Healing Balm for Appetites: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Last night as I got in the bed, I again prayed healing for my appetites. Immediately Psalm 37 came to heart as a healing balm.

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret…” ~ Psalm 37:3-7.

God told me early in January to occupy this journey to a healthier lifestyle. This healing balm instructs that I am to occupy the land of my dwelling, cultivating faithfulness, having my delight in the Lord who will not only give me my desire, but will direct me to desire good things He can bless.

One word that stands out here as important to my ability to occupy this journey is the word “CULTIVATE”: I am to cultivate faithfulness.

  1. a. To improve and prepare (land), as by plowing or fertilizing, for raising crops; till.
  1. b. To loosen or dig soil around (growing plants).
  2. To grow or tend (a plant or crop).
  3. To promote the growth of (a biological culture).
  4. To encourage or foster: cultivate a respect for the law. See Synonyms at nurture.
  5. To acquire, develop, or refine, as by education.
  6. To seek the acquaintance or goodwill of; make friends with it.

As I commit to the Lord in my dietary desires, He will do it, bringing forth my righteous judgment as a light. That begins with RESTING in the Lord and waiting PATIENTLY upon Him, giving Him opportunity to have a say in my desires. Accomplishing that rest requires that I refuse fretting: not allowing my thoughts to be stuck on a desire of the flesh. Allowing my mind to stick on a fleshly desire makes for struggle on this journey and too often leads to a fall. Allowing God to be God of my appetites, taking every thought captive in obedience to Him, I walk in freedom from that which would rule my appetite in His stead. Healing comes to my appetite as I cultivate faithfulness in waiting for Him to inspire good desire.

My part is to cultivate faithfulness to God as God of my journey, wanting Him and His desires above all. One thing stands out: “make friends with it”. My healthy lifestyle is not an enemy. It is a friend. A healthy friendship includes respect: respecting my body as God’s temple; respecting God as resident in it – knowing He always works for my good and not for harm, giving me hope for my final outcome; thus, respecting His desire for my nutritional needs and the foods that fill it. In developing that friendship and respect, I prepare my heart for the healthy desires God has for me, nursing and cherishing my desire for Him above all else.

I think of Daniel’s diet. His diet being vegan is not the important thing. The important point in his story is his commitment to faithfulness to God revealed in him eating only what the Lord prescribed. Daniel is one who listened to Jeremiah’s word from the Lord and obeyed. He surrendered to Babylon in obedience to God; and he continued to seek the Lord from the land of his captivity. He chose God first in all things, and God met his needs.

Healing of my appetites will come as I give myself fully to want of God, cultivating faithfulness and receiving God’s heart in forming my desire. And the promise: “…those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land” ~ Psalm 37:9b.

Marked for Life

Listening to Ezekiel 9 the other day, verse 4 catches my attention. In it, God sends His angel out to “mark” the foreheads of those whose hearts are grieved over sin. Asking the Lord, “Why the forehead?” the question came to mind, “What is behind the forehead?” With thought of the frontal lobe of the brain, I look online at the anatomy of the brain:

The frontal lobe of the brain occupies almost half the space taken by the brain. It is associated with reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language. At the back of the frontal lobe lies the motor cortex. This area of the brain receives information from various lobes of the brain and uses this information to carry out body movements. This is the area where we process knowledge and understanding for use in reasoning, decision making, expression and movement.

Years ago, God helped me to understand with greater clarity the work of the Spirit of God that helps us to discern “sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). He inspired me to understand that this work of the Spirit is not just empowering our understanding of the gospel message and our need of a Savior. It is empowering our ability to recognize right from wrong and discern consequences for choices. The Spirit works with the frontal lobe to help us choose between life or death, good or evil, the blessing or the curse.

Behind our forehead is where that takes place. This gives new importance to our cooperation with God who says through Paul, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”  (Romans 12:1-2).

Beloved, as we cooperate with God in the renewing of our minds, it marks us as His and equips us to bear fruit in keeping with righteousness. This is the reason it is vital that we not only write His words on our hearts, but on our “foreheads” allowing Him to change our minds. The greater our understanding of God and His ways, the more we think like Him, live like Him, and produce good works in keeping with righteousness and sound judgment.

“Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end” ~ Hebrews 3:5-6.

