I am,” which Father told me “sounds good to Me”, but it is not what this version of this verse says. Anyway, I digress. It is a process and part of my processing today is spurred by wondering how, in His name, we might lift up our hands.

Now this, I am sure, is talking about worship, but we should worship God by honoring Him as God and Lord and Master in all things, so I am wondering how else we lift up hands in the name of the Lord. Searching “lift, hand” on Bible Gateway, this is what I discern as I seek the Lord for His answers. Now, note, not all of these scriptures will be specifically talking about what I discern from the input I receive from the use of lift – hands in a particular verse. But I believe the things God is revealing to me are scriptural, so open your hearts and minds to Him and get ready to say, “Amen!” or “Oh me.”

“Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him” ~ Genesis 21:18.

When we take the hand of a child or someone younger than we are in order to train them up or lead or mentor them, we better be doing so in the name of the Lord, as best represents Him. It is our greatest work of praise, honor, and glory to God when we encourage and help others become all He sees in them.

“As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land” ~ Exodus 14:16.

What better way to honor and glorify God than, through obedience to Him, to lift hands in His name so as to be used of Him to make a way where there is no way for those who need to be set free. This requires faith to believe Him, take Him at His word, and do what He says.

“Then one of them shall lift up from it a handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, with its oil and all the incense that is on the grain offering, and he shall offer it up in smoke on the altar, a soothing aroma, as its memorial offering to the Lord” ~ Leviticus 6:15.

Lifting our hands to fulfill what is needed in giving an offering to God at the altar of sacrifice. When we do and give and work as an offering of sacrifice and service to God, we bless Him and honor Him as Lord. The soothing aroma created not only pleases and glorifies God, but it acts as a memorial to Him and to all who see.

“Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them” ~ Leviticus 9:22a.

Lifting hands in honor of God’s name, as representing Him and His interests in the earth so as to bless those around us brings great praise and glory to our God and King.

“Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank” ~ Numbers 20:11.

God often will bless those we lift a hand to serve in His name, even when we do it with a bad attitude or wrong motives. But as Moses learned, better to check those things and get right with God first.

“Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary” ~ Psalm 28:2 (Psalm 141:2).

We lift our hands to God in earnest prayers of intercession, supplication, and surrender; reaching to Him who is the answer in all things.

“And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, Which I love; And I will meditate on Your statutes” ~ Psalm 119:48.

Here I see the lifting of hands as in a pledge of allegiance, committing self to the Sovereignty of God as Lord and to the fulfillment of our responsibility as citizens of His Holy Kingdom.

“Lift up your hands to the sanctuary And bless the Lord” ~ Psalm 134:2.

As I read this, I am mindful that God is our Sanctuary. When we realize that we are safest when in close proximity to Him, accomplished through faith, trust, and allegiance to obey Him, it blesses His heart and brings us into His security.

“Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord. We lift up our heart and hands toward God in heaven; we have transgressed and rebelled, You have not pardoned” ~ Lamentations 3:39-42.

Here I see lifting the hand so as to slap the knee—or the forehead, as the popular V8 commercial depicts—in realization of sin and sincere repentance of heart.

“Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” ~ 1 Timothy 2:8.

We glorify, honor, and bless Father when we lift up holy hands in unity as Brethren in Christ.

And finally is the one that first came to my mind and heart as I anticipated this search.

Exodus 17: 8 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. 13 So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner; 16 and he said, “The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.”

Beloved, the bottom line I am seeing is this. The Lord, our God, He is our Banner, our Support, our Strong Tower, our Storehouse of supply, abundant for every need. He is God, Lord, King, Savior, Hope, Help, Champion, Sanctuary. He is worthy for us to lift up holy hands in every possible way that brings Him honor. And sometimes we need the help of others to hold our hands up and to help us walk so as to make our ways straight. In Christ we are one with the One God who reveals Himself through Father, Son-Savior, and Holy Spirit-Presence-Power.

Father, I will praise you all of my life, with all that I am, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. In Jesus, make it so I pray. Amen.

Working for the “Well Done”

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:10-17.