The Spirit working in us, training our minds with God’s thoughts and ways that are higher than our own convinces us and equips us to walk in unity with Him. It gives us confidence in the hope we possess because He marks our foreheads with sound reasoning and cognition. It empowers us to stand firm of faith, not easily swayed by every wind of doctrine. It is why we believe so firmly and stand so confidently in the things we believe.

Thus, by the power of the Spirit of God that marks us, “…We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:1-7.

The Priestly Order: Part 3-d

Wilderness times in life are difficult. The first step in traversing it is to realize where we are and draw near to God Who can lead us out to the cool of His garden place. I pray you discovered any wilderness places in your life, beloved, and that this first step is behind you. The days ahead, journeying with God to the end of the Wilderness Road, is full of glory that God will reveal as He leads you forward. Though it is a hard road to travel, the end result is worth the trouble. I am excited for you.

Be warned, the path ahead will most likely be rough, and you need to make sure to keep eyes on God, hand in His. You will know the instant you lose connection with Him, as confusion, fear, and weakness overtake your life. When it happens, stop where you are and wait. You will find Him faithful to reconnect with you as you wait patiently for Him, watch for His hand, and listen for His whisper, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” Sometimes what seems to us a delay is actually God providing a “Selah” moment: an Oasis where we rest a bit and calmly think on the things He is showing us while He refreshes us and prepares us to go forward. Though it may take time, be faithful to stay close to the side of your Good Shepherd and you will soon find yourself…

Walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

SOS1: “Awake, O north wind, And come, wind of the south; Make my garden breathe out fragrance, Let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits” (SOS 4:16).

When time on earth began, God set a garden within it where His chosen ones thrived. In the cool of the day, He came into the garden for a leisurely walk with His beloveds. We can still have that walk with Him today. In Song of Solomon, several things stand out that instruct us concerning time in the garden.

Here in chapter 4 we see that the wind of God’s Spirit comes into the garden and breathes out the fragrance of His presence and the scent of fruit bearing. He flows through the lives of those who know how to commune with Him in His garden, like the fragrance of the finest spices, ministering to us at the area of our need. From His garden, of which we are to Him, as He is to us, He enjoys its produce and bears it forth to nourish those around us.

Beloved, the fruit born out of our lives because we know how to abide in the Secret Place of God and walk with Him in the cool of the garden pours in two directions. First God pours to us as nourishment and through us to feed those around us. Then we flow out of that fruit bearing to produce a fragrance that blesses the Lord, causing His heart to rejoice over us.

Coming out of a wilderness experience is not the only garden God provides for us. God is an Oasis along the wilderness path. With Him at our side, we have frequent garden experiences, pauses on our wilderness journey where He feeds us and refreshes us so we may press onward and upward. Even out of our wilderness areas, His produce comes out of us to touch those around us and bring Him glory and gladness.

SOS2: “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? Beneath the apple tree I awakened you; there your mother was in labor with you, there she was in labor and gave you birth. …” ~ SOS 8:5-7. Selah ~ Pause and calmly think on that.

The wilderness is a place where we discover complete reliance on our Beloved. We leave the wilderness leaning on God who is our companion, bringing us safely to the garden. Beneath the tree of life, He awakens us. Hardship and struggle, like a mother, have birthed new life in us, giving us a ministry to use on His behalf. God never wastes the wilderness, but works in us to make us ready for the next phase of life as part of His Royal Priesthood.

SOS3: “…Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised” ~ SOS 8:5-7.

From wilderness’ starting point to garden’s quickening, the ultimate purpose is our unity and commitment to the Beloved and our coming to understand His for us. Walking with God as our first most vital love, we realize our need of Him and are fully committed to Him, sealed shut to any other would-be god. Having our Beloved’s scent upon us, bearing the fruit of His love, He marks us with the seal of His image, making it clear to all that we are His.

Marked by the assurance of this love, we know that no other love will satisfy like His love, none else will fill the banks of our being to produce the flow of love that we have with Him. Any attempt of some other suitor trying to break the seal of our commitment to our beloved and lure us away we despise. We have danced with our beloved in the garden having come through the wilderness victorious, and no one can steal us away.

SOS4: “‘We have a little sister, and she has no breasts; what shall we do for our sister on the day when she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build on her a battlement of silver; but if she is a door, we will barricade her with planks of cedar.’ I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace” ~ SOS 8:8-10.