Wow. How to tell you what I am seeing as I look at these two, often separated passages, and understand that they are one. Okay, let’s try this:

Picture the world as a cesspool of sin—for that is what it is. It is like the hot room in a facility that deals with all kinds of chemicals and germ warfare sources of destruction. When entering such a room to deal with such things, a person has to first put on a protective suit. It is the first line of defense.

Christ is our suit. He clothes us in righteousness that assures us a place in the Kingdom of God, protecting us from the destruction of sin. But we are called to build on that foundation in life as we deal with the destructive forces of this world. The way we handle the things we encounter in the hot room builds on the foundational covering of Christ to establish us as a holy temple of His presence here in the earth. The more we practice obedience to the protocols – our second line of defense against the things found in the hot room, the better the materials that are found in the building that we lay on the foundation of our security in Christ.

Then, when God calls us out of the hot room we go through the third line of defense that keeps us from inadvertently bringing the death and destruction of the hot room out into the place of righteousness where God resides and where no unrighteousness can enter: that is the fires that test the quality of our building that we have laid on the foundation of our security in Christ.

The more we have done things WITHOUT THOUGHT OF OBEYING THE PROTOCOLS meant to protect us from the destructive forces, and those meant to make us a witness to others found there that need the foundation of Christ and the example of a godly life, the more our building will have wood, hay and stubble in it that will be burned away.

The more we live so as to influence others for good and protect from contamination in our own lives, the more our building will possess gold, silver, and precious stones.

If we build with only a few of the good materials, them being attached to and surrounded by bad materials, when we go through the final decontamination phase, even the good will fall away as that which it is attached to burns away. In reverse, if we build mainly with good materials, even though there is some wood, hay and stubble in our lives—which there will be, though the materials that cannot stand the fires of testing fall away, we will still come through with a temple of glory intact and ready for the eternal Kingdom and the “well done” of the Son.

At my missionary friend’s memorial, recently attended, one thing we all agreed upon is that he most assuredly met the Master as he came out of the decontamination chamber to enter His embrace and receive the “Well done, good and faithful servant.” If God told him to forget what he had planned that day and just go to the next town and sit in the local DQ, he did it. He told me this last visit home that, in those times, most often there would be a divine appointment. But he had also come to learn that sometimes God sent him on such assignments to “simply take His Presence into a dark corner.” I cannot tell you the number of people who, after meeting him and visiting for only a few minutes, bear the testimony of their life being changed by the encounter.

Beloved, if you are truly trusting Jesus Christ for your salvation so as to be covered by His foundational protection, God’s word teaches us that encounter with Him will be honored by God, for “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” ~ 2 Timothy 2:13. But if you are not working with Him to learn and live out the safety protocols and helping others to do so as well, the temple we are building to the glory of God can be completely burned away so we take no good accomplishment into the Kingdom through which to bring Him glory and receive a “well done” greeting.

An encounter with Christ should change our lives. In fact, we are told that we in this world can recognize His people because we bear fruit in keeping with righteousness (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:6-10; Philippians 1:9-11; Hebrews 12:7-13; James 3:13-18). If we are truly united with Him, there will be a change in our lives: something that reveals we have had an encounter with Him that has us suited up in a protective covering against the hot room of the world. It is the bear minimum requirement that allows us to come through decontamination to enter the Kingdom. Even in a germ-storage hot room, if a person goes in without the suit on and is contaminated, he cannot just come back out, even after undergoing decontamination, and interact with others. Instead he is placed in an infectious ward and he becomes the vial in the hot room, with all who enter into his presence having to be suited up for their protection.

Building a temple on the foundation of Christ that will withstand the decontamination chamber requires we spend time in the Protocol Book—the Bible, learning not only how to move through and function in the hot room safely, but how to make a difference in the lives of others while we are there, setting an example that helps them to enter into a life that is changed by an encounter with Christ-in-me. Brothers and Sisters, this is how we work in the hot room so as to go through decontamination with something remaining that glorifies God and receives the reward of the “well done.” But in order to do that, we have to step into the hot room. We can’t hide out in our safe zones and build as glorious a temple as is possible for us unless we are willing to obey God’s voice to “go to the next town and sit in the local DQ,” or “go to Israel and live in Jericho.”

Go out into the hot room, beloved, being in the world, but not of it, and let Father make a Holy Temple for Glory out of you.