Breasts are instruments of nourishment. The little sister represents those still young in their faith who have yet to find the Secret Place of His presence, giving their full commitment to Him, seeking sustenance only from the garden of His provision and pleasure. As the young in the Lord find their relationship with God and keep it pure, not giving self to another god, they make of her a “dowry” or “battlement” of silver.

Transcripts that translate the Greek word to “dowry” give rise to instruction that such a person has something to give to the Beloved: something to add to their union. Battlement speaks of security and trust. One whose life is a battlement has no other God. Kept safe behind the parapet of Love’s rampart, they live fully satisfied. Such love is greatest treasure, worth protecting at all cost.

The young who are loose, like a swinging door, easily swayed by every passing whim, God encloses for their own protection. God often will hedge us in until we mature in our relationship with Him.

Once mature, we enter fully into our union with God and rise up as a tower where love is secure, treasured and made to thrive, being lit up for all to see. There God’s peace is the produce for life. Safe in the arms of our Beloved, fear and insecurity gives way to love made sure and pure. No matter what goes on around us, we always have our tower made bright with love’s unity, useful in drawing others attention, desiring to see what powers the Light within us.

SOS5: “Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers. Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit. My very own vineyard is at my disposal; the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon, and two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit. …” SOS 8:11-14.

As with the woman of our text, it is our choice how we use our garden and whether we keep it for Him alone. Solomon, in our analogy, represents God. God has a vineyard in the world: our lives. We are the caretakers of our area of His vineyard. He expects to receive the produce of the vineyard.

We are each responsible for our vineyard: it is our choice whether we cooperate with God and glorify Him with our lives. We do so by bearing fruit that makes us breasts of nourishment: first to God, feeding His need for our love through relationship: giving praise, worship, our attention and commitment to Him. Second, to others who, like babes in arms, are in our sphere of influence. Together we help and encourage one another to find our Secret Place with Him and to come to His garden where fruit is born to His glory.

Note that God’s due from our vineyard is five times that we are to give to others. The majority of our attention, focus, and energy must go into our relationship with Father. He is our life, abundant and full. He is our joy and delight, bringing strength to our existence. He is with us and for us 24/7. We must be with and for Him in kind. Then we will have what we need to live fully with surplus to give to others in helping them at the point of their need.

SOS6: “… O you who sit in the gardens, My companions are listening for your voice—Let me hear it! Hurry, my beloved, And be like a gazelle or a young stag On the mountains of spices” ~ SOS 8:11-14.

Beloved, Father longs for us and seeks after us, desiring us to be His beloved in a one on one, personal and intimate relationship that cannot be broken. Are you watching for Him, listening to hear His voice; calling out “Come quickly, my beloved”? If we will faithfully seek after Him, He will come to us in the fullness of His glory. With the fragrance of His essence permeating us, He readies us for life and ministry as part of His Royal Priesthood, making us productive of the fruit of His garden.

The Priestly Order: Part 3-c

Beloved, did you hear the voice of God yesterday, beckoning you to walk with Him in a vitally personal and real love relationship like none other and to greater depths of understanding than ever before known? With every thought of His desire for relationship, heart soars and I want more. God lovingly takes us on paths that will help us discover the “more” of the depth He desires with us. Looking at two such paths, today we begin by…

Walking with Him in the wilderness with shade from His Cloud protecting and Pillars of Fire directing.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)” (Mark 6:31)

The most vital need we have for relationship with God to flourish and grow is time alone with Him.

This life is so full of busyness that we neglect the one thing we need most: God, who nourishes us and brings us into His rest, supplying our need so we can continue with His full resource. Scripture speaks of many occasions in which God calls us to enter into the “secret place” of His presence, encouraging us to come away with Him.

In times of trouble, God protects us in the secret place of His presence where He places our feet on the Rock of our assurance and hope (Psalm 27:5). In that place our heart finds protection against strife and harsh words meant to hurt us (Psalm 31:20). His answer comes to us in the secret place of His presence, and we who dwell there find shelter under the shadow of our Almighty, against whom no foe can stand (Psalm 81:7; 91:1-2, AMP). In the Psalms alone my heart soars with joy over God’s provision of the secret place of our personal habitation.

“O my Dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely” (SOS 2:14).

Life too often is a steep path that challenges our ability to cope and our supply for progress forward. It is vital that we practice daily drawing near to God and finding that hiding place with Him where intimacy is ours alone with Him. This is the only way we will have supply to make it up that hill. And He is our supply: covering us to protect us from the heat of life’s challenges, placing us protectively under His wings where sustenance and provision exists, giving light to the dark places, bringing us to His cleansing Fire. Thus, it is vital we learn how to enter the secret place of His presence with ease. That comes with daily practice.

In nursing school, instructors told us that when the crunch is on and an emergency requires us to move quickly, we will do by habit what we do in daily practice. Therefore, do right at all times and we will do it right when the brain stresses. It is the same with our relationship with God.

I recall a story said to be of a young troop under Patton, if memory serves. He slipped out of his tent at night to find a secluded place of prayer. When caught coming back in, they doubted his story, accusing him of being a traitor. Then Patton instructed him to say an audible prayer before sentencing. His prayer done, Patton released the young man, saying, “One would not drill so well had he not drilled often.” Practice makes us believable and functional.

The KJV version of Mark 6 records Jesus’ words this way, “…Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while….”

Beloved, sometimes God calls us to go into desert places, a wilderness time with Him: dry, hot places of rough terrain. God leading us through hardship ALWAYS has a purpose.

It can be a time of respite. Some of us will not slow down to feed our own souls until something happens to make us do so. God knows we need sustenance, and the greatest nourishment we need is He. He will allow a wilderness to enter our lives if that is what it takes to help us seek Him.

Another reason for God leading us to a desert place is for transformation: working our Egypt out of us.

God is creating for Himself a people after His own heart. We get so caught up in worldly pursuits, so full of the false wisdom of flesh, world and the demonic, that just as with the people of Israel, it sometimes takes extraordinary means to remove us from the worldly and it from us.

Some roots of our old nature or sin habits run deep and wide. It may take many wilderness experiences to dig that root out, but God is gracious, taking care against destroying us in the process of freeing us.

Many such roots link to wounds from long ago that have festered with infection and must heal before the root of that infection that reveals itself through sin can die out. Like leprosy, those infected hurts deform our very person, removing any likeness to God far from us. God loves us, therefore He works healing in us letter upon letter, line upon line, and precept upon precept; here a little, there a little, He uproots weeds and applies the ointment needed for healing until our transformation is complete and we look like our Father as He intended.

The number one thing that will bring us to a wilderness experience is some habit of reliance on anything but God. God is our greatest need and necessity. He is the first and foremost. He knows Himself as our greatest need, and He will do whatever it takes to bring us to Himself in our understanding of our first, most vital Need and Necessity.

Life is hard. Jesus, knowing this fact, warns that trouble will come. However, Peace is His promise for our day. We find that peace as we practice dwelling in the Secret Place of His presence where we learn of Him and come to rely on Him as First. He will do what it takes to bring us to possession of our Greatest Need, whether that requires us to be in the wilderness alone with Him, or while…

Walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

We pick up here tomorrow as we continue the journey to our priestly role of increased intimacy with God. Meanwhile meditate on these things, Beloved. Are you in a wilderness alone in any area of your life? No matter how alone you feel, look for God’s presence. He is there with you, waiting to walk alongside you to the garden of life. Is your whole life a wilderness? God is there with you, waiting for you to draw near to Him with sincere and whole heart, seeking Him for companionship and help in coming through to your garden.

Ask Him the purpose of this season, the root cause for being in this place and time, and begin today to cooperate with Him in all He reveals. The purpose of the wilderness is to bring us to the garden, the paradise of our existence in Christ. Tomorrow we go there together.

The Priestly Order: Part 3-b

“My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along” ~ SOS 2:10.

Our greatest priestly role in Christ is to find our own very personal and very real, one on one relationship with the God of all creation, who beckons unto us, “Come with Me”. We will only survive the chaos of this world to the degree that we come into this personal knowledge of God: not just knowing about Him, but knowing HIM in the fullness of His glory.

I know about the President of the USA, but I do not have personal experience of him that equips me to know the greater depths of his heart. Only one on one relationship with him would allow me to grow to know the man.

IntimacyThe journey we are on together in these next several days will lead us to increased understanding of the God we profess to know. Even if you are one who knows God intimately, being a long time in this faith, there is always a greater depth of His essence to discover. He is beyond comprehension to our finite minds, so we cannot, this side of heaven, learn all there is to know of Him. But we can certainly progress toward the blessing of knowing and fully…

Walking in our boundless, incomprehensible God of Glory.

The thing truly amazing about God is the fact that time and space cannot limit Him. There are no boundaries to His existence.

I love many people, but my love actions are limited by time, proximity and the demands in my day. God has no limits. He is fully with me at all times while simultaneously being fully with you. His resource is mine to tap into and possess just as it is yours. While He satisfies my need as He satisfies each of you, He never runs low on supply. As for each of us in reaching a desire to be the best “me” that “I” can be, it is necessary for us to grow in intimate knowledge and realization of God’s presence with us individually. The reality of God’s presence belongs to each of us.

A vital, growing relationship with God equips me to spread myself farther for His name’s sake, ministering to others on His behalf, having priorities aligned with His desires. Together, as we each work toward this end, we make up His body, fulfilling the work to accomplish in bringing about His kingdom purpose in our day / age. We are one together with God in Christ, each having equal access and full supply of His attention and resource.

The remainder of this study of our priestly role will look at two glorious places in which our relationship with God flourishes as we realize the fullness of His personal presence with each individual of us. In these places of His provision for our knowing and understanding Him, as we deliberately walk through this life hand in hand with our King, we grow stronger in possessing Him and becoming His possessed ones, having His desires as our own. To keep this from being gods-loveexcessively long and to give time to process each part, this portion of our study will break down into three parts: today’s Present reality, followed by tomorrow’s wilderness walk, and the next day’s garden experience.

Today I encourage you to meditate on the fact that God is fully with you as He is fully with me, desiring we possess intimate knowledge and understanding of His sure presence and partnership in life. You have all of God at your side through Christ and within you through the power of His Spirit: you are His temple – His dwelling place. Think on this today. Do you fully believe the truth of this fact? If not, what hinders you? Talk with the Father about this and ready your heart for the journey of a lifetime as tomorrow we begin…

Walking in the wilderness with shade from His Cloud protecting and Pillars of Fire directing.

The Priestly Order: Part 3

Thus far we discovered how Jesus fully accomplished His role as High Priest. He takes us from being under the second order of priesthood, which is intermediary in its relationship with God, returning us to the first order, which is that of personal intimacy and knowledge of the God-Head. That personal relationship with God, the Father, through Jesus, The Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit brings us into a relationship that holds an appointment for us in Christ:

“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.

As people of God in Christ Jesus, we are each a part of His Royal Priesthood, called and equipped to carry on the work of Jesus in the earth as representing Him and His interests. This means that we too must be busy about the Father’s business just as He did in setting the example for us (Luke 2:49). We are ambassadors of Christ, called, equipped, empowered and endued with authority to take care of Kingdom business in the earth.

There are many things to learn of the role of the priest, but we will cover the aspects of our priesthood as exemplified in Christ here in our Hebrew’s focal passage. Looking again at the first four verses of Hebrews 5, we find our instruction for ministry as priests unto God Most High in Jesus’ name:

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” (vs. 1-4)

Jesus is High priest forever. He is the head. We are the body, under His authority, given charge to complete the work of service in partnership with Him. Like Jesus and as His body, we are:

Appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God.

We are here in this life for God and others: intended by God to help others to know and live for God, bringing glory to God by setting an example that honors Him as God of our lives. That is our call and equipping. We are gifted by God’s Spirit for the purpose of serving God as we meet the needs of others around us, and we are empowered to do so as represents God. Thus it is vital that we take every opportunity to study so we may know and understand both our spiritual gifts and how they function in the power of His Spirit. Also we need to understand the fruit of the Spirit, surrendering to His work within, enlivening the image of God in us. It is the gifts of God placed within us and the experiences He uses to train us that help us to come into our appointment from God.

Appointed in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins… Obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself:

Since Jesus paid the full price for sin, delivering us from sins death, we no longer make animal sacrifice. In Christ, it is no longer necessary. And we cannot take the place of Jesus on the cross.

There is a popular song that asks if we will take His place on the cross. My response is always “no”. Though I would love to spare Him paying for my shame, I could only cover my own guilt and sin offering by paying the price I deserve to pay. I am not pure enough to pay for the sin of all others, as He did. So though I would spare Him my shame if I could, my trying to take His place would condemn others to have to do the same for themselves. I am very grateful that God spared me that horrid end by giving His perfect Son on my behalf. And I care enough for others to know that I cannot rob them the gift purchased in Christ. Only Jesus will do for the way of saving grace. So how is it that I fulfill the role of sacrifice for others, so also for self?

We do offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins when we use the gifts and abilities God placed in us to serve Him and others so that they may know Him. We offer up gifts and sacrifices anytime we say as Jesus did, “Not my will but Thy will be done.” Laying down my life when it is inconvenient, so that I may minister to the need of another in Jesus name, makes sacrifice for their salvation: that they may know Him (Luke 9:23; John 15:12-14).  Putting the interests of others before my own, especially when it will lead to increased knowledge of God and His ways, is sacrifice that can save others from sin ~ separation from God (Philippians 2:1-18).

When we forego what we want in order to minister to the need of another for Christ’s sake, and in that sacrifice we reveal Father, Son and Holy Spirit to them, we fulfill this role of our priesthood. God fills us up and spills us out so that we and those around us may know Him. We are His lights, set on a course to make Him known so that others may enter in to this provision of God through Jesus.

Appointed to deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness:

Why do bad things happen to God’s people? For one thing, we live in a world troubled by evil. For another, in cleaning up, God begins with His own house.

God never promised to spare us the touch of evil. In fact, Jesus warns us that we will have trouble in this life, and He says that the only way to avoid it is to leave this world (John 16:33; 17:11-19). Trouble, difficulty, hardship, struggle, temptation, and end of life issues are ours to go through and cope with as God empowers and equips us. Just as with Jesus, experience allows us right of passage to minister to the need of others. Doing so with God as our source of strength, supply, and hope, helps us to know Him. Knowledge of Him encourages our obedience to Him. That experience equips us to make Him known. Thus, like Jesus, we learn what true obedience is through the things we suffer, and that experience is used by Him to influence the lives of those around us (Hebrews 5:8). It is personal understanding of God’s deliverance in our experience of evil in our fleshly estate that gives us compassion with understanding for the struggle seen in those to whom we minister.

As we who are weak and flawed experience God at work in and through us as a result of our relationship to Him through Christ, the difficulties He brings us through makes us uniquely qualified to help others in similar situations. People want to know how we know that there is a God. It is through our experience of Him that we know Him, and we experience Him as He empowers and equips us to deal with situations of this life. The troubled waters of life are not without purpose. They are used by Him to give us a hope in our final outcome, training in righteousness, and opportunity for ministry.

No one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was:

God calls us to the things we are to do in accomplishing the work He planned for us (Ephesians 2:10). Likewise, He equips His servants for all He calls us to do. When God calls, we don’t have to fret the “how” and “with what”. God supplies all we need for the things He calls us to in due season, making us able to stand as His servant (2 Corinthians 9:8; Romans 14:4). All we need is wise discernment for right priorities with His supply; and just a mustard seed of faith to trust His sure hand. Our degree of faith grows as we come to know Him intimately, empowering us to trust Him completely.

If you recall, Part 2 ending with the following thought:

“Beloved, through Christ we are of the first order of priests, the order of Melchizedek – set free to have personal relationship with Father-God!”

Our number one role as part of the Royal Priesthood under High Priest Jesus is to be priests unto God, having intimate relationship with Him, knowing Him as Father-God by experience. Our growth in that relationship equips us to help others come into their own as we share our experience with them.

In Chapter 4 of John, the Samaritan woman at the well is introduced to the true God by Jesus. Taking her priestly role found in that intimate experience of the Father through Christ, she told the people of Samaria about her experience. Her shining the light of God before them drew them out to meet this Jesus for themselves, after which they proclaim to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world” (vs. 42).

Beloved, one of the most fulfilling roles we have as priest with Jesus is found in helping others grow in their personal relationship with Father. It is exciting to watch their growth. And it can be a shock to the system when they reach that point of no longer needing our input. But that is the goal of our ministry, and it is the greatest proof of our fulfilling our Priestly role.

I thought this to be the conclusion of our study on this subject, but then I took a break that allowed me to meditate further on this topic. Thus, I will see you back here tomorrow with greater depth in Part 3-b of the Priestly Order